GTA's Newsletter #04 - May 2021

GTA's Newsletter #04 - May 2021


Dear readers,

It is our pleasure to share Global TapestryThe weaving of networks of Alternatives 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.' third newsletter with you. The Global Tapestry of Alternatives or GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives as a process or a dialogue began in 2014 and was officially launched in the year 2019.

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.

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 current dominant regime. Importantly, what can do they offer us as pathways towards 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 two months 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.

This newsletter features updates from our weavers in India (Vikalp Sangam), Mexico (Crianza Mutua), and Colombia (Crianza Mutua), updates on GTA's activities, community responses and perspectives in these times from our endorsing networks- The African Earth Jurisprudence Collective, Global Alliance for Rights of Nature, Global Ecovillage Network, and a fascinating piece by eco-feminist Ariel Salleh.

This newsletter is compiled by: Shrishtee Bajpai, Anna Hedin, Upamanyu Das and Franco Augusto.

News from GTA

Webinars and online activities

Weaving Systemic Alternatives from the Global South

A conversation with the Global Tapestry of Alternatives, presented by EDGE Founders Alliance

As the world struggles to find ways out of multiple global crises (ecological, climate, inequality, health), we need to heed myriad voices emerging from Indigenous Peoples and other local rural and urban communities. There are thousands of alternatives, grounded in specific ecological and socio-economic contexts, and based on diverse worldviews and ethics that are profoundly different from the currently dominant system. These alternatives cover the full range of human concerns, including food, water, health, education, livelihoods, governance, culture, justice, while attempting to sustain all life on earth.

They are, however, often isolated and fragmented. There is a need to build more bridges amongst them to enable cross-cultural and cross-sectoral collaborations, mutual learning and critical engagement, collective envisioning of possible futures, and a critical mass for macro-change. The Global Tapestry of Alternatives (GTA) aims to be a non-hierarchical process, seeking to weave together myriad networks of alternatives across the world. Though formally initiated in 2019, it builds on much longer experience of related work by its constituents.

The webinar will present this vision, illustrated by real-life experiences from various parts of the world, and the kind of actions being undertaken or proposed by GTA to achieve its objectives. The list of speakers from GTA includes Arturo Escobar (Colombia), Marta Music (ex-Yugoslavia); Alejandra Jiménez Ramírez (Mexico); Ashish Kothari (India) and Vasna Ramasar (South Africa).

Feminist Alternatives to the "New Normality"

Inspired by the work of community support networks of marginalized groups located on the peripheries of institutional power, the aim of this webinar is to explore feminist alternatives to the new normality which go beyond the State and policy recommendations. This activity will bring together members of different feminist movements, organizations and collectives from the “Global South” to continue amplifying grassroots feminist alternatives that emerged during the pandemic and collectively explore how to build and consolidate feminist economies and societies centered around care and the sustainability of life.

This webinar took place on past March 13th. The video recording is available online in our website.

Update from Vikalp Sangam, India

Several activities were carried out by or with Vikalp Sangam in the February-April 2021 period.

A ‘Local Food System Workshop 2021’ was held in Puducherry, southern India, by several organisations including the Vikalp Sangam Core Group member Social Entrepreneurship Association. This is part of a series of events to highlight and spread local, organic, biodiverse food traditions and innovations, and urban farming efforts.

A three-day workshop, “Pluriverse – An immersion into plural worlds of justice” was held by some VSVikalp Sangam (India) Core Group member organizations at Swaraj University in Udaipur, Rajasthan, on 19-21 March 2021. 28 participants from 11 different states discussed topics like Ubuntu, Buen Vivir, Swaraj; Democratic Autonomy in Kurdistan, ecology and women's liberation; Alternative Economy and the Commons; Alternative Education; and Degrowth. The sessions were planned around the books 'Pluriverse: A Post-development Dictionary' and 'Alternative Futures: India Unshackled'.

As part of the series “Extraordinary Work of ‘Ordinary’ People: Beyond Pandemics and Lockdowns”, showcasing stories of community resilience in COVID times, two more volumes came out: • One on stories from the western Himalaya in India, with 10 stories of communities, women, youth who were able to sustain livelihoods or food security and other basics during the pandemic. The document is available here. • One on efforts of youth-led initiatives, ‘Youth Stories of Hope, Resilience and Collective Dreaming’.

As part of our on-going work with youth, two films were made: one on the Youth Vikalp Sangam held in 2019 primarily for tribal youth, and the second on school students’ support to a campaign to save a part of a bird sanctuary from getting denotified.

Plans for organising a Western Himalaya Vikalp Sangam (Alternatives Confluence) in the state of Uttarakhand in mid-May, have had to be postponed due to the rising COVID wave in India. However, discussion and policy notes on Agriculture and land-based livelihoods, Climate change in the Himalaya, Youth action, and Tourism have been drafted, and there are plans for some local ground-level discussions wherever safe, and online discussions leading up to a physical gathering later in 2021.

