Radical Ecological Democracy

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

Agenda

AgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

BEAUTY & FASHION: CONFRONTING COMMODIFICATION, ADVANCING ALTERNATIVES (Part 1)

“People’s longing to give expression to their individuality has evolved through time and survived the ebb and flow of history, but in these modern times have we done enough to preserve that instinct from getting overawed by the sterile and mechanical functioning of capitalism?” In this first chapter of a three part series, Alessandra Monaco scrutinises the fashion industry to understand its troubled past and its inherently exploitative present to search for an alternative, which blends human creative desires with the societal need for egalitarian cultural standards.

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

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.

Read More
AgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

Knowing Our Home – a review of “Ecosophies of Freedom” by Milind Wani and Sucharita Dutta-Asane

As a society, how do we better inform our response to the exacting environmental challenges around us? Could an evolved understanding of the world’s ecological philosophies allow us to intervene in the impending climate collapse? Milind Wani and Sucharita Dutta-Asane’s new book, “Ecosophies of Freedon” is an attempt at building on the societal moral, spiritual and ecological underpinnings to help contribute to the evolving socio-political dialogue on environmental sanity and security. Our regular contributor, Christine Dann, reviews the book for RED readers.

Read More
ActionAgendaIdeasPoliciesStories

‘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.

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasNewsStories

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.

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

‘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.”

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

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.

Read More
AgendaAnalysisIdeasNewsStories

“Giorgia on our minds”: Exploring “alternatives” as the ultra-right overtakes Italy

As the ultra-right prepares to take power in Italy following the recent elections, a major soul searching is underway among the left and progressive circles on what ails their movement, and how to reconstruct an agenda to appeal to the alienated Italian electorate. Mitja Stefancic probes the recent failures of the Italian left and concludes that progressive politics can only be revived if alternative political movements are accompanied by reliable economic “alternatives” that challenge the top-down neoliberal model.

Read More
AgendaAnalysisIdeasPoliciesStories

Technology and (dis)empowerment: A call to technologists

Could technology become an unambiguous force for social good, and help usher in a more equitable and fairer ecosystem capable of handling challenges of inequality, exploitation, poverty and climate change? Aaditeshwar Seth answers this important question in his recently published book, “Technology and (Dis)empowerment: A Call to Technologists”. In this article, Seth discusses the many ways in which technology could aim to overturn hegemonic and unjust social and economic structures to create an equal and just society, a strikingly bold thread running through his book.

Read More
AgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

Living bioregionally, now

Could bioregional forms of governance that start from the biophysical realities of ecosystems, which are particular and even unique to places, be a part of the solution to the environmental and climate crises being experienced by the world? Christine Dann analyses the promise and the challenges inherent in that hope based on her extensive work on critical environmental issues in New Zealand.

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

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.”

Read More
AgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

A Sisyphean Politics of Desire – Camus’ Philosophy in the Anthropocene

Albert Camus’ outstanding scrutiny of the human condition using the lens of the “absurd” has afforded post-war western society a keen insight into its intensifying socio-psychological ennui and fatigue. Yet, is that somewhat edifying self-reflection enough to discern and intervene in the current unceasing tumble into an environmental and economic dystopia? Adam Cogan examines Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” to weigh the suitability of its message to effect societal mediations, and concludes that a world beyond Camus’ faltering exhortations needs to be fervidly reimagined to contest the “despondency of capitalist realism, and the destruction it condones.”

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

“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”.

Read More
AgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

Development as Service

Is nature an entity in its own right with intrinsic value to which one owes gratitude and respect, or is it a mere slave of human possession and exploitation? Dorine van Norren answers this question with deep reflection on traditional paradigms which have existed in indigenous cultures for thousands of years, and after having survived the centuries long onslaught of free market fundamentalism, are now providing viable alternatives to the fast crumbling ideas and practices of modern “development”. Delving into the tenets of African Ubuntu, Andean Buen Vivir and the Bhutanese precept of “Gross National Happiness”, van Norren asserts that these paradigms are paving the way toward establishing a society rooted in solidarity with one another and one’s living environment, with an enduring commitment to “development”, which is centered on service or reciprocity.

Read More
AgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

Against the Universal Agent of Separation: A Review of Anitra Nelson’s “Beyond Money: A Post Capitalist Strategy”

In this second part of our series on Anitra Nelson’s, “Beyond Money: A Post-Capitalist Strategy”, John Clark reviews the path breaking book for RED. He concludes that Anitra Nelson’s inquiry takes “seriously the real possibilities for escape from the power of money and the urgent need to begin realizing those possibilities in the immediate future.”

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

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.”

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

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.

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

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.

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisConversationsIdeasNewsStories

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.

Read More
ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

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.

Read More