Commons against and beyond capitalism

Abstract: This essay contrasts the logic underlining the production of ‘commons’ with the logic of capitalist relations, and describes the conditions under which ‘commons’ become the seeds of a society beyond state and market. It also warns against the danger that ‘commons’ may be coopted to provide low-cost forms of reproduction, and discusses how this outcome can be prevented.

Community Development Journal, Vol 49, No S1, January 2014, pp. i92– i105

‘Saving’ the city: Collective low‐budget organizing and urban practice

This special issue of ephemera is focused on recent research that aims to map, describe, and track the social practices of collective organising on a low budget in cities today.

How ‘Degrowth’ Pushes Climate and Well-Being Over GDP

“In recent years, a group of economists, ecologists, and anthropologists has gained attention for trying to overturn a core tenet of economic policy — that growth is good for everyone. Known as the “degrowth” movement, these scholars suggest a reframing of humanity’s goals along ecological lines to address the climate crisis, along with a reconsideration of using gross domestic product as a metric for progress. The upheaval of the coronavirus crisis has added fuel to the debate.”

 

Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Advancing a Degrowth Agenda in the Corona Crisis

Panel debate

The aim of this panel is to evaluate and discuss degrowth and it’s strategies in direct relation to the current corona crisis. We want to understand how the degrowth community responded so far to the crisis and how degrowth was and is present in recent discussions. The goal is then to identify potential pathways, but also barriers, for bringing forward the degrowth agenda in this time of upheaval. We invited speakers affiliated to different degrowth bodies to evaluate pros and cons of structural changes in the degrowth community and its organization and to discuss concrete ideas of responding to the corona crisis, using the windows that opend up.

Facilitator: Iris Frey
Speakers: Stefania Barca, Matthias Schmelzer, Andro Rilović, Eeva Houtbeckers

Technical details: Corona_Panel.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 607.5MB

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Untangling the radical imaginaries of the Indignados’ movement: commons, autonomy and ecologism

Abstract: Under regimes of austerity, social movements´ transformative eco-politics may appear endangered. What kinds of environmentalism and radical imaginaries can unfold in social movements in crisis-ridden societies? I focus on the ‘movement of the squares’ during its post-encampment phase, with a case study of three urban projects of the Indignados movement in Barcelona. Observation of these projects reveals the importance of three common and intertwined radical imaginaries embodied in participants’ social practices and orienting their future visions: the commons, autonomy, and ecologism. The ecologism imaginary cannot be properly understood if disembedded from the other two: the ‘Indignant’ projects constitute community structures re-embedding (re)production, jointly covering and generating needs differently, in response to the global capitalist forces that are threatening their social reproduction. Eco-politics can only be plausibly transformative if it is able to articulate a politics of intersectionality linking social reproduction with ecological interconnectedness and struggles against dispossessions and social injustice.

Environmental Politics, June 2020

Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Anarchism and degrowth: two sides of the same coin

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Transformation“]

This paper will demonstrate why, when envisaging degrowth transitions and strategies for achieving them, it is essential to seriously engage with arguments concerning the limitations of the State in enacting radical systemic change, emanating from the long and fruitful history of anarchist thought.

Presenters: Andro Rilović (International Institute of Social Studies)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Andro Rilovic_Anarchism and degrowth_two sides of the same coin.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 32.5MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Citizens’ Assemblies: A Lever for Political Change

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Transformation“]

In order to develop and implement socio-ecological (economic) policies the processes and structural conditions of representation in democracies today need to be rethought, re-imagined and changed. Citizens’ assemblies can help us to do just that, starting now.

Presenters: Mira Pütz (Sciences Po)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Mira Puetz_Citizens’ Assemblies_ A Lever for Political Change.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 60.6MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Structure, Action and Change: A Bourdieusian Perspective on the Preconditions for a Degrowth transition

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Transformation“]

A deprioritization of economic growth in policy making in the rich countries will need to be part of a global effort to re-embed economy and society into planetary boundaries. However, societal support for a degrowth transition remains for the time being moderate, and it is not well understood as yet why this is the case. This paper argues that Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology can help theorize societal stability and transformational change as well as the preconditions for a degrowth transition.

