Become active in these Zurich collectives
Society is changing, but there's so much more to do. Sixty percent of the people who responded to our activism survey said that they would like to get involved but haven't yet. Why do most shy away from joining a collective or association? The reasons are often the same; people just don't quite know where to start. That's why we've provided you with an overview of various Zurich collectives, associations and groups. Even without a Swiss passport, you can get involved almost anywhere.
Also, here is a list of options to get involved as a foreigner.
The only thing left to do is to register for the collective of your choice. Let's go!
The members of Vélorution promote bicycle culture through public actions. These actions range from a Bicycle Cinema to the Kidical Mass – a Critical Mass for children. Become part of this bicycle movement and volunteer at Vélorution.
A magazine on bike culture is not missing either. As the authors of Xerosoph.in write, their articles are about grassroots democracy, repression and discrimination within the Critical Mass. The magazine also contains stories about personal experiences with civil disobedience. It is a magazine as diverse as its writers. The best part: It’s pay what you want.
Activism does not necessarily have to be directly political according to the participants of our podium at the beginning of May. Those who want to participate in a political party with their ideas and goals at an early age can do so in various political youth parties.
The Young Socialists of the SP fight for another kind of society, far away from an economic system that promotes the fracturing of a society. The members of the JUSO are organized in various working groups, which meet regularly. Find out more about the groups and how you can become a member here.
The SP has been working for a social, just and ecological society for over 100 years. The party regularly organizes events on politically relevant topics. This will allow you to further your education, do some networking and share your knowledge. Become part of the movement and help to shape the future.
The glp Zurich are committed to sustainable social and economic policies too. A centrist party with a liberal ideology. Are they congruent with your values? Then find out more on their website and become a member.
The AL describes its politics as radically pragmatic left-winged. They are committed to affordable and non-profit housing, a university that is independent of the private sector, new structures in the fight for equality and much more. Do you feel like this party speaks from your heart? Then sign up now.
The Junge Grüne are committed to an environmentally friendly and green Zürich. They seek greater social justice and freedom for young people. They are ecologically consistent, feminist, anti-racist, pacifist and stand for global solidarity. Join here.
Like its youth party, the Grüne fight for a sustainable and ecological Zurich: More cycling, zero carbon emissions and fair treatment of animals. In addition, everyone should be well off: Workers, students, the state as well as nature!
3. Climate & sustainability
By now, everyone should have noticed that it is already past 12. It is time to really do something against the climate crisis, for example by working towards more sustainability. The activists of these groups are committed to climate-friendly urban development and options for sustainable consumption so that the next generations can live in a world worth living in.
This association aims to offer practical solutions for climate protection. True to the motto: «Repair, don't throw away». Another reason why they're always on the lookout for volunteers who want to use their skills in the Repair Café and fix things.
Their goal: Showing courses of action that specifically deal with consumption and economy – and can be implemented by everyone. For everyone who wants to do something for the climate today.
The people of Fossil Free have three big demands on politics and the economy: 1. coal should stay in the ground, 2. the economy should be newer, fairer and more climate-friendly, 3. government should limit carbon emissions. Do these represent your demands as well? Let's get in touch!
Klimastadt Zürich is a platform of associations, organizations and individuals who are actively trying to work out solutions for climate protection. They connect important people from science, politics and the general society. By organizing a variety of events they inform about the developments in climate issues and show suitable courses of action in line with Zurich's strategy of zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Who hasn't heard of the Climate Strike Zurich? The mostly young people strike for a better and more sustainable society and take responsibility for their own future. Do you want to be a part of it? Then get started now!
4. Equality & social affairs
Do you want to use your privileges and stand up for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers? Do you strive for an open, tolerant society where repression has no place? From anti-racism to the integration of foreign people to solidarity, by being part of these collectives and groups you can make life a little easier for many. The principle of inclusion is crucially important for those groups.
The Freiplatzaktion Zürich (FPA) supports asylum-seeking and migrated people to stand up for their rights. That’s why the FPA offers professional and independent legal advice. With local and national political projects, the FPA brings severe grievances to public attention.
This independent association is committed to foreigners with an F status in the canton of Zurich as they're often living in hazardous conditions with difficulties to integrate in society. Map-F wants to counter those social grievances.
Secondas Zürich is a group of people with various backgrounds who are committed to migration policy issues. They fight for an improved naturalization policy, new forms of voting rights for foreigners and more equal opportunities for migrants.
This non-profit association tries to improve living conditions for refugees and Sans-Papiers. The goal of Solinetz is a society based on solidarity, in which values such as respect, humanity, goodwill and human dignity are key points. Follow this link and learn how to become a member of the Solinetz.
Imagine you don't have a passport. No residence permit. No health insurance. No social network. Imagine you are one of the 10'000 Sans-Papiers in Zurich. So what now? The Sans-Papiers Contact Point at the Kalkbreite cooperative offers support and advice of all kinds for people in need.
Public events make it possible for native and immigrant people to talk about different views and perspectives on life. In this way, Expo Transculture promotes a growing understanding and broadening of horizons between people of different cultures.
This project is also about migrants. Of course, refugees and immigrants also have skills that they would like to use in meaningful ways. This is the point where the member of Capacity Zurich help and connect newcomers with Swiss business people. You can either participate in the mentoring programme or give a hand at various events.
