At a basic level, the timeline reveals that capitalism has a beginning—as opposed to being natural or inherently good—and thus can have an end, but capitalism has become hegemonic over the past couple hundred years, moving through different phases (including neoliberalism), shaping social relationships, impacting the environment and maintaining itself via capture of government institutions, media and the use of violence. As an economic system for producing and allocating material resources, capitalism relies on private property and relentless accumulation, operates in a mode of competition (invoking freedom but dependent on inequality and exploitation while tending towards monopoly and crisis), and envisions humans foremost as self-interested.
This is a living document that reflects the political and popular education process of the working group, with the digital platform and in-person workshops creating a mutually reinforcing resource and space for discourse for ESCR-Net members. The initial draft of the timeline was created with inputs from members at the Chiapas workshop, who used this historical and critical analysis as a basis for questioning existing strategies to make human rights and social justice a reality for all. Subsequent workshops will ideally expand the timeline with the additional analysis and entries. This project seeks to: (1) Strengthen a common analysis of the dominant socio-economic system, its history and structural impacts on human rights and the environment; (2) Deepen a common narrative that identifies related contradictions and opportunities for collective action to advance human rights and social justice; and (3) Establish strategies to facilitate popular education related to this analysis and narrative within and beyond ESCR-Net.
The Chiapas workshop also produced a working set of Principles of Political Education and a short video on the political education process embodied in this first workshop.