Recent articles
Issue #010 Published: 08-12-2016 // Written by: Cine.nl
Documentaire: Before the flood
Dat Leonardo di Caprio een multitalent is, dat weten we ondertussen wel. Maar dat hij de stap zou maken van drugskind in Basketball Diaries naar Messenger of Peace for de VN hadden we misschien niet allemaal voorzien. Het straatjongetje met dat knappe koppie is uitgegroeid tot een man met de uitstraling (en invloed?) van een wereldleider. Zeker na het verschijnen van zijn film / documentaire Before The Flood. In Before The Flood refereert Leo naar een drieluik-schilderij dat hij als jongetje boven zijn bed had hangen. In drie delen illustreert de Nederlandse Renaissance-schilder Jheronimus Bosch het begin en de ondergang van de wereld. The Garden of Earthly Delights, zoals het beroemde werk heet, begint in de Garden of Eden maar eindigt met een vernietigde wereld waarin alles rookt en zwart is. Een beetje zoals Mordor – een referentie die Leo overigens ook maakt als hij per helikopter een rondleiding krijgt over de olievelden van een Amerikaanse oliemaatschappij. Bosch had een vooruitziende blik zo blijkt. Of, daar moeten we bang voor zijn. We weten allemaal (bijna allemaal, afgezien van wat Amerikaanse politici) dat global warming / klimaatverandering een enorme dreiging is. Maar op de een of andere manier dringt het toch niet zo door dat we nu écht actie moeten gaan ondernemen. Dat is waar Di Caprio binnenstapt. Met concrete voorbeelden die inslaan als een bom probeert hij mensen bewust te maken van het dringende probleem: Miami dat de wegen aan het ophogen is maar dan alsnog binnen 50 jaar onder water staat, Zuid-Amerika dat in zijn geheel geëvacueerd moet gaan worden door extreme temperaturen en droogte, populaties die moeten vechten om water en ruimte, and so on. Gelukkig is Before The Flood niet enkel miserie. Als er iets is dat de mensheid wel heeft geleerd, is dat er altijd hoop is. In dit geval zijn dat de wereldwijde afspraken die gemaakt zijn tijdens de Klimaatconferentie in Parijs vorig jaar, waar ieder land beloofd heeft alles in het werk te stellen om de uitstoot van co2 te verminderen. Daarbij wordt vooral gekeken naar grootmachten als China en de VS die enorm veel uitstoten ten opzichte van andere landen. Maar ook naar de toekomst: in landen met extreme populaties als India hebben veel mensen geen stroom – wat gebeurt er als de ontwikkelingen doorzetten om die infrastructuur te verbeteren? Daarnaast zijn organisaties als NASA bezig om de wetenschappelijke bevindingen naar het grote publiek te communiceren. Want we weten al heel lang dat het een probleem is, al tientallen jaren. Maar het overbrengen van die boodschap vanuit de wetenschap blijkt een uitdaging te zijn. Het helpt ook niet dat de grote vervuilers zoals de oliemaatschappijen door middel van grote sommen geld belangrijke mensen binnen overheden ‘aan zich binden’, die dan het probleem negeren of zelfs met een stalen gezicht ontkennen. Maar zoals Obama het zei: het grote publiek is niet dom, en zal zijn stem laten horen. Iedereen zou Before The Flood moeten zien, al is het alleen maar omdat de oplossing van dit probleem vooral ook bij jezelf begint, hoe cliché dat ook mag klinken. Met dank aan www.cine.nl Visit BeforetheFlood.com to find out where it’s streaming.  
