Swift Foundation

Swift Foundation

Proposal contents

We need to send them a 2-3 page note with our Mission, broad Vision, and project description including objectives, who is participating (endorsers etc) and activities. Also include budget.

Mission and vision of the GTA

Across the world, there is resistance to the dominant, ecologically destructive and socially inequitable model of ‘development’ that has been imposed by capitalist, statist, and patriarchal forces. Simultaneously there is a search for radical, systemic alternatives to this model. Such alternatives may be re-assertions of ancient ways of being that remain very relevant, in old or new forms, such as the worldviews and lifestyles of many indigenous peoples or other traditional communities, or the recommoning of spaces. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, they may be more recent emergences and articulations such as ecofeminism, degrowth, and the digital commons.

The 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. (GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives) is an initiative seeking to create solidarity networks and strategic alliances amongst all these alternatives on local, regional and global levels. We understand Alternatives as 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 unsustainability. 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.

The GTA locates itself in or helps initiate interactions among alternatives. It operates through varied and light structures, defined in each space, that are horizontal, democratic, inclusive, and non-centralized, using diverse local languages and other ways of communicating. The initiative has no central structure or control mechanisms. It spreads step by step as an ever-expanding, a complex set of tapestries, woven together by already existing communal or collective webs, building on already existing and new alternatives to dominant regimes. It promotes or joins regional, national, and global encounters, when the conditions allow for them, as well as close and synergistic linkages with existing organizations, like the World Social Forum.

A Global Tapestry of Alternatives is about creating spaces of collaboration and exchange, in order to learn about and from each other, critically but constructively challenge each other, offer active solidarity to each other whenever needed, interweave the networks of initiatives in common actions, give them visibility to inspire other people to create their own networks of alternatives, and take on collective advocacy where required.

The GTA process began to take shape in 2018 and is advancing today with the support of more than 40 international organizations and several dozen practitioner-activist-intellectuals from around the world. Its mission is embodied in a road map consisting of various actions already underway. These are mainly focused on the production of knowledge, the generation of debates, the dissemination of alternative initiatives, the interconnection of processes, and the creation of earthy tools to promote the weaving of alternatives.

Project description

This project is titled “Weaving Radical Alternatives for Self-reliant and Autonomous Communities” and seeks to develop an investigative process that is part of the more general set of strategies and actions of the Global Tapestry of Alternatives. Specifically, we intend to carry out a collaborative process at the global level to identify, document and disseminate networks and platforms of “radical alternative” experiences that carry out local, place-based economic, political, and social initiatives and processes that are ecologically and culturally rooted while striving for social equity. Although there are thousands of initiatives within this cut, our emphasis will be on those that deploy earthy forms of socioeconomic organising not completely dependent on capitalist markets, and not dependent on government or state agencies. We consider that these unique or special initiatives, earthy utopias, real utopias or ‘nowtopias’ that already exist (imperfect, but demonstrating the potential of radical transformation), contain clues, learnings and elements of enormous importance for the inspiration and multiplication of other alternative actions to the existing hegemonic regimes. In times of deep global crises, where there is no longer any future for communities and people in the structures and institutions of capitalism or statism (building on patriarchy, racism, and other forms of discrimination), it is crucial to recover, make visible and weave these empirical wisdoms and the worldviews they are based on.

It is not about identifying abstract concepts or inventing new ones, we look for real experiences that express in an earthy and profound way ideas such as Local non-Capitalist markets; Economics of subsistence; Community and Local currencies; Non-monetary exchanges; Gift Economies and time-banking; Traditional Communal Work-types; Altruist Economy; Natural Economy inspired practices; Commons and commoning; Self-determination, autonomy and self-rule; Radical and direct democracy; Community (including food/energy/water) sovereignty; Agroecology; among others. We understand that these “alternative initiatives” on a local and human scale, are directly connected to non-hegemonic ethical-philosophical worldviews, cosmologies, theories and principles, such as ubuntu, buen vivir and sumak kawsay and kamatse asaike, swaraj, kyosei, and many others including new ones like ecofeminism, ecosocialism, and degrowth… a true pluriverse of alternatives. We also understand that these are the earthy and prototypical expressions that will give rise to possible and necessary fair and just, eco-centered and self-sufficient socio-economic-political models or approaches. That is why we must collectively acknowledge, value, understand and inter-connect them, and also build global solidarity to help protect them against threats posed by the dominant system.

