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February 11 2013

8972 1400
Les Chiffonniers du Caire - Documentaire Complet
Die Müllsammler von Kairo - vollständige Dokumentarfilmfassung

Disponible sur YouTube - http://youtu.be/SJR1O_Uj6EE



Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

March 27 2012

02mydafsoup-01

Warum der Wahnsinn um sich greift | WOZ Die Wochenzeitung 2011-08-11



  
Die Vielfachkrise


Banken und Spekulanten treiben dank der Milliarden aus den Rettungsfonds jene vor sich her, die ihnen in der Finanzkrise aus der Patsche geholfen haben.

«Das Kapital hat einen Horror vor Abwesenheit von Profit oder sehr kleinem Profit (...) Mit entsprechendem Profit wird Kapital kühn. 10 Prozent sicher, und man kann es überall anwenden; 20 Prozent, es wird lebhaft; 50 Prozent, positiv waghalsig; für 100 Prozent stampft es alle menschlichen Gesetze unter seinen Fuss; 300 Prozent, und es existiert kein Verbrechen, das es nicht riskiert ...»
T. J. Dunning: «Trades’ Unions and Strikes», London 1860, zitiert in Karl Marx: «Das Kapital, Band I»

Die Welt befindet sich gegenwärtig in einer mehrfachen Krise – einer Vielfachkrise von Finanzen und Wirtschaft, von Energie und Klima, von Ernährung und Politik. Hintergrund ist vor allem ein Wachstumsdilemma: Ohne Wachstum sind soziale Stabilität und ökonomischer Wohlstand gefährdet. Könnte man aber das Wachstum so richtig beschleunigen, dann wird die Natur in planetaren Ausmassen zerstört und eine Menschheitskrise ausgelöst.

Die Vielfachkrise begann freilich einfach als eine verheerende Finanzkrise, wie sie die Welt zuvor noch nie erlebt hatte. Grundsätzlich entstehen Finanzkrisen, wenn Forderungen von KreditgeberInnen aus den Einkommensflüssen oder aus dem Vermögen von SchuldnerInnen nicht mehr bedient werden können. Entweder sind die Forderungen zu hoch oder die realen Überschüsse der Schuldner zu niedrig – oder beides kommt zusammen.

Erst Bankenkrise, dann Schuldenkrise

Dass die Wachstumsraten des Brutto­inlandsprodukts (BIP) überall in der Welt rückläufig sind, ist unabweisbar. Anders als die realwirtschaftlichen Überschüsse steigen jedoch die Renditen des Finanzkapitals auto­referenziell, nur auf sich selbst bezogen. Mit der Verbriefung werden finanzielle Forderungen als Wertpapier weltweit handelbar gemacht. Seitdem ist es ein fantastisches Geschäft, Wertpapiere zu «originieren». Das ist, als ob es den Alchimisten gelungen wäre, aus Dreck Gold zu gewinnen. Werte werden nicht durch Arbeit und Naturumformung geschaffen, sondern durch Verbriefung originiert und von den Renditen abgeleitet, die beim Verkauf auf Finanzmärkten erzielt werden können (daher auch die Bezeichnung «Derivat»).

Sinken die Renditen, so verfällt sofort der Wert der Papiere, und wenn diese als Sicherheit für andere Schulden dienen, platzt die Kreditbeziehung. Geschieht dies nicht nur vereinzelt, sondern en masse, ist die grosse Finanzkrise da. Stockt der Finanzfluss, wird auch die reale Kapitalzirkulation unterbrochen. Das Wachstum bricht ein, es kommt zu einer Rezession. Erst Lehman Brothers, dann General Motors – und immer ist der Staat dabei.

Heute verfolgt der Staat aber nicht mehr wie im vergangenen Jahrhundert eine «Krisenvermeidungsstrategie». Er ist im Krisenstrudel mittendrin. Die gegenwärtige Krise begann ziemlich harmlos als Subprimekrise fauler Hypotheken in den USA. Die Einkommen der Hypothekenschuldner reichten nicht aus, um die nach oben spekulierten Zinsen (finanzielle Forderungen) zu bedienen. Da die Hypotheken mit der Zustimmung der Ratingagenturen zu komplexen Wertpapieren gebündelt und in aller Herren Länder verkauft worden waren, wurden nun auf einmal Milliarden, ja Billionen von Wertpapieren «toxisch», und zwar ebenfalls fast überall in der Welt. Die Subprimekrise der Hypothekenschuldner in den USA verwandelte sich in eine globale Bankenkrise.

