TRISE 2024 Conference: Call for Contributions

The Transnational Institute of Social Ecology (TRISE) is glad to announce its next conference on 25th – 27th October 2024 in Athens, Greece!

Title: The Politics of Social Ecology: From Theory to Praxis

Context

Contemporary crises are making the struggle against capitalist modernity and its associated forms of domination more urgent than ever. The global rule of capitalism has kept intensifying labor exploitation, social inequalities, and ecological breakdown, pushing human societies and the ecosystem to their limits.

The extinction of species and the ravages of climate change, caused by a socio-economic system based on economic growth and profit, are changing, at an unprecedented pace, the conditions through which the web of life develops and evolves. The Covid-19 pandemic is only the latest manifestation of the devastating consequences of a model of society that sees nature as an enemy to conquer and an object to exploit.

In the meantime, military conflicts have once again engulfed many regions and threaten to lead to a new World War. This comes to remind us that a humanity dominated by nation-states and the profit-motive can never achieve lasting peace. Furthermore, this environment of militarization and insecurity has given a further boost to fascist tendencies worldwide that were already trying to exploit the popular indignation sparked by the 2008 economic crisis.

Yet everywhere in the world, cultures of resistance are emerging. The growing resonance of the struggles for women’s liberation, radical ecology, racial and economic justice and direct democracy testify to the emerging desire for an emancipatory future. The living examples of Zapatistas in Chiapas and the Kurds of Rojava demonstrate what non-capitalist forms of organization can look like thanks to decades of grassroots work.

Citizens are realizing that building another world through collective emancipation is not only desirable and possible, but also necessary. A rising proportion of people see the values of solidarity, mutual aid and harmony with nature as real alternatives to the neoliberal order. A reconciliation of society and nature is essential for the times to come: radical change starts from the understanding that an ecological and democratic society is not an abstract dream but a practical possibility within our reach.

In this context, the ideas of social ecology and Communalism provide a revolutionary agenda proposing a route towards a “communal society oriented towards human needs, responding to ecological imperatives, and developing a new ethics based on sharing and cooperation”. In this historic moment, marked by a deepening of the crisis of capitalism and raising hopes and demands for a better future, these ideas have much to offer to those looking for a utopian vision and a radical path.

Permeated by dialectical naturalism, social ecology presents two important complementary projects that go beyond abstract social theory. On the one hand, it challenges the current capitalist system and all forms of oppression, including racism, ethno-centrism, and patriarchy. On the other hand, it offers a reconstructive and revolutionary vision for an ecological post-scarcity society. Social ecology tackles the current societal struggles that surface in both urban and rural contexts, while addressing central questions about our relationship with nature, science, and technology.

What is more, social ecology suggests how to construct a new society, promoting prefigurative political strategies that include affinity groups and citizen assemblies, the formation of directly-democratic social movements, as well as educational projects. Social ecology provides an ethics of complementarity that lays the foundation of struggles for mutual aid, self-determination, decentralization, gender liberation, horizontalism, and egalitarianism.

In order to achieve this vision of a desirable future, collective answers to multiple challenges need to be explored. From the periphery to the centers of capitalism, these answers take many shapes and forms, illustrating the nature of the movement itself: decentralized, autonomous and evolving. To create successful and long-lasting alternatives, connections between these diverse initiatives need to be developed. Their members need to meet, train, dialogue, share strategies and build networks.

For these purposes, Transnational Institute of Social Ecology (TRISE),  is organizing  its next International Encounter in Athens in October 2024. The Encounter aims to respond to the need to build the movement through a series of activities including presentations and workshops. It will gather citizens, activists, and researchers at the forefront of these multiple struggles for desirable common futures.

