Read Real Utopias: Switzerland’s Housing Co-ops (tribunemag.co.uk)

As countries across Europe struggle with housing crises, Switzerland’s innovative housing co-operatives point the way towards an alternative.

Despite a lot of interest, there’s only a small amount of co-op housing in the UK. Most non-profit housing is charitable housing associations. Large housebuilders have a stranglehold on the market overall.

“the Swiss example shows how these non-state and non-capitalist actors can build quality housing at a mass scale, if they’re encouraged — and that they can create a model of housing provision that moves beyond speculation into something more democratic and innovative.”

This article points to Switzerland and Zurich in particular as examples of more active housing co-op markets. Although it doesn’t give much insight into how to get to that point from our current position in the UK.

Listened The story of Grenfell United – podcast from the Guardian

Natasha Elcock and Ed Daffarn escaped from Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. Karim Mussilhy’s uncle died in the fire. They talk about their work with Grenfell United, while the Guardian’s social affairs correspondent, Rob Booth, discusses government inaction

Two years after Grenfell, there has been little change or progress in the provision of safe social housing in the UK.

Summed up in the podcast as being down to a lethal mix of indifference, incompetence, and dicking about with Brexit.

Despite the liberatory potential of technology, of which I see free software playing a big role, there’s a very real concern of ending up with a kind of technocratic ‘vanguard party’.

You can debate the merits of vanguardism in general, but couple it with the current disproportionate skew of tech roles to white and male – which is even more pronounced in free software at present – and throw in the ‘scratch your own itch’ trope.

That’s a huge systemic problem as vanguard becomes regime.

Some things I am learning: if you’re white and male and into free software (I am), recognise that you have a very blinkered and narrow view of the world.

* Spend half the time you use learning Yet Another Technology to educate yourself about race, gender and class struggles (historical and present).

* Pipe down and listen to others when it comes to discussions about what is needed in software.

* Don’t ‘scratch your own itch’ – serve a community. If you’re white, male and technically proficient you’ve got enough privilege in the bank to pay it back building for others rather than yourself.

Listened Cruel state: the impact of austerity on disabled people from the Guardian

Frances Ryan discusses the impact that austerity has had on disabled people and Helen Davidson discusses the Hong Kong protests.

This podcast made me very angry.  The effects Tory austerity has had on disabled people in the UK.  After a lot of hard-won gains for disability rights in the 80s and 90s, the Cameron government rolled most of those gains back in the bogus pursuit of austerity.
Read We Can’t Do It Ourselves by Kris De Decker (LOW←TECH MAGAZINE)

How to live a more sustainable life? By placing responsibility squarely on the individual, attention is deflected away from the many institutions involved in structuring possible courses of action.

This is a very nice analysis of the shortcomings of behaviour change at the level of the individual.  Better to focus on systemic failings than guilt-tripping people for making a wrong choice, when it very often isn’t really a choice at all.

When the focus is on practices, the so-called “value-action gap” can no longer be interpreted as evidence of individual ethical shortcomings or individual inertia. Rather, the gap between people’s attitudes and their “behaviour” is due to systemic issues: individuals live in a society that makes many pro-environmental arrangements rather unlikely.

Read Solidarity economy: Case studies from Rojava and Jackson, Mississippi by Anca Voinea (Co-operative News)

Sacajawea Hall from Cooperation Jackson and Huriye Semdin from Rojava shared their experience during a workshop at Ways Forward.

I’ve found Rojava and Jackson very inspiring movements over the past year or so.  Grassroots and built in areas of intense struggle, they both focus strongly on equality, economic justice and environmental issues.

There’s nothing really in-depth in this particular article, but I like the fact that representatives from both movements dialled in to a workshop in Manchester, England.  Being able to so easily communicate remote can help us build international solidarity.

Read The Green New Deal must have a Zero-Waste Policy by Kali Akuno

If we are serious about ushering in a just transition of our economy, then we have to be prepared to launch a no-holds-barred debate about the need to transform all the productive relationships in our society.

More from Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson on some requirements of a Green New Deal, specifically around zero waste.  Making things last longer; local collective ownership; producer responsibility.

The program should also require the elimination of the planned obsolescence built into the life cycle of all modern consumer products from cars to cell phones, a practice that both enriches corporations and drives the need to extract more resources and expend more fossil fuels to make more products.

cooperationjackson.org/blog/greennewdealmusthaveazerowastepolicy

Read It’s Eco-Socialism or Death by Kali Akuno

The Green New Deal (GND) is now part of the national conversation. But for decades, social movements have been doing the on-the-ground work to resist fossil capitalism and envision a different future. Such grassroots social mobilization — but at a massive scale — is vital to ensuring the GND catalyzes transformative social change.

Good discussion about the nuances of a Green New Deal with Cooperation Jackson.

“We have to articulate a program that concretely addresses the class’s immediate and medium-term need for jobs and stable income around the expansion of existing “green” industries and the development of new ones, like digital fabrication or what we call community production, that will enable a comprehensive energy and consumption transition.”

cooperationjackson.org/blog/ecosocialismordeath

Read The Fourth Industrial Revolution Won’t Trickle Down, Under Capitalism by Aabid Firdausi (Socialist Economist)

Most economists suffer from misplaced optimism about the oncoming Fourth Industrial Revolution. Some reskilling here and there would suffice to spread its benefits to all workers. They ignore how capitalism invents and employs technology for profits, not people.

I first came across the idea of the third and fourth industrial revolutions (3IR and 4IR) in Jackson Rising, where the technologies of these present and upcoming revolutions were seen as potentially liberatory, if used in the right way.  The possibilities are exciting, with (amongst other things) fablabs enabling manufacture to move local, and an open web allowing information resources to be shared globally.

Unsurprisingly though, there’s a very capitalist potential outcome of 3IR and 4IR too.

Like the previous revolutions, it *could* be liberatory, or it *could* as easily reinforce existing inequalities. The historical record isn’t too great in terms of global equality and liberation.

This article makes the argument for ensuring these revolutions are for liberatory ends.

“how technology is put to use fundamentally remains a social choice and a “global network of resistance” to the way the emerging technologies are utilised “is both necessary and feasible.”

To me that’s a given really – shame the article doesn’t go into much detail on actual strategy. (Which Cooperation Jackson do in great detail.)

There’s much more to 3/4IR, but selectively quoting from the connectivity and communication parts, as they piqued my IndieWeb interest:

“While social networking provides relatively open spaces for public expression, the immense wealth that is generated by the techno-capitalists shows us that even public spaces can become a profitable business model.”

“necessitates the need for resistance against the tendencies of capitalism in general that has historically encroached upon public spaces for profit.”

Here’s to being part of a global network of resistance.