Assembly #8 - 07/07/2023

Assembly #8 - 07/07/2023

Date and time


  • Note: to be able to switch the audio interpretation channel:
    • In Chrome: go to chrome://flags/, in your URL bar, and enable “Experimental Web Platform features”
    • In Firefox: go to about:config, in your URL bar, and enable “media.track.enabled”


  • Check-in and sharing
  • Physical Assembly in Kenya updates, logistics, planning, ideas and involvement from members
    • GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives Physical Assembly intent and programme
    • Funding status
    • Translations
    • Ideas on how can we make the assembly relevant for people who are not attending
    • Care guidelines for the assembly
    • Q & A
  • GTA Assembly members' updates and potential support/involvement from GTA
  • Upcoming events
  • Other secondary topics
    • Suggestions for new endorsers if any
    • Expanding GTA Assembly Facilitation Team
    • Updates of other actions of GTA (reports, periodicals, mapping, etc).

Minutes of Meeting

Moderated by Vera Kozak and Priscilla Trinh Minutes by Mugdha Trifaley

  • The meeting started with a short exercise on grounding, conducted by Vera from Post Growth Institute. The grounding was extremely helpful for the two-hour intensive discussion ahead.
    • Urvi then conducted some breakout rooms for an easier introduction of all the members of the meeting, deciding on the prompt ‘foods we disliked in our childhoods, and then changed our minds about in our adult life’. The prompt was an excellent decision for the Assembly, as a lot of the discussion centred around collaboration and connection through food as visualised in the Physical Assembly held in Kenya 8th-15th August.
    • Priscilla reviewed the agenda for this assembly, which featured an in-depth discussion in preparation for the above-mentioned Physical Assembly. This included a check-in, set-ups for translation, documentation of the Assembly and Care Guidelines.
    • Vasna introduced the Global TapestryThe weaving of networks of Alternatives for the newcomers. We were heartened by the number of interested participants! Vasna specifically emphasised the GTA as a process, weaving radical alternatives and being a network of networks.
    • Vasna also took point in introducing the Developing Programme for the Physical Assembly in Kenya. She mentioned that the Core Group along with Melanie Bush were heavily involved in this Programme’s creation, and how this was a very exciting project as it would be the first time we as the GTA would gather as a group and reaffirm the building of affection, solidarity and home that ties us all together; having connected and shared to contribute to this ever-evolving process. She further highlighted the importance of taking ‘earthy steps’ in achieving the programme’s objectives, as opposed to concrete ones.
    • This conference is going to be far from conventional; it is, rather, an UnConference, intent on exploring the following five critical threads:
    1. Reflect from the different alternatives and territories that we are located in.
    2. Centring grassroots movements and weavers, thereby acknowledging power dynamics; then, weaving outwards with endorsers and core groups.
    3. Building connection, collaboration and alternatives together.
    4. All of us reflecting upon our own doing in a dialogue that weaves together, as owners of our own processes.
    5. Acknowledging the diversity and how people are constructing their alternatives to take care of life in different ways according to the struggles they face and the varied types of resources they can access.
    • The framework for this Assembly includes a slow and care-ful approach to building relationships, decentring power and dismantling hierarchies in this ‘UnConference’, and practising deep listening and engaging in playful encounters along with feeling and doing as much as thinking. All these elements contribute to making an open and adaptable programme that flows with the Assembly.
    • Following in this vein, Vasna then elaborated on each day’s proposed roadmap of activities and discussions:
    1. Day 1 involving general introductions to everyone in the Assembly and setting the intentions with thematic conversations surrounding aspects of weaving together a Radical Pluriverse 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., including sharing regional experiences. Concluding with reflections in plenary and planning for a deeper dive into alternatives in the following days.
    2. Day 2 focussing on a check-in with ourselves and each other, to see if we are indeed centring the importing things when discussing these critical threads with care, followed by the Weavers sharing about their struggles World-Cafe style along with the work they’re doing on alternatives. Then, engaging in Sharing Activities which would help us acknowledge our embodied experience and connect through our hearts and senses. Concluding with reflecting in plenary, as on Day 1.
    3. Day 3 picking up on the previous day’s thoughts and ideas, beginning with a check-in in a similar vein to Day 2. Then, conducting a session on Weaving a Global Tapestry of Alternatives and nourishing the GTA process, the weaver processes, the endorser work and new ideas/connections that have emerged. Concluding on reflecting in plenary, as on Day 2, and planning for Day 4.
