NEW WORLD SUMMIT – BRUSSELS Stateless State September 19-21, KVS (Royal Flemish Theatre)
The New World Summit is an artistic and political organization founded by visual artist Jonas Staal, which explores the space of art to develop parliaments for stateless political organizations. Taking place in a parliament built inside the Royal Flemish Theatre, this fourth Summit will host twenty representatives of 'stateless states' worldwide. The 4th 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. Confirmed speakers at the summit include political representatives of unacknowledged, yet nonetheless operational states, such as Kurdistan, Oromia, Basque Country, Somaliland and Azawad. The New World Summit explores the space of art to create new political structures that enforce equal representation of acknowledged and unacknowledged states alike.
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 Flemish separatist conflict 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.