Activities So Far
CACIM - India Institute for Critical Action : Centre in Movement - has grown out an earlier experiment, a loose international network named Critical Action. We therefore see the activities of CA members in India during the earlier, preparatory phase as a part of what CACIM has so far done.
CACIM’s activities till date have been in all the three thrust areas that CACIM is now proposing to work in, Strategies and Cultures of ‘Movement’, Information / Culture / Technology, and Building Bridges. It has especially focussed on critical involvement with and intervention in the World Social Forum process at local, national, and transnational levels, towards generating sustained critical debate on key questions; and over more recent years has increasingly moved towards looking at the political-cultural concept of ‘open space’. There have been several outcomes of this sustained engagement, including :
- September 19 2008 : Roundtable discussion at European Social Forum on theme How Relevant is the WSF to Struggles for Social Justice in the World Today ? 10-1 pm, Babel/Jeriko café bar at Spångatan 38, close to Folkets park, Malmo, Sweden with Alex Callinicos, America Vera - Zavala, Dimitri Roussopoulos, Emma Dowling, Geoffrey Pleyers, Gina Vargas, Gustave Massiah, Moema Miranda, Raffaella Bolini.
- September 18 2008 : Book Launch World Social Forum : Challenging Empires 1-3 pm, Babel/Jeriko café bar, at Spångatan 38, Malmö, Just 200 metres from the ESF site !! Speakers : Chico Whitaker, Emma Dowling, Jai Sen, Peter Waterman and Teivo Teivainen; others also expected.
- September 2008 : Publication of the second revised edition of the book World Social Forum: Challenging Empires, Jai Sen, Peter Waterman, editors. Canada : Black Rose Books.
- August 2008 : CACIM starts its Publication Programme ‘Critical Engagement’ and publishes six papers for distribution of its research on the Forum.
- August 29 2008 : Symposium on Struggles for Social Justice in India Today : How Relevant is the World Social Forum ? at YWCA, Ashoka Road, New Delhi. July 2008 :
- July 2008 : CACIM announces Second Round of the CACIM Forum Fellowships as part of its programme ‘Critical Engagement with the World Social Forum’.
- April 2008 : CACIM holds last meeting of the Working Group on CACIM’s organisational culture, structure, and process in Dharmashala.
- January 18-19 2008 : CACIM holds first meeting of the Working Group on CACIM’s organisational culture, structure, and process in New Delhi.
- January 11 2008 : Workshop titled WSF@CrossRoads A critical engagement with the emerging dynamics of the Forum process in India and globally. Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.
- January 2008 : Publication of The WSF’s Global Call to Action : A Directory on occasion of the Global Day of Action called by the World Social Forum on January 26th 2008.
- December 2007 : CACIM institutes CACIM Forum Fellowships as part of its programme ‘Critical Engagement with the World Social Forum’.
- December 13 2007 : Workshop on Against Ecological and Information Enclosures : Towards a Convergence of “Commons”. Indian Social Insitute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.
- November 30 2007 : Shiri Pasternak in discussion with Nishant on the theme, Towards a Convergence of Place-Based? and Information Commons. An exploration of theoretical and activist convergences between place-based or ecological commons and the information commons. Semianr Room, YMCA, New Delhi.
- June 2007 : Co-organisation by CACIM member Jai Sen, together with Charmain Levy (Université du Québec en Outaouais) and Laura Macdonald (Carleton University), of ‘Revisiting Critical Courses @ Ottawa’, a Symposium in Ottawa, Canada, around the work done by participants in two courses run by Jai Sen of CACIM at Carleton University, Ottawa, in the Fall Semester 2006 (www.critical-courses.cacim.net)
- June 4+6 2007 : Workshops on open space at the anti g8 activities in Rostock, Germany, as part of a wider programme ‘Speak With Them: a project within the G8 Resistance’ organised together with Dorothea Haerlin and Oliver Pye (ATTAC Berlin) and John Holloway (Mexico) : Debate about ‘Open Space thinking and acting in open spaces’ at the Rostock camp, and : Workshop on ‘Open Space – New Ways in Theory and Practice’ at the Alternative Summit in Rostock
- May 2007 – Publication of ‘Opening open space : Notes on the grammar and vocabulary of the concept of open space’, by CACIM member Jai Sen
- April 13 and May 12 2007 : Two preliminary exploratory meetings in New Delhi, India, on OpenWord? and CopyLeft? Publishing
- April 2007 : CACIM’s third Colloquium, on the theme ‘Critical Refractions : Movement / Criticality / Open Space’; in New Delhi, India
- March 2007 : Exploratory meeting in Guwahati, India, with a wide range of civil actors, on CACIM’s work, including around open space. Organised by Panos South Asia
- January 2007 : Organisation of two major Workshops at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, ‘Revisiting the Bamako Appeal : Issues of Democracy and Substance in world movement’ and ‘In Defence of Open Space’.
