Learning about poverty: life in the WDM office
22 July 2013
Kai and Caleb spent the first few days of their summer holidays helping out in the WDM office. Kai wrote down some of his thoughts about his experience learning about WDM’s campaigns and what goes on in the office.
The first thing we did when we arrived at the office was speak to Effie, who works in the campaigns team. Effie told us about the history of WDM its current campaigns, including the campaign to regulate food speculation.
After this we spoke to Sarah who works in the activism team, supporting WDM's local groups. We talked about how to achieve change and what’s stopping us from ending poverty. We agreed that there were a select few (such as big businesses) who try and monopolise the world’s wealth by taking advantage of people.
On my second day I learnt how to use WDM’s database. I learned that it is very important to for keeping records and for the organisation.
I then watched the film The Yes Men Fix the World. It’s a really interesting film about two men who impersonate spokespeople of big corporations and talk on their behalf at meetings. They even got on BBC News in a prank linked to the Bhopal disaster and the company involved: Dow Chemical. It was a different, fun and creative way of fighting against injustice.
My last day began outside the London Stock Exchange’s AGM for an action as part of the Carbon Capital campaign. We handed out ‘carbon’ bubbles to people entering the AGM, to highlight the amount of CO2 that would be released if all known fossil fuel reserves were extracted and burnt. I spent most of the time shooting bubbles from a bubble gun at people in suits.
The aim was to make the shareholders think about the catastrophic effect on the environment and local communities of mining and burning so many fossil fuels, and the links to UK finance. The action was reported in the Evening Standard. Ralph who also came on the stunt wrote about it here .
After my experience of working at WDM I believe that change is possible but people must be made aware of the difficult situations and circumstances people are facing. Action must be taken against big corporations and governments to stop them taking advantage of poorer countries and people. Significant, positive change is most likely to happen when a large percentage of the world wants and campaigns for change and justice. Therefor it is vital that situations of injustice are publicised and action is taken against it.
Kai with his bubble machine outside the London Stock Exchange AGM.