Sofern die betroffenen Banken als «sys­temrelevant» eingestuft wurden (meistens gemäss der simplen Formel «too big to fail»), waren die Regierungen sofort zur Stelle, um Rettungspakete zu schnüren. Die Staaten verschuldeten sich. Kommen ein hoher Schuldenstand und ein schlechtes Rating (und daher hohe Zinsen) zusammen, wird der Schuldendienst untragbar. Aus der Subprimekrise ist eine Banken- und Finanzkrise geworden, die sich nun zur Schuldenkrise der Staaten zuspitzt. Die «Rettungsschirme» für private Finanzinstitute und Unternehmen reichen nicht mehr, da bedarf es der koordinierten internationalen Intervention. Man denke nur an den Internationalen Währungsfonds, der das Know-how des Umgangs mit den Schuldenkrisen von Entwicklungsländern bereits in den achtziger Jahren erworben hat. In Europa wurde ein Europäischer Stabilitätsmechanismus geschaffen, um die Pleite eines Mitgliedslands und die Währungskrise des gesamten Euroraums abzuwenden. Doch das nutzt nicht viel, weil die Regierungen es vermeiden, den Zufluss zur «Spekulationskasse» (John M. Keynes) zu stoppen.

Sackgassen und Blockaden

Wie kann die Krise von Banken, Staaten und Währungsräumen überwunden werden? Im Prinzip dadurch, dass die realen Überschüsse zur Verbesserung der Schuldendienstfähigkeit gesteigert und die finanziellen Forderungen reduziert werden. Dies ist auf vier Wegen möglich – allerdings führen sie entweder in eine Sackgasse oder werden politisch blockiert.

Der erste Weg hat den Namen «Austerity». Um das Defizit des Sekundärbudgets auszugleichen, wo der Schuldendienst verbucht wird, muss im Primärbudget, wo unter anderem die Sozialleistungen enthalten sind, ein Überschuss her. Wenn die Steuern auf die mobilen Produktionsfaktoren – also das «scheue» Kapital – tabu sind, dann müssen Steuern und Gebühren auf den immobilen Produktionsfaktor – die lohnabhängigen Arbeitskräfte – angehoben werden. Auch die Ausgaben, die ihnen zugute kommen, müssen dann sinken: Sozial­ausgaben werden zusammengestrichen, die Löhne und Gehälter gekürzt, öffentliche Güter und Dienste beschnitten. Das ist eine verteilungspolitische Kriegserklärung.

Auf einem zweiten Weg werden die finanziellen Forderungen der Gläubiger an die Schuldner gesenkt. In einem Schuldenaudit wäre es möglich, die Legitimität der Schulden zu prüfen. Die Ratingagenturen müssten aus dem Geschäft genommen werden. Sie prüfen ausschliesslich die Kreditwürdigkeit von Schuldnern und die Bonität von Wertpapieren, nicht aber die Leistungsfähigkeit der SchuldnerInnen und auch nicht die Legitimität und die Angemessenheit des Schuldendiensts. Deshalb kommen absurde Ratings zustande. Je weniger SchuldnerInnen in der Lage sind, ihre Schulden zu bedienen, desto höher steigen die Zinslasten. Eine Reduzierung des Schuldendienstes verlangt daher einen Forderungsverzicht von Gläubigern, eine faire, effiziente und transparente Insolvenzregelung.

Der dritte Weg wäre keine Sackgasse, doch er wird blockiert. Der spekulative Nachschub von Anlage suchendem Kapital, die «Spekulationskasse», könnte mit einer Vermögenssteuer und einer Kapitaltransaktionssteuer verkleinert werden. Der Widerstand gegen eine solche Massnahme, wie Attac sie schon seit Jahren fordert, ist allerdings mächtig, nicht nur auf dem «alten» Kontinent, sondern auch in der «neuen Welt». Dort hat die Tea-Party-Bewegung verhindert, dass die horrende Staatsverschuldung der USA durch eine Steueranhebung für die Reichen, die lediglich den Status quo vor George Bushs Steuersenkung herstellen würde, abgebaut werden könnte.

Den vierten Weg weisen die Optimist­Innen: die Wachstumsraten des BIP könnten auf ein so hohes Niveau gebracht werden, dass verschuldete Länder aus den Schulden herauswachsen. Doch wachstumswirksame Investitionen sind im Vergleich zu Finanzinvestitionen nur attraktiv, wenn die Zinsen und Finanzrenditen unter die Profitraten gesenkt werden. Das geht nicht ohne politische Eingriffe in die Finanzmärkte. Hinzu kommt, dass Wachstum an sozialen und ökologischen Grenzen kein guter Ratschlag ist.

Dennoch kommen Schlaumeier auf die pfiffige Idee, dann eben die Grenzen wachsen zu lassen. Wir befinden uns nun in den Gefilden des Green New Deal. Sicher, wenn das «easy oil» ausgeht, kann auf die «unkonventionellen» Reserven des «tough oil» zurückgegriffen werden: auf Öl aus den Regenwäldern, aus den Polarmeeren, deren Eiskappen infolge des Klimawandels schwinden, aus der Tiefsee, aus Ölsand und Ölschiefer. Da können Grenzen wachsen, da liegen noch Reserven. Doch selbst dann rücken, das ist Naturgesetz, andere Grenzen näher. Die Förderung von «tough oil» hat katastrophale Auswirkungen, wie man im Nigerdelta, in Alaska oder im Golf von Mexiko (­siehe die Katastrophe von «Deepwater Horizon» im Frühjahr 2010) und anderswo beobachten konnte und kann. Möglicherweise kann mit «tough oil» das Ölangebot noch eine Zeitlang auf hohem Niveau gehalten werden, aber nur zu steigenden Preisen und nur, wenn politische und militärisch ausgetragene Öl­konflikte in Kauf genommen werden.

