Radical Ecological Democracy

Searching for alternatives to unsustainable and inequitable model of ‘development’

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Getting out of the hole

As another insane conflict plays out in the Mid-East with all its tragic consequences, the world again has no solutions to offer to the intractable Palestine-Israel strife. Clem McCartney examines why societies freeze in the face of antagonistic disputes, and offers a possible way out of the deep hole that the two protagonists find themselves in.

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‘Susu’: Ghana’s Informal Economy is a Case Study in Post-capitalist Development

As the world looks for alternatives to neoliberal fundamentalism, many economic and financial systems rooted in tradition are providing renewed hope for restructuring our lives around collective effort and sharing. Caroline Shenaz Hossein and Natalie Holmes explore the Susu System of Ghana to understand its remarkable bottom up functioning and its prudent promise as a replicable model for other parts of the world.

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Earth Uprisings – une histoire

As the pace of environmental degradation and climate change intensifies all around us, how does civil society express its opposition to neoliberalism and plutocracy? Christine Dann scrutinizes the popular movement, the “Earth Uprising”, in France, to discern the evolving design for organizing protest against insidious elite structures all over the world.

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‘Emancipate richnesses!’

Hope in hopeless times is a necessary imperative of the human condition, and now a new book by John Holloway articulates that longing through a critique of the contemporary political economy and revolutionary theory itself, pointing a way out of the current socio-political despondence towards reasoned action. In this incisive review of “Hope in Hopeless Times”, Anitra Nelson, an old friend and comrade of RED, takes us through the contours of Holloway’s ideas on reclaiming human richness from the clutches of money “to ensure that capitalism comes to an end before it leads to the extinction of humanity.”

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From Growth, through Degrowth, to a Pluriverse of Flourishings

A new debate is emerging within the larger discourse on systemic change – what role would the global south with its much greater diversity of ways of living than the North, and with its modern history of pluriversal destruction driven by concentrations of power and privilege from/in the North, play in the unfolding of the idea of degrowth? Is that possible role in any way impeded by degrowth discourse’s own coloniality, which probably is an outcome of its self-definition in opposition to the Eurocentric developmentalist discourse of growth? Does the pluriverse become interesting to degrowthers only if it meets their degrowth criterion? Is the pluriverse of thousands of still surviving biocultural ways of living/knowing on earth and more than seven thousand languages, being subordinated to the degrowth agenda? In this astute and sharp article Saurabh Arora and Andy Stirling of the University of Sussex flesh out this pertinent debate, helping us untie the knots on growth and degrowth, and clarify the promise of the pluriverse beyond.

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Five axes of transition: Imagining “alternatives” for the post-pandemic future

At some point in the next year or so, we, as a society, may enter the endgame of the Covid-19 pandemic. But, are we, in any way, prepared to deal with the political and economic stresses that will continue to hound us long after? And, how do we even begin to purge ourselves of the pandemic induced detritus that clogs the arteries of our socio-psychological existence? Arturo Escobar, a prominent political-ecologist and an old ally of the Radical Ecological Democracy website, lays out a strategy – what he calls the five axes of transition – needed to come out on the other side of this societal collapse with hope, and to “give impetus to our deepest yearnings for other worlds and worlds otherwise.”

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Carbon commodification in the Peruvian Amazon: The Kichwa People’s Struggle Against Territorial and Climate Destruction

The contemporary model of “fortress conservation” continues to dispossess Indigenous Peoples around the world of their territories to justify the implementation of dubious projects pushing climate change mitigation mechanisms and biodiversity conservation actions. It ignores the ancient rights of communities over their territories, and actively impairs their own local governance systems perfected over time. The resistance to this fraudulent attempt at conservation, however, is gaining ground all over the world. In this article on the emerging issues in Peru, Matias Pérez Ojeda del Arco discusses the ongoing struggle of the Kichwa people to ensure the enjoyment of their traditional livelihoods and the continuation of their territorialities and relationalities with their forests. While the situation is far from perfect, this contestation has allowed for the creation of an “alternative” paradigm where the communities are recognized as key actors for any conservation action undertaken by the Peruvian State to meet its climate commitments.

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“Beautiful Resistance” in Palestine: Challenging occupation by forging inner peace

Resistance is a multifaceted undertaking – it demands clarity of purpose, steady action, regular strategic and tactical innovations, and access to resources. But, most importantly, it needs committed people at peace with their purpose. In Palestine, where the ugliness of occupation, violation of human rights and dehumanizing oppression are a lived reality, how do people respond without succumbing to frenzied violence, particularly its youth who grow up witnessing the unceasing shattering of their future, everyday? Alrowwad, a Palestinian cultural and arts organization uses the philosophy of “Beautiful Resistance” to work with the country’s youth and children to establish a sense of creative peace in their hearts and minds, with the ultimate aim of transmitting that ideal to the rest of the Palestinian society, and to lay the “alternative” pathway to freedom and self-rule. In this article, Abdelfattah Abusrour, the founder of “Alrowwad” discusses the philosophy and the practice of “Beautiful Resistance”.

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Is Italy’s new vision for environmental protection a real commitment to carbon neutrality?

