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Pls Share – Sign up fast! Invite to ‘Creative Activism and The Art of Protest – Beautiful Trouble in the UK’ – 1.2 October

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Join Us in London October 1 and 2 for ‘Creative Activism and The Art of Protest – Beautiful Trouble in the UK’. This will be an interactive dive and exploration of strategic creative cultural resistance and action, with a look at core principles, theories, stories and tactics that every activist building for a more equitable and just world would want in their toolbox! Check out www.BeautifulTrouble.org for more info. Facebook event page click here. 

The Glass Is Half Full and Beautiful Trouble are partnering to host trainings throughout the next year. If you would like to have one in your community please email dan@beautifultrouble.org

Friends Quaker Meeting House – 173-177 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BJ – Saturday October 1st – 9am to 5pm and Sunday October 2nd 9am-12.30pm – please bring food to share if you can! Thank you a million times to Turning the Tide and Greenpeace for hosting / supporting us.

Beautiful Trouble’ is a book, a web toolbox and an international network of extraordinary artist-activist trainers and creative campaigners focused on strengthening their connected social movements through sharing the tactics and techniques of game-changing creative activism.

The current political moment calls for bold leaps of imagination, new forms of organizing and a fearless blend of confrontation and celebration. Beautiful Trouble is a crash course in the emerging field of carnivalesque realpolitik, both elegant and incendiary.” — Naomi Klein, author of No Logo & The Shock Doctrine

Who can Apply –

Beautiful Trouble is welcome to anyone actively seeking artistic, daring, imaginative and creative ways to change the world for the better. Beautiful Trouble honour collective organising so ideally people would apply with a few others from their community / project they are involved in.

How to Apply – please fill in the short short questionnaire here ASAP.

Costs –

The weekend skillshare is open to everyone from all backgrounds. The venue is wheelchair accessible and is a safe space for people affected by oppression such as; sexism, racism, transphobia, ableism, classism and homophobia as well as others.

We operate on a sliding-scale.

£25 for grassroots community activists / artists / revolutionaries.

£40 for NGO / Charity activists.

If you can afford more please do as this will go on to respond to the training requests from communities tackling injustice all across the UK. If you can afford less, no worries, we have a few bursary places. Get in touch.

If possible please pay beforehand here – or if not, on the day.

Selected Outcomes

Some of the outcomes of the training include:

  • Advanced training on ways we can incorporate strategic creative actions into larger movement strategy
  • Building shared analysis around the strategic use of nonviolence resistance and ways to be effective with measurable goals and outcomes
  • Building collaboration across movements, and developing personal networks and connections to further more effective and coordinated action on local and national issues
  • Increasing street smarts and street safety for actions/activists in the District
  • Specific tools and action ideas developed for current application in local and national campaigns
  • If funds exist, we will videotape training sessions and provide these clips for on-going resource use.

Big love, dan g, Beautiful Trouble, UK www.beautifultrouble.org

Photo – Pink Bus Action 2000 – The London Lesbian avengers stopped a no 15 bus in London’s Piccadilly Circus, and painted it pink. This was to demand the repeal of homophobic Section 28, and to protest the involvement of Homophobic Millionaire Brian Souter in a Scottish campaign against the repeal.

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UPCOMING SHOW! ‘DECAIDS’ – Her Royal HIVness Celebrates Us All. August 2016

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Concept

The art and theatricality of HIV / AIDS activism captured the imagination during the 1980’s first crisis. 30 years later and HIV / AIDS still rages across the world. One of the little-known root causes of the global HIV pandemic is due to homophobic legislation introduced by the British Empire during the height of colonialism. In the 76 countries where it is homosexuality is still illegal, HIV transmissions are still on the rise as the stigma is compounded, further allowing, pharmaceutical companies which profit from the pandemic see our latest event ‘In the name of David Kato’.

