Power to destroy, power to create: building a culture of resistance towards radical social change
Date: Monday, 25 – 27 October 2019
Location: Athens, Greece
Since the collapse the Soviet Union and more recently with the resurgence of populist and fascist governments, the global Left is in disarray; but regional and local alternatives to capitalist modernity are emerging.
The Zapatistas in Oaxaca and the Kurds in Rojava represent nowadays the most admirable examples of living non-capitalist forms of social organization. Since 1994, the Zapatistas provide an example of autonomous organization, through their Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Councils of Good Government). Similarly, the Kurds, since 2011, are putting into practice the principles of communalism and democratic confederalism in Rojava. Both examples are actualized expressions of decades of grassroots work, putting into daily practice the principles of horizontality, autonomy and democracy. However, they are specifically shaped by their historical, cultural and geographical contexts at different distances from the core of capitalism, with important consequences on their struggles and practices.
At the same time, all around the globe, we are witnessing a renovated interest in municipalist politics and many different initiatives have sprawled, including throughout Europe. From citizen platforms and networks to diverse forms of municipal governments, this growing movement builds from the bottom-up a new political culture adapting to local contexts. They collectively respond to the urgency to transfer and transform power structures and institutions at the municipal level.
Expanding and spreading these ideas on social change is crucial and necessary in order to adapt these principles to local scale and local needs. Committed researchers and activists should look at these emerging examples of social change and determine how to accommodate all the different sensibilities and contexts of the millions of people that are mobilizing around the world. Moreover, they should understand the necessity of learning from variegated and differently located experiences and use them to reflect on and enhance emancipatory praxis, in order to maintain an active thinking and avoiding the danger of ossified theorization.
To develop a truly democratic and ecologically oriented society, a culture of resistance, an authentic reconstructive and revolutionary path, is required. This vision should be able to dialogue with local cultures and needs, towards the achievement of freedom (Bookchin 1982).
Building a culture of resistance is a process that answers the call of Chodorkoff (2011) to “remember and imagine”. On one hand, we have to remember and analyse the past, what we did, what ‘they’ did, and whether it worked or not. Building a culture of resistance implies to unite all the different forms of resistance all around the world. Resistance here refers to Bookchin’s idea (1988) of the ‘power to create’: not only forms of protest but also all forms of social (re)constructive projects. On the other, we must be able to use our imagination to explore new and alternative emancipatory praxis, deploying them differently depending on the time and context. At the same time, an imaginative transformation is needed to translate and create new forms of resistance that speak the language of specific communities. A culture of resistance tells the past but also talks to the future. The holistic approach of social ecology has much to offer for this mission.
Furthermore, a culture of resistance aims to go beyond the divide between activists versus common people. A culture of resistance is, moreover, not limited to a specific geographical space or to a specific time, but is an effort to decolonize practices of resistance that resonate all over the world. The culture of resistance is aimed not only to build bridges between these different geographical, economic and social contexts, from the core to the periphery, from the Global North to the Global South, but also to help solving the tension between particular and universal, towards a unity-in-diversity.
It is within this conceptual and practical context that TRISE 2019 conference is welcoming submissions that specifically respond to the mission to build a culture of resistance on different scales and through different political agendas. In this vision, we welcome proposals that include and discuss the following central themes:
- Learning and sharing from case studies
- Which are the innovative aspects and lessons to take from the Kurdish and/or Zapatistas examples?
- Which are the innovative aspects and lessons to take from the growing municipalist movement?
- How and what can we learn from different experiences to build a culture of resistance?
- How can we envision new forms of production and a new economy? How can organic farming and alternative technologies contribute?
- Local solutions to the socio-ecological crisis
- Which strategies can we envision for dealing with climate change?
- How can ecology (and natural sciences) contribute to local autonomy and emancipation?
- How can we organize collective restoration of degraded rural & urban landscapes?
- Municipalism and resistance: contributions from social ecology
- How can social ecology contribute to build a culture of resistance?
- Which is the role of dual power and how can it be achieved?
- How can we create & strengthen ecological and municipal economies?
- The role of research & education for knowledge production and spreading
- How can research and knowledge contribute to build a culture of resistance?
- Which is the role of revolutionary education?
- What is the role of alternative institutions for liberating access and sharing of knowledge?
- How can we build knowledge horizontally both inside and outside of academia?
Please send your abstract (300 words max) and a short bio (100 words max) to info[at]trise.org
Full paper (4000 word max) will be circulated among the presenter prior of the conference.
After the conference papers will be evaluated for publication in an edited book.
Deadline for abstracts: 31st May 2019
Communication of abstract accepted: 30th June 2019
Submission of full paper: 31st August 2019
Information will come regarding keynote speakers and logistical information.
For any information please info[at]trise.org