This week on Occupy Radio Laura Hanna of StrikeDebt.org explains the concept of a debt strike and the power of collective debt--a growing movement of debt resistors refusing to repay their debt to a failing system.
Published: March 21, 2015 at Nation of Change...
Get involve in this movement...
Repost from Grist
By Sam Bliss on 9 Mar 2015 56 comments
The sharing economy is bullshit. Airbnb is a rental broker. Uber and Lyft are unregulated cab services. Taskrabbit and similar “servant economy” enterprises let well-off people pay less well-off people to do their chores — without providing anyone the benefits and security of traditional employment.
“Sharing” has been appropriated and stripped of all meaning by people trying to sell you things, much like sustainability was. Once “green” became hip and important about a decade ago, corporate bigwigs started preaching about sustainable profits and misleading eco-labels got slapped on single-use disposable plastic water bottles. These days, share-washing is the new greenwashing.
A recent piece in The Nation indicted the so-called sharing economy on multiple counts:
The sharing economy is a nice way for rapacious capitalists to monetize the desperation of people in the post-crisis economy while sounding generous, and to evoke a fantasy of community in an atomized population. …
[I]t sees us all as micro-entrepreneurs fending for ourselves in a hostile world. … You may lack health insurance, sick days, and a pension plan, but you’re in control.
Of course, platforms like Airbnb and Spinlister, an app for sharing bicycles, dodemonstrate something positive: People are willing to share, even with strangers.
And sharing, real sharing, is important. Sharing more could allow humanity as a whole to consume less, hopefully shrinking our economy’s voracious appetite for materials and energy. Thus far, resource use has accelerated in tandem with economic growth.
Sharing can help us achieve economic degrowth in consumption and production — and the wastes that come with them, like carbon emissions — while maintaining quality of life, or even improving it with more social interactions and stronger community relationships. (Watch degrowth explained with orange juice.) One reason I like the term “degrowth” is that it isn’t likely to be co-opted by profit-oriented companies anytime soon, since enterprises are mostly forced to grow or die in our fiercely competitive economy.
Let’s reclaim “sharing” by contrasting the real sharing economy with the bullshit sharing economy. A real sharing entity enables a group of people to collectively create a good or service and then share the results equitably. A real sharing enterprise isn’t driven by profits for shareholders; it’s driven by sharing resources, knowledge, and decision-making responsibilities. This post introduces a series of stories about real communities creating the real sharing economy.
On a bigger scale, sharing wealth more even-handedly is the only way to decrease the world’s enormous economic inequality. We’ve made huge gains in establishing civil rights for women, people of color, and LGBTQ communities, but we won’t achieve true social justice until the economic pie is divided up more fairly.
And sharing power more democratically is the only way to fix our broken political system. As is, money moves resources and buys political outcomes — and it’s mostly in the hands of a few filthy-rich plutocrats.
In fact, an organization called Share the World’s Resources recently released a report arguing that sharing can be the idea that brings together social, economic, and ecological movements in a grand alliance. Imagine Black Lives Matter, thefossil fuel divestment crusade, and the smoldering embers of Occupy joining forces to fight for a real sharing economy.
“If you take a look at any of the serious problems we face as a society, from global climate change to pandemics to developing new energy sources, I would argue that they have to be solved cooperatively,” says Josh Farley, professor of ecological economics at the University of Vermont. “There is no competitive solution.”
Troublingly, a grow-grow-grow economy makes us all more reliant on money. Real sharing economy projects make money less important, like the Buy Nothing groups on Facebook and tool-lending libraries that Grist already writes about.
“What we need to do is develop models of a cooperative economy that can be scaled up to address these global problems, but we’ve got to start locally,” says Farley. “I really think we’ve got to start developing those new approaches very soon, and figure out what scales up.”
Hence this series. These “degrowth in action” stories will explore a bike cooperative, an urban food forest, and a community solar program — all in Grist’s backyard of Seattle.
Most people in the climate movement aren’t yet on board with the degrowth concept — that is, if they’ve even heard of degrowth — despite agreeing with many of its objections to our economic system and ideas about how to transform the world economy. Somehow, many still believe the myth that endless, exponential economic expansion is compatible with saving the climate. But if climate hawks can see real-life examples of degrowth, they might come to see its potential for creating a fairer society and cleaner environment.
Barbara Muraca, a degrowth activist and environmental philosophy professor at Oregon State University, calls these sharing projects “laboratories of social innovation.” They test out new ways of living together and prove that sharing works. “People learn to live differently because they do it, not just because they think about doing it,” she says.
Planting the seeds of a real sharing economy is no easy task. But it’s easier to share the work than go it alone.
More in the The real sharing economy series
Salam, shalom, paz, amani, síochána,pokój, pace, frieden, anachemowegan, iríni, baké, paix, śānti, Kedamaian
War that benefits the few or Prosperity for the rest?
From The Guardian, 20 Photographs
Kevin Frayer, a regular contributor to the 20 photographs, was covering the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Here, a young couple wear gas masks as they pose for a wedding photographer prior to their marriage.
Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty
A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse
by David Graeber, London School of Economics, author of Debt: The First 5000 Years (Melville House 2011) and The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement (Random House 2013).
Graeber's work aligns closely with the work of the tecumseh project and so this is must read partial repost from The Baffler, no. 22, 2013 for all who are interested.
What is a revolution? We used to think we knew. Revolutions were seizures of power by popular forces aiming to transform the very nature of the political, social, and economic system in the country in which the revolution took place, usually according to some visionary dream of a just society. Nowadays, we live in an age when, if rebel armies do come sweeping into a city, or mass uprisings overthrow a dictator, it’s unlikely to have any such implications; when profound social transformation does occur—as with, say, the rise of feminism—it’s likely to take an entirely different form. It’s not that revolutionary dreams aren’t out there. But contemporary revolutionaries rarely think they can bring them into being by some modern-day equivalent of storming the Bastille.
Already by the time of the French Revolution, Wallerstein notes, there was a single world market, and increasingly a single world political system as well, dominated by the huge colonial empires. As a result, the storming of the Bastille in Paris could well end up having effects on Denmark, or even Egypt, just as profound as on France itself—in some cases, even more so. Hence he speaks of the “world revolution of 1789,” followed by the “world revolution of 1848,” which saw revolutions break out almost simultaneously in fifty countries, from Wallachia to Brazil. In no case did the revolutionaries succeed in taking power, but afterward, institutions inspired by the French Revolution—notably, universal systems of primary education—were put in place pretty much everywhere. Similarly, the Russian Revolution of 1917 was a world revolution ultimately responsible for the New Deal and European welfare states as much as for Soviet communism. The last in the series was the world revolution of 1968—which, much like 1848, broke out almost everywhere, from China to Mexico, seized power nowhere, but nonetheless changed everything. This was a revolution against state bureaucracies, and for the inseparability of personal and political liberation, whose most lasting legacy will likely be the birth of modern feminism.At moments like this, it generally pays to go back to the history one already knows and ask: Were revolutions ever really what we thought them to be? For me, the person who has asked this most effectively is the great world historian Immanuel Wallerstein. He argues that for the last quarter millennium or so, revolutions have consisted above all of planetwide transformations of political common sense.
A quarter of the American population is now engaged in “guard labor”—defending property, supervising work, or otherwise keeping their fellow Americans in line.
Revolutions are thus planetary phenomena. But there is more. What they really do is transform basic assumptions about what politics is ultimately about. In the wake of a revolution, ideas that had been considered veritably lunatic fringe quickly become the accepted currency of debate. Before the French Revolution, the ideas that change is good, that government policy is the proper way to manage it, and that governments derive their authority from an entity called “the people” were considered the sorts of things one might hear from crackpots and demagogues, or at best a handful of freethinking intellectuals who spend their time debating in cafés. A generation later, even the stuffiest magistrates, priests, and headmasters had to at least pay lip service to these ideas. Before long, we had reached the situation we are in today: that it’s necessary to lay out the terms for anyone to even notice they are there. They’ve become common sense, the very grounds of political discussion.
Until 1968, most world revolutions really just introduced practical refinements: an expanded franchise, universal primary education, the welfare state. The world revolution of 1968, in contrast—whether it took the form it did in China, of a revolt by students and young cadres supporting Mao’s call for a Cultural Revolution; or in Berkeley and New York, where it marked an alliance of students, dropouts, and cultural rebels; or even in Paris, where it was an alliance of students and workers—was a rebellion against bureaucracy, conformity, or anything that fettered the human imagination, a project for the revolutionizing of not just political or economic life, but every aspect of human existence. As a result, in most cases, the rebels didn’t even try to take over the apparatus of state; they saw that apparatus as itself the problem.
Debt cancellation would make the perfect revolutionary demand.
It’s fashionable nowadays to view the social movements of the late sixties as an embarrassing failure. A case can be made for that view. It’s certainly true that in the political sphere...
Continue reading at The Baffler
World leaders will be gathered in NYC for a landmark U.N. climate meeting — just the right moment for big public pressure.
We’ll peacefully flood the streets in historic numbers, both in New York City and in solidarity events around the world.
Over 950 (!) businesses, unions, faith groups, schools, social justice groups, environmental groups and more, all working together.
Centered on Justice
Committed to principles of environmental justice and equality — representing the communities that are being hit the hardest by climate change.
This is an invitation to change everything.
In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.
With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history. We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.
To change everything, we need everyone on board.
Sunday, September 21 in New York City. Join us.
SIGN UP NOW
From the Fight for Fifteen:
McDonald's thinks they can ignore us or intimidate us. They should meet their 81-year-old maintenance guy, Jose, who was arrested while shutting down 42nd Street during the peaceful protest at the Times Square McDonald's. Striking workers have been arrested in cities across the country for civil disobedience so that ALL of our voices can be heard -- and we're not done yet.
See more at strikefastfood.org