The Vikalp Sangam Communications team has been regularly putting out posts on various social media channels. Stories from the ‘Extraordinary Work of ‘Ordinary’ People (described above), or from films made specially for Vikalp Sangam, are converted into posters and memes for this purposes. Additionally members of the VS Core Group are interviewed or video bytes taken from them, to post.

Meanwhile, the VS website continues to grow, with several more stories written specially for the site and many picked up from elsewhere on a range of subjects and in multiple languages.

Updates from Crianzas Mutuas

by Patricia Botero-Gómez and Alejandra Jimenez

The process of mutual nurturing has been sharing knowledge, knowledge, solidarity between peoples, groups and communities in resistance. In the second meeting of mutual nurturing we shared with 38 groups linked to peoples, organizations and communities in processes of defense of life from the autonomic resistance, we formed learning communities with which we have been interacting in each of the bioregions and with some itineraries to the processes of each territory.

Weaving from below has become one of the most forceful ways to create alternatives to mega-projects of development from the custody and care of the seeds, the same that allow us to heal ourselves and the earth. Likewise, we have strengthened the tapestry of different processes and paths with which we agree on the importance of strengthening communicative autonomies for counter-hegemonic purposes; share experiences from the Pluriveresities of on foot (Pluriversidades de a pie), guard the stories from the narratives of sisterhood, and the personal and communal, all of them as practices that we do to defend life, joy and dignity. In this way, with our tissues we try to suture broken intergenerational, socio-territorial and communal weavings, sharing our forms of action from our own experiences, beyond localism and globalism, is a source of co-inspiration for all worlds.

Also, in recent months the pandemic has been a challenge that we have been facing, without ceasing to continue weaving and sharing our paths, by the means we have at our disposal today, seeking in the near future the possibility of having face-to-face meetings. We recently inaugurated our radio space, which we named “Crianza Mutua. Experiences of new worlds”, which we will be transmitting weekly through Radio Unitierra and different friendly community radio stations such as Radio Padiushri. In this first transmission we had the interview of the independent editorial collective: “Fusilemos la noche”. We invite you to listen to it soon on Untierra's Sound Cloud Site.

Updates from endorsers

New endorsers

  • African Biodiversity Network
  • International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples
  • MINGAnet (Colombia)
  • Alexander Dunlap, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway.
  • Martha Giraldo, Colombian, naturist, Coordinator for MINGAnet a network of networks to life care.

The African Earth Jurisprudence Collective: Navigating towards a Resilient Future

by The African Earth Jurisprudence Collective

A new, uniquely African hope is emerging to counter threats to the continent’s most precious ecosystems and to revive ways of life that restore the relationship between communities and their lands and waters after centuries of colonial harm. The African Earth Jurisprudence Collective is made up of dedicated Earth Jurisprudence Practitioners from across East, West, Central and Southern Africa, working closely with The Gaia Foundation and the Siama Programme. Together they accompany local and Indigenous communities to put into practice African alternatives to the destructive industrial development model, helping to navigate towards a more resilient future for the continent.

Keep reading ->

Nature is alive, she has rights

by Natalia Greene for Global Alliance for Rights of Nature

Nature is alive, and she has the right to exist.

This seems obvious; even a child wouldn’t question this assessment. Why then isn’t Nature rec-ognised as a subject of rights in local, national and global jurisprudence? The answer is that people are afraid that if Nature has rights, it will challenge corporate power and thereby the economy. However, it’s important to remember that the Latin root for ‘economy’ is eco, oikos, home, for our home. Our planet is at risk, and so are all her inhabitants. To regain the harmoni-ous balance, we need systemic change and recognising the rights of Nature is that ground-breaking paradigm shift.

Keep reading ->

Building the New Normal

by Global Ecovillage Network

“Until living from a place of love within becomes the New Normal, our global problems that are symptoms of that love’s absence, will remain.”

During this past year, we have heard the term “the New Normal” buzzing around in many countries around the world. It has generally been associated with social distancing, work from home, heightened hygiene, as well as empty roads, skyrocketing online shopping, and closed borders.

Keep reading ->

Re-Worlding—with a Pluriversal New Deal

by Ariel Salleh

So where to start but with the Anthropocene, this non-sensical civilisation where the ‘means’ to life has overtaken ‘ends’.

The Eurocentric fantasy of mastering nature has always been a problematic ontology. Ecologically minded feminists believe this ancient drive to power re-enacts a sublimated form of ‘mother killing’, allowing men to ‘birth themselves culturally’ without dependence on mysterious natural flows. In any event, pandemic anxieties have released a shadow epidemic of terror by men on to the bodies of women. French statistics show a 30-per-cent rise in domestic violence; in Australia the figure is said to be 50 per cent.

Keep reading ->