THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

USER'S MANUAL

USER'S MANUAL

‘The Grand Domestic Revolution—User’s Manual’ (GDR) investigates the domestic space and its (changing) use through a variety of methods and disciplines, traversing the fields of art, design, architecture, urban planning, activism and theory. A number of artists and other practitioners contribute to this endeavour. Residents from 2009-2011 include Sepake Angiama, Paul Elliman, and Doris Denekamp who utilized neighbourhood and online research to create prototypes and interventions around the theme of (Green) Cooperativsm. Wietske Maas and Travis Meinolf experimented with Home Production; while 'interor' infrastuctural interventions for the furniture, library and hallways were created by ifau & Jesko Fezer, Mirjam Thomann and Graziela Kunsch. Current themes and residents from February–October 2011 include Kyohei Sakaguchi and Kateřina Šedá who will each investigate forms of usership in architectures; home and housing rights with Maria Pask and Nazima Kadir; the question of invisible and domestic labour taken up by Werker Magazine; Agency will continue its deliberations on copyright issues of domestic THINGS (gardens and textiles); and keywords in relations to food service work will be workshopped with Xu Tan. Parallel to this, the Read-in activity continues. Initiated by artist Annette Krauss and theatre maker, Read-in is an open reading group inhabiting a different neighbour’s home for every session.

LIBRARY

LIBRARY

The GDR library constitutes the backbone of our ongoing ‘living research’ and thus grows over time. The library offers points of engagement with the project and consists of different research materials such as books, articles, images and DVDs (artist’s video, films) that are available for viewing when visiting the apartment. The first installment was done by the GDR team and was later adapted by Sao Paulo-based artist Graziela Kunsch who suggested that the GDR team create thematic selections.

APARTMENT 18B

APARTMENT 18B

'The Grand Domestic Revolution-User's Manual' is a long-term project developed as Casco’s contribution to 'Utrecht Manifest: Biennial for Social Design'. The project deals with the evolutionary and collaborative process of “living” research in the contemporary domestic and private sphere – particularly in relation to the spatial imagining (or the built environment). It aims at re-articulating while exercising the notions of the social, the public and, eventually, the commons.

TOWN MEETINGS

TOWN MEETINGS

IN AFFINITY

Since August 2010, the GDR team have undertaken research in order to connect with the local neighbourhood on questions relating to peoples’ social conditions and material environments. Questionnaires, interviews, and conversations are the methods used to explore the themes and problems addressed in GDR, such as self-organised governance, co-operative living, and spatial organisation in and from the domestic sphere.

INTERVIEW WITH 2DH5

Interview with Daan Weyler\\ Conducted by Chris and Maiko
Papenhulst (legalized squat), Den Bosch
(10 September 2010)

Attach:chicken.jpg Δ Paphenhuis chicken


Introduction required for this page


Maiko: We noticed that the 3 main challenges is the idea of how to organize, not just the content of organizing as it being a festival but also as the 2.Dh5 organizers, the models you might use and how you think the term of consensus. Another one is the space of the festival, how that has changed over the years—you mentioned not using the squat as the main events, just to think more about opening in term of different perspectives, and then outreach, getting more people. How to negotiate diversity and then also that link to education as well?

Daan: Specific to the festival?

M: Yes. And maybe it could lead to your personal life too. One of the challenges was the escape groups from the polder model—I understand it is seen as a consensus, in a way that is not honest. Could you talk more about your critique on polder model and what you mean by escape groups.

D: I think the most important critique is that it is a way to get to social peace, to have a way that the real problems of working people is covered and that we talk about side issues like we have an idea that everything has to be in consensus and that is done by the representatives of the working people and the employers. It is mainly a way to pacify the social struggles. In The Netherlands, it went very far but in the whole Europe after WW2, there is the idea that the union and the employers should try to solve the big questions of labor, and they give the unions a bit of power in return of social peace. It makes that real conflict cannot be solved and we are stuck in that model of consensus.

Chris: And so that model is applied to governance of the state?

Daan: In The Netherlands it is very broad. In Belgium, it is more specified to union and workers organizations. In The Netherlands everything is subject of discussion and negotiation. They try to get people who are on the other side of the line in the system and to give a bit of responsibility or power, so that they are entangled in the system. They are captured by their power position. If they don’t get consensus, they will get outside of that poldest system.

