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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TODAY TO BE ANTI-SYSTEM?
The Anti-Capitalist Thermometre
In general, we find that in social movements, two words keep recurring in the vernacular, in discussions and in the shouts, in the slogans and the declarations: “lucha” (meaning “struggle”) and “contra” (meaning “against”), the Capitalist System, a system of domination, patriarchy, exploitation, etc. We always seem first to be “anti” prior to being “alter”, that is proposing alternatives. Or rather, we could call this position one of “Alter-Nates.” But to know against what we are struggling and from what we seek emancipation, it is important to know what the capitalist system is. Even prior to that, we must understand what a “system” is, and then understand what is Capitalism. In this way, we can diagnose what stage of its existence this system of Capitalism is at, and what the real possibilities of maintaining its momentum are. We can pinpoint any roads that involve anti-capitalism strategies and/or anti-system initiatives, as well as the best strategies to employ in creating an experience or reality that is truly anti-system. “Anti-“ is a greek prefix that means “protection against,” “prevention against” or “struggle against.” However, we prefer to use the connotation of “opposite' or “contrary to.” As a result, when we talk of anti-system experiences, we refer to those realities and experiences that are “opposite” or “contrary” to the capitalist system; we refer to the discourse and unified social and political practices in daily life carried out by an individual or a collective, with characteristics different from or diametrically opposed to those that feed into the present system. These experiences, to a greater or lesser extent, reflect an alter-nate, meaning they reflect distinct forms within each community of living their own lives within their own systems. Our Dream is Not a Dream: A World Without Capitalism!
Gustavo Castro Soto
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TODAY TO BE ANTI-SYSTEM?
The Anti-Capitalist Thermometre
Colección Alter-Natos. N°1
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TODAY TO BE ANTI-SYSTEM?
The Anti-Capitalist Thermometre
Author: Gustavo Castro Soto (Otros Mundos, A.C.)
Drawings and Design: Nieves Capote Figueroa.(Otros Mundos, A.C.) Translated by: Fernando Calatayud, Nancy L. Serrano and Natalie Long
Otros Mundos, A.C. Apartado Postal 43 29230 San Cristóbal de las Casas Chiapas, México www.otrosmundoschiapas.org
Other Worlds 802 Camino del Prado, NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114 Estados Unidos Tel: 505.922.1511
firstname.lastname@example.org San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México/2008
PROLOGUE INTRODUCTION WHY ALTER-NATES? WHAT IS A SYSTEM? WHAT IS THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM? * Its Models and Stages... * Its Path... * The Crisis of the Capitalist System... STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS OF THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ANTI-SYSTEM?
3 5 6 7 8 10 15 18 20 29 33 34
ALTER-NATES ARE ANTI-PATRIARCHAL... AND FEMINIST ANTI-CAPITALIST ELEMENTS OF OTHER WORLDS
These days, due to the crises of wars, poverty, injustice and environmental destruction, other worlds are essential, that is to say, other models by which to live our lives. In fact, they already exist in some parts. In the northern and southern hemispheres, in shantytowns and in the countryside, in indigenous lands and in cities, these alternatives are already under construction, including other political, social and economic alternative models that are starting to flourish. People everywhere are devising solutions for the most serious challenges of our times, be it creating peace communities or basing economies on supposedly throwing away money (or rather, basing economies on solidarity and not on the international market); choosing to use energy that does not damage the environment; engaging in food sovereignty; ensuring that nature and public services continue to form part of public property or that which is communally owned; or ensuring that workers continue to be owners of their own labor. In other cases, many peoples strive to preserve their knowledge and cultures that have been accumulated and preserved over centuries. Of the other worlds that are described in this booklet, various simple and fundamental principles are brought to the foreground. First, everyone has the right to justice and dignity; second, that the land cannot be sacrificed for the sake of human whims; third, we cannot put a price on life, on the planet, or on the relationships built between humans; and fourth, participation by the people is the key that will open the doors of success to alternative worlds. People always ask me “What is the alternative?” One sole solution does not exist, given that every society has its own complex history linked with its problems and necessities. Each movement must develop its own models and its own answers and visions, which is exactly what is happening at the moment. The majority of these existing alternatives are occurring unnoticed, despite the fact that everybody needs this type of information, from which we can all gain the inspiration and hope that we are not condemned to live in the world in its current form. This booklet is a good place to start learning about this information.
