Autonomous, horizontal, participatory and self-organized communities, regions and networks are on the rise. From the deepening of the Zapatista experience in Chiapas Mexico, to the Cantons of Rojava, the expanding recuperated workplaces in Argentina to the thousands of groupings springing up around the globe to defend the earth and against austerity. Throughout the Americas, Middle East and Europe societies are in movement. The practices of new democratic forms proliferate, and ones where participants look to one another, less to parties, states or vertical structures of decision making. This panel will discuss first on what is taking place right now, with panel participants having spent time in the regions under discussion. We will ask, among other things, how we locate these movements practically and theoretically, as well as how theory and practice interact and influence one another. In particular we will open conversations on democracy, power and their relationship to institutions of power, and structures of decision making and governance. We will conclude with questions to think about together, such as how to move forward in this context of deepening radicalization, a context that is simultaneously full of repressive push back.
Hevalti and revolutionary social transformation in Rojava
This intervention will give some background to the history of the Rojava revolution and current situation, with the main focus on the construction of an all inclusive democratic society and the forms of decision making and economic organization on the ground today. Having spent most of the summer of 2019, traveling to more than 14 towns and villages, conducting research and in depth interviews, in Kurdish, this intervention is a unique perspective on day to day life and challenges in Rojava.
Libertarian Municipalism and Democratic Confederalism, Rojava in theory and practice
This intervention will discuss the theory of libertarian municipalism, and use the example of Rojava as a living example of the theory, something the Kurds in the region call ‘democratic confederalism. Having spent some of the spring of 2019 in Rojava, the intervention will be based in the history and theory of libertarian municipalism as well as the applied theory. Specific theories and practices to be addressed include ecology, direct democracy, and women’s liberation.
Zapatista Seed Pedagogics: the building of a collective heart.
Charlotte María Sáenz
Parting from the Mayan notion of lekil kuxlejal, the “good life/existence” as articulated by Mariana Mora in her book Kuxlejal Politics, this presentation will introduce an emerging understanding of Zapatista Seed Pedagogics, an ethical-political-educational process in construction of a corazón nosótrico, the collective revolutionary intersubjective consciousness that is being built through dialogic and intercultural encounters between Zapatismo and the world outside their autonomous communities.
Charlotte lives and works between California and Chiapas, as part of Zapatista redes de resistencia y rebeldía in multiple community milpas and their geographies. She is part of the Deep Medicine Circle in Raymatush Ohlone territory, a project of land rematriation working to heal wounds of colonialism through food, medicine, story and learning.
Affective democracy: New Social Relationships
In this intervention the concepts of affect and new subjectivities will be used to ground a conversation on what is unique about many of the newer movements and their practices of horizontal and participatory democracy. In particular examples will be examined from Argentina, including recuperated workplaces and movements in defense of the land. This will be linked then to many of the emergent movements over the past decade, such as the Movements of the Squares and current societies in movement in Chile.
The presenter lived in Argentina and has conducted in depth interviews with movement participants over the past decade and a half.