The history of Public Interest Litigation in India is testimony to the way in which not only the political understanding of judges but in a sense the very the spirit of the age, determines what Public Interest is – from the immediate post Emergency era in which democratic rights got the protection of courts through PILs, to the 1990s onwards, when, through the invocation of “Environment” in PILs, the interests of the middle classes and the state trumped those of working classes and forest dwellers. Most recently the Supreme Court admitted petitions from people claiming the right to smooth traffic, against the anti CAA protests as well as the farmers’ protests.https://kafila.online/2021/01/15/a-lesson-in-political-theory-from-farmers-unions/
The Modi government has demonstrated that it has the “political will” to permit corporates to enter the food-grain market. This cannot be opposed legally, but only by stating the opposing “political will of the masses”.
This policy change cannot be viewed exclusively “through the lens of the Supreme Court or constitutionality.” In other words, the way to fight the political will displayed by a government supposedly elected by the people – if that will goes counter to the expressed will of the people – is by “peaceful mass agitation.”
what the farmers’ unions are doing is teaching us a new the key principle that undergirds a democracy – a government is answerable to the people. This government on the contrary, sees itself as above the people, as if the government’s will is superior to the will of the people. W
Reinventing Gandhian Ideas and Practice of Consensual Democracy, Satyagraha, and Village Socialism in Today’s Context: The Case of Village Mendha Lekha, India
(1) Pallavi VARMA PATIL (Living Utopias; Azim Premji University, India)
(2) Sujit SINHA (Living Utopias; Azim Premji University, India)
(3) Mohan Hirabai HIRALAL (Vrikshamitra, Maharashtra, India)
In Ahimsa Conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFbtfUactbU
the pandemic.. has shown to millions of workers who have been treated as most disposable, whose work had been most degraded, who were told that they were unskilled, that they were so easily replaceable, that they are, in fact, the most essential workers in our economy. They were labelled essential workers.
...now Amazon workers know how important they are to keeping people fed and keeping people clothed...It’s being organized online and in-person, but these are new tools that are being organized...Whether it’s nurses sent to care for patients with COVID-19, without what they needed to keep themselves and their family safe, there are so many enraged workers out there right now, rightfully and righteously enraged. And there is power in that if we can mobilize it. - How to Rebuild from the Disaster of Neoliberalism. Naomi Klein interviewed by Grace Blakeley Janata Weekly https://janataweekly.org/how-to-rebuild-from-the-disaster-of-neoliberalism/
Request to refer FCRA bill, 2020 to a Select/Standing Committee of the Parliament
• Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), being an apex body/national association of Indian voluntary development organizations strongly feels that the FCRA bill, 2020 will be a death blow to the development relief, scientific research and community support work of the NGO community as it prohibits collaboration with other Indian organizations.
• At a time like this, when India is battling a deadly disease, with so much at stake and collaborations internationally that are to be encouraged, this would be a model of control, over and above the rules, regulations and certification processes, that stifles this important sector. The new FCRA Bill throttles the spirit of cooperation that had been ushered in earlier this year by the positive role played by development organizations in mitigating the lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic by virtually making it impossible for NGOs to function.
• These amendments assume that all NGOs receiving foreign grants are guilty, unless proved otherwise.
• This makes NGOs open to possible harassment via queries which can be raised on almost any activity. This would impede collaborations and any other constructive activity they do.
• This restriction, when added to the existing restrictions which prohibit Indian organizations which win foreign research grants from sub-contracting a foreign institution (which, in essence, means that no Indian organization can be the lead institution in an international consortium), runs against the core mission of the government’s desire to strengthen India’s science/research performance. • Collaborations even with national NGOs which are compliant with FCRA regulations, will be curtailed as the bill talks of no sub-granting, therefore killing the overall spirit of collaboration.
• The term Administrative Expenses in FCRA rules is defined to include all salaries (except for school teachers, doctors, and field researchers, trainers). This means all the salaries of outreach workers, field staff who support villagers and rural communities are also counted as administrative expenses. So this amendment will be a major blow to organisations in terms of payment of salaries, professional fees, utility bills, travel and other such expenditure. • These rules may be intended to control the vast number of NGOs which engage in dubious charitable activities. We stand with the government of India in its efforts to put down such activities. But by failing to recognize the diversity of NGOs which include world-class science organizations, they will crush their competitiveness and creativity.
• Asking 20,000 charities to move their FCRA accounts to SBI Delhi will be hugely disruptive. Many will not be able to operate these accounts properly as the home branch will be in Delhi. • With limited domestic philanthropy, such guidelines that criminalise activities of even those certified as FCRA compliant, thousands of small NGOs which enable good work and are dependent on legal funds obtained internationally, will shut down, also endangering livelihoods of those dependent on them for a vocation. Voluntary Action Network India (VANI) New Delhi, INDIA
17th Jan is the anniversary of Rohit Vemula's Martyrdom
This website is for those of us -- Movements, Organisations, NGOs, Social Entrepreneurs who locate themselves on the Long & Winding Road to Structural Transformation.
in this day and age of quick solutions, and instant communication, we take pause.. relook at ourselves, our work and the world around us.. deliberate, discuss and flesh out this road to to Structural Transformation. This site is specifically pitched at the middle level in most organisations who are caught up in project activity and do not get a chance to attend meetings, exchange ideas with thinkers and workers of other organisations. We hope this will help them, get the big picture and align their day to day work with the long term perspective of change.