In my view, politics means believing in the impossible in such a way to make it possible. It is about planting a seed in a small crack in the pavement and getting a corn stalk to grow there. In general, it is something that is hard to achieve, yet we should celebrate any seed, however small, that manages to grow from that hard and dry crack. We must never forget to water that seed. Our political activism is striving to achieve a more just and egalitarian world which is like planting that seed in the pavement – it is an act of faith. There is no guarantee of a cornstalk or of social change, but what happens if we do not even try? That is why I invite you to keep in mind this story: two friends of mine went to visit an ancient site in the United States where 800 years previously, an indigenous community had lived. Among the ruins, they found some corn seeds; they sewed the seeds, they watered the seeds, and…the corn grew! 800 years later! We can never know all the consequences of our actions, but we should always hold on to hope. We need to know that, although it still may not have happened in our town, our country, or our movement, all around us, things are developing. I hope that some day we may meet on the sidewalk, or perhaps on a trail on the way to the next cornfield, as we walk together toward those new worlds. With respect and solidarity, Beverly Bell Coordinator of Other Worlds, (United States of America)
The present situation with poverty, misery, hunger, migration, femicides, wars, climate change and environmental destruction, among other increasingly serious indicators with which we live in the world that are the fruits of a hegemonic system of multiple domination, make us think, believe and long for, as well as feel determined to prove, that other worlds are possible. Other Worlds (Albuquerque, USA) and Otros Mundos A.C. (Chiapas, Mexico), as sister organisations, are convinced that not only is another world possible, but that many different worlds can fit into this world without hegemonic impositions. But not just any type of world, but rather other types of worlds that recreate human diversity within other systems everywhere while expressing the richness of humanity and its different ways of living with dignity, peace, happiness, humanity and respect for all beings. Many forms of expression reveal themselves through the process of empancipation from the capitalist system and its associated destructive consequences. However, other communities and societies in different parts of our planet have managed to continue living under their own system for decades and even centuries through the process of resisting, sometimes silently, sometimes dying, sometimes surviving, sometimes reviving. We need to rescue these other worlds that give us the hope that it is possible to live without capitalism. But we also need to rescue and generate a diverse range of expressions that rebel against this system and that want to make other worlds possible and alter-nates.
Currently we speak a lot of the need to look for alternatives to the serious situation in which we live. The word “alternative” originates from the latin pronoun “alter,” “altera,” “alterum,” which means “the other,” between two alternatives. However, when we speak of the alternative to the capitalist system, we are not referring to just one unique “alternative,” as if there were just two things from which to choose, between capitalism and the other possibility that we do not yet know. This means reducing our choices to two possibilities, instead of acknowledging that in reality our choice is open and diverse. We choose not to embrace another hegemony that will dominate and impose itself on others. Therefore we look to another Latin pronoun, “alius, alia, aliud,” meaning “another among three or more choices.”, With the passage of time, the difference between the two pronouns was lost, and the word alternative came to include the idea of a choice among two or more possibilities. This i s t h e “ a l t e r, ” o r “other” possibilities. The words “altered,” or “unalterable” indicate that something is not affected by external events. The words “altercation” or “exalted” indicate that something is magnified or highlighted by something other than the original objects. These concepts suggest a movement from the outside inward. We, however, insist in the perspective of the movement from the inside out, namely 'Nates'. The idea is to find, achieve, instigate, discover or create “that which is born of itself naturally,” from within a movement, something of its own making, born internally within the people who make up the movement. This is the “Nates.” This is the “other” that is born from within. It is this universal unity that is born from unity with the other, and with commonalities. It is only through diversity that we can generate true unity. This is why cultural diversity makes various other worlds possible within our World – individual worlds that are distinct and separate from the capitalist system. Therefore, Alter-Nates are Other Worlds, other systems that are diversely united.
What is a System?
The word “system” has its roots in the greek word “sýstema” (meaning a set). It refers to a group of organised elements that relate to each other and form an ordered group. This group has order and meaning within itself, but not in an isolated manner; its components have order and structure based on a certain logic, coherence, or related rules stemming from within itself. Natural systems exist such as the water system, the solar system, and the skeletal system among many others. Here we will talk about a system created by humankind: the Capitalist System.