    4. Day 4 concentrating on earthy plans and setting the steps to walk our path together, making the time to agree on the steps we want to take collectively and the different roles, responsibilities and timeframes we want to set for building our Tapestry together. Emphasising on all participants contributing to a collective creation, like a piece of art. Closing with a gratitude ritual by collectively meditating and contemplating on the past four days and the joys of the work that lies ahead.
    • Vasna also highlighted the importance of care and play throughout this assembly, making the time to engage with intentions and also making the time to breathe, to reflect and to feel.
    • There needs some preparation to be done in advance, including filling the survey (link:, reading through some preparatory material about the GTA, and letting the team know about anything specific the participants would like to arrange at the Assembly. The participants are also requested to bring something of significance to their movement, culture or land that can be shared or done together. This Assembly will be a process that is ever-evolving, fluid and open and facilitates movement between hearts, minds and bodies, rather than just an intellectual exercise.
    • Franco talked about SALT, the space of the Assembly, located near Nairobi in Kenya. The initial reservation has been made for 60 people, for comfort and ease of connection and interaction. Out of the 60, the team has wanted 50 to come from international contexts, and 10 from local spaces. The distribution of the participants comes from different components of the GTA, including the Weavers and some Endorsers. The emphasis has been on balancing between geographical localisation, requesting one from each locale so as to represent the diversity within the GTA. 53-57 participants are expected in the Assembly, within which an approximate 20 are from the Weavers, 20 are from the Endorsers and 15 from the Core team. The team has managed to get funding for most people coming from the Global South; it has been a struggle because the cost of flights has been steadily increasing. The team has been able to get extra funding, however, from different supporters such as the Swiss Foundation and Greenpeace, and there has been a level of self-funding from participants as well. This entire process has been an exercise in sharing, a collective effort to maintain the balance of participation in many ways.
    • The political standpoint has always been on holding this meeting in a location where all is not what it seems, in a way; hosting the assembly in a space where international gatherings are not usually held. Thus, Simon Mitambo from SALT has been instrumental in the process of exploring the local culture fully. The Assembly will be held from 8th to 15th June; however, the Core Team are meeting beforehand. One or two days have already been selected to devote some time to visit surrounding communities.
    • The funding has been sufficient enough to also support professional translation and documentation processes, which is integral for the Mapping of the GTA going forward.
    • The physical nature of this Assembly is integral because of the ‘building’ part of the agenda. The dynamic of sharing can be fostered keenly through this physical presence.
    • The Kenya Assembly page on the GTA website has a set of questions that the Weavers have answered in detail, both in terms of individual perspectives and collective reflections. (2023-kenya)
    • There are certain shared elements to all the Weavers in this Tapestry, in terms of what they wish to both contribute and gain through this process. They want to learn, share, weave, reflect, build solidarity, and take back this rewarding experience, among many other elements.
    • They also agree on the importance of Community and Grassroots movements, enkindling solidarity across borders, and learning from African communities as well as weaving youth organisations together.
    • In this Assembly, recognising and acknowledging each other’s struggles is extremely important. This is a tapestry of many stories, and so there is a need to learn from old ways of culture passed down through generations while also acknowledging and promoting new ways of life countering these struggles. In this, the youth can maintain the balance between the old and the new.
    • Further, we need to identify extractivist ways of knowledge and resist these methods by freely sharing our experiences. The big picture is vital here: how we feel integrated and act to make others feel this connection.

    After a 5 minute break to recharge our systems, Priscilla then proceeded to elaborate on both the care guidelines for the 9th Assembly, and possible ways for interpretation and documentation to open dialogue between not only the participants of the 9th Assembly but also the participants unable to attend it at this point in time. The floor was subsequently opened to insights by the participants of this 8th Assembly.

