- Activism, Economy
- Humanity, Spirituality
- Economy, Health
- Economy, Community
- Environment, Community
- Humanity, Community
The response to the Paradise Papers
Micah White was one of the co-creators of the Occupy Wall Street movement back in 2011. He remains a critical voice in contemporary politics and his latest piece in The Guardian is an insightful look into what seems to be a muted, popular response to the revelations of the Paradise Papers. Rather than being pessimistic about the lack of public display of anger like we saw with similar revelations in 2016's Panama Papers (street protests in response forced the Icelandic President to resign), White sees a possibility for a new type of activism to emerge. An activism that looks to set up a 'global legal regime dedicated to prosecuting financial crimes against humanity'. He has also recently published a book entitled The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution.
Robyn Davidson - the camel lady
In this podcast produced by Australian quarterly magazine Dumbo Feather, we get to listen to 45 minutes of wisdom from Robyn Davidson. Davidson became famous in the 1970s for walking almost 3,000 kilometers through the Australian desert with 4 camels and a dog. This journey inspired a bestseller, as well as a screen adaptation. Listen to Davidson talk about that journey, as well as her life spent studying nomadic peoples, how to adapt to change and what it means to live a meaningful life. It's a wisdom filled podcast, and if you're inspired to learn more about her after it, there's also this great read to follow it up with.
Freedom is free time
Writing in Jacobin , Maya Tokumitsu makes a powerful argument about how much we work, and the importance of free time. Free time, she writes, is about more than just leisure: it's 'essential for basic dignity; to care for ourselves and our communities, we need time away from generating profit for employers. Just as importantly, we need it to realize our human potential.'
Recently, IG Metall, Germany's biggest union, representing over 2 million workers, called for the standard work week to be reduced from 35 hours to 26. Such a change, the union argued, would create more time for caring for children and the elderly.
Tokumitsu's argument for free time is even more expansive. "Our ability to think independently, experience romance, nurture friendships, and pursue our own curiosities and passions requires time that is ours," she writes, "time that belongs neither to the boss nor the market. At its core, the campaign for fewer working hours is about liberation, both individually and collectively."
Changing the means of production in Barcelona
From Barcelona's Poblenou district comes the story of a neighbourhood conducting an experiment in the future of production and urban living. Makers and designers in the district have been experimenting with ways the city can move beyond the traditional urban model of importing goods and exporting waste, toward 'a circular model, where all resources flow in a closed-loop system within the city itself.'
Working from the Fab City model , a diverse group came together last year to work on how waste products might be repurposed. The aim of the Fab City project is to find creative ways to make cities self-sufficient, and the project already has pledges from cities all over the world –– Paris, Boston, Amsterdam, Bhutan, Detroit, Georgia, Shenzhen, and Toulouse –– to meet its central aim: becoming self-sufficient by 2054 . In this short documentary, the Poblenou group looks at ways cutting edge technology can help them repurpose waste –– and in doing so, how they might make a new model of urban living and production.
The recovery effort in Puerto Rico
In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has become a hotspot for predatory corporate recovery interests seeking to impose what Naomi Klein famously dubbed "the Shock Doctrine": market-based, privatized solutions to systemic problems that place the power in the hands of global economic capital interests and out of the hands of the people. Since the hurricane struck on 26 September, Puerto Rico has already been subjected to the same kind of shock doctrine economics applied after numerous disasters in the past (such as post-coup Chile and post-Katrina New Orleans.) However, many communities across Puerto Rico are wise to the kind of destructive, laissez-faire capitalist policies that have been frequently applied to their island. Naomi Klein and Elizabeth Yampierre discuss the ecologically sustainable, community-empowering options available to Puerto Rico. The resistance efforts have already taken hold, as grassroots organizations have begun advocating for investments in renewable energy, locally-sourced agriculture and community-driven economic development.
Co-ops helping refugees find footing in Europe
From Co-operative News comes this heartening story of social co-ops in Italy and Grece helping refugees sustain themselves in their new countries. In the first three months of 2017, it's estimated 165,000 refugees reached Europe; over 100,000 have come to Greece and Italy this year alone.
Among the major challenges facing the refugees are learning new languages and finding work. Co-ops like Camelot in Italy are helping new arrivals make the transition. Camelot offers language classes, mentoring, training and internship, and also runs a program pairing refugees with hosts in Bologna.
In Greece, another co-op, Wind or Renewal, has partnered with local organisations to set up a co-operative hostel that not only provides accommodation for refugees, but also 'promotes their social inclusion' through a range of programs.
Staffed by a combination of migrants, refugees and long-term unemployed Greeks, the shelter, known as WELCOMMON, offers language, maths and science classes, helps refugee children enrol in local schools, and assist adult refugees to find work.
Together, these inspiring co-ops echo the findings of a 2016 study by the International Labor Organization, which outlined the importance of co-ops in fighting resistance to refugee settlement by involving them in local communities.