Celebrating 110 years of Public Services International (1907-2017) in Geneva, Switzerland
30th October — 3rd November 2017
110 years after PSI’s very first Congress, workers from across the world will gather in Geneva, from Monday 30th October to Friday 3rd November 2017, to reject the privatization of our lives, to unveil the un-truths of corporate ideology amongst the chaos of market failure, to construct alternatives based on the power of organized labour, and to fight for our firm belief: People Over Profit!
Keeping up PSI’s tradition of paying homage to the host country whenever we hold our World Congress, we had the challenge, this time, of finding something peculiar about Switzerland which could also highlight such a historical achievement: it is to say, our 110th anniversary.
Therefore, we came up with the idea of bringing together two events which are contemporary to PSI: Dadaism, a Swiss movement which just turned 100 years old last year; and Constructivism, an artistic political praxis intrinsically related to the first workers’ revolution – also completing 100 years – that praises art as a tool for social purposes.
In 1916, a group of artists, misfits, political exiles and revolutionaries gathered in Switzerland to create the Dada movement. For the dadaists, the language and imagery of the established political order and ruling classes was, quite simply, complete nonsense.
With respect to Dadaism or just Dada, it has to be said that movement started in Zürich in 1916 as a reaction to World War I. As many of its members believed that the “reason” and the “logic” of bourgeois capitalist society had led people into war, they opted for expressions of nonsense, irony, chaos, iconoclasm and absurdity as a way of showing their discontent. Making use of collage, sound poetry, and cut-up writing, dadaists opposed the accepted norm and called for deliberate chaos to reflect the senselessness of war.
There is no consensus on the origin of the movement’s name. Some say it came after someone plunged a knife at random into a French-German dictionary, where it landed on the word “Dada” – a colloquial French term for a hobby horse. Others note that it suggests the first words of a child, evoking a childishness and absurdity that appealed to the group. Or even that the name has its roots on the frequent use of the words “da, da” by two of its prominent members who were originally from Romania – meaning “yes, yes” in the Romanian language.
The fact is that 101 years later, in an age where advertising and marketing relentlessly bombards the eye with impossible images, in an age where prominent politicians spout non-truths and nonsense, in an age where long-dead economic ideas are wheeled out and worshipped… in our age Dada’s rejection of orthodoxy remains more relevant than ever.
PSI’s 30th World Congress will be held at the
Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG)
17 rue de Varembé
CH – 1211 Genève 20
T +41 22 791 91 11
F+41 22 791 90 64
Latest documents View all
Draft resolutions and call for amendments and 2nd report of the SOC (Circular – 24 May 2017)
Draft Programme of Action 2018-2022
2nd Report of the SOC
Draft Constitution to Congress
Pre-registration open now
This registration form (please click here) should ONLY be completed by participants who will be attending Congress at their own cost or who have been otherwise invited to do so by the PSI Secretariat.
Sponsorships are being processed through the regional bodies. Selected candidates will be contacted directly for registration in due course.
- John Leirvaag,
- Lisa Bengtsson,
I hope that at Congress we can discuss how to tackle the problem of multinationals hiding money and not paying taxes.
Because taxes are the foundation for providing public services.
- John Leirvaag,
- Lisa Bengtsson,
I want to discuss ways to organise better, to get more members so we can become stronger unions.
To make better societies and create better working life for our members.