Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about /The Rules

/The Rules – FAQ

1. I’ve read your website, I want to know more about The Rules.

2. Who are the people behind The Rules?

3. What are the long-term campaign objectives of the The Rules?

4. From where does /The Rules get its funding?

5. Some of your money comes from Foundations with links to big corporations? How is that independent?

6. Is /TR a NGO or a social movement?

7. Is The Rules an online organising group?

8. How do you choose who you work with or your campaigns?

9. What kind of partners do you work with?

10. I would like to volunteer, what should I do?

11. Where did you get the figures in your inequality video?

12. Who made the inequality video?

13. We really like your video/graphics/posters. Can we use them for our presentation/video/report etc?

14. Why is your minimum donation amount set at $10? Isn’t that too much?

15. I have some questions about your fellowship programme, the Activist Ashram.

Answers

 

1. I’ve read your website, I want to know more about The Rules.

/The Rules (/TR) is a global network of activists, organizers, designers, researchers and writers dedicated to changing the rules that create inequality and poverty around the world.

We do this in two ways. We work with the world’s leading social movements to amplify their campaigns, building capacity and deepening a global community of support. And we create content, analysis and tools to help bring more radical ideas into the mainstream.

As we work with existing social movements to strengthen their individual struggles, we’re also becoming a global community with a broader agenda for transformational change.

 

2. Who are the people behind The Rules?

We are a small staff team who have come from a variety of places, including environmental NGOs, aid agencies, grassroots struggles, social enterprises, academia, even the advertising industry. We are united by our shared worldview, and a belief that incremental change is no longer enough.

 

3. What are the long-term campaign objectives of the The Rules?

1) Building citizen power – By amplifying local struggles and supporting grassroots organizers, we aim to provide greater means for those who are most affected by these issues to challenge the structures of their impoverishment.

2) Changing frames and creating alternatives – Our aim is to bring radical thought into the mainstream discourse by changing the dominant frames and focusing on underlying causes. We do this by creating global content and acting as a meme hub grounded in the core belief that inequality and climate change are man-made and consequences of historic and systemically rooted policies, processes and cultural norms that prevent a fair, sustainable, transparent global economic and political system. We will help draw mainstream attention to create viable alternatives and new rules at the global, regional and local levels.

3) Building infrastructure and leadership – Through our global fellowship program, access to staff and resources, funding streams and new tools for organizing we provide infrastructure and support for wide-scale global action and local, grassroots organizing.

 

4. From where does /The Rules get its funding?

We receive financial support from a variety of sources including through crowdsourcing, the Novo Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, the New Venture Fund, the Joffe Charitable Trust (UK), and the Wallace Global Fund. We do not accept money from governments or corporations.

 

5. Some of your money comes from Foundations with links to big corporations? How is that independent?

You’re right, you can trace some of our funding back to sources that are connected to corporate and financial activity. Every dollar in our pocket and yours, if traced back far enough, has been churned through, indeed created by, banks, corporations and financial institutions. That’s the nature of the debt-based money system we live within. There is no such thing as completely “clean” money in that sense.

The question, then, if you want to use money at all, is where do you draw the line? We have drawn the line at no direct links to or contributions from corporations and governments because we believe that that gives us enough distance from their influence to be able to speak and operate independently, including being able to mount full-throated criticisms of them, whilst still allowing us to use money. You may want to draw the line elsewhere, and that’s totally cool. If our position isn’t to your liking, we fully respect that; we know this is a judgement call.

 

6. Is /TR a NGO or a social movement?

Both and neither. We have characteristics of both but do not consider ourselves to strictly fall into either category. We support existing social movements but also build our own community.

We recognise that we do not fit easily into existing conceptions of human rights, anti-inequality or anti-poverty groups, and that this can cause problems for some funders. However, we believe we can bring new models of organisational structure, movement development and campaign delivery to the space, and as such, must necessarily be unlike previous organisations.

 

7. Is The Rules an online organising group?

No. We use online organising tools and techniques as a way to be present in the world, connect with others and build community. We believe online organising is a tool that has a role to play in spreading awareness, bringing people together in common cause, and building citizen power across issues and boundaries. The majority of our work is rooted in community organising through the work we do with our partner organisations. We think about how we use all the various channels and tools (mobile, field organizing, teach-ins) to create the best possible outcome for the most marginilised among us. That usually requires us to think offline first, and online as a complementary strategy.