Die politischen Ursachen der Krise

Dem rohstoff- und energieverzehrenden kapitalistischen Moloch geht also die Nahrung aus. Die Energiekrise ist da, und sie wird durch die Art und Weise der Bewältigung von Wirtschafts-, Finanz- und Währungskrise verschärft. Gleichzeitig sind die Schadstoffdeponien des Planeten Erde überlastet, in denen die Ausscheidungen des Molochs bislang abgelagert worden sind. Die Warnleuchten flackern am aufgeregtesten mit Bezug auf die Atmosphäre, wo die Treibhausgase bereits einen Wandel des Klimas bewirkt haben, der sich zur Klimakatastrophe zuspitzen kann.

Der Selbstbetrug mit den wachsenden Grenzen geht weiter. Wenn statt der fossilen Energien erneuerbare Rohstoffe zu Treibstoff raffiniert werden, regt das die Landnutzungskonkurrenz von «Tank oder Teller» an. In vielen Weltregionen leiden ganz entgegen den Vorgaben der Uno-Millenniumsziele aus dem Jahr 2000 Milliarden Menschen unter Hunger und Unterernährung, und diese Krise spitzt sich zu. Hinzu kommen die Spekulationen von Finanzfonds mit Nahrungsmitteln, weil ihnen infolge der Finanzkrise andere Spekulationsobjekte (wie Subprime-Immobi­lien) abhanden gekommen sind.

Die Vielfachkrise schleppt sich seit Jahren hin. Sie weicht hier und da einer freundlichen konjunkturellen Belebung und kehrt als drohende Gewitterfront zyklisch zurück. Die politische Klasse lässt es geschehen. Sie scheut Eingriffe in die Wirtschaft, wenn sie dem neoliberalen Dogma von den «eigentlich» stabilen Märkten widersprechen und wenn sie an die Machtverhältnisse rühren könnten. Die Vielfachkrise ist also vor allem eine politische Krise.

Wie wenig die politische Klasse Europas in der Lage ist, auf die vielfachen Herausforderungen zu reagieren, bringt jede neue Krisensequenz ans Tageslicht. Auch derzeit wieder, wenn wie schon seit der Subprime-Krise «die Märkte», sprich die SpekulantInnen, die Banken und Fonds, mit ihren Heerscharen von Hilfswilligen hofiert werden – mit Abermilliarden aus Rettungspaketen, die sie sofort für eine neue Spekulationsattacke nutzen. Kann der Krisenwahnsinn so weitergehen? Natürlich nicht. Der Kapitalismus ist am Ende, und die gesamte Welt wird in den Schlamassel hineingezogen. Es ist ein ethischer Imperativ und eine politische Pflicht, dies zu verhindern.

Reposted bykinolux kinolux

February 10 2012

02mydafsoup-01
Soziale Kälte

Ganz Wuppertal ist obdachlos: Was in diesen Tagen Obdachlose zu Dutzenden tötet, ist nicht der Winter, sondern ein System, zu dem Obdachlosigkeit wesensmäßig gehört. [...]
Die Reichen werden reicher, die Armen ärmer, und alle, die sich die Illusion bewahrt haben, sie lebten in keiner Klassengesellschaft, sollten mal in die Metropolen fahren, wo in den neubürgerlichen Vierteln die Gutverdiener unter sich sind, ihre Kinder nur mit Gutverdienerkindern spielen und per Früherziehung auf ein Leben vorbereitet werden, das nur dann in einem schlechten Viertel stattfindet, wenn es eins zu gentrifizieren gibt. Die Gettoisierung der Städte ist, so will es der Markt, in vollem Gange, und für wen auch im Getto am Stadtrand kein Platz ist, der liegt, wenn es schlecht läuft, in der Fußgängerzone und zahlt den Preis dafür, dass der Markt für Arme-Leute-Wohnraum praktisch keiner ist und ein Staat, der mit den übrigen Kollateralschäden kapitalistischen Wirtschaftens schon genug zu tun hat, als Sozialwohnungsbauer ausfällt.
Denn das ist, wie man längst auch in Polen (62 Kältetote), Tschechien (18) und der Ukraine (135) weiß, Kapitalismus: Die Rechnung kommt bestimmt, und es sind immer dieselben, die sie zahlen.
Quelle: The European
Hinweise des Tages II | NachDenkSeiten – Die kritische Website - 2012-02-11
Reposted bykrekkunbillked

February 08 2012

02mydafsoup-01
George Grosz 1922 ... via oAnth at Diaspora*

"Schwimme wer schwimmen kann, und wer zu schwach ist gehe unter " (Schiller)

November 17 2011

02mydafsoup-01
Play fullscreen
Mario Savio Memorial Lecture: Robert Reich on Class Warfare in America

Uploaded by UCBerkeleyEvents on Nov 16, 2011

The 15th annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture & Young Activist Award will present Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, speaking on Class Warfare in America.

