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On Taking Matters into Our Own Hands

with Ying Que

Ying Que is an anthropologist working in art and education as a cultural program maker and facilitator. As an activist, she speaks from an anarcha-feminist position and is active in several collectives. Her areas of concern are prefigurative politics, feminist economies and organizing strategies.

Six weeks into the Dutch lockdown light, the effects of the pandemic are becoming clearer. It has exposed the vulnerable state of public healthcare and devastated our global economies. They’re adding to the major crises in climate, refugees and housing, battles we were already fighting before the government told us to stay at home, because we are under viral attack. 
We have only just begun adapting to this isolation, as a gesture of solidarity to the vulnerable amongst us. Big parts of our lives got frozen for a bit and put on hold, while other parts are being pixelated and taking on digital forms. We are navigating another sense of being together and facing the uncertain future. 
Meanwhile the government is preparing for the 1,5m economy, with a handful of white men leading management of the neoliberal health care crisis that is suddenly becoming apparent.

    There is no long term plan for the economy. 
    Fingers crossed we don’t go back to normal. 
    But if not the old normal, then what?

Although these days we may be more lonely than before and getting hungry for the touch of our friends and family, our lives were already alienated. We are brooding from the homes we are lucky to have, in a country that leaves us strangely, frustratingly free in choosing how to deal with the circumstances and it feels like we’re getting the chance to refigure the way we do things. Artists and the arts and culture sector are amongst those hit hardest, but at the same time, we are armed with a training in imagination. We need a radical imagination to have a way out of capitalism. 

So let’s talk creative organizing and cultural activism. Let’s discuss alternatives, collective action and demands we need to make from our government and institutions. 

The first part of this session presents three collective initiatives in Utrecht from the perspective of feminist economy and the communalization of food. The second part is a prompt for action to take matters into our own hands, and discuss how to influence and change your direct environment. In the question of unsettling, what do you think your school should be doing?