Altergrowth

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Discussion

Audun Myhra Bergwitz:


"I was thinking a bit about degrowth and what it implies. This might have been discussed to death other places, or on this list before I joined it, but I'll post it anyway. This isn't a deep analysis, it's just some random thougths I got after reading this list and related things. While it seems rather clear that it is impossible to do anything about climate change or resource depletion without a degrowth strategy, degrowth doesn't sound like the recipe you'd expect in the face of an economic crisis. Saying "you need to consume less" to someone who just lost their job... that's not how you win their hearts and minds, but that's what degrowth sounds like. Wouldn't it be better to talk about a positive counterstrategy. We're taugth to think that "growth is good", arguing against that is difficult. People want "growth", because growth is what puts food one the table (as we do grow food). Also degrowth says a lot about what we're against, but not so much about what we want. It is kind of similar to the semantic discussion about the "anti-globalisation" movement. A global movement against globalisation was kind of counter-intuitive, so we started to talk about "alter-globalisation" instead. So one could change from the anti-growth "degrowth" to the more positive "alter-growth"? Altergrowth implies that the current growth regime isn't working, but that it is possible to develop alternatives. Of course, to some degrowth'ers it might be bad to talk about growth as anything good at all (?), but I think it is difficult to challenge capitalism if we don't plan to transcend it. We can't create any post-capitalist world without changing our whole system of production. A post-capitalist world must be something more than a return to "simpler ways of living" which is what we get with a post-apocalyptic world. Struggles against capitalism must aim for more than destroying the institutions of capitalism, it must create new institutions that are better. If the new institutions aren't better, why replace the ones we have. Communism and socialism was popular in the 20th century because it promised something better than capitalism, capitalism (the West) won against the communists (the East) because it delivered something better. An anti-capitalist strategy must go beyond capitalism on the level of production, not only oppose it with idealism and promises of utopias. New institutions need to grow economically/socially/politically/ecologically if they are to replace capitalism, (i.e. "seeds need to grow") hence altergrowth. While degrowth/altergrowth may imply alot of things, I think that one important aspect of an anti-capitalist strategy is commonism (http://turbulence.org.uk/turbulence-1/commonism/). The commons as an alternative to both markets and state opens the way for actual new institutions of production that go beyond capitalism, in other words altergrowth is common growth. I think talking about common growth opens up some spaces strategically and tactically. At least it allows us to say "we'll manage if we stick together; come on lets build something new" to someone who just lost their job. All slogans and semantics so far, but do anyone have any thoughts about this? Is this reinventing the wheel, or does a semantic change allow for better tactics and strategies?" (https://groups.google.com/group/socialwar-energy-climatewar/browse_thread/thread/c3a8ae576e970b2e?hl=en)