Professor Reich, a political economist has served in three national administrations, most recently as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century and the Wall Street Journal in 2008 placed him sixth on its list of the "Most Influential Business Thinkers." He is the author of 13 books, most recently Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future and Supercapitalism:The Transformation of Business, Democracy and American Life. A regular commentator on public radio's Marketplace, Reich is also a syndicated columnist and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, The Atlantic, WSJ, and other major publications . He is the recipient of the prestigious Vaclav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 Prize for his writings on economics and politics and is known as an exciting, dynamic speaker.

The Memorial lecture honors the memory of the late Mario Savio, a spokesperson for Berkeley's Free Speech Movement (1964), and the spirit of moral courage and vision which he and countless other activists of his generation exemplified. The evening includes a presentation of the Mario Savio Young Activist Award, which recognizes young people engaged in the struggle to build a more humane and just society. It is co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Library, the Goldman School of Public Policy, the Free Speech Movement Cafe and the Graduate Assembly.

Reposted by99percent 99percent

October 03 2011

USA: Occupy Together

The website Occupy Together offers a wealth of information on the social movements catalyzing in many cities in the United States and in other countries around the world against corporate greed and corruption.

-------------------------

oAnth:

this entry is part of the OccupyWallStreet compilation 2011-09/10, here.
0114 3447 500

pantslessprogressive:

Dr. Cornel West at the Occupy Wall Street protest Tuesday evening. [Photo: @linktothepast86]

-------------------------

oAnth:

this entry is part of the OccupyWallStreet compilation 2011-09/10, here.


Reposted fromLuckyLobos LuckyLobos

October 02 2011

November 24 2010

November 23 2010

02mydafsoup-01

Conditional cash transfer programmes are now a central part of the debate on social protection policies. So far the emphasis has been on “conditional”. This column focuses on the “cash” and suggests that it might benefit financial development – and that this possibility should be explored at the very least.

[...]

Among social protection policies, conditional cash transfer programmes are undoubtedly one of the most important innovations. These programmes are designed to achieve broad development objectives. The number of countries implementing conditional cash transfer programmes is rapidly growing, from about 3 in 1997 to more than 30 a decade later. Their most innovtive aspects are that:

  • these transfers are often paid in cash (as opposed to “in kind”),
  • they are targeted (usually to the poor and, especially, to women in households with children),
  • they have an explicit poverty reduction objective (they aim at alleviating poverty in the short-run through the transfers themselves, and to alleviate long-run poverty by linking the receipt of such transfers to investments in human capital),
  • they have an explicit conditionality component (the receipt of further transfers is often conditional on, for instance, school attendance and visits to health centres), and
  • they contain in their design a very strong ex-post evaluation component.
One particularly innovative component of these programmes that has received scant attention in the literature is their potential to foster financial inclusion.

[...]

— Nauro F Campos Fabrizio Coricelli voxeu.org 20101122 | How financial development can maximise the impact of social protection policies in low-income countries 

September 15 2010

In good taste

Foodballs and Philippe Starck pasta aside, our food has remained largely untouched by the designer's influence. A looming global food crisis could change all that

Have you ever ordered chicken Kiev in a restaurant? You don't see it on menus much but last week I did and, of course, I ordered it. It came with a bone sticking out, and on the end of the bone was a little paper hat. First-class presentation. Strangely, though, this fine-dining version was blander than the real thing – the real thing being the kind made of reconstituted chicken pumped full of water and powdered pork protein that you find in supermarkets. Thinking about how the (authentic) ready-meal version is produced, I imagined it very much like the manufacture of a gas-assisted injection-moulded plastic chair. The raw material – let's call it meatstuff – is inserted into a mould and injected with air that forces it into shape, leaving a cavity. The only real difference is that you don't inject a chair with garlic butter.

It would be deeply unfashionable these days to confess to buying supermarket chicken Kiev. The slow food movement has successfully instilled the idea that eating seasonal, organic produce is the only healthy and ethical way forward. But that may turn out to be a rather romantic notion. We are already staring a global food crisis in the face, and the world's population is expected to grow by almost 3 billion people by mid-century. In which case, the industrialisation and genetic modification of food will probably only become more widespread.

The idea of food as a design product is not exactly new. Pasta is arguably the first example of a designed foodstuff, manufactured for centuries in hundreds of shapes, each one of which is designed to absorb sauce slightly differently – mass production by a high food culture. Philippe Starck had a go at designing a new pasta shape in the 1980s, as did the legendary Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, but neither novelty caught on. Really, it was the American TV dinner of the 1950s that turned food into a design product – it even came in a box designed to look like a television. Inspired by airline meals, the TV dinner dispensed with the time-consuming and messy process of cooking, and compacted the turkey roast into a neatly packaged commodity. In this country it all began in 1976, when Marks & Spencer launched its first ready meal. You guessed it: chicken Kiev.

We don't tend to think of food as design and yet we love it when celebrity chefs treat it as such. Even though most of us will never taste them, we are spellbound by the liquid-nitrogen-dipped creations of Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria, of The Fat Duck and El Bulli respectively. Their "molecular gastronomy" employs fundamental design principles, such as rethinking accepted norms and prioritising the user experience.

