Stir Magazine is an online magazine that features articles and interviews on the international co-operative movement, the emergence of the commons and collaborative networks, and other community-orientated alternatives in technology, agriculture, food, sports, energy, education and other important aspects of our lives.
We’re excited to be launching into print as a quarterly magazine in April. We have opened our subscription service with GoCardless for the print edition. It’s £16 for four issues inc P&P and you can subscribe by clicking here.
We have recently published a crowdfunded book of alternatives, raising over £5000 from 135 crowdfunders. STIR Vol.1 involved over 160 people who edited, designed, authored, illustrated and funded the collection of articles and interviews.
Editor’s Note (Spring Issue – Number 3)
At the beginning of The Take, a documentary about the Argentinean Recovered Factories Movement, Naomi Klein shows an interview she had done a few years earlier. After presenting a list of the gruesome acts and horrors of capitalism, the interviewer challenges her by saying, “But you’re not giving us any alternatives?” To this, she later admits, “He had a good point…at a certain point you have to talk about what you’re fighting for”.
The absence of demands from the Occupy Movement has been a conundrum for conventional political commentators. What they have failed to understand is that those who make demands expect an agency, authority or expert to implement them. Today’s protestors are appealing to themselves, not governments, for social change. This point was nicely made by Nathan Schneider in a recent article in the The Nation, “Thank You, Anarchists”. He says the occupiers have “reminded us that politics is not a matter of choosing among what we’re offered but of fighting for what we and others actually need, not to mention what we hope for.”
This is not to ignore or downplay the crucial role that commentary plays in our understanding of the political and social terrain, but the disproportionate fixation on Washington and London produces mere spectators who can only rely on financial and political elites to save them and who can only be disappointed and failed by them. This read-only political culture dominates our experience of our options and choices, and the German comedian Klaus Hansen expresses this reversible point in terms of commercial sport — “Football is like democracy: twenty-two people playing and millions watching.”
As Stephen Duncombe says in his interview, “It’s not enough to change people’s minds. You have to change the social, political and economic structures in which they live.” Convincing people that we are in a mess is the easy part, if they need to be convinced at all. Showing people that there are successful and viable ways of producing food, providing education, playing sports, managing resources, and sharing creative content in ways that are not subordinated to profit is what is really at stake.
This is exactly what the successful community-led campaign against the third runway at Heathrow demonstrates, the employee-owned Essential food cooperative promotes, democracy schools such as A.S. Neill’s Summerhill practice, and the numerous other examples in this issue: that, as the slogan at last year’s US Social Forum read, not only is ‘Another world possible…Another world is Happening’.
Stir Magazine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. For licensing information on the photographs and illustrations, contact the creator.
Editor: Jonathan Gordon-Farleigh
Producer: Abby McFlynn
Email: stirtoaction [at] gmail [dot] com