New World Summit—Stateless Democracy
29 – 31 January 2016
Aula Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
The New World Summit is an artistic and political organization that develops parliaments with and for stateless states, autonomist groups, and blacklisted political organizations. The sixth summit, entitled Stateless Democracy, took the form of an assembly that explored the possibilities of uncoupling the practice of democracy from the construct of the nation-state. Core speakers were representatives of the Kurdish Revolutionary Movement, which in 2012 declared Rojava, the northern part of Syria, an autonomous “stateless democracy” based on principles of self-governance, gender-equality, and communal economy.
For this sixth summit a temporary parliament was built in the aula of Utrecht University. It was in this hall that the Union of Utrecht was signed in 1579, which was to become one of the foundations of the Dutch state. The parliament was thus also a historical intervention, reaching back to the very origins of the Dutch state to engage its alternative in the form of stateless democracy. On the first day, enlargements of Guantánamo Bay prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary were installed in the parliament; on the second day, a confederalist collage of the universalist symbols and flags of the key organizations and movements of the Rojava Revolution were displayed; and on the third day, the slogan with question mark “Future Democracy?” was suspended as a series of banners in the different languages of the summit participants.
The New World Summit – Utrecht took place on three consecutive days, bringing together stateless political movements with international politicians, diplomats, academics, journalists, students, and artists, with contributions by Karim Abdian (Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran), Quim Arrufat (Popular Unity Candidacy, CUP, Catalonia), Richard Bell (artist, Aboriginal Tent Embassy), Fernando Burgés (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation, UNPO), Callum Clayton-Dixon (Aboriginal Provisional Government, APG), Jodi Dean (political theorist), Angela Dimitrakaki (University of Edinburgh), Dilar Dirik (Kurdish Women’s Movement), Emory Douglas (Black Panther Party, United States), Gorka Elejabarrieta (Sortu, Basque Country), Nancy Hollander (lawyer), Khalid Jone (We Are Here, Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Birgitta Jónsdóttir (Pirate Party Iceland), Sadet Karabulut (Socialist Party, the Netherlands), Leila Khaled (Popular Liberation Front of Palestine, PLFP), Jennifer McCann (Sinn Féin, Ireland), Zuhat Kobanî (Democratic Union Party, PYD, Rojava/northern Syria), Meike Nack (The Foundation of Free Women, Weqfa Jina Azad, Rojava/northern Syria), Yoonis Osman Nuur (We Are Here, Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Elena Tarifa Herrero (Barcelona en Comú), Dilek Öcalan (Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP, Bakur/Turkey), Amina Osse (Democratic Union Party, PYD, Rojava/ northern Syria), Simon P. Sapioper (Government of West-Papua), Ilena Saturay (National Democratic Movement of the Philippines,) Mireia Vehí (Popular Unity Candidacy, CUP, Catalonia), Vivian Ziherl (Frontier Imaginaries). The days were chaired by Jolle Demmers (Utrecht University), Vincent W. J. van Gerven Oei (Department of Eagles), Maria Hlavajova (BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht), Joost Jongerden (University of Wageningen), Chris Keulemans (writer), Radha D’Souza (University of Westminster)