Successful: Conference on International Solidarity and Relational Inequality

September 13, 2020
IIRE, Lombokstraat 40, Amsterdam

Attendance limited due to COVID-19 measures. Speakers: Ulrich Brand (Vienna), Markus Wissen (Berlin), John Smith (Sheffield). Ben Selwyn (Brighton). Conference chair Marcel van der Linden (IISG).

The Imperial Mode of Living in Context Workshop held in Amsterdam, 13 September 2020
Organized by SOC21

Subtly they had been bribed, but effectively: Were they not lordly whites and should they not share in the spoils of rape? High wages in the United States and England might be the skillfully manipulated result of slavery in Africa and of peonage in Asia.
W.E.B. Dubois (1920) [1]

The challenge

Why is working-class internationalism so difficult to achieve? Why could workers so often be seduced by jingoism and xenophobia? Why do Northern workers frequently behave indifferently towards the misery of workers in the Global South? Socialists have been discussing these questions for a long time, across the world. Often these discussions are framed in moral or even moralistic terms (e.g., Christian notions of universal charity). A materialist approach however demands that we address at least the following issues: i) the dynamics of global capitalism and its ramifications for the emancipation of the world working class; ii) the relationship between this capitalist dynamics and changing moralities; iii) the fear of slightly ‘privileged’ workers for deteriorating living conditions; and iv) the necessary conditions for organizing countervailing power and a radical counter-culture. The issue is as important as it is complex; its analysis can only proceed step by step. (……… ) 

For full introduction see the Conference Papers page below.

How to get there:

International Institute for Research and Education (, Lombokstraat 40, 1094 AL Amsterdam.

Bus 22 from Central Station, direction Muiderpoortstation. Stop Javaplein. Turn sharp right into Borneostraat. The second street to the right is Lombokstraat.

Given the constraints by the COVID-19 measures (1.5 metre distancing), we will proceed with a physical conference (old style) with a limited number of participants , with a simultaneous webinar.


Sunday 13 September 2020

10.30-10.50 Welcome and introduction by Joost Kircz and Marcel van der Linden. Instructions for the use of Zoom.
10.50-11.45Session 1. Ulrich Brand and Markus Wissen:
The Imperial Mode of Living: An Introduction.
Comments by Lucas Poy (as Rossana Baragán had to cancel)
11.45-12.15Discussion first session
12.30-13.05Session 2. John Smith:
The imperial mode of living in the context of crisis.
Comments by Kaveh Yazdani.
13.05-13.35Discussion second session
13.35-14.20Lunch break. Various sandwiches available.
14.20-14.55Session 3. Ben Selwyn:
Super-exploitation, uneven and combined development, and the imperial mode of living.
Comments by Kwame Nimako.
14.55-15.25Discussion third session
15.40-16.40Session 4. All participants.
General discussion.
How to continue?
16.40-16.55Summary by Marcel van der Linden
16.55-17.00Final information and end of Zoom session.

The speakers have each provided a draft text prior to the workshop, in order to foster the discussion.

After the workshop which has been captured on video, the speakers have been requested to provide final documents including addressing the issues put forward by the commentators and others.

Together the documents will be collected in a workshop report, to be published on the website of SOC21.

Conference Papers 2020

The Papers presented and some other contributions can be found here.

Video Registration 2020

The video registration is available as playlist of five videos here.

The videos can be found separately on this web site here.

Who is Who?

Marcel van der Linden:


Ulrich Brand:

Markus Wissen:

John Smith: see e.g.

Ben Selwyn


Rossana Baragán (La Paz): and

Kaveh Yazdani (Bielefeld):

Kwame Nimako, see e.g.: Layers of Emancipation Struggles: Some Reflections on the Dutch Case, In: Melissa F. Weiner & Antonio Carmona Báez (eds.), Smash the Pillars: Decoloniality and the Imaginary of Color in the Dutch Kingdom. Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2018.
Nimako, Kwame and Glenn Frank Walter Willemsen. The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation (Decolonial Studies, Postcolonial Horizons). Pluto Press, 2011


As we will be spending more than usual due to the dual format (both online and real life), extra funds for the conference are very welcome. Please send your donations to:

St. Socialistisch Onderzoekscollectief


IBAN: NL94 SNSB 0787 4947 12

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