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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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