Archive for avgust, 2016

avgust 31, 2016

Budapest Degrowth Conference opens with clear solidarity message for refugee struggles

While generally introducing the term “degrowth” and its history, Demaria stressed that in a post-policial space and within neoliberal conditions, the aim of degrowth must be to re-politicize the debate on sustainability by identifying and naming different socio-environmental futures. In this context, the question “How can degrowth gain legitimacy in the public debate” must play an important role. He suggested a multi-dimensional definition of degrowth and even talking about different degrowths. Such definition comprises of critique by “challenging the hegemony of growth” and proposal by “calling for a democratically led redistributive downscaling of production and consumption in industrialized countries as a means to achieve environmental sustainability, social justice and well being.” In this sense, Demaria described degrowth as a politicized framing process for a social movement set up by diagnosis (What are the social problems? Who is responsible?) and prognosis (What can we do about them? How shall it be done? Who is going to do it? For whom?).                

Allies for degrowth

By naming a very broad range of possible allies of degrowth, Demaria stressed the emancipatory, inclusive and diverse nature of degrowth as concept and movement:

– LGBT+, feminists and the ecofeminists
– La Via Campesina
– Zapatistas and Kurdish in Rojava
– Those who struggle for Environmental Justice including Climate Justice
– Anti-colonialists
– Anti-racists and those who are for open borders
– Those who believe in the sacredness of nature
– Those who in their own religion find a place for Degrowth and for environmental justice
– … and all the oppressed and subalterns fighting for justice

On another note, Filka Sekulova gave a quick overview of the broad but dispersed and scattered degrowth-movement itself, stating that the overall movement is growing and that there are various degrowth-hotspots in almost all European countries and some places outside Europe such as India, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Particularly Germany, after the large Degrowth Conference in Leipzig two years ago, has seen an explosion of degrowth-related projects captured in the Stream towards Degrowth.

Academic challenges and, again, a claim for open borders

In the academic arena, Giorgos Kallis, identified three main intellectual battles over the last two years. These were:

  1. Debunking the illusion about decoupling and green growth
  2. Defending the name of degrowth
  3. Denaturalizing the concept of economic growth

 

Regarding the first point Kallis particularly mentioned the very comprehensive study “The material footprint of nations“, proving that absolute decoupling is still far from happening – despite contrary claims in the context of last year’s climate summit in Paris.

Also Kallis, like Demaria, defended the moral obligation to open borders from a degrowth perspective, thereby disagreeing with ecological economist Herman Daly who claims that rising immigration rates to industrialized countries lead to the “tragedy of open access commons” and thereby to an increased overall environmental footprint. Kallis stressed that, when using the picture of life-boats, the whole Earth is one life boat where we cannot differentiate between people. He also added that including immigrants in the societies of the global north can be a means to repay our ecological debt to the south.

Degrowth in semi-periphery context

For the first time a degrowth conference is taking place in an Eastern European country which is a very interesting setting: on one hand Eastern Europe is home of degrowth pioneers such as Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Karl Polanyi and Ivan Illich, and on the other hand it is a post-socialist region where degrowth ideas have a difficult stance. So the task of the opening panel on degrowth in semi-periphery context was to highlight the obstacles and chances for degrowth in this specific situation.

Hungarian Political economist Zoltán Pogátsa explained why it is so difficult to talk about degrowth in former socialist countries: The overarching narrative in Hungary for example was that of a linear development towards western capitalist lifestyles and consumption patterns that were highly desired After the transition from communism to democracy all available narratives were about catching up with western countries. In such setting it was very difficult to come up with alternatives. However, over the last years this has changed because the linear narratives of capitalism being the superior system have crumbled. Young Eastern Europeans travel more, read the internet in English language and read about ideas of sustainability, social equality and big businesses controlling states. They realize that their countries might be closer to the so-called developing world than Austria for example, and that Austria has its own problems and is not as attractive as everybody was imagining.

Danijela Dolenec, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb, explored the question whether the European semi-periphery has any agency in building up alternative structures or whether it simply follows along. She emphasized that these countries combine features of both the industrialized West and the global South as well as modern liberal ideas and traditional ones, and added that by definition semi peripheries are geopolitical spaces that are open and can very quickly move. From her perspective, it is time to acknowledge that semi-peripheries have interesting experiences and knowledge to offer to the degrowth movement: for example the tradition of growing one’s own vegetables, sharing practice outside the market and convivial ways of spending time together. In addition, the areas of  former Yugoslavia for example have good practices and experiences in self-management. There’s as well a widespread egalitarian orientation in the region which is also important for a degrowth context. This could help debunk the thesis that only the materially prosperous show environmental concern because social equality is the missing link here..

“The moment where democracy really challenged the status quo it was crushed.”

