Which Democracy for Radical Transformation?

A Critical Global Dialogue on Democracy

By Miriam Lang, Ashish Kothari and Mabrouka M’Barek

Is democracy a stronghold of social struggles or is it rather an institutional framework imposed by capitalism? Why are fascism and different kinds of authoritarianism coming back through elections? How can the scandalous inequality that structures contemporary capitalism and obviously limits democratic decision making strongly be dealt with? What do we understand by democracy and what not, in our respective contexts? How can we strengthen processes of collective self-determination, including different languages of dignity that exist in different cultural/socio-historical/civilizational contexts of the pluriverse and might differ from the dominant language of liberal democracy?

As our world is facing many intersecting crises, we think there is an urgent need for new paradigmatic thinking about opportunities to help social transformation. One central issue in this respect is the issue of democracy.

The Global Working Group Beyond Development has invited thinkers and activists from around the world to contribute to a critical global dialogue around democracy. You can find and comment on their papers and contributions below:

  • two theoretical papers from the Global South about what democracy is and how social movements can engage with it to achieve radical transformation,
  • analyses of current social organizing around issues linked with democracy
  • case studies and videos from different parts of the world.

Miriam Lang teaches at Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador. She uses decolonial and feminist perspectives to study political ecology.

Ashish Kothari is a co-founder of Kalpavriksh, India and works on development-environment interface, biodiversity policy, and alternatives.

Mabrouka M’Barek is a former member of the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly. She helped draft the country’s new constitution in 2014.  

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