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Lectures for secondary students

A morning with Carolin Emcke

A right has never been won forever

Debate + Education


Philosopher and journalist Carolin Emcke, accompanied by trans sociologist and activist Miquel Missé, reflects with the students on the collective effort to maintain an open and plural society, at a critical time when rights and freedoms that we believed were guaranteed stagger.

We are living at a critical time, when rights and social conquests that we thought guaranteed are abolished or uncertain. The recent rise of authoritarianism in Europe reminds us that maintaining an open, plural society calls for constant collective effort. In the words of German philosopher, journalist and activist Carolin Emcke, “freedom is not something you own, but something you do”. In the same way, no right is won forever; it has to be defended over and over again.

History does not advance gradually and in linear fashion towards a future of social justice. Recent victories at the polls of the xenophobic, sexist and homophobic discourses of the far right are proof of that. They alert us to the fact that the suppression of belief in a right is just as dangerous as its suppression by legal means. Rights have to be accompanied by the desire for an open, plural society and collective social action, and defending them is a vital task for all of us who live in a democratic society.

These rights, as Stefan Zweig warned in 1936, are never won forever. Taking his words as a catalyst for reflection, we invite young people to talk with the philosopher and journalist Carolin Emcke, one of the foremost voices on the German intellectual scene. Emcke, author of Against Hate (Polity Press, 2019), has dedicated her life and work to defending human rights and denouncing xenophobia and LGTBI-phobia, as well as critically analysing the social mechanisms of exclusion, dehumanization, fanaticism and authoritarianism.

The conference has educational material to prepare for this debate in the classrooms. The proposal has been elaborated by the professors of philosophy of secondary Myriam Gallego Rodríguez and Noelia Ruano Serrano, and it is a collaboration with the Olympiad of Philosophy of Catalonia.

This session is possible thanks to the collaboration with the Encuentros de Pamplona 72-22.

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