It was 9th of August, 2015. When the UN observed world day of Indigenous peoples, and India celebrated the call of Gandhiji to Quit India, the beach of Dahanu witnessed the call "Quit Destructive Development"
Kaluram Dhodade of the Bhoomi Sema ( Video of his speech and demands of AEP ) led the rally speaking against the move to de-notify the Green Zone Notification and decried the tactics of the establishment to twart the efforts of the Dahanu Development Authority appointed by the Courts, by denying it basic funds and admin support. There is a strong lobby who want to free land in this area for "development" as there is not lots of quick money to be made.
The other demand is to thwart the backdoor entry of the Dahanu Port, something which Nargis Irani has fought for over forty years. In her emotional appeal, she pass on the baton of the struggle to the Adivasis, who accept the torch with loud cheers. Thus, what was upto now considered a middle class issue - "Save Dahanu", and by many analyst as a movement of the big farmers, became the mobilsation slogan of the tribals under the Adivasi Ekta Parishad ( Video of Nargis' emotional plea to the adivasis to take over the struggle)
The National Alliance of Peoples' Movements has moved ahead for the last twenty years on the three pillars of opposition to casteism and communalism, opposition to Globalisation and Liberalisation based economic policy and asserting our right to life and livelihood through constructive action. Medha Patkat at the 10th biennial conference.
Emergence of internetworked social movements and their participatory mobilizing networks portend new forms of democratic politics that integrate some of the structures and strategies of previous movements, while extending the possibilities of social movements in new directions. Today, large movement mobilizing networks must be charted across extremely complex webs of communication, online and offline, that inform complex, dispersed, and quickly changing field of organizing, decision making, coordination and issue construction." - Lauren Langman, Douglas Morris, Internet Mediation: A Theory of Alternative Globalization Movements, http://www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/langmanbk01.htm
Around the 90s, we had this debate: founder driven organisations v/s institutionalising NGOs with modern management & governance practices. Some felt that the programmes and project should be handed over to the CBOs. But then would the motivation of the leaders then change?
At the turn of the century, we had a round of "social entrepreneurs", quite a few of them Ashoka scholars, people who took up a problem, immersed themselves in a situation, and found an economically viable manner to tackle a situation. Good examples of these are Dharani Coops of Timbaktu, ChildLine, Grassroutes.
Now comes the age of "heropreneurs"- http://tacklingheropreneurship.com/report/ who pursue a career path that promises opportunities to save the world, gain social status, and earn money, all at the same time. That big idea, solved by an app or two. Many of them have not immersed into a situation but have relied on an eco-system set up by CBOs and NGOs for decades. But this eco-system is also changing.. sometimes in direct competition with the new "heropreneurs" due to the changing character of funding.
Daniela Papi-Thornton points out in Tackling Heropreneurship: To really change a system, people need a more holistic set of skills, including systems thinking, an understanding of collaboration tools to further collective impact, and lateral leadership skills such as the ability to lead without power and to galvanize movement toward a common goal across a diverse and disjointed solutions ecosystem. They also need a grounded understanding of themselves and their skills, such as how they like to work, which roles in a team best fit their skills, and if/how their risk tolerance fits with the range of social impact career options. Finally, if they plan to take a leadership or strategic role in solving a problem, they need a deep understanding of the reality of that problem.
A similar issue was raised by K J Joy at the Vikalp Sangam where he spoke of the difference between the "alternatives framework" and the earlier political/systemic approach.. namely that the movements who represent an alternative framework for transformation, need to showcase the conceptual overview rather than individual project, and therefore their intervention would be more conceptual. We must aim for a balance between the experiential and the conceptual. Video Excerpts from the Vikalp Sangam Discussion on Sharing
From Isolated Alternatives to ...
Building Alternative Institutions
We need to develop alternative institutions which will embody the decentralised, people oriented democratic norms. (Walter)We can begin with alternative marketing institutions, which mean raises the experimentations done in Just Change or Kuttmabakkan and Timbaktu, to the levels of inter-organisational norms.(john). Leave it to the people, Otherwise it would be a return to the Vanguardist norm (Aseem)
Now Slow Economics Mantra
Scale Out not Up
At the second Vikalp Sangam, Ilango, Stan and Bablu share their experiences with developing alternative economic institutions within the framework of equity, environmental sustainability, democratic governance.
Ilango shares his journey as a Panchayat Leader of Kuthambakkam, where he started working for livelihood development in his village. He realised how all the wealth created by people was moving out of the economy. Most of the commodities required by a village is available or at least be manufactured in the region. and create a local multiplier effect..
Kuthambottom-Up - Vikalp Sangam