C: In the discussion at 2.Dh5, what kind of alternative do you suggest, discuss, practice?

D: The big thing is that to get on the negotiation table, —you have to put the combat struggle is a way you don’t want to use anymore—its also a struggles and anti-capitalist—something they don’t use these words anymore.—struggle, conflict are words they don’t use anymore. They say cooperation. Like 2.Dh5, we don’t give the answers, we just organize discussion to find the answers with people involved in the radical left.

C: With your experience, do you see that there is not participation of labor movement?

D: No, there's is not. In The Netherlands, the unions are very pacified, and into dialogue. Just few times they go on strike. In Belgium, the union is much more in an opposition, much more on strike. Unions here are not interested in changing the system. But, some of the activists now working in the union as organizers, and from those people we get participations. We invite them to talk about organizing as a concept. Some people like these activists, are more militant and are trying to get the union on a more radical course. Also with the strikes of the cleaning people at NS and Schiphol, there were a few contacts. They didn’t emerge on the 2.Dh5 festival, but with those people we had contact and we could have some exchange, information, and we could participate in their actions.

C: Would you say that/how important is the labor movement to struggle? Are there other groups that haven’t been identified yet, that could be as influential as the labor movement would be?

D: In the parliament, we've got 2 kinds of social parties, one is social-democrat really, the other also but few years ago they were more radical against NATO, the monarchy, and had a lot of sympathy with communist or socialist countries. But they grew and smelled power, and in the found it ok to stay in the NATO and to live with monarchy. At this moment in The Netherlands, there is almost no counter-power. In the 80s there were much more social revolts, for instance when the queen was put on the throne, there were violent actions, and also about housing. “No housing, No crowning”. The army was in Amsterdam, it was really big. There was also RaRa, which were actions anti-apartheid, they burned down MACRO which is a big distribution-a super market for big distribution and they had connections with the apartheid regime in South Africa and also against Shell actions, against Shell. There was lots of support for that kind of actions.

C: And also the labour group were more supportive?

D: It was outside, it more like the squatting movement, peace movement, environmental movements and in those days the social parties were bigger, the unions were more radical, but they were training. There was a kind of boundary with other movements like the squatting move, peace etc... the idea with 2.Dh5 is that —these connections were important for the housing struggle and the peace movement, to have some basic structure, for financing the actions.

C: That’s where 2.Dh5 came?

D: No, we're gonna talk about this edition. The idea is that the union, social parties and labor movement declined, and their structures are almost gone. We have no reading around.

M: How does your model of decision making working in comparison to the polder model consensus?

D: Its difficult because the ideas with polder-model is that we'll get consensus. They do representation of the unions and workers but the way it is organized isnt fully democratic or horizontal. In this house we try to get consensus. We are with 40 people and everyone is involved in the discussion. It is important to have consensus in the situation here because if we would decide majority against minority, it would be that people wouldn’t feel at home in their own house anymore. So consensus is very important.

M: So its still the goal of consensus but still there are power structures that aren’t made clear about consensus. On one hand it has this directly negative effect, if you have splits because everyone's mistakes are very common,

C: Also in the polder model, one person says, “we are starting a discussion and you are free to join, if you want to say something then you have to come to our table”—as if one group sets the rules of the discussion and they have to arrive at consensus within this frame. But in this situation, its more like being equal powered.

D: There are some power structures in our houses, but they are informal, maybe that's more dangerous. I have people more involved, others less involved, people with more or less time.. We've got people in that position for a long time too. It s also something that can be dangerous but as long as people are enough aware of it, its always discussable.

C: Is there some kind of formal way to maintain transparency?

D: Every 2 weeks, there is a house meeting, and there are decisions made, and they get reported—transcripts. If something is decided, you can come back on it on the next meeting, and that where our decisions are made, and we have a little group called Beheer. They try to think about more long term perspective, and more have an overview. It isn’t everybody who has the desire or capacity to have the overview. That’s also something about power.

M: So having time ends up being a resource for having power in a sense?

D: if you have more time to invest in the collective, you get more involved, and on that basis, you have more influence. People also trust you more since you invest more time. We do not really have very formalized decisions structure and I think if you'd be with more people, we should do more formalization. Like in Nijmegen , there is a place where they live with 100 people, but they have much more obligations. Here we say everyone has to participate in the collective and maintenance, but we do not quantify. 2 or 3 hours a day or a week. In that place they do x amount of hours a week, you have to participate, you have to control it in a way.

