Who Controls the Safety Net?

2015_04_DB_Quake_01When a place is hit by a natural (or manmade) disaster, who gets out or gets taken care of and who gets left behind or has to fend for themselves? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer often has something to do with who has money.

This article by Abe Streep explores the adrenalinised mission and ethical edges of Global Rescue, a subscription service for global adventurers who can pay for access to a fast exit in case of need. The story relates intense and uncomfortable events in the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Nepal, and offers both a microcosm and a metaphor of how global capitalism structures access to resources. It also offers an interesting glimmer of humanity in concluding with how the GR operative in Kathmandu subsequently left to set-up no-cost non-profit healthcare in Africa. Read the article >>
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Posted in Babylon, Journeys, Writing
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From: Stream

No Grexit

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The long-running tragic epic of Greece’s slide towards economic ruin and social breakdown is into its latest cyclical act. Commentators from across the traditional right-left political spectrum have described the Eurogroup deal forced on the Greeks as a ‘coup’ and ‘impossible’, but somehow the seemingly inevitable Grexit has been pushed back once again.

This interview with Greece’s radical (and now out of office) finance minister gives an insightful window into the secretive power dynamics at the heart of the Eurozone and international financial projects.
Read the transcript >>

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Playgrounds of the World Unite

Dechen Phodrang,Thimphu, BhutanThe exuberant cacophony of children’s shouts and the hubbub of games playing out – the school playground is a near-global example of both universality and difference.

James Mollison began photographing children on break-time in Britain and became intrigued by the big differences he found, so took the project out internationally to create a remarkable document of cultural diversity and commonality.

Read an article about the project and see the full series here >>

 

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Zen and the Art of Photographing Protest

081013_ClimateDemo_227“Protest photography is much more than extreme street photography. Coverage of protest forms our social memory, it creates a permanent record for history, spreading the ideas behind the protest and fertilising social change.” says David Hoffman, co-founder and senior moderator of the EPUK photojournalists network.

However, he continues, “there’s something very Zen about protest photography. Caught on the fly, seen and recorded in a fraction of a second, protest photographs are truths. Not an explanation of the truth. Not a commentary or an analysis.

This article explores the importance and the effect of protest photography – and the ways in which the state and the police attempt to neutralise and manipulate images of political dissidence.

Read the article here >>

 

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Behind the Scenes in Babylon

the Gulhilde Maersk container ship arriving at Yantian Port in ChinaThe inter-connected systems of global civilisation are now so vast and complex that we, as in we of the developed and growing western world, have no real idea what goes into making our consumption-based lifestyles possible.

Tim Maughan and Unknown Fields took a journey into the ‘invisible network that keeps the world running’ and then kept going until they reached the place where the dream of technological liberation has brought a dystopian nightmare.

Click on the links above to read the articles and view slideshows, and watch the film here  >>

 

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Hold Still… – Keep Moving

Hold Still… – Keep Moving

from section 3 of the book: Breaking out of Babylon.

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Documenting for Change

china-pollution filmakerMaking documentary films in China is not an easy path. Film is subject to tight state censorship and little that is in any way critical of the status quo gets made, never mind disseminated. Recently however, environmental docs seem to be making it through the censors’ filtering system, perhaps because the authorities are starting to recognise China’s worsening pollution problems and attempting, at times, to address the issue.

Wang Jiuliang’s film Beijing Beseiged by Waste is one such example. Read more here about Jiuliang’s fight against pollution. >>

Photographer unknown
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Posted in Journeys, Movement
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From: Stream

Into the Wild

danila-tkachenko“School, work, family – once in this cycle, you are a prisoner of your own position. You should be pragmatic and strong, or become an outcast or a lunatic. How to remain yourself in the midst of this?” is the central question raised by the Russian photographer Danila Tkachenko’s work. 

Tkachenko traveled through Russia and Ukraine in search of hermits living in self-imposed exile, far away from any city or village. The photo series Escape was the result.
See the full series here >>>
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Posted in Journeys, Liberation
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How Transparent Are You?

The inimitable Arny Mindell delivering a spontaneous commentary whilst out walking.

To hear him speak about Worldwork and Deep Democracy go here. For an introduction to his body of work known as Process-Oriented Psychology, go here >>

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Becoming Aware of Privilege

primary_new-generic-police-lights-1It takes a long time for the privileged to become aware of their own privileges. For others around them it tends to be obvious what’s going on.