 

8. How do you choose who you work with or your campaigns?

We try to work with people and social movement who share our worldview. We are one small part of a growing awareness of the need for radical, transformative change to some of the fundamentals of the global system (e.g. changes to how we measure progress and growth, a redistribution of power from the few to the many, a wholesale rejection of neoliberal capitalism, a reorientation of the purpose of governance towards intrinsic values and away from competition and individual power etc).

We try to find others who share this basic view, through various means. This can mean working with people already in our network, sometimes it means reaching out to people who inspire and impress us, and sometimes people reach out to us. The important thing is that we share the worldview and can see how an action or campaign contributes to it.

 

9. What kind of partners do you work with?

/TR works with existing civil society groups and social movements in uniting disparate local, issue-based struggles around shared global perspectives. This creates momentum by providing solidarity amongst the global membership thus increasing the collective power for our campaigns in the context of a shared worldview.

 

10. I would like to volunteer, what should I do?

Write to contact@therules.org. Mention any specific skill sets you’d like to volunteer. Here’s a list to give you a few ideas on what you could do as a volunteer.

 

11. Where did you get the figures in your inequality video?

There is a link to all the sources in the box beneath the video.

 

12. Who made the inequality video?

We partnered with a production company called GRAIN media. They did the animation, we provided the resources and the script.

 

13. We really like your video/graphics/posters. Can we use them for our presentation/video/report etc?

Yes. We’d love you to. We don’t believe in private property or the ownership of ideas. Everything we produce is registered as Creative Commons, which means they are free to use by anyone. We would ask that you use things in context, where necessary. Ultimately, a key goal for us is to help spread radical and progressive memes into the mainstream. We are honored when members of the community work with us in this way.

 

14. Why is your minimum donation amount set at $10? Isn’t that too much?

We realise that $10 is a large minimum contribution to ask for (and that we’re asking for it in US $) and we want to make the community as inclusive as possible. However, this is the first time we’re trying to raise funds for a project and we’ve found that it’s difficult to find a provider that a) makes it financially viable to ask for less than $10 (every system takes a cut) and b) that doesn’t require access to a bank account or debit/credit card. We hope that if we feel the need to ask for contributions in future we’ll be able to find a method where everyone is able to participate, but for now we’re stuck with what we’ve got: unless anyone in our wonderful community has a ready and waiting, wonderful solution.

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Trump: Join us in connecting the dots

The election of Donald Trump has left millions, maybe even billions of us in shock. Although we may be looking with bewilderment at the US today, we should remember that he is not an isolated phenomenon. He is a symptom of a sickness that is raging all around the world. People are hurting, disillusioned with mainstream politics and increasingly angry at a neoliberal economic system that is destroying lives and the planet with increasing ferocity. And in their desperation they are willing to consider extreme measures to make themselves heard.

Demagogues thrive amid fear and insecurity, which is why they paint the world in such dark terms. It’s a strategy that has put right-wing populist leaders in power in an Axis of Egos: from Brazil to Turkey, the Philippines to Russia, authoritarian strongmen like Trump are on the rise. Meanwhile, many centrist liberals, like the Democratic Party in the US, have been so intent on rejecting left-wing populist solutions, and so sure of their ability to beat anyone running on a white supremacy platform with its misogyny and homophobia, that they opened the door for Mr. Trump to walk straight through. Their preference is always to maintain the status quo that has served them so well.

As dangerous as the election of Trump is for the world, we can also see in this moment the truth that we simply cannot rely on the electoral political system to save us, because it is designed to prevent the fundamental change we need. Its own survival is at stake and it will marshal all its champions and resources to defend itself and stop the emergence of a new system. But when we work, or continue working for change from the ground up; when we build or keep on building new ways of living and being with each other where we live; when we construct or keep constructing the future we know is possible with our own hands, rather than hoping distant leaders will build it for us, we find our true power. Finally, when we combine that with the unbending hope that has powered change through the ages, we know our power has meaning.

A 400-year-old economic system is dying and another is struggling to be born. Change on this scale is not going to be smooth or easy. We should not be surprised, then, that moments like this — where the establishment is dealt a body blow — become more and more common. We can despair when that blow comes in the form of right-wing extremists, or we can step-up. We are the ones we are looking for, who can and must grasp the opportunities in these crises that are undoubtedly there.

So it’s time to come together, taking time to remember the earth. Remember all the successful struggles for justice that came before us, and imagine all those to come. Remember that social movements are growing all over the world and realising the common struggle. Remember life. Then, organise. Find each other and help midwife the inevitable transition that brings forth from the ashes of neoliberal capitalism a system that works for the good of all life on Mother Earth. This is not just activism; this is our responsibility as human beings alive as this all unfolds.

This is why we are here.