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GTA's Newsletter #01 - July 2020

Editorial

Dear readers,

It is our pleasure to share Global TapestryThe weaving of networks of Alternatives of Alternative’s first newsletter with you. The Global Tapestry of AlternativesAre activities and initiatives, concepts, worldviews, or action proposals by collectives, groups, organizations, communities, or social movements challenging and replacing the dominant system that perpetuates inequality, exploitation, and unsustainabiity. In the GTA we focus primarily on what we call "radical or transformative alternatives", which we define as initiatives that are attempting to break with the dominant system and take paths towards direct and radical forms of political and economic democracy, localised self-reliance, social justice and equity, cultural and knowledge diversity, and ecological resilience. Their locus is neither the State nor the capitalist economy. They are advancing in the process of dismantling most forms of hierarchies, assuming the principles of sufficiency, autonomy, non-violence, justice and equality, solidarity, and the caring of life and the Earth. They do this in an integral way, not limited to a single aspect of life. Although such initiatives may have some kind of link with capitalist markets and the State, they prioritize their autonomy to avoid significant dependency on them and tend to reduce, as much as possible, any relationship with them. or GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives as a process or a dialogue began in 2014. Through dialogues and deliberations with several networks across the world, it was felt that there is a need of a process to facilitate the emergence, visibility and interweaving of networks of collectives and groups on radical alternatives to the dominant regime, contesting their roots in capitalist, patriarchal, racist, statist, and anthropocentric forces. In 2018, a group of activists, academics, researchers, and students came together to form an interim as well as a continuously evolving team to hold the process. In early 2019, the process was officially launched seeking endorsements and support from organisations and individuals working on wide-range of alternatives across the world.

This newsletter comes to you at times of immense uncertainties that pose very serious challenges and have social, economic, political, cultural and ecological implications for most of us. The attempt of this newsletter is to bring to you the news, perspectives, thoughts, ideas, reflections, and dialogues on alternatives to the dominant regime and how can they offer us pathways towards more just, equitable and ecologically wise futures. It is a humble attempt to bring together the collective envisioning of these pluriversal alternatives by creating a space for sharing and dialoguing.

We intend to share this newsletter every month to share perspectives, news on activities being seeded through GTA, as well as perspectives/news/thoughts/questions from tapestry weavers and endorsing organisations and networks. We do not see it as a newsletter that is simply a conglomeration of news/updates but rather as a process of knowing each-others' work, engaging with ideas, facilitating collaborations and initiating co-writing and co-learning processes. Yes, the objectives are ambitious and that is why we need your support, your contributions and engagement. We invite you to this sharing, reflecting, dialoguing, healing, and envisioning space.

GTA’s interim core team

Note: this newsletter is compiled by Shrishtee Bajpai, Anna Hedin and Franco Augusto

About the GTA

The Global Tapestry of Alternatives seeks to build bridges between networks of Alternatives around the globe and promote the creation of new processes of confluence. You can know more about the project, in our introductory note.

Keep reading ➝

Some of our alive definitions

In the context of the GTA, we defined different concepts as “Alternatives” and others to clarify the use we give to them. Keep reading ➝

News from GTA

Webinars

Post the Covid crises and dramatic change in our plans of activities, GTA initiated the process to facilitate sessions with activists, scholars, researchers, mobilisers and practitioners across the world who have engaged on exploring systemic alternatives to the dominant regimes, contesting its roots in capitalist, patriarchal, racist, statist, and anthropocentric forces. The fortnightly conversations aim to collectively explore with a range of initiatives a possibility of a just, life-centred and respectful transition into the future. It is important to explore not only what can be done, but also the tough question of how, and by whom? And where possible, to make the discussion relevant to the current crisis.

We have had six dialogues until the end of June exploring the opportunities of promoting and creating systemic alternatives.

Keep reading ➝

PeDAGoG (Post-Development Academic-Activist Global Group)

PeDAGoG is a global network of academics and academic-activists interested in post-development, radical alternatives, and related themes, initiated in early 2020. The main idea is to: share existing course curricula, materials, methods/pedagogy, and approaches; propose new ones; coordinate programmes across different geographies and cultures; and be able to offer learning experiences to people in various parts of the world, especially the global south. And through all this, contribute to the movements for radical, systemic transformation. We are collecting course materials, individual self-introductions, and links to related initiatives at a shared doc accessible at this shared document.

Our mailing list currently has 105 members from around the world, with regular discussions on new courses, pedagogy in the time of covid, and shared writings. You are invited to join the group.

