Think Global Extra February 2016

January 2016

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

Action checklist

  • Organise a community film screening of This Changes Everything
  • Arrange a speaker to talk about the Paris climate talks
  • Lobby your MEP to oppose the New Alliance
  • Pressure your council to become a TTIP Free Zone
  • Support the demonstration against CETA at the Scottish Parliament on 4 February
  • Pressure your MSPs to pledge their opposition to TTIP and CETA

Groups survey and affiliation

A quick reminder to groups to complete the groups survey and affiliation form. Technically the deadline has now passed for group affiliations to come back; we’d really appreciate these to come back quickly. As for the groups survey, ideally we’d like them back by the end of February.

Social movement tour of Barcelona

Join Global Justice Now for a holiday with a difference, taking in not just the sights and sounds of Barcelona, but its exciting progressive politics too. You will have the opportunity to:

  • Participate in a Europe-wide TTIP-Free Zone conference hosted by the Barcelona municipality
  • Learn about the radical history of Barcelona and how its roots are giving rise to new political movements today
  • Visit food sovereignty and energy democracy projects which are at the centre of Barcelona’s growing solidarity economy
  • Hear from Barcelona En Comú, the social movement platform whose candidate became mayor of Barcelona last year
  • Meet Spanish activists, share experiences and learn from each other

This is a new venture for Global Justice Now and for now we are inviting you to let us know if you would be interested, while the programme and costs are firmed up. At the moment we expect it to be a one-week programme from Monday 18 April to Sunday 24 April at a cost of approximately £350. This will include hostel-style accommodation for 6 nights, breakfast and one meal per day, transport, speakers, tours and visits to projects. You will also have the opportunity for sightseeing in this beautiful city. You would need to make your own way to Barcelona – flights or trains will not be included. We expect the group to be 10–12 people.

If you are interested, please email james.onions@globaljustice.org.uk by 29 February. We are also exploring the possibility of some subsidised places for those on a low income. When you get in touch please let us know if you would be interested in a subsidised place.

Campaign update: food sovereignty

Challenging the New Alliance in the European Parliament

We continue to challenge the New Alliance and have an opportunity to weaken it during the review process that is about to begin in the European Parliament. We have received a tentative timetable for this process:

  • 17 February: MEPs in the development committee can express their views on the draft report for the first time and the different party groups will then start tabling amendments.
  • 22 February: deadline for amendments
  • 14 March: MEPs on the committee will debate the proposed amendments
  • 20/21 April 2016: vote in committee. The committee will need to agree the final report that includes their assessment of the New Alliance and their resolution (what they are calling on the European Commission to do).
  • 11 June (tbc): vote in the whole European Parliament to agree the report 

We need to bring pressure to bear during this process, to try and ensure that the development committee’s final report includes the proposal for the EU to withdraw support for the New Alliance. Pressure will be important throughout the process: before the initial discussion on 17 February, before amendments are submitted and debated, and before the votes.

We have already launched an e-action calling on MEPs to help us have an influence on the development committee: http://action.globaljustice.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1784&ea.campaign.id=46576&ea.tracking.id=website

We will also mobilise more lobbying around the amendment stages. Groups that have existing connections with MEPs are encouraged to engage in face to face lobbying as well. For support with this, contact Heidi – heidi.chow@globaljustice.org.uk.

Getting active on Monsanto

Next month we will be turning some of our attention to challenging Monsanto – the global seed and chemical corporation –  and will be developing materials for local activism on this theme. Monsanto is dominant in the food system but is also connected to the same eco-system of corporate players who are pushing initiatives like the New Alliance. There are some interesting external hooks to help us connect to our main campaign. There will be more information next month but it would be good if groups could factor this into your plans from March onwards.

Campaign update: trade justice

Labour policy review

The Labour Party is having a policy review regarding trade. We understand it will take some time, given the upcoming elections in May. The exact process of the review remains unclear, but it would be an excellent development to get local units of the party (CLPs, branches and wards) to pass policy against TTIP, CETA and TiSA as part of this. To request a model motion email Guy – guy.taylor@globaljustice.org.uk.

CETA in the Scottish parliament

Thanks to the lobbying of some our fantastic local activists in Scotland, the European and External Relations Committee at the Scottish Parliament will be discussing the Canada-EU trade deal (CETA) at their next meeting on Thursday 4 February. To coincide with this meeting, 38 Degrees are running a petition asking First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to oppose CETA which you can sign here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/Scotland-stop-CETA.

Together with 38 Degrees campaigners, we will hand in the petition to the Scottish Parliament on 4 February after a short demonstration outside. We also intend to follow this up with a parliamentary motion and e-action to MSPs. If you live in Edinburgh, or nearby, please support the demonstration outside the parliament that will take place after the committee meeting discussion on CETA from 11am onwards, on Thursday 4 February. You can also get tickets to watch the European and External Relations committee meeting if you phone the Scottish Parliament on 0131 348 5200.

Make Holyrood election candidates pledge to stop transatlantic trade deals

During the Scottish parliament election campaign, we want to ensure that parliamentary candidates realise how important opposing toxic trade deals like to TTIP and CETA is to the people of Scotland. To this end, Scotland Against TTIP, the coalition that we helped found in 2015, has designed a pledge that we will be asking candidates to sign. Candidates will be able to do this online, or have a photo taken with the pledge that can then be uploaded onto the new Scotland Against TTIP microsite that is under construction. Find out more: globaljustice.org.uk/holyrood

Trade deals beyond TTIP

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) met in Nairobi in December. Global Justice Now’s head of campaigns and policy, Polly Jones, attended the talks. Most countries in the world are part of the WTO and this is the only place where they all come together to make decisions about trade, although talks have been stalled for many years because they cannot agree on priorities. This time, the EU and UK hoped to get agreement to negotiate new trade deals, modelled on TTIP but covering all countries in the world, and focussing on public services and investment.  The good news is that there was no agreement to begin negotiating new trade deals at the WTO. The bad news is that this is likely to increase the pressure on governments to conclude the deals already being negotiated, including TTIP, the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

We will be telling you more about these other trade deals through the year and encouraging you to take action to stop them.

New TTIP poster

We now have an A3 poster in the same style as our new 4-page leaflet introducing TTIP, featuring both Osborne and Cameron in their corporate-sponsored racing driver outfits. Order them via activism@globaljustice.org.uk

Campaign update: climate and energy justice

Speaker meetings on Paris talks

We can provide speakers to report on the outcomes of the Paris talks, which could happen in conjunction with a screening of This Changes Everything. To book a speaker contact sam.lund-harket@globaljustice.org.uk. To book a film screening email activism@globaljustice.org.uk.

New staff member in Scotland

We are looking forward to welcoming Cat Boyd, our new activism and events officer, as the newest member of staff in the Scotland team. Cat has loads of experience of working with grassroots activists in Scotland, having been an organiser for Unite the Union and a co-founder of the Radical Independence Campaign. Cat will be working 3 days a week in the Scotland office from the beginning of February.

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