Finding our Voice in the World

POSTED ON February 6, 2013 BY admin



Thanks for all the positive feedback we’ve had regarding the padkos initiative – and here’s the second serving of padkos from CLP. Before introducing this piece, we just want to record our sincere thanks to Anna Selmeczi (the author of our first serving) for a great presentation and discussion at the CLP resource centre on the theme: Living Politics, Living Learning and the ‘Weapons of the Weak’. Those who were able to be there enjoyed and benefited from the rich discussion – those who couldn’t make it missed out!

Our second serving of padkos is a piece of writing that comes from CLP’s own reflections. In the build up to its 3-year Strategic Planning process in July 2010, CLP staff conducted a series of reflection sessions. Each staff member was responsible for preparing and facilitating reflective sessions looking at their own and CLP’s work through the lens of praxis or animation. In this short piece attached we bring together contributions made around a couple of related themes that ran through many of the discussions.

Under the heading “Emancipatory politics as the art of the impossible“, we discuss why CLP increasingly reserves the name ‘politics’ for those properly emancipatory moments where the people establish their human subjectivity in the wider society. Here, politics is precisely the refusal to accept that the world-as-it-is determines what could be. CLP’s shift to animation as its core process a number of years ago was precisely a decision to work within the spaces of the impossible possible.

Our paper then talks about what it means to “Have faith in nothing” after confronting the question: What then is the work we do in those spaces? That question can be particularly sharp for CLP in-the-field because we do not go in to places of poverty offering a solution and resources that we deliver as a product or a programme. We affirm that we believe now in the project of egalitarianism, and we demonstrate that belief through our praxis now – then maybe we’ll get somewhere.

One place we arrive at is the discovery of our own “Voice in the world” – one that is not harmful to the dignity and power of the people’s struggles. We affirm Alain Badiou’s view that: “politics begins when one decides not to represent the victims but to be faithful to those events during which victims politically assert themselves”. Against the expectations of us as a ‘civil society organisation’, we refuse our assigned place in the orders of power, and instead discover our humanity in the struggles against the ‘world-as-it-is’:

And finally we outline a possible “sequence in praxis“. Here we test the idea that a broad 4-stage sequence does seem to be emergent in our work. The shape of the sequence is informed by the imbalances and corrupting tendencies that are inherent between a resourced civil society organisation (like an NGO) on the one hand, and spaces of militant popular and emancipatory struggle on the other.

We would value any responses to our short paper as they will keep us thinking and reflecting as we “make the path by walking”.

Read Attachment – Finding our voice in the world