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Welcome to The Rules

We’re all part of a global story. Each of us, one of seven billion characters with a part to play in a plot that tells us ‘money makes the world go round’, it’s the ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘growth is good’. It’s also story that tells us that being poor is unlucky and that the money that goes to the top of the chain will trickle down eventually.

But together we’re beginning to challenge the old story. We’re asking questions about our world and starting to connect the dots between our many oppressions – how is everything connected? Who connected it and what did they connect it for? We’re starting to uncover the truths of our one global economy; the single set of rules that govern the whole world (rules like ‘growth at all costs’); the tiny elite group of people who wield power intentionally at the global level; and the fact that the people with the most power in the global system are those who hold on to it to promote their interests.

We’ve collected together a few videos and articles to help inspire you to ask questions of our world and the way it’s set up.

Capitalism is just a story

How many of us have a sneaking suspicion that something pretty fundamental is going wrong in the world? We keep hearing about the potentially devastating consequences of climate change but we are pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every single year. We are forced into economic crisis after economic crisis and the only people who aren’t brought to their knees are those that cause it. In fact, they often just get richer and more powerful while the rest of us work harder and harder for less reward. Politicians all say the same basic thing. No one, it seems, is offering anything that is really different. The whole operating system is somehow wrong, but also somehow inevitable. Nothing can really be changed because this is just how things are.

At least, that’s what we’re told, and how it can feel. But this way of living – our system of modern capitalism – is just a story. And this story is not the only one there is. It’s not inherent within us. It was invented by human beings, and so human beings can change it.

But in order to get there, we first have to face up to some difficult truths.

Read more of our dangerous ideas about capitalism.

Part one.

Part two.

How to feel good about poverty

If we ask the BIG QUESTIONS about poverty, we can expose its root causes and get real answers about how to stop creating it.

How is poverty created?
Why is growth the only answer?
Who’s developing who?

Watch and share this short video to help get as many people asking the BIG QUESTIONS as we can.

We’ve all heard the stories told about being poor: we’re ‘born into it’, or ‘it’s just the economy’, or ‘the wealth will trickle down’, or ‘we’re just lazy/unlucky/unfortunate’. These are such powerful stories that they’re easy to believe, but they all hide the fact that poverty is created by hundreds of years of history and inequality; things like colonialism, slavery, racism and resource theft.

The United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development goals tell us another story: that things are getting better, and that if we keep doing things the way we are and growing the global economy we can end global poverty by 2030.

It’s a wonderful goal, but growth won’t deliver it. Our pursuit of economic growth means that we are already ruining the planet at such a rate that – sooner than most people can imagine – large parts of it will become uninhabitable and to get everyone in the world living like an American we’d need the resources of 4.1 earths. We also recognise that nearly all of that growth will end up in the hands of the few – even now the 85 richest people in the world have the same amount of money as the poorest three billion and 18 times more money flows out of the global south every year than trickles into it, so who’s developing who?

Keep connecting dots…

What do rising sea levels in Bangladesh, the break up of public utilities in Ghana and austerity in the UK have in common?

They’re all part of the same global story. The story of one global economy that connects various economic, political, environmental and societal crises faced by communities around the world.

By asking questions of this story – how is everything connected? Who connected it and what did they connect it for? – we start to uncover the self-evident truths of the one global economy; the single set of rules that govern the whole world (rules like ‘growth at all costs’); the tiny elite group of people who wield power intentionally at the global level; and the fact that the people with the most power in the global system are those who hold on to it to promote their interests. Why not join us in #ConnectingDots?

Read more here.

Why not join our community, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Instagram?

Recommended reading

Videos

– Century of the Self by Adam Curtis – http://vimeo.com/67977038

Book

– Columbus and Other Cannibals by Jack D. Forbes
– Declaration by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt
– Treasure Islands by Nichoas Shaxson
– Langrabbers by Fred Pearce
– The Political Mind by George Lakoff
– Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
– Voltaire’s Bastards by John Ralston Saul

All can be found at wonderful independent book shops or second hand 🙂

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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.