More powerful together – Integrating Resistance with Alternatives

Societal discontent manifests itself in the shape of resistance to the existing structures and is channeled through people’s movements. Hope, on the other hand, propels the society to look for alternatives to the existing paradigm. In this first article in a two part series, Jen Gobby provides an insight into how “resistance” and the search for “alternatives” are coming together to shape the movement towards an ecologically sensible and economically egalitarian future in Canada.

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Migration and the shared planet

Migration has been a constant factor shaping human history. People have moved from one geographic area to another for ages, sometimes out of choice, but far too often fleeing threats to personal safety and physical survival. In our times, immigration has become a point of tension in international politics as well as a significant cause of rising socio-political discord within countries. In this second part of our series on “Shared Societies”, Clem McCartney describes a path away from the fear, alienation, desperation and misery, which have marked the issue of migration. The article imagines a place where new solutions could be crafted and executed in an efficient and humane manner, more in consonance with our shared humanity than the malign cycles that our society has been caught up in.

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The crisis of Capitalism, role of technology and our imaginations

As the systemic crises confronting the world become ever more alarming and daunting, is there a role for technology in helping find a solution to them? Can technology strengthen the struggle for socio-economic and environmental justice? In this analytical piece Samantha Camacho, Jerome Scott, Alfredo Lopez and Melanie Bush help us understand the urgent need for a proactive societal role in harnessing the energy and potential of the Internet in creating a sustainable future for the planet.

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“Shared Societies” in the times of Covid-19

As vicious viruses, climate calamities and sapping economic inequalities become the hard realities of contemporary human existence, how should the world prepare itself to deal with them? Clem McCartney analyses the societal response to Covid-19 from the lens of a “Shared Society” to outline a possible way out of the present predicament.

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Decolonial feminism and Buen Vivir

The idea and practice of Buen Vivir have gained popularity all over South America because of its far-reaching socio-political acuity and penetration. Thinkers and practitioners of “alternatives” have analyzed Buen Vivir’s efficacy in dealing with various societal challenges – gender relations being a significant subject for that interrogation. Dennis Avilés Irahola provides an insight into how decolonial feminists are assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the process of implementation of the principles of Buen Vivir taking the Constituent Assemblies of Bolivia and Ecuador as examples, and how it could be sharpened to create an “alternative” paradigm in the continent without delaying action on women’s demands.

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Setting out the principles of post-growth conservation

What would the post-growth conservation model look like? Would it continue to promote “fortress conservation” professing to preserve isolated ecosystems of “value” without really impacting the continued global exploitation of natural resources? Or, would it finally confront the profound sense of alienation that has developed between people and nature over the last three centuries through an almost demonic belief in free market capitalism ? A group of academics and activists from Wageningen University, the Netherlands and Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group puts forward a conceptual outline of the future of conservation.

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Looking beyond the pandemic: Agroecology, and the need to rethink our food system

The on-going pandemic has laid bare the inequalities inherent in the neoliberal economy. As jobs and livelihoods of the struggling majority get severely impacted all over the world, access to food has become a critical issue for people. In this in-depth analysis of the global food system, Helena Paul underlines the growing need for reshaping our food infrastructure around agroecology, a new paradigm where producers and consumers are connected with each other, and in harmony with land and nature.

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Saving a critical pastureland in Montenegro

In September 2019, the government of Montenegro converted a huge pastureland within a proposed Regional Nature Park into a military training ground against the opposition of the local people. Traditionally, pastoralists from the surrounding areas have used this area in the Sinjajevina Mountains as the summer grazing ground for their flocks. The decision was made with no publicly available environmental, health, or economic impact evaluations, and without any substantial negotiations with the affected communities, as well as in contravention of national and international laws. Pablo Domínguez, Maja Kostić-Mandić and Milan Sekulović tell us the story of a resistance movement, which is challenging rabid nationalist discourses, incipient neoliberalism and the entrenched ethno-politics of the Balkans to save a critical ecological area from disaster in Montenegro.

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REDWeb Conversations Series – Defending the Rojava Model

The Kurdish Rojava autonomy initiative, one of the most exciting democracy movements in the world, attempts to build grassroots governance on feminist and ecological principles. Women have been at the forefront of this effort. Besime Conca of the movement speaks with Ashish Kothari on the sidelines of a conference at the “Peace Research and Education Center” in Tamera, Portugal.

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Coronavirus and the life lessons from “ordinary” people to save the Earth and ourselves

As the world grapples with the challenges posed by Covid-19, it needs to decipher the messages encoded in the disease. Can we continue on the path of environmental destruction, which scientists predict may make pandemics more likely? How do we create alternatives to the industrial forms of natural resource use which have disrupted natural systems irreversibly? How do we break from the artificially created integration of production, consumption and trade under globalization? Ashish Kothari helps us solve the critical societal puzzle that Coronavirus has confronted us with in these mystifying times.

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Relocalization in the time of Coronavirus: Building Sustainable Social and Economic Systems

As Coronavirus upends the international economic system, it is imperative that the world community creates alternatives which could begin to replace this iniquitous and volatile system with those which are ecologically sustainable and nurturing of the human spirit. Christophe Aguiton, Genevieve Azam, Maxime Combes, Thomas Coutrot and Jean Gadrey describe how “relocalization” could contribute to the crafting of such alternatives.

