European Summer University of Social Movements

European Summer University of Social Movements


When: August 17, 2022 to August 21, 2022

This summer, join the European Summer University of movements for a social and ecological transition

17-21 August, Mönchengladbach, Germany.

Many of our European allies, including the ATTAC network of which we’re part, will be gathering in Mönchengladbach (near Cologne) this August for a large, international encounter of activists from around Europe. It’s an activist event with simultaneous interpretation between English, German and French, and a huge range of workshops and plenaries, some of which we’ve been involved in organising.

We’ll be strategising with European trade activists as well as hearing from speakers such as Luciana Ghiotto from the Latin America Better Without Free Trade Deals. We’ll be joined by Maaza Seyoum of the African Alliance, a leading figure in the global campaign for a People’s Vaccine. And Shaista Aziz of Oxford Anti-Racist City will be speaking at a forum we’re organising with our close ally ATTAC France on the importance of diversity and building movements that are actively anti-oppressive. But there will be over 100 individual sessions to choose from, plus a cultural programme and solidarity trips. The centre of organised resistance to German coal mining and defence of old-growth forests is located nearby, and the ESU will organise a demonstration at one of the coal mines during the event.

The last time an event like this happened, in Toulouse in 2017, a number of Global Justice Now members came along. Mönchengladbach is a direct train ride from Brussels, so it’s a feasible journey from the UK without flying. Nearby Cologne is worth visiting before or after the event, and is also a handy rail hub for onward journeys.

ESU website

Practical info

When? Wednesday 17 to Sunday 21 August
However, the opening event doesn’t start until 7pm on Wednesday, and Sunday just has one closing event, in the morning, so you can potentially travel on both those days. See the timetable on the website.

What’s going on?

  • Forums and workshops: Much of the programme is taken up with the eleven forums and 125 workshops! Global Justice Now and Another Europe is Possible have been involved in organising some of these. Details of all of them are now available on the website. Also see below for a few of those we’re organising.
  • Cinema: A number of documentaries you’re unlikely to see elsewhere will be shown during the ESU. ESU cinema
  • Action in the lignite mining area: Mönchengladbach is near the centre of the resistance to German open-cast coal mining and destruction of old-growth forests. On the Saturday, ESU participants will protest at a mining site. Action details
  • Excursions: There will be ten excursions taking in history, environmental action, feminism and more, including to nearby Cologne. Excursions
  • Music and performance: Bands, DJs, cabaret and plays. Culture
  • Food: From Friday evening onwards, a city festival will take place in front of the university gates with lots of local food and drink. An ATTAC cafeteria will also operate throughout the event.

Getting there
Train journeys from/via London are relatively easy. Take the Eurostar to Brussels, and then change for a train to Mönchengladbach via Aachen (or Cologne). You can book your whole journey on Rail Europe or the Trainline app. Remember you need a bit longer to change at Brussels-Midi on the way back as you need to go through security and passport control – websites and apps that book the whole journey don’t always give you a comfortable amount of time, so you may want to consider booking separately using Eurostar and German Railways. More info on other ways of getting there on the ESU website.

Where is it being held? And where can you stay?
The ESU will be held at Niederrhein University (see Google Maps). Mönchengladbach’s successful football team means there are plenty of inexpensive hotels in town. Check the usual booking sites. However, there are several possibilities for free accommodation. The main option is a campsite 10 minutes’ walk from the university. This has been taken over by the ESU, has showers etc and will be staffed. Just indicate you want to stay there when booking. In addition, a scheme for local people to offer spare beds and sofas is being launched shortly. At this stage it isn’t clear how widely this will be taken up.

You can register online. The full cost is €60, with a €30 concession rate. If you want to pay with a card, choose the Paypal option. You can also choose to pay in cash when you arrive.

Updates from Global Justice Now
If you’re interested in going and would like to be kept in touch about Global Justice Now’s participation, sign up here:

Stay informed about the ESU

Sessions we’re involved in

Find the full list of sessions here.