Presenters: Max Koch (Lund University)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Max Koch_Structure, Action and Change_ A Bourdieusian Perspective on the Preconditions for a Degrowth transition.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 66.1MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Theories of Transformation

Standard session (discussion following 4 presentations)

  1. Structure, Action and Change: A Bourdieusian Perspective on the Preconditions for a Degrowth transition – video
    A deprioritization of economic growth in policy making in the rich countries will need to be part of a global effort to re-embed economy and society into planetary boundaries. However, societal support for a degrowth transition remains for the time being moderate, and it is not well understood as yet why this is the case. This paper argues that Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology can help theorize societal stability and transformational change as well as the preconditions for a degrowth transition.
    Presenters: Max Koch
  2. Applying insights from transformation research for a strategy for the Degrowth movement – video
    This paper applies insights from a review of research on social-ecological transformations, in particular a framework developed to bridge process-oriented and structural approaches, to the Degrowth Movement. It derives suggestions for a common strategy, while embracing the movement‘s diversity.
    Presenters: Julia Tschersich
  3. Citizens’ Assemblies: A Lever for Political Change – video
    In order to develop and implement socio-ecological (economic) policies the processes and structural conditions of representation in democracies today need to be rethought, re-imagined and changed. Citizens’ assemblies can help us to do just that, starting now.
    Presenters: Mira Pütz
  4. Anarchism and degrowth: two sides of the same coin – video
    This paper will demonstrate why, when envisaging degrowth transitions and strategies for achieving them, it is essential to seriously engage with arguments concerning the limitations of the State in enacting radical systemic change, emanating from the long and fruitful history of anarchist thought.
    Presenters: Andro Rilović

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4 _Theories of Transformation_trimmed.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 348.8MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Book launch: Degrowth in Movement(s)

Special session

Degrowth as an emerging social movement overlaps with radical activism for systemic change such as anti-globalization and climate justice, commons and transition towns, basic income and Buen Vivir. The book “Degrowth in Movement(s). Exploring Pathways for Transformation” (Zer0 books, June 2020) reflects on the current situation of social movements and their relationship to degrowth. In this book launch, we present the book and critically discuss its key results with 2 authors and a commentator.

Presenters: Nina Treu (Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie), Matthias Schmelzer (Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie / University of Jena), Tadzio Müller (Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation), Julianna Fehlinger (ÖBV / Via Campesina Austria), Brototi Roy (tbc) (Research & Degrowth / Degrowth India)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: SP A5_Bookpresentation- Degrowth in movements.webm, WebM video, 233.1MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Via radical social reforms towards a counter-hegemony?

Special session

How could counter-hegemony become realistic, which is necessary for a democratic transition? Our thesis: We need a bundle of “non-reformist reforms” (Gorz) which tie on everyday social needs and problems (time pressure, fears of future or descent, deficient recognition etc.) and propose alternative ways of their satisfaction or solution. The chances and barriers of this strategy will be discussed and specified with regard to basic income, working time reduction and redistribution of wealth.

Presenters: Dr. Ulrich Schachtschneider (Basic Income Europe), Dr. Barbara Sennholz-Weinhard (Oxfam), Dr. Frank Adler (Sociologist), Jana Flemming (University of Jena), Dr. Ellen Ehmke (Oxfam)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: SP A3_Via radical social reforms towards a counter-hegemony_trimmed.mkv, Matroska video, 380.0MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Strategic Approaches: an Overview

Panel debate

This panel aims to give an overview of different strategic approaches for degrowth. Panelists will discuss frameworks or typologies of strategic approaches to assist the discussions on strategy that place in the following days of the conference. Further, challenges and weaknesses of different strategic approaches, as well as inter-linkages between strategies will be discussed.

Facilitator: Nathan Barlow
Speakers: Panos Petridis, Nilda Inkermann, Katya Chertkovskaya

Technical details: Strategic Approaches_Panel.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 569.6MB

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Green New Deal(s): A Resource List for Political Ecologists

The Green New Deal has become a central focus of debates around ecosocialist politics; this list brings together diverse resources to foster critical reflection on its potential and limitations.

Degrowth in Movement(s): Exploring Pathways for Transformation

A dictionary of social movements and alternatives for a future beyond economic growth, capitalism, and domination.read more

Will COVID-19 Remake the World?

No one should expect the pandemic to alter – much less reverse – tendencies that were evident before the crisis. Neoliberalism will continue its slow death, populist autocrats will become even more authoritarian, and the left will continue to struggle to devise a program that appeals to a majority of voters.