Activists talk mental health

A feminist, a squatter, an environmentalist and a human rights activist speak: how does taking action affect mental health? This is the fifth article in Transformation's politics of mental health series.

Feminism helped me survive a forced marriage

I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of fleeing a forced marriage a decade ago. Writing and feminist activism helped me find a space for survival. This is the second article in Transformation's series on the politics of mental health.

Mental health: why we're all sick under neoliberalism

We don't understand mental health, allocating the label only to those who are struggling. So good mental health, and its political causes, become invisible. An introduction to Transformation's new series on the politics of mental health. Content warning: anxiety, suicidal thoughts.

Philanthropic power erosion: the Edge Fund alternative

When power and privilege are acknowledged and addressed, decisions over funding can unite people instead of dividing them. This is the ninth article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society.

Demand homes not jails: queer homelessness is being criminalized

Cities globally are starting to criminalize homelessness: banning begging and making free food provision illegal. I work within LGBTQ communities, whose multiple oppressions lead to a high level of homelessness. When I see police disrupting rough sleepers, I remember their life stories.

Nothing about us, without us: reversing the power dynamics of philanthropy

If money is power, then control over money has to be democratized. What if grants to social movements of sex workers were distributed by sex workers themselves? This is the eighth article in our series on money and social transformation.

Not just about the money: corporatization is weakening activism and empowering big business

Activist and advocacy organizations increasingly look and act like multinational corporations. Is it worth the price? This is the seventh installment in our series on money and social transformation.

A year of living generously

Genuine happiness involves sharing time and money, but beware of thinking that the poor belong to some other tribe. Do not judge, presume or patronize. There are no unimportant acts of kindness.

How I learned to let go and be myself

I was bullied in school for not fitting in, while at home my father abused alcohol to cope with his pain. I learned there is something wrong with some people. To avoid this trap of authority, we must allow for the queer and glorious differences between us.

Social room: making a more civil society

The US school shooters weren't just pathological murderers, they were responding to suffocating beliefs about masculinity. The 'sea of pink', Nelson Mandela and the AIDS memorial quilt show that to thrive, everyone needs more social room.

Is laughter the best medicine for monopoly capitalism?

When the New York Public Library hosted an event with Mexican business-philanthropist Carlos Slim, the night got a whole lot funnier when 50 people staged a laugh-in. This is the third in our series of articles about the role of money in the transformation of society.

Enough talk about intersectionality. Let's get on with it

Feminists today are occupied by seemingly endless Twitter debates. But this is a politics of representation: our attention needs to move towards a politics of change. What are we not doing while so many of our movement's resources are being used like this?

The limits of non-cooperation as a strategy for social change

Civil disobedience is vital, but it is insufficient to transform society. A new science of cooperation illuminates the path ahead.

The transforming power of metaphor

Metaphors are the basic building blocks of how we think and communicate with one another. Let’s use more that speak to the highest elements of human nature, not just war and competition.

Why we need radical love to create change

Living on an isolated island with my dog, it was a departure to find myself with 4,000 other LGBTQ people at the Creating Change conference. From Laverne Cox's opening speech to my yoga workshop, I learned that love is central to queer liberation.

What would you do in a revolution?

Our reviewer went to the theatre to find out. Coney, a British theatre company, have framed a political experiment that places an audience at a crucial juncture in a nation's history: the success of a revolution. 

#Iceland3: people who take food from bins should be applauded, not arrested

The British court case against three men who "skipped" food from Iceland supermarket has been dropped. But food waste, food banks, and corporate capitalism are the real political scandal.

Silence = death: Sarah Schulman on ACT UP, the forgotten resistance to the AIDS crisis

When the AIDS activist movement ACT UP was formed in New York in 1987, 50 per cent of Americans wanted people with AIDS quarantined, while 15 per cent favoured tattoos. An interview with Sarah Schulman on her film United In Anger: A History of ACT UP. 

Thank You Pete Seeger

“We are not afraid…we shall all be free.” Pete Seeger died last night, but the power of his music lives on. One activist pays tribute to another.

“Being poor is not a crime:” transforming the struggle for housing rights worldwide

From singing in New York courtrooms to gluing door locks in Berlin: the struggle to protect housing rights is about more than bricks and mortar. 

Suffering happens, but Pakistan's Afghan refugees are more than just victims

The word 'refugee' conjures up images of rows of tents, barefoot children and saddened faces. The reality is more complex. My research shows that Afghan refugees have developed lives alongside Pakistani nationals in Karachi's poor katchi abadi areas: marrying, working, loving and learning together. 

What’s so special about storytelling for social change?

A new world requires new stories, but people will only listen to them when they themselves are included in the storyline. This requires a ‘gear-shift’ in conversations about radical action.

Aloneness is central to our collective wellbeing

Is spending time alone an escape from reality, or a gateway to more effective social action? A walk can be transformative when no one is babbling in your ear.

The world should be watching India’s coup of common people

Can the new Aam Aadmi party transform Indian democracy? Or will high expectations be dissipated as the party's promises are challenged and its weaknesses are tested? Either way, other movements for social and political change should take heed.

Why the monster Grendel has no place in activism today

I was at the anti-fracking protest at Balcombe in the UK when another activist said austerity is "a beast bigger than all of us". Then I started to see monsters everywhere. 

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