Principles of the IDN

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

1. Commitment to Degrowth

We are aligned with and inspired by The Degrowth Declaration of The Paris ConferenceThe Degrowth Declaration of The Barcelona Conference, and The People’s Agreement of Cochabamba. We understand degrowth as a plural concept that could include all the ideas and movements that criticise growth-based societies and propose post-growth and post-capitalist alternatives. We recognise that a degrowth transition requires a significant democratic reduction of material and energy use by high-income countries and wealthy individuals to enable a good life for all through an economic system that prioritises the well-being of the Earth and its inhabitants rather than growth for growth's sake. We strive towards the adoption of ideas and practices in line with degrowth, in the above sense, within all spheres of society.

2. Anti-Patriarchy & Anti-Colonialism

We understand ourselves as an explicitly feminist and anti-colonial organisation which works to overcome patriarchy and (neo)colonialism in deed and not only in words. 

3. Communal Effort & Participation

We are committed to working towards our common purposes. The success of our organisation as a community is dependent on the participation of our members.

4. Participatory Decision Making

We commit to establishing the equal and fair distribution of decision-making power within our organisation. We take into account that decisions might affect some more than others, and we actively prevent the emergence of hierarchies and concentrations of power. Hence, we implement a sociocratic, horizontal, and decentralised structure and decision-making process for the IDN that emphasises the importance of making decisions at the smallest scale possible. We stress that Local and International Circles are autonomous entities that can practise other forms of decision-making, yet should strive for non-hierarchical methods and need to act in accordance with the Principles of the IDN. We also stress that the supreme decision-making body of the IDN is The Assembly.

5. Open Communication & Transparency

We openly share and communicate knowledge and actions with all members who wish to be informed of the activities and decisions of the IDN. We actively mitigate the accumulation of soft power, e.g. by preventing the gate-keeping of institutionalised skills and knowledge in order to make them accessible to all. Communication is vital for the smooth functioning of the IDN. Communication should strongly aim to be respectful, non-violent, transparent and accessible. 

6. Conviviality & Autonomy

We align with an understanding of the word conviviality, which refers to a society in which modern tools are used by everyone in an integrated and shared manner, without reliance on a body of external specialists who control said instruments. Convivial tools are a condition for the realisation of autonomy, which is understood as a person’s or group’s right to fulfil their purpose independently and consciously according to our shared values and interests.

7. Care, Cooperation & Non-Violence

We create spaces where all members can work together in a safe and welcoming environment. We foster a culture of care and responsibility for each other and are sensitive to the fair and healthy distribution of work between members. Care is not to be blind to conflicts but rather aims to address them in a constructive way. We conduct our meetings in a cooperative manner, where participants do not need to compete to be heard and where every issue and concern is given space to be voiced. We also encourage the voicing of joy and celebration to show the appreciation of our community, our accomplishments and our members.

8. Inclusion

We welcome everyone to participate in our community as long as they respect the Principles of the IDN. We respect and encourage diversity and are aware of intertwined and intersectional societal discrimination, which we actively stand against and will not tolerate, i.e. on the basis of gender, (ascribed) origin, spoken language, age, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, religion, profession, geographical provenance or ability. We commit to working towards moving beyond these biases through active learning, valuing feedback and taking personal and collective action. We value open debate and constructive critique. We foster the ability to disagree and appreciate the opinions of individual members as long as they are not in strong conflict with the Principles of the IDN. We give everybody the chance to speak. We are anti-speciesists and encourage all our members to consider the needs of all living and non-living beings and systems in our decision-making process.

9. Self-Care

We acknowledge that our work could involve high-stress events and the discussion of difficult topics that may impact the mental or physical health of individuals. We therefore encourage everyone to take responsibility for their well-being and actively voice their needs in order for them to be able to fulfil their duties and responsibilities.

10. Critical Reflection, Arts, Action, & Practice

Action, Arts, Practice and Reflection are an essential part of our culture. We actively schedule time for them. We are made up of practitioners, researchers, activists, artists, and others who subscribe to the IDN principles, and we strive to pull our efforts together aiming to further our common goals.

Note: While these principles were adopted at the Zagreb Assembly, they are currently undergoing review. The IDN is working on presenting an updated version at the next Assembly in Pontevedra in June 2024. If you would like to be involved in this process, contact the Help Desk at help[at]