Water, the driving force of Nature: Emancipation through popular consultation

Water is under threat from commodification, as capital increasingly ensnares nature all over the world. But, a consolidated resistance comprising indigenous communities, environmental activists and left progressive groups is challenging those devious designs. Alberto Acosta explains how Andean communities are using referendums and popular consultations to push back on extractivist pressures, and exploitation of natural resources, to build a democratic firewall to defend water and the rights of nature.

Read more

Dismantling “Power” by building “Democratic Autonomy”

All across the world, the quest for socio-economic and political equality continues with varying degrees of success. Often, political transformation has occurred without any compelling changes in the structures of state and power. But, a decidedly meaningful effort at instituting a new framework of grassroots democracy is underway in the Kurdish region of Rojava (West Kurdistan). In this first part of our new series on “Power”, Şervîn Nûdem discusses how the concept of “Democratic Autonomy” is helping shape a novel societal framework consisting of local and regional people’s councils, cooperatives, academies and self-defense forces with the participation, and substantial leadership of the women of Rojava.

Read more

The rising green tide: Fighting for reproductive justice in Argentina

The recent victory for reproductive rights in Argentina was breathtaking for its spirited resolve as well as its organizational rigor. In this article, Ana Cecilia Dinerstein explains the genesis and the evolution of this struggle. She also speaks with Maria Alicia Gutierrez, a prominent leader of the women’s Campaign to explore what lessons could be drawn from its success by movements engaged in alternative politics in other parts of the world.

Read more

More powerful together – Alternatives as Resistance (Part 2)

The contemporary resistance to neoliberalism is searching for ways in which it can raise up the values and relations it is fighting for. It is also looking for low-carbon, ecologically sensible, culturally grounded alternatives, which would help stop the destruction of the planet. In this second part of her series, “More Powerful Together – Alternatives as Resistance”, Jen Gobby describes how movements in Canada are challenging the stale idea of making our existing systems work better. Instead, they are offering new societal alternatives by forging resistance to colonialism and resurgence of Indigenous economies, governance structures and ways of life.

Read more

An economy that works for everyone

Why does the current economic system continue to fail the vast majority of people all over the world despite the ostensible strength of the structures put in place to look after their welfare? How is it that while ecological turmoil and economic inequality continue to fester, the solutions provided by the ruling elite are always ineffective and mostly dubious? In this final part of the series on the “Shared Society”, Clem McCartney examines how the economy could be made to respond constructively to poverty, alienation and anomie affecting the world, and how people can proactively impact the process by which the economy is managed for the benefit of the majority, and ensure the survival of the planet rather than its annihilation.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

“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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Salween Peace Park – A place for all living things

Situated in the crucial Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, the ancestral land of the Karen people of Myanmar is threatened by mining, mega-dams, logging and myriad other infrastructural development projects. In this fourth case study in the on-going solidarity series between REDWEb and the global “Yes to Life, No to Mining” (YLNM) network, the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) takes us to the “Salween Peace Park” where a successful initiative is charting a path away from destructive development.

Read more

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.

Read more

Regenerating the Commons in Galiza, Spain

Continuing with our solidarity series with the “Yes to Life, No to Mining” network against the scourge of extractivism, this time we take a trip to Galiza in northern Spain. In this remarkably vivid and inspiring account, Joám Evans Pim, a community leader from Frojám Community Conserved Area and activist in Galician anti-mining network ContraMINAcción, explains how small communities like his are confronting destructive mining by regenerating traditional territories and reviving community governance.

Read more

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.

Read more