Not far from Indonesia, in Bangladesh, farmers have led a new agricultural movement that is implementing innovative ‘seed-based’ farming practices, providing an inspiring example of resistance to a globalized food chain using minimal external inputs, drawing on local resources namely, facilitating local markets and practicing biodiverse farming techniques. From central India, we learn how communities that controlled their local means of production could not only counter market forces, but also hedge against the insecurities of the dominant economic system. While cities, with their heavily policed top-down governance, have been at the epicenter of the pandemic and economic fallout, self-governing grassroots communities have fared much better.
These examples show that communities, initiatives and civil society already have approaches that effectively counter the systemic issues highlighted by the pandemic. They provide important insights and pathways for a just, equitable, and ecologically resilient future, and provide hope at a time when it’s easy to feel hopeless, by showing concrete pathways to a better future where “many worlds come together.” ‘integrate’, as the Zapatistas of Mexico said. this. It is crucial to tell these stories, to hear them and to hear them again, because they have important lessons for all of us. The question is: are we really ready to hear them? Are we ready to constructively challenge each other, offer active solidarity whenever needed, weave initiatives into common actions, and support the conditions for the radical systemic changes we need? More than ever, we must work together and show solidarity with each other’s resistance and reconstruction.
Along this path, it is always useful to return to the famous words of the Argentine director and theoretician Fernando Birri: “Utopia is on the horizon. I take two steps closer; he takes two steps away. I walk another ten steps, and utopia runs ten steps further. No matter how much I walk, I never reach it. So what good is utopia? The point is this: it continually drives us forward.
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This article was originally published by the Post Growth Institute January 28, 2022 and is reproduced here with the permission of the author.