From Political Ecology to Critical Theory, and back again

As we look for societal alternatives to neoliberal fundamentalism, it is important to situate our search in a credible philosophical framework. Omar Dahbour takes a dive into the works of Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse to explain how “Critical Theory” could help conceptualize such alternatives by recalibrating the relationship between human beings and nature.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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Landscapes of Renewal – Jukajoki, Linnunsuo and the Finnish Boreal

Finland has been affected by mass extractivism since the end of the Second World War. Peatlands, marsh-mires and old-growth forest across the country have been converted into mines and forest plantations, with huge impacts on rural communities practicing hunting, fishing, berry-gathering and small-scale farming. Over the past decade, the Finnish community of Selkie has successfully revived lands and waters damaged by extractive industries, using a blend of traditional knowledge and science. Tero Mustonen, Head of the Village of Selkie, explains how they stopped a mine and brought life back to Selkie’s rivers and marsh-mires. This is the first case study in the on-going collaborative series between REDWeb and the global “Yes to Life, No to Mining” (YLNM) solidarity network exploring emblematic examples of community resistance to extractivism and the life-sustaining alternatives they are defending and innovating.

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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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Market Fundamentalism vs. Community Rights on the Danish Coastline

In the early 2000s, the market forces tried to upend the quiet lives of the fishing communities in northern Denmark, intending to make a fast buck on the fishing riches of the Bay of Jammerbugt coastline. Mathilde Autzen recounts the inspiring story of a smart and bold pushback organized by the Thorupstrand community to reclaim their fishing rights and lay the foundation of a sustainable future.

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How noble was the Nobel this time?

William Nordhaus was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on how to address climate change using cost-benefit analysis of limiting greenhouse gases. Gurudas Nulkar helps us understand the intricate nature of Nordhaus’ research and explains why it needs closer scrutiny before any conclusions can be drawn about the long-term benefits of his work on climate change.

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Ecofeminism as Politics: nature, Marx and the postmodern (2nd edition) by Ariel Salleh.

“Ecofeminism as Politics: nature, Marx and the postmodern”, by Ariel Salleh is a seminal work, which helped redirect the often floundering debate on international environmental crises in the 1990s towards the “eurocentric capitalist patriarchal culture built on the domination of Nature, and domination of Woman ‘as nature.’ In the last twenty years, Salleh’s book has challenged us to decipher the essential link between green politics, eco-socialism, post-colonial theory and eco-feminism as we try to design meaningful alternatives to the current neoliberal dispensation. David Pellow helps us grasp Ariel Salleh’s incisive logic in this review of the second edition of her book.

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RED Conversations Series – The Emerging Idea of “Radical Well-Being”

Paul Robbins talks with Ashish Kothari about the idea of “Radical Well-Being” and the road towards realizing it. This conversation is based on a presentation made by Ashish at the 2nd Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) held in Oslo, June 2018.

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REDWeb Anniversary Series – “From Socialism to Eco-socialism – Turning Points On a Personal Journey Through The Marxist Theory of Socialism”

REDWeb completes its first year in September, and Saral Sarkar launches our anniversary initiative to understand and assess the work of Karl Marx in the context of the search for transformative alternatives. Sarkar uses his considerable experience as an analyst and an activist to help us fathom the immense integrity of Marx’s work as well as its imperfections. In this world ravaged and battered by ecological crises and economic peril for the vast majority of people, could eco-socialism be that viable path towards meaningful transformation that Marx had imagined and parsed for us?

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