October 1st marked the 10th anniversary since squatting was criminalized in the Netherlands. This infamous decision by the Dutch state led to an immense increase of speculation in the housing market, doubling the average cost of housing in just 10 years. ‘Coincidentally’, over the same period homelessness has also doubled, and social inequalities have skyrocketed. All of this before the effects of a global pandemic have even started to set-in. To commemorate the anniversary the Dutch squatting movement organized a nation-wide protest action, emphasizing squatting as a form of resistance against the multidimensional crisis we are currently facing.read more
This piece will close the ten-part degrowth.info series on strategy, highlighting some of the key insights and charting the development of the strategy debate within degrowth. We will then offer some insights on how our own understanding of strategy and degrowth has changed over the last two years since we first urged the community to engage with this topic more. Finally, we will consider the promising idea of a Degrowth International and offer some potential pathways forward for the degrowth movement.
A degrowth strategy for societal transformation needs to combine several approaches, reflecting the plurality of degrowth as a movement. To support the myriad of bottom-up alternatives that are already out there, degrowth should put a special emphasis on strategies which build power outside of the capitalist system, be very cautious of those which merely seek to tame capitalism, but also integrate the strategic logic of overthrowing capitalism altogether.
Democratic confederalism, the ideological framework organizing society in Rojava, outlines the features of a post-revolutionary justice system.read more
This is part two of a piece reflecting on the Vienna degrowth conference and considering how to move forward based on the inputs and insights from the conference. You can read part one (focused on the conference) here. read more
Degrowth is a thriving academic field, but one without a home. It can be a struggle to publish degrowth-related articles in the current journal environment. If successful, authors must often surrender the ownership of their work to commercial journals. After more than a decade of degrowth research, and with a growing number of scholars engaged in the field, we believe the time has come to start our own journal. This blog post is an invitation to imagine how such a journal could be organised.read more
COVID-19 has had many effects. Among others, it created a pause, putting non-essential economic activity on halt. A pause that has exposed the numerous weaknesses of growth-centred, globalised economies.
The crises provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed for all what many have long known: the foundations of the wealth and well-being of the world rest upon the sphere of social reproduction and the labor of care. This work is performed primarily by women and, more generally, by people whose work and lives are under-valued and marginalized by sexist, racist, classist, homophobic and ableist ideas and institutions.
No one really told us what organizing a degrowth conference would entail. We simply knew we wanted to do it. Two years of organizing, meeting, discussing and struggling have passed and now we’re less than seven weeks away from the first day of the conference.
In the early 17th century, the bubonic plague is said to have played a crucial role in popping the tulip bubble in the Netherlands. Today, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is leading not only to a health crisis, but also an economic one. The outbreak is sparking realistic fears of a deep global downturn. Our globalised, just-in-time, cost-cutting, risk-taking and profit-maximising economy has shown a rather limited ability to absorb shocks. In a time of crisis, the instability and fragility, but also the inequality of the economic system becomes painfully obvious.read more
While the limits and failures of our current economic and political system are known and repetitively pointed out by degrowth research, we have a deficit in the area of strategic planning for transformative politics. What is missing are entry points for politicizing and changing social values, norms and institutions. To do this successfully, it is useful to detect how hegemonic values are embedded, not only in political and economic policies, but also in everyday life.
Degrowth imagines a radically different future, which is why so many have connected to its message. But it is a future which seems very distant from today’s political, economic and social system. So what does it mean, in practical terms, to organize towards a degrowth future in a highly commodified and competitive present?
Last summer, Matthias Schmelzer and Andrea Vetter, both from the Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie in Leipzig, published the book ‘Degrowth/Postwachstum’. With this book, they provide the first introduction to degrowth in German. For lack of a good German translation of ‘degrowth’ they use ‘Postwachstum’ more or less as a synonym. First they describe how our societies came to depend on growth, and they present various strands of criticism on growth. After that, they discuss definitions of degrowth, goals of the movement, they present concrete proposals, and discuss the strategy.