- Overview of the year
- Campaigning, activism and events
- Research, writing and publications
- Plans and priorities for 2023
The cause of sharing the world's resources reached critical new heights in 2022. After the global pandemic combined with war, financial shocks and climate disasters, the number of people suffeing from extreme deprivation reached an all-time high. A record 339 million people were in need of life-saving supportーequivalent to the third most populous country in the world. Yet United Nations agencies also faced a record funding gap for humanitarian relief efforts, with global needs constantly outpacing pledges. While economic inequality continued to rise exponentially, the world moved backwards on its official goal to end hunger and poverty in all its forms by 2030.
One of STWR's main objectives was to raise public awareness of this reality of poverty amidst plenty, especially the avoidable injustice of famine in the 21st century. Polling showed that, in the UK, most people were unaware that the worst drought in 40 years was taking place in the Horn of Africa, causing a person to die from starvation every 48 seconds. STWR therefore persisted in our advocacy for an international emergency programme, in line with the Brandt Commission proposals of over 40 years ago. Calling on ordinary people to uphold this simple vision remained central to our organisational activities through blog writing, social media, attending and hosting events, and publishing our books (see more below).
The Russian invasion of Ukraine that escalated in 2022 further highlighted the world's distorted priorities, with disastrous humanitarian impacts for people in the Global South who had no part in the war. In our events and online activity, we raised our voices about the colossal rise in military spending while oversas aid was cut to the world's poorer nationsーjust as rising global food prices were pushing 65 million more people into extreme poverty. We also added our support to calls for a windfall tax on the giant corporations who made bonanza profits from energy and food price hikes during a cost-of-living crisis.
The climate crisis was another focus for STWR as the United Nations warned that humanity is facing 'collective suicide' unless we keep global temperatures below critical thresholds. During the COP27 conference in Egypt, STWR promoted the civil society vision of a 'just transition' that is based on the principles of equity, fair shares and historical responsibility. While we applauded the establishment of a new 'loss and damage' fund, we also spelled out how far the UN talks remain from a rapid, equitable transition from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy systems. Our key message was reiterated from the book on climate change by STWR's founder, Mohammed Sofiane Mesbahi: that now is the time for massive, continuous worldwide protests to compel our governments to shift towards zero carbon economies as an overriding priority.
STWR's advocacy for mass public mobilisations also extended beyond environmental issues to include the 'age of discontent' against a growing rich-poor divide. Research showed that millions of people worldwide are rising up to express their demands for economic and social justice in the face of austerity cuts, privatisation policies, declining healthcare, food price inflation and more. STWR persisted in making the case for a transnational citizens movement that links together these issues under the banner of Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, asking for no more than an adequate standard of living for all. This 'people's strategy' for a more equal and sustainable world remains at the heart of our educational, campaigning, research and publishing activities as an organisation, as further outlined below.
STWR promoted our campaign for Article 25 through regular online talks aimed at interested parties in the UK, Western Europe and the USA. Our presentations outlined the current reality of extreme poverty across the world, and the need for human rights to be protected by the rule of law within every nation. Participants were invited to discuss these issues and join a growing movement that calls on governments to 'end poverty in a world of plenty' through sharing global resources. Many of the participants were concerned citizens who had an interest in our cause for economic sharing through their own work in food banks, homeless shelters, church groups and other activities with low-income groups. The talk often had sizeable turnouts with animated discussions after STWR's presentation, and support was generated from numerable individuals who sought to promote our vision of peaceful, continuous demonstrations under the banner of Article 25.
Other events that STWR supported or attended throughout the year included the 'Fight for Our Future' rallies in solidarity with climate activists in the United States; the Global Climate Strike; the 'End Austerity' campaign and activism festival; the 'Global Week of Action for Justice and Debt Cancellation'; global youth demands for a patent waiver for coronavirus vaccines’, along with other calls for 'vaccine equity'; and the civil society mobilisations around the COP27 summit. We also supported several events in the UK that directly related to our cause for Article 25, such as the initiative of British MPs to enshrine the Right to Food into law. STWR also embraced the opportunity to present our campaign to other groups when invited, such as our talk to around 100 attendees of a webinar hosted by World Goodwill.