In a way it's surprising that there are not more designers working with food. They certainly exist though. The best known is the Catalan designer Martí Guixé. For more than a decade he has been experimenting with turning food into products, or – perhaps more accurately – experiences. He created the Foodball concept restaurant for shoe brand Camper, where, if it's not self-explanatory, all the food was ball-shaped. He's started a restaurant where everything on the menu is ordered from local takeaways, he's branded organic peas with images of female icons and he's made cakes that look like pie charts – the icing reveals the percentage of each ingredient in the recipe. He doesn't claim to know anything about cooking but, rather, is fascinated by the idea of edible objects.

Guixé believes that food is curiously under-designed, that it is an essentially conservative medium. No doubt that has to do with our – occasionally deluded – perception of it as somehow coming straight from nature. However, as the global food shortage starts to precipitate technological solutions, we may become more used to the idea of artificially produced nourishment. Last month, The Royal Society published a collection of papers on the future of food (covered in this newspaper), one of which speculated that artificial meat "grown in vats" was a viable way to meet our future demand for protein. Indeed it argued that "in vitro" meat was healthier and more hygienic than the real thing.

It is a testament to how diverse the design world has become that there are designers – albeit in the extreme fringe – who are already exploring the implications of that. Oron Catts, a former industrial designer who now operates out of a synthetic biology lab at the University of Western Australia, actually grew himself a steak in 2002. He used cells harvested from an unborn sheep. His Petri-dish steak was rather chewier than a real one, but Catts is not aiming for fine dining. His work – which, at the more "designer" end has included growing a "victimless" leather jacket – is intended to focus debate on the ethics of synthetic biology. On the one hand, we get to eat victimless meat, on the other, he argues, we are creating a new "semi-living class" for exploitation.

So where does the design come in? A recent graduate from London's Royal College of Art took the implications of work by Catts and his partner Ionat Zurr to its logical conclusion. James King, an interaction designer, asked a simple question: if a steak hasn't actually come from a cow, why should it be steak-shaped? In theory, it could take more aesthetic, abstract forms. He decided, though, to retain some link to the animal, instead using MRI scans of livestock and choosing the most aesthetically pleasing cross-sections. His MRI steak looks like a cross between a chop, a brain and a sea anemone. If you think that the premise of mass-produced chicken Kiev is simply verisimilitude – in other words, this object looks like a real stuffed chicken breast – then this is the opposite model. This is food with artistic licence.

Although the work of designers such as Catts and King is speculative, it raises interesting questions about the future role of designers in the food industry. Traditionally their role has simply been to package the food, to make consumables more desirable, to make it stand out on the shelf. Scientists believe that another decade of research is needed before in-vitro meat becomes commercially viable, but it raises the idea of a new role for the designer: not just packaging what we eat, but designing it.


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


July 23 2010

Points of culture

A series of debates at the Southbank Centre shows how Brazil understands things that supposedly 'developed' countries don't – not least about the transformative social power of art

Twenty years ago, it seemed as if Brazil couldn't stop dreaming about its future. Now the future has arrived; Brazil is an economic and political world leader with a seat at the globe's most influential table. Yet the country still faces the fundamental renegotiations of power – between rich and poor, women and men, black and white, indigenous and immigrant, city and rural communities. Recognising that without a new and radical approach Brazil will never achieve its promise for a just society, engaged artists in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador and in rural areas across the country are pioneering new approaches to giving communities a real voice. But their work doesn't spring randomly from unconnected initiatives – it's part of a strategic plan to create an entire network of socially committed cultural projects.

In 2003, the Brazilian government created an initiative called Points of Culture: thousands of community and arts projects of all sizes and types that would work to strengthen people's involvement in the life of their neighbourhoods and the larger society. The idea came from the legendary musician Gilberto Gil who had agreed to become culture minister for a five-year period under President Lula. The very act of having artists in the centre of government sent a signal of serious intent. Throughout his ministry poets, playwrights and philosophers worked in the executive, bringing a new language of aspiration and inventiveness to that of government.

But what does it mean when politicians pledge to put "imagination at the service of the people", as the Brazilian government has done? First, it's a recognition that culture and positive cultural expression is the foundation of identity and pride for all of us. But culture isn't simple, and one size doesn't fit all – it's very personal, particular to individuals, groups, tribes, neighbourhoods and regions. It has to spring from the circumstances of place, economics and tradition, and be captured in vivid and powerful ways. Second, politicians in Brazil believe that professional artists can play a key role in developing people's confidence, happiness and sense of self. Third, it's a declaration of their respect and love for the people of Brazil – regardless of their economic or educational privilege – and a desire to improve the lives and opportunities of all those millions of citizens who remain marginalized and unable to fulfil their potential. It was a bold, demanding mission to launch and to sustain, but one that has proved so successful it is now spreading to other parts of Latin America.

