De VS: Rijp voor de Psychiater

Ga stemmen! Gebruik je democratisch recht om de democratie te beschermen. Stem met hoofd en hart, niet met je onderbuik.

Het Trumpetgeschal van de andere kant van de Atlantische Oceaan is gebaseerd op waandenkbeelden en illusionaire vervalsingen. Bij wanen ziet iemand precies hetzelfde als alle anderen, maar verbindt er conclusies aan die niet overeen komen met de werkelijkheid.

door Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking

De waanzinnige denkt dat iedereen gek is behalve hij- of zijzelf. Het helpt niet de zot met logisch redeneren op andere gedachten te brengen. De ijlhoofdige is achterdochtig en denkt dat mensen hem of haar kwaad willen doen. De krankzinnige neemt iets waar, maar ziet het voor iets anders aan. Hij/zij lijdt aan illusionaire vervalsing, het verkeerd interpreteren van een reële waarneming. Mensen met dergelijke ernstige psychologische problemen worden doorverwezen naar een neuroloog of psychiater, natiestaten niet.

Gevaarlijk wordt het wanneer een natiestaat wordt geleid door zo iemand die in z’n eigen wereld leeft. Na een langere periode met psychotische problemen, zoals wanen en verwardheid, kan namelijk makkelijk een psychose ontstaan. De verdwaasde verliest alle contact met de werkelijkheid en paranoia doet zijn entree. Dictators als Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin en tal van andere machthebbers leden aan deze ziekte.

Alle alarmbellen moeten afgaan wanneer een natiestaat vrijwillig het hoofd in de strop steekt, zoals in Hitler-Duitsland gebeurde en we nu zien in Trump-Amerika. Met de verkiezingen in aantocht in Frankrijk, Duitsland en Nederland en Le Pen, Petry en Wilders hoog in de peilingen, is het aan ons allen om de democratie te beschermen en ons niet te laten leiden door waandenkbeelden of puberaal tegen stemmen.

We zijn bang voor terroristische aanslagen, voor werkloosheid, voor armoede, voor de islam, voor alles wat vreemd is, of vreemd doet. We voelen ons belogen en bestolen door de ‘elite’, die we als eerste afstraffen door Niet of Tegen te stemmen.

Dolgedraaide figuren zoals Le Pen, Wilders en Trump spelen daar handig op in: ze sluiten grenzen, bouwen muren, elimineren tegenstanders, muilkorven de pers en doen valse beloften. Donald Trump beknot de Amerikanen zelfs openlijk en vol trots. Hij discrimineert schaamteloos. Dagelijks tekent hij decreten die de vrijheid van iedere burger aantasten. Diezelfde burger heeft afgelopen november massaal en democratisch gekozen voor deze dictatuur van het financieel kapitaal.

Het tegenwicht zou moeten komen van Europa, dat nog kort geleden les heeft gehad van meedogenloze slagers als Adolf Hitler (Duitsland 1934-1945), Francisco Franco (Spanje, 1936-1975), Benito Mussolini (Italië, 1926-1943) en Joseph Stalin (USSR, 1924-1953)[1]. Wij hebben ondervonden waar irreële angst toe leidt.

De feiten spreken de populisten tegen:

De economie van de Europese Unie is, met een bruto binnenlands product van 14.693 miljard euro in 2015, groter dan die van de VS.

De EU is goed voor zo’n 20% van de wereldhandel, dus van alle in- en uitvoer wereldwijd.

Ongeveer 62% van de totale EU-handel is handel tussen EU-landen onderling, hetgeen van de EU een relatief gesloten economie maakt, waarvoor andere economische wetten gelden dan voor een relatief open economie.

Zo leidt een economische impuls – bijvoorbeeld in de vorm van investeringen in infrastructuur, zorg, onderzoek, onderwijs en cultuur – steevast tot extra inkomen, meer binnenlandse vraag, productie en werkgelegenheid in het ‘binnenland’.

Dat geeft de EU veel meer mogelijkheden om een eigen beleid vorm te geven, dat – in tegenstelling tot de VS van Trump – wél de vruchten plukt van migratie (extra handen en tanden) diversiteit, empathie, vrede en geluk.

We hebben alle mogelijkheden voorhanden om een samenleving te creëren die het niet moet hebben van hebzucht en financieel kapitaal, maar die waarde toevoegt.

Door te investeren in fysiek-, natuurlijk-, menselijk- en sociaal kapitaal. Kortom: instituties die een verzorgingsstaat en een rechtstaat schragen en die niet omvallen bij een beetje economische of politieke tegenwind.

Dus: ga stemmen! Gebruik je democratisch recht om de democratie te beschermen. Stem met hoofd en hart, niet met je onderbuik.

nonfiXe, 01.02.2017

[1] Zie: http://www.alletop10lijstjes.nl/top-10-meedogenloze-dictators/

 

Progressief Alternatief: Allemaal Winnen

Sterker nog, in Den Bosch worden de voormalige sans papiers als geslaagde migranten gepresenteerd bij iedere gelegenheid die een ‘best practise’ kan gebruiken. Daar zijn ze dus goed genoeg voor, de voormalige sans papiers. Ook, of juist, als minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, partijgenoot, op een zaterdag voorbij komt.

Pff, een week is vrij heftig als je een zoon uit de handen van de Marechaussee haalt, terwijl hij zonder papieren in Nederland is en je kort daarna een praatje moet houden over migranten, waarna je met niet-langer sans papiers eerst Bert Koenders ontmoet en daarna een terrasje pikt.

Snap je het nog? Die zoon is geen biologische zoon, maar woont al wel zo’n 9 jaar in je huis. Terwijl de andere kinderen naar de uni gingen, banen kregen en huizen kochten, mocht hij niet mee doen.

De sans papiers die nu wel mee mogen doen bij Boschveld, zijn mensen die tien tot zelfs achttien jaar geen verblijfsvergunning kregen. Nu zijn ze Nederlander en Vlaming. Iemand die de ambitie heeft om te slagen, die hou je niet buiten. Sterker nog, in Den Bosch worden de voormalige sans papiers als geslaagde migranten gepresenteerd bij iedere gelegenheid die een ‘best practise’ kan gebruiken. Daar zijn ze dus goed genoeg voor, de voormalige sans papiers.

Lees ‘The Will to Succeed’ waarom dat zo is.

Maar goed de minister van Buitenlandse Zaken komt als partijlid naar Den Bosch en er moet iets gebeuren op zaterdag 21 mei 2016.

Bert Koenders, minister BuZa, bij de Coppernickel in Den BoschHij deed het goed, Koenders, hij sprak met iedereen, toonde empathie en zocht naar wat hem en zijn gesprekspartner bond. Plus één voor persoonlijk contact.

Hij deed het shit, Koenders, want hij deed niet meer dan het huidige beleid verdedigen. Soort van paarse krokodil: ‘Ik kan er ook niets aan doen. Zo werkt het nu eenmaal.’

Maar wij waren hem welgezind. Alsof wij voor hem werken in plaats van hij voor ons. En we gaven hem een uitweg. In de vorm van een soort pamflet. Een idee, nog niet uitgewerkt en toch ook weer wel, gezien de vele initiatieven die er momenteel zijn. Hij heeft nog niet gereageerd.