‘DecAIDS’ is a theatre show for people living with HIV / HEP to share the realities of life, love and struggle, to celebrate the journey the lives of those living with HIV / AIDS and to highlight root causes of the pandemic. So often, people living with HIV and other conditions, are stigmatised in our society; treated as passive recipients of resources, or silenced and invisibilized altogether.

So in typical ACT UP LONDON style, full of cabaret, mischief and flair we aim to create all the materials for a highly creative, potentially disruptive, very meaningful action in august. The creative team exists to frame Decaids in a way for maximum cheekiness / reaction and to connect, agitate and empower diaspora LGBT / HIV groups living in the UK to animate in an accessible and inspiring way the relationship between the HIV pandemic, global homophobia and the role of the British Empire.

Decaids is a 2 part process – (1) Subversive royal HIV celebration march towards Buckingham Palace and (2) A Theatre show in a central London location.

Draft Promotional Text – DECAIDS – Her Royal HIVness Celebrates Us All.

‘One would be delighted to join one for DECAIDS in August 2016. DECAIDS will be hosted in the divine London Royal Palace Lavatory where aperitif’s of pheasant and poppers will be served. DECAIDS is a celebration of the Royal and the Common Folk living with HIV. It serves to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Her Royal HIVness (me) diagnosis’. Please do join one to celebrate that hot stud ten years ago who royally fucked me without a condom, without whom, I may never have met ordinary fine folk like oneselves. I know that in my time on the throne I have been doing bugger-all to acknowledge the global HIV pandemic that my beloved British Empire got off the ground – but now I have seen that my crown has been too tight. I will share my crown jewels for all as I am ever so pleased to announce that I will add to my royal duties the celebration of those living with HIV. Similarly, just as I write to anyone when they reach their 100th birthday I will write to those ones who have lived with HIV for 1 week, 1 year, 10 years, 20 years or indeed any significant anniversary and then welcome them ones to this royal occasion and celebrate them – one and one all.

Please, let’s all wave ones royal fists in the air and celebrate those living with HIV. Gosh! It will be spiffing!’

All Her Royal HIVness’ proceeds shall go to ACT UP LONDON (Aids Coalition To Unleash Power) and all those fighting those god-awful terrible Pharmaceutical companies.’

Related Work

DecAIDS’ is developed in the tradition of the successful ACT UP performance shows ‘Shafted?’ And ‘HIV Blind Date’ –

SHAFTED?! Teaser Video 

Shafted?! The Show – Behind the Scenes – A Celebration of ACT UP (Aids Coalition to Unleash Power)

HIV Blind Date 1 at ‘The Glory’ 

“I see “Shafted” the show as a stepping stone to breaking down barriers of stigma, and have everyone accepted as one.” Billy, Shafted?! storyteller and performer “On behalf of ACT UP New York’s alumni, we’re thrilled to see the UK acting-up again. Shafted?! reminds us of our gloriously ribald and creative roots, so keep up the fight, comrades. Until there’s a cure, ACT UP!” Peter Staley, legendary AIDS and gay rights activist.

ACT UP LONDON 2016 Newsletter 

Ladybeard Magazine HIV Blind Date 

Creative Team

We have a range of leading artists, theatre-makers and activists involved in ACT UP LONDON and beyond who will be developing the show. We will also be working with a wide range of London’s leading HIV service providers to develop and produce the show.

About ACT UP LONDON (www.actuplondon.wordpress.com)

ACT UP London is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to action to end the HIV pandemic. We are part of the global ACT UP network – see the film trailer ‘United in Anger’. ACT UP London combats this through creative campaigns – we recently led the ‘Beyond UKIP Cabaret’ including ‘HIV anti- stigma’ classes at the front of UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s pub, held a series ‘HIV Blind Date’ events, in which contestants – three people living with HIV and/or Hep C – answered questions relating to their vision for the future and organised ‘AIDStravaganza’ – welcoming in new artists’ work to animate the issues at hand. Cuts to services, rising transmission levels and the mistaken belief that HIV was resolved in the 1980s have led people to name this era – the ‘HIV Second Silence’. All details at www.actuplondon.wordpress.com and @ actuplondonfighttilltheend@gmail.com ACT UP! FIGHT BACK! FIGHT AIDS!