This incisive piece by Matt Zoller Seitz is searingly honest about the realities of being white in America (and probably most other WASP democracies), and how society is structured to maintain racially-based privilege.
Read the article >>
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From: Stream

The Disease of Being Busy

busy_5805671020_0388362847_oThe unexamined life is not worth living… for a human. But how are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human – and free – when we are so busy? – asks Omid Safi. Read article here >>>
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Photographing the Unseen

20140626-lens-weston-slide-MZDE-superJumboAfter a near-death experience, the photographer Kim Weston re-awakened a dream of being an artist. She went back her to roots, creating “Seen, Unseen”, a subtle document of an African-American family, layered with meditations on culture, photography and the sacred. Read article & watch slideshow

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Windows Onto a New Era

FinkNewEra12952842485-85.4_57The New Era windows factory in Chicago is a worker-owned cooperative. There are thousands of cooperative businesses in America and around the world, but New Era is remarkable in that it emerged, phoenix-like, from exploitative corporate ownership into an effective operation based on equal rights and consensus decision-making.

Astra Taylor chart the story of how the original company’s owners pretended to close down the factory and sack the entire workforce, only to try and take the machines to another, more profitable location. The workers, inspired by Argentinian horizontalidad factory occupations and the Basque Mondragon Co-ops, refused to leave, took over the factory and eventually managed to buy the facilities for a song and set-up New Era.

Read the full article by Astra Taylor >>

 

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The Long Walk from Eden into the World

06-exploring-roman-ruins-samaria-sebaste-670
Reportage journalist Paul Salopek is re-tracing the footsteps of humanity’s ancient ancestors, literally walking from Ethiopia in Africa, into Palestine/Israel and across the globe.
Out of Eden Walk tracks the progress of what is planned as a 7-year walking journey around the world and across the arc of time.

His latest dispatch is a fascinating meditation on the historical and contemporary complexities of the Holy Land and the Levant, cradles of agriculture, monotheism and cities – in fact civilisation as we know it. Read the article >>

Photograph from Samaria-Sebaste by John Stanmeyer. View the gallery >>
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Posted in Journeys, Roots
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The Meaning of Freedom

angela davismeaning-of-freedom-206x300Angela Davis is a veteran of the U.S. civil rights movement and a rare voice for collective movements for change in contemporary America. The Meaning of Freedom is a speech interrogating the reality of liberty in a society that runs on long-term institutionalised racism and has transformed both militarism and incarceration into profit-industries.
Read an extract here >>
Read a short introduction to her vision here >>
Read a new interview discussing race in America >>

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A Declaration of No Human Rights

Guantanamo_Cameron

It’s a sign that the sands are shifting when the Daily Mail picks up a cause, as it recently did in joining the sudden media chorus on the long-standing story of Shaker Aamer. A British citizen, Shakur has been in Guantánamo Bay for 12 years after being arrested in Afghanistan. He has never been charged by the US with any crime, and has never been brought to trial. He was cleared to leave Guantánamo in 2007 by the Bush administration and again in 2009 by the Obama administration, yet still he remains detained in the prison.

His acerbic interpretation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights is a potent postcard from the War on Terror>>>

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Does being Green mean not having kids?

climate-kids tweet“I (we) don’t have children, at least partly for ecological reasons. That decision is something I reflect upon a lot. I know I’ll feel sad about it in the future, yet news about the state of the world often makes me feel powerfully relieved that I’m not contributing in that way to the overall consumptive mess.”

Reflective blog post from @ChrisTT on the ecological context of becoming a parent, and the original essay by @PaulKingsnorth which provoked this tweet

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From Tents to Debt: Striking for Democracy

The Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan covered with tentsIn the aftermath of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011, Astra Taylor was part of a group of activists that set up Strike Debt. Intending to raise $50,000 to buy up what they considered unjust and unnecessary medical & educational debt, they ended up with $700,000 which they used to abolish millions of dollars of debt. Heather Smith interviews Astra about the campaign. The two discuss democracy, anarchism and the challenges of building coherent momentum for enduring change out of the highly diverse eruptions of Occupy and similar anti-capitalist movements.
Read the full interview here >>>
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36 Hours with the Instigator of Ukraine’s Revolution

making a digital (google map) of the district and making plans for election day

Photo-journal following Mustafa Nayem, the 33-year-old Afghan-born Ukrainian whose Facebook post in November 2013 is credited with kicking off the protests in Kyiv that led to the ousting of president Viktor Yanukovych three months later.
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The Politics of Long Fences

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What is the human experience and consequence of Europe’s growing fortress tendency?
Powerful photographic document by Sergi Cámara on the heavily-militarised zone that is the border between Morocco, Africa and Spain, Europe.
View ->>

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