Hier staat het:

Migratie als oplossing

  1. Migranten kosten het ontvangende land niets, leveren wel op. OECD 2014[1]: ‘Migrants contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits.’ Bovendien hebben zij de zogenoemde Will to Succeed[2]. Je laat niet alles en iedereen die je kent achter om te mislukken.
  2. Open grenzen & vrij verkeer. Migranten zijn goed voor het land van bestemming én voor het land van herkomst[3]. Economisch & sociaal. Een diverse samenleving waar iedereen toegang heeft tot burgerschap en tot mogelijkheden om zijn streven naar geluk te vervullen, is een veilige en welvarende samenleving;
  3. De bestedingsimpuls die voortvloeit uit de komst van migranten gebruiken om de productiestructuren te reorganiseren en resetten. Kleinschalig, van onderen af;
  4. Investeren in onderwijs en goede, gemotiveerde leerkrachten die verbinden. Tevens een systeem opzetten waarbij eerder verworven competenties (& buitenlandse diploma’s) snel toegang tot burgerschap en de arbeidsmarkt verschaffen. Iedereen doet mee. Iedereen voegt waarde toe. Het aantal vrijwilligers/stagiaires terugdringen ten faveure van betaalde arbeid. Het is volstrekt immoreel en vernederend om een Marokkaanse man geen betaalde arbeid te verschaffen, maar wel te gebruiken als ‘vrijwillig’ tolk en begeleider van nieuwkomers voor een organisatie die wordt gefinancierd met overheidsgelden;
  5. Uitkeringen op Europees niveau, zoals voorgesteld door denktank Breugel in het rapport ‘Benefits & Drawbacks of European Unemployment Insurance’, waardoor de lasten verdeeld worden over de lidstaten van de EU en solidariteit wordt bevorderd;
  6. Uit eerder genoemde rapport van de OECD[4]: […] ‘immigrants are filling labour needs by taking up jobs regarded by domestic workers as unattractive or lacking career prospects.’ Dit naast en gecombineerd met de alom bekende vergrijzing van Noordwest Europa. Bijvoorbeeld in sectoren als de zorg, transport, bouw en ict. &: ‘Most immigrants, after all, do not come for social benefits, but to find work and to improve their lives and those of their families. Efforts to better integrate immigrants should thus be seen as an investment rather than a cost.’ Met andere woorden, mensen komen ons helpen, laten we daar goed op reageren: welkom!
  7. Gebruik een ontwikkelingsmodel op de menselijke maat voor alle oude en nieuwe burgers. Een voorbeeld is de Human Scale Development door de Chileense econoom Manfred Max-Neef[5], of the Capability Approach die Amartya Sen[6] ontwikkelde: ‘Living the life one has reason to value.’
  8. Bovenstaand sluit aan bij het Brabants Alternatief, voorgesteld aan de Provincie op 28 april 2016. Het Brabants Alternatief is een mogelijke praktische uitwerking van bovenstaande theorie en van het rapport Brabant Advies ‘Uit verre landen’ door Provinciale Raad Gezondheid, Provinciale Omgevingscommissie, Sociaal-Economische Raad Brabant.

Nader uit te werken – deels al gedaan – te bespreken en door te ontwikkelen om tot een gelijke, evenwichtige samenleving te komen waar allen deel van uitmaken en waar allen kunnen winnen, vergeleken bij waar zij nu staan[7]. Dus, voel je vrij om mee te denken & doen.

Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking

nonfiXe, The Power To Differ

[1] Migration Policy Debates May 2014, ‘Is migration good for the economy?’ OECD

[2] Term van J.K. Galbraith, adviseur van J.F. Kennedy en U.S. ambassadeur in India. The Nature of Mass Poverty, 1979

[3] Migration Policy Debates May 2014, ‘Is migration good for the economy?’ OECD & multiple other sources e.g. ILO worldreport 2016, World Employment Social Outlook: […] ‘migration is an important mechanism for balancing labour market supply and demand across countries. The recent surge of refugees into Northern, Southern and Western Europe has led to the need to facilitate the labour market entry of a large number of individuals as quickly and effectively as possible. In the long term, the influx of migrants will help to counter skills shortages in certain areas and mitigate the risks associated with secular stagnation.’ P.4 J.K. Galbraith, The Nature of Mass Poverty, 1979.

The total amount of migrant remittances estimated in 2014: USD 583 billion. Of which USD 436 billion was sent to so-called developing countries. (IOM) Compared: Development aid totalled USD 131.6 billion in 2015 (OECD)

[4] Migration Policy Debates May 2014, ‘Is migration good for the economy?’ OECD

[5] Human Scale Development, Manfred Max-Neef, free pdf. Barefoot Economics / Economics unmasked co-author Philip B. Smith

[6] Amartya Sen, Development as freedom / The idea of justice / Mismeasuring our lives, co-authors, Joseph E. Stiglitz & Jean-Paul Fitoussi

[7] JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society, Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking, 2014 free pdf

The Will to Succeed

Why migration benefits the country of origin as well as the country of destination. It is utterly unwise to keep migrants out. Furthermore it is a human right to ask for help in another country. This speech was delivered at Tilburg University on May 17, 2016 by Caro Sicking. Occasion: STAI, I am Local

studenten w.o. Loïs & Geta, MariLou & Carla STAI 170516We’ve made a mess.

Devastating wars, extreme poverty, more slaves than ever before, violence, resource depletion and environmental catastrophes rage the globe. This is our species doing.

Despite all darkness, there are some shining stars. You are among them. I see and hear many individuals taking action for change and connecting, sharing knowledge and spreading ideas. I hope today I can contribute to your ambitions for a better world. I will tell you about what I know and about some of my sources of inspiration.

Starting the eighties last century, Manfred Max-Neef, economist from Chile, felt depressed over the state his country was in. Deprivation on all terrains; political, social, ecological, economical. Max-Neef saw no solution in neo-liberal ideas, such as trickledown economics. Trickledown economics comes down to stimulate growth by enriching the rich and empowering the powerful, than the accumulation of wealth in some sort of magical way trickles down to the poor, which of course does not happen.

He was looking for a profound development model to benefit the people and nature. He came up with fundamental human needs.

Four existential needs: Being, Having, Doing and Interacting.

Nine axiological – that is value related – needs:

  • subsistence
  • protection
  • affection
  • understanding
  • participation
  • leisure / idleness
  • creation
  • identity
  • freedom

Today we take the liberty to play with a part of the model and confine to the nine value related needs, something Max-Neef might not agree to, but we are not in an economics class and he is in Chile. We talk about how to come close to each other.

The fundamental human needs are interrelated and interactive, except for subsistence, which is merely staying alive.

When there are needs, satisfiers are required. Max-Neef qualifies food and shelter not as needs, but as satisfiers for subsistence. A mother breastfeeding her baby is fulfilling multiple needs at the same time: subsistence, protection and affection, maybe even identity and leisure as well.

And this is the interesting thing for our discourse today: the needs are the same throughout history and in all cultures. What changes is the way the needs are satisfied.

If we look at each other with the fundamental human needs in mind, we might come closer to each other.

Please keep the fundamental needs in mind and allow me to tell you how I got close.

Back in 1996, one still read newspapers. So was I that one morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee. All of a sudden I got blown in the face by this line: ‘The woman was thrown out on the street by immigration police’.

National authorities? Putting people on the street? In a country as rich and tolerant as the Netherlands? Maybe I was naïve, but it had never before occurred to me that such a thing was possible here. It made me think of my own responsibility as a human, as a citizen. Am I going to allow this? Just turn my head and go on with life as usual? That would make me an accomplice of a thoroughly immoral act performed in the name of democracy.

The next day I visited a shelter for irregular migrated women and children in the city I lived, Den Bosch. Since then I have been working with sans papers, sheltering people in our own home and writing about it. Since then I got close. And I have met very valuable and dear friends, who all have one characteristic in common: the will to succeed. I’ll come back to that later.

The women and children, some eighty in total, in the shelter in Den Bosch were all denied asylum. They were undocumented, irregular migrants, living in a country that did not accept their request for help. They were liars, economic refugees, profiteers.