When I was creating Southbank Centre's summer-long Festival Brazil, I wanted to reveal what Brazil was thinking about; how its artistic vitality is bound up in its democratic urge to transform and reinvent the world, and how much the artists of Brazil believe in the creative capacity of everyone. Tonight, in a debate entitled The Edge of the Future: Renegotiating Power, Jose Junior – who founded the powerful AfroReggae movement – discusses the choice of young people to turn away from drug and gun culture and towards music, dance and poetry as a way of finding status and "family". Tomorrow, Luiz Eduardo Soares, formerly Brazil's National Secretary of Public Security, a man who dealt with some of Rio's most alarming clashes between police and gangs, will talk about how hip-hop artists and photographers helped him forge communication between lawmakers and young people.

For both these debates, there will be weighty contributions from some of the UK's important cultural projects, too. We will hear from the Koestler Trust, who work with prisoners and young offenders, about why the arts serves as a unique tool of rehabilitation. And Camila Batmanghelidjh brings her experience and vision of Kids Company and the central role that the arts can play in supporting young people to manage their circumstances differently.

The UK currently has the finest arts ecology in the world, including many outstanding cultural initiatives that work at grassroots level. But it doesn't have a comprehensive programme that offers communities – and particularly young people – the right to work with artists in ways that would substantially change their sense of what is possible. Britain is a society in flux, and we need bold ideas that strengthen our communities. Brazil's belief in the importance of culture to the lives of its people is far-sighted, and can provide inspiration to us all.


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


May 05 2010

Reportage aus Iowa City: "Armen-Lotto" - Ziehung jeden Montag | tagesschau.de | 20100425

Reportage aus dem Krisenzentrum in Iowa City
"Armen-Lotto" - Ziehung jeden Montag

Iowa City, eine Stadt im Mittleren Westen der USA: 18 Prozent der Menschen sind hier ohne Arbeit, viele sind auf Hilfe angewiesen. Der Andrang im Krisenzentrum von Iowa City ist inzwischen so groß, dass man ein "Armen-Lotto" einrichten musste. Nur wer das richtige Los zieht, bekommt Hilfe.

Reportage aus Iowa City: "Armen-Lotto" - Ziehung jeden Montag | tagesschau.de | 20100425

Reportage aus dem Krisenzentrum in Iowa City
"Armen-Lotto" - Ziehung jeden Montag

Iowa City, eine Stadt im Mittleren Westen der USA: 18 Prozent der Menschen sind hier ohne Arbeit, viele sind auf Hilfe angewiesen. Der Andrang im Krisenzentrum von Iowa City ist inzwischen so groß, dass man ein "Armen-Lotto" einrichten musste. Nur wer das richtige Los zieht, bekommt Hilfe.
Reposted bysantaprecaria santaprecaria

Tories discover poverty at last, but is it all in the family?

In the latest in our series in which Guardian writers address an issue they feel passionately about, Amelia Gentleman finds a mixed response to the Tory focus on family breakdown in their 'aspiration' to tackle child poverty

The Conservatives argue that the best way to tackle child poverty is not redistribution, but to look at the roots of poverty and address matters such as family breakdown, addiction and worklessness. Nikki Hewson, a divorced mother of five, is not sure she agrees.

She did not plan to find herself a single parent looking after so many children, but two sets of twins and an unhappy relationship with the children's father has left her unexpectedly alone and struggling financially.

Neither the Conservatives' proposed changes to the tax system in favour of married couples nor their desire to increase provision of relationship counselling would have prevented the marriage from collapsing, she says, drinking tea in her kitchen, raising her voice to make herself heard as the four-year-old twins rollerskate around the room and their 13-year-old siblings storm in and out to collect their breakfast.

"I believed in marriage. We had a big white wedding when I was 22, but we were too young. By the end, the relationship was broken – there was nothing anyone outside could have done to mend it," she says. She had enjoyed working, first as a teaching assistant and later as a lunchtime supervisor, until a stroke made it difficult for her to continue. Money shortages were part of the problem, she adds, rather than the consequence of the marital breakdown.

Benefits she receives from the state put food on the table and clothes on her children's backs, but money is tight so she no longer goes out with friends or buys new things to wear. In the winter, all six of them sleep in one room to cut heating bills. Still, with careful budgeting she is able to give the children what they need. Today they are planning an outing, and will take a train into London to visit HMS Belfast. "I've bought less food this week, to put money aside for it," she says. "Instead of meat and potatoes, they've had beans or egg on toast."

The issue of child poverty in the UK has not been much discussed during the campaign, but it has a newly prominent place in Conservative party literature.

A word search of the parties' manifestos shows how far the theme has edged up the Conservative agenda. It is a crude way to measure commitment, but it is revealing to see that there are seven mentions of the word "inequality" in the Conservative manifesto, and not one in the Labour document; and while the word poverty is used 18 times by Labour and five times by the Liberal Democrats, the Conservative manifesto has 20 references.

Despite Labour's drive to eradicate the problem, there are 4 million children living in poverty in the UK, about 30% of all children, according to a definition that classifies children growing up in a household with less than 60% of the median income for the UK as beneath the poverty line. These children tend to do less well at school and are more likely to have health problems, five times less likely to go to university and less likely to find well-paid jobs.

For the first time all three major parties express a desire in their campaign literature to end child poverty by 2020. David Cameron has repeatedly spoken of his determination to address poverty, accusing Labour of letting inequality grow and poverty worsen.

