They were, those people, a kind of solution

The project They were, those people, a kind of solution is funded through European Union’s Creative Europe program.

Publication / Webjournal

Transversal web-journal / The Gastarbeiter: In Search of an Afterlife

Sandro Mezzadra / Davor Konjikušić, Serhat Karakayali, Jana Dolečki, Margareta Kern, Katja Kobolt, Amir Hodžić
Boris Buden, Lina Dokuzovic
Mascha Dabić, Naomi Hennig, Kristina Kramer, Birgit Mennel, Ivana Ostojčić, Tijana Gojić Topolnik, Berkan Tunçludemir

It didn’t take long for the so-called "migrant crisis" to fully manifest its political impact on Europe. Not only are the forces of the status quo – which guaranteed the stability of the old continent for decades – rapidly losing popular support as they are seriously being challenged by growing right-wing movements today, the very survival of the EU is now at stake. And again, the issue of migration appears at the very heart of all this political turmoil – not because it is the cause of a crisis, which the political elites must resolve to save Europe, but because it is used by these same elites to conceal their own inability to cope with the historical crisis of neoliberal globalization which is demolishing the European dream today.

Therefore, what is euphemistically called a “migrant crisis” today is in fact a means of historical forgetting. Moreover, it is, at the same time, itself the result of a forgotten history; for migrants are by no means newcomers to Europe. There is no better reminder of that fact than the old figure of the gastarbeiter – the so-called "guest worker" from the South who moved and worked throughout the spaces of North/Western Europe at the historical peak of industrial modernity.

The texts in this issue will attempt to reawaken the memories of gastarbeiters in order to historicize the current experience of migration and its dangerous political appropriations. They aim at revealing a hidden genealogy of domination, exploitation, and manipulation, as well as a struggle for justice and emancipation. Those who cannot historicize the conditions in which they live will never be able to politicize them.