News from the Weavers

Vikalp Sangam in India

By: Sujatha Padmanabhan (Vikalp Sangam, India)

Over the last few months, the world has been dealing with a multiplicity of crises that COVID-19 has brought upon it. The perils of a hyper-globalized world have never been starker.

In India, as in all other countries, marginalized sections of society have most astutely experienced the fallout of the pandemic. Groups such as migrant workers, senior citizens, sex workers, farmers, transgender people, people with disabilities and their care givers have suffered isolation, starvation, insecurities and economic hardships of an unprecedented nature. In these times, there seems to be a realization that humanity has reached a tipping point. There are greater awakenings to a need for a different world, a world that is far more just and equitable, far more ecologically resilient.

Keep reading ➝

Crianza Mutua in Mexico

CRIANZA MUTUA 1- dismantling all hirarchies, reconstructing autonomy, healing and learning

By: Itzel P. Farias Malagon (Crianza Mutua, Mexico)

Some of us are convinced that the best way to resist a system that is based on the precarization of life, dispossession and aggression, as well as patriarchal domination, is to build alternatives. This article provides an introduction to Crianza Mutua, a network of collectives in Mexico constructing alternative, creative and autonomous ways of facing up to the health and economic crisis aggravated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crianza Mutua is an initiative that proposes to identify entramados comunitarios2 that have created innovative and radical alternatives for life i.e. broken away from the dominant regime. The idea is to link them so that they learn from each other and offer each other solidarity, as well as become a source of inspiration for those who are unhappy with the current situation but do not yet know how to resist or create another possibility for life.

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Perspectives from GTA core team

"Dandelion Floating Flower" by ArtCoreStudios

The day after

By Gustavo Esteva1)

No future

We lost floor underfoot.

Our world was reasonably predictable. Suddenly, from one day to another, deep trends that allowed us to anticipate the general and probable course of events and behaviors disappeared. We can no longer foresee what will happen. We are facing radical uncertainty.

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News from the endorsing organisations

Coherence, Prayer & Active Solidarity: Learnings from the emerging “Defend the Sacred Alliance”

By Defend the Sacred Alliance

The crises we are facing as a civilization are not simply economic, political, ecological or just related to this latest pandemic. These are all symptoms of a greater polycrisis rooted in our separation from the natural world and expressed through a dominant culture that is sick at its very core.

The response from those entrenched in power has been to reassure the public that more economic growth will alleviate our problems. The response from “progressive” factions, including the large majority of activists, has been to fight back with anger, facts, and action. But what if part of the crisis is how we, as activists, are responding to the crisis? As many elders remind us, it is our best thinking that has gotten us into this mess.

Keep reading ➝

Local Futures- showing pathways to the resilient and just futures

By Alex Jensen (Local Futures)

Local Futures was founded in the late 1970s as The Ladakh Project by Helena Norberg-Hodge. It was based upon her experiences of both learning from a then-largely-intact agrarian society in what would conventionally be considered a ‘harsh’ environment (Ladakh, located in the Trans-Himalaya on the Tibetan Plateau), and witnessing first-hand its rapid deterioration under the pressures of sudden modernization as it was officially opened-up for ‘development’ by the Indian government. Helena’s experiences in Ladakh, later chronicled in her book Ancient Futures (and in a documentary film of the same title), can be considered broadly part of the early wave of what became post-development studies. She used the term ‘counter-development’ to describe the work in Ladakh, focused on supporting Ladakh’s indigenous culture by bringing information to balance the idealized images of Western culture flooding into the region through tourism and development.

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May First Movement Technology: Technology for Transformation is the Path Forward

By Alfredo Lopez and Melanie E L Bush (May First Movement Technology)

These days are filled with intensity and uncertainty. Frustration, fear and confusion emanate from the smoldering shambles of capitalism that makes it difficult to map a future by those who seek fundamental and radical change.

In times such as this, it is important to recognize and remember the few certainties we have. For example, that information technology is center-stage in the struggle for saving humanity and building a better world. The protests and resistance that we are witnessing and participating in all over the globe, are taking shape as a result of the mass and effective communications of this technology. That truth bears a certainty: this technology must be protected, expanded and creatively re-framed to better serve the needs of contemporary movements. Structural inequalities embedded within society are reflected in access to technology and must be considered in our strategic plans for building forward.

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1)
A different version of this article was published in Spanish in the issue 66, February-March 2020, of Ibero.