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – HOUSING CAMPAIGNERS TO TARGET TONIGHT’S PROPERTY AWARDS.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HOUSING CAMPAIGNERS TO TARGET TONIGHT’S PROPERTY AWARDS. 

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This Tuesday 19th April 2016 housing campaigners from across London will stage mass protests and actions at the Property Awards, the annual industry award ceremony for the developers.

Photo Opportunity: Protestors will assemble from 6pm

Campaigners from across London, alongside a number of different housing campaigns – including Kill the Housing Bill, Radical Housing Network, and Focus E15 – will descend on the Grovesnor House Hotel, on Park Lane, London, to stage a series of protests and actions during the event.

A spokesperson for the protestors said: “London is in the midst of an acute housing crisis, in which ordinary people are finding it harder and harder to afford and keep a home. At the same time the big housing developers are reporting record profits, profiting from Londoners misery. 

We are opposing the Property Awards tonight to say: ‘enough is enough’. The  business model of the big developers is directly responsible for the appalling housing crisis in London, and yet here they are here, on Park Lane celebrating sky high profits. These corrupt, morally bankrupt institutions need to be shown the door – London needs affordable, secure housing, not more luxury flats built by Berkeley, Barratt, and the like.”

The ceremony’s website says: “The Awards will celebrate and reward excellence in 19 categories to the individuals and companies who have significantly impacted the property market. The Property Awards are the UK’s leading and most prestigious annual Awards dedicated to the property industry.”

The protest will be attended by a number of estate regeneration campaigns, in light of recent revelations over developers highly lucrative role in regeneration. Leading property firms are directly influencing and profiting from regeneration policy. Savill’s, a leading property firm, submitted reports on the subject to the cabinet office, and are advising Lambeth and Southwark on regeneration strategy, picking up lucrative contracts from the Boroughs in the process. The protests also comes at a time when the Housing and Planning Bill has been the subject of extensive protests over the last months, and is facing a rocky ride through the Lords.

A spokesperson for the protestors said: “Developers are in corrupt collusion with government and councils: their dirty mitts are on everything from local regeneration schemes to the Housing Bill. They are here tonight to congratulate each other for the profits they make from pricing people out of their communities, evictions and homelessness – and we’re here to crash the party.”

Notes to Editors

  • Location: Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel, 86 Park Lane, W1K7TN London, United Kingdom
  • Event website: http://www.awards.propertyweek.co.uk/
  • The event is being attended by all the major players in the development industry
  • The protests will start at 6pm and take place for the duration of the ceremony and beyond.
  • The facebook event for the protest has around 500 people attending or interested:https://www.facebook.com/events/857370177723936/  
  • Last Year – ‘We Went to Last Night’s Property Developer Awards, a Circle-Jerk for the Gentrification Sharks Ruining London’, By JS Rafaeli http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/london-property-developer-awards-567

 

Contact

Joe Beswick

joeksbeswick@gmail.com

07873557040 

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Pls Share and RSVP – ‘Let Freedom Ring!’ In Celebration of Anne Hope – 25.4.16 – 6.30pm – 8pm – Central London

Learn from some of UK’s leading revolutionary community educators

Explore the philosophies of ‘Training for Transformation’

Meet others to radically transform our world for the greater common good

Come and celebrate Anne Hope’s life

Monday 25th April 2016 – 6.30pm – 8pm – 22 Russell Square, Rom T102, SOAS University of London, WC1H OXG (nearest station – Russell Square). Donations Welcome. Wheelchair accessible. RSVP to leftfreedomring@theglassishalffull.co.uk –Facebook page click here

