Peace and Utopia

    Photo: Contradictions

    Photo: Contradictions

    In this year's main seminar, we first meet peace activists from Palestine, Kurdish Iraq and Russia, before discussing practical, concrete utopian proposals, and citizens' wages and food as utopian practices.

    Culture as resistance against occupation

    The Freedom Theater in Jenin is not only a theatre, but also an institution that consciously uses theater as part of the resistance struggle against the Israeli occupation.

    Tobasi, who is artistic director at The Freedom Theatre, talks about their work locally, nationally and globally. He also tells his own personal story and choice to use culture as a weapon.

    We will also hear about last month's attack on Jenin and the theater, what it is like to work under these conditions, and what gives hope for a future peaceful Palestine.

    Photo: The Freedom Theatre

    Kurdish struggle for human rights  

    Kamaran Othman has a background as a journalist. He currently works as a human rights officer for the Community Peacemaker Team in Iraqi Kurdistan. 

    He is also the co-founder of the Pioneer Youth Board Organization for Basic Rights. 

    He has worked for over five years documenting Turkish and Iranian bombings and military operations against the civilian population in the border areas of Iraq. 

    In his work, he documents the consequences of the Turkish and Iranian human rights-violating military operations for the civilian population in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Community Peacemakers Team also works to provide support to the villagers and farmers affected by the protracted military conflicts.

    They also provide support to journalists and human rights activists who are exposed to violence, imprisonment, torture and discrimination because of their journalistic work.

    Last year, Othman spoke about his work to the festival via video. We are very happy that this year he can come and be present at the festival and talk about his important work. 

    Photo: Private

    Russian queer artistic resistance to the war

    Marina Shamove (de/them) is a non-binary interdisciplinary artist from St. Petersburg, Russia. We were lucky enough to have them at last year's festival where they talked about artistic and cultural protests against the war and Putin's regime.

    Shamova protested the war early on using artistic performative actions on the streets of St. Petersburg. For this they received attention from the authorities and were eventually arrested. They then carried out performative actions also in the detention center. Gradually they found that it was not safe to be in Russia. Marina therefore chose to leave the country and currently lives and studies in Switzerland.

    Shamova will talk about various examples of opposition to the war in Ukraine and Putin's regime. They will focus on artistic anti-war actions, the partisan movement and queer feminist activist initiatives. They will also discuss political repression in today's Russia and how anti-war activists are persecuted.

    Photo: Private

    Social movements and concrete utopias: peaceful changes towards global and local democratization

    Teivo Teivainen is professor of world politics at the University of Helsinki. He has been, and is, active in various forums and movements. Teivainen is a favorite interviewee for television and other media from Asia to Latin America and Europe when there is a need to have political situations in the world explained.  

    Teivainen is internationally recognized and has received several awards for his work, including the Outstanding Activist Scholar Award from the International Studies Association (2022) and, together with Matti Ylönen, the Amartya Sen Prize from Yale University (2015). 

    Teivainen will discuss what kinds of transformative projects have been, and can be, effective in changing the world into a more peaceful and democratic place? The introduction will deal with transnational processes such as the World Social Forum, states' attempts to democratize world politics and more local attempts to create concrete utopias.

    Photo: Private

    Citizens' wages as a utopian proposal

    Guaranteed basic income, often called borgerløn in Norwegian, is a financial benefit to all residents of a society, conceived as an unconditional and universal basic income that is paid regardless of social status and is high enough for those who receive it to live a life of dignity and with the opportunity to participate in society. It must be individual, paid regularly and in the form of money, which can be freely used for whatever one wants.

    Citizen's wage Bien talks about citizen's wage as a concrete opportunity to create a utopian reality.

    Food as utopian practice

    Waterford Bioregion's Food Manifesto'

    Food is not a luxury.
    Food is a basic social need to which everyone has a right. It is a right not only to enjoy food, but to be able to create it.
    Food is a way of building ideas, connections and communities. Through food we become aware of ourselves and of each other.
    Food is a common good. It is grounded in our common need, and our common vulnerability.
    Food is revolutionary. How we grow food, how we consume it, how we think about it, can lead to radical change.
    Food is not only about the present: rethinking our relationship with food is a call for a different future, a better one.

    This text is the start of the "Waterford Bioregion's Food Manifesto". The manifesto is a vision and an action plan, written jointly by producers and consumers of food in the Waterford bioregion in Ireland. We have come across it because Sarah Prosser who is a friend of the festival has been working on the manifesto as a weaver in the Waterford Bioregion.

    Ruby Van Der Wekken works as a farmer on the collective farm of Oma Maa outside Helsinki in Finland. Ruby will talk about her work on the farm and how food can be part of both utopian and revolutionary practice.

    Photo: Private