Think Global Extra August 2017

August 2017

Welcome to the August issue of Think Global Extra, the bimonthly supplement to Think Global. Read it in conjunction with the last full Think Global from July.

Action checklist

  • Organise a stall to collect signatures for the ‘Dangerous Deals’ action cards and build local support for our campaign, which will be escalating in the next few months 
  • Add details to the trade lobbying spreadsheet
  • Write to your local M&S store or speak to the manager to make them aware of our campaign
  • Organise for one or more people from your group to go to the national activists’ meeting in Manchester at the end of September 

Trade justice

Things are now well underway with our new campaign for trade democracy. We’re calling for fundamental changes to the way trade policy is made. At the moment MPs have virtually no say in trade policy, which hugely limits the power of ordinary people over trade deals. We’re busy pointing this out to MPs and public alike through articles like the one Nick Dearden wrote in the New Statesman.

Firstly, to give a quick outline of how we are seeing the phases of the campaign across the next six months or so. At the moment the campaign is focused on raising awareness of the problem with the public. We’re using our petition to the trade secretary as a key tool for this. In the autumn, when parliament reconvenes, the focus will expand to working with MPs. We’re looking toward building up to a mass lobby and campaign event in the new year.

To help us plan and co-ordinate the lobbying work that is so central to this campaign, please help us by filling in this spreadsheet, if you haven’t already. It maps the parliamentary constituencies Global Justice Now group members and individual activists live in.  You can find the spreadsheet at globaljustice.org.uk/drive

Right now, we want to get thousands more signatures on the petition by the end of the summer. Is your group holding a stall in the summer, for instance at local events, fairs, farmers markets or protests? This is a great opportunity to talk to people about the issue and collect signatures with the ‘Dangerous Deals’ leaflet and postcard.

Ideas to help engage people on the stall include:

  • Using the ‘Corporate Monopoly’ game, which includes cards on trade
  • Puppets, as the strings of government are pulled by corporate power
  • Box of unknowns, for hidden deals being done in the dark – put your hand in the box and you don’t know what you’re going to encounter, a jar of slime or maybe wire wool

If you need more copies of the Dangerous deals leaflet, email Effie,  Effie.Jordan@globaljustice.org.uk

The big event of the last month was the first meeting between the US and UK trade ministers in a working group which is trying to prepare the ground for a future trade deal. We released an online briefing and figures revealing the level of corporate lobbying of the Department of International Trade – nine out of ten meetings that ministers have held are with business. We also coordinated a joint letter to the FT from groups in both the US and the UK rejecting the secretive negotiations that keep people in the dark.

In other updates:

  • An Early Day Motion on trade democracy has been place in parliament by a cross-party group of MPs. We’ll be asking MPs to sign this in the autumn.
  • Trade minister Liam Fox mentioned ‘chlorinated chicken’ and the words went viral. We emphasised that this is only the start of the problems in trade deals in a letter to the Guardian and Jean Blaylock made this point in the Independent.
  • CETA will start being implemented on 21 September. The original date was set in the spring, but campaigning has meant that the process has been hampered and interrupted almost constantly for a few years now. This is ‘provisional implementation’, which goes ahead even though the deal still has to be ratified by many European parliaments.

 

Migrant rights

At the Marks & Spencer AGM in London we sent a strong message to shareholders and board members that funding the Daily Mail’s racist anti-migrant reporting is not acceptable for a company with the values that M&S espouses.

We attended their AGM to hand over figures from our email action and the petition run by SumOfUs, along with a letter, so-signed by over 70 migrant rights and anti-racist organisations (including a number of Global Justice Now groups). Not only did the company CEO, Steve Rowe, directly address our campaign in his opening statement, we also got to address the full conference not once, but twice. One of our campaigns team rebutted Steve Rowe’s defence of M&S advertising policy, and a member of the South East London group read the co-signed letter in full. Following this, Steve Rowe and chairman of the board Robert Swannell each came to speak to us one-to-one to address our concerns.

If you haven’t already, write to your local M&S store or organise a meeting with the manager to make them aware of local concern about M&S advertising in the Daily Mail. You can use the letter we delivered at the M&S AGM as a basis for your arguments.

Following our consultation, we are still working on next steps for the migration campaign through a series of meetings with parent organisations. There will be a more detailed report on the consultation included in the next Think Global.

National activists’ meeting

  • Saturday 30 September, Manchester

For the second year we’re going to be running a national meeting for local activists in September. It’s an opportunity for area reps and local group members to find out more about the detail of campaign plans, give feedback and discuss new ideas for Global Justice Now to take forward. Since so much of our campaigning as an organisation is done by volunteer activists it can be really valuable to get together once a year and exchange perspectives.

The meeting will run approx. 11am to 4pm and will take place at Partisan, Manchester’s new co-operative arts and political space. Reimbursements are available for train travel from around the country so long as it is booked in advance to benefit from cheaper prices. Lunch will also be provided, but please let James know in advance that you’re coming: james.onions@globaljustice.org.uk

Current materials page

In response to group requests, we are improving our method for making sure materials are available for activists to see online before ordering them, or to print copies of their own when necessary.

The new campaign materials page on our website includes a list of all current campaign materials, with links to the materials themselves. This will be updated on a regular basis.

We will continue to list current materials on the back of each print Think Global as well.

The new campaign materials page is here: globaljustice.org.uk/current-materials

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