They came from all over the world, except for the rich countries. Some fled gender violence, such as female genital mutilation. – At that time not a reason to get help, luckily this has changed. Some had run away from police abuse in the country of origin. Some had been lured into travelling to Europe for a job by human traffickers. The job invariably came along with a pay-back contract. These girls owed their so-called travel agents up to $60.000. The job invariably had not been the type of activity that was promised, like childcare or studying, but it was forced prostitution. The women had to lay down with multiple men in filthy hotels or dark brothels for fl. 25,- with a condom or if the guy preferred to have sex without protection: fl. 50,-.

Looking at the fundamental human needs of Max-Neef one can easily conclude that except for the first one, staying alive, no need was fulfilled.

But what happened… without knowing Max-Neefs’ theory the women in the shelter of VAST in ‘s-Hertogenbosch satisfied each others’ needs.

How it worked:

Although the shelter was housing people who had no legal staying permission, the local authorities tolerated it. They were kind of relieved these women and children did not roam the cities’ streets as homeless. Sometimes even the police asked for our assistance.

They called upon us after they found a fourteen year old Nigerian girl while raiding a brothel. The girl refused to speak. Maybe she’d speak to me? Maybe I could convince her to report on her traffickers?

No, I thought, she is never going to tell me her story while in a police cell. She’ll think I am one of them, being white and Dutch. She will not trust me at first sight.

And she will be much too afraid of her traffickers who might have used voodoo to seal the contract. They often used voodoo on African girls. A ceremony performed by a priest is a powerful tool. It is a kind of remote control, for the girl knows that if she should break the contract hell awaits her.

Your plan is not going to work, I told the police officer. But I have a proposal. Let me enter the police station with a Nigerian friend. Promise that you will not ask our ID’s, nor any other questions, and, promise that we will walk out free after visiting the girl in the cell.

He agreed. I asked Hope (not her real name) along. Hope had undergone the same abuse as the girl in the cell. A customer helped her escape and brought her to an asylum application centre. Needless to say, Hope had no papers. Furthermore she lied about her country of origin. She said she came from Sierra Leone, which was in a devastating civil war at the time. The lie was easily detected. Hope was rejected asylum and put out on the streets again, carrying a letter in Dutch that said she had to leave the country within 24 hours. A volunteer worker of VVN took pity on her and brought her to the shelter in Den Bosch. Now Hope was considering to report on the traffickers, but had not decided yet.

The decision to report is much harder than you might think. Trafficked persons put themselves at risk by doing so without any guarantee of success. Should the authorities be able to track down the perpetuators and convict them, the victim has to return to her country of origin. Facing a judgemental community.

Should the bad guys not be found, her situation is worse. She’d be sent home as well. And the traffickers will seek to punish her for betrayal, for breaking the contract. I know of a Nigerian girl who was sent back, recaptured by the traffickers and again put to work in bondage in the prostitution. You can imagine that escaping a second time requires much more of a person.

But Hope was a strong woman with a bright empathic character and optimistic view on life. She was willing and able to come along to talk to the girl at the police station. We’ll call her Yessica.

We entered the small police cell and Hope started to talk softly to Yessica. Finally Yessica agreed to come with us. The police too thought this was the best option. For they couldn’t legally keep Yessica in the cell much longer and they knew she was at great risk.

Yessica came with us and guess what happened. The first thing the other ladies did, was make her feel at home. They gave her a bath and clean clothes. They cooked her a Nigerian dish. They lovingly braided her hair.

In other words they satisfied the fundamental needs: subsistence, protection, affection and identity.

This happened every time a new woman came to the shelter. The other girls took care.

And mind you, with very little means. It was a daily struggle to feed everybody.

The following week Yessica was introduced to the other residents of the shelter. She was shown the way to the supermarket and city center, but always in the company of others, for her protection. Plus one for the needs participation and understanding as well.

She started to relax, learned how to use a sewing machine. Leisure and creation entered.

After a while it was my job to take her out for coffee and small talk. I’d ask her what was the strangest thing she’d seen when she first entered the country. She’d say ‘an escalator’ or a drawbridge, a bridge that opens.

We’d go to second hand shops for clothes. Slowly Yessica started to trust me. After some weeks she told her story. How she travelled, what happened, where she worked et cetera. Sometimes she just cried. Sometimes she did not remember things. Sometimes she gave valuable information to set up a case for an asylum request. I wrote it all down and looked for evidence.

This is how it went most of the time. There was not a standard method or procedure. The women took care of each other’s fundamental needs in a natural way and the organisation provided for the things they could not access themselves.

After the story was written, we spoke to a lawyer about starting or re-opening some kind of procedure to obtain a legal stay. But the woman involved was in charge. She decided what, when and how. The first signs of freedom.

The will to succeed

We owe the term to John Kenneth Galbraith,  advisor to president Kennedy and US Ambassador to India. Already in the 1960’s Galbraith stated that migration benefits the country of origin as well as the country of destination. The migrant is the one who deconstructs. She or he decides not to accommodate and is many times even prepared to risk his or her life for a better future.

A characteristic most migrants share is: The Will to Succeed.

You do not leave everything and everybody you know behind – for an uncertain future – to fail.

Those who succeed, share their success with those who stayed behind. They perform as rolemodel. More often than not, migrants send money, ideas and goods back to their families and former communities.

This money, for instance, goes straight to where it has to go: to a mother that needs medical care, to a brother or sister for education et cetera. It does not fall into the pockets of cleptomanic regimes and their bunch.

The will to succeed benefits the country of destination as well. Migrants tend to contribute to the receiving society in many ways.

The people I’ve met, have proven this statement. Yessica is now married with children in Italy. Hope has a job in geriatric care, studies and provides for her three kids. Other women started a cleaning company or opened a restaurant. They offer employment. For most of them it took ten years of their lives to get where they are now.

One girl from Azerbaijan who lived in the shadows for 18 years, completed a MBO study of 4 years in just one. Then she took up HBO. ‘I have no time to lose,’ she explained. She is 25 now.

The access to society can and must speed up. For it is not the migrant who needs this amount of time to build up a live of productive wellbeing. It is society that prevents people from entering.

High fences and military will not stop those who are determined to change their and their children’s lives.

Apart from the fact that force will not stop them, but costs valuable lives – and we’ve seen that happen multiple times!. And aside from how you might feel about the moral aspect of closing borders and excluding people, it is very unwise to keep migrants out.

I quote JK Galbraith: ‘Migration is the oldest action against poverty. It selects those who most want help. It is good for the country to which they go; it helps break the equilibrium of poverty in the country from which they come. What is the perversity in the human soul that causes people so to resist so obvious a good?’

Access – How?

Access is important, not only for the women and children in the shelter in Den Bosch, not only for the millions of displaced persons, refugees and other national or international migrants, but also for the migrant receiving communities.

Doug Saunders wrote about this. He researched arrival cities worldwide. An arrival city is the growing community of migrants who set themselves up at the outskirt of a metropolis such as the favelas of Rio or the shanty towns of Mumbai. They struggle to reform their lives and try to integrate themselves socially and economically. These migrants want to build communities and strive to become middle class. It is all about upward mobility. Unlike most think, the slums can become fertile ground and stimulate local, national, even international economies.

This is not by bulldozing them down or excluding the residents. Such acts will lead to the opposite: a violent unsafe place where crime, drugs and radicalization flourish.

Saunders: ‘If an impediment can be removed, if the state can provide the basic fruits of the city, than an arrival city will take care of itself. Its’ residents know what to do. They have been trying to do it for years.’

Saunders talks about access. Access to citizenship and access to opportunity to fulfil one’s aspirations, to be able to live the life one has reason to value. I think this is what we need to come close: access while bearing the fundamental human needs in mind. The women in the shelter in Den Bosch showed us the way.

Caro Sicking, May 17, 2016

speech at: I am Local – meeting UvT organised by STAI, May 17 2016.

