We are at a fundamental turning point in world history as the world grapples with the critical task of “building forward better” in the wake of COVID-19 and the geopolitical fallout emanating from the Russia – Ukraine conflict. The world’s failure to deal with COVID-19 equitably stands as an ultimate indictment of a global system that prioritises profit over people and ignores the needs of the most vulnerable in society. On the other hand, the present geopolitical reconfigurations threaten to unravel all existing platforms for multilateral engagement with huge implications on issues of fundamental concern for progressives including energy, climate and just transition; economicjustice as well as democracy and political rights.
The moment calls for a fundamental reimagination of the future and a new commitment to organizing for societal transformation. This must be a future based on alternative th in king from the neo-liberal ideas and policy prescriptions that have brought the world to this point of peril. lt must be a future based on people centred thinking that prioritizes human need over greed, guarantees freedoms, equality and equity and decisively steer the world away from the looming climate and environ mental calamity.
There is a big contestation underway already to define and shape the future, including strenuous efforts by elites and those who have always held power to reproduce themselves and give a new lease of life to ideas that have failed to work and brought us to a point of global collapse. We believe that it is important at this time to foreground the search for alternatives in the voices and agency of ordinary people and communities across Africa that are engaged in struggles to solve some of the most pressing questions of our time including climate justice, gender justice, economic justice and political rights. lndeed, history shows us that alternatives emerge from the heat and light of concrete people’s struggles – as demonstrated by workers’ struggles that gave us the 5-day working week; Treatment Action Campaign and the important victories on access to essential medicines; and the Fees Must Fall movement and the significant gains secured around public financing of education – just to name a few examples. Equally, we have seen demonstrable impact of movements and social organizing on the political front with the fall of autocratie regimes and new democratic benchmarks in several African countries.
Given the above context, some of the pertinent questions regards organizing for transformation at this time relate to sustainability of movements; going beyond protest moments and trending hashtags to visioning and movement organizing towards a more just society, movements’ relationship with electoral politics, ideology and political education as well as solidarity in action and the role of funders.
Goals and objectives
Organized by TrustAfrica in collaboration with Wallace Global Fund and other partners (to be fully listed later), the African Social Movements Baraza 2022 seeks to convene social movement leaders and allies working on the frontlines of pertinent social struggles across the continent, with the following specific objectives:
- Collectively engage the global moment and its implications for progressive struggles in Africa looking at trends a round democracy and civic space, economic justice, and the energy, climate and just transition agenda.
- Create a space for intergenerational experiences sharing and mutual learning among movement leaders, tapping into previous and other similar processes including Africans Rising, the ASMBaraza 2018, African Feminist Academy, UPEC and other relevant processes.
- Facilitate a space for conversation between movement leaders and funding partners to honestly explore challenges and opportunities in this relationship with a view to inform how funding can more effectively support movement building and organizing.
- Provide an opportunity for critical skills exchange between movement leaders and explore ways to develop sustained frameworks for enhancing ski lis and political education.
- Collectively strategize on developing a pan African framework of support to social movements aimed at strengthening organizing, networking, solidarity and joint campaigns.
The second edition of the African Social Movements Baraza will target participants from countries where especially youth/women-driven social movements, funders and academia have had notable impact on political, economic and climate change agenda. Such countries include, but are not limited to Sudan, Senegal, the Gambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The Baraza will seek to draw an average of two (2) participants from each of these countries. lt will also invite representatives of pan African youth and women’s movements and networks and social movement platforms.
Additionally, Participants will also be drawn from funding partners, researchers and other civic actors whose work is relevant to the field of social movements and organizing for change.
The convening will be organized in a way that seeks to inspire and model the future in terms of holistic leadership, wellbeing and participatory approaches that support relational connectivity, authenticity and cocreative processes. The programme will comprise of a combination of keynote presentations, case studies, plenary discussions, creative arts, mindfulness practices, storytelling, generative conversations as well as targeted ski lis sharing.
Johannesburg, South Africa
12-14 October 2022
Visit the ASM Baraza website here.
Click here to download the ASM Baraza Report 2018 and the ASM Baraza Concept Note 2022.