- January 2007 : Publication together with Centre for Civil Society, Durban, South Africa, of Reader titled ‘A Political Programme for the World Social Forum ? Democracy, Substance and Debate in the Bamako Appeal and the Global Justice Movements : A Reader’
- January 2006 : Launching of WSFDiscuss, an unmoderated listserve for open discussion of the World Social Forum and related aspects of the civil politics; issuing of ‘Some Hard Questions About the WSF’, an open letter on WSFDiscuss (also available @ http://www.choike.org/nuevo_eng/informes/3824.html, http://www.countercurrents.org/wsf-sen110106.htm)
- March 2 2006 : Co-organisation, along with Sarai, CSDS (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies), of a seminar-discussion on ‘Internet and a Culture of Openness’, at Sarai, Delhi
- March 16 2006 onwards : Launch of a worldwide debate on The Bamako Appeal, a document issued by a meeting at held in Bamako, Mali, on January 18 2006, just ahead of the World Social Forum held there January 19-23, that made a major call for (and put forward a major 10 point programme for) an organised, worldwide redoubling of resistance to the current phase of imperialism and the building of a world movement.
- March 2006 : Publication of Nayi Rajniti, the Hindi edition of the first volume of the Are Other Worlds Possible ? series (English title Talking New Politics), by Prakashan Sansthan, Delhi; for launch at the World Social Forum at Karachi. First volume in a new series to be published by Prakashan Sansthan, the Samrajyon Se Sangharsh (‘Challenging Empires’) series.
- March 25-28 2006 : Proposed organisation of four events at the World Social Forum in Karachi, Pakistan, and coordinating a 16-member team of participants (students, activists, and research scholars); but all four events cancelled on account of the majority of CACIM team members not getting visas to go :
- Day 1, March 25, 2:00 to 5:00 pm : ‘Explorations in Open Spaces – Open Discussion of the Bamako Appeal’
- Day 2, March 26, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm : Workshop on ‘Building Bridges : Environmental movements and Labour movements’; led by Manju Menon and Milind Wani of Kalpavriksh, Pune
- Day 3, March 27, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm : Workshop on ‘Building Bridges : Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh’
- Day 3, March 27, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm : Book launch and Panel discussion : Book in Hindi Nayi Rajniti. (Hindi edition of Talking New Politics, edited by Jai Sen and Mayuri Saini); to be launched by Irfan Mufti, Secretary, Pakistan Social Forum, and coordinator of the preparation of an Urdu edition of World Social Forum : Challenging Empires.
- March 30 2006 – ongoing : Launch of CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin, reporting worldwide on the simultaneous dharnas (sit-in demonstrations) and then hunger strikes by the Bhopal and Narmada movements at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, from March 17 – April 18 2006, along with reports on simultaneous actions by movements in Delhi against demolitions and evictions.
- August 2006 : The second CACIM Colloquium, held at Sanskriti, New Delhi, on August 13-15 2006, with a select list of invitees / CACIM Fellows.
- September-December? 2006 : CACIM member Jai Sen authoring and conducting two courses at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, during the fall semester 2006, on the issue of ‘Challenging Empires : Open Space and Dissent in Movement’ and ‘Other Worlds, Other Globalisations’.
- November 2006 : Launch of Forum Radio at India Social Forum, New Delhi providing detailed online radio coverage of the events.
- November 2006 : Explorations in/of Open Spaces @ India Social Forum, New Delhi with Alexis Bhagat, (Art, tradition and limits : forms without tradition, and the ‘open’ spaces OUTSIDE of tradition (?)), Kolya Abramsky (Open Space, Closed Histories? - Rereading the histories of the Communist International - a Western European perspective’) and Blank Noise Project (a campaign against eve teasing in public spaces).
- Late 2004-early 2005 : By early 2005, World Social Forum : Challenging Empires autonomously published in German, Japanese, and Spanish. (By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Germany, by Sakuhin-Sha? in Japan, with the translation project undertaken by PPSG (People’s Plan Study Group), and by El Viejo Topo / Ediciones de Intervención Cultural in Spain.)