Other speakers: Mohammed Elgizoly Adam and Angélo Schuurmans

Satisfiers for ‘Understanding’:

  • The women & children of Stichting Vast, Den Bosch
  • M. Max-Neef: Human Scale Development – free pdf
  • J.K. Galbraith: The Nature of Mass Poverty
  • D. Saunders: Arrival City
  • A. Sen: Development as Freedom
  • F. van Empel & C. Sicking: JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society – free pdf  info @ nonfixe.nl or printed version

Trailer JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society

NonfiXe, May 22 2017

 

 

Needed: Radical Change for Peace!

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Syrian fighter defects to Qaeda-linked group Source: Aljazeera

Humanity is in a battle against barbarism. 

nonfiXe looks ahead.

After humanity has won – and it will win, humanity always wins as long as people are involved – the global community will have one chance to seize the moment and create a better world. A world where all are welcome, included, equal and participating, no matter where one is born.

Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking for nonfiXe

A Joint Effort Society [1], as we like to call it, is based on peace, equality and participation. To prevent barbarism from taking over, Eleanor Roosevelt and others wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [2] in 1948. We installed courts to judge crimes against humanity. Robert Schuman and Jean Monet brought their idea of a united Europe to the world[3]. One of the main concepts underpinning the European Union is, as in the French national slogan: brotherhood. The concept Brotherhood bridges differences between people leaving room for variation.
‘The European Union is a good example of cooperation rooted in a simple insight: countries are better off when they work together than when at war with each other. Large areas of Europe previously have been brought under one banner by empires built on force, such as the Roman Empire and Nazi Germany. Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Bismarck and Hitler were Lords of War, not of Consultation. The result: destruction.’[4] The EU has proven until today – although there have been many disagreements – that it is a machine for Peace. Such has been the case for more then sixty years.

Looking at it from this perspective, Kurdistan can become a strong symbol of peace, right at the heart of the Middle East. What if, instead of the romantic notion of an independent state, turning back the pages of history 2600 years to days of the Median Empire – ‘When things were good for the Kurds’ – what if the Kurdish people started a peace offensive never seen before in that part of the world. They connect Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Armenia. They are looked upon as prospect friends by Israël. They can bridge adversaries and can do so in a peaceful manner, by trade, by improving economic conditions and by rebuilding society. The same way Germany and France were reconciled in the ECSC after WWII.

Many will react to such an idea as crazy. But, try to imagine what is possible. Search for opportunities. There have been more crazy ideas that changed the world for the better.

Kurdish line dancers at the Komalah meeting, Rotterdam, NL, 02.14.15
Kurdish line dancers at the Komalah meeting, Rotterdam, NL, 02.14.15

Kurdish communists
Last Saturday, Valentines’ day, we attended a meeting of the Communist Komalah party of Kurdistan in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It was the celebration of the 38th anniversary, somebody told us. The square room was filled with tables that had bananas, tangerines and baklava on them. Red drapes and portraits of Marx and Engels hung at the walls. Men and women, children, were listening to speeches we didn’t understand a word of, lacking the Kurdish tongue as we do. We were there in the company of a friend, a former member of this party who had to flee his home country some twenty years ago. Our friend is no longer a communist. He came to greet his old companion, one of the present leaders of Komalah, Hassan Rahman Panah. They hadn’t seen each other these twenty years our friend lived in exile.

The atmosphere was friendly, although some peshmerga were present wearing uniforms. After the speeches there was music. The community rose to their feet and performed traditional line-dances with clicking cloth and waving shawls. It all looked quite innocent and somewhat out-dated.

The empire strikes back
That is when we saw them. A group of bikers, some covered with tattoos, was standing at the entrance. They wore black sleeveless jackets. The back pictured a skull and white letters saying: Median Empire, Germany[5].

Median Empire, Germany
Median Empire, Germany

Our first association was with extreme right motor clubs.‘Who are they? What are they doing here?’ As it turned out the majority of these young men were second generation Kurds. They were the children of former communists and peshmerga who fled the country after the Khomeiny regime hit hard on them, killing 3000 people. In their early childhood Papa and Mama both carried around a gun or an automatic weapon in one hand, a radio in the other, as to follow the enemies’ movements. Brought up in a militant dissident environment they followed their parents’ footsteps in the struggle for an independent Kurdistan. When ISIL attacked Kurdish towns, of which Kobani may be the best known, and killed women and children, destructed homes and schools, the bikers here present went to the mother country to defend the innocent. They were heroes to the men and women in the room. Still we felt a chill going down the spine.

Weapons everywhere
Looking at the map of Northern Iraq you can find several compounds of Iranian dissidents, like the small Komalah party. Saddam Hussein gave them refuge against the Ayatollahs, who were also his enemies. They are set up in camps with training facilities and weapons to defend themselves. Saddam has gone, but Iran is still in the ban of the Mullahs. Next to this in the same region ISIL has grown fast into the worlds’ most cruel terrorist group.
All parties attract youngsters to fight for some ideology that claims to be The Truth. Everybody is armed. The world’s gone berserk.

21 Egyptians beheaded
One day after the meeting of the Kurdish communist party, on Sunday February 15 2015, ISIL released a video showing 21 men in orange jumpsuits walking a death row on a beach in Libya. They were led by an equal number of black masked terrorists. The men in orange had to kneel, while one of the terrorists, dressed different from the others, addressed the camera in North American-accented English. ‘All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together,’ he stated. ‘The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood.’ The prisoners – all Egyptian but one – were forced to lie face down. Twenty-one knives, at the look of it not even sharp knives, pointed at the throats of the innocent. No one uttered a word. There must have been some sort of a sign. All twenty-one prisoners were beheaded simultaneously. The last expression of angst, courage or resignation, froze on their faces. The killers put the heads of the men on the shoulders of their lifeless body. Then the jihadist speaker pointed his knife northward and said: ‘We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.’ The sea coloured red, mourning these innocent victims of hatred.

Lone Wolf in Copenhagen
In the meantime, in north-west Copenhagen, among the quiet, graffiti-tagged streets of red-brick blocks and low-rise social housing bordering the multi-ethnic Nørrebro district[6], the police continued to cordon off roads and searched a flat near the spot where officers killed a twenty-two year old believed to be behind Denmark’s bloodiest attacks in over a decade. Two people were killed and several injured at a cultural centre and synagogue in an outrage that has left the whole country in fear and mourning.

Franchisers in death
Up to now ISIL was characterized by keeping its’ atrocious actions inside the Iraqi and Syrian borders. Their alleged aim is to found the fourth Caliphate. The ones who suffered the most are people from the Muslim community. Now ISIL stepped up to Libya and threatened to march to Rome. It affiliated with Al Qaeda by revenging the death of Osama Bin Laden. But weren’t these groups at odds with each other? Both claiming The Truth? Are Allah’s franchisers in death cuddling up to each other? Next to ISIL different terrorist groups fighting a religious war that holds nothing religious nor human are: Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al Shabaab (Somalia), Al Qaeda Afghanistan & Pakistan, Jamaah Islamiyah (Indonesia).

Apart from these organized death squads there are the so-called lone wolfs. They are inspired by the terrorists and come up with their own attacks on innocent victims, such as is presumed to have been the case in Denmark, and as we saw in the Charlie Hebdo assault. Even Europe is no longer a safe haven. What the hell is going on?

Gee! You exist ?!?
Severe inequality, exclusion and discrimination led to uprisings in French suburbs during the early eighties. Second generation migrants claimed their rights as French citizens. All of a sudden France realized it wasn’t a homogeneous society anymore[7]. There were these kids, grown up in Marianne’s lap, who felt outsiders, were jobless and hopeless. One of the voices was a musical one, the group Carte de Séjour with lead singer Rachid Taha was among the Rock dissidents. They sang about their existence between two cultures, belonging to neither.

