“There’s A Lot We Can Do Ourselves.”

Transcribed from the 27 June 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

“Cooperatives are not just about doing good or creating change through our work externally, but also about bringing democracy and equality into the economy.”

Chuck Mertz: Imagine a world where you actually find your work to be something more than a job. Imagine, if you will, a world where a life’s work is actually fulfilling and expresses who and what you really are and believe, where the pursuit of happiness is actually happening every day. I know what you’re thinking. It’s hard to imagine. After all, this is hell.

But it’s actually happening, at least in some parts of our world. Here to tell us what steps we could take toward a happier place here on Earth: Rhiannon Colvin, who wrote the article Re-imagining the Future of Work, which is an extract from Resist: Against a Precarious Future, the third book in the Radical Futures series.

Thanks for being on This is Hell!, Rhiannon.

Rhiannon Colvin: Hello!

CM: Great to have you on the show. Rhiannon graduated two years ago, and after competing in the brutal graduate job market and researching solutions to youth unemployment in Portugal and Spain, she founded a group called AltGen, which supports 18- to 29-year-olds to set up cooperative businesses as an empowering and collaborative solution to youth unemployment.

You write, “Imagine that it’s 2025 and the world of work has changed. Today we do labor out of passion, not obligation. Nobody has a low-paid job or has to balance multiple jobs just to make rent. Work gives us meaning and direction, but it does not define who we are. The three-day working week means we have time to spend with friends and family, to contribute to our communities, and have a say in how society is run.”

That sounds fantastic. But are those things even the goal of today’s economy? And how much do you think we’ve forgotten that a functioning economy should give everyone a better quality of life?

RC: I don’t think that those are the goals of today’s economy, but they are the goals of many young people and progressive movements today. And it sounds like an unrealistic dream, but it’s something that really is possible through a number of different strategies I outline. In the UK, when people in government—or trade unions, even—talk about solutions to youth unemployment, they keep within the narrative of more and more jobs…in the same kinds of companies, in the same kind of way.

They don’t actually have any vision for what kind of future we want.Continue Reading

Another Step Toward Utopia

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Transcribed from the 13 June 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

“We don’t want to be the alternative in a generalized system of inequality and injustice. We want to be the mainstream.”

Chuck Mertz: A revolution has been happening in Greece that may overflow and create solidarity for all of us. At least that’s the hope of this movement: to have the potential to change the way we lead our everyday lives.

Live in studio, all the way from Greece, Christos Giovanopoulos, is a member of Greece’s SYRIZA party and an activist working with Solidarity For All, a network of grassroots organizations in Greece fighting against austerity. Chris is currently touring the US, speaking to different groups and raising money for Solidarity For All.Continue Reading

Learning from “Informal” Urban Innovation

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 4 July 2014 episode and printed with permission. Listen to the full interview:

“It’s not like we need to encourage bottom-up building and community building, because that’s happening without anyone asking or assisting.”

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Life and Work of Anarchist Omar Aziz

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OmarAzizOmar Aziz (fondly known by friends as Abu Kamel) was born in Damascus. He returned to Syria from exile in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the early days of the Syrian revolution. An intellectual, economist, anarchist, husband and father, at the age of 63, he committed himself to the revolutionary struggle. He worked together with local activists to collect humanitarian aid and distribute it to suburbs of Damascus that were under attack by the regime. Through his writing and activity he promoted local self-governance, horizontal organization, cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid as the means by which people could emancipate themselves from the tyranny of the state. Together with comrades, Aziz founded the first local committee in Barzeh, Damascus.The example spread across Syria and with it some of the most promising and lasting examples of non-hierarchical self organization to have emerged from the countries of the Arab Spring.

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Squatting Across the Atlantic

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The insights in Hannah Dobbz’s Nine Tenths of the Law: Property and Resistance in the United States may also be useful for property resisters elsewhere

“Simply by writing this book Dobbz has already moved the ball forward, providing the movement with an identity and a history, pointing out some of its past mistakes, and warning of potential future pitfalls.  Time to set up the next play.”

A book review by AntiDote’s Ed Sutton

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