Ten things you helped us achieve in the last year
29 December 2016
2016 may be a year you’d rather forget. But as politics changes beyond recognition, sometimes in frightening ways, let’s remember that together we won some incredible victories in 2016 as well. So let’s take some time to celebrate these achievements, and draw strength from them. They are proof that working together can change things, because all of these victories are ultimately down to the thousands of supporters and members that make up Global Justice Now. People like you.
Here are my top ten:
1. We defeated TTIP!
After three years of committed campaigning and tireless lobbying alongside our allies across Europe, the threats of the disastrous Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a deal between the EU and the US, could no longer be ignored by politicians. Over the summer we celebrated as we saw successive EU governments signal the death of the deal. A major victory for people power!
2. And we’re closer than ever to defeating CETA
Though there’s still more to do, we also end the year more hopeful than ever before that the European Parliament could reject the EU-Canada trade deal CETA, (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). Had the negotiators got their way, CETA would already have been ratified several years ago. But determined campaigning from people like you across Europe has seen the deal face real scrutiny at every stage. A vote in the European Parliament is now due in February 2017. And what’s more, we’ve helped make sure each national parliament and the European Court of Justice will get a say on the deal too.
3. We successfully fought the relicensing of Monsanto’s trademark weedkiller ‘Roundup’
By joining your voices with those of campaigners across Europe we successfully fought an EU proposal to relicense glyphosate for 15 years. The World Health Organisation classifies this chemical as probably causing cancer, yet it is used in Monsanto’s bestselling weedkiller and applied widely in parks, gardens and playgrounds around the world. Your lobbying and ‘brandalism’ helped ensure glyphosate only got a temporary relicense of 12-18 months, a major blow to the world’s leading agribusiness.
4. We got the EU to condemn the New Alliance
Our campaign exposing the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – where British aid money helps agribusiness get a stronger foothold across Africa - took a huge step forward. In June your lobbying paid off as the European Parliament officially condemned the G7 initiative. Their damning report agreed with us that the scheme favours large-scale corporate agriculture at the expense of small-scale farmers and works on a flawed assumption that corporate investment automatically addresses food security. It also echoed our call for food sovereignty and agroecology.
5. We launched our brand new youth network
With your support we’re getting more and more young people engaged with activism and campaigning, from a wide range of backgrounds, mobilising the generation who so often bear the brunt of free-market economics. Our youth network, involving those under 28, launched in the autumn. And we continue our work with ‘Demand the Impossible’: a political education course for young people from inner-city London and Glasgow.
6. We exposed dodgy aid
Time and again you’ve helped us expose the government’s misuse of public aid money as a subsidy for big business, at the expense of the world’s most vulnerable. Our reports into Adam Smith International, The Gates Foundation and the CDC group all demonstrated how ‘development’ funds are increasingly being used to make the rich richer. Thanks to this work, submissions to parliamentary inquiries, lobbying of MPs and reporting in the mainstream media, we hope to be able to defeat government proposals to privatise even more of the aid budget early next year.
7. We brought together activists and campaigners from across the world to progress our movement for justice
Running for only its second year, our Take Back Our World festival went bigger and better in July. Attendees left re-energised and more knowledgeable on a wide range of issues and how we can tackle them together. And it wasn’t just our festival; both our National Gathering and Monsanto nationwide speaker tour linked up hundreds of campaigners here in the UK with those around the world to learn more about our global fight. All these events were only made possible by the commitment of our supporters.
8. We took a leading role in growing the UK’s energy democracy movement
From small beginnings we’ve seen this movement grow to a point where even the Labour party leader has pledged to create 200 public energy companies and 1,000 energy co-operatives. Our roundtable event in September brought together MPs and representatives from Labour, the Greens and the SNP with campaigners and politicians from Spain’s energy movement, to discuss how energy democracy could work in practice in the UK. We’ve also supported Switched On London in shaping the future of London’s energy, and in Greater Manchester we’ve established a new campaign group demanding clean, fairly priced, publicly-owned energy from the ground up.
9. We made sure the UK joined UN treaty negotiations to discuss ending corporate impunity
After they walked out of the first round, your thousands of emails made sure the UK were back at the table for the second round of these vital negotiations on the UN treaty on corporations. The treaty offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to make big business legally accountable for their human rights abuses. Thanks to your support, it’s an opportunity we can still grab with both hands.
10. We welcomed refugees and migrants
In the face of rising hate crime and a media narrative that increasingly demonises people from elsewhere, you’ve helped us tell a different story of those seeking refuge or a better life, and fight back against the climate of fear. Your emails have challenged the militarisation of the UK’s response to the ‘migrant crisis’, arguing for life boats not gun boats. Hundreds of you have ordered our migration action packs. And we recently delivered thousands of your Christmas cards to the Daily Mail asking them to ‘change the record’ on their reporting of migrants and refugees.
All this and more was possible because of our supporters, members and activists. Every email sent, every donation made, every stall on every high street; by joining together our voices really are powerful.