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Conventional power equations are being challenged in innovative ways by communities in India and elsewhere. While the power elites prod countries like India into the ever-tightening embrace of global capital, it is becoming clearer by the day that neither do the poor and marginalized benefit, nor is a globalized model of development ecologically sustainable. In the middle of the multiple crises created, however, there is an emergent alternative reality of constructive initiatives which are resisting both corporate and nation-state domination. This paper will present the story of some of these initiatives in India, link them to similar processes in other parts of the world, and outline the overarching ideological visions propelling them into a credible reckoning with India’s crumbling present.
Alternatives are being forged by grassroots communities, which blend current and evolving ideas on environmental and economic justice with the communities’ assertion of their traditional rights viz. a viz. their commons, and the resulting opportunities for localizing and creating self-reliant economic networks. These alternatives are trying to promote direct democracy, bottom up models of well-being, cooperative rather than market-based economy, gender egalitarianism, non-hierarchical decision-making, and ecological sensitivity. The proposed paper will analyze these, focusing on three in particular: Mendha Lekha, a commons based indigenous self-rule indigenous people’s initiative in Central India; the Malkha Initiative, a decentralized, field to fabric cotton textile chain empowering handloom weavers in south India; and urban decentralization processes leading to self-reliant water a

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This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Empowering Radical Development Alternatives“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.