Online course: What is system change?
Develop your awareness and systemic thinking to be able to work out what action you can take, awakening your imagination for possible post-capitalist futures.
Activist and writer Martin Winiecki and community facilitator Juliette Baigler – together with world-leading radical visionaries and practitioners – invite you for an adventure of systemic global thinking, which includes interactive learning, embodied cognition and self-reflection.
As we’re facing an unprecedented global polycrisis, activism too finds itself in a profound crisis of meaning, orientation and strategy. Even though mass movements for climate and social justice have mobilized countless millions of people, they’ve mostly been unable to bring about structural transformation. Global capitalism is producing ever greater inequities and totalitarian realities, while pushing us ever closer to catastrophic ecological and social collapse.
Each one of us is presented with a stark choice: helping to change the system or being part of the problem. But how to achieve this in a world so completely controlled by capitalism? How to even imagine it, when the logic of capital not only controls economics and politics, but even much of our own behaviors and dreams? As Slavoj Žižek said, it’s today “easier to imagine the end of the world [than] an end to capitalism.”
The course runs over two weeks in January (18 – 28), with 3 hour webinars on Zoom every Thursday to Sunday night from 4pm – 7pm UTC. We strongly recommend you attend the live sessions, but they’re recorded and will be available on the study platform to watch straight after.
Who is the course for?
- People who are wondering how they can contribute to system change
- Anyone unwilling to accept war and oppression as normal
- People who like to think systemically
- Activists & peace workers
- Thought leaders
What you’ll learn
- How different current crises, struggles and systems of oppression are interconnected
- How belief systems and intra- and interpersonal patterns within us underpin destructive systems and dynamics on the outer
- What could make activism more “sacred” and intentional communities more politically relevant
- A different source of activism that’s deeper than hope, anger, analysis or saviorism
- How to open up a different logic of political success, based on resonance rather than imposition and force
- How to expand your imagination of possible post-capitalist futures
In the first 4 sessions, Martin will lay out a framework for holistic system change that combines strong structural analysis with an empathic understanding of human behavior and a post-materialist, Earth-centered paradigm:
- January 18: What, exactly, are systems? Setting the frame, welcome and a first deep dive into systems thinking and contextualizing our inquiring in an evolutionary framework.
- January 19: How to encounter the crisis of the world with an open heart? We’ll explore what a politics based on empathy could look like and examine the logic that underpins and drives our crisis of civilization.
- January 20: How does capitalism live within us? This seminar works in a combination of intellectual provocations and somatic self-reflections, looking at systems of oppression, privilege, narratives and trauma.
- January 21: What is system change? We will envision what life post-capitalism might look like and look at possible starting points and catalysts to move in this direction.
The remaining 4 sessions will be panels held by world-leading visionaries and practitioners of system changes:
- January 25: Mobilizing towards vision (with Miki Kashtan): How can we organize ourselves in ways that are aligned with our vision and values and within capacity? How do we design systems of resource flow, decision-making, information flow, feedback and conflict engagement for a post-capitalist and post-patriarchal way of life?
- January 26: Erotic liberation & overcoming patriarchy with love (with Geni Núñez & A’ida Al-Shibli): Which social structures allow people to live a post-capitalist paradigm, based on trust? Decolonizing relations has become a buzzword, but what does that actually mean? How can we (even begin to) liberate the immense force of Eros and love from trauma and abuse?
- January 27: Post-capitalism is more than just a dream (with Andrea Ixchíu Hernández, Nilüfer Koç, Claudio Miranda & Indra Shekhar Singh): What can we learn from the experiences of Indigenous and social movements and communities in the Global South that are already living post-capitalist realities? What does genuine solidarity mean and require?
- January 28: Ontological shifts toward right relation (with Pat McCabe & Tiokasin Ghosthorse): What are some of the unexamined beliefs and mythologies that continue to uphold power-over systems? Which shifts of knowing and being does system change invite us into? How can we reconnect with what many Indigenous people refer to as the “original instructions”?
Although most teaching works through lectures, Q&A, self-reflection questions and discussion, your learning experience will also include exercises for:
- somatic regulation and embodied cognition
- developing compassion
- metabolizing grief
- unleashing your imagination
- and interactive spaces of heart-centered sharing.
After each lesson, we’ll provide material for further reading and study that you can use to deepen your understanding and inquiry.
Research area: System change and peace work
Type of learning: Share knowledge
As an experiment with radical trust towards post-capitalist economics, we offer this course on donation. To choose how much you can and want to offer, please fill this questionnaire.
- Miki Kashtan is an author, a practical visionary, the seed founder of the Nonviolent Global Liberation and facilitator who blogs at The Fearless Heart.
- Geni Núñez is a Guarani Indigenous activist, writer and psychologist.
- A’ida Al-Shibli is a Bedouin Palestinian activist, long-term member of Tamera and the founder of Global Campus Palestine.
- Nilüfer Koç is the international relations spokesperson of the Kurdish National Congress, a Middle East expert and long-term member of the Kurdish women’s movement.
- Andrea Ixchíu Hernández is a Maya K’iche’ women, journalist, land protector and human rights activist from Guatemala.
- Indra Shekhar Singh is an independent agri policy analyst, journalist and environmental activist from India.
- Claudio Miranda is a musician, peace-maker and community founder at Favela da Paz in Brazil.
- Pat McCabe (Weyakpa Najin Win, Woman Stands Shining) is a Diné mother, grandmother, activist, artist, writer, ceremonial leader, and speaker.
- Tiokasin Ghosthorse is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation, speaker, writer, radio host and the founding director of Akantu Institute.
After course support
- Free access to resources for further study
- Study platform will continue to be open indefinitely and allow you to exchange with fellow students
“I LOVED the course. I watched it all… highly recommended for connecting the personal to the geopolitical, creating frameworks for us to make sense in times of insanity and help us figure out what is ours to do.”
– Gail Bradbrook, Extinction Rebellion co-founder
“Martin is an incredibly gifted teacher and speaker with an eloquence and intellect rarely encountered. His distillation of ideas into well crafted lessons sparked new realizations for me and has already shifted my day to day life. The class discussions were nourishing.”
– Julia Reeve
“Being in the “dominant sphere” and talking about identities these days can be very difficult, and I felt Martin was very respectful and conscious. I was very happy to see a place of speech very well occupied. Thank you.”
– Nikita Llerena, Festival Iris organizer