Nevertheless, no system created by humankind is perfect. They have within themselves contradictions, imperfections and limits. They are subject to the natural laws of the universe and life, such as continuous movement, from start to finish. They undergo crises and transitions that can generate new forms of life. Action and reaction; thesis, synthesis, and anti-thesis, in the permanent movement of creation and recreation, because reality for all of humanity is always in flux and open. Women and men need systems for many things in their lives. Political, cultural, economic, and spiritual life, among many other areas that form part of human coexistence are expressed through life systems, in systems that give meaning and order to daily living. But what should this system be like? Does the capitalist system guarantee our happiness?
WHAT IS THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM?
WHAT IS CAPITALISM?
Every person has a perception of what the capitalist system is, whether he or she is aware of it or not. This marks our own particular course of action and our behaviour in our daily lives. It dictates our types of discussions and certain types of actions. It makes us criticise certain things and agree with others. This is why some people believe that capitalism actually began thousands of years ago, or that it will continue forever – such positions create a very distinct attitude toward capitalism. Thus, it is necessary that we truly analyse and understand the capitalist system, how it works and what diagnosis we can make of its existence – if it is at the beginning of its life-cycle, middle or end. Our future vision depends on this, and on the strategies that we formulate to develop Alter-Natos. The capitalist system is a hegemonic, multifaceted system of domination that involves economic, political, social, ideological, cultural and military elements. It is a system based on private property and capital as elements of production and generators of wealth that feed the intrinsic logic of the continuous accumulation of wealth.
Among its theoretical elements are (a) the concept of self-interest and the freedom of companies to look for the largest possible accumulation of capital, (b) the idea that workers look for the largest salary possible, and (c) that consumers always look for the best price. The Competition is created between the offer and demand. Therefore theoretically, in the market, offer and demand control the prices of goods and services, thereby achieving the best balance for the common good.
In reality, however, this does not really happen. The capitalist system generates the accumulation of wealth, monopolies, exclusion and poverty, among other consequences that we will analyse later. In the midst of its cyclical crises, as with all systems, sooner or later it will confront its incapacity to keep recreating itself as its incessant accumulation is based on the exploitation of natural resources. Consequently, it is necessary to act now and end this system before it finishes us and leaves us with nothing on which to build a new way of life, a new world where a diversity of worlds can fit. But not just any world, though – rather, one that includes the alternatives that lead toward human plenitude and happiness.
Its Models and Stages...
Capitalism has existed in various different forms and with many inherent contradictions that provoke cyclical crises. When capitalism enters a period of crisis, the System passes through a stage transition so that a new model can be generated. .
Liberal Model (1840-1945) During this period individual liberties became the prime focus, as well as the rights of corporations and commerce, from deciding how and what to produce, the competition and the rights of private property guaranteed by the State. Capitalist industry was promoted with the coming of the industrial era, the invention of the machine, and its incorporation into modes of production. Liberalism rejected commerce where the State controlled the economic activity of a nation. It also rejected the idea that the State should impose limits as to the type or amount of profits obtainable. The State should only provide conditions, such as infrastructure, that favor business and facilitate the maximization of profits for businesspeople. The economy should therefore be governed by the market's “invisible hand,” where free trade and supply and demand would naturally regulate the economy. But liberalism meant a bigger exploitation of the workers. Its antithesis: Marxism. This model entered a crisis and went through a transition that manifested in the Great Depression of 1929, extensive economic and social devastation, and the end of World War II (1945).
Welfare State Mode (1945-1970) During this period every country was expected to substitute its imports with local produce due to the world economic debacle after the war. Under the premises set forth by Keynes (1883 – 1946), the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are born in the mountains of Bretton Woods in the State of New Hampshire (USA). These two international bodies were created to strengthen the role of the state in national economies under the tutelage of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The United States institutionalized its economic, political, ideological, military and commercial hegemony.
Under this model, it was up to the State to save the economy and create wellbeing among the population. Its agenda and its ideological pillar was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created by the emerging United Nations Organization. Now the State, not the free market, would have to guarantee human rights elements such as health, education, housing, food, work, and a dignified salary, among other rights. To achieve this, the IFIs generated vast foreign debts among the poor countries that grew until a new crisis surged, causing another modeltransition during the sixties. This was how another exemplary crisis arose, which required a transition from one model to the next.
Neoliberal Model (1970-2000)
Once the state apparatus was built, including its economy and infrastructures, it came under the pressure of foreign debt. The vast transnational capital launched itself to gain control over the economy and the resources of poor countries and channels of development. Through Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs), the State was forced to reduce its control and open its borders once again to economic neoliberalism, thereby strengthening the accumulation of capital in the hands of the rich, who became ever richer, at the cost of the poor, who became ever poorer, especially the women.