C: So nobody's checking?

D: We try some time to evaluate the maintenance, but since we are only 40, it can end up much more personal. It can bring more problems addressing each other about behavior and participation.

C: Do you see any parallel between the way your house is organized and the way the movement is organized?

D: Its different because its another topics, but we try to involve everyone in the house, how to do the maintenance and how to organize everything in the house. Its important that if You want to change the world with people, you include everyone in the process of doing so. It is not a select group, that think alike, how do we make it appear well. That should be a concern of everyone. I also think that living here in, doing everything ourselves doesn't put responsibility on the owners place but its empowering, and that should also one of the elements of the counter movement, that it is empowering people. its also a critique on the polder model, its not empowering people, it takes power from people away to negotiate with the worker, the employees. That’s also something that we do different, and here should be the same as in the movement.

C: I'm curious about militancy and if you think that's important. it s also a topics that dangerous to talk about or people are hesitating to talk about. For instance, it seems that the labour movement used to be very active but now are being very pacified. Maybe you talk about the relation between movement and militancy. what's the balance?

D: In the house or in a broader sense?

C: Both.

D: I think that it is anyway parallel with each other because people who used to live here, in the 80s were very political and more militant, and the now only few people are political. Also not militant.The same goes in the movement, people are afraid to be militant and that’s also in Holland. There are examples like Provo—their method was also militant, and got a confrontation. People are afraid to go in a confrontation. We are not taught n how to solve a conflict and to handle our confrontation. I think its a problem, that people do not stand up to get their things going. We've got in the street another squat, a legalized squat, it was squatted in the same period as this place. In the negotiation with the owner, this [(my)+ (04'.54'': specify which group)] group was much more militant than the other group, and —the group wanted much more their own responsibility on the maintenance (he speaks about his group), the others were not in favor of—“No, we don't really want that, that's too many meetings, too much organization, we just want to live nice and quietly etc...". After 20 years, they suffer the consequences of this. They are loosing control over the people who living there, and every year their rent goes up while ours remains stable. We really can choose the people we live with and they have to find people with higher income. This is a consequence of the militant attitude.

C: How did the militant attitude express themselves in this situation?

D: They had an axe with them and would put it on the table of negotiation.

C: Is this something that you talk about at 2.Dh5?

D: Yeah... I don't know if we are talking about explicitly, but this is one of the problems which we are involved with. Like we are, since a couple of years, we try to organize radical 1st of may demonstrations. This year, there was a lot of police in Nijmegen, also because there were riots between football clans, so there was police there for that situation, so they thought they could use it 2 times, "its more efficient" and it really, we were provoked by the police but normally you see that as police is going to use violence, everyone goes back and disperse- but these demonstrations people fought back, they defended their demonstrations, which was a new thing in the Netherlands. "Wow, wow what's happening now? people are fighting back?" it was very recent . We want to go back on this topic. How to manage police violence? How to get the regie —like in the movies, the director—((08:08, he means the director, organizer)) to get a lot of... you don’t loose the control of your own demonstration, to make images of it yourself, that police doesn't take it off, that we could still decide if we want to go left or right, and that we don’t be pushed by police, and these are things we want to discuss about. Also in Rotterdam, the was a 1st of may demonstration and got out of hand because of police violence. We want to discuss these things and react as militants to this kind of intimidation.

M: I guess recent experience at the G20 protest in Toronto, just seemed—on one hand the people there were there for different reasons and maybe not part of a movement, many were but some not, so i guess it was quite easy for the police to separate people because it was too confusing for a lot of people, not ??? experience. (9:15) But also they had riot gear and they were using tear gas and beating people without provocation. (((i don’t immediately (09:34), its just fearful this militant from the other side)))

C: Some people say that there's a low level of war going on. Its all the time but its not visible. It only becomes visible when the radical or militant groups come out and then you see the hammer. It was shocking for us in Toronto because lots of people were arrested, but it was under a false law. Maybe you heard about it. It was surprising.. You think there is a legitimate form but then they change the rules behind everybody's back. Its hard to have faith in that kind of thing.