Issue #010 Published: 30-11-2016 // Written by: Georgia Walker
the ING bank and the violation of human rights
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a proposed 1,172-mile long pipeline beginning in the Bakken fields of North Dakota and transporting fracked oil to Illinois. ING, a bank that recently claimed to be ‘recognised as a world leader for corporate action on climate change,’ is one of the 17 banks directly funding the pipeline. Climate science has made it very clear that we should be investing in renewable energy rather than maximising the amounts of fossil fuels we extract and burn. Besides the catastrophic damage this would do to the environment, the construction of this pipeline constitutes a treaty crime against the Standing Rock Sioux according to the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868. This pipeline threatens sacred tribal sites, some of which have already been desecrated, as well as the quality of the water and air in multiple states. The pipeline would contaminate the drinking water of the Standing Rock Reservation and a further 18 million residents downstream.  The funding of this pipeline is not only completely at odds with ING’s branding as a climate-friendly corporation, it also supports the violation of human rights. The heavily militarised police response to unarmed, nonviolent water protectors has included attack dogs, sound-cannon trucks, heavily armed officers, mace attacks, beanbag rounds and most recently, water cannons in below freezing temperatures. This has resulted in instances of hypothermia, head trauma and cardiac arrest. ING published a press release on the 2nd of November addressing some of the concerns.  Many questions remain: 1) How is this investment ‘in line with ING’s policy’ when it so clearly goes against environmental progress and human rights? 2) Does ING know exactly how their funds are being spent and is any of the money supporting the heavily militarised DAPL security and police force? 3) Who is the ‘external independent consultant’ and why has there been no update since the beginning of November? 4) Are they sure that the project ‘complies with the law’? Construction continues even though no easement has been granted by the US Army Corps of Engineers to drill under the river until further notice. The largest bank in Norway, DNB, have already sold their assets in DAPL after receiving a petition with 120,000 signatures. ING, one of the most widely-used banks in the Netherlands, has failed in its commitment to sustainable and ethical banking. We urge all ING customers to join us at 18:00 at the ING corporate headquarters on December the 1st and collectively reject the notion of our money being used to support environmental destruction and the violation of human rights.  We urge ING to give up their financial stake in the Dakota Access Pipeline and will collectively end business with the corporation on December the 1st.  https://www.facebook.com/events/1616759701951686/ More info: https://nodaplsolidarity.org Photo: Ryan Vizzions (Redhawk)  
Issue #009 Published: 02-11-2016 // Written by: Max Dovey
Platform co-opervatism Short-term security in the on-demand economy
Last month I witnessed a chanting mob of disgruntled Deliveroo riders who had gathered outside the company’s headquarters in London to protest against an intended pay cut that would reduce their hourly wage from £7 (€ 8.30) to £3.75 (€4.45) per delivery. The demonstration was the latest eruption of employee dissent within the on-demand economy as workers respond to severe wage cuts and other challenges to their employment rights.  Platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo operate at the forefront of the recently established ‘gig economy’. As the popularity of on-demand apps increases, more and more young people are attracted by the short, flexible working arrangements offered by these platforms. Uber claims to have over 160,000 drivers globally, while the food delivery company Foodora has gone from 3 to 600 employees in the Netherlands in under a year . However, rapid expansion comes with hidden costs. Many on demand companies circumvent traditional employment rights by hiring staff as independent contractors on zero hour contracts that give employees little or no entitlement to holiday, sick cover or changes to pay. In addition, freelancers (or independent contractors) are required to possess their own insurance, complete their own taxes and encouraged to work on a fixed rate rather than an hourly or minimum wage.   By offloading the traditional maintenance costs of running a business to individual employees, on-demand business can reduce usual costs and avoid the legal accountability that accompanies long-term contracts. The Deliveroo drivers on strike in London celebrated a small success in their protests and the managers offered to postpone the intended paycut until further notice . Undoubtedly we will witness more protests like this, as the on-demand economy expands in a wider context of ongoing austerity cut backs and youth unemployment, many find the casual work offered to anyone with a smart phone short term relief from the ongoing search for full time recruitment. Do strikes and mass walk-outs like these signal the beginning of a workers’ crisis in the on-demand economy or can the rights of the worker be improved to prevent the share economy depending on an exasperated and exploited on-demand employee? One possible resolution is the reintroduction of workers’ co-operatives and common ownership in business and platform services. Platform co-operativism, a term introduced by Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider from the New School in New York, presents a practical solution for workers, business and start-ups in the digital economy.  Workers’ co-ops were introduced after the industrial revolution in an attempt to manage business more democratically and protect the rights of the worker. While some of the most successful examples of workers co-ops exist in the wholefoods sector (see Suma & Essential Trading), the concept is undergoing a renaissance among start-up businesses and digital platforms. Fairmondo, established in 2013, is a p2p marketplace similar to Ebay that aims to create a ‘fair economy’ by distributing its profits between all of its members. After crowdfunding the investment capital needed to get going, Fairmondo then established a set of rules titled co-operative 2.0 . These guidelines include only making decisions with 9/10 consensus, distributing profit evenly between its members and even publishing all their accounting online  A similar co-operative venture is the lift sharing service Lazooz which attempts to turn shared transportation like Uber into a co-operatively owned platform, while using a crypto-currency token system to reward drivers and passengers equally. Peerby, a sharing platform based in Amsterdam, has also used crowdfunding to restructure the traditional start-up model and turn all investors into equitable shareholders of the business.  