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Timeline Forums Project Forum “Degrowth” and intercommunalism, sharing, and caring

  • “Degrowth” and intercommunalism, sharing, and caring

    Posted by Karin Louise Hermes on March 21, 2023 at 9:55 am

    I just saw the book post/suggestion about Kohei Saito’s new book, and since my thoughts here are neither about having read the book or suggesting to read it, I wanted to start a different discussion motivated by that, but not necessarily about it.

    Points of interest to discuss, mainly political anthropology and collectivist theory, but also more:

    degrowth/growth narratives (or metaphors)

    Intercommunalist theory (Huey P. Newton, Black Panther Party), not nation-state Internationalism that marginalizes ethnic minorities and Indigenous rights

    – Haudenosaunee Confederacy sources to anthropology and Marx/Engels, as well as other Indigenous knowledges and citations obscured

    science communications of climate change for the layperson or public through art and metaphors, and multidisciplinary and multimedia forms of Intercommunalism: art collectives like the documenta 15 “lumbung” (rice barn)

    "We want to create a globally oriented, cooperative, interdisciplinary art and culture platform that will remain effective beyond the 100 days of documenta fifteen. Our curatorial approach aims at a different kind of collaborative model of resource use—economically, but also in terms of ideas, knowledge, programs, and innovation." -

    – EDC being locally sited in Baltimore, but also doing this global or hyperlocal virtual outreach, like an Intercommunalist lumbung

    – international systems of “representation” and governance according to nation-states needing to be overhauled in globalization and climate action

    – the impossibility to explain political theories outside of nation-state frameworks in contemporary academia, aside from anthropology and archaeology (when all my arguments stem from Pacific and Southeast Asian and Indigenous polities, and I have to spend half of an article word count laying out definitions and cases that are considered tangential and cut in revisions, and then my argument falls apart…)

    Anand Pandian replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 2 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Karin Louise Hermes

    March 21, 2023 at 10:10 am

    This is possibly a more metadiscussion about the contexts of the EDC and ecological solidarities, as well as how my (German) father read about the Saito book in the German magazine “Der Spiegel” and said it sounded like my PhD dissertation (which he hasn’t read) based on my anti-capitalist points for climate justice.

    My main premise isn’t really going back to Marx and being into Degrowth, but engaging in Indigenous and decolonial methods and practices that interconnect in Intercommunalism or hyperlocal (global-local) solidarities. *However* since my PhD like Saito’s was at Humboldt Uni in Berlin, Germany, I do refer to reinterpreting Marx/Engels and Hegel in the climate justice context for German “Leftist” engagement, instead of appropriating culturally-specific human-environment concepts.

    The documenta 15 art exhibit in Kassel, Germany, also demonstrated the global South solidarities in practice based on Indonesian “lumbung” Intercommunalism, where the “rice barn” lumbung was the idea to bringing in many art collectives that do political work on the ground and sharing ideas and collaborations beyond the Kassel site (spacetime) itself… and that massively caused a problem to German hegemonic thinking and the same political premises my PhD goes into very culturally-specific German problems to decolonial solidarity…

    "lumbung as a collectively-governed architecture for the storage of food serves a community’s long-term well-being through communal resources and mutual care, and it is organized around a set of shared values, collective rituals, and organizational principles. ruangrupa translates and continues this tradition of sharing within our own practice."
    "When ruangrupa initially proposed the idea of lumbung as a collectively governed pot of surplus resources, it was speculating artistically on how to build such a common structure over time. Under the current conditions, the concept of lumbung, and its values of solidarity and collectivity, has never been more vital and relevant. In moments when so many are experiencing the inequality and injustice of the current systems, lumbung can act as an effort (alongside so many others) to show that things can be done differently." -

    A bit about my ideas (and I decided last week to perhaps work on a PhD book after all, but as methods/ethics handbook on rethinking cosmologies, polities, and justice, so I can just write more articles without explaining it all over every time):

    – deliberately using the word “Growing” in the dissertation title against the Degrowth terminology: Growing Intercommunalist “pockets of resistance” with Aloha ‘Aina in Hawai’i

    – actually critiquing Marx, because the main issue I see in those ideas of communism/socialism is having removed/disregarded the holism of ancestral land and as community, a factor why Zapatista organizing and Indigenous-led forms of thinking/doing “new” worlds/systems are more useful to engage with: You can’t remove spirit from land/environment/community and expect it to work!

    – “spirit” in philosophy as “energy” in physics: So how do we contemplate a changing climate and energy crises in global systems, when spirit has been removed (and power isn’t questioned)?

  • Anand Pandian

    March 26, 2023 at 11:51 pm

    Amazing, thank you @KarinIsSharing for this wealth of ideas. I’m unfamiliar with a lot of what you describe here and grateful for your sharing. Lumbung, for example, and the very idea of the intercommunal. I started a discussion thread a little while ago as a place to park different ideas of what the EDC could be, as a form, as a structure, and I would love to think more about the collective architecture that you’re describing here.

    I am also intrigued by your insistence on the continued relevance of growth, even in a time when degrowth seems to have more and more salience. I find myself drawn to metaphors (and practices) of growth all the time, even as the toxicity of unfettered economic growth becomes more and more obvious. I find myself drawn increasingly to “decay” as another alter to growth. But one could work, just as well, to pluralize the registers of growth itself: social, collective, spiritual, personal, etc.

  • Karin Louise Hermes

    April 29, 2023 at 6:55 am

    I have been thinking on this content for the past weeks (and always hope forthcoming publications of mine in the pipeline would come out to summarize my points better), especially on the growth and economy bit, and for sure the pluralization of ideas, but also words and meanings to them.

    My questions to this are:

    What comes after decay? Isn’t it more growth? A cycle of growth and abundance after the decay? Which is what Andean pachakuti or Hawaiian hulihia intend in turnovers or “system change.”

    Why leave the terminology of “growth” to the capitalist framing? Instead of (what I do with the Philippine palengke that means informal market aka “wet market,” and related to the marooning Palenqueros in the Spanish Americas) reclaiming it to return back to the economy/oikos that refers to the communal system again? Wherein the point of the market was a space of coming together and sharing/trading goods, the space of the “globalization” of ideas, same as I relate these concepts to the estuary/delta space of mixing waters and for solidarity or community-building. And this also comes from the Hawaiian terms for “value” or “abundance” or “wealth” in the word waiwai, that doubles the freshwater wai.

    More useful material on that hulihia and waiwai here, in short essays and poetry:

    So in the end, I really don’t disagree with Degrowth scholars, I just find my intentional wordplay more fun and productive: to focus on “growth” for environment and “market” for people, in one ecosystem or ecology (with logos as word/reason) without splitting nature/culture/nurture, like abstract economic growth has claimed it for a while, leaving humans and non-humans behind?

  • Karin Louise Hermes

    June 11, 2023 at 9:49 am

    Bumping if anyone wants to discuss some more ,along your own “Degrowth” terminology optimism or criticism!

  • Anand Pandian

    June 13, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    Intrigued by this web of references, and wondering what a global lexicon of economic wellbeing might look like, as a collection, via different languages and cultural traditions and benchmarks. On growth, for example, I was struck, in my dissertation fieldwork in rural south India some years ago, by the many comparisons that farmers I knew would make between growing plants and children. There does seem to be a lot of scope to concretize growth once again, and thereby restore some semantic range that has been foreclosed by a narrow economism. Maybe this is what @Niloo had in mind with her recent post?

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