[-empyre-] Introducing a guest, Antonio Roman-Alcala

margaretha haughwout margaretha.anne.haughwout at gmail.com
Mon Oct 9 01:30:08 AEDT 2017

Dear Antonio,

Thank you so much for this post, and for echoing the concerns of our other
discussants in ways that provide new possibilities for action.

I'm wondering, before this week comes to a close, if you might share some
of the material ways that the CLVC envisions that we can relate to
"communities of more distant soil." Are there certain modes of circulation
that you found inspiring, or worth pursuing, for example?

I'm also wondering how you describe agroecology. What are the common
practices that distinguish it from common agriculture?

Thank you again, Antonio --


On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 11:41 AM, Antonio Roman-Alcala <
antidogmatist at gmail.com> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hello all, and thanks to the other contributors, and to Margaretha for
asking me to contribute.
> In general, I’m interested in these same questions and issues and have
tried mostly to develop relational human-centered work (a.k.a.
“organizing”) to address them. I’m also interested in doing this across
geographical scales, without reifying one scale as the only or proper space
for engagement. Thus I appreciate Valentine’s concern for the concrete
question of “how to practice relating to the communities of more distant
soil”, and offer some recent experiences that may relate.
> I was privileged to be a delegate to the 7th International Conference of
La Vía Campesina this past July. For those who aren’t familiar, LVC is the
world’s largest social movement of food producers, including ‘peasants’,
indigenous groups, fishers, and ‘family’ farmers, and the conference is its
preeminent decision-making space. The movement is a heterogeneous
agglomeration with a distinctive politics and hybrid cosmovision.
> Some observers have proposed that LVC’s politics and cosmovision –
founded on twin concepts of agroecology and food sovereignty – offers a new
vision for modernity. That vision is fundamentally about dismantling the
nature-society dichotomy, as the process of food production embedded in
place and in longstanding (yet dynamic) culture brings to the fore
immediate, physical and spiritual interrogations of the (false) division
between human and non-human natures. Jason Moore and others have argued
this division has underpinned the extractive period of the Capitalocene,
and I would concur.
> My experience at the LVC conference showed me an imperfect but inspiring
process of dismantling that divide, within our ‘local’ communities and
between them, as an ever-expanding circle of solidarious relationships.
Agroecology serves LVC – and can serve others, perhaps – as a means to
build human-serving agroecosystems that are also constitutive of
human/nonhuman alliances.
> Simultaneously interpreted between 13 or more languages, the
conversations amongst 500 delegates from 80 countries revolved around
ending capitalism, advancing (human) justice and the rights of nature, and
defending indigenous and campesino ways of life under threat. The
conversations advanced an agenda and strategy for the movement, but equally
they offered spaces of encounter, of simple mutual listening.
> Combined with the ‘mystica’ (an LVC ritual of sharing of our different
(rural) cultures in song, dance, theater and music), the ostensibly
political direction of the conversations to me seemed at its core to be
about “relating to the communities of more distant soil”, as a precondition
for developing a powerful and effective oppositional movement to the
structural violence of capitalist modernity.
> I will close here, so as not to go on too long, by arguing for seeing the
slow and concrete building of shared affinity, solidarity and (political)
alignment as key tasks for creating a more-than-human post-Capitalocene.
While we may not yet have the volunteer interpretation force necessary to
bring our non-human allies into our human-centered conversations, if we are
building up from communities of practice – whose lives and worldviews are
steeped in an everyday co-construction of life with non-human allies – a
new politics and vision, and organization to bring these about, I am
confident that we will be on a better path towards healing.

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