Our annual review for 2015 provides an overview of STWR’s activities over the course of the year as well as our key areas of focus for 2016, which includes ongoing research and writing projects alongside new plans for campaigning, networking and publications.
- Research and publications
- The ‘global call for sharing’ campaign
- Plans and projects for 2016
During 2015, STWR published a wide range of reports, articles and blogs that examine pressing global issues through the lens of sharing, such as the sustainable development goals, climate change and universal basic income schemes. In particular, we released a major new study on the principle of sharing by Mohammed S. Mesbahi called Heralding Article 25: a strategy for world transformation, which is soon to be professionally published as a separate book. Numerous articles, reports and studies were also translated into several languages including German and Spanish, and a new Japanese version of the website is currently being finalised to enable our Japanese content to be more readily accessible. We were also able to increase our supporter base significantly, with well over a thousand additional individuals and organisations from over 60 countries signing up in support of the ’global call for sharing’ campaign.
Over the course of 2015, STWR published over 40 original items on sharing.org, including reports, essays, and numerous articles and blogs - all of which were widely shared through social media networks, communicated through our newsletters, and republished in various websites and magazines in the UK, the US and other countries. In addition to this content, 20 new translations of STWR’s content were also published. The majority of these were new versions of Mohammed Mesbahi’s series of studies on the principle of sharing, but a selected range of articles by other staff members have also been translated into Japanese.
Heralding Article 25: a strategy for world transformation
As part of an ongoing series of studies by STWR’s founder, Mohammed Mesbahi’s latest essay focuses on a theme that has been raised in several of his past publications: for activists and ordinary people of goodwill to adopt Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as their protest slogan, goal and vision in the immediate time ahead.
Mesbahi argues that meeting the basic requirements outlined in Article 25 -for adequate food, housing, healthcare and social security for all - has profound implications for the future direction of international relations and global development. Mesbahi goes on to suggest that now is the time for citizens in every country to unite through huge, continuous demonstrations that call on governments to share the world’s resources and finally guarantee these long-agreed human rights.
The study is currently in the process of being published as a short book by Troubador publishing, and will be released as an e-book, paperback and hardback book that STWR will communicate widely in the new year.
Articles, blogs and presentations
In 2015, STWR staff wrote a wide variety of articles exploring sharing-related themes in relation to range of contemporary issues. For example, with the activities and perspectives of Pope Francis regularly highlighted in the mainstream press, STWR wrote a number of articles from a more spiritual viewpoint, including a reflection on the Laudato Si, and a commentary on the spiritual imperative to share our world. Reflecting on the interconnected issues of climate change, hunger and life-threatening deprivation, STWR’s Adam Parsons also compared and contrasted the views and writings of Pope Francis, Mohammed Mesbahi and Naomi Klein on these pressing global concerns.
Articles were also published in relation to the role that the commons can play in the great transition that lies ahead – one based on an interview with the P2P Foundation, another that examined the concept of the ‘market-state’. A number of blogs highlighted the recent work of the UN Commons Cluster and reflected on how nations could feasibly ‘share the sky’ – an issue that was increasingly discussed this year in the lead up to the COP21 climate change negotiations. A report was also published (and widely republished) that examined in some detail the question of how to fund a universal basic income through the value of shared resources.
In a series of blogs and editorials, STWR highlighted issues as diverse as the World Economic Forum that took place in Davos, new research and campaign initiatives by Oxfam that essentially call for more effective forms of sharing, as well as relevant reports by Tearfund, the New Economics Foundation, and others. As usual, the issue of tax avoidance was also making headlines, and STWR highlighted a campaign by a coalition of NGOs for a for a new law in the UK that could make sure that corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
The Great Transition Initiative (GTI) highlighted two STWR blogs that commented on major essays featured on the GTI website. The first questioned the relevance and significance of the degrowth debate, and the other examined the notion of Common Wealth Trusts, as explicated in an article by commons theorist Peter Barnes. In May, an interview with STWR was published in World Future Review, which highlights the urgent need to reform global governance institutions. Another interview with STWR that highlights our perspectives in relation to the activities of the Network of Spiritual Progressives will be published in Tikkun Magazine in early 2016.