    • Marco from Ecoversities shared that he’s touched by the spirit of the 9th Assembly, the relational and collective intentions. The challenge, as he sees it, is going to be in methodology, as this meeting is going to have more than 50 participants. It is essential to weave with our hearts, using our collective intelligence and integrating it within the methodologies, and so he asks for any members with experience in conducting such a gathering to share their insights.
    • Melanie from MayFirst Movement Technology also prompted us to think about what we are creating together, and how it may be represented materially.
    • Vasna answered a few queries regarding interpretation and translation, commenting that translation is essential for the inclusion of many different communities, and so the team plans to have professional translating services and simultaneous translators to smoothen the sharing of information. If that fails, whisper translation is always an option, but the preference is for professionals.
    • Continuing this thread of enquiry, Vasna also elaborated on the care guidelines for this 9th Assembly. As so many people from vastly different cultures are participating in this Assembly, it is important to note the care taken with each interaction. To make this process somewhat easier, the team has defined a set of guidelines that can be used in interactions, and also resources to manage any conflicts that may arise in this time. Some guidelines include embracing curiosity, sharing generously, practising humbleness, staying with the trouble, and acknowledging the generative nature of conflict. Conflicts can actually help us grow and develop!
    • Franco then explained the process of documentation in a bit more depth, especially about how this process will cover the production of knowledge and memories in the Assembly. The implementation also needs to be highlighted, as many participants have expressed an interest in helping compile the text, photography and images produced during the Assembly. Some aspects of this are collaborative, but some need a more systematic approach.
      Franco and Marco have thus developed some ideas that may be helpful in this process. It would be beneficial to have a 5-7 minute video of the Assembly itself, and an ‘official’ video about the GTA with the participants’ voices featured within it. There can be short videos of 1-2 minutes to enhance the collective tapestry. There can also be thematic videos of 1-3 minutes that have pertinent reflection capsules to focus on giving the ‘weavers’ inputs for reflection/actions. A micro-documentary of the GTA lasting 9-20 minutes will be a vast help in chronicling this Assembly, including various voices and views of the GTA (past, present, and future). Most importantly, the raw footage and main script of a 30-40 minute documentary about the alternatives movement, the history and main concepts, and the weaving among the pluriverse can be shot in Kenya and then worked on using a dedicated team specific support at a later time.
    • Mauricio agreed on the importance of documentation, as an exercise to reflect on this meaningful shared experience. In terms of conducting the Assembly, some chaos is to be expected; thus, it would be helpful to have flexibility and fluidity regarding the flow of conversations and interactions. This process needs to be grounded by respecting indigenous voices and experiences, always coming back to the collective.
    • Melanie commented that there is an opportunity for the GTA to publish their documentation in an Open Access journal’s special issue, called ‘Liberation Conversations to imagine and Build out of South Africa’, which can be a collective reflection of the Assembly.
    • In terms of updates with the Weavers, Vikalp Sangam has recently had a new member join the team, by the name of Mugdha Trifaley. She will be taking over for Urvi Shah. There was also a request for submissions for the ‘Weaving Alternatives’ periodical.
    • Natalia updated the Assembly about Crianza Mutua Mexico and Crianza Mutua Columbia's book ‘Pluro-Utopias’, which they hope to bring to Kenya.
    • Post-Kenya, there is going to be a Regional Conference of Ecoversities happening in Mexico, hosted by the Peasant School, a World Conference in Croatia, and a conference by Planet Local for Local Futures happening in Bristol at the end of September. There is also a Summer Intensive Course being held by the Institute for Social Ecology on Black Radical Tradition and Social Ecology, in Detroit, in the USA.
    • The Alternatives Project is also having a conference on the Power of Protest, for which the Call for Papers deadline is on 24th July.
    • Melanie’s suggestion for the Periodical would be to have an Upcoming Events section, so as to foster further connections within the Tapestry.