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Snippets from the conversations

Infrastructural imaginary

Anita: What is missing in school is a discourse on algorithms, and the politics of the technical; there is no grounding of this in the everyday. It is admitted that tech questions are important but there is no concrete way to engage with it, it is not part of life. The researches that are happening on technology are always treating it as a topic: The Bot, The AI ... it is not part of normal life with technology. The workshops we are organising are grounded in choices we are living in, technologies we are using every day ... this is where connections are made.

Joni: I've never really never prior to conversations with you, Helen, or even really come across the notion of an infrastructural analysis, but it does seem like a really fruitful way to think about it. I think when it comes to anti-fascist politics, it's not actually just the infrastructure of the street that you're working to remove from fascist organising.

Arun: The question is how do we keep fighting for the near future? Black Lives Matter is quite a broad open space as a physical concept. The physical concept is very broad. It can mean, the thing that Google puts out saying, we support Black Lives Matter, or it can mean Ruth Gilmore's idea of abolition and ending racial capitalism. It's a massive spectrum. The question is, how do we create organisational infrastructure to make sure it's the second of those and not the first? That seems to be the problem across the board in terms of radical politics.
Miriyam: Yes.
Seda: Now you know why we're called The Institute.
Arun: Yes.
Seda: Nothing more, nothing less.
Arun: Thank you. There you go. I set it out for you nicely, right?

From survival to resistance in racial capitalism

Arun: For certain communities, just defending your own sociability relationship is itself political. Just to keep either alive and survive is itself political because you have a community politics history that is already there. So in keeping the community alive, you keep that politics alive.

Miryam: Obviously, also a very important theme is resistance. What forms of resistance have people managed to design or come up with or discover? As they say, need is the mother of invention, the father of invention, the grandmother of invention.

Seda: The cousin.

Miryam: The cousin. Everything. It's through needs. Working-class people, it's through need that they come up with. It's not some blueprint thing that some very smart organisation told them to think about making and developing. It's resistance is one of the themes as well. I think these are roughly the themes that we had thought of.

Radical care

Nadia: Yes, radical care is a big question. In the group that I'm following of the families, I think for me the radical care is really in the WhatsApp group of the grandmothers who send each other. One of them sends the other mothers every morning a good morning and she says “bonjour les mamans” every morning and asks the mothers how they are doing. These are all people who haven't seen their children or grandchildren for more than eight years. Who don't know whether they will see them back, who have lost children and grandchildren also in many cases and the kind of daily hope basically of trying to keep hope alive.
Sometimes it comes up, sometimes it goes down, and then they started basic stuff like saying hi to each other every morning and then it's followed by hearts and emoticons and these kinds of things. Emoticons play a very important role in the WhatsApp group. I'm always impressed. It's very stupid but I'm always impressed by the tenacity of it.

Cassandra: The care work or the care activities that are not validated as work, that must go into the reproduction of the capacity to struggle. Which I think is on a theoretical level is really crucial to differentiate it from the reproduction of labor power as a commodity. In terms of the concept of social reproduction, I'm not sure how well it fits to that kind of work, that care work kind of thing. Certainly, there is essential activist practice which forms the field of possibility of this kind of street conflict. This is often the kind of thing which is much more accessible for people who are never going to be able to have the street accessible to them in this way. We aren't struggling on the terrain of our own choosing.