He got a standing ovation during his conference speech last autumn when he demanded: "Excuse me? Who made the poorest poorer? Who left youth unemployment higher? Who made inequality greater? … No, not the wicked Tories. You, Labour: you're the ones that did this to our society. So don't you dare lecture us about poverty."

In the final leaders' debate, he said: "I believe the test of a good and strong society is how we look after the most vulnerable, the most frail and the poorest." This is a wounding line of attack on a party whose campaign to reduce levels of child poverty it inherited from the Conservatives has been overshadowed by failure to meet a self-imposed timetable to show progress. Gordon Brown, pointing to Labour's commitment to seeing the minimum wage rise with earnings, responded in the Guardian this week: "I know in my bones that Labour is the only party with a passion to eradicate poverty."

Campaign groups working on the eradication of child poverty should be feeling thrilled at the way this issue has moved towards the mainstream. Instead there is uncertainty about the Conservatives' approach and strength of their commitment while the Labour administration's achievements over the past 13 years elicits only guarded approval.

The main cause for unease is the fundamentally different vision for tackling child poverty proposed by the Conservatives. Cameron has dismissed Labour's solution as "more and more redistribution, means-tested benefits and tax credits", and says: "They haven't addressed what is keeping people poor – the family breakdown, the failing schools, the fact that people are stuck on welfare. It's those things that are keeping people trapped in poverty and making them poorer."

On education and employment, the two main parties are broadly in harmony, but the identification of family breakdown as a trigger sets them apart. The Conservative leader has been in touch with counselling organisation Relate to discuss how relationship and parenting education might be made more widely available, and some charities, such as Family Action, that work with struggling families are supportive of this shift in approach.

"I think he is absolutely right," says Helen Dent, chief executive of Family Action, a charity that offers support to women like Nikki Hewson. "There are some families who need a whole lot more practical and emotional support if they are to avoid family breakdown. Money is not the only factor."

Elsewhere there is more ambivalence. Fergus Drake, director of UK programmes with Save the Children, welcomes the Conservatives' focus on poverty: "We feel we are hearing the Conservatives speak about poverty in a way they haven't done for decades."

But he adds that the charity would "be concerned" to see "a shift away from the financial aspects of child poverty to areas around family breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse".

"We would say poverty causes family breakdown," he says, rather than vice versa. "If you are worried about putting food on the table, or being able to turn on the heater so you can have a hot bath, the stress that causes to a relationship can make things really difficult."

Tim Nichols, of the Child Poverty Action Group, agrees that the party should be careful not to confuse causes and consequences. "We don't think that this is robust strategy," he says. "Tackling child poverty can't be done without more redistribution."

Stephen Timms, the minister responsible for developing the government's child poverty strategy, says he has a sense that Cameron is avoiding the issue when he talks about addressing poverty.

"The root cause of child poverty is a lack of income. I get the feeling that they are trying to change the subject to more nebulous things, things like family disadvantage, not income. But this is poverty we are talking about; it is about income."

Some charities are also wondering if there is a subtle change in language from the Conservatives in its attitude towards the goal, first set out by Tony Blair in 1999, and enacted in legislation earlier this year, of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020. Labour speaks of this as a "commitment", they point out, while Conservative politicians refer to it only as an "aspiration". Others note that the Conservatives' record on inequality and poverty in the 1980 and 1990s (when the number of children living in poverty rose from one in seven to one in three), does not inspire confidence.

Theresa May, shadow work and pensions secretary, dismisses these concerns. "We supported the Child Poverty Act when it was going through – I don't think there is any difference in how important we believe it to be. There is a difference in how we want to achieve it," she says. "Labour has a one-dimensional approach: it is about income and the tax credit system. We believe we won't be able to deal with it unless we tackle the root causes – family breakdown, debt, addiction, worklessness. Income has a role to play but we have a more holistic approach."

Child poverty is a peculiar proxy issue – a more palatable shorthand for addressing inequality and poverty more generally. Clearly, long-term success is linked to a mesh of social, education and employment policies and with how well the economy is performing.

In terms of Labour's record, this has been a hard area to squeeze campaigning points from because its successes have been mixed. While activists credit the Labour administration for putting the issue on the political agenda, there is also disappointment that early successes have stalled and ministers failed to meet their own interim target of halving child poverty by the end of this year.

According to the End Child Poverty campaign, between 1997 and 2007-8 half a million children had been lifted out of poverty – the result, among other things, of child tax credits, the minimum wage, and focus on helping lone parents back into work. The government predicts that by the end of the year that figure will have risen to 1.1 million, missing the 2010 target by 600,000.

Research from a US academic last month interpreted the figures more favourably, arguing that by one measure child poverty was cut in two by the Blair-Brown administration, outstripping attempts by the US and many European neighbours to address it.

But any celebration of this achievement is complicated by the parallel rise in inequality. The National Equality Panel report published this year concluded that Labour had failed to reverse the large gulf that opened between the rich and the poor in the 1980s, and found that the richest 10% of the population is now more than 100 times as wealthy as the poorest 10% of society.