JASS fights against xenophobic, discriminatory and prejudiced ways of thinking and organizes various events, discussions as well as cooking events. The topics of JASS mostly revolve around refugees, migrants, Muslims and/or their culture. Needless to say there is always a lot of work to do.
The people behind 500k oppose right-wing extremist ideas. They strive for an open and tolerant society without repression. With their campaign, they support the people who stood up against right-wing extremists in a demonstration in November 2018, which charges them with heavy fines.
Milchjugend is the largest youth organization for homosexual, bi-, trans-, inter- and asexual people. They promote an exchange between young people who do not want to identify themselves with common heteronormative concepts of gender, sexuality and relationships. They stand for more emancipatory self-discovery, social engagement and self-assertion.
MAXIM Theater sees itself as transcultural, participatory, intergenerational, interdisciplinary, and committed to addressing socially relevant issues. Through various performances, readings or discussions, they use art as a way to social change.
This theater group consists of people from margins of society who nevertheless haven't lost their sense of humor. Since 2009, the Schräge Vögel have been staging various plays and welcome every support. Specifically, you can help out at events, drive the theater group around, take pictures or edit video clips.
Do you live the vegan lifestyle and do you value the animal's dignity as important as the one of humans? Then Circle of Compassion is the right place for you. They stand up for more animal rights like freedom, integrity and a dignified life. Circle of Compassion spreads its message through various actions where you can be a part of it.
Dialogue en Route is designed to help groups and classes discover the cultural and religious diversity of Switzerland. You’ll be trained as a guide and meet regularly for teambuilding and exchange.
Free education and unrestricted learning are the key principles of the association KOPF. Its web platform called Openki.net is a simple technical tool for an innovative way of learning.
5. Open spaces
The members of these collectives fight for more uncommercial open spaces. In their opinion, open spaces should be used for experiments, discussions, exchange, culture and more. And they are happy to grow with you.
The former parking lot at the old Letten train station has been transformed into a new space full of creativity and engagement. As an interim use, it provides an open platform for various projects from different people. Get involved in the open meeting every second Friday at 4pm and become part of the Park Platz.
The collective has taken over the former Zentralwäscherei and turned it into an open space for experimentation, exchange, cooperation, culture and politics. They are always happy to meet new exciting personalities.
This self-organized school does a lot more than just classic classroom-based education. Their projects include plays, readings, exhibitions, concerts and even a newspaper. Their intention is to enable a versatile education and, early on, place emphasis on independent acting and thinking.
These collectives are committed to a well-balanced connection between the people, environment and fashion. With focus on manufacturing conditions, free sewing classes for people with a refugee background and their integration into the Swiss labour market, they are happy to welcome you as a new member. Know and use your strengths and make a difference.
The member of Fashion Revolution Switzerland do not only think of a need for change in politics or economy but also in the fashion industry. They are campaigning for a new way of producing, buying and using clothes. Click here for more information.
Social Fabric stands for a sustainable use of textiles and the inclusion of people with a refugee background. The free sewing courses for people with a refugee background help them to integrate better into the Swiss labour market. You can support them with your unique knowledge – and benefit from the community yourself.
7. Living & building
If you are interested in living and building, there are various groups that focus on such topics. Whether to handle living-resources with particular care, promoting neighbourhood life or standing up for the rights of tenants, your help is needed everywhere.
As the name suggests, this association is committed to the neighborhood of the circle 5. The Forum discusses new ideas and matters once a month. You don't have to worry, you'll be able to participate even without living in circle 5. The only important thing is your interest in the urban development of the 5.
Another neighborhood association is the Quartierverein 5 Industrie. It thinks of itself as a connection between the inhabitants and the city administration and it aims to protect the resident's interests. You can apply for a membership either as an individual or a group.
An urban settlement for 500 people, where taking care of living-ressources is taken for granted is the goal of the building and housing cooperative NeNa1. You can be part of it as a basic or group member.
«Together we develop Zurich» – that’s the claim of the group. NextZürich seeks nothing less than a sctuctured future of our beautiful city. According to them, everyone should be interested in this. So, what can you do? Either you deposit your interesting ideas on the website or you participate in one of their workshops and lectures, and thus contribute to the city's development.
Wunderkammer is a participative project and engages in the areas of construction and architecture, art and culture, participation and integration, urban and neighborhood development, Streaming Radio and Female Electronic Lab. The result of these groups is a big project that passes on knowledge in an interdisciplinary way. Become a member and be a part of this exciting experiment.
Current urban planning should again become a topic of the public debate – including the participation politicians, executives and experts from the administration. The alliance is searching for sustainable solutions for a better quality of life in the city. Join them to make sure Zürich remains worth living.
Have you ever looked for an apartment in Zürich? Pretty tedious, isn't it? With all the requirements and forms, it's not so easy to keep track of everything. For socially disadvantaged people, finding an apartment is even more difficult. The WohnFit project of Caritas Zürich is constantly looking for mentors to support people living in precarious housing situations in their search for an apartment.
The association advises tenants in various housing matters. With its more than 200,000 members, the Tenants' Association of Zurich stands up for an effective tenant protection and better housing quality. As a member you can benefit from various offers. Read more about them here.