Anne Hope, along with Sally Timmel, founded the world-renowned Training for Transformation (TFT) community education programme. She recently passed away leaving a huge legacy of revolution, joy and transformation for communities across the world. See ‘A remarkable history of popular education: Learning through the story of two feminist activists from South Africa’

During Anti-Apartheid, Anne was asked by Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, to work with their leadership for six months on participatory methods of Paulo Freire. Soon after the training most of the leadership was imprisoned and she was advised to go into exile to continue the work or face imprisonment. Later, Steve said that there were two people who shaped his life – a nun in 6th grade and Anne Hope.’ Tribute to Anne Hope – a woman of substance in anti-apartheid movement, Cape Times, 29th December 2015​

Training for Transformation (TfT) is ‘based on a philosophy of justice that seeks the common good.’ (Hope & Timmel, 2014) It is underpinned by the conviction that transformation is not only possible, but essential. Associated with the work of the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire and the writings of Frantz Fanon and Antonio Gramsci, TfT aims at conscientisation. Here, learning ‘to read the world’ and understand how personal troubles are connected to broader socio-political issues and people, is the beginning for action. Acting, together, to radically change conditions of oppression and exploitation, is the practice that TfT aims at.

All donations will go to the Anne Hope Legacy Fund – Sponsoring a woman for training in the Training for Transformation course. All details at www.grailprogrammes.org.za

I have become increasingly convinced that development is essentially a spiritual process. It does not depend primarily on having huge funds thrown at its feet, but on vision, daring, courage and generosity.” Anne Hope, 2007 ‘Building a convivial society: Insights from Nyerere and Freire’ at the Julius Nyerere Annual Lecture on Lifelong Learning, 2007.

Guest Speakers –

Maria Lahumatina – Maria is an activist and educator from Papua New Guinea. Maria is an independent consultant with a passion for and focus on the liberation of the Papuan people from socioeconomic oppression and environmental injustice. After participating in the Training for Transformation diploma course in 2012-13 Maria has been facilitating community transformative learning and supporting emerging community leaders. Read more in ‘Training for Transformation in practise’ edited by Anne Hope and Sally Timmel and at‘Homestay Association’ Maria’s community based organisation in Raja ampat atwww.stayrajaampat.com. Establishing Indonesia Training for Transformation has been Maria’s long term focus shared and supported by friends and colleagues from Indonesia, UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Sukant Chandan – Sukant has been active in radical anti-imperialist and grassroots activism and study for over twenty years. He was a co-founder of the CheLeila Youth Brigades which sent dozens of delegations to Palestine, Vietnam, Venezuela, Ireland and other countries, and is more recently a coordinator at the Malcolm X Movement formed in 2015. He frequently appears on global south TV such as on Iranian, Chinese and Russian channels to advocate for the rights and liberation of colonised peoples.

Andrea Cornwall – Andrea Cornwall is Head of the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex. A political anthropologist by training, she’s worked with participatory approaches to research and education for more than 20 years. She first came across Training for Transformation in Zimbabwe in the late 1980s where she used it to design and carry out a participatory research project that explored women’s indigenous reproductive knowledge and right to an informed choice of contraception. She’s drawn on Training for Transformation for inspiration many times since, in work ranging from community health mobilisation in London housing estates to press for accountability, to trainings on rights and power for NGOs and aid bureaucrats, international workshops with sexual rights activists and interactive lectures with Sussex undergraduate students.

Enda Byrne – ‘Training for Transformation’ can be described as a great river originating in a number of different springs. These sources were joined together initially in the Delta Training where Enda Byrne, a long-term community educator who, from 1973 to 1980 created programmes for 3 million people with leadership skills and brought new life to different fields: including Health, Agriculture, Literacy, Women‟s and Youth groups. Training programs were also held in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Southern Africa, and India during those years. Enda has catalysed many community empowerment programmes since then including ‘DELTA for the Balkans’ inter-ethnic reconciliation & peace-building programme in partnership with (IRC) Interreligious Council of Bosnia- Herzegovina and with Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim local faith leaders; also ‘Women Together for Peace’ in Srebrenica & Bratunac Municipalities

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The Glass Is Half Full – Performance and Protest for 2016 – Get Involved.