On the doorsteps of council flats in the Regent's Park and Kensington North constituency there is no talk of poverty. The John Aird estate stands in the shadow of the white stucco mansions of St John's Wood, a juxtaposition that symbolizes the stark inequalities of modern Britain, but inequality is not a subject that comes up much either.

Labour's Karen Buck is fighting to retain her seat in one of the most socially polarised areas of Britain, a constituency that has some of the most expensive houses in the country alongside one of the highest levels of entitlement to free school meals, one of the highest numbers of households claiming incapacity benefit and one of the highest numbers of children being brought up by unemployed parents. "If they are talking about their own experiences, people will not use the word poverty. They might express it in terms of a struggle or in terms of injustice but they won't describe themselves as living in poverty," she says as she makes her way through the estate, snatching conversations on the staircases, accosting residents by the lift entrances.

"Instead they will talk about the situations that can lead them into poverty. People feel very strongly about the costs of childcare and housing being so high that they are unable to make work pay. Or they might talk about the non-financial aspects of poverty – overcrowded housing and poor housing conditions."

Buck, who was this month named MP of the year by the Child Poverty Action Group for the work she has done for low-income families, is despondent at her party's failure to do more. "I deeply regret that we have missed the 2010 targets, and that the very, very good progress we made until four years ago has tended to falter," she says.

But she has little faith in the Conservatives' approach. "It makes me so angry that smoke comes out of my ears," she says. "Only a minority of families are below the poverty line because of complex factors like family breakdown. The majority have dropped below the poverty line because work does not pay or is not available. People are poor because they don't have enough money."


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April 30 2010

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April 09 2010

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"Kinderarmut in Deutschland" via Newsletter: evangelische Akademie in Tutzing bei München - Tagung 19.-20.April 2010



Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

jedes sechste Kind in Deutschland lebt in relativer Armut.
Anlass genug für die Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, gemeinsam mit dem Deutschen Kinderhilfswerk eine Tagung zu diesem brisanten Thema anzubieten:

Kinderarmut in Deutschland
19. - 20. April 2010
Tagungsstätte Schloss Tutzing

Unsere Experten, darunter der bekannte Armutsforscher Prof. Richard Hauser, diskutieren über Ursachen, vor allem aber Strategien zur Bekämpfung der Armut. Die Journalistin Maria von Welser, stellvertretende Vorsitzende von UNICEF Deutschland, liest aus ihren Sozialreportagen "Leben im Teufelskreis".

Bei der Tagung sind noch Plätze frei; das vollständige Programm finden Sie unter:

http://www.ev-akademie-tutzing.de/?locus=http://www.ev-akademie-tutzing.de/doku/programm/detail.php3?lfdnr=1527&part=detail

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Dr. Ulrike Haerendel
Studienleiterin
EVANGELISCHE AKADEMIE TUTZING

Reposted bysantaprecaria santaprecaria

January 19 2010

D. R. of Congo: The hazards of neglect

Congoblog is a marvel. Every post deserves a mention, but here are some of the more arresting posts to have appeared so far in January:

From Kisangani, Boyomais laments the ‘disastrous' conditions in his country's health clinics, where “the order of the day well known to all is: no money, no care”.

by Luba for Congoblog.net

by Luba for Congoblog.net

The wife of one patient complains that:

Nous avons du mal à fermer l’œil la nuit tellement il y a des moustiques. Mon mari a des problèmes d’estomac mais, dans ces conditions, il n’est pas surprenant qu’il soit atteint de la malaria dans cet hôpital. Les moustiquaires que nous avons trouvé ne servent plus à rien car il a des trous partout.

There are so many mosquitoes that we can hardly close our eyes at night. My husband has stomach problems but in these conditions, it won't be surprising if he catches malaria in this hospital. The mosquito nets that we found are useless as they're full of holes.

From the capital, Mwana Kin reports on a lethal hazard arising from disrepair:

Au fil des années, les câbles de la SNEL sont sortis de terre et arpentent les rues des principaux quartiers. Les jours de pluie, le mélange explosif entre le non fonctionnement du système d’évacuation des eaux et la présence des câbles dans la rue fait plusieurs victimes.

Over the years, the cables of SNEL [the national electricity company] have come out of the ground and run along the roads of the main residential areas. When it rains, the explosive mix of the lack of drainage and the presence of these cables claims many victims.

As the prospect of elections in 2011 looms, Cédric Kalonji observes that:

La majorité des promesses électorales à la veille du scrutin de 2006 ne sont pas sortis de la boite à discours pour se matérialiser. La population se rend progressivement compte qu’elle a été roulée. Loin d’être dupes, honorables et excellences pensent déjà à la suite. Tous les moyens sont bons pour conserver une place au chaud, à l’abri de tous les tracas auxquels les congolais ordinaires font face au quotidien.

The majority of 2006 electoral promises haven't materialised. The population is realising it's been taken for a ride. Far from being foolish, the ‘honorables and excellencies' are already thinking ahead. No means are off-limits in order to keep a comfortable place, sheltered from all the daily hassles faced by ordinary Congolese.

February 19 2009

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