WEAVING ALTERNATIVES #08: A periodical of the Global Tapestry of Alternatives

WEAVING ALTERNATIVES #08: A periodical of the Global Tapestry of Alternatives

Editorial Note

It is our pleasure to share Global TapestryThe weaving of networks of Alternatives of Alternative's eighth periodical with you. 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 learn more about the project, in our introductory note.

Learning has a central role in the construction of the world and the subjectivities that inhabit it. The relational condition of human beings means that when their social relationships change, their world and they themselves are transformed. Pedagogies not only shape human reason but also build our sensibility and desire. Learning processes not only have a central role in the reproduction of relations of domination, but also in the processes of liberation.

This is why the current civilizational crisis we are going through (a crisis that is manifested in political, health, economic, and environmental crises) cannot be understood without calling into question the dominant educational model. This model is also the cause and the result of a colonial, capitalist and patriarchal system, where it is assumed that there is only one way of knowing, thus conceiving knowledge as an exclusive property of western civilization (coloniality of knowledge); it is presumed that there are a series of experts who possess the knowledge and are called upon to teach those who are in a condition of ignorance; pedagogies are disconnected from the potentialities and needs of the territory where it is taught. Thus giving rise to a universalist and abstract knowledge; and pedagogies that exclude nature, for it is assumed that Earth is an entity from which there would not be much to learn.

However, social movements and countless peoples from diverse geographies have been able to re-create and propose alternative conceptions of education, learning and pedagogies. They are transforming colonized subjectivities, giving place to a world that re-weaves the tapestry of life.

With the aim of showing that, if we want to solve the crisis we are in, it is necessary to transform hegemonic education by learning from existing and successful processes. Through this periodical, we will focus on processes from different geographies that have been weaving decolonial, anti-patriarchal, biocentric, just and anti-capitalist alternatives. What elements do we find in common among these initiatives? What can we learn from them?

The process of curating this periodical is centred on collaboration, diversity and emergence with the aim to better understand the variety of work happening within the network.

This piece features articles by Yuvan Aves who writes about children’s engagement in creating awareness about the challenges faced by coastlines in Chennai (India), Dan Baron who summaries the process of transformance between the Rivers Tocantins and Itacaiúnas with the help of 8 eloquent poems, a brief essay on the processes of learning and education in the Misak University by James Montano, Lucy Elena and Fabio Calambás. Carol Anne, Gary Anderson, Dipti Desai, and Ana Inés Heras talk about the concept of “third spaces” which explore issues of domination, power, and emancipation. Angging Aban sheds light on the central role of communities in developing emancipatory pedagogies with the help of 4 initiatives in Southeast Asia and last but not least, a summary of a wonderful time-sharing exercise Pallavi Varma Patil and Melanie Bush conducted with their students. A book review by Christine Dann featuring the book “Convivial Futures: Views from a Post-Growth Tomorrow” by authors Frank Adloff and Alain Caillé presents a concise analysis of the text. Additionally, it also comprises updates from our weavers in India (Vikalp Sangam) and Mexico and Colombia (Crianza Mutua) and a few of our endorsers, Anitra Nelson, Crystal Arnold and The Alternatives Project.

The periodical is put together by Shrishtee Bajpai, Lina Alvarez, Franco Augusto and Urvi Shah. We are happy to have you read this issue and share and reflect along with us.

Updates from GTA

GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives Webinars:

The aim of GTA webinars is to collaborate and bring out new ideas from within the network to anchor discussions on radical transformative practices. Recently, “Beyond Money: A Post Capitalist Strategy” a webinar series by Anitra Nelson, David Barkin, a Mexican economist, and Meenakshi Gupta, an Indian social entrepreneur discussing money could be replaced as the organizing principle of society allowing the fabrication of a world without socio-economic inequality and crippling environmental stresses was curated. The recordings can be found here We are now looking at putting together dialogue from the weaver's, Vikalp Sangam, Crianzas Mutuas Mexico, and Crianzas Mutauas Colombia on healing.

GTA Assembly:

The GTA Assembly is held every 3 months to introduce new members, follow up on updates and discuss upcoming plans. The 4th GTA Assembly took place on the 30th of June 2022. You can find the recording and report 2022_06_30here. The 5th Assembly will be held at September end.

GTA Mapping:

GTA Mapping is a process to chart out all endorsers and weavers in a digital web space according to their geographical locations, while also making the process participatory. Next in action is to get endorsers on board to use the web space for updates and information management.

PeDAGoG:

PeDAGoG (Post-Development Academic-Activist Global Group) is a global network of academics and academic activists interested in post-development, radical alternatives, and related themes. Currently, we are hosting a webinar series on learning alternatives. Two webinars by Pallavi Varma Patil on living utopias, and Dan Baron on the rivers of meeting project are completed. An upcoming webinar by Mauricio, Wendy and Juan on Unitierra’s processes is scheduled for the 8th of July.