The Glass Is Half Full – Performance and Protest for 2016 – Get Involved.

The Glass Half Full’s social change programmes are provocative, politically charged and take pleasure in overcoming injustice through performance, popular education, movement building and a celebration of diversity.

Empowering social change needs to address both the root cause of the issue and be led by those affected by it. Rising inequality and ongoing oppressions like xenophobia, HIV-phobia and racism demands ordinary people like us to penetrate repetitive cycles of political violence.

2015 highlights included trainings and programmes which supported LGBTQI communities to challenge gentrification, presenting HIV, HIV / HEP C Blind Date  led by people with HIV+ to tell their own story, the Holocaust-memorial activism influenced ‘Beyond UKIP Cabaret’ cabaret in Nigel Farage’s boozer and the ‘R.I.P. Pride Funeral’ which chased human-rights abusing corporations and UKIP off Pride. A wealth of trainings and talks including at the amazing ‘Visthar – Gender, Diversity and Social Transformation’ and building for Paris COP21’s ‘Climate Games’ were a treat to be part of. 

2016 exciting collaborations include so far a series of trainings with the amazing Beautiful Trouble creative activism training programme here in the UK, a continuation of the ‘Counterculture happy hours’ in Central London as well as many more performance art protests including ‘Shafted? – the HIV cabaret’ aswell as LGBTQI events galore such as ‘The Queer witch of the East will never die’ – a Chariots Spell’. The Glass Is half Full growing list of resources for anyone wanting to create positive change as well as the press list are growing daily.

Please do get in touch if you would like shows, talks, press, trainings or strategic mentoring for your community justice programme on any of the following (more detail here)

1. ‘Rehearsing for the Revolution’ Performance as Protest
2. Press Training
3. Strategic Planning
4. Civil Disobedience
5. Popular Education
6. Community Self – Defence
7. Community Transformation and Empowerment
8. Organising across cultures for social justice
9. Creative Facilitation
10. Organising legal trials for social change
11. HIV Activism
12. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI) Activism

Contact dan at www.theglassishalffull.co.uk / alright@theglassishalffull.co.uk / Twitter #danglassisfull

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For Immediate Release – LGBT+ activists dump jewellery at Danish embassy to protest anti-migrant law

LGBT+ activists dump jewellery at Danish embassy to protest anti-migrant law

This morning activists from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants threw their jewellery in front of the Danish embassy in Kensington. The action protested a controversial new law, passed by the Danish parliament this week, that allows the police to search refugees and seize their cash and valuables. 

The law has sparked widespread criticism from among others the UN,  Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and leading human rights campaigners. Yesterday world famous artist Ai Weiwei cancelled an exhibition in Denmark because of Denmark’s treatment of migrants. 

Morten Thaysen from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (and Danish citizen) said: “If Denmark needs it so badly, they can have our jewellery as long as they stop stealing from refugees. Denmark is one of the richest countries in the world and there can be no doubt that this new law is not about economy, but about scapegoating migrants. 

Donna Riddington from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants said: “Just this week it was revealed that asylum seekers in the UK were forced to wear red wristbands, and now the Danish government wants to rip jewellery off refugees. We’re already horrified by the treatment of migrants across Europe, but  Denmark is stooping to a new low. Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day, have we learned nothing?” 

Contact Details

LGSMigrants@gmail.com // 07508202098 // @lgsmirgants // Flickr Photos here

Notes to Editors

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants is a queer activist group that takes up the mantle from the 1980’s Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees. The group supports migrants and refugees through fundraising activities and use creative action to disrupt the prevailing right-wing media narrative which pits LGBTQIA+ people against migrants.

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Climate Justice Trainers Organiser’s Toolkit – Bring on the Climate Games!