The State intervened to increase investment and demand, regulating cyclical crises. At this point, the obligations of the State were reduced to responsibility for laws guaranteeing certain civil liberties, control of internal security by means of armed forces in conjunction with the police, the application of indispensable policies for the smooth working of the markets, and respecting private property. During the 1990s, Transnational Corporations strengthened their investments and bought up everything, therefore allowing the model to enter another crisis to make way for the next model…
Corporation-Nation Model (2000-2030?, 40?) The commercialization of all that exists on the planet under private ownership of large Transnational Corporations began to consolidate from the start of the 21st century. Monopolization, acquisition and mergers between sectors; Transnational Corporations relying on their own internal labor, wage, and health policies, which act above those of the government; Maintenance of diplomatic relations between Transnational Corporations and governments; Corporations installing operatives in the state structures that ensure the Corporation's interests; Development of individual corporate values, identities, cultures, clubs, family associations, symbols, anthems etc., which transmit and reinforce the Corporation's ways of thinking and living; Strengthening the e x p l o i t a t i o n a nd commercialization of women. Movement of capital, inputs, technicians and specialists without any border obstacles; Provision of their own security forces, private police, armies and m e r c e n a r i e s ; Development of the Corporation's own infrastructure, electricity plants, and controlled territories; Development of the trade rules of the Free Trade Treaties and formation of their own international tribunals to defend their interests above those of individual country's sovereignty; Of the world's 100 biggest economies, more than half are corporations, of which, when only considering a handful, are richer than all of Africa or Latin America.
Transnational Corporations have larger budgets than many nations around the world and they can guarantee a safe investment. They have plagiarized the language of human rights to use it in their own defense. When governments try to control their goods (to protect a country's internal market, for example) they call it discrimination; yet when Corporations carry out the same action, it is called “protecting their own interests.” External subsidies are labeled “disloyal competition,” while subsidies provided to Corporations continue to increase. When there are restrictions on environmentally harmful investments, corporations call it a violation of their “right to invest.” They take over the world's strategic resources like the oil and other mining resources, the water, gas, timber, biodiversity and genetic material, the oxygen, the sea, the air space and the soil. For the, the role of governments is to look after their interests. This is the climax of the capital accumulation. Therefore, this is the last model of the Capitalist System before getting into a systemic transition.
The capitalist system implements the cycle that accelerates the accumulation of capital in large private monopolies.
There are 8 Elements to this system:
1 Principal Subject
(Transnational Corporations and large Financial Capital), that which is benefitted and that to which the accumulation of wealth is directed.
Principal Allies The most powerful Governments (G7), who in turn use...
Control and Dependency Mechanisms (Foreign Debt) that oblige poor countries to implement…
Financial Instruments (IFIs) which are fundamental for generating….
(Structural Adjustment Policies, SAPs) that guarantee accumulation of wealth. This process comes about through various…
Imposed Scenarios That legalize this exploitation under a…
7 Correlation of Favorable
Forces (WTO, Davos Economic Forum, FTAs, FTAA APEC , PPP , IISRA ADES, etc.)
Military Structure That guarantees control for the hegemonic project due to the lack of world consensus.
Foreign Debt Mechanisms
Correlations of Forces
The Crisis of the Capitalist System
The intrinsic logic of the accumulation of capital, by its very nature, brings about its own destruction. Capitalism creates the conditions that generate its own incapacity to continue to grow, from an environmental, social, economic, political, cultural and military point of view.
The global cyclical crisis and the end of capitalism became more accentuated at the beginning of the 21st century. The world is preparing itself to make a transition toward other worlds. The indicators of this crisis are economic, political, social and environmental: a crisis in the supposed democracies that serve the great transnational capital; economic stagnation and stagflation; exacerbation and growth of poverty, hunger, and related deaths; accumulation of riches in fewer hands; an increase in worldwide protests and mobilisations and repression of these movements; and environmental impacts that cause planetary life to be unsustainable. Thus, it is necessary to rid ourselves of this system before it leaves us without options of building other possible worlds.