Participation in the World Social Forum:

In an effort to build solidarity and connect to movements working for change, the Global Tapestry of Alternatives once again had an active presence at the World Social Forum in 2022. This year the WSF took place both in-person in Mexico City and online from 01-06 May 2022. GTA organised and participated in various activities in-person in Mexico and online. At most of the events, language translation was offered. Six members of the GTA core group were able to travel to Mexico to participate in the WSF in person.

GTA sessions included: (1) Staying human at the global level on the experiences of remaining grounded in the local while working transnationally; Grounded voices: Toward radical democracy with experiences shared from India, Mexico, Scotland and Rojave ; (3) Knowledge and the production of learning for emancipatory practice on critical pedagogies; and (4) Radical transformative alternatives where GTA weavers from Colombia, India and Mexico shared their experiences. In addition, GTA supported endorsers May First Technology with their session on “A timeline from movement technologies to liberation” and MINGAnet with a session on Latin American fabric towards the social and economic transformations required for the care of life. All of the activities were carried out in collaboration with partners in Adelante: a dialogue of global processes which GTA has been facilitating. Most significant was two assemblies which GTA organized on Convergence of Radical Alternatives. With over 100 participants in the online and in-person events, we were able to share a manifesto for radical change. This manifesto was also presented at the closing Agora of the World Social Forum and at the Stockholm+50 People’s Summit in June 2022.

For the past two decades, the World Social Forum (WSF) has served as an open meeting place for social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations who are aiming to build alternatives to the dominant and destructive world system. While there was limited participation in the forum in person this year for many reasons, participation in the event was important for solidarity building and re-connection after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updates from our Weavers

The Global Tapestry of Alternatives is a “network of networks”. Each of those networks acts in different parts of the planet by identifying and connecting Alternatives. They are the Weavers. The following are the networks that currently weaves the Global Tapestry of Alternatives. In the following section, our Weavers from India, Colombia and Mexico shares updates from their recent activities and actions.

Keep reading ->

Updates from our Endorsers

The Alternatives Project

The Alternatives Project – known by its initials as TAP – is an international and geographically diverse network of progressive academics, union members, civil society activists, and social movement participants concerned with building a global collective critical voice-oriented towards transformative education and societal change. At the moment we have about 25 core members, hundreds of people have signed our Statement (including Noam Chomsky, please sign!) and attended some of our activities, and TAP is in our second year of operation.

Keep reading ->

Beyond Money: A Postcapitalist Strategy

By Anitra Nelson

Mainstream education is oriented to training students in every way for a future role in capitalist workplaces. Transformative learning and emancipatory education are significant alternatives for skilling ourselves to create and experiment with postcapitalist futures. Many activist scholars inhabit such spaces. My recent work Beyond Money: A Postcapitalist Strategy (2022) is a case in point.

Keep reading ->

Offers and Needs Market

by Crystal Arnold, Education director at the Post Growth Institute

You're invited to join an , open to all and hosted by the Post Growth Institute!

This is a two-hour guided process in which community members meet to identify and exchange their passions, knowledge, skills, resources, opportunities, and needs.

It’s a fun and effective way to connect, get more comfortable expressing your offers and needs, and begin conversations with interesting people.

You can register for free here: https://www.offersandneeds.com/monthly

An educator’s notes from an eroding coast

by Yuvan Aves

Yuvan, a naturalist, award-winning writer, educator and activist based in Chennai; shares with us his trip notes where he explores different alternative initiatives.

Keep reading ->

Creating Third Spaces of Learning for Post-Capitalism: Lessons from Educators and activists

by Gary Anderson, Dipti Desai, Ana Inés Heras and Carol Anne Spreen

Spaces that prefigure a post-capitalist world are all around us if we know where to look. In this article, we seek to explore counter-hegemonic social spaces, or what some call third spaces (Anzaldua, 1987/2021; Bhabha, 1994/2002; Soja, 1996) that have been created largely by social, community and artistic activists prefigure a post-capitalist, multi-racial democracy. These spaces tend to be democratic, grounded in communities and challenge the hegemony of current forms of economic, political, cultural, and educational domination.

Keep reading ->

Presentation of the Ala kusreik ya- Misak University

by James Montano Morales, Lucy Elena Tunubalá Tombé and Fabio Calambás Paja

The Ala kusreik ya - Misak University is an integral, autonomous educational process that seeks to revitalize the pishindθ waramik or “good Misak living”, promoting education based on four spirals and four axes. While the spirals of knowledge are: mθrθp (listening), aship (seeing), isup (thinking) and marθp (doing), the pillars are autonomous economy, autonomous administration, socio-political organization, and major law (derecho mayor). This educational process was born in the month of December 2010 as a response to the need of the community to reinforce the learning processes from intra-cultural foundations (or from autonomous education), as well as from the construction of a dialogue of knowledges (interculturality), and from those transcultural and global foundations that affect us as human beings.

