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Democratising democracy, humanising human rights: European decolonial social movements and the “alternative thinking of alternatives”

Julia Suárez-Krabbe


This paper offers a snapshot of the potential contributions that Decolonial Social Movements have to the democratisation of democracy and to the humanisation of human rights. It analyses European realities of racist exclusion through the theorizations of four Decolonial Social Movements; the Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR) in France, the Dutch Black Movement, the Islamic Human Rights Commission in the UK, and the Studies Group of the Andalusian Workers’ Union (Grupo de Estudios - Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores; GE-SAT). These movements all point to two fundamental crises of longue durée: the crisis generated by the category of the ‘human’, and that generated through the idea of ‘democracy’. They underline the importance of ‘democratising democracy’, and ‘humanising human rights’ in ways that take into account ‘other grammars of human dignity’. In essence, this effort implies abandoning the category ‘human’ and the idea of ‘democracy’ as globalised localisms –as the products of racism; the appropriation, violence and control of people marked as dispensable, subhuman and nonhuman, and instead reinventing them in ways that effectively counter their inherently racist/sexist logics; an alternative thinking of alternatives. 


Decoloniality; Europe; democracy; human rights; racism

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