In advance of the upcoming Paris COP21 negotiations and the brilliant Climate Games mobilisation this December to achieve the climate justice targets this planet needs – we recently held a training in Paris with 350.org. Here is the curriculum we used in Paris, the curriculum at the parallel Belgian training, a link to ice-breakers for facilitation use, sustainable activism tools (chapter 6 here) and below are training photos from the training to compliment the existing resource pack. I hope it is useful for trainings in your community! See you in Paris. Get in contact with me on alright@theglassishalffull.co.uk if you require further training or have any questions at all. There are lots of facilitation tools in The Glass Is Half Full Resources section here too. Thank you to Emma, Isa, all at 350 and the incredible participants for making this training happen! dan X

Climate Justice Training for Trainers Agenda 1

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Climate Justice Training for Trainers Agenda 2

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Climate Justice Training for Trainers Agenda 3

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Campaign Strategising 

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The Fundamental Wheel of Human Needs

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Joanna Macy’s – Three Pillars of Social Change – see more here at ‘The Great Turning’

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Timeline up until Cop21

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Addressing Problems – Creating Solutions
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How to organise the logistics and publicise for a training

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How to organise the logistics and publicise for a training – where?

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How to organise the logistics and publicise for a training – what / how?

 

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How to organise the logistics and publicise for a training – when?

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How to organise the logistics and publicise for a training – who?

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Personal goals – fears and hopes

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Affinity Group Training

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Learnings

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Tools for Reflection – Feed – Forward

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Action Design

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The Tactic Star

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The Tactic Star

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‘Head, Heart and Hand’ approach to effective organising

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Direct Education Cycle

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Principles of Good Group Practice

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Re-Cap

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Noticings

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Action Organising A-Z

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Insights from Facilitation

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See you in Paris!

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Cornflakes are not the answer – dan glass

Over the last day there has been an immensely interesting conversation amongst many of my facebook friends about why I empathised with those who threw paint over Brick Lane’s cereal cafe. Many of my friends thought it was a poor choice of target and format for people’s anger. Thanks so much to all for the input.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 15.58.57

Before I share my thoughts I wanted to borrow from one of my heroines and a key activist and writer on the processes of gentrification – who says it so much better than I ever could. Here’s Sarah Schulman’s definitions of gentrification from the amazing book ‘Gentrification of the Mind’ “First I need to define my terms. To me, the literal experience of gentrification is a concrete replacement process. Physically it is an urban phenomena: the removal of communities of diverse classes, ethnicities, races, sexualities, languages, and points of view from the central neighbourhood of cities and their replacement by more homogenized groups. With this comes the destruction of culture and relationship and this has profound consequences for the future lives of cities… but in my case… there was also a spiritual gentrification that was affecting people who did not have rights, who were not represented, who did not have power or even their consciousness about the reality of their own condition. There was a gentrification of the mind, an internal replacement that alienated people from the concrete process of social and artistic change.”

In light of this here’s my tuppence.

Many friends asked why I think it is okay to target small and independent shops. In response – small or independent shops aren’t innately good. Small is not necessarily beautiful – it could be a small gun-selling shop, fur-coat shop or an independent shop selling sweatshop-made clothes – each business must be analysed on their contribution to their communities needs and a better world at large. Independent doesn’t necessarily mean ethical either – I mean Harrods is an independent store. I think that the fundamental reason for the existence of all businesses, whether small, large, independent or chains, should be premised upon the question ‘how do they positively contribute to the community”?

Modern day capitalism conditions us to think we can exist as hyper individualists (thanks to Maggie’s ‘no such thing as society’), that the world is our oyster and if we work hard enough we can achieve anything we want (without questioning the impacts on others). So in order to challenge this inhumane conditioning it’s important to ask – before we do anything or set up any business – who is really benefitting? Have we asked what the community needs or just presumed (the community organising process of a ‘Listening survey’ is really useful to do this)? How do my needs relate to other people’s needs? What will be the economic, ecological, racial and social impacts of my enterprise? And fundamentally, what systems of privilege are we upholding? The concept of ‘banality of evil’ is something I live by and is also useful here i.e. how can our good intentions or even blissful ignorance be complicit in evil regimes? Asking the right questions (rather than ‘Cereal Cafe’ or ‘no Cereal Cafe’) will cultivate the curiosity which is needed to ask the right questions to change ourselves and the world into a better place.