Platform co-operatives present a viable alternative to on-demand capitalism but their success deeply depends on their scale and diversity. Working co-ops in the past have been known to limit participation in order to protect themselves from market expansion and this unfortunately can lead to a few privileged members preventing diverse inclusivity. Can platform co-ops now utilize the network to become more a more inclusive and democratic collective organization than the co-operatives of the past? Currently, the aim is to raise awareness about these alternatives to start up businesses and national governments in order to protect and improve the standard of work for the low-waged, on-demand worker. And some political parties seem to be listening. In August, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, put platform co-operativism at the center of his Digital Democracy Manifesto  in an attempt to re-establish trade unions in the digital economy.  The ambition to create a co-operatively owned version of the share economy is there, but I fear that without governments offering support to co-operatives they are at danger of getting wiped out in the tide of on-demand platform capitalism. If forced to compete with other apps without government subsidies, tax reliefs or other incentives, platform co-ops may be forced to market their values only to compete and offer an ethical or ‘worker conscious’ alternative. This could potentially lead to a rise in sustainable consumer choices in the on-demand app market, similar to the rise of organic produce or locally sourced food, making the platform co-op little more than an ethical alternative to the platform monopolies of Uber and Deliveroo. In this scenario, the important values of the platform co-operative (commonly owned, collectively governed) become fetishized buzzwords with little or no structural change to employment rights, worker unionization and collective organization.  In order to avoid the commodification of co-operative values regional governments should look to support the growth of platform co-ops and continue to discuss how the trade union can be updated and incorporated into crowdfunded and crowdowned enterprises. The ideas are already beginning to take hold in cities that have already been damaged by the affects of share economy businesses such as Berlin, which has a strict limit on Airbnb rentals, and Rio de Janeiro, which banned Uber all together last year . In areas such as these, where the repercussions of unregulated digital platforms have already impacted social welfare, the platform co-op may offer a promising sanctuary from the destructive expansion of on-demand capitalism.  Trebor Scholz will present Platform co-operativism at  MoneyLab #3 Failing Better  1-2 December 2016 Pakhuis de Zwijger Tickets: bit.do/moneylab3  Info: networkcultures.org/moneylab
Issue #009 Published: 28-10-2016 // Written by: Camille de Wit
The Art of Sustainability or The Art of well-living together!
How art can be a transversal link to question all aspects of the society and support a sustainable change? This column is a showcase of talented initiatives and reflections about Art and Culture supporting the well-living in a society allowing to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” - Brundtland Commission on Environment and Development, 1987. #1 - Do you know your cultural rights? Why do I want to talk about cultural rights? I believe in the richness of people coming from their experience, belief, knowledge, way of living, emotions, creativity, and strength… but how to highlight all the qualitative features of human beings? And how to measure the interaction of human richness? Several important political agreements have raised the issue of cultural rights as the Universal Declaration of Human rights, The International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from UN, The Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity from UNESCO, Faro Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society and much more. Finally in 2007, the Fribourg Declaration was elaborated to gather all cultural rights from the different political instruments. Convinced that in understanding it better, we can avoid its violation that brings tensions and conflicts in the world but also in respecting it, it becomes a factor to legitimate the sustainable development. The cultural rights are part of the human rights that are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. It’s part of the basics of our daily life but often forgotten in favour of power or individualism. Let’s try to see what ‘cultural rights’ means and how we can reclaim it! Let’s not only leave it to academicians who write conventions but let’s make it concrete for us! First of all, the definition of Culture used in the declaration is seen in a large sense. It covers “those values, beliefs, convictions, languages, knowledge and the arts, traditions, institutions and ways of life through which a person or a group expresses their humanity and the meanings that they give to their existence and to their development.” (art2. Declaration of Cultural Rights, 2007). Enhancing this, people won’t feel anymore weight of their roots and differences but it will become richness for themselves and for others. The declaration presents the rights of the people but also their responsibilities. Good to know that we all have richness but we all have the responsibility to share it with others: in building a common knowledge and in developing cultural resources collected from the everyday and also the most exceptional part of life. This is how we can be part of the society and play a role in the democracy. Sharing our cultural resource make us decide to respect the others in their difference and to co-recognize the right of human dignity.  When we talk about democracy, we often feel it unreachable, too much related to our governmental system, however the democracy means “Power to People”. Using the recognition of the cultural rights, we can rebuild a democracy that is closer to us. No need of big actions! Participating locally in the development of our own neighbourhood, sharing our cultural resources with our neighbours during a diner or being involved in a non-profit organization are already moments where we take back the power. In the sector of Art and Culture, the political mainstream is to give access to Culture or to develop the cultural consumption. But in a perspective of the cultural rights, the cultural exchange is not only one way because everybody has culture to exchange and everybody can get richer sharing with others. We can then think that participation to Culture will be more appropriate to create more engaging meetings between Art & Culture and people. Idriss Aberkane, French research engineer, purposes the concept of “Knowledge Economy”. He explains that when you exchange knowledge, you still keep your knowledge, while when you exchange a product you don’t have the product anymore. So you are getting richer, having two knowledge. If we base our economic growth in knowledge instead of raw material, then we will have an infinite growth!  Cultural rights is our immaterial heritage but also our present and our future if we find a way to make it alive! theartofsustainability.net  
Issue #009 Published: 20-10-2016 // Written by: Lorelei Heyligers
Jetlag festival ADM - Photo report
A photo report of the Jetlag festival, held at ADM on July - 15. 16. 17. Three days of risky, experimental and mad circus acts, music and pop up shows!