These days, the degrowth movement is not interested in provocation anymore. Instead it wants to stimulate discussions amongst the people who believe that it is possible to decolonise our minds. Vincent Liegey, the coordinator of the latest Degrowth Conference says that the movement’s impact is already visible in many party programmes.
Green European Journal: What is your experience as a degrowth campaigner? Has degrowth, as a concept, become more acceptable in intellectual and political circles in the last few years?
Vincent Liegey: It has. I started my activities in the degrowth movement approximately ten years ago, and at that time the reactions were very dismissive. People either thought that we are naïve and dangerous, or that we were the representatives of an ecofascist movement…
Who were those people? The establishment?
Our quarrels were mainly with the productivist left, but not exclusively. We also had disagreements with the pro-growth (green growth) Green movement and the Green capitalist movements. Three years ago people like Daniel Cohn-Bendit still called us crazy.
For many years it was almost impossible to question growth on the Left, because growth was seen as the precondition of progress, as well as the solution to poverty and inequality. In those years we really had to fight to be covered by the media. We were never invited to any economics panels, and most Green parties did not want to have anything to do with us, even though they used to think quite similarly in their early days. Fortunately, in the last few years it has improved.
What led to the improvements?