Boot Camp Winter Workshop: Decolonial Methods in Social, Solidarity and Non-Hierarchical Economies

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January 5-10, 2020
El Cambalache

San Cristobal de las Casas
Chiapas, Mexico

Decolonial economic geography begins with participatory action research into non-western and non-hierarchical economic practices.

 Application Deadline: October 1st, 2019.

While studying decoloniality, one often struggles with how to move from theory to practice. Have you ever wondered how to start a non-capitalist economic project in a collective but didn’t know how to begin? Have you ever wondered how to use participatory action research to create a small social and/or solidarity economy? Are you into commoning? Do you long to do decolonial economic research but don’t know how to engage local and indigenous non-western economic practices within an economic project?

Over the past 500 years indigenous and non-European Latin Americans, slaves and descendants of slaves around the world have been historically and currently denied equal access to participation in the capitalist economy through coloniality. The capitalist economic system does not value most of our knowledge, abilities nor the natural world. Throughout the last five centuries people around the world did not accept that their ways of life were considered poor, nor did they just sit around and lament that they were considered poor. In spite of terrible circumstances of slavery, indebted labor and general oppression they created economic networks of sharing and exchange that were highly varied and creative in spite of not being permitted neither money nor property by colonial or post-colonial governments. These economies have been largely ignored because they were and are in great numbers, women’s economies. Silvia Federici has shown that European women and women in the Americas were systematically denied access to the moneyed economy over centuries as capitalism developed to finally become a world-dominating economy. As we know from diverse economies literature, there’s a lot more to the economy than just capitalism. By understanding and practicing these kinds of non-capitalist economic activities we can decrease our dependence on money and increase our autonomy in resistance to the capitalist economic system.

This workshop encourages participants to bring current research or future research projects for discussion and development during the workshop. We will discuss among facilitators and participants each participant’s project and work through possible frameworks and methodological steps for designing and executing a decolonial feminist social and/or solidarity economy project. Expect readings before and during the workshop. Expect writing in the evenings after the workshop.

This workshop covers literature from: Hybrid Economies, Decolonial Territorialisation, Decolonial Feminism, Feminist Economics, the Community Economies Research Network, Commons and Commoning.

 Topics to be covered:
Diverse Economies in the majority world of the Americas
Decolonial economics in the majority world of the Americas
Feminisms in the majority world of the Americas
Autonomous social movements and their practices
Collective participatory methodologies
Research methods that resist hierarchy
Creating Practice

Program Description:

500 Years of Economic Resistance in the Americas facilitated by Erin Araujo and Belkis Rojas
From before the conquest through the present economic practices have formed lasting structures of resistance to conquest, colonialism and development that have maintained cultural and communal relationship for highly marginalized indigenous and rural, slave/descendants communities.

Green Economies: Destruction and Eviction in Green Capitalist Development facilitated by Aldo Santiago
We will review the sustainability concepts applied in hegemonic economic models, their dissemination and imposition in territories with diverse economies and identify the dangers they represent in rural and indigenous territories.

Diverse Decolonial Economies in the Americas with Erin Araujo
We will talk about the great diversity of economies throughout the Americas that exist at the same time as capitalism. Most of the majority world of the Americas has low access to money. This low access to money also lowers people’s participation in the capitalist economic system fomenting a wide array of non-capitalist and alternative to capitalist economic networks.

Valuing Our Resources in Practice facilitated by Josefa Vazquez Martinez
This module is a practice in valuing in each person recognizing their resources even if they are not valued by the capitalist system. These techniques for creating systems of valuing are essential building blocks for constructing non-capitalist economies.

Collective Participatory Methodologies: Overcoming Barriers in Critical, Conscious Consumption
Collective reflection on the challenges we face in organizational experiences of critical conscious consumption through the practices of connecting local producers with markets to circulate their products.

Decolonial Feminist Economics as Praxis in the Majority World of the Americas facilitated by the  Everyday decolonial economic feminism is a collective practice that contributes to well-being, counters capitalist patriarchy and is constructed by first recognizing that we are not alone.

Collective Participatory Methodologies for Creating Social, Solidarity and Non-hierarchical Micro-economies facilitated by the Generators of El Cambalache
In this module we will talk about how consensus decision making can form an effective method to generate creative and inclusive economic research projects that breaking with conventional practices of hierarchical research methodologies.

 This workshop will be provided by El Cambalache and invited guest speakers. Space is limited.

This workshop is designed for people that are interested in collectively creating, practicing and researching non-capitalist economic projects to be executed in the participant’s place of residence or research site. While people from all walks of life are invited, women of color, indigenous women and LBGTIQ+ are particularly encouraged to apply. Parents with small children can also be accommodated.

Who are We?
El Cambalache is a moneyless economy project located in San Cristobal de las Casas created by and for women and everyone they know. In El Cambalache everything has the same value. Here, people exchange things they no longer need for things they want as well as knowledge, abilities and mutual aid that people would like to share. El Cambalache was founded in 2015, is located in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas and was built on the anti-systemic, anti-capitalist values of local social movements. In May of 2019 El Cambalache founded its Department of Decolonial Economics- a center for research and education in non-capitalist and non-western/modernist economic thought and practice. All workshop activities will take place at El Cambalache with brief excursions and/or interventions with other projects that support autonomous movements. For more information check out our 2016 documentary: Inter-Change Value <>

To Apply:
Please request and fill out an application, include your CV and a letter of motivation- max 1,000 words and send it to Dr. Erin Araujo <> explaining why you would like to participate in the workshop and what research or economic projects you could develop through your participation.

Deadline: October 1st, 2019.

Fees for participants from countries with high access to money in US dollars:
Solidarity price for fully employed participants: $400
Students and underemployed participants: $350
Fees for participants from countries with low access to money in Mexican Pesos:
Solidarity price for fully employed participants: $4,000
Students and underemployed participants: $3,500

If these fees impede your participation, please write us about options for work exchange to cover part of your fees.

Participation fees include 6 nights of boarding in a hostel or shared room with other participants and the main meal of the day (in Chiapas it is the midday meal) as well as coffee/tea and snacks throughout each day. If you would prefer a private room or other accommodations please write to <>. All proceeds from this workshop go to support research in El Cambalache.
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