Active Solidarity in CEE Movements

7 to 14 dec 2024

Knowledge, skills and perspectives to challenge oppression and create spaces of solidarity

Our organising work sits within a global and historical system of interlinking forms of oppression. These shape the material, relational, and psychological conditions that influence every one of us. Unfortunately, as many of us will have witnessed, this means that within our groups and organisations, we are likely to reproduce mechanisms of oppression, often unconsciously. Without the skills to identify and transform those patterns, they will give rise to tensions and misunderstandings and will make our organising not aligned with the values of solidarity and empowerment we strive for. We can find ourselves reproducing the barriers to participation, empowerment and well-being that we see in the world around us. This is especially depleting for people who are already marginalised and discriminated against and needs to be addressed if our groups are to be genuinely empowering and transformative spaces.

Starting with the basic frameworks and concepts used in anti-oppression work, participants will  explore ways to identify and transform the dynamics of oppression at both the individual and organisational level and understand how they relate to systemic dimensions of socio-economic injustice.

This training is part of the Ulex Central and Eastern Europe Programme pilot year. It is designed and delivered by a training team embedded in CEE social movements.

  • A group of activists in a circle placing their hands on a piece of paper to make a decision.

    Every group and structure uses some combination of personal agency and collaborative teamwork.

Navigating topics related to anti-oppression in our groups is not easy, often brings up trauma responses, tensions, and conflicts and leads to the erosion of trust. To move away from reproducing harmful oppression patterns, we need to learn to build cultures of care, and move away from shame and blame towards a culture of reciprocity, accountability and collective transformation.

Through this kind of work, we can become increasingly skilled in transforming harmful tensions and conflict into enriching growth opportunities, and through better working with diversity, we can include a wider range of perspectives, experiences, and histories, for more adaptable, resilient, and powerful movements that exemplify values we strive for.

Systems of oppression often sustain themselves when we are unable to acknowledge and work well with the power dynamics, social privilege and mechanisms of discrimination that exist in our groups, communities and societies. In active solidarity and empowerment training, we carefully unravel those structures, gradually building a safe ground that can support us to explore these challenging themes step by step. Although the training content and process will address a wide range of discrimination and oppression structures, the main emphasis will be on how we can work with the dynamics that exist in groups and organisations.

The course content is not aimed at giving ready-made solutions but rather opening space for exploration, mutual learning and setting intentions for a long learning journey. Methods used during the course will invite participants to engage with emotional literacy work, embracing conditioned reactions to transform collective organising patterns.

The course focuses on individual and group level interventions, acknowledging the systemic nature of disempowerment and exclusion mechanisms.

The learning process will be held by facilitators using exercises and activities supporting self-reflection and self-evaluation around the following topics:

  • Stereotypes and prejudices we carry
  • Development of skillsets needed in different social positionalities (when targeted and/or granted agency under the constructed systems of oppression)
  • Exclusion mechanisms reproduced in organising
  • Identifying deeper underlying, socially constructed patterns and mental models behind individual approaches and behaviours and those of groups
  • Emotional literacy and regulation skills
  • Moving beyond polarisation, shame and blame mechanisms towards solidarity and co-dependence

Participants will be invited to challenge their views and perspectives, be open, share from a place of personal experience and dive into explorations of the complexity of our identities, and how power and privilege play into these dynamics.

The course will be delivered in accessible, international English.

This training will take place in Kunbábony, Hungary
This venue is accessible for people with limited mobility.

Some travel bursaries will be available. There is no charge for the training, so economic difficulties should not prevent you attending!

Suggested Contribution
In the solidarity economy: €300/€450/€900
(see the details of our approach to Solidarity Economics for details)

The Team

Our Name

Ulex: Latin (argelaga Catalan, gorse English) noun:

1. A thorny-evergreen flowering shrub, with a high capacity for regeneration and resilience. Its seedpods open in contact with fire and it reshoots from charred stumps. A successionary plant that grows well under challenging conditions. It improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixing, preparing the way for renewed biodiversity.

2. A traditional choice for igniting fires. Burns hot and bright.

3. A networked project adding nutrition and fertility to European social movements through training and capacity building. It kindles the realisation of social justice, ecological intelligence, and cognitive vitality.