Call for contributions

For this Encounter, we welcome any intervention in dialogue with social ecology that aims at addressing one of the following themes and challenges:

  1. Economics & Self-sufficiency. The first theme explores the ecological and material basis of human societies. With the impending collapse of globalized neoliberalism, reinventing our forms of production and consumption around just and ecological principles is a dire necessity. This concerns all sectors : agriculture and food sovereignty, housing, electricity and energy, and urbanism. The role of technology and its social matrix will be determining factors in these deep changes to the material basis of our economies. To explore these challenges we welcome contributions which address the following questions:
  • Which strategies and practices towards non-capitalist forms of production and consumption do we need to explore and adopt?
  • How are we to transform our agriculture in order to produce and distribute food ecologically?
  • What should be the role of technology in an ecological society?
  • What forms of housing and construction could be (re)invented?
  1. Democracy & Self-management. The second theme deals with power structures and social organization. Recovering political power requires the creation of radically democratic institutions: libertarian municipalism and democratic confederalism provide inspiration for self-organization based on the principles of autonomy, mutual aid, direct democracy, feminism, and ecology. The liberation of women and the struggle against patriarchy are key priorities for alternative forms of organization and structures. Building and nurturing these will further depend on the types of education and approaches to pedagogy that we develop in our communities. To explore these challenges, we welcome contributions addressing the following questions:
  • How can direct-democratic institutions be formed and nourished?
  • How do feminist struggles for women’s liberation necessarily inform the creation of radically democratic institutions?
  • How can education and pedagogy be (re)invented to nurture mutual aid,  care and restorative justice, rather than competition?
  1. Global challenges & Common futures. The third theme focuses on challenges faced at the global scale. Racial and colonial forms of domination are inseparable from ecological collapse in a context where colonial legacies continue to shape mindsets, attitudes, and relationships between people. Decolonization movements are at the forefront of the deconstruction of this heritage, with multiple movements directly linking it to the climate emergency and biodiversity loss. Climate and environmental justice movements are rapidly growing, highlighting the social justice and human rights dimension of the crisis. In parallel, the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the wars in Ukraine and Palestine illustrate the urgent need to build new forms of internationalism capable of creating solidarity and mutualistic networks across borders and continents. To deal with these global issues we welcome contributions addressing the following questions:
  • How can decolonial approaches contribute to global emancipation?
  • What is the role of internationalism and how can it answer the needs of social movements?

Format of the Encounter

The events of this Encounter will go beyond the traditional conference format and involve a hybrid and interactive approach. Three main blocks will be integrated: first, an educational component, second, a learning by listening component and third a learning by doing component. Through these main blocks we aim to go beyond theory towards practice and vice versa. The educational component is reserved for TRISE members and selected local activists. These blocks are outlined as follows:

  1. Educational component 
  • This component will be composed of the following activities
    • Talks by TRISE members on the history of social ecology, the overview of current municipalist movements, talks about Rojava and Zapatismo, jineology and feminism
    • Organization of workshops on social ecology and related practices (assemblies, restorative justice, peace processes etc.)
    • Discussion of papers and workshops to be presented and proposals for the future
  1. Learning by listening component
  • This component will be composed of the following activities: 
    • Interactive panels
    • Keynote speeches
    • Paper presentations
  1. Learning by doing component
  • This component will be composed of the following activities:
    • Visiting grassroots initiatives in Athens
    • Workshops & activities

Submit your idea! 

We accept contributions to the program for the theoretical and the practical components. Activities in the educational component will be delivered by TRISE members and selected local activists. For the theoretical part of the program, we welcome abstracts for papers and for the practical, proposals for workshops and similar activities.

To submit your abstract and/or workshop proposal, please send a brief description (500 words max) and a short bio (100 words max) to info@trise.org.

Accepted speakers will be invited to produce a full paper (5000 words max) that will be circulated among the other presenters prior to the conference. Only presenters with a submitted paper will be allowed to present during the conference.

Calendar

Deadline for abstracts: End of May 2024
Communication of abstract accepted: June 2024
Submission of full paper: September 2024
TRISE Conference: 25th – 27th October 2024

Let’s make this Encounter an opportunity to meet, share, and contribute to building the communalist movement!

For any information, please contact info@trise.org

March 27, 2024

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