The current crisis of the capitalist system is a terminal crisis, since it brings together all the necessary elements: financial crisis, environmental crisis, food crisis, energy crisis, political crisis, social crisis, military crisis, and ideological crisis
The capitalist system had a beginning and it will have an end point. The principle of perpetual motion not only affects biological life, but also politics and social issues. Hence, nothing ever remains static, but is always changing. This means that we have not yet reached the end of history or that one system or system model is ever definitive.
STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS OF THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM
Among some intrinsic structural elements without which the capitalist system could not function properly, so inherent that they are the equivalent of the system's genetic code, we find the following below. For these reasons and more, being anti-capitalist and antisystem is everyone's ethical and moral obligation.
1 The Accumulation of Capital is the principal objective and nature of the capitalist system, which creates its own mechanisms to accumulate riches in a continuous and permanent manner (banks, laws, interests, subsidising a few while appropriating a surplus, etc.). Capitalism does not distribute riches among the people, as its main purpose is to accumulate incessantly. 2 Competition: the culture, discourse, and practice that feeds hatred, frustration and accumulation of riches where there are few winners and many losers. The culture of competitiveness is the “natural selection of capitalism” – “We are the winners!” 3 Homogenisation: For capitalism to work, common laws, rules, norms and patterns that favor and facilitate the accumulation of wealth are necessary in political, economic, social, cultural, religious, and ideological domains.
Worker-Boss Relationship: Few owners of the means of production who control the lives of workers that can only sell their cheap hand labour to survive.
Patriarchal: The accumulation of wealth in only a few hands is possible thanks to the exploitation and domination of men who exercise power over women in the workplace, as well as social, cultural, and nuclear family spaces. The relationships of domination and power of men over women are the base of the feminisation of capital which guarantees the accumulation of wealth. 6 Speculation: The objective is to accumulate wealth regardless of real necessities and without producing what people really need in sufficient quantities to live a dignified and happy life.
7 Anti-Democracy: The interests of a few are increasingly imposed on the interests of the majority. Representative democracy is pushed as the only way to participate, and it too becomes a commodity. When it becomes a hassle, decrees, frauds, impositions and coercion are used.
Debt creation: is a basic principle of the accumulation of wealth. Without debt and the dependency it generates, capitalism cannot be fully understood.
9 Impoverishment: the ambition for the accumulation of wealth generates losers, who become increasingly poorer, left without anything while the accumulation of wealth remains in the hands of a few oligopolies.. 22
10 Racism: is an intrinsic part of capitalism and its “winners” that seek power and exclusive privileges of a few over everyone else.
Ecocide: Capitalism is fundamentally antiecological. It destroys the natural environment because of its ambition to accumulate wealth by converting nature into merchandise to continue accumulating even more riches. It is uncontrolled consumerism of raw materials. Its wastefulness also generates more wealth accumulation. 12 Monopoly: Along with oligopolies comes the ungovernable consequence of ruthless competition and the elimination of competitors as well as competition via economic, political, cultural, criminal and even military means. 23
13 Exploitation: Accumulation of capital cannot exist without the alienation of wealth, the robbing of profit, inequality and the lack of distribution of benefits between rich and poor; between the Global North and the Global South.
14 Consumerism is waste, it is the gluttony of a career without an end and without measuring real necessities. Excessive consumerism that is produced independent of real necessities accelerates artificial demand and the accumulation of wealth..
15 Privatisation converts public, social, cultural and environmental services into privately owned services. The absolutism of the right to privatise everything justifies the appropriation of everything by means of patents. 24
16 Dependence: The accumulation of capital is based on the dependence of many on a few in political, economic, social, cultural, military, and environmental terms. These two opposite poles cannot live without each other. In addition, the tendency is that the distance between these two groups is ever increasing.
17 War: When a situation reaches such an extreme that society rebels against the system, the system and its”winners” impose their force on society. The less consensus that exists, the greater the repression exercised. The greater the use of force, the weaker the system is. But war in itself is another mechanism of accumulation of wealth. 18 Repression: is the use of force that the system imposes against the lack of social consensus. The state that monitors the accumulation mechanisms legally holds the monopoly of repression and satanises and criminalises social movements and whatever dissident action exists against the system. 25
Cultural Hegemony imposes its
values, but also convinces and alienates people. It is the way of viewing the system and the world inside it as the best advocates for life; this, in turn, leads to reproducing the capitalist system, feeding, nurturing and recreating it over and over again.
20 Verticalism: As
capitalism does not create consensus among the people, the power structures need to impose themselves in the form of democratic dictatorships with the abuse of presidential decrees over democratic mechanisms.
