Video compiled and created thanks to Northern Visions TV
What is CfC?
CfC is here to enable the people who are actively involved in making positive change in their communities and localities across the island of Ireland, to work together. We are opening the space for shared learning, peer support, practical hope and wise collaborative action. We want you to realise that you are not alone; that if we work together, in mutual support, we can be far more effective in shifting our culture towards one that is open, inclusive and cooperative, a culture that is engaged, caring and resilient, and that is good for people and planet.
Who is CfC?
Collaboration for Change (CfC) has a small organising group who handle admin and communication. We are Noeleen, Marian, Kevin and Bridget.
However, CfC is led and driven by all those who get involved, making it a collaborative and participatory citizen initiative. CfC involves people who are already working for progressive change whether that be in women’s rights, workers’ rights, transgender rights, disability rights, young people’s rights, LGB rights, participatory democracy, monetary reform, a Basic Income, cooperatives and democratic workplaces, community banking, local currencies, environmental protection, zero waste, the cultural and urban commons.
We are non-governmental, we have no membership fees, and we get by on little or no funding (which allows us to be independent and free to serve the needs of activists rather than funders).
Anybody who has a desire for progressive change is welcome to get involved – whether you already work on a progressive project or whether you simply understand that we can’t go on the way we’re doing and you want to do something about it.
Why was CfC established and why now?
Despite the wholesale acceptance of TINA (that There Is No Alternative to the way things are) we believe that there is an alternative, and not only that, we believe that alternative is entirely achievable.
Our current situation is one where there is a mismatch between our lived context and what we aspire to. We understand clearly that this has consequences for our wellbeing and for those coming after us, and we are frustrated. We feel unsettled by having to act within the context of significant uncertainty and lack of power.
On the one hand we struggle with a scarcity mentality which encourages an excessively competitive and callous culture, and reinforces segregation, tribalism, polarity and fragmentation. We are increasingly disconnected from natural ecologies
And yet, on the other hand, we do act in abundance motivated by a sense of hope and a certain amount of feeling we have nothing to lose. We see the best parts of ourselves as being people capable of independent thought and contributing to the common good. We see reasons to be hopeful in our curiosity and resilience, and in our joining with others who seek to go on a similar journey.
There is power in small things and people and initiatives are already on the move.
Is our current way of life really in need of change?
The short answer is yes. Let’s look at some of the headline challenges we all face.
Wealth inequalities are at obscene levels. Just 10% of the world’s population owns about 80% of the world’s wealth. The other 90% of the population must make do with what’s left. In apple pie terms, that’s akin to dividing a 10-slice pie among 10 people so that 1 person gets 8 slices and the other 9 people share 2 slices.
The income gap is wider than ever before. There’s something very wrong in a world where a CEO can earn £150,000 a week while a minimum wage brings in around £250 a week. Jobs are becoming more casualised too with the rise of the gig economy, part-time and shift work, and zero-hours contracts. At the same time, while most of us feel the squeeze on our weekly wage and struggle under the triple threat of rising costs, austerity and debt, corporate profits have reached unprecedented levels reaching £10-£15 billion per year.
The one and only economic model we follow is based on continuous growth. In a world of finite resources it’s a failing model. Economic recession is the norm with outright crashes brought about by financial recklessness of a few people. And to rub salt into the wounds, when the economy crashes, it’s public money that pays for the losses of those involved while everybody else has to tolerate cuts and austerity.
If that wasn’t bad enough, our taxation systems aid and abet these wealth extremes with tax incentives and loopholes. It’s estimated that tax havens handle an unrecorded global wealth that is lost to public taxes around the world and amounting to around $18.5 trillion or $18,500,000,000,000, a 14-digit number!
And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. We’ve witnessed the privatisation of our public services, rising physical and mental ill health, widespread crime, and the breakdown of our communities.
The environmental costs are staggering. Our over-dependency on fossil fuels, depletion and over-use of natural resources, dependency on global trade, reckless disposal of waste and intensive farming practices, all of these practices are bringing about rapid global warming, rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions, deforestation, species extinction, diminishing biodiversity, and destabilisation of fragile ecosystems. We are bringing the planet to the brink.
So what can we do?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged when you start thinking about all of this, it’s easy to believe it’s just the way things are, that there’s no alternative, as though these problems are laws of nature like gravity. However, the truth is these things aren’t laws of nature, they’re man-made. We can make them over again but better, not individually or in isolation but together in collaboration. All the solutions to these problems already exist. Brilliant, practical, achievable solutions that put people and the planet first, that give us a society based on equality and cooperation not competition and greed. By working together we have the power to reimagine our way of life for the better.
I'm interested but I don't have much time to spare. Won't joining CfC just add to my workload?
We all lead busy lives, that’s a fact of life – and it even part of the problem. The last thing CfC should do is add to your workload or to the pressures of your life. CfC has been designed to complement the progressive work you’re already involved in, and to make space for work you believe is necessary.
The initiative seeks to be holistic, not single-issue focused - although we do recognise the great urgency of the climate emergency. CfC is inclusive of the full range of societal spheres (i.e. social, environmental, political, economic, cultural and civic). No matter what your interest, your area of expertise or your current work, if it’s progressive, it can find its home as part of CfC; you simply have to identify where your work fits and then keep on working at it.
CfC is designed in such a way that no single issue takes priority over another, each is important and necessary, so whatever work you’re involved in is equally valuable as what others are doing.
By joining up our efforts in all their diversity, it allows us to offer each other mutual support, solidarity and respect, allows us to learn from each other, and allows us to be stronger and more effective than we would be on our own.
By joining up our efforts, a win for one progressive action is a win for all of us.
What are the benefits of 'joining CfC?
You can use the map to: Make your activism visible | Identify who else is working on similar projects | Find others to collaborate with.
You can use the platform to: Share your ideas for progressive change | Find out about the ideas of others.