REDWeb Conversations Series – Cultivating autonomy in Rojava

Rojava is a significant experiment in grass-roots democracy in a region mired in desperate political conflict. The socio-political and economic achievements made over the last few years in Rojava form an aspirational inflection point in the history of the Kurdish people as well as that of West Asia. Ashish Kothari speaks with Yasin Duman on how the Autonomous Administration in Rojava became an agent of change while establishing stability in northern Syria.

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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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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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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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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 – A Meaningful Journey

Ashish Kothari speaks with Elandria Williams and Mabrouka Mbarek about a unique journey of explorations and discovery they undertook in three cities of the United States to understand the nature of socio-economic struggle being waged by the Black communities and the political awakening it has resulted in.

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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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Reflections on the Founding of the First Ecosocialist International

The search for transformative alternatives to the current miasma of neoliberalism is very much on. Ecosocialism is one such idea finding resonance in many parts of the world. Quincy Saul recounts the thinking and the efforts behind the founding of the First Ecosocialist International.

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Mapping Grassroots Solutions: Lessons learned from the Utah Resilience Map Project

As grassroots solutions to the current neoliberal orthodoxy emerge all around us, it is important to figure out a way to make them physically accessible for people. Emily Nicolosi writes about the Utah Resilience Map, a path breaking effort putting alternatives emerging in and around Salt Lake City on a map. It’s a bold initiative which challenges the stranglehold of corporate online mapping and an emerging template for replication at other places.

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Lessons from the Kickapoo: Radical Conviviality in Community Conservation

The Kickapoo River valley in Wisconsin, USA was condemned to reckless “development” in the 1970s as a mega-dam flood control project got underway. But that move was met with resistance from the Ho-Chunk people who consider the area their sacred homeland. Paul Robbins and Marcy West recount the powerful story of a community led and focused ecological revival of the Kickapoo valley, underscoring the triumph of negotiations and collaboration over mistrust and fear.

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RED Conversations Series – “Alternative Futures: India Unshackled”

Ashish Kothari was recently on a book tour in the U.S., promoting “Alternative Futures: India Unshackled”, a book he recently co-edited with K.J. Joy. Here, he discusses the main themes of the book with Pallav Das and an audience at “Busboys and Poets”, an activist book-store in Washington D.C.

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Engaging with the Plutocene

The neoliberal dispensation governing the world is pushing it towards an ecological catastrophe while ensuring the economic and political supremacy of an entrenched elite class. Using an income-based class perspective, Marko Ulvilla and Kristoffer Wilen discuss the ways in which we could create ecologically sustainable and socially equitable post-growth societies.

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The Airport project of Notre Dame des Landes is dead! Long live the ZAD!

Newts can beat concrete! – if only we manage to build strong alliances with them. This is one of the main lessons from the 50-years long fight against the Notre Dame des Landes airport project in France. Maxime Combes and Nicolas Haeringer recount the incredible journey of a successful campaign that brought environmental activism and transformative prefigurative politics together.

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European Water Movement – Statement from FAMA in Brasilia

Multinational corporations want to transform water as a commodity and promote financialization of water bodies and ecosystems, privatizing resources and commodifying a human right. Social movements, unions, local communities, feminist groups and indigenous peoples gathered in Brazil to organize and fight against that vile attempt.

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