Ulrich Brand at the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Vienna is part of the global working group “Beyond Development. Toward Systemic Emancipatory Transformations”.

Description: Within Southeast Asia, countless grassroots initiatives exist that work to empower and organize communities to assert their rights to land, livelihood, and political-decision-making. The program on Alternative Development at the University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies investigates the phenomenon of grassroots democracy as it is depicted by alternative practices on the ground. It does so by researching case studies of practices in Southeast Asia, documenting and publishing them, bringing practitioners together in regional conferences to share experiences, exchange knowledge and talk about challenges and lessons learned. The goal of the program is to establish a network based on regionalism and transnationalism from the ground, challenging elite-centered and oligarchical regionalism.

The group has a core membership of around 30 people (scholars, activists, NGO members) from all continents and looks in detail on experiences, potentials and obstacles of social-ecological transformations. It meets bi-anually and invites people with expertise, discussing a multitude of relevent topics such as transformative policies at the municipal level (meeting in Barcelona), Green Colonialism (Dakar), alternatives in a world of crisis (Brussels, Quito), or climate reparations (Jackson, Mississippi). The outcome of the meetings are, among others, usually a book and educational material.

Collaborators: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Great Transition Initiative

Duration: Permanent