21 Exclusion: Capitalism leaves out and rejects the majority of people in many ways. The majority are excluded from privileges, access to goods, resources, benefits etc.
22 Alienation: This is necessary for political, economic, social, and cultural control. Media communications is in the hands of the 'winners' and this guarantees hegemony with high levels of manipulation and power exercised over society.
23 Counter-Historical: Capitalism today is seen as “the end
of history” because we have supposedly reached its peak in terms of abundance. It rejects and negates the histories and the cultures of different peoples due to claims that its history and its culture are the only true history and culture. These other histories and cultures are identifying flaws in the system of capitalism, and thus are a threat to its hegemonic version of history. It attempts to wipe the historical memory from communities and peoples to guarantee its hegemony.
24 Discrimination: This occurs in all aspects (religion, ethnics, gender, age, sexual diversity, race, region, language).
25 Pseudo-Freedom: Capitalism generates virtual freedom. In reality, only partiallyfree markets exist, and people have no alternatives because the oligopolies refuse to permit diversity. There is really no freedom to choose. 26 Protectionism of Capital: The States guarantee transfer mechanisms to transnational corporations, allowing them to pass all sorts of costs on to society. These costs include environmental costs, input and production costs, losses, corruption costs, investment risks, infrastructure costs, social and political conflicts, and natural disaster damages among others. The economic and political subsidy to the market also facilitates the accumulation of capital. 28
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ANTI-SYSTEM?
Once we realise what is the capitalist system, we can begin to piece together the clues as to what is means to be anti-capitalist, who is anti-system, and who creates experiences or realities that are anti-system. “Anti” is a Greek prefix that signifies “protection against,” “prevention against,” or “struggle against.” Nevertheless, we prefer to use the connotation of “opposite” or “contrary to.” As a result, when we talk of anti-system experiences, we refer to those experiences and realities opposite to the capitalist system; we refer to the discourse and unified social and political practices in daily life that are carried out by an individual or a collective, with different characteristics or characteristics diametrically opposed to those that feed the present system. These experiences, to a greater or lesser extent, reflect an alter-nato. That is to say, they represent other distinct forms, unique to each community, of living their own lives within their own systems. Anti-system expressions and experiences have always existed – some with more or less impact, social presence, or historically shorter or longer timescales. However, they did not manage to form one hegemonic system that globalised the laws of life for all of humanity, as has the capitalist system, namely because this was not their purpose. 29
Curiously, other subsistent non-capitalist worlds can be found in diverse indigenous cultures worldwide. The emergent alternative anti-system forms of living usually occur in rural areas or in populations that are excluded from the supposed benefits of the present dominant system. Anti-system struggles can be of various forms. Some are mentioned below:
Resistance: The word resist comes from the Latin word “resistere,” which signifies to “defy,” “reject,” “withstand” or “suffer”; “to oppose a violent action from someone or something.” There are people or social movements that withstand or defy the effects of the capitalist system. “I won't pay, I don't see, I don't buy, I don't vote, I won't go……”
Active Resistance: This includes Resistance but with a more active way of opposing and rejecting some of its….
Manifestations (impede voting or building highways, bridges, dams, mines, eucalyptus or African palm monocultures. Efforts of Active Resistance may include supporting strategies to combat poverty, low wages, the use of agrochemicals, etc.);
Actors (transnational companies and governments).
Or stopping, slowing down or avoiding mechanisms of wealth
accumulation or reproduction of the Capitalist System as a form of protest against the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the G8, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), foreign debt, Plan Puebla Panama, the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA), the Davós Forum, the negotiations of Free Trade Agreements, etc.
Propositional Resistance: This struggle can include the two previously mentioned types of resistance, and most certainly emancipation. Emancipatory struggles imply the act of freeing from the subordination or domination that the capitalist system imposes. Be that as it may, there cannot be liberation if the transformation of reality does not occur to build Alter-Nates in an integral fashion. Only in this manner can we truly be liberated of dependence on the capitalist system. It will be more Alter-Nates to the extent in which this resistance includes more anti-capitalist elements.
