Language has some historical baggage, having been often weaponised by the ruling classes to exclude folks with fewer privileges and harder access to education. Moreover, it is easy to get lost in jargon or buzzword bingo, but since we’re still communicating with our allies in the colonial tongue of the British Empire, we thought that it might be useful to have a growing list of terms that we often rub shoulders with. The words you are about to read are consensus definitions served with a side-order of our own linguistic seasoning.
Artivism is a portmanteau word combining art and activism. It uses art to express a political position, to critique or form a countering discourse to the ruling order. It aims to politically activate people through artistic practices, and challenge the status quo with provocation and radical imagination.
Degrowth is an idea that critiques the global capitalist system which pursues growth at all costs, causing exploitation and destruction. The degrowth movement advocates for societies that prioritise social and ecological well-being instead of corporate profits, over-production and excess consumption. This requires radical redistribution, reduction in the material size of the global economy, and a shift in common values towards care, solidarity and autonomy. Degrowth means transforming societies to ensure environmental justice and a good life for all within planetary boundaries.
Is a rule or principle that is unequally applied to different people or groups. It implies that two things which are the same are measured by different standards. In this sense, a gender double standard, for example, suggests that we evaluate the same behaviour of men and women differently.
The holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held.
The acknowledgement of our individual, social and cultural differences. When speaking of diveristy of collective identities, it can be clustered in the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
The act of forcing a tenant, or sometimes a squatter, to vacate a property.
Feminisation of Politics
Means three things. First, gender equality in institutional representation and public participation. Second, a commitment to public policies that challenge gender roles and seek to break down patriarchy. Third (and most important one), a different way of doing politics, based on values and practices that put an emphasis on everyday life, relationships, the role of community and the common good. It emphasises goals like cooperation, participation and considering others’ interests, beyond the question of gender.
A person or organisation that is the recipient of a grant.
Local political organisations that are led by or run with key involvement of those impacted by the issues the organisation aims to tackle. Grassroots movements and/or organisations use collective and on-the-ground action to effect change at the local, regional, national or international level (in this order). Grassroots organisations imply a governance model that emphasises collective action and local, regional and national impact.
Is a community-building practice that supports the act of sharing individual personal aspects of ourselves in a collective (safe) environment. Microsolidarity is the glue of the social fabric that underpins our shared infrastructures. The objective of microsolidarity is to create structures for belonging, stitching new kinship networks to shift us out of isolated individualism into a more connected way of being.
Movement ecology is an ever-evolving pursuit, referring to the shared worlds that sprout when different organisations work in the same issue area. As the name suggests, it concerns the ecology (so the relationships between the different counterparts) of a whole organism (a movement, at large), and how these two dimensions intertwine & interact.
Municipalism is driven by the energy of activism and social movements and their capacity to form collective intelligence to participate in local / municipal politics. Municipalism seeks a role for local institutions that enable them to become mechanisms of self-governance. Municipalism is characterised by open and participatory decision-making processes, an organisational structure that is relatively horizontal, and a creative tension between those inside and outside of local institutions.
Moving from the “U” to the “Now”. Nowtopias are explorations of our shared desires – the worlds we wish to live in – in the present tense. Nowtopias in practice mean people building community in a radically different way, repurposing work, consumption, relationship building and decision-making. Nowtopias are attempts of collective living that counter the current dominant order of individualism.
To move beyond antagonism in the face of differing views on a given subject. Post oppositionality believes in people’s interconnectedness with all that exists – it requires the acceptance of paradox and contradiction whilst desiring to be radically inclusive. That means, to seek and create complex commonalities and broad-based alliances that encompass diverse views over a subject or issue.
Grantees are often paraphrased into ‘partners’ by large funders in an effort to brush over staggering power differences. When we say partners we truly mean that we are in close relationship with many of the people we fund, with spheres of common interest, working in reciprocity. We learn constantly from the people in our community and we collaborate on podcasts, articles, workshops, conferences, case clinics, meet-ups and we are vigilant in ensuring that money power doesn’t disrupt trust power.
Privilege is based on the principle that the body one is born in reflects different positions in society. Engaging in a privilege check means acknowledging one’s own inherent privileges because of the particular social category or categories to which they belong. Checking your privilege also means understanding that it should be put aside if one wishes to gain a better understanding of another person’s position or condition.
Take the current funding system and change to one that is actually embodying the narrative of social change. Radical funding is the philanthropic practice of moving foundations and donors towards supporting transformative, frontline-led work that moves us towards more self-sustained, interconnected communities.
Systems Change Potential
The act of analysing if there are means to transform the policies, practices, power dynamics, social norms or mindsets that underlie the current societal system. An organisation that has systems change potential is one that enacts the “new culture/ system” in its operations by, for example: moving power to underrepresented groups, contribute to lasting change for the long run, working with concepts like intersectionality, diversity, or root-causes.
Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organise social worlds by categorising.