In October 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a report that received barely any attention: the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021, notably subtitled Unmasking disparities by ethnicity, caste, and gender. ‘Multidimensional poverty’ is a much more precise measurement of poverty than the international poverty line of $1.90 per day. It looks at ten indicators divided along three axes: health (nutrition, child mortality), education (years of schooling, school attendance), and standard of living (cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets). The team studied multidimensional poverty across 109 countries, looking at the living conditions of 5.9 billion people.Continue reading
As we imagine an alternative society, we should think about how we will create something more collective, something where all people have a voice. Most of us come from a tradition where a select few make large impactful decisions for social justice organizations. Organizations have practices that at times feel inadequate and inaccessible for all. How do we move more towards a democratic collective process?
These questions come to mind as many movement organizations are wrestling with creating collective democratic power internally. How can processes be more transparent in the organization—and how do we balance that with some need for confidentiality? How do we balance legal obligations/liabilities and honesty?Continue reading
The climate crisis is one of the gravest global threats that we face in the defense of life, which places our own existence and of our Mother Earth’s at risk.
The current anthropocentric model, which places human beings above nature and other living beings, has produced the current climate crisis and it is modifying the vital cycles of Mother Earth, causing the collapse of many ecosystems, the extinction of species, the change of ways of life of hundreds of millions of people all over the world, expanding hunger and poverty in the world and an increasing climate migration.
We express the urgency of building a new civilizing horizon based on Living Well cosmo-biocentric vision where human beings live in harmony with all living beings of our Mother Earth and the need to put forward a new civilizing horizon that defends the community of life and the coexisting in harmony with nature.Continue reading
We are living through extraordinary times. Even pre-COVID they were strange, unprecedented in a variety of ways; now more so, crazy in many ways. Among the madness, contradictions and movements for and of change, the detritus of human society is somehow being raised from the shadows into the light of public awareness, apparently impossible to conceal or deny.
As well as providing a stage for social goodness and acts of community kindness, the pandemic has functioned as a mirror to a range of social horrors and abuses, failed structures, inept politicians and corrupt methodologies. Nothing new, nothing previously unknown; old issues rooted in divisive attitudes, broken systemic practices and organized methods of conditioning and control made loud.Continue reading
In their recent book Pandemic Solidarity, Colectiva Sembrar (Sowing Seeds Collective) collected first-hand experiences from around the world of people creating their own narratives of solidarity and mutual aid in our time of global crisis. Red Pepper interviewed members of the collective – carla bergman (she doesn’t capitalise her name), Seyma Ozdemir, Nancy Piñeiro, Emre Sahin and Marina Sitrin – to discuss what unites these diverse experiences, what can be learned, and where they might fit into a broader project of systemic change.Continue reading
As shown by authors like Dan Clawson in his 2003 book The Next Upsurge, unions tend to grow in spurts, as part of working-class uprisings that pose a deep challenge to the powers that be.
The upsurges in the private sector from 1934 to 1939, when the CIO organized industry-wide, with sitdowns when necessary, and the AFL tried to catch up, and in the public sector from 1962 to 1972, when a wave of illegal strikes established the right to bargain, were rooted in militant worker action. The system began to lose legitimacy and workers got a sense of their collective power. Similar dynamics played out during the 1897-1904 upsurge in the U.S.Continue reading
What I think of as the cynical left are once again berating the progressive critical left, myself included, for failing to write what they want written about Covid-19. I take this as a kind of unintended compliment: that they think we can write about their concerns better than they can themselves. But even if I wished to write someone else’s argument rather than my own, it would still be difficult to know for sure what the cynical left wants from progressive writers: that we pronounce the pandemic fake, or that we declare the danger from it overblown, or that we denounce mask-wearing as an infringement on personal liberty, or that we argue lockdown is a prelude to George Orwell’s 1984. Or maybe all of these.Continue reading
Humanity will continue along its self-destructive trajectory until the masses use the power of their numbers to force real change. Humanity will not use the power of its numbers to force real change as long as it’s being successfully propagandized not to do so. The oligarchic propaganda machine is therefore the primary barrier to our transition from our self-destructive patterns into a healthy collaborative relationship with each other and with our ecosystem.
So throw sand in the gears of the machine. If enough of us throw enough sand, we can cause the whole thing to break down.Continue reading
On May 25, a Minneapolis police officer tortured George Floyd to death in what his brother, Philonise Floyd, called “a modern-day lynching in broad daylight.” Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in all 50 states and Washington D.C.; the anti-racist uprisings continue.
