May Congress in Kyiv

creative workers, leftist and feminist forces against censorship and discrimination

20-22 May 2012, 12:00 – 21:00

On Sunday, May 20th, 2012 at 12:00 at the Visual Culture Research Center (26 Kostyantynivska St., “Zhovten” Cinema) the opening of the first ukrainian May Day Congress of Creative Workers, left-wing and feminist forces will take place. The united May Day Congress aims to combat all manifestations of artistic and political censorship, as well as gender and sexual discrimination.

May Day Congress of Creative Workers is an assembly of artists, theorists, curators, editors, activists and all those involved in activities in the field of alternative culture and humanities. Apart from censorship and political repressions against the Visual Culture Research Center in Kyiv and the Pussy Riot action group in Moscow, we are going to talk about sexual politics and violence in our society. The Congress will be running under the feminist slogan “the personal is political” covering the marginal issues of the mainstream discourse: the patriarchal order of sexual relations, discrimination against women by social and legal norms, the anti-abortion law, the law against “homosexual propaganda”, etc. We encourage creative workers, leftist activists, feminists to unite for the development of alternative cultural, gender, and sexual politics. We need international involvement of all those interested in the local mechanisms of adoption and implementation of such decisions.

The program of May Day Congress will include presentations, discussions, screenings, book fair, demonstrations, poetry readings, concerts with the participation of international community of artists, intellectuals, and activists.

Organizers: The May Day Congress of Creative Workers (Moscow, Russia), Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv, Ukraine)


May 20, Sunday

Visual Culture Research Center (26, Kostyantynivska St., Zhovten Cinema)

12:00. Curators and Participants Marathon: the Tasks of May Congress.

Nikolay Oleynikov (artist, Chto delat? Group, May Congress, Learning Film Group). May Congress: Fantastic Tasks, Cosmic Fails, Empyrean Hopes.

Arseniy Zhilyaev (artist, curator, Russian Socialist Movement, Creative Workers Union). Creative Workers Union: the Experience of Self-organization. The Production of Art, Knowledge and Politics in the Project “Pedagogical Poem”.

Pavel Arsenyev (poet, Laboratory for Political Actionism, Street University, Student Action), Oleg Zhuravlyov (sociologist, ОD-Group, Student Action). Street University and Its Politics of Resistance.

Isabel Magkoeva (Russian Socialist Movement). New Forms of Protest Movement in Russia. From # ОccupyMoscow to #ОccupyAbay.

Nikolay Ridnyi (artist, SOSka art group). Self-organization and the Construction of Non-hierarchical Communication System. Kharkiv Apartment Exhibitions by way of Example.

Nikita Kadan (artist, REP group). “Hudrada”: School of Interdisciplinary Interaction.

Zakhar Popovych (Left Opposition, “GasloInfo” Internet Edition). Copyright as the Mechanism for Implementing Censorship in the Internet.

Dmitriy Vilensky (artist, Chto delat? Group). The Future of May Congress.

Discussion: Which Cultural Policy do the Left-wing Need: Biennale (Kyiv Arsenale 2012) VS Self-organized Assemblies (May Congress).

15:00. Feminist section

Yelyzaveta Babenko (culturologist, Visual Culture Research Center, Feminist Ofenzyva, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Private is Political. Introduction to Feminist Strategies of Resistance.

Alena Tkalich (Independent Trade Union “Zakhyst Pratsi”). Women’s Labour Rights.

Nina Potarska (journalist, Left Opposition, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Reproductive Rights of Women.

Galyna Yarmanova (gender theory researcher, Feminist Ofenzyva, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Feminist Strategies of Separatism: Why and From Whom.

Daria Rachok (Direct Action, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Sexism in Leftist Circles. An Attempt of Analysis.

Denys Gorbach (marxism historian, Autonomous Workers Union, Leftist Feminist Initiative). An Interpretation of the “Women’s Issue” in the Context of the Leftist Movement: “Exploitation” Instead of “Femicide”.

Serhiy Kutniy (marxism historian, Autonomous Workers Union, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Women’s Emancipation and the Political Proletariat.

18:00 Video section and duscussion with the authors: Learning Film Group, Chto delat? Group, Masha Godovannaya, Activist Video Laboratory.

20:00 Sound: YouTube diving and Ipod battle for the participants of the Congress.

21 May, Monday

9:30. Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Taking part in the Ukrainian trade unions action against the reforms of the Labour Code

Visual Culture Research Center (26, Kostyantynivska str., Zhovten Cinema)

15:00. Arts and Publishing Book Fair. Talk with the editors of magazines: “Political Critique” (Ukraine), “Commons”, “Prostory”, “Political Critique” (Russia), “Translit”, “Chto Delat’?” newspaper, Moscow Art Magazine, Free Marxist Publishing.

18.00. Speech by Michael Walzer (Professor, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, editor of political magazine “Dissent”, USA). Terrorism and the Just War.

LabCombinat Art Space (31-a, Nyzhnioyurkivska str.)

20:00 Concert: “TechnoPoesia” group, “Arkadiy Kots” band.

22:00 Poetry night: Pavel Arsenyev, Roman Osminkin, Kirill Medvedyev, Adrian Mitchell, Bertolt Brecht, Abay Kunanbaev and others.

22 May, Wednesday

13:00 Monument to H. Skovoroda, Kontraktova Square

Anti-censorship action in defense of the rights and freedoms of artists and workers (Pussy Riot, Visual Culture Research Center etc.). Anti-censorship posters city exhibition and sticker campaign.

Participants of the exhibition: Ivan Brazhkin, Alexander Burlaka, Alexandra Galkina, Anton Litvin, Viktoria Lomasko, Oleg Mavromatti, David Ter-Oganyan, Nikolay Oleynikov, Roman Osminkin, Natalia (Gluklya) Pershina, Haim Sokol, Nikita Kadan, Sveta Shuvaeva and others.

Music accompaniment by “Arkadiy Kots” band.

Participants: Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv, Ukraine), Feminist Ofenzyva (Ukraine), Left Feminist Initiative (Kyiv, Ukraine), “Krytyka Polityczna” magazine (Ukraine), “Commons”: Journal of Social Critique (Ukraine), “Prostory” Literary Magazine (Kyiv, Ukraine), “Liva” Internet Magazine (Ukraine), “Direct Action” Students Union (Ukraine), “Hudrada” Artist Union (Kyiv, Ukraine), SOSka art-group (Kharkiv, Ukraine), “Chto delat?” Group (Russia), Creative Workers Union (Russia), Russian Socialist Movement (Russia), almanac “Translit” (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Free Marxist Publishing (Russia), “TechnoPoesia” group (Sankt-Petersburg, Russia), “Arkadiy Kots” band (Moscow, Russia).

Curators: Yelyzaveta Babenko, Nikolay Oleynikov

Working hours: 20-22 May 2012, 12:00 – 21:00


Yelyzaveta Babenko +38 093 021 17 53,

Nikolay Oleynikov

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