- December 2004 : The guest co-editing of a special issue of the International Social Science Journal, 182, a major collection on the theme ‘Explorations in Open Space : The World Social Forum and Cultures of Politics’, where Jai Sen, CACIM member, acted as editorial adviser along with Chloé Keraghel, independent researcher in Paris.
- January 2005 : The publication of the first of a three-volume series of books based on the Open Space Seminar Series in 2003, collectively titled Are Other Worlds Possible? and with the first one titled Talking New Politics (edited by Jai Sen and Mayuri Saini; Zubaan Books, New Delhi). Launch and seminar at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The second and third volumes are presently under preparation.
- January 2005 : Finalisation of her film by filmmaker Taran Khan for CACIM, Opening Spaces, based on the Open Space Seminar Series in 2003-4
- January 2005 : Co-organisation of two major international meetings just before and during the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in Brazil, of researchers and activists from many parts of the world, titled ‘Encounters in Open Space : The World Social Forum and Cultures of Politics’, as a follow-up to the successful publication of ISSJ 182 in December 2004, as above. These meetings led to – among other things - the formation of a transnational research-activism network focussing on a critical examination of open space and movement, named the ‘EIOS (Explorations in Open Space) Collective’. (Meetings co-organised by Jai Sen on behalf of CACIM together with Chloé Keraghel of ESPERTISE (ESPaces ouvERTS, Transformations et Innovations Politiques et Sociales), Paris.)
- January 2005 : The mounting of a wiki-based dialogic webspace OpenSpaceForum (www.openspaceforum.net), which is now acting as the notepad and medium for exchange in collectives that have come out of the EIOS (Explorations in Open Space) meetings, for the widening of the network and more generally as an open space for critical exchange and reflection. (Initiative by CACIM; designed by Subramanya Sastry, independent consultant, Bangalore, together with T B Dinesh of Servelots Pvt Ltd, Bangalore.)
- January 2005 : The second Building Bridges workshop, organised at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
- March 2005 : Collaboration in the preparation and submission of a proposal to the PAN ASIA ICT R&D Grants Programme supported by UNDP and IDRC for R&D work in developing software infrastructure for customisable document indexing and for peer-to-peer networking of document collections across organisations. (Triggered by discussions of CACIM’s work in alternative documentation; proposal prepared by T B Dinesh and Subramanya Sastry of Servelots Infotech Pvt. Ltd (Bangalore), together with CACIM, Civil Society Information Exchange Pvt. Ltd (Bangalore), and Environment Support Group (Bangalore), and where aside from Jai Sen from CACIM, CA member Leo Saldanha is the Coordinator of the last organisation.)
- April-July? 2005 : On behalf of and in collaboration with the EIOS Collective, the preparation of ‘Explorations of Open Space 3’, a Proposal to carry forward the exploration, debate, and activities started through the ‘Explorations / Encounters in Open Space’ process at the World Social Forum in Brazil in January 2005.
- July 2005 : The first working meeting of the CACIM Working Group, to programmatise and establish CACIM.
- August 2005 : Formal registration of CACIM as a non-profit company; receipt of papers in connection with.
- September 2005 : The second working meeting of the CACIM Working Group, to programmatise and establish CACIM. The establishment of www.cacim.net as a domain.
- September-October? 2005 : Launching of CACIM’s first cyber-intervention, ‘Chennai Open Space Action’ project, including a listserve, the ‘Chennai Open Space Action List’, and the related use of OpenSpaceForum for making available documents and as a potential blogspace, all in relation to a sudden meeting called in Chennai by WSF India in October 2005; accompanied by having a CACIM member attend that meeting, record the proceedings, intervene at appropriate moments, and post daily reports on the Chennai Open Space Action List.
- November 2005 : The first CACIM Colloquium, held at Sanskriti, New Delhi, on November 14-15 2006, with a select list of invitees / potential CACIM Fellows.
- January 2004 : The publication of World Social Forum : Challenging Empires, edited by Jai Sen, Anita Anand, Arturo Escobar, and Peter Waterman (Viveka, New Delhi), a major anthology on the theory and practice of the Forum, towards a more critical appreciation of this major world initiative; and the organisation of a major seminar around the book and a critical engagement with the Forum on the opening day of the World Social Forum in Mumbai in January 2004.
- January 2004 : The first Building Bridges workshop, organised at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India.
