Fighting neoliberalism and the privatisation of public services: The struggle for social commons

  1. Our public services, education, health care, public transport … all belong to our systems of social protection, systems that we need and have to promote because they are essential for our individual and collective survival. Individuals are not self-sufficient, they are interdependent.

This is an easy statement,  but the question is how we try to achieve the existence of universal quality public services for all. We know that the current neoliberal philosophy wants governments to cut public spending, and, in general, social expenditures are severely limited. Continue…

Social Justice: the struggle for commons

It is so easy to talk about social justice, yet, so difficult to achieve it!

In fact, our world today is faced with two major challenges: ecological destruction and the social question. What I want to explain very briefly in this paper, is how the concept of commons and the practice of commoning, can help to find solutions. Both problems are closely linked to each other, and are closely linked to democracy, that is the way citizens can govern and shape their world and give direction to the policies that are needed to preserve our planet and sustain the livelihoods of people.

Now, what do we mean when we speak about commons?

It is becoming a buzzword, but it is very important to know exactly what we are speaking about, so that we can avoid misunderstandings. Continue…

Post-capitalism, basic income and the end of work: a critique and an alternative

an interesting article of F.H. Pitts and A.C. Dinerstein

“This paper critiques popular academic understandings of development towards a post-capitalist,
post-work society based around the automation of production and the provision of a basic income to
those displaced by its effects. By focusing on work and its escape as the central issue at stake in the
transition to a postcapitalist society, these accounts miss how, at one end, capitalist work is
preconditioned by a historically-specific set of antagonistic social relations of constrained social
reproduction, and, at the other, by the specific social forms assumed by the results of that work in
commodity exchange and the constituted form of the nation-state.”

Reinventing the World Social Forum: How Powerful an Idea Can Be

foto F. Mestrum

foto F. Mestrum

Almost a generation ago now! It was in 2001 that the first World Social Forum (WSF) was organised in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the city of the Workers’ Party of future president Lula da Silva and the city of the participatory budget. There was hope, much hope, and a belief that ‘another world’ was possible and that we could shape it. This became the slogan of all future WSFs.

There were not that many people at this first meeting, though the fact that almost 15.000 people from all over the world gathered at short notice was a real surprise. Those who had taken the initiative, people from the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), intellectuals from Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia, such as François Houtart, people from the French monthly Le Monde Diplomatique… It was a real success and one year later they were 50.000 to make the trip to Brazil, with more than 1000 journalists! The World Social Forum was the answer to the World Economic Forum in Davos and wanted to propose an alternative to the neoliberal globalisation. Continue…