I am against all human and environmental rights violations and I stand against them all whether they are root causes (e.g. multinational corporations or the banking industry maintaining the current economic status quo) or symptoms (e.g. the Cereal Cafe). Currently the UK is the 7th richest country in the world yet the most unequal in the industrialised world. Only Portugal, the USA and Singapore do worse and the gap between rich and poor is wider now than in the times of Dickens and has the highest levels of child poverty throughout the industrialised world. Life in London and across the UK is a war on the poor. So we have to stand against inequality wherever we see it.

Gentrification is a specifically oblique form of human rights violation. It’s not as easy to distinguish which side we are on as other iconic processes of exploitation. If we had to choose a side of the South African apartheid system or whether we are for or against the Iraq War, it would be much easy to draw the battle-lines. Gentrification traps you and you often don’t even know it’s happening.

We all have places close to our heart. Brick Lane is the place for me, which is why I spoke up particularly about this action rather than others. I have a particular vendetta against people destroying the needs of my community here. Like many other holocaust surviving immigrants, my grandparents came to London with no money and lots of fear, trauma and need for community support. I’m honoured to live here and still be part of this incredibly spiritually and emotionally nourishing community. My grandparents worked in a textile factory near the Aldgate end of Brick Lane. I will always remember my Nan saying that she felt safe in Brick Lane as its incredible multi-culturalism was a safety net and she felt that she wouldn’t be targeted for her ethnic identity. 50 years ago it was the Jews who needed support and now it is the Bangladeshi community who are constantly a target for the British empire’s continuing racist and xenophobic abuse – both domestically (racist stop and search etc.) and internationally (the endless list of Islamophobic crimes at the hands of the British state). Whilst the community’s spaces for spiritual, emotional and practical support continue to be financially destroyed by austerity as well as many of my Bangladeshi friends’ businesses being shut down every day in the area – is the protection of the Cereal Cafe really our upmost concern?

If we understand gentrification to be a process whereby people, however good their intentions, can get their foot on the ladder / up the market because of the dominant current systems of power, then we must name it. If we name these systems of power to be how racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, age-ism, xenophobia and capitalism intersect and maintain a system whereby the power and controls of our society are largely held by white, wealthy, able-bodied, heterosexual, cis-gendered men with British citizenship – then we can understand how the marginalised are kept marginalised and why the Cereal Cafe is a insidious symptom of this.

Also, gentrification doesn’t happen in a vacuum. They are not isolated incidents. Just a few weeks after the Cereal Cafe came to Brick Lane I noticed that a new shop had opened a few doors down. I joked to my boyfriend that I bet the bomber jacket in this haute couture’s shop front window was priced at about £750 when you could get an identical one on the Brick Lane Saturday flea-market for a tenner. After buzzing on their door (which they unlock if they deem you to be worthy) and asking the price of the jacket I was told it was £1250. The poorest borough in London, Tower Hamlet’s, doesn’t need £1250 embroidered bomber jackets to meet their fundamental needs of food, water, housing, security and god forbid, some semblance of dignity.

Not only are these shops maintaining exploitative power structures – the normalisation of their privilege are allowing segregated processes of marketing to occur. Imagine if I was a young black Muslim boy in a hoodie? Would this haute couture shop have let me in? And who would be there to stop them? The list goes on when it comes to industries which represent dominator society – and in this instance, the Cereal Cafe. Promoting white, western, carbon-intensive, environmentally damaging value systems through internationally renowned companies (Nestle etc) which are at the forefront of human rights abuses, only adds insult to injury.

