New World Summit—Brussels
19-21 September 2014
Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS), Brussels, Belgium
The fourth New World Summit, titled Stateless State, invites twenty stateless political organizations to a parliament constructed inside the Royal Flemish Theatre in Brussels. These organizations have either been denied representation by a state, or they may wish to take over an existing state, or alternatively, create a new state altogether.
What is at stake in Stateless State, the 4th New World Summit, is the question to what extent the concept of the state is still capable of representing and protecting a peoples’ right to self-determination in the 21st century. During the three day program, representatives of stateless organizations and states will discuss the meaning, potential or obstacles that the state embodies today through five consecutive segments, titled Oppressive State, Progressive State, Global State, New State and Stateless State.
The city of Brussels is today’s embodiment of the crisis of the state. It is the site of an ongoing conflict over the existence of Belgium as a federal state as well the declining supranational project of the European Union. The rise of ultranationalism, which considers the EU to be a threat, calls for a return to the nation state as the only way to regain sovereignty, control migration and secure economic prosperity. At the same time, this myth of the sovereign state itself has been dismantled through whistleblowers’ recent revelations of global systems of mass surveillance. It is in the light of the crisis of the state that we have witnessed international uprisings and social movements these past years. It comes as no surprise that many of the mechanisms enacted against stateless states–such as denial of history, systemic persecution and terrorist blacklisting–are now being used to criminalize new social movements as well. The attack of the state against its own citizens, through mass surveillance and politics of blacklisting, indicates that today’s condition of statelessness is on the verge of becoming a collective one.
Today’s social movements are embracing stateless internationalism to engage in political models that redefine solidarities between peoples beyond mere territorial disputes. Here, statelessness is not simply a product of victimization, but the prerequisite of a necessarily new model of political organization, mobilization and action. It is through the space of art that the New World Summit sets out to define the future of this stateless state.