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social transformation

Global Tapestry Of Alternatives: Weaving Transformative Connections

Proactive responses to the multiple crises the world faces—ecological, socio-cultural, political, economic, spiritual—are widespread and diverse. They range from movements of resistance to the dominant ecologically destructive and socially inequitable model of “development” that has been imposed across the world, to people’s initiatives at constructing or sustaining ways of life that meet human needs and aspirations without despoiling the earth and exacerbating inequalities. They are emerging from Indigenous Peoples and other rural communities, from urban neighborhoods, from both the Global South and Global North, from both marginalized sections and the privileged elite.1

Another Apocalypse Is Possible

Everyone speaks about the Apocalypse as if it means “the end of the world.” But, if we really want to grasp the complexity of the contemporary threats that are leading to mass extinction, we should return to the original Greek meaning of apokalyptein as of “unveiling”, “uncovering” something. What is happening today — from the ongoing climate crisis to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic — is luckily not the end of the world just yet, but in its horrifying destruction it is a warning, a “revelation” about the near future to come.

Remembering David Graeber

David Graeber, who died tragically last week at the age of 59, was, as everyone knows, an anarchist. He didn’t like to wear it as an identity, as should be very obvious from his Twitter bio (‘I see anarchism as something you do not an identity so don’t call me the anarchist anthropologist’), but anarchism was the foundation of his politics.  He was also a friend of mine. When I was first introduced to him, I probably reacted like I was meeting Beyonce. I was a huge fan of his work – when I was doing my masters in African Studies I picked up a copy of Debt, and I credit reading it with renewing my interest in political economy (after spending my undergraduate years being told that economics meant utility functions and budget constraints).  

A Mass Uprising Is Here, Protect It From The Ruling Class

The breadth of the uprising is astounding with antiracism protests in all 50 states and more than 500 cities plus more than 13,500 arrests in 43 cities. This weekend there were larger numbers of protesters in the streets including cities and towns of all sizes. In Washington, DC, where we were, the crowds were multi-racial and crossed all ages but were dominated by black youth. People were united in their opposition to racism and police abuse and their calls for systemic change. While the crowds were notable in the nation's capital, across the country, and around the world, what stood out this week is the palpable fear emanating from the White House. President Trump, who has blown racist dog whistles from his first-day campaigning in 2016, is afraid.

A World Without Nations?

What would a world without national borders look like? Steven Colatrella has put forward a draft constitution that seeks to define the 21st Century Cosmopolis. He defines this as what he hopes will become a discussion about what the future could be. His vision is for: "A Civilization based on Self-Governing Cities and Townships, Cooperative Self-Governed Workplaces and Public Finance, Sustainable Agriculture and Renewable Energy and Universal Access to Citizenship, Income and Subsistence. And how we can start it up now and already have in many places." Hhe explains how urban areas and community assemblies have been common throughout efforts to transform government. He points out how recent occupy protests were named after cities -- Occupy Denver, Occupy DC, Occupy Oakland or after communities, Occupy Wall Street. And how this has been a long term experience, e.g. the Paris Commune, the Soviets of revolutionary era Russia (Soviet means "Council") had local worker councils in cities. He sees the urban area -- the cosmopolis -- as a natural organizing entity.

Cooperatives & Community Work Are Part Of American DNA

Curl's area of expertise is very important for those of us seeking transformational change to a new, more equitable economy and participatory democracy. His book methodically and authoritatively traces the hidden history of cooperatives, cooperation and communalism in US history. He shows how these models of economic democracy were intertwined with many of the transformational changes the country has made, including breaking from English empire, ending slavery, and gaining women's suffrage, worker rights and union rights, as well as civil rights. He also shows how economic democracy has been in constant battle with concentrated-wealth-based capitalism, which is threatened by a more equal distribution of wealth. This history is critical for advocates to understand; therefore,For All the People is essential reading.
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