STWR also published a substantial report on the Sustainable Development Goals, which were inaugurated by the United Nations in September. The report aimed to describe the reality of hunger, extreme poverty and preventable deaths in more accurate terms than these issues are reported in the mainstream media. Moreover, the report combined this analysis with recommendations based on Mesbahi’s study on Article 25 (see above). An article that highlights the core points of the report was widely republished across the alternative media and is due to be published in the open access journal Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review, in April 2016.
In addition to these and many other blogs and articles, STWR was invited to a number of events where we presented our work and perspectives on a range of issues. These included three sharing economy events (the OuiShare festival in Paris, an ‘Excluded communities and the future of sharing’ event in London, and the launch of Global sharing week at the House of Commons); as well as presentations at the launch of the United Earth platform in Rotterdam, and at the Lucis Trust’s World Goodwill seminar at the Amba hotel in London. In November, STWR was also invited to the Smart CSOs conference in Berlin, where we raised awareness about our work and engaged in discussion on a wide range of progressive issues.
Furthermore, STWR's advice was sought by both MIT Press and Pluto Press in 2015 for book proposals they received in relation to the sharing economy (a subject that STWR has investigated and commented upon over some years). Both publishing houses expressed their gratitude for STWR's advice and feedback.
Having launched the global call for sharing campaign statement and common cause report in 2015, STWR has widely communicated the report (Sharing as our common cause) and its accompanying campaign statement in order to promote our work and encourage sign-ons from a diverse range of individuals and organisations. 1,178 individuals have now signed up from more than 62 countries, alongside 65 organisations working on a full range of local, national and global issues. These endorsements have significantly increased the number of subscribers to STWR’s newsletter by more than 50% in the past year alone. However, in line with our campaign objectives, there is clearly more that can be done to promote the global call for sharing campaign (see the section below on plans for 2016 for more information).
There are three key areas of focus for STWR during 2016:
Early in 2016, we hope to go live with a new Japanese portal on the existing website, which has already been designed and created by our web-developers, NDP-Studio. A new, sophisticated system now allows a Japanese version of the website to be displayed via a button on the existing site, which then displays the website fully in Japanese, and enables the many articles that have been translated into Japanese to be accessible in the same way that English content currently is. Hodaka Murata is working on the translation work, and we hope to go live in early January once the site has been fully tested. The new system will also enable people to sign up to the global call for sharing via a Japanese web form, which will enable us to identify our Japanese speaking supporters and send them tailored newsletters in Japanese. We will also be able to add additional languages to this portal as needed in the future, such as German and Spanish.
Publications and videos
STWR will continue exploring a full range of pressing global issues through the lens of sharing during 2016, with an additional focus on climate change, as well as other issues that embody the global dimensions of sharing wealth, power or resources. Aside from the publication of Mesbahi’s Article 25 study as a professionally published book, a number of additional studies will be published by STWR over the course of 2016, the first of which will examine the concept of the commons in spiritual and global terms. Towards the end of the year, it is expected that a sufficient number of studies will be completed by Mesbahi to enable STWR to publish them professionally as a book that examines the principle of sharing from spiritual and psychological as well as social, economic and political perspectives.
Campaigning and networking
During 2016, we will continue promoting STWR’s global call for sharing campaign through blogs and articles that can highlight some of the key themes of the campaign statement. As part of this process, we are planning to produce and launch a short promotional video for the campaign, which will also act as an advertisement for the organisation that can be shared on social networks and help raise awareness of our work. We will also maintain our networking efforts among organisations that work on sharing-related issues, and continue to give talks and presentations that further highlight the campaign and our activities whenever possible. Similarly, we will continue to make use of our website, social networks and newsletters to communicate our work and maintain the emerging conversation about the need for more effective forms of sharing wealth and resources.
Supporting STWR's ongoing research and advocacy work
Our work would not be possible without your support. STWR is funded entirely through private donations from individuals, and we do not receive any funding from governments or other institutions. Nor are we affiliated with any political party or corporate enterprise. Since we are not a registered charity and all of our funding is provided on an unrestricted basis, we remain free to take an explicitly political position on the global issues we address, and we are able to channel our limited income directly towards our research and advocacy. As is currently the case for many progressive organisations, our small team of staff and volunteers are facing mounting budgetary pressures. Your donations can help us to maintain our website and continue researching, writing and communicating our work while generating support within the global justice movement for the principle of sharing as a solution to global crises. Please consider making a donation by following this link: www.sharing.org/donate