It is important to note, however, that we can maintain, feed, and potentialise capital is m w ithout realising it, even in a naïve fashion by thinking that we are implementing alternatives. Those who receive some benefit from the system may look after their interests, that those benefits be perpetuated and improved. This is why their form of resistance is either merely “reformist” or manifested through arguments of “humanisation” of capitalism, which intrinsically is just not possible. Consequently, not all struggles against capitalism or its different manifestations mean that we are truly creating other manifestations and realities that are different from capitalism. In this way, we see organisations or social movements with an anti-system analysis and discourse that in practice are not really anti-system. Or we see the inverse – social movements that never explicitly state their anticapitalist position, but in practice are profoundly anti-capitalist, and are simply living the Alter-Nate.
THE ALTER-NATE IS ANTIPATRIARCHAL…AND FEMINIST
“Living in the patriarchal world means that beyond our
own will and our own conscience, women and men occupy vital spaces with hierarchies, we fulfill functions and roles, carry out activities, establish relationships and have power or lack power in these, in predetermined ways by society within strict and rigid margins. We are subject to a social, economic, judicial, political, and cultural hierarchy that is oppressive and unjust, based on gender, that shapes notions of sexuality and largely determines the course of our lives. The patriarchal character of the world has allowed the concentration of material goods and symbolic goods – land, money, capital, women, knowledge, political power – in the hands of men. It has also assured the expropriation from women of all their possessions, including their bodies, the products of their creativity, and their goods – it has converted them into possessions themselves, under control and guardianship of men. It has achieved her forced exclusion from spheres, activities, and roles that are the most valued and powerful, being reserved exclusively for men. Daily patriarchal life bases itself on the establishment of a field of domination between men and women. Additionally, men and women have a mutual need for one another to be able to live in intimacy, as well as more and more frequently to carry out joint activities in public spaces. In this field of domination women are trapped and men infringe upon the rules and norms of how to behave and how to live that have been assigned to men and women.” Generic Democracy/For a human gender education for equality, integrity and liberty. Dr. Marcela Lagarde
THE ANTI-SYSTEM ELEMENTS OF OTHER WORLDS
Other remaining non-capitalist worlds and the emerging anti-system Alter-Nates worlds will have to experiment with various characteristics, such as those listed below. The more characteristics they try, the more anti-system they will be, and therefore create an Alter-Nato to capitalism:
Distribution: the opposite to accumulation. In this new world, the surplus is redistributed. Nobody accumulates, there is no basis for personal profit and the value of sharing overrides that of accumulated wealth. The wealthy have no place in this system. There are enough resources for everyone: water, land, food, etc.
Participation: contrary to capitalist competition. The population participates in an active and creative manner to build a world without the detriment of others being left behind on route.
3 Diversity: the opposite of homogenisation.
Biological and cultural diversity feed the world, complimenting and enriching it; diversity unites instead of dividing, giving strength, not weakness. It is linked with integrality. It is the world that takes on board Alter-Nates that take into account a dignified life in all its dimensions.
4 Collectivity: the opposite of the boss-worker relationship. The
world project is that of collectivity. There is no owner or dispossessed people, no bosses. There are diverse equals.
5 Gender Perspective:
contrary to the patriarchal system. It is a scientific, analytical and political outlook regarding women and men. It eliminates the causes of gender oppression (inequality, injustice and hierarchies based on gender). This world promotes equality between genders through equity, and the betterment of women and the improvement of their well-being. It contributes to building a society where women and men have the same value, equality of rights and opportunities to be happy.
Necessities: as opposed to speculation. Real necessities are marked by their capacity to produce and reproduce life.
7 Democracy: contrary to anti-
democracy, without totalitarianism, and without decrees that impose the will of the few on the majoriy. Informed and active participation builds futures and dignity..
8 Solidarity: as opposed to endebtedness.
There are no debts to pay; rather, there is solidarity to express and riches to distribute.
Everything for Everyone: contrary to empoverishment. Material and cultural riches, as well as riches of any other type, are enough for all women and men.
10 Equality: as opposed
to discrimination. Everyone has the same rights, opportunities and collective responsibilities. Social and gender equality.
Ecological: the opposite of ecocide. Living in harmony with and being respectful of nature. Making reasonable and sustainable use of natural resources. Ecological struggles are inevitably anti-capitalist. You can't have an anti-capitalist struggle without an environmental struggle.
Sovereignty: as opposed to monopoly. This is the capacity to live autonomously, to define for one's self the direction and path that one wishes to take toward happiness
Equality: Equal distribution of prosperity, the right of equal access to products, spheres, services and rights in society.