As the need to address climate change and other environmental crises becomes increasingly critical, many countries have found it necessary to amend their national constitutions to strengthen existing provisions for environmental protection, and even introduce new ones. This past February, the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament passed legislation to amend two crucial Articles in the Constitution to align the country with the rest of Western Europe’s progressive vision on climate intervention. Fausto Corvino and Mitja Stefancic discuss the promise and challenges inherent in this significant move, particularly as the energy fallout from the on-going Russia-Ukraine conflict causes complex and worrying problems for Italy.

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Ingredients for a decolonial politics – cooking up a future to delight in

Creating “alternatives” to the political and economic structures that bolster the existing neoliberal order is as much a function of resisting their impact on society as it is to understand and challenge our own co-option into the colonial mindset that perpetuates that oppression. In this article, Eva Schonvled and Justin Kenrick present an inspiring framework for activists, academics, civil society campaigners and radical reformers to create “alternatives to our internalized and cultural habits of domination.”

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Is post-capitalism post-money?

If money is the lynchpin of the contemporary capitalist order then it is imperative that an alternative to that world is imagined and crafted outside the constraints of money. In her path-breaking new book, “Beyond Money, A Post-Capitalist Strategy”, Anitra Nelson lays the ideological foundation of a post-money society based on real, non-monetary, social and ecological values that define a new order committed to fulfilling people’s basic needs. In this exclusive article for RED, Nelson provides an insight into her revolutionary ideas essential for designing a world without socio-economic inequality and crippling environmental stresses.

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Marketing the planet: The financialization of nature

As pressure increases on corporations to transform their business models to address climate change, their response has been a stealth move in the shape of a project, which aims to financialize nature. The power elite recognize that as ecological services regulating climate, and providing food, water, soil stabilization and cultural values become scarce and gradually degrade, they become more attractive to financial markets as economic assets for speculation and trade. Helena Paul discusses why this attempt at deflecting attention from the real need to change our current economic system based on perpetual growth would prove disastrous, and how “alternative” ideas and practices are contesting this nefarious design to perpetuate the neoliberal order.

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Indian farmers prevail: A conversation with Kavitha Kuruganti, a farmers’ rights activist

No mass movement in India’s recent history has captured the imagination of the country the way the just concluded farmers’ movement did over the last one year period. After a protracted struggle the farmers were able to force the Indian government to withdraw three farm laws, which were aimed at corporatizing the country’s agriculture. In a wide ranging conversation with Kavitha Kuruganti, an Indian farmers’ rights activist, I discuss the implications of this victory for the Indian farmers, and how a sustainable and people-focused agricultural alternative could be constructed in the future.

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Caught in a rut?: How to stop resisting change and establish systemic “alternatives”?

It has always been hard for societies to effect change. Even when it does occur, change is painfully slow, and often late. Clem McCartney explores the socio-psychological reasons behind this resistance, and advances a strategy for intervening in the moribund societal discourse on meaningful transformation.

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ANARCHY, SOCIALITY, AND THE WAY

As we continue to interrogate the ideas of “alternatives” and “transitions”, John Clark offers a response to Ted Trainer’s comparative analysis of “ecoanarchism”and “ecosocialism”, featured earlier on the website. While stressing the common ground between the two ideas, Clark points out that the effort towards creating “communities of liberation, solidarity, awakening and care” has been “a mere object of ideological faith, detached from practical reality” for ecoanarchism, a failing, which needs to be redressed for it to contribute effectively to social change.

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The Prosumer Economy: Being Like a Forest

“Transition” explorations are sprouting all over the world. In Turkey, the “prosumer economy” is increasingly gaining recognition and support among the people looking for “alternatives”. Uygar Özesmi explains the progressive environmentalism and egalitarian economic thinking behind this unique initiative.

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Ending systems of domination: Reclaiming our bodies and politics from global trauma

COP26 is just around the corner, and the world is preparing for another bout of smoke and mirrors from the international ruling class – looking sincere while doing nothing with sincerity. People understand the need to create solutions to the climate and economic crises independent of the elite, and many initiatives are underway all over the world. Eva Schonveld and Justin Kenrick of the “Grassroots to Global” platform describe the thinking, and the preparations afoot to hold “Sunset” and “Sunrise” assemblies to advance solidarity and action on crucial socio-political and ecological issues.

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The path to a just and sustainable society

If the current neoliberal dispensation continues to make the society increasingly unequal, and the planet progressively unlivable, how do we transition to a new system, which addresses these challenges with deliberate intent and assured success? In the second part of his discussion on “Eco-anarchism”, Ted Trainer lays out the core characteristics of a post consumer capitalist society, operating on the principles of “The Simpler Way”.

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We Thought It Was Fiction

The recent revelations concerning Pegasus, the malicious hacking software developed by the Israeli tech firm, NSO, confirm the paralyzingly intrusive capabilities being developed by the State-Corporate nexus to surveil and dominate the increasingly connected world we live in. Alfredo Lopez, Melanie Bush, Hamid Khan and Ken Montenegro, our colleagues from ” May First Movement Technology” discuss how the progressive and “alternatives” communities should organize to push back against this steady erosion of people’s rights, and work to end tech dominance and intrusion into our lives.

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Challenging colonization: Building sustainable human and natural communities in Palestine

As resistance to Israeli occupation continues to inspire the Palestinian people, a search for “alternatives” is also emerging as a national imperative. In a two part series we explore how the universe beyond the political question is being imagined by the people of Palestine. In the first part, Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh gives an insight into the hard work of environmental conservation in a landscape battered by colonization.

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