Rising energy costs, expensive housing, additional expenses for food, climate catastrophe, war and care crisis. “What we need are collective responses to the crises that affect all of our lives,” wrote the organisers of the Power to the People Conference, which took place in Vienna from 24 – 26 March 2023. The reason for the event was the European Gas Conference (27 – 29.03.23), where again this year numerous actors from industry and politics met behind closed doors in Vienna to decide on the future of European energy supply. The Power to the People Conference as a counter-event (alongside actions of BlockGas and Extinction Rebellion) brought together hundreds of people from the international civil society to exchange about alternatives to the current exploitative energy supply system and to connect struggles.
We from Degrowth Vienna were also present and, under the workshop title “The good life 4 all – Basic provisioning in a degrowth society”, we took a look at the issue of basic provisioning from a degrowth perspective with about 30 international participants:
What are the problems that arise from a growth-centred economy? How can a society look like in which the massive inequality in terms of energy consumption is reduced, both globally and nationally, and what role does the issue of services of general interest play in this? What strategies are there to push the transformation towards a social and ecological economy and society? And what concrete examples of services of general interest already exist and to what extent are they in line with degrowth principles? In small groups, the participants debated examples such as the campaigns and projects “Expropriate RWE & Co”, Transition Towns, the “Non-proliferation Treaty”, or the Divestment Movement. In the plenary, we then collected numerous other examples that can contribute to a degrowth future.
Full of inspiration and motivation, we look back on three extraordinarily exciting days in Vienna, with the certainty that the coming together of so many people and the creation of shared utopias and visions for the future has an incredible transformative power. Power to the People!