Why do a majority of people in this country now support the Movement for Black Lives? Why have calls to defund and abolish the police entered the mainstream discourse? Why are people risking the deadly coronavirus to join the protests? And why are we seeing what may be the broadest popular movement in the history of the United States?
More than 400 years after the first Africans were kidnapped, forcibly brought to this country and enslaved, White supremacy continues to infect our society.Continue reading
To the police of good conscience:
What if all this demonstrating was also for you? What if the pain you are feeling right now — the pain of feeling misunderstood and mischaracterized — is connected to the same pain expressed by protesters in the streets of Minneapolis, Atlanta, Louisville and hundreds of other cities steeped in grief? You understand that suspicion of theft or fraud doesn’t justify murder and whatever legal battles will unfold won’t change the morality of that fact.
I know the protest chants and the opinion articles don’t cover it all. It’s a hard job and the criticism doesn’t always speak to the nuances, or the aches and pains deep in the crevices of your lives.Continue reading
Resistance to privatisation has turned into a powerful force for change. (Re)municipalisation refers to the reclaiming of public ownership of services as well as the creation of new public services. In recent years, our research has identified more than 1,400 successful (re)municipalisation cases involving more than 2,400 cities in 58 countries around the world. But this book is about more than just numbers. It shows that public services are more important than ever in the face of the climate catastrophe, mounting inequalities, and growing political unrest. Together, civil society organisations, trade unions, and local authorities are crafting new templates for how to expand democratic public ownership to all levels of society and opening up new routes to community-led and climate conscious public services.Continue reading
A new group that wants to reboot Hawaii’s tourist-based economy in the era of the new coronavirus announced a four-step plan Tuesday to come up with ideas by August based on Native Hawaiian cultural values.
The ‘Aina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration, which was sent to Gov. David Ige, is the first part of an effort to create a different island economy based on centuries of island-based values. The declaration was authored by 14 members of the community who want “to reboot the entire operating system of our economy,” said Kamanamaikalani Beamer, associate professor of the University of Hawaii’s Center for Hawaiian Studies. So far, the overall concept has been endorsed by more than 550 individuals and organizations. A new island economy needs to be based on values “that have sustained life in these islands for centuries,” Beamer said.Continue reading
Within just a few weeks—faster than the blink of an eye in geological time—a tiny, microscopic entity brought the global monolith of human civilization, the captains of industry, the might of the world’s militaries, the financial juggernauts of money and manufacturing, to their knees. According to the likely, but still uncertain theory, the novel coronavirus behind the disease named COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) whipsawed its way across East China, from wet markets in Wuhan, before becoming a global pandemic. Within months, two million people worldwide were confirmed infected—with tens of millions estimated to be the real number—and over 150,000 had died.
As everyday life ground to a halt amid social lockdowns designed to reduce the impact on flailing health care facilities, so too did the global economy.Continue reading
I was surprised, in my first week of class as a graduate student in urban planning, to hear the death knell of my chosen field. In an unco-ordinated move, each of my professors at CUNY Hunter College had assigned Thomas J. Campanella’s essay “Jane Jacobs and the Death and Life of American Planning.” In the essay, Campanella describes urban planning as a trivial profession that is mired in bureaucratic procedure and lacks disciplinary identity, authority and visionary capacity.
One reason for this, say some contributors to Transformative Planning: Radical Alternatives to Neoliberal Urbanism, is that, as a profession, urban planning has too long been focused on creating products (i.e. housing and roads) rather than imagining cities as places that might sustain humans and the environment.Continue reading
All around the globe, governments are starting to move forward with reopening plans that lift some degree of COVID-19 social distancing. With that comes talk of recovery and rebuilding. While some of the attention is on green stimulus and a range of progressive demands for just and equitable recoveries, the only way we can win any such advances is through movements that are prepared to take on the fight.
Before the COVID-19 crisis began, the world was — by and large — governed by a neoliberal common sense with its roots in Reagan- and Thatcher-era politics. The same leaders who upheld that order are still in power and, with a few notable exceptions, most of them are seeing increases in their approval numbers through this crisis.
In Europe, Germany’s Angela Merkel has a soaring approval rating of 78 percent, Italy’s Giuseppe Conte is at 71 percent and France’s Emmanuel Macron is up 14 points.Continue reading