In this paper, I want to engage with the concept of “open spaces”, such as the World and other Social Forums (SFs), as an organisational form and discuss its relevance within the framework of a discourse on the politics of alternatives and the overcoming of capitalism. I suggest that we have to understand the organisational form of open spaces to contain elements that are alternative to the organisational forms of power that arise from capitalist disciplinary markets and other exploitative and oppressive relations. This emerges out of the SF’s Charter of Principles, which proclaims the SF to be a space, a process and a framework, within which not only resistance to neo-liberalism is strengthened and struggles circulate, but alternatives are actively promoted. I suggest that the question of how struggles circulate, organise and are able to coordinate alternatives is the key question around which an alternative to capitalism as a mode of organising social production can emerge. In other words, the alternative to capitalism is an alternative mode of relating, and hence also requires and must manifest alternative processes of social production.

Bio note

Massimo De Angelis is a Reader in economics at the University of East London, UK. He has published extensively on subjects linking critical political economy with social movements and struggles for alternatives. He is currently working on a book for Pluto Press on these issues. He is also the editor of the web journal The Commoner (http://www.thecommoner.org) and an activist in the London Social Forum. E-mail : M.DeAngelis@uel.ac.uk

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