Over the next couple of months, the rhythm of /The Rules will be slowing down for a period of rest and reflection. Before we do, we’d like to look back over the past year and forward to future adventures.
We’re very grateful for your solidarity and support this year. Thank you. Here are just a few of the things we worked on together in 2015:
Poverty is created
We posed three critical questions to help expose some mission-critical problems with the new UN Sustainable Development Goals: “How is poverty created”, “why is growth the only answer?” and “who’s developing who?” The idea was to encourage development professionals, activists and globally aware people everywhere to question the dominant development narrative the SDGs represent. This narrative promotes, among other things, the logic that only economic growth at all costs and some technical fixes are needed to end poverty by 2030. The questions spread very well, through over 30 articles, shared over 230,000 times, via media outlets from The Guardian to the Daily Nation and Vice; an open letter signed by Noam Chomsky, Eve Ensler, Chris Hedges, Medha Patkar, Naomi Klein and many others; and videos, which were viewed over 200,000 times.
This year we began building out the pilot version of the Activist Ashram, a year-long paid fellowship for leaders on the frontline against neoliberal capitalism. With a focus on the global South, the Ashram will bring together a collective of activists, community organisers, bloggers, artists & others in the global struggle for new narratives and alternatives to late-stage capitalism, whilst remaining grounded in their local struggles. The fellows will meet for the first time in February 2016 and we will be in touch shortly to respond to the many amazing applications we’ve received – thank you to everyone who has applied.
Whistleblow Wall Street
In October we embarked on a new mission to take on Wall Street as part of an alliance of civil society organisations, lawyers and bank employees. The first step has been creating a dedicated Whistleblow Wall Street platform that encourages and supports bank workers to whistleblow on unfair practices and corruption in the sector.
And not forgetting…
- Undermining the narrative of capitalism with our Capitalism Is Just A Story video, narrated by Stacey Ann Chinn and with music by Apple Juice Kid.
- Supporting a global Soil Solutions campaign advocating regenerative farming as a solution to climate change.
- Launching 9×9, an online film festival on food and farming thatbrought together nine beautiful short films from director/producer team The Source Project, which challenge the positive story surrounding the corporate-driven ‘Green Revolution’ in India, and how it controls and manipulates our global food systems.
- Continuing to cultivate the Our Land Our Business community by supporting Peruvian civil society in creating an alternative event and a boycott of the World Bank annual meeting in Lima in October, which received lots of media coverage in Peru and Latin America.
So, what’s next?
The world is in turmoil, we know this. We’ve spent a lot of time working with you to critique and question systems of oppression and inequality. We’ll continue to ask questions in 2016, to listen and feel our way into new ways of challenging the logic of ‘business as usual’, but at the same time we want to spend more of our time drawing attention to all the beautiful alternatives that exist to replace the old stories that keep us down. In other words, while we keep challenging ‘what is’ we will focus more on also helping to build ‘what’s possible’.
We don’t know exactly what’s in store but we look forward to taking this journey with you all. We hugely appreciate the collaboration and engagement of this community; working together is what enables us to spread radical ideas into the mainstream and challenge our connected oppressions.
Thank you for walking this uncertain path with us.
We know in many cultures it’s awkward to ask for money, but in the current system it’s unavoidable if we want to get things done. We’re saying radical things that a lot of funders don’t want to hear because it challenges their existence. Because of this, we very much appreciate the solidarity and support of our community to help fund our work to help create a world beyond neoliberal capitalism.