Unknown
Carte de Séjour lead singer Rachid Taha, courtesy Youtube

Not only in France, in the whole of Europe, the population had changed, seemingly at a blink. This also led to the rise of extreme rightwing political parties, who fed the fear. Now they are proven right? Or, have the Europeans created their own monster by excluding large parts of the population from equal participation in society?

Us against Them
The current generation of politicians is polarizing and adding up the fear. The Danish prime minister, Mrs. Helle Thorning-Schmidt acknowledged ‘We are not in the middle of a battle between Islam and the west’, but the battle is against those with a ‘dark ideology’[8]. Immediately after the attack she said the Jewish community is a strong part of Denmark, and that ‘we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community in our country’[9] . This was probably an answer to the call of Benjamin Netanyahu from Israël, who invited Jews from all over the world to come ‘home’, that is, migrate to the state of Israël, for protection, thus fuelling polarization.

It is about us against them. It is all about exclusion leaving room for extremist ideologies of both sides to lure the excluded, the adventurous and those attracted by a false romantic notion of war and heroism. How do you think the Muslim community of Denmark feels right now? In many places innocent Muslims are blamed for the atrocities of extremists. It is generally expected of them to apologize for attacks they have nothing to do with. They are pressed to disassociate themselves from shoot-outs and murder. What are we thinking? How can one disassociate one-self from something that one was never associated with? Why do we believe ordinary men and women, our neighbours and colleagues, with an Islamic background have anything whatsoever to do with terrorist attacks? Because they themselves, or their parents or grandparents have been born in an Arab country? Because they are or look like worshippers of Allah? This is a severe blow back on freedom of religion as well as a jump shot for discrimination: judging a person by the looks.

Then what should we do?
We need a radical change for peace! And we have the proof it is possible. Peace was the goal of the EU from the beginning. Sworn enemies have united through mutual interests, starting with economic interests, and none of the EU members has fought one of the others since membership.
Today, humanity has to stop barbarians like ISIL. We can only do this together by standing next to each other, trusting on humanity and searching for what we have in common instead of looking for what divides us.

Humanity today has one common enemy: those who kill innocent people at point blanc, like ISIL is doing. We can unite on putting ISIL and affiliates to a halt. We can stop them in various manners, not in the least by getting to know our neighbour, who may have a different background, worship another God, or no God at all, or who lives according to other cultural standards. Curiosity is an important quality nowadays. We need to be curious after one another and nurse an empathic attitude that roots from the concept brotherhood.

Now, more then ever, we will have to use our fantasy, creativity, energy and will power to steer the whole globe into a sustainable direction. This will not be easy. Systems, especially systems fed on fear, are hard to change. Intervening requires curiosity, sensitivity, agility and flexibility, but above all awareness. Today the overall convenient action is not to fight and divide, but work together and unite. Cooperation leads to different paradigms on sharing and accumulating learning. It leads to different paradigms on possession and on power. Which is exactly what the world needs now: Power for humanity. So everybody is able to live the life she or he has reason to value[10], safe and in peace.

Post script: We did not link to the atrocious video of the killing of 21 innocent men by ISIL for the obvious reason that such footage does not support peace and freedom in any sense.

Footnotes
1. JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society, Van Empel & Sicking, 2013
2. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
3. Founding fathers of the EU. Robert Schuman and Jean Monet came up with the Schuman plan
4. JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society, JES! § 9.3 Van Empel & Sicking, 2013
5. NPO broadcast, Vrije Radicalen, Dec 20, 2014
6. From the Guardian, Febr 16 2015.
7. See Al Jazeera Documentary ‘Muslims in France’
8. Danish prime-minister one day after the assaults in Copenhagen
9. Helle Thorning-Schmidt at the attacked synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, 1999

nonfiXe, February 16, 2015

Controversy Unleashed on JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society

The Review Board / Miss No Labels set out to discuss JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society. Controversy and Unleashed agreed on 8 stars out of ten.

Here’s why:

Controversial Thoughts

“JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society” by   Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking examines the multitude of ways where we, as a society, can improve not only our individual way of life, but the way of life for many. This is indeed a pretty intriguing political read that makes a person think about how things are going around them as well as about those that they care.

This read reminds me of “Be the Change!” in the concept and context of how to improve our surroundings as well as self by engaging with our surroundings as well as those who are already engaging in our surroundings in order to move together in the same direction in the name of Achieving a Common Societal Goal.

It would be imperative to state that this book takes on a feel of one Phillip Jack Brooks (AKA former multiple time WWE Champion CM Punk), as he sits Indian style and inquires if he has the attention of everyone at this present time. That specific feeling comes from this book, giving me a sense of “Pay Attention to the message that is being conveyed, for there will be some DEEP dialogue that is about to be spoken.”

I LOVE that there are several writers out there who are looking at this topic and speaking on this topic. Of course, there will ALWAYS be those who are accustomed and satisfied with the status quo that is occurring today, and will thumb their nose at the ideas, thoughts, views, and opinions of the writers of “JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society”.

MOST LIKELY, those people will say something along the lines of Dr. Robotnik’s (AKA Dr. Eggman, antagonist of Sonic the Hedgehog) quote, “A Nice Dream, but dreams were meant to be… Broken.”

I agree with Miss No Labels: very few errors could be found. When this is noticed, it gives the air that there were SEVERAL eyes on the work as well as SEVERAL eyes were on the research that was put into this book.

The footnotes at the bottom of the pages is an “A++” in my book, and I DO NO

T GIVE OUT A++s TO ANYONE.

My only downside is that it can get wordy, and your eyes can get crossed.

Survey Says: 8 out of 10 Stars.

Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking’s “JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society” is indeed a thought provoker, and a good one at that. Give it a whirl, get lost in the information, and see if Frank and Caro have your attention.

                                       ###

Now let’s hear from the Unleashed One:

Unleashed Speaks

When exploring a work of nonfiction, I have to approach it a little differently than I would another genre.  The deciding factors include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Cover concept
  • Visual presentation (from white space vs. text to overall syntax)
  • How well researched and documented the material (if a bibliography is not available, how many personal experiences tie in to the content)
  • How well the topic discussed traps my interest

cover JES!Cover concept: It was very hard for me to connect the visual to the content inside.  I expected a more predominant cover to match the knowledge and the passion in which the topic of a joint effort society was covered.

Visual presentation:  There were very little flaws in syntax and proper balance between white space and text.  The text used was extremely easy to read.

Research and Documentation: JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society gets top marks in research and documentation.  There was a lot of beauty in the breakdown of the history preceding the modernized interpretation of a cooperative society.

Interest in topic:  The advocacy of a joint effort society is a wonderful thing to strive for.  It is apparent that many factors have kept the growth towards this at bay.  The authors outlined some of the key deterrents such as inequality in social and economic hierarchy, the promotion and reward of competition more so than cooperation.  I like reading material which causes me to really think and imagine a world different than the current chaos reflected on a daily basis.

Drawbacks (for me) that kept this work from getting the full ten stars:

Cover concept (reasoning already covered)

Slightly overbearing in history vs. practical application: In certain areas, there was so much history discussed that one almost forgot the authors wanted to cover modern exercises in how a joint effort society can be achieved.  Although background information in this work was definitely necessary to someone reading about this topic for the first time, an excessive amount could cause a reader to lose sight on the point of this work.

More visuals to accommodate information:  I do wish there were more graphic models to emphasize certain concepts, particularly when discussing ecolution, comparison between cooperative and competitive processes and the overall joint effort society model.  The modern examples given were excellent but more visuals would have further existing in having the points hit home.  Plus, this would come in handy for those readers who are more enthralled with pictures than lots of text.

