Social Ecology and the Right to the City: From the Middle East to the USA

Panel discussion with the contributors to the book “Social Ecology and the Right to the City”, organized by TRISE and Black Rose Books


Federico Venturini (activist-researcher)
Havin Guneser (Kurdish activist, publisher, and translator)
Dan Chodorkoff (author, activist, the Institute of Social Ecology)

Cities are a major cause of, but also a potential solution for, environmental and social crises. Across the world, a new wave of urban social movements are arising: movements building economic, social, and political alternatives based on solidarity, equality, and participation. At the forefront of these, social ecology is emerging as a rich body of ideas spanning disciplines as diverse as democracy, economics, and urbanism to technology, philosophy, and social development.

This discussion involves several of the contributors to Social Ecology and the Right to the City: Towards Democratic and Ecology Cities, an anthology that develops the debates at the Transnational Institute of Social Ecology’s (TRISE) conference in Thessaloniki about the dire need to rebuild our cities. It discusses the prospects of current urban movements, examines the radical potential of the concept of “the Right to the City,” and looks at how activists, scholars, and community movements can work together towards an ecological and democratic future. A fruitful conversation between theory and practice, this book opens new ground for rethinking systemic urban change in a way that transforms how we live, work, and create together.

About the Speakers

DAN CHODORKOFF: is the co-founder and former Executive Director of the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermont. For fifty years now, he has been actively committed to progressive urban and ecological movements. Chodorkoff has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the New School for Social Research, and was a longtime faculty member at Goddard College. He is the author of The Anthropology of Utopia and the novel Loisaida.

HAVIN GUNESER: is a Kurdish writer, journalist, women’s rights activist, and a spokesperson for the International Initiative Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan-Peace in Kurdistan. She is also a translator and publisher of the works of Abdullah Öcalan, a leading figure of the Kurdish liberation struggle, who has been imprisoned by the Turkish state on Imrali Island since 1999.

FEDERICO VENTURINI: is an activist-researcher working as a Research Associate at the University of Udine (Italy) studying zero waste and sustainable tourism. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds on the relations between contemporary cities and urban social movements, focussing on Rio de Janeiro. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Transnational Institute of Social Ecology and a member of the International İmralı Peace Delegation. He co-edited, Your Freedom and Mind: Abdullah Ocalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdogan’s Turkey.

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