The Great Transition International Conference
May 21-24, Montreal
The 2007-2008 financial crisis did not put an end to neoliberal policies, but it did lead to a large-scale rejection of neoliberalism as an economic model and a mode of thought. In the last decade, several new protest movements emerged: the Arab Spring, the Indignados, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Fight for $15… These movements challenged the status quo, mobilized millions and alerted the world to crucial issues. They also won significant victories in some areas. Furthermore, new left-wing parties and openly socialist candidates entered the political arena with impressive results. However, we must concede that the tide hasn’t turned yet. There is no evidence that the balance of power is shifting to the left, or that the abolition of capitalism is near. In some places, the left is even losing ground to a rising far right.
One of the deepest political lessons of our times is that the radical left is undergoing a crisis. We are currently unable to articulate a clear vision for the future. “Anti-capitalism”, anti-racism”, “Change the system, not the climate”, “Another world is possible”: this vocabulary expresses a negative and defensive political impulse, underlining our incapacity to put forward a positive, inspiring project. When we dare speak of revolution, it often evokes empty rehashing or, worse, the spectre of state violence committed in the name of so-called “communist” regimes.
Therefore, our most urgent task is to rebuild an alternative to this racist, capitalist and patriarchal world. Social theories have given us critical tools to analyse the system, but have given us very few pointers on how to replace it. In some circles, interesting proposals have been made and bold social experiments have been tried, but these initiatives are either overlooked or isolated. They need to be connected, discussed and debated, so that a stronger movement emerges.
To promote the convergence of various resistance movements into a powerful offensive, we must develop a genuine transition project based on the critical knowledges produced by scholars and activists. The Great Transition: Building Utopias international conference thus invites citizens and activists from all horizons to re-ignite our political imagination and to renew strategic debates along 6 main themes:
- An Economy in the Hands of Everyone
- Transforming our Relationship with Nature
- Anti-Imperialism in a Tempest-Tossed World
- Rethinking Democracy and Power
- Decolonizing Knowledge
- Fighting all Oppression
Now is the time to act. The multi-faceted crisis we are going through requires the creation of new utopias. This is why The Great Transition invites you to submit panels and papers that will stimulate our reflections on alternative models and new political strategies in tune with our current situation. We particularly welcome papers from marginalized individuals and communities. Individual papers will be considered, but preference will be given to full panels. Note also that we encourage speakers to submit introductory panels and workshops aiming towards popular education. Please note that we strive towards gender parity. All-male panels may be rejected.
The conference has three main objectives: (1) promoting alternatives to capitalism and to the many different systems of oppression, (2) equipping social movements and transformative initiatives by sharing experiences and knowledge, and (3) reinforcing ties between critical academics and militant organizations, as well as between francophone and anglophone networks.
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(NB: Not affiliated with GTI, but still a great conference!)