D: But it's important though. If you don't say until here and not know further (weird sentence construction: 10:41), and they try to cross that line, and you let them do so, then you don’t know where you end—you end up in a corner and get all the beatings. We had something that was very practical: It was a big banner, about 1,50 or 2 meters high, with vertical sticks, so you could open it and the police could not go easily off of it and they couldn’t go with the hitting stick over it. That was one way to protect ourselves.

M: So i guess also then they should distinguish between militancy and violence, like aggressive violence—and I guess militancy is also tactics for defense and protection to keep going.

C: It’s also an attitude I think. Its about really going for something and you will not bend for repression. And it doesn’t have to be with violence but often violence is the answer. if you are militant, it means that you are difficult to handle by the authorities, and the most frequent answer is the violence of the state.

M: Maybe I'm gonna jump a little bit, to the question about the environment; the spatial environment that you use at the festival and how that has changed, if you noticed if the buildings or the city or something about the location, if it changes in the discussion, in a negative or a positive way? Any example.

D: It’s difficult for me because i'm already 2 times, its third time i'm involved in the festival—we did it 2 times here in Den Bosch in the community center, but in the place where Thomas lives—a squat—there is also a social center there and we also have discussions there, so i can try to make a comparison between those 2 events; With the squats (maybe its another problem) we attract mostly people we know from the movement, its more of a closed circle, and with the 2.Dh5 festival, its broader. Do you know the P.L? This Pinkslan dag???? (13:57). Its a week-end every year in the Netherlands, its an anarchistic festival. Also with a lot of workshops, on a camping terrain in the north of Holland, in Applesgra (14:12), and there its about 500 people who come. That's more closed but I don’t know if its because its on a camping terrain or if we are explicitly an anarchistic week-end, like 2.Dh5, we are also broader, we are anti-parliament and outside parliament anti-authority, horizontally organized, but we don’t call ourselves as anarchists. Therefore I think its more inclusive.

M: Do you see this then as defense strategies that work together or is there one that you think the principles are more aligned with...

D: In this situation, in the squat, we just reach people who already are involved and aware of the things we discuss, and the festival, each year we reach new people, not a lot but new people; searching for a way to get involved. That’s something we really want to achieve with 2.Dh5 more than with our squat. that also has to do with the appearance of the squat, and the promotion you make. We cannot find really good ways to get out of our own network. When the people who are running the place were at the school, there were a lot of students coming too, and now that people are out of school, no students find the way to the squats anymore.

M: I guess that the strategy or the place, the choice of those things, depends on the focus, or the goal for that particular event. So for reaching more people, you choose something more open, rather than if it was driven through one principle of inclusion, isolation, to incubate ideas or something.

D: We thought about it, how to get it open a little threshold, therefore we came to those communities. it is a principle to be open, but its not that the more closed, the more subculture places are banned. Because like the party here, 1st time in a squat, a very dark squat, (it wasn’t a good party either), it wasn’t a success but its not that we closed that door. The year after we did it here, and here is more open.

M: Could you name a list of workshops that have been particularly successful or not successful, in the past?

D: Few years ago, the theme in the festival was ‘working income’ and struggle around those issues. It was not a particular workshop, but since then we managed to get attention on that issue few times. The working incomes, the workers class ward (18:50)??? that kind of struggle didn’t have any attention in The Netherlands, not even on a social basis, and some people thought it would be good to bring more attention about economics, working relations between employers and employee, and how to get involved in that kind of struggle, how to organize, and since then and also due to the organizing in the union, its a topic that constantly coming back in our movement. In the year we organized a day with people from Ireland and Sweden, to talk about their organizations, their experience and stuff like that, we have 1st of may demonstration since then. We try to get the ball running. That’s a result. Around actions, or campaign against expulsion of illegalised people, 2.Dh5 is used to gather lots of people to talk about strategics and tactics, and as a meeting of people who are involved in that struggle, to exchange ideas and to try to structure more the campaign in the actions around those issues.

C: Would you say that making these connections between the different groups is a main focus of 2.Dh5?

D: I think so. And to try to have more convergence, not to have everyone on the same line, but to try, if you get people together, that they try to adjust their agendas on each other, to coordinate. We also organize a festival in November, because the PL is on Pinksdag, april/may (easter), and we organize half a year later, so we can have a gathering twice a year.