Giorgos Kallis spoke about the Greek experience which, for many people in Europe, was a breath-taking moment where a country in the periphery was going to take a different path by claiming an alternative. This alternative, of course, was not degrowth, but it was at least an opening. On important lesson learnt from this is, however, that the material neoliberal structures in place must not be underestimated and that people might have to pay a very high price to escape from them. Another one is the difficulty to start a fundamental change from the periphery, as the EU for example treated Greece differently from how it treats the UK now. Therefore, such changes need to start in the centre, Germany or France for example.

Kallis also stressed that it is obvious that degrowth was only a very small part of these alternatives and that its main objectives were to bring growth back to Greece. This is why the degrowth community might have to make strange compromises amidst confusing political dynamics and why a distinction between degrowth and recession is needed. He sees no way that degrowth just comes along as an alternative vision and considers it much more likely that the transition will happen through stagnation. Therefore the important question is how stagnation can become degrowth?

Danijela Bosanic added from her side that the failure of the Syriza project in Greece was a crucial moment of defining how we see things: “The moment where democracy really challenged the status quo it was crushed.”

Author Christiane Kliemann is freelance journalist and degrowth activist. She is part of the editorial team of this degrowth web-portal
avgust 30, 2016

KDOR IGNORIRA, TA TOLERIRA

Izjava Avtonomnega kulturnega centra Metelkova Mesto po napadu neonacistov

V noči s sobote na nedeljo (27.-28. avgusta) je bila AKC Metelkova Mesto tarča zahrbtnega napada organizirane skupine neonacistov, ki je na navzoče med vzklikanjem fašističnih parol začela metati kamenje, steklenice in petarde, nato pa strahopetno pobegnila. Neonacisti so pri tem zadeli in poškodovali več ljudi – eden je moral zaradi poškodb glave v bolnišnico. Ko je na Metelkovo prispela policija, je nasilno nastopila tako do tistih, ki so naključne mimoidoče branili pred nasiljem neonacistov, kot do samih poškodovancev.

Napad neonacistov razumemo kot nadaljevanje politike izrednih razmer in strahu, s katero oblast med ljudi vnaša razdor in sovraštvo, medtem ko v ozadju pod pretvezo varčevanja in kriznega menedžmenta nemoteno pustoši družbo. Politika aktualne vlade, ki je kot odgovor na stiske migrantov na Balkanski poti gradila bodečo žico, je v Sloveniji ustvarila ozračje, v katerem so neonacisti zgolj ulični odraz tovrstne politike. Sovraštvo je postalo legitimno, tarča pa vsi, ki se nočejo pokoriti enoumju izključevalne in klavstrofobične politike, s kakršno se na rob družbe potiskajo revni, zatirani, »drugačni«.

Napad na Metelkovo je že tretji napad na avtonomne prostore v zadnjem letu: najprej so neonacisti s svastikami in molotovkami udarili po Sokolskem domu v Novem mestu (povod: zbiranje hrane in oblek za begunce), nato pa v začetku poletja še po Avtonomni tovarni Rog v Ljubljani (povod: obramba avtonomije pred rušenjem). Ne pozabimo, da so se tovrstni napadi dogajali že prej, tudi na Metelkovo, najbrutalneje pa v primeru LGBTQI skupnosti in lokala Open leta 2009. Jasno je, da avtonomni in drugi odprti prostori, ki so v poplavi vedno bolj gentrificiranega mesta in represivne policije še zadnji otoki svobode in kreativnega izražanja, predstavljajo simbol boja za svet radikalne enakosti onkraj kapitalizma in drugih oblik zatiranja. Ni naključje, da je bila Metelkova napadena isti dan, ko je bil v Ljubljani shod proti beguncem.

Čas je, da se vprašamo, v kakšnem mestu in družbi hočemo živeti. Bomo svojim sošolcem in sošolkam ali učencem in učenkam povedali, da njihove ideje sovraštva v razredih niso sprejemljive? Bomo s strahom pogledali v tla, ko neonacisti stopijo na avtobus, ali jim bomo jasno pokazali, da v javnem prostoru niso zaželeni? Bomo dopustili, da po stenah pišejo sovražne grafite? Bomo zgolj zgroženo opazovali, ko s svojo nestrpnostjo paradirajo po ulicah našega mesta, ali bomo pokazali, da je mogoč tudi drugačen svet, drugačna politika, ki nosi sporočila antifašizma, solidarnosti, svobode, odprtosti? Bomo po napadu na avtonomne prostore ostajali doma v iluziji varnosti, ali bomo pokazali, da nas ne morejo prestrašiti in bomo s svojo navzočnostjo podpirali vse tiste, ki se jim zoperstavljajo z vsakodnevnim delom in ustvarjanjem v avtonomnih prostorih? Jim bomo prepustili naše ulice, ali bomo jasno pokazali, da je naše mesto antifašistično mesto, kjer za sovraštvo in nasilje ni prostora?