Our co-workers undertook many grassroots initiatives throughout the year to promote the idea and cause of global sharing/Article 25. This included a poster, leaflet and sticker flyering campaign in the United States and other countries, with some striking photographs which were posted across our social media platforms. One co-worker in New York regularly visited the United Nations headquarters to promote our campaign and liaise with other organisations at relevant events. And billboards campaign raised further funds for popularising our 'people's cause for achieving socioeconomic rights', almost reaching a target of £11,000 for advertising on the back of buses travelling throughout London.
Two new books were released during the year, beginning with 'The Sharing Economy: Inaugurating an Age of the Heart'. This unique book explores the moral, political and spiritual case for sharing that has gripped the public imagination in recent years. With detailed explanatory notes and an informative annex on 'the gift economy and barter', the book os a valuable addition to STWR's library under the theme of 'studies on the principle of sharing'.
The second book to be published was 'The Commons of Humanity' in a special hardback edition, with a dust jacket featuring artwork by Nicholas Roerich (Bhagavan, 1943). Unlike academic literature on the subject, this publication explores what the commons ultimately signifies beyond its material and social dimensions. In a spirit of mutual enquiry with the reader, the authorーSTWR's founder, Mohammed Sofiane Mesbahiーexplores how a united voice of the people to end poverty is the first step towards bringing about a worldwide awareness of the greater commons of humanity.
The STWR team promoted both of these two books through Troubador Publishing and across our social media platforms, as well as through emails and letters to selected parties. Our next book to be published is STWR's most ambitious to date on the subject of world governance and the principle of sharing. The text was fully drafted in 2022 and will also contain a preliminary interview with the author that explores all the key issues surrounding the cause for global economic sharing in academic terms.
Foreign language translations of both The Sharing Economy and Commons of Humanity were also completed in Slovenian, along with revised and updated translations in Japanese and German. STWR's Japanese website at www.sharing.org/ja was updated throughout the year to mirror the English language site, with much of the content reposted on our Japanese social networking site and receiving alomt as many hits as English language content.
Campaigning, activism and events
In line with our campaign for Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, STWR will continue to promote those political causes that reflect the dire lack of sharing and justice in our world. Those causes are legion but our focus will remain on the acutely food insecure people whose numbers have double in just two years, and are set to increase further as a result of climate change, conflict and the largest global food crisis in modern history. It will remain one of STWR's core purposes to raise public awareness of this global emergency of life-threatening poverty that receives grossly insufficient media attention. Our primary outreach activities will remain online talks and public presentations about our campaign wherever we find the opportunityーat universities, activist events, and for any interested groups. We will also seek to promote our Article 25 campaign through more fundraising for poster and billboard advertising, through networking at activist gatherings, and by supporting other relevant campaign initiatives.
Website and online activity
Another key priority for STWR is to expand our educational resources that explain the cause for Article 25. There is tremendous scope to add further resources to the 'learn more' section of sharing.org that expounds upon the key themes of sharing the world's resources. Our introductory web pages, frequently asked questions and related content are all in need of being updated. More materials can also be added for concerned citizens to download and use in their local campaigns around Article 25. At the same time, our own blogs, articles and guest content will continue to highlight the relevancy of the cause for economic sharing/Article 25 as an umbrella issue, one that includes all the other major priorities of global justice campaigners. A website refresh is also scheduled for the coming year in order to update our website platform and improve the content layout.
Publications, research and writing
Our major work on 'World governance and the principle of sharing' will be finally published in 2023 with Troubador books. As our most comprehensive work to date that covers all the significant themes on world governance, it will further boost our campaign and give rise to new opportunities for STWR in the year ahead. It will also open doors for STWR to discuss the more spiritual aspects of sharing the world's resources, which is of interest to a broad global audience that may not previously have known of our work. Much effort will be made in 2023 to promote this book through whatever channels are available to usーonline networking, blog writing, interviews, advertising and talks. Our next major research and writing project will then involve another book on the subject of mass public demonstrations (from the perspective of the Ageless Wisdom teachings), as has already been prepared to a large extent and awaits final drafting and publication. Furthermore, there is much scope for STWR to continue promoting our past publications that fall under the theme of 'Studies on the principle of sharing', above all our flagship campaigning book 'Heralding Article 25: A people's strategy for world transformation'.
Supporting STWR's ongoing research and advocacy work