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In Defence of Life: Cajamarca, Colombia

Deep in the embrace of the Colombian Andes Mountains, farmers, youth and other environmental defenders from Cajamarca have stopped a vast gold mine, re-valued the ‘true treasures’ in their territory and begun to develop regenerative alternatives to mining ‘development’. Mariana Gomez Soto and Benjamin Hitchcock Auciello explore this story of resistance and revival. This is the second case study in the on-going collaborative series between REDWeb and the global “Yes to Life, No to Mining” (YLNM) solidarity network.

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Rethinking “Social Transformation”: Understanding the Communitarian Revolutionary Actor

As the need to counter the neoliberal assault on the planet is felt around the world, the idea of social transformation is undergoing fresh scrutiny to make it relevant to contemporary challenges. David Barkin and Alejandra Sanchez explore the unfolding socio-political experiments taking place in Latin America to give us an insight into the “Communitarian Revolutionary Actor” ushering in change on the continent.

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The Coming Green Colonialism

Given the clenching hold of inertia on international governments, not much was expected from COP25, the recently concluded U.N. Climate Change Conference. Predictably, it turned out to be a cop-out. Nnimmo Bassey gives us an idea of the frustrating and often pointless deliberations that took place inside COP25 and the dead-end they reached. As the author clearly shows, the ruling elite is utterly unable and unwilling to think in terms of alternatives to the ever failing neoliberal dispensation, and has completely abdicated any responsibility towards preventing climate chaos. A people’s struggle is the only way out.

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Thinking Outside the Grid

As the enormity of the contemporary environmental and climate crises dawns on the larger society, the power elite has not shied away from offering grand even if brazenly dubious answers to these challenges – Green Growth, Clean Coal, Genetically Engineered Biofuels and myriad other mirages. Steven Gorelick lifts the lid on the pseudo solutions to our severe energy issues and points us in the direction of systemic change based on local solutions to the complex undertakings of energy production and distribution.

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Resist. Restore. Revive: The frontline communities sowing the seeds of post-extractivism

The metal and mineral mining industry, worldwide is responsible for over 20% of global carbon emissions. It has also destroyed critical ecological areas and has a frightful record of systematic human rights violations. Yes to Life, No to Mining Network (YLNM) is a network of and for communities who choose to resist mining while at the same time protecting and advancing life-sustaining knowledges, practices, economies and governance systems. Recently, YLNM undertook an exploration of a few of these community initiatives to create a series of interactive case studies, which share the stories of resistance to mining, restoration of damaged ecosystems and protection and development of alternatives to extractivism. REDWeb is collaborating with YLNM to bring five of these “emblematic case studies” to its readers over the course of the next five months. In an introductory article, Hannibal Rhoades from YLNM gives us an idea of the areas and issues this series will cover, and how it explores the evolving idea of the “search for alternatives”.

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21st century is the century of Women‘s Revolution!

Recently, Kalpavriksh’s Ashish Kothari and Shrishtee Bajpai attended a gathering of international activists, “Defend The Sacred”, at Tamera, Portugal. It was attended by activists and pioneers working for global system change all over the world. Here, we reproduce a statement which was read out by Besime Konca of the Kurdish Women’s Movement at the gathering. It recounts the dynamic and far reaching revolutionary thinking, activism and policy implementation taking place in the Kurdish regions. We also carry a link to the interview that Ashish and Shrishtee conducted with Besime Konca.

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Eight Principles of a New Economics for the People of a Living Earth

Contemporary economics propagates the false notion that we humans are primarily financial beings whose well-being is predicated upon endless growth on the planet and the consequent generation of money. The climate emergency facing us today has shattered that premise, underlining the fact that we are first and foremost living beings whose well-being depends on the health and vitality of a living Earth. David Korten challenges the flawed theories and principles that bear major responsibility for the unfolding crisis and proposes a new set of economic principles which could help us navigate the current environmental mess.

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Resistance Is Fertile – The Emerging Alternative Political Discourse in the Indian Parliamentary Elections

India is in the midst of a massive election campaign for the constitution of its 17th parliament since independence in 1947. While the electoral priorities of the mainstream parties are characterized by a false narrative of “development”, a rapidly growing civil society initiative is exploring an alternative political discourse which is underlined by socio-economic equality and ecological sustainability. Shrishtee Bajpai describes the intellectual and operative underpinnings of this initiative.

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RED Conversations Series –Indigenous struggle for Autonomy and Territorial Rights in Bolivia

Continuing with the conversations recorded by Ashish Kothari at the ACKnowl-EJ conference at Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India, the second interview features Mirna Inturias and Iokine Rodriguez, two activist researchers working with the Monkox indigenous community of Lomerio, in the lowlands of eastern Bolivia. The ACKnowl-EJ (www.acknowlej.org) project is an academic-activist led effort aiming to chart a path towards sustainable and equitable futures, away from extractivist pressures.

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