14 Fairness: the opposite
of consumerism; the avoidance of creating artificial needs that disproportionately consume and use up the natural biosystem. Only what is needed is used, with equitableness.
Public: as opposed to private. No one can claim for him- or herself what is really the public property of society. It does not convert everything it sees into private property or a marketable product..
16 Autonomy: opposite of
dependency. A rejection of parasitical dependency, and instead a unity in diversity of views and one's own modes of self-management. It does not use the mechanisms on which capitalism such as The World Bank, IMF, or the resources of the “winners” (transnational corporations).
opposite of war. Diversity, Autonomy, and Sovereignty are synonyms of peace, which is not understood as just the mere absence of bullets or armed conflicts or pacification while hunger and institutionalised violence still exists. Rather, peace is understood as the type of peace that comes hand in hand with justice, equality, and happiness for everyone.
Tolerance: as opposed to repression. This means accepting the diversity of worlds, ideas, and different expressions without hegemony or impositions from projects and systems.
19 New Language: A new form of naming things in the new
world-system that does not merely repeat or reformulate the capitalist conceptualisation. Horizontality: as opposed to verticality. It is the management of power at the service of the collective, of links, with equal relations and without intolerable impositions.
21 Inclusive: opposite of excluding. This is a world in which
all worlds and all types of diversity can fit. It does not displace populations from their original lands and respects all cultures.
Anti-System Conscience: opposite of alienation. This implies some levels of political and ideological clarity with respect to an analysis of the capitalist system and a conscious rejection of this, far from the dominion of hegemonic and monopolised media and closer to alternative media.
23 Historic Memory: as opposed to
counter-history. This is the struggle for the reconstruction of one's own identity, culture, and history. It is the reconstruction of the collective subject. It is the human right to memory
Freedom: opposite of pseudo freedom. It is the expression of plenitude and happiness, a system where there is no deceit, impositions, or repression. A free world is a fulfilled world.
Co-Responsibility: as opposed to protectionism of capital. It is a world in which the costs are redistributed responsibly, and where everyone collaborates to rebuild their own system.
Can you find other elements?... 42
The lack of total coherence in the application and experience of these characteristics does not necessarily invalidate the anti-system experience. We are of the understanding that this is a process of construction of Alter-Nates so that other worlds are possible. For this reason, we cannot think of living a sociopolitical genetic mutation immediately, one that is spontaneously and radically different from the capitalist hegemonic system. Nevertheless, we should view it as a casting off of our old skin to cloth ourselves with Alter-Nates. For these reasons, this transition implies incoherencies and contradictions, but with one directionality by detachment to be able to create and give birth to other worlds. It implies a political vision and a clear consciousness of wanting to live and manifest other worlds different to capitalism.
LIVE YOUR OWN ANTI-SYSTEM EXPERIENCE! ANTI SISTÉMICA!
Currently we speak a lot of the need to look for alternatives to the serious situation in which we live. The word “alternative” originates from the latin pronoun “alter,” “altera,” “alterum,” which means “the other,” between two alternatives. However, when we speak of the alternative to the capitalist system, we are not referring to just one unique “alternative,” as if there were just two things from which to choose, between capitalism and the other possibility that we do not yet know. This means reducing our choices to two possibilities, instead of acknowledging that in reality our choice is open and diverse. We choose not to embrace another hegemony that will dominate and impose itself on others. Therefore we look to another Latin pronoun, “alius, alia, aliud,” meaning “another among three or more choices.”, With the passage of time, the difference between the two pronouns was lost, and the word alternative came to include the idea of a choice among two or more possibilities. This is the “alter,” or “other” possibilities. The words “altered,” or “unalterable” indicate that something is not affected by external events. The words “altercation” or “exalted” indicate that something is magnified or highlighted by something other than the original objects. These concepts suggest a movement from the outside inward. We, however, insist in the perspective of the movement from the inside out, namely 'Nates'. The idea is to find, achieve, instigate, discover or create “that which is born of itself naturally,” from within a movement, something of its own making, born internally within the people who make up the movement. This is the “Nates.” This is the “other” that is born from within. It is this universal unity that is born from unity with the other, and with commonalities. It is only through diversity that we can generate true unity. This is why cultural diversity makes various other worlds possible within our World – individual worlds that are distinct and separate from the capitalist system. Therefore, Alter-Nates are Other Worlds, other systems that are diversely united. For a World where Many Worlds Fit!
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