Looks like Mr. Controversy and I are in agreement on this one:

8 out of 10 Stars

Unleashed Verdict: JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society gathers these marks for topic interest, thorough documentation and explorations to improve modern day living.

Thanks for checking out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share and subscribe!  Have a terrific day!

The above is shared from The Review Board. Here’s the link again.

Curious about the book?

Take a look inside JES!

Trailer JES!

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nonfiXe, October 5, 2014

Het Bezinningsbureau over JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society

cover JES!‘The vision of a community that is capable of creating solutions together can be referred to as governance capacity. When a region, municipality or other group of people has such a capacity and continuously uses and applies it, it becomes a joint effort society (JES). Its’ attractiveness lies in the characteristic that everybody wins compared to the situation they are in now.’
p. 150

JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society is een eye-opener. Het boek omvat een oproep om gezamenlijk de stap te zetten naar een spirituele revolutie. Daarvoor is de tijd, aldus de auteurs, meer dan rijp. Het boek is dan ook niet alleen maar informatief van aard. Het streeft bewust een doel na. Het wil een bewustzijn wakker roepen en een beweging in gang zetten van mensen die gezamenlijk toewerken naar een wereld waarin minder ongelijkheid, onrecht en armoede heerst en zorgvuldiger met de natuur wordt omgegaan.

Voor Het Bezinningsbureau door Hanneke Arts-Honselaar

Hiertoe ontwikkelen de auteurs een ander maatschappelijk en politiek handelingsmodel dat individuen, organisaties, gemeenschappen en samenlevingen kunnen toepassen bij het maken van afwegingen, het nemen van beslissingen en bij hun handelen. Zo willen de auteurs met hun boek een bijdrage leveren aan een spirituele en morele revolutie. Een revolutie die zij als een natuurlijk vervolg zien op het materialisme dat de afgelopen tweehonderdvijftig jaar heeft gedomineerd. Zij nodigen de lezers dan ook van harte uit zich te laten inspireren door hun boek en erover van gedachten te wisselen hopend daarmee een dialoog op gang te brengen.

Rhizome

De auteurs karakteriseren hun boek als een wortelstok van zich vertakkende woorden en concepten die erop gericht zijn een intuïtie in de lezer wakker te roepen over een richting die mensen en de samenleving ook zou kunnen kiezen. Hiertoe introduceert het boek de theorie van de ecolutie. Deze theorie bestaat uit een methode en dynamische gereedschappen die de verandering naar een rechtvaardiger en duurzamer samenleving mogelijk maken, zowel op individueel als op collectief niveau. Alles begint bij het bewustzijn van de noodzaak van verandering en het ontwikkelen van een visie op de richting waarin het individu of een specifieke gemeenschap zich wil bewegen.

Economie terug naar de plaats waar zij hoort

Tegenover de neoklassieke economische basisprincipes (Adam Smith, c.s.) plaatsen de auteurs een andere set van aannames, de theorie van de ecolutie. Deze theorie combineert het inzicht in de tekortkomingen van de neoklassieke economische benaderingen en de inzichten van de sociale psychologie van Morton Deutsch tot vijf basisprincipes:

  • De economie is ingebed in de ecologie;
  • Mensen hebben zowel rationele als irrationele voorkeuren;
  • Individuen en bedrijven zijn niet één-dimensionaal gericht op winst, maar zij willen ook waarde toevoegen aan de ontwikkeling van de omgeving en aan sociale ontwikkeling. Zij delen hun ups en downs met de lokale gemeenschap en de samenleving in zijn geheel;
  • Mensen handelen zoals de meerderheid handelt vanwege een gebrek aan informatie;
  • Individuen en bedrijven werken met elkaar samen op basis van eigenbelang. Samenwerken geeft daarbij een beter resultaat dan rivaliteit en competitie.

Op grond van deze basisprincipes wordt de economie terug verwezen naar de plaats waar deze hoort: ingebed in en ten dienste van sociale, ecologische en psychologische behoeften. Zo opgevat vertoont de Joint Effort Society (JES!) drie lagen: een natuurlijke ontwikkeling; een voortgaande overgang naar een andere (betere) situatie en een verkenning van de toekomst. Alle drie de lagen zijn dynamisch, voortdurend in beweging en in ontwikkeling en gericht op het realiseren van een hoger ecologisch, socio-cultureel, economisch en psychologisch niveau.

Ecolutie als katalysator voor creativiteit

Maar hoe dit hogere niveau te bereiken? De auteurs betogen dat hiervoor een proces van deconstructie noodzakelijk is. Deconstructie kan gezien worden als het doelbewust verstoren van de bestaande systemen met als doel ruimte te scheppen voor innovatie. Zo leidt deconstructie tot een chaos waarin ruimte ontstaat voor creativiteit en verandering. Ecolutie vormt voor deze verandering de katalysator. Het omvat de creatieve destructie van houdingen, technologieën, instituties, besluitvorming, procedures, protocollen en gewoontes die vanzelfsprekend worden geacht en in plaats van een zegen tot een last zijn geworden voor individuen en gemeenschappen (destructie-fase). Ecolutie baant zo de weg voor iets geheel nieuws (deconstructie-fase) en is een bewuste actie tot verbetering en vernieuwing (constructie-fase).

Een matrix om de groei naar een JES! te ondersteunen

Om te voorkomen dat constructieve ontwikkelingen omslaan in destructiviteit en om een destructief proces zo te ondersteunen dat het zich kan ontwikkelen tot een constructief geheel hebben de auteurs de ideeën, concepten en theorieën ondergebracht in een handige matrix.

De horizontale as van deze matrix (X) omvat de drie fasen van ontwikkeling (destructie, deconstructie, constructie) zoals hierboven beschreven.
De verticale as (Y) omvat drie clusters van mogelijke oplossingen die een JES! kunnen bevorderen: Verandering van gedrag van individuen en/of organisaties; technologische en/of institutionele innovatie; nieuwe methoden van besluitvorming.

Om met de matrix aan de slag te gaan wordt de lezer uitgenodigd aan de hand van een bepaald concept te reflecteren op de negen posities in de matrix. Concepten die in aanmerking komen voor een dergelijk reflectief proces dienen echter aan een zevental criteria te voldoen om daadwerkelijk verder te helpen op weg naar een JES! Deze zeven criteria worden in het boek beschreven.

Competitie of samenwerking

Veranderingen die op de X en de Y-as kunnen plaatsvinden hangen samen met en worden beïnvloed door de wijze waarop een samenleving (maar ook een individu) zichzelf verstaat. Een samenleving die aan het competitie-model de voorkeur geeft waardeert excellentie en efficiency en stelt regels en voorschriften op die de bewegingsruimte van individuen inperken, armoede veroorzaken en roofbouw pleegt op natuurlijke hulpbronnen. Een dergelijke samenleving beweegt zich af van een JES! Een samenleving die de voorkeur geeft aan samenwerking is gebaseerd op onderling delen en voortschrijdend inzicht. Burgerlijke vrijheden en innovatie ondersteunen actief en productief burgerschap en leiden tot een betekenisvol bestaan voor ieder individu. Een dergelijke samenleving bevordert een JES!

