We call on representatives of the global North and South: of first peoples/indigenous peoples, miners, peasants, workers, employees, technicians, sanitary workers, diverse artists, poets, writers, intellectuals, musicians, singers, artisans, professors, lawyers, physicians, architects, engineers, geologists, astronomers, chemists, dentists, veterinarians, anthropologists, geographers, historians, sociologists, psychologists, economists, philologists, philosophers, communication theorists, programmers, scientists, art critics, theologians, thinkers, humanists, pacifists, indigenists, feminists, ecologists, animal liberation advocates, cooperative members, unionists, peasantist, anarchists, socialists, mutualists, communists, zapatistas, activists of diverse social causes and citizens, shamans, nuns and monks, practitioners of Zen Buddhism, Yoga, Sufism, esoterics, priests, rabbis, imams, cult ministers, secularists, pastors, bishops; social movements, networks and organizations: indigenous, ejido members, common folk, urban collectives, neighborhood, regional or state groups, representatives of civil society from: cooperatives, unions, civil associations, chambers, institutes, colleges, foundations, non-governmental organizations; to researchers and academics in general, traders/merchants, small and medium businesspeople, municipal and state authorities; legislators, judges and state magistrates; federal deputies and senators, federal officials, to participate in the 2018 North South Conference on Degrowth-Descrecimiento, Mexico City that will take place between the 3rd and 7th of September, 2018 in Mexico City, location to be announced. The conference will run from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day.
The conference slogan is the "decolonization of the social imaginary"; the thematic axes are: survival, culture and wealth; and the cross-cutting/transversal axes are: degrowth in the North and South, connection between local and global action, links and connections between degrowth and related movements, convivial science and technology, individuals, groups, communities and institutions that are making change and taking action globally now.
The conference will be structured with time for plenaries, parallel sessions and art, lunch, conviviality and getting around. The plenaries will open and close the day and will be dedicated to debating the thematic axis of the day, with interventions from national and international conference speakers. The parallel sessions will take place twice during the day: before and after lunch, with interventions by presenters of the special sessions and the normal sessions whose abstracts have been approved by the reviewers and the executive commission; the art will be present at the beginning of the plenaries and in the amenities at the end of the day; the lunch will be served at 1:30 p.m.; the amenities and changes of place will take place at the end of the plenaries and after the second time dedicated to parallel sessions.
On the webpage https://degrowth.descrecimiento.org, the following will be published: the thematic and cross-cutting/transversal axes; the sub-themes; what we understand by degrowth; why in Mexico; the call to present special sessions and/or individual presentations; the principles, objectives and purpose; the organizing committee, the scientific-cultural committee, the executive commission; the endorsements of and alliances with other conferences; the conference plenary speakers; the updated outlines of the program and, next July, the final program; news about the conference; publications related to degrowth-descrecimiento; and different quotas, assisted registration and organizers.
Mexico City, March 6th, 2018
Descrecimiento is the new word or neologism which was adopted unanimously in the First Colloquium La Apuesta por el Descrecimiento, held in 2007 in the city of Mexico, to translate the French slogan décroissance, used by the original movement born in 2003 after the publication of Serge Latouche's article in Le Monde Diplomatique (Pour une societé de decroissance). It was quickly translated in other European countries as decrecimiento (Spain) decrescita (Italy), postwachstum (Germany) and as degrowth in English. The idea behind descrecimiento has been to denote the will to reduce consumption and the ambitions of power and money, and to eliminate the abstract common connotation of this word in scientific language. The word descrecimiento does not exist so far in conventional dictionaries; however, it has been included in the vocabulary of Degrowth published in Europe a couple of years ago.
Descrecimiento implies a vision of the world that flatly rejects techniques and investments that destroy the biological and cultural diversity of the territory, which cause cancers and other serious alterations to human health, and endanger the existence of the humanity, which induce the acceleration of natural disasters: drought, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, heat waves, which create oil wars or water wars, pandemics and biogenetic catastrophes. It involves a challenge to the modern way of life founded on the use of devastating modern techniques, unlimited economic growth and the production of illusions of progress, development and modernity.
Above all, it implies the will of slashing, individually and collectively, the use of transportation, pumping, generation of electricity, education and health services, provided by the State and the Market, as well as the production and consumption of industrial products. It involves a practice that recognizes the political, economic, social, cultural and ecological conditions of the countries of the Global South. It involves the rejection of growth for the sake of growth that does not take into account the nature of the production.
Descrecimiento is also of a policy proposal for countries of the Global South: lines of action that are applicable in developed countries are not necessarily applicable in the countries of the South. The first Conference North-South of Degrowth-Descrecimiento, Mexico 2018 aims to open a major debate on convergences and differences in the proposals of the North and the ones of the South.
How can we unleash the mobilization and the social organization that are indispensable to face the new risks or threats that Climate Change and new technologies from the North have created: genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, cybernetics, geoengineering, among others? How to cope with the pressures that Growth Societies have introduced in the global environment? How to address the growing violence against the human body? How to deal with scientific essays intended to produce genetically modified individuals? How to cope with the extinction of species, desespeciación, and the transhumanism movement; How to address nuclear leaks, waste and radioactive poisoning? How to deal with military errors of nuclearized countries and terrorism induced by governments?
How to protect languages, indigenous cultures, wisdoms, words and free expression, from modern cultural totalitarianism, represented by the "pensée unique" and the invasive technologies with illusory promises of happiness that cannot fulfill? How to confront the multidimensional war against indigenous people, peasants and workers: irruption of the mass media in their collective imaginary, paternalist attitudes, plundering of their land and resources, extractivism, intensive contamination of their environment? What lessons and inspirations do vernacular cultures offer to the degrowth movement? How can cultural diversity in the North and in the South be strengthened?
How can we radically reduce the economic ties among people, the sweeping dependency on markets and the concentration of wealth? How can we escape from the dominant concepts of poverty and wealth that prevail in a Growth Society where Science and Technology are drivers? How can we create a Society that radically reduces the dominance by Economy and Technology and instead save the Natural and Cultural richness of the world? How can we defend and increase the biological and cultural diversity that the Economy and Technology destroy every day: clean oceans and rivers, the beauty of the landscapes, the free relationships face to face, friendship, collaboration, solidarity, communal living, contemplation, human rhythm and human scale? How can we eliminate the wealth that forms the basis of the destruction of the life on Earth?