Definition of common criteria for the weaving of Alternatives

Definition of common criteria for the weaving of Alternatives

This is the result for a collaborative process to identify common elements that facilitate the process of weaving/interconnecting the GTA's Weavers, contributed by Vikalp Sangam, Crianza Mutua Colombia, Crianza Mutua Mexico and future Weavers of this ongoing process.

Since 2022, one of the main goals for the GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives has been to strengthen and support the work of Weavers at the local level. Achieving clearer common definitions revealed to be a very important piece in the creation of the tapestry , the collaborative documentation and mapping 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..

At the same time, in the near future the GTA aims to incorporate new Weavers by identifying existing regional networks and promoting the creation of new ones. In this sense, the collective exercise to identify these common criteria is a very important one.

Vikalp Sangam, Crianza Mutua Colombia and Crianza Mutua Mexico, our current Weavers, share some assumptions about the current situation and a radical critique of patriarchy, capitalism, racism, colonialism, the nation-state domination and anthropocentrism that destroy the weave of life. These assumptions and critiques nourished the creation of the GTA and determined the shape of the criteria to identify and weave “alternatives”.

These are our common criteria to identify Alternatives and connect them by the weavers:

In terms of breaking with patriarchy, racism, casteism, classism

  • 01. The care and respect for the life of women, queer, trans and gender non-conforming people to break down patriarchal hierarchies, toxic masculinity and racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, and other violent attitudes.
  • 02. Eradicate racism, sexism, casteism, and classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism and rural-urban hierarchies in our behavior, transforming the agreements and institutions that normalize discrimination and exclusion, placing us in a new pluralistic horizon.
  • 03. Suppress hierarchies in everyday life—which implies dissolving power, command, and control structures through forms of caring organization and autonomous ways to organize collective decision-making.

In terms of breaking with the hegemony of the nation-state and the system of liberal democracy

  • 04. Strengthen rooting processes that recognize life at the local level while fostering weaving processes with other groups that are building alternatives in other places, based on the principle of interdependence, whether urban or rural, traditional, new or emergent (e.g., the reinvention of ancestral practices and knowledge in other places).
  • 05. Defending the territory which constitutes resistance to systemic domination. The defense is not only determined by geography but by all the various areas of daily life such as eating, healing, learning, sharing, dreaming, and living.
  • 06. Contribute to decolonizing and deconstructing the colonization process of the Global South, which persists after centuries, guided by current forms of neo-colonialism. Support and expand to the multiple efforts to revive the diversity of ways of being and knowing on the earth, and respect the dignity of the different languages, cultures, and faiths.
  • 07. Communitising life as an alternative organization of social life to the State, private property and the market. It entails discussing, agreeing, executing and celebrating collectively in all dimensions of life. The power lies in the rooting in the territory, in the joint decisions that imply a broad and equitable distribution of power among people in their communities and groups.
  • 08. Fostering direct, radical forms of democracy where people can take decisions in face-to-face settings, through consensus or other collectively decided modes, and strengthening mechanisms by which larger level decision-making institutions are accountable to these grassroots communities.

In terms of breaking with the capitalist system

  • 09. Break with the processes of bigger and bigger scale, that seek to globalize existence and end the forms of life at the local level that today represent hope in the face of the crisis of the system.
  • 10. Adopt in practice the principle of sufficiency, which means trying to have and use what is enough (sufficient) to live well, according to the context, while of course enhancing access to basic needs for those who do not have enough.
  • 11. Break with dependencies on the market and the State, through the construction of localized autonomy and joyous creativity that are part of community economies. Avoid seeing our activities and the natural world e around us as commodities and seek new ways to balance the production and consumption of goods in relation to the care of life. This means that all human activities related to the production, transformation and exchange of goods to satisfy genuine needs, need to be embedded in the regenerative cycles of the Earth.
  • 12. Beyond individualism, the groups share motives, rather than goals, to be together. Affection and friendship constitute the glue that nurtures relations. It is not mere “feelings”, but ways of relating to each other that become political forces. Affection and friendship become political categories that require the organization of social mechanisms/forms/institutions that encourage proximity, trust and reciprocity among the members of a given community.
  • 13. Autonomous and inter-related construction of knowledge appealing to living traditions and those emerging or re-emerging in the daily actions of many of the communities. It seems to us that it is urgent to recognize and make visible these alternatives, as inspiration for others, and promote their encounters for mutual learning.
  • 14. Making visible the importance of care work. This implies a shift from the anthropocentric emphasis of the economy on the “production” of goods to a relational conception of the economy that emphasizes the “regeneration” and sustainability of the fabric of life, cooperation and mutual aid.

In terms of breaking with the culture of anthropocentrism

  • 15. Re-integrating ourselves into nature, removing the human-nature divide; and in the case of Indigenous Peoples and others who still embody such integral living, processes to sustain them.
  • 16. Taking care of life, considering the daily activities that represent the tangible processes in communities, whether rural or urban, indigenous or otherwise. The care of life not only from an anthropomorphic way and considering the care of everything on mother earth.
  • 17. Bringing back respect for Mother Earth, other species, and the rest of nature, including (in so far as the language of rights is relevant to humans) recognizing that all of nature has inherent rights, especially in urbanized, modernized societies and communities.