Debt, finance and climate justice: Making financial corporations pay
Thursday 18 August, 4.30pm-6.30pm
With: Esteban Servat (Debt for Climate), Daniel Willis (Global Justice Now), Eva Watkinson (Debt Justice), Christine Pagnoulle (CADTM) and ATTAC France (tbc)
This workshop will discuss how European social movements can come together to make financial corporations pay for climate change through debt cancellation, polluter taxes and corporate climate reparations. As well as hearing from campaigners working on these issues, we will plan how we might grow these campaigns collectively by identifying targets in different countries.
Organised by Global Justice Now

FORUM: How trade and investment treaties lock in corporate power and climate breakdown
Thursday 18 August, 4.30pm-6.30pm
With: Luciana Ghiotto (América Latina Mejor Sin TLC), Nick Dearden (Global Justice Now), Lucia Barcena (Transnational Institute)
This forum will discuss how the UK and EU’s trade and investment policies, as well as structures like the World Trade Organisation, benefit transnational corporations, and limit our democracies and our ability to stop the climate crisis. We will also debate how social movements can fight the corporate driven agenda and achieve real alternatives.

Pandemics, patents and profits: where next in the fight against big pharma monopolies?
Friday 19 August, 10am-12 noon
With: Maaza Seyoum (People’s Vaccine Alliance), Nick Dearden (Global Justice Now) Sondre Dalen (ATTAC Norway)
In this workshop, we’ll investigate how pharmaceutical monopolies have prevented countries in the global south from accessing Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. We’ll explore how countries in the global south are fighting back and how we can build a healthier, more democratic global health system.
Organised by Global Justice Now and ATTAC Norway

FORUM: The big solutions we need for system change and climate justice
Friday 19 August, 2pm-4pm
With: Ulrich Brand (University of Vienna), Simona Fabiani (CGIL Italian trade union federation), Esteban Servat (Shale Must Fall and Ende Gelände), Yuliya Yurchenko (University of Greenwich), Asad Rehman (War on Want). Chair: Dorothy Guerrero (Global Justice Now)
A discussion about pathways to a just transition, changing the rules of the global economy and how we reach a world based on social justice, shared prosperity, cooperation, and environmental sustainability.

The Imperial Mode of Living: what is it, and how do we end it?
Saturday 20 August, 10am-12noon
With: Ulrich Brand (University of Vienna), Luciana Ghiotto (ATTAC Argentina/Transnational Institute), Tiago da Cruz (Barcelona en Comù).
In this workshop we’ll get discussing the relevance of the book The Imperial Mode of Living: Everyday life and the ecological crisis for activists and our strategies for changing the world – no prior knowledge of the book necessary!
Organised by Global Justice Now, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and Transnational Institute

Strategy Discussion on COP27 Mobilisations and Beyond
Saturday 20 August, 10am-11.30am
Room W307
This strategy discussion will focus on how various campaign groups and movements are maximising COP27 as a political space to bring the movement of movements approach to ensure that social and economic justice demands are linked with climate justice in the region. We acknowledge the limits to people’s mobilisations imposed by the political situation in Egypt. This session offers a space to exchange information, share plans, explore possibilities on what social movements and organisational strategies could work to build and strengthen our relations and solidarity with Egyptian and various organisations from the Arab region. How can we strategically use the short-term processes of the alternative COP summits as part of a longer-term programme?
Organised by Global Justice Now, Greenpeace Spain, ATTAC France, Transform Europe

Sessions organised by Another Europe Is Possible

No secure Europe without a secure world: Responding to war and conflict in the 21st century
Thursday 18 August, 4.30pm-6.30pm
With: Bernard Dreano (CEDETIM), Dmitri Makarov (Moscow Helsinki Group), Hanna Perekhoda (Committee Ukraine, Switzerland), Mazen Gharibah (LSE), Shukria Rezai, Zofia Malisz (Razem) and Alena Ivanova (Another Europe Is Possible)
This forum brings together activists and thinkers from across the world including Syria, Russia, Aghanistan and Ukraine to discuss how we can build peace in Europe and beyond.
Organised by Another Europe Is Possible, European Alternatives and CEDETIM

Fighting Islamophobia across Europe: politics, strategy, tactics and next steps
Friday 19 August, 10am-12 noon
With: Shaista Aziz (UK Labour), Merve Sahin (Die Linke), Sohinee Gosh (Front Uni des Immigrations et des Quartiers Populaires (FUIQP)), Bouna Eddine (FUIQP), Seema Syeda (Another Europe Is Possible)
From the French presidential elections and Boris Johnson’s comments about Muslim dress, to the violence directed at Muslims by the far-right across Europe, Islamophobia is on the rise. Join activists from across the continent to organise internationally against anti-Muslim hate.
Organised by Another Europe Is Possible, European Alternatives and CEDETIM