The Collective Visioning Process
A short introduction to the Revolutionary Love and AlterGlobalisation Collective Visioning Project (4 mins)
‘Revolution is love if it wants to be worthy of its name’
As we witness the collapse of the neoliberal consensus and the subsequent rise of authoritarian strong men and xenophobic nationalisms across the globe, the capitalist hegemony that was consolidated by the neoliberal project remains very much intact –increasing inequalities, injustices, and violations of freedoms on an unprecedented scale and accelerating our descent towards irreversible ecological collapse. In parallel, a series of movements challenging global capitalism have responded with a growing popular resistance to this post-neoliberal world order.
The experience of social movements over the last century confirms the pressing need for a framework of plurality within our current networks which avoid the dominations and hierarchies of previous structures, maintains our constituent diversity and yet allows for the construction of a cohesive collective identity.
Although often omitted by conventional political histories, there are many examples of activists who have revolutionised love to align with specific political and social ideals. It is here where the lines between the personal and the political blur, where we have seen glimpses of potentiality for love as a radically transformative revolutionary force. It is here where we might discover that love has always performed an intimate catalytic role within revolutionary politics.
This Collective Visioning Project positions Revolutionary Love as a key concept for political theory and philosophy, and explores if it might play a central role in animating radical social transformation in the 21st century.
An ongoing process of collective visioning is taking place across South Africa, Mexico, Trouwunna (Tasmania, Australia), Ireland, UK, Syria, Uganda, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Turkey, USA and Jordan, and our participants include activists involved in environmental direct action groups, anti-capitalist/alter-globalisation activists, anarchist organising, indigenous rights activists, refugee solidarity work, feminist activists, and members of communities developing transformative economies, cooperatives, food sovereignty and permaculture projects.
Four distinct themes are being explored through this process:
Practice - Exploring experiences of - and ideas for - revolutionary loving practices within activist groups, movements, and wider society...
Theory - Exploring ideas on how a political theory of revolutionary love might animate radical social transformation in the 21st century....
Corruptions - Exploring how (corrupt) forms of love might be utilised as methods of domination, oppression or abuse, in social movements and in society...
Utopia - (Co)imagining how a society arrived at through - and maintained by - a revolutionary love might manifest...
Our approach builds upon a method first used within the Global Occupy Movement as a tool for collaboration and collective action, involving a group process of co-imagining a vision that is long-term, expansive and solutions-driven, and developing strategy for prefiguring the world we collectively envision – a form of knowledge co-production which acts to reveal glimpses of a future world – and (most importantly) the seeds of liberation already existing right here in the present.
This Collective Visioning reframes utopia as a process – reclaiming imagination as a productive power in the pursuit of new knowledge and practice.
Join us in co-imagining a revolutionary love for the 21st century:
By making contact to set up a 1:1 conversation or join a group collective visioning
Or by joining the conversation in the Collective Visioning Online Hub.
Matt York is a PhD researcher in the Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Ireland. Matt first became involved in anti-capitalist activism through Reclaim the Streets in the 1990's, and has remained engaged across various movements since. As a development practitioner he worked on primary healthcare programmes and community development projects in Africa and Europe. In 2002 he founded the Mandala Trust – a UK based organisation working in solidarity with communities at a grassroots level supporting children and young people living in vulnerable situations around the world.
Whilst coordinating development projects in South Africa Matt came face to face with a rapid increase of development practices with funding priorities shaped by 'free market' economics. Such approaches were clearly contrary to the experience, evidence and ethics of established international development theory and practice. This direct experience of the subversion of international development by market-driven globalisation and the subsequent increases in inequalities, injustices and violations of freedoms in communities on the ground led to his involvement in the alter-globalisation movement. Matt's work in developing community transformative education projects using the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu* led to his current interest in love as politically transformative and in 2014 he co-founded Operation Kindness to further this work.
* The concept of Ubuntu is best expressed through the Nguini proverb ‘Umuntu ngu-umuntu ngobantu’ meaning ‘I am because we are’. This sense of collective solidarity characterises Ubuntu through love, caring, tolerance, respect, empathy, accountability and responsibility.