Towards a Global Grassroots Brainstorming

Despite periodic gatherings of activists, no framework exists for regular networking, collective analysis, professional training, strategizing, planning joint actions, follow-up or evaluation; we even lack the means of identifying each other. Nor do we have the means and strategies of effectively communicating with the general public.

The Global Left (which is more of an aspiration than a reality) suffers from two organizational shortcomings in particular:

Lack of a Global Perspective. One of the landmarks of activism in the neoliberal era is the common phrase: Think Global, Act Local. As we are channeled into local-level activities, the question arises: who is acting globally? The answer, of course, corporations, governments and militaries. We must reclaim the global arena that we have largely abandoned, since even our most local issues derive from global realities, and we are unable to “connect the dots” among our interrelated struggles unless we add a global dimension to our activism.

Siloing. The focus on the local — and at best the national — has meant that our issues and actions have been “siloed.” Instead of linking them, each of our myriad issues has been confined to its own network, isolated from the others. At a time when the world economy, politics, society and means of repression are being globalized, the Left and progressive forces have lagged behind. We have our reservations about globalization, of course, but insulating ourselves against it in our local communities and trying to battle its repressive effects from the local level is self-defeating, as is trying to address each major global issue separately, within its own “silo.”

Towards a Global Grassroots Brainstorming

We need an open forum — a global assembly, as it were — to consider where capital is, where it might be going and what should be done about it.
— David Harvey, ‪Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism (Profile Books, 2014)

TPYN is working to organize a global grassroots brainstorming that will focus on:

(1) Sharing views on what we see as the main issues facing us globally and beginning to

block out a common agenda that links to our local/regional ones;

(2) Discussing ways in which we can coordinate and strategize more effectively on a global level, and engage in more effective follow-up, using the TPYN network and others;

(3) Beginning to articulate nothing less than an alternative system to neoliberal capitalism, an updated democratic socialism perhaps with added progressive and sustainable elements, or something altogether new; and

(4) Developing strategies of communication with those outside our circles — those marginalized or excluded from the capitalist system — Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” with whom we have failed to communicate in the past.

In order to ensure a truly global representation of organizations from the outset, we have divided the world in 18 regions, plus two non-geographical areas: indigenous peoples and global issues.

While its clear these regions are far more complex than this initial division, the idea is to identify at least one organization for each of the 20 regions/issue areas and invite representatives of the 20–25 to meet, exchange views, and begin the process of organizing and agenda-setting. Over time this nucleus would expand to include any and all progressive groups interested in joining, as well as a cadre of engaged intellectuals.