Pred nasiljem, ki se napaja v najbolj uničojočih ideologijah, nas ne bodo zaščitili nobena policija, varnostniki, politične stranke, župani ali zakoni proti ekstremizmu. Te procese lahko ustavimo le mi sami, z odločnim NE nacionalizmu, sovraštvu, rasizmu, izključevanju in strahu. In to povsod, kjer se družimo, ustvarjamo, živimo, delamo, študiramo.

Pokažimo solidarnost z avtonomnimi prostori in ustavimo sovraštvo!

Uporabnice in uporabniki AKC Metelkova

avgust 3, 2016

Open letter to Alexis Tsipras and his government

13892051_600149976811919_8333667795351789071_n

We share with you the open letter from the comrades of Nikis squat in Thessaloniki, that was evicted during the big police operation last week. For many years, Nikis was a well known Social Center directly at the inner-city promenade of Thessaloniki. For us and many of our friends, it has been a place of vivid solidarity in times of a general social crisis. Over the last months, the organizers there were hosting refugees. Here you can read our press release on the evictions.

OPEN LETTER TO AL. TSIPRAS AND HIS GOVERNMENT

At the dawn of the 27th of July, you and your government invaded three squats which hosted refugees and immigrants in Thessaloniki. At the same time you arrested 75 sympathizers from Greece and Europe while you sent the refugees to concentration camps, some of which did not accept them due to full occupancy. So you left them in the middle of nowhere.

Because the squats of “Orfanotrofeio” and “Hurriya” have their own political voice, and we don’t want to displace it, we will remind you as the squat of “Leoforos Nikis 39”, some facts that we are sure you already know.

The “Leoforos Nikis 39” squat was born trough the revolt of December 2008 and it was the first housing squat for people who took part at this political movement and had real housing problems. Integrated in these breadths it claimed, through an abandoned building, the decent living for those who participated, reappraising the meaning of public space. For this reason it accommodated all these years hundreds of activists and demonstrators, not only from Greece, but from the hole world. When the refugee crisis occurred, it opened in order to greet and cohabitate coequally with the most vulnerable of them, families with children. At the same time it acceded into a system of medical and alimentary care which had been created from the beginning of Eidomeni. Against these people at the dawn of Wednesday the 27th of July you reserved for one more time the nightmare they tried to avoid, crossing as thousands others, the Aegean.

Before you took the power, we welcomed you to its hell, from where unable to escape you accepted the responsibility to conduct it. Saturated by statism and governism, you duplicate the ruins of loyalist policy, because you did not manage to achieve anything new. This state of emergency conquered you because it can’t be reestablished. The moto “left for the first time” it’s true, but not in the way you were selling it bravading abroad and infield but in the way we experience it. Whatever the rightwing didn’t dare to do, you committed to do it bearing the cost of the apologies. Not only you are every word of the constitution but you grow rapidly in every word of law and order.

For these choices you have allies and many of clowns to accept this role. With your view about Evros fence, your acknowledgement of Turkey as a safe country, with the governmental administration of refugee crisis in the way of concentration camp, you liberated the disputatious and ultraconservative reason. Boutaris, Kaminis, the deanship of A.U.TH. and church, appeared in agreement in order to support you.

Besides, it’s not the first time, because we saw you when the war against the solidarians blew up in the middle of the refugee crisis. Then you realized that solidarity take forms far from you, from state and the nongovernmental organizations and you immediately attacked it. But the deaths and the infection take place at the governmental structures. What did you not understand by the death of the 27 year old girl at the “SOFTEX” concentration camp?
We are aware that the invasion against the squats was the states answer about the “No Border” Festival. We also know that you want to bring solidarity under the rules of concentration camps and that’s the reason you placed a implausible warhorse (Toskas) to give us hints and tips. But you probably ignore that we are neither romantics nor life style rebels.
Self-management and its structures, the participatory and coequal solidarity for a world which cannot exist without the “others”, direct democracy, social justice, and the struggle for social antiauthority, it’s alive and it’s here opposing you.

See you at the streets.

P.S.: What can we say about these who alter from political personalities to authority’s pragmatism sidekicks.

Squat of ” L. Nikis 39″

Mihalis Haritelis
Odysseas Dermatas
Sandra Hook
Dionisis Koutloglou
Grigoris Tsilimantos
Nikos Hatzis
Niki Dimitriadi
Anna Karageorgiou
Xanthi Parashidou
Olga Papadimitriou
Mihalis Vlahos
Markos Proveleggios
Vasilis Papadopoulos