Exploitation should not just be stopped at the predictable places of power (at the banks and at 10 Downing Street) but at the everyday seemingly hidden forms of subtle abuse i.e. local shops which don’t meet the needs of people and even actively keeps them away. As people who desire to make the world a more humane, equal place – we should challenge empire, and ourselves, in all it’s forms and wherever it occurs.

The city of London at the heart of the reckless financial industry is like an encroaching iceberg thundering through the East End turfing any community who stands in it’s way to the curb. It’s a pattern that needs to be stopped, however trapped we feel. If we understand our humanity as individuals to be intimately connected to our neighbour (the foundations of a healthy community) we should take a step back and listen to what’s genuinely needed in the East End, before we presume that £2.50 bowls of cornflakes are the answer.

But anyway, I’m no expert – come to see Sarah Schulman speak on processes of gentrification when she comes to London in mid-November at the Soho Theatre (I’ll send publicity out ASAP), it would be an honour to go there and work out what we can collectively do together – we need to.

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Crowdfunding Appeal – Support incredible community justice training – Pls Support

Support incredible community justice training

Overcoming inequality through creating empowering programmes that enables the coming together of a range of communities to become equipped with tools to engage critically and become activists to transform society.

I want to learn from incredible activists to overcome a range of inequalities. I’m so honoured to have been accepted on the most incredible training-for-trainers community development programme with ‘Training for Transformation’. For 2 weeks this September Ill be learning from and with some of the world’s leading community activists pioneering creative / empowering strategies for positive social change in a range of fields – including LGBTQI HIV, Women’s, Anti-racism + agricultural movements. With whatever money you can, small or large, please support me! Im trying to raise as much money towards the travel as possible. 

How will the money be spent? – £594 on a return flight to the training centre in South Africa. Accommodation and food costs are covered by Training for Transformation

Please Donate to – Name: The Glass Is Half Full Bank: Cooperative bank (business direct) Account Number:65593280 Sort Code:089299 IBAN: GB58CPBK08929965593280

How will the supporters see the difference? – Throughout the rest of 2015 and the whole of 2016 across the UK at home I will be creating a series of trainings here along with these facilitators to transform society. We will share these tools developed from Steve Biko’s (Black Consciousness Movement) and Paulo Freire’s (Popular Education) radically different approach to adult education which helped people “to read their reality and write their own history”, and motivates to action that transforms their life situation + effectively challenge injustice.

 

‘Let Freedom Ring!’ video from the previous training –

A celebration and Tribute to Nelson Mandela and the activist in South Africa who have both inspired and worked with the oppressed in Scotland to ‘overcome’ injustice. How can we utilise popular education whilst living under capitalism to mitigate the erosion of critical consciousness. What can we do to arm ourselves to remain mindful of how our freedoms can be subverted?

Key activist history of Training for Transformation (TfT) – Website – http://www.grailprogrammes.org.za

Training for Transformation (TfT) is based on a number of approaches to change. The core of this work is the development of critical consciousness and creativity. It was developed from Paulo Freire’s radically different approach to adult education which helped people “to read their reality and write their own history”, and motivates them to action that transforms their life situation. The uniqueness of Freire’s approach challenges the traditional educational mould. The implementation of this theory is very practical with well trained teams analysing the macro and micro realities of each area, finding generative themes and developing programmes that aim to develop critical consciousness and action. TfT has nourished the belly of movements for justice all over the world. Anne Hope (co-founder of TfT along with the magnificent Sally Timmel) was a student with popular education founding father Paulo Friere and was approached by the late great Steve Biko to develop a programme in the context of anti-Apartheid. Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement was a pivotal force lifeforce in tearing down the evils of Apartheid and since then, TfT has inspired activists and communities all over the world. To mention just a few – the Centre for Human Ecology, Abahlali – the South African Shackdwellers Movement, Centre for Youth Resources Foundation Network (CRYfoNe), Mamelani, the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST).

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