The conference was hosted by a post-socialist environment with the purpose to bring together degrowth conversations from different Eastern European regions. To facilitate this process several preparatory meetings were organised throughout the region. In line with this regional focus, the conference drew from Eastern European degrowth thinkers such as Karl Polanyi, Ivan Illich, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and André Gorz.I urge you to forego the transcript by listening to Susan Paulson as she reads her opening poem and delivers her following remarks. Below is the hour and half session via YouTube, but her introduction and presentation is from 6:12m to 8:37m.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up