We want to highlight a subset of initiatives that have advanced more deeply in autonomy processes through direct dialogue with them and with the direct collaboration of the existing collective actors that networks and weaves them. For this component of the GTA, focused on local economies and polities, it is proposed to advance in the weaving of existing networks (such as the two initiating networks of the GTA, Vikalp Sangam in India and Crianza Mutua in Mexico), generating new forms of dialogue and exchange, always focusing on grassroots experiences in the territories and aiming to promote a new and currently non-existent collaborative process. This process will help generate a communal space of knowledge where these initiatives are documented, mapped and put into inter-relationships.

This research will be carried out in a distributed and decentralized way, from a non-academic but still rigorous logic and seeking to complement the processes already underway carried out by GTA and its allies. The emerging documentary records will be made available in textual, graphic and audiovisual formats on a common open source web platform based on “wiki culture” and peer production models. This resource, co-built by the alternatives and networks themselves, will be available to stimulate interconnected learning between them, attending to their own reflections, building mutual trust and critically posed against the colonial and universal forms of Truth and Knowledge … promoting a pluriverse where, to cite the Zapatista, ‘many worlds can co-exist in one world’

The project will take a year in the first stage. The resources will be dedicated to the tasks of intercommunication (dialogue), coordination, research and documentary recording of experiences, content translation (in principle in English and Spanish), development of open source software technologies and general infrastructure costs.

Objectives and actions

This project has as general objectives:

  • Identify socioeconomic approaches and practices of heterdox economies and polities based on the local, that transcend the limits of the state and the Capitalist Market, and also tackle various forms of inequity and discrimination including gender, ethnic, ‘race’, and caste.
  • Based on recognition and dialogue with them, contribute substantially to efforts to multiply systemic alternatives to the dominant system
  • Promote dialogue on post-capitalist economic and post-state political approaches between networks of Alternatives, social organizations and indigenous peoples and other traditional communities
  • Carry out knowledge sharing and community-based research processes focused on a transition to an ecologically sane and socially just economy
  • Strengthen and complement the more general actions of the GTA, collaborating in the support of its actions to expand the tapestry of Alternatives

They will materialize from the following actions and activities:

  • Identification, research, documentation, mapping, and dissemination of (at least) 15 concrete initiatives of post-capitalist alternative local economy and polity, taking into account geographic and cultural diversity
  • Collaboration with networks of alternative organizations that connect local economy and polity initiatives
  • Identification and analysis of post-capitalist economic and post-state political approaches, both for their documentation and for their cross-cutting relationship and analysis framework of the initiatives
  • Creation of a collaborative web platform based on open source for documentation and mapping of the Alternative initiatives already described
  • Generation of online (and if possible, some physical) dialogues amongst the networks and organisations involved, especially focusing on cross-cultural exchange
  • Publication of a compilation, in open-access electronic book format, containing the results of the research and documentation carried out and collaborating in its dissemination of areas of social and academic activism.

All the above will be done with full involvement and concurrence of communities that are in the collaborating networks and organisations.

Potential partners

Budget

The one year project described demands resources for the described aspects:

  • Research and contents production: 22.000 $us
  • Software development: 10.000 $us
  • Audiovisual and editorial design: 4.000 $us
  • IT infrastructure and fixed costs: 2.000 $us
  • Administrative costs: 1.000 $us
  • TOTAL: 39.000 $us

Among the secondary needs of the project described is to organize an intensive face-to-face work meeting and a public event to publicize the work of GTA. It would be convenient to have funds to cover the costs of this meeting. However, in this first presentation the priority has been to focus resources for the project's work and operations. If additional resources can be added, the amount needed to carry out this presencial activities could be specified.