Democratic confederalism, the ideological framework organizing society in Rojava, outlines the features of a post-revolutionary justice system.read more
In the face of unfettered globalization, the rise of right-wing movements around the globe and the dangers of climate catastrophe, it seems easier to imagine the end of the world than an end to capitalism, growth and domination. However, in recent years something new has emerged to counter what Mark Fisher has called “capitalist realism:” after decades on the defensive against neoliberalism, the left has once again started to embrace positive visions of the future.
The arrival of smartphones, self-driving cars and the Cloud are all symptomatic of a profound shift that is re-writing modern society from within: the Fourth Industrial Revolution. New technologies claim to provide answers to a host of problems, but is technology unbound always a force for good? In the first of a three-part series on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, EcoPolítica’s Paz Serra Portilla argues that blind optimism must be replaced by a wider societal debate in which technological advances are scrutinised and held accountable. Only then, in an age of climate warming and spiraling inequalities, can we fruitfully navigate both the opportunities for emancipation and autonomy and the dangers of perpetuating past mistakes that the technological revolution presents us with.
In Rojava (Northern Syria), in the midst of a raging war, a society based on the values of women’s liberation, radical democracy, and ecology is being built. In early 2018, we, people from across the world, launched the campaign ‘Make Rojava Green Again’ in co-operation with the newly-established local autonomies to help find solutions to the vast destruction of nature that has resulted from decades of colonialism, capitalism, and war.
When the BBC asked me if I would participate in a debate panel on climate change, capitalism and democracy, I first panicked and then said yes. All I really wanted to do this week was finish up and (re)submit some research I started a long time ago. This research shows that, despite their massive growth, energy and carbon emissions cannot (statistically) explain improvements in international life expectancy. I call it the “carbon-development paradox.” But the 1.5degree IPCC report dropped, and life, research and plans all had to make way for a new, more urgent reality.
In the spring of 2019, the Finnish degrowth network (kohtuusliike) undertook an election campaign. The aim of the campaign was to break the silence around degrowth ideas in political discourse. We were also curious to see how much support calls to limit production and consumption could generate within the ‘system’.
As it becomes abundantly clear that humanity as a whole has crossed the ecological limits of the earth, and that countries like China and India are fast joining the already-industrialised nations in stressing the planet even more, the search for radical alternatives is humanity’s most urgent quest. There is no doubt that, as a species, we have to downsize if we are to respect the limits, not only for ourselves but equally important, for the millions of other species that co-inhabit the earth with us.
But is ‘degrowth’, or the reduction of material and energy uses for human use, a valid and viable strategy for the ‘global South’, i.e. countries and populations (including some in industrialized countries) that have not reached an excessive or even acceptable level of prosperity? I think an emerging framework of well-being from India could offer some perspectives on this. read more