Keep reading ->

"Collaboration across borders": comic and interview

by Pallavi Varma Patil and Melanie Bush

This is a snippet from an interview by Urvi Shah with Melanie Bush, professor at Adelphi University (Garden City, NY) and Pallavi Varma Patil, Faculty at Azim Premji University (Bangalore, India) on learning and sharing as educators. We’ve tried something interesting this time, a graphical comic to present their experience of collaboration. An 11-year-old artist from Argentina, Magna, has put a lot of her thoughts into bringing this story to life.

Keep reading ->

Transformance between the Rivers Tocantins and Itacaiúnas

by Dan Baron

After 10 years of collaborations with the MST (Landless Workers), Trades Union and indigenous movements, and the Pará State Federal University (UFPA), in Brasil, performance educators and eco-cultural activists Dan Baron and his co-founder of the Community University of the Rivers, Manoela Souza, were invited to create a community sculpture in the Afro-Indigenous village of Cabelo Seco in 2008, an arrow of land where the River Tocantins and River Itacaiúnas meet.

Keep reading ->

Exploring alternative schools in Southeast Asia

by Ananeza P. Aban

Marginalized communities and their ability to organize themselves towards a common goal would attest that even amid multiple crises, they can cultivate notable practices that produce and reproduce transformative pedagogies, especially for the young generation of learners.

These four (4) cases from Southeast Asia provide a material foundation for dynamic learning processes that amplify the central role of communities in developing emancipatory pedagogies attuned to their situation, context, culture, histories, and capacities. Their ground-based undertakings dare to challenge the mainstream educational paradigm extremely influenced by market and capital. These cases question where knowledge is truly generated, and how far have communities been recognized as the producers and builders of knowledge.

Keep reading ->

Book review: Convivial Futures, Views from a Post-Growth Tomorrow

“Talking about a future – don’t stain it with any Utopia, terrorising the necessary complexity.”

Nora Bateson, 2021

“There is no such thing as a convivial future. A convivial future is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. Conviviality is not about linearity and progress, not about planning and designing a better world for the day after tomorrow; not about aiming at an allegedly better future at the expense of a good here and now; not about drafting blueprints for ideal societies that could be applied in any given context, at any given time, at any given place. On the contrary, conviviality refers to a specific kind of lived togetherness that is shared between all the human and non-human inhabitants of a specific place in time: not anywhere, anytime—but right here, right now!”

Andrea Vetter and Matthias Fersterer, ‘Right Here, Right Now The Art of Living Together’ in Adloff and Caillé (eds), 2022

Convivial Futures starts with bold premises. The introduction by the book’s editors, the German sociology professor Frank Adloff and the French professor emeritus Alain Caillé, states that “To be a pioneering, public political philosophy, convivialism must succeed in capturing the signs of the times and developing perspectives for the future. As difficult as it is to formulate such positive outlooks, that is precisely what this volume is all about.” (p 9) and also that “Convivialism presents itself as a political philosophy destined to follow in the footsteps of the great ideologies of modernity—liberalism, socialism, anarchism, communism. These ideologies are no longer able to enlighten us on either the present state of the world or what it could or should look like tomorrow, if only because they have completely failed to anticipate the environmental crisis and global warming.” (pp 14-15)

Unusually, and to its credit, Convivial Futures then provides space for those who disagree with the premises of its editors, and some of the contents of the Second Convivialist Manifesto, which is the current expression of convivialist philosophy. Some of the critique comes from fellow academics (Robert van Krieken and Martin Krygier, ‘Is Convivialism the Answer? Depends on the Question’) and some from non-academics (Andrea Vetter and Matthias Fersterer, ‘Right Here, Right Now The Art of Living Together’). At a slight tangent – but a useful one – Federico Demaria and Ashish Kothari provide a good outline of current notions of ‘development’ and what the alternatives are and might be in ‘The Post-Development Agenda Paths to a Pluriverse of Convivial Futures.’

So the book is a mixed bag, with some contributors outlining and advocating hypothetical future re-designs of economic, social and ecological institutions, systems and practices which would be better than the current awful system, while others provide information on what is actually happening now which could be described as convivial. Sometimes both in one chapter.

If you are new to learning what’s wrong with the current world system, and are interested in ideas on how it could be improved, then Convivial Futures would be a good place to start. If you feel you know more than enough about what’s wrong, are sceptical about attempts to imagine ‘solutions’ which “terrorise the necessary complexity”, and agree with Ivan Illich (as cited by Vetter and Fersterer, p 165) that what is convivial tends to be place-centred and vernacular (and hence happening here and now – wherever your here and now may be) then probably what you are looking for is a book on convivial presents. I know I am. Here’s hoping it turns up soon.

The book is available as Open Access in the editorial website.


About the author of this review: Christine Dann is a New Zealand writer and eco-gardener who has been active in feminist, peace and green movements since the 1970s. This has led to her developing an 'alternatives' world view which is now informed by degrowth, decolonial and indigenous perspectives. She is a member of the GTA Core team.