- April – August 2004 : Participation by CACIM members Madhuresh Kumar and Jai Sen on the Steering Committee of the Other Worlds Education Project at the University of Nottingham, UK. Helping to formulate an experimental, reflexive educational programme to tackle development education and uncritical discourses of global citizenship in the UK, initially inspired by the Open Space Seminar Series organised at the University of Delhi (see above). Developed by a collective of activists, educators, and academics from the UK, Brazil, and India, the course proposed an approach to transnational (global/political) literacy based on 'reflexive ethics' in which participants (university and school-level students, and community activists) were encouraged to engage critically with issues related to global and local contexts and think about how their way of seeing the world and acting in it are connected to global justice and injustice. Current information on follow-up project available @ www.osdemethodology.org.uk; Coordinator : Vanessa Andreotti,
- May – September 2004 : Consultation by Jai Sen of CA members on a proposal to set up CACIM and the formulation of a work programme for it.
- August 2004, ongoing : Initiation of the ‘Hindi Heartland Project’, centred on translating and publication of a Hindi edition of World Social Forum : Challenging Empires in four slim, easy-to-buy volumes, coordinated by Kishan Kaljayee, and with the plan to use this as the basis of a major pedagogical experiment and intervention in cultures of politics in north / Hindi-speaking India.
- Early 2003 : Authoring by Jai Sen of a major monograph critically reflecting on the experience of the first year of the World Social Forum in India.
- April 2003 : Organisation of an exploratory ‘meeting of minds’ about the World Social Forum, at the Fireflies Ashram, near Bangalore, India, on April 14-16 2003. Co-organised by CA members Sundar Chaterji, Leo Saldanha, and Jai Sen, along with Siddhartha of Fireflies.
- May 2003 : Finalisation and circulation of ‘Building Bridges’, a concept note by CA member Jai Sen, with proposals towards building bridges between India and Brazil. Brazilian translation in Portuguese then became available in September 2003, titled ‘Construindo Pontes : Uma Nota para discussão; segundo rascunho, para comentários.
- August-December? 2003 & February 2004 : Co-organising a major series of seminars at the University of Delhi, collectively titled the Open Space Seminar Series and with the theme ‘Are Other Worlds Possible ? The World Social Forum and Cultures of Politics’; towards a more critical engagement in India with the World Social Forum process in the run-up to the world meeting in Mumbai in January 2004. Co-organised by Jai Sen with Mukul Mangalik, Lecturer at Ramjas College, and Madhuresh Kumar, Mukul’s ex-student then working with Jai, and now a member of CACIM.
- August 2003 : Publication of the ‘Open Space Reader’, compiled by Jai Sen and Madhuresh Kumar
- September-December? 2003 : Collation, together with Peter Waterman, of ‘The World Social Bibliography : A Bibliography on the World Social Forum and the Global Solidarity and Justice Movement’, first edition.
- Early 2002 : Authoring of two notes by CA member Jai Sen critically interrogating the proposal to hold the 2004 World Social Forum in India, and subsequent agreement to take part in the planning and building of ‘WSF India’, based on principles agreed upon in a preparatory meeting in New Delhi of three CA members and on principles publicly agreed upon at the formative meeting of WSF India. Jai was initially nominated as Co-Convenor? of a WSF India Preparatory Committee, and then a member of the WSF India Organising Committee and of its Coordinating Team. He played these roles until September 2002, but dropped out following a personal tragedy.
- During 2002 : Sustained contributions to a more open and public discussion of the process and politics of the constituent parts of the World Social Forum, within WSF India and the WSF International Council – towards making the WSF a more inclusive and open process. Through email and notes by CA members Sundar Chaterji, Leo Saldanha, and Jai Sen.
- May 2002 : ‘Meeting of Minds’ meeting in Bangalore, India (co-organised by Jai Sen, now of CACIM; Leo Saldanha of ESG, Bangalore, and CACIM associate; Siddhartha of Fireflies, Bangalore; and Sundar Chaterji, Chennai, CACIM associate)
- During September 2002 – July 2004 : Intensive attention by CA member Jai Sen and his team of assistants to the development, maturing, and testing of DIMS (Data & information Management System), an alternative, inclusive, user-friendly and culturally more sensitive system of documentation, especially suitable for movement-related documents and information.
- Since 2001 : The preparation and circulation of some 24 issues of a newsletter named CRACL (‘Critical Action Common Letter’) among members of CA; the preparation and circulation of several discussion papers, proposals, and other documents; and extensive exchange among CA members around the documents circulated, including towards the formation of CACIM.