Oefening van bewustzijn

Met het concept ecolutie willen de auteurs de lezer inspireren en versleten paradigma’s, zoals ‘duurzaamheid’ vervangen. Zij merken daarbij op dat ecolutie breder is dan deze begrippen omdat zij het heden, de verandering en de toekomst insluit. En anders dan het woord ‘duurzaam’ is ecolutie niet dubbelzinnig. Alles vergaat immers, en wat het meest duurzaam is, platics, vormen juist een deel van het probleem dat de adepten van duurzaamheid willen oplossen, aldus de auteurs. Daarbij komt dat ‘ecolutie’ niet wordt begrensd door een strikte definitie. Het is gebaseerd op de volgende vier sleutelelementen:

  • Economie, ecologie en samenleving zijn gelijkwaardig
  • Iedere samenleving, gemeenschap, organisatie, groep of individu kan ecolutie toepassen
  • Verandering is voortgaand, altijd en overal
  • Het doel is voortdurende vooruitgang in de richting van een ander (hoger) niveau van ontwikkeling

Ecolutie vormt een oefening in het bewustzijn dat we ervoor kunnen kiezen onszelf te ontwikkelen in een richting die een rechtvaardiger samenleving mogelijk maakt. Een wereld waarin people, planet en profit met elkaar in evenwicht zijn. De auteurs doen dan ook het voorstel niet langer te spreken over ‘groei’ maar over ‘vooruitgang’. Te snelle groei van het één hoeft immers nog geen vooruitgang te betekenen voor het andere. In het woord ‘vooruitgang’ zit steeds al een kritische factor. Is de groei écht vooruitgang op alle gebieden? Door in te gaan zien dat er een relatie bestaat tussen specifiek gedrag en het grotere geheel (structuur) waar dit gedrag effect op heeft kunnen we de wederkerigheid van alles gaan begrijpen. Het is deze wederkerigheid, deze onderlinge samenhang, die het eigenlijke model vormt van alle leven op aarde.

De drie clusters op de Y-as van de matrix die oplossingen kunnen aandragen voor de groei naar een Joint Effort Society worden in het verdere verloop van het boek uitgediept waarna wordt ingegaan op het daadwerkelijk functioneren van de theorie in de concrete praktijk. De drie clusters worden daarbij beschouwd als drie raderen die in elkaar grijpen en waarmee verandering in gang kan worden gezet. Hoofdstuk 6 van het boek gaat nader in op de kansen die veranderingen in methoden van besluitvorming bieden op weg naar een JES! Hoofdstuk 7 doet hetzelfde rond gedrag en hoofdstuk 8 rond technologische en institutionele innovatie. Hoofdstuk 9 gaat in op het functioneren van de theorie in de concrete praktijk.

Werkplaats Ecolutie?

JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society is geen gemakkelijk boek. Herlezend en herschrijvend dringt de veelzijdigheid van ecolutie langzaam dieper tot mij door. Het besef groeit daarbij dat het boek eigenlijk gedaan wil worden en – zoals iedere spiritualiteit – vraagt om volgehouden inoefening. Dialoog en kleinschalig experiment, individueel of in kleine kring (bijvoorbeeld in een Werkplaats Ecolutie), kunnen daarbij mijns inziens helpen om de theorie in de praktijk te leren toepassen en het creatieve proces dat met ecolutie gegeven is te voeden en te ondersteunen.

Geplaatst op 14 juni 2014 op de website www.bezinningsbureau.nl

uitgelichte afbeelding: Barend van Hoek, Ecotrail, potlood op papier, 2012

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nonfiXe, 20 juni 2014

 

 

JES: My Thoughts

Reviewer Fran Lewis (NY) discusses JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society on her blog

cover JES!POSTED BY JUST REVIEWS BY:GABINA49: ⋅ MAY 17, 2014 ⋅ 1 COMMENT

Joint Effort Society 

Is there a better way to understand our economy? Should everyone have the same things and monetarily not more than anyone else? What about the pollution that fills the skies when cars emit fumes or toxic fumes fill the air? What about the injustices some face. The authors of the Joint Effort Society have created what they feel is a way for everyone in this century to make room for the next and deal with the economic differences, the financial changes and the world as they see it. Focusing on world leaders, going back in history and realizing that no one person is to blame and that we have the power to change. I will present the viewpoints of the authors but I will not state whether I agree with their ideas or not. Stating that many of the issues faced in the world focus on economy and its predominant position within our financial structure the authors define terms such as free market, the winner takes or gets all vision, tunnel vision. Titled: JES, which stands for Joint Effort Society coining the word Ecolution that is the path to take us into this type of world of society.

Creating a society according to the authors would create a new mindset for people. Rather than think in a single-minded manner, people would not just be focused on money, items and their own needs but that of others too. Imagine a world where everyone works together, respects others and the economy is not the prime focus. The authors explain how to forge ahead beyond sustainable development by explaining the basis of their thoughts and concepts: Ecolution.

What if everyone worked together as a unit for the common good? What if we all cooperated to make the world better and no one was concerned about having total control. What if we expanded a simple thought and used our mind and brain to see the world in a different light. Rhizomes: a somewhat elongate usually horizontal subterranean plant stem that is often thickened by deposits of reserve food material, produces shoots above and roots below, and is distinguished from a true root in possessing buds, nodes, and usually scale like leaves,” as defined in the dictionary. Rhizome the author’s state is like a “rootstock, a networked herb that grows underground with no other ordering principle than the search for fertile earth, water and light.” It is indestructible except if some gardener uses any kind of chemicals and keeps weeding it. It has no beginning or end but a middle from where it grows and can overspill. Imagine a thought that starts within the recesses of your mind or a road that you are standing in the center of that goes on and on forever and has no beginning or end. Imagine starting your life from the middle and not dealing with what came before but focusing on how to improve now not worrying about your final days. JES: the author’s state is a rhizome of words and concepts with no beginning or end. Reading each chapter, paragraph sets you direction and all the pages form a network that may be difficult to summarize but as they state: “offers an intuitive vision for a direction society and individuals in that society can choose.”

The authors use the term ecolution standing for a way and a toolbox for change. Change takes time it does not happen overnight and the toolbox has within it concepts, which provide plans for action. These plans are different, variable and multiple enabling people within a community, each person alone or even groups and organizations to think of their own. The authors include seven criteria or concepts supporting this constructive plan. Within the chapter titled: Featuring JES: the authors explain Ecolution and JES: JES is defined as: a new political engagement model and free association of individuals.” In this type of world or society people contribute, cooperate and co-create according to their ability. They do this out of free will and gain from what has been achieved. A JES has a healthy relationship with Nature, Understands the interconnectedness and reciprocity of systems and aims at the “Well being of all people, here and now, there and later.” Interesting concept. But, in a world that is so diverse and where many live in different conditions some poor, some rich and others comfortable, this might sound as a viable way to intertwine and connect everyone to have the same things, values and economic advantages, but in reality some might not grab on to this way of thinking and others might discard it whether good or not.

Ecolution: let’s define this term even further: There are three different ways to find answers or solutions: Behavior, institutionalization and decision-making. There are several areas focused on within this book: ecolution, the matrix, deconstruction and concept that stands for a design for action. Chapter four focuses on Context, which includes the Force of the Matrix and the Assumptions of the theory of Ecolution. Chapter Five The Theory of Ecolution and Chapter 6 Plans for Action. Each chapter quite detailed and each one expanding on the theory itself. Within Chapter 6 we begin to understand Who Should Decide Change? The Power of the State vs. the freedom of the Individual, Discursive politics, the multiple lives of democracy, the dark side of aid and much more. The second solution finding cluster is Behavior discussed on Chapter Seven where the authors relate several stories about different cultures that have different values explaining that this is often used to deny a person’s entitlement to inalienable rights. The authors discuss the right or freedom to make personal choices as one concept related to the “nobody rules” principle of the proto-democrat. Decision-making and behavior focus on each other within this chapter. Democracy is stated as a way of life. Personal experiences are shared and sited within this chapter that will help enlighten readers to understand the author’s perspectives. The Will to Succeed, A Society’s Prejudices and Whistleblowers and change makers round out this chapter. The heart of the book is Chapter 9: Content: A Joint Effort Society where the authors discuss the following in detail: sustainable development, the concept of brotherhood, economics how it should be and Max-Neef’s nine fundamental needs:

Subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity and freedom followed by why the JES is a model for peace and progress. Focusing in individual diversities, justice and different democratic models to be implemented in decision-making. Hoping to lead society to understand social, psychological, economic and ever ecological systems. Other pertinent issues that are elaborated on related to challenges in democracy related to the ecological issues and difficulties that need to be addressed today: climate change, diminishing biodiversity, extreme poverty, depletion of fossil fuels and other natural resources. A question is posed as to who takes care of nature and these concerns are not only germane to the borders of one nation state or generation. The authors state that a global approach is needed and expand on this and the art of consultation and mutual gains approach within this chapter. Finally, the authors put forth eight control circuits to aid in a self- organizing system, which are self-steering:

The individual, the group, the neighborhood, the quarter, the community, the region or province, the country/state and the Federation or Union of States. They continue with the seven principles that build homes: cherish diversity, connection location to context, combine city and nature, anticipate change, keep innovating, design healthy systems and people create the town. Each principle defined and described and guided by a Cradle-to-Cradle Text of the American architect McDonough. Also within this chapter they include Pakistan’s Black Law, The ethics of Business and touching the essence of Life. To sum up you would have to read the conclusion where the authors begin by stating that for more than 200 years the dominant groups in society have focused on profits. Greed with economical equations, stating that in the end all would profit or benefit from seeping down wealth with competition at the center of society’s values. Do we need change? Do we need tighter security? Should there be a call to create and protect our freedoms? Will our difficulties benefit from more stringent laws and regulations putting more constraints in our own personal freedoms? What exactly does JES do and how can this way of thinking help us to focus on the world around us and make it better? The authors have not created a perfect world or a Utopia what they are trying to create and the message to readers and to people is that we need to focus on those that are less fortunate, tired workers, tired managers, teachers that often get ignored or are unappreciated and most of all they are conveying a message that we need to change our perceptions and way of thinking. Money, power and greed should not be paramount but cooperation, joint effort and working as one should start to be our focus.

JES! Suggests a spiritual revolution. The authors state that if the brain changes or shifts reality will too. When more than one brain shifts or many than society will too. Is the economy for the people? How would you define economics? Will the solution finding clusters- Decision-making, behavior, and institutionalization/technology contribute to a rising level of well-being? These questions and others will be answered when you read JES. The rich and the poor have been at odds for at least 250 years. After reading this text the authors hope that readers will understand and learn about why economics is out of control, how to improve our economic system, how to move away from competition replacing the rich society with a new political engagement model: JES. The rest is up to you the reader to decide if you accept what the authors are presenting, accept part of it or not at all. These are my thoughts they stand as written.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

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nonfiXe May 2014

Allemaal Winnen – Only Winners – Todos Ganados – Alle Gewinnen, summaries

The thesis called Only Winners by Frank van Empel (author at Ecolutie) and Martin Bakker was defended on Thursday April 26, 2012, at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Both authors put theory and practice together in order to develop a working method, toolbox and new conceptual framework for regional sustainable development.

The Only Winners Matrix can be perceived as a compass and measuring tool in one for decision makers as well as individuals to find out if a development is sustainable and leads to equal prosperity for people, planet and profit. On thmutual gain we Matrix one finds three phases: destruction – deconstruction – construction on the horizontal axe that are combined with behaviour – technology – decision making on the vertical axe.

The measurement is done by using concepts that comply with seven criteria. This creates a dynamic model, with changing concepts which are validated by the criteria.

Whenever a development is destructive for people, environment or economy, deconstruction has to be committed. Ecolution (Ecolutie in Dutch) is the most prominent deconstruction path. The authors call it the lost track, the expedition towards an unknown future that leads to a society we all want to be part of: a society of Only Winners.

The model foresees in developments that are constructive at one time and turn destructiUnderneath you can find the English, German and Spanish translation of the summary of Only Winners. We hope we are able to translate the entire book soon for those of you who are interested.

Only Winners  – Una resena Todos GanadosZusammenfassung Alle Gewinnen

For the translations we have to thank: Prof. Dr. Don Huisingh – English version, Lisa van Empel – Spanish version and Prof. Mag. Arch. Ing.Dr.h.c. Peter Schmid – German version.

Images: Barend van Hoek, Victory 4 all & Mutual Gains, pencil on paper, 2012

Caro Sicking, Ecolutie, April 29 2012

Bespreking JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society

Cover JES CB061114Rudy Vans bespreekt JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society op de website van bol.com.

Dit is zowel een ouderwets als een verfrissend en nieuw boek. Ouderwets omdat het veel tekst bevat met veel moeilijke woorden en veel citaten en veel oude schrijvers en bronnen. Verfrissend en nieuw omdat het een koers beschrijft naar een andere en betere wereld die getuigt van enorme betrokkenheid en gedrevenheid van beide auteurs. Ze geloven in hun zaak en belijden hun eigen passie.

Het boek pleit voor een andere en betere wereld en gaat voorbij aan het inmiddels wat afgetrapte begrip duurzaamheid. In plaats daarvan komen de twee belangrijkste nieuwe termen: ecolutie en Joint Effort Society (JES).

Probleem en oorzaak

Kort over de inhoud. Wat is het probleem? Dat we ‘niet goed bezig zijn’, dat ‘het de verkeerde kant op gaat’ ‘met ons allen’. Er is te veel economische ongelijkheid, te weinig rechtvaardigheid, te veel vervuiling. Oorzaak van dit probleem? Dat is de dominante positie van de ‘economie’, het aanbod-denken (supply-side economics), het vrije markt denken, het winner-takes-it-all principe en het bestaan van vooroordelen (het hebben van een tunnelvisie).

JES

!

De auteurs pleiten voor een nieuwe wereld. De gewenste nieuwe eindtoestand noemen ze JES oftewel de Joint Effort Society. De weg daar naar toe is Ecolutie. In die nieuwe wereld van JES gaat het over meer rechtvaardigheid, mensen weer zien als mensen en niet als producten of pin-automaten, groei interpreteren vanuit kwaliteit en well-being, meer plek voor de intuïtie, meer onderling respect, economie terug naar een bescheidenere plek. Het gaat over het hele systeem (dus niet alleen over de economie), over de lange termijn. Dat klinkt als ‘duurzaamheid’, maar ..

Ecolutie

De auteurs gaan verder dan duurzaamheid. Ecolutie bevat de ideeën van de auteurs over hoe we die gewenste (ideale) wereld kunnen bereiken. Ze maken daarbij onderscheid in – het gedrag, – de instituties, en – de beslissingen. Op deze manier voegen de auteurs nieuwe dimensies toe aan het platgetreden begrip duurzaamheid. Zelfvertrouwen als basis van ons individuele gedrag, rechtvaardigheid en diversiteit als uitgangspunt voor de (collectieve) instituties en nieuwe democratische overlegmodellen voor de beslissingen.

Reflectie

Ik zei het al: dit boek heeft iets paradoxaals. Er is inhoudelijk een nieuwe aanpak met verfrissende betrokkenheid. Qua vorm is het veel tekst en weinig plaatjes en ook nog eens pittige tekst waar je moeite voor moet doen. En of dat ouderwets of juist nieuw is weet ik niet, maar dit boek zou ik willen kenschetsen als een pamflet, een oproep, een pleidooi. Een beetje Marx maar dan zonder revolutie maar met ecolutie. In die zin is het boek ook meer prescriptief (vertellen hoe het zou moeten zijn) dan een nieuwsgierige houding over hoe we in de huidige situatie verzeild zijn geraakt en welke krachten ons daarin houden. Met andere woorden: ik krijg als lezer het idee dat de oplossing vanaf het begin al zo’n beetje vast stond.

Pluspunten:

engagement

Minpunten:

je moet er wel voor gaan zitten

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Maart 2014