M: So, also in terms of the programs, of the workshop, has there been any... people working with ideas of domestic labour, and how that is still an invisible area of work, even though with the years having it being come more, socialized in some way: people get paid for cleaning and making food as well—does that come up as a point?

D: Not really. I do domestic work, I'm the house father, i do the cleaning, groceries etc... I want to be involved in that working struggle, and I would like to have discussions about basic income. People should have an income... because they are there. But it’s not something I started yet, I try to see with people..

M: You mean at home? Basic Income?

D: For every citizen. Even Every citizen of the world. It could be a way to empower people and not be dependent on a wage. And some people, like these migrant domestic group, we try to invite them, several times we invited them to come to our festival and participate in some of the workshops, but we don't get good contacts. We know the group is there but we can't find a way to get them involved.

C: The more we talk to people, the more we see a solid connection between a struggle for basic income, a recognition of domestic work, there is a relationship with illegal people, migrants, who we found out tend to work in private homes, because people hire them under the table. And also they are less in the public space so less chance to be caught, which is also bad cause then they can't organize. These are people at the front line of a struggle. It’s much more dangerous for them. That's why they probably can't come to 2.Dh5. Its much more dangerous for them. (Double. should be deleted)

D: In that case, sometimes, the private/public spaces can be... How do you organize on an underground level, but that also stigmatize too. maybe that's a new point of militancy, to push people out and then deal with that. How to organize the people, specially undocumented people?

D: In Belgium they are quite well organized, they did lots of occupation of churches, and have hunger strikes to put pressure on the government to sort out a solution for those people.

C: Do people in that situation themselves do it or are they activists?

D: No, mainly undocumented people. And they have contacts with the churches because they occupy a church, and the church community find it ok. It's one of the works of Barmartigheid???? (26: 23). Its that every catholic should do this work: feeding the hungry, drink to the thirst and shelter the homeless. So they cannot actually deny this situation. it depends which community, but there is a lot of support from them, and also some activists are involved. But it is mainly a self-organized struggle.

M: One thing we ask at the end is that, out of some of the problems or the more urgent tensions or difficulties, if you could imagine some kind of tool that could fill some gap? It could be practical, imaginative, theoretical, or even an object. Is there something that you thought of that could make some change? Something that doesn’t exist?

D: I think we don't connect with people who are on the front-cherry??? (28:08), who are really in the big shit, for instance if budget cuts comes, people on the other side, at the bottom of society really get hard times, and it seems that we have difficulties to connect with those people. Like the movement is a kind of white elite, privileged group of people who can't really connect with people who are really on frontiers. There we need ways to connect.

C: How?

D: Friday I had a discussion in our social center, and one of the participants does projects with gardening, with community gardens. And most of the time community gardens are outside the city. and She asked at her squat, an old community center where there's a few garden, and she has her project with Hang jongeren—young people who are hanging out on the street, they call them hang-jongere (you also have Hang-oudere, same but with elderly people). The social network in The Netherlands is really poor. So she does that project with gardening and hang-jongeren, in this way she can connect with those people—as an activist she never had any contact. she's also an artist and does activist art, and this is part of it. She communicates with the council and tries to get funds for a terrain that isn't used, to use as a city's people's garden. Most of the hang-jongeren are from the bottom of society, they don't have enough resources to invest in hobbies and stuff like that—on that basis she can connect with those kids. She heard that the community police ???? (31:07)—its the police connected with the community, like community patrol, its official police but which has more contact with people in the neighborhood—that every officer thinks that every hang-jongere is a criminal, because he is a hang-jongere. Its a discrimination against those kids. Its a problem because in that way you are labelled. It could be a way that we activists get involved with those hang-jongeren, and the connection isn’t a real problem but the activities around gardening, and that as a way to connect.

NOTES

the urban homestead



This book ‘The Urban Homestead, your guide to self-sufficient living in the heart of the city’ by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen is a very use full manual for building on your urban homestead. It gives detailed, practical information on building chicken coops, grey water systems and even urban foraging and making your own cleaning liquids.

It is a very friendly written book which takes our contemporary lack of time into account. Often they propose a method for building one of the systems yourself of recycled materials and, if you have no time but you do have money, an address where you can buy a ready made version.


22 December 2010, 11.03 — posted by Doris


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