Our ten campaign highlights of 2017

27 December 2017

From standing against President Trump’s state visit, to calling for democratic trade after Brexit, this year we’ve faced the after-effects of events that shook the world in 2016. And thanks to our work together – supporters, members, activists and staff – we have a lot to be proud of in 2017.

Here are some highlights from our fight for a more just world over the last 12 months. I hope they show just how much we appreciate your continued support for Global Justice Now. They’re proof that by working together, we can change things. And long may it continue.


1. We helped organise a nationwide demonstration in response to the rise of the far right

Bridges not Walls demo

(Photo: Bridges not Walls) 

In January we took part in Bridges not Walls, a nationwide demonstration in response to Trump’s inauguration and the rise of the far right in Europe that asked people to drop banners with messages of solidarity on bridges across the world. There were more than 150 banner drops the length and breadth of the UK. Later, together with like-minded organisation and individuals, we helped found the Stop Trump Coalition to protest Trump’s UK state visit. And our campaigning paid off. Because…


2. As part of the Stop Trump Coalition, we successfully held off Trump’s state visit

Trump protest

Faced with the threat of mass protests, in June Donald Trump postponed his state visit until 2018. This was a huge victory for all of us who are standing up to hatred and anti-migrant rhetoric. Later in the year Trump’s visit morphed into a stripped-down trip that will not include staying with the Queen and he’s now expected to come on a ‘working visit’ in late February. As part of the Stop Trump Coalition, we’ve already started mobilising for the big day. Let us know if you’ll join us by RSVP’ing to the Facebook event.


3. Equipping young people to face the political challenges ahead

With your support we’re getting more and more young people engaged with activism and campaigning. In April, more than 140 young people met up for our very first Global Justice Now youth network national gathering, for a day of discussion, debate, live performances and movement building. And we continue our work with ‘Demand the Impossible’: a political education course for young people from inner-city London and Glasgow. 


4. We built links with activists from across Europe to progress our movement for global justice

ATTAC Summer University

In August, we took 30 Global Justice Now activists to the ATTAC Summer University for social movements. This four-day event brought together more than 2,000 people from across Europe to learn, debate, discuss and plan how we can build our movements and alternatives to the current political order. We also linked up with partners around the world, such as the Asia-Europe People’s Forum and the Transnational Institute, to learn more about our global fight. All these events were only made possible by the commitment of supporters like you.


5. We confronted the M&S board with 60,000 voices against the Daily Mail

M&S AGM protest

This summer we attended the M&S annual general meeting to make sure they knew they are funding hate and fear by advertising in the Daily Mail. We hung a massive banner right in front of the train station entrance for delegates to see and our team of staff and volunteers leafleted about the campaign. We also presented a letter co-signed with 72 migrant rights and anti-racism organisations inside the AGM in front of hundreds of shareholders. Thanks to all of our supporters, members and activists for donating to our crowd funder and making all of this possible.


6. We reshaped the development agenda – and will continue to in 2018

In July we published our alternative aid report looking at how a new progressive vision for UK aid must focus on principles of social justice and solidarity. Later in the year the shadow secretary of state for international development, Kate Osamor MP, announced that she’s taking up a key demand in the report by saying that DFID must not only reduce extreme poverty but also inequality. We also featured in the TV programme Panorama on the BBC talking about the problems with using profit-driven consultants to manage aid. And we released a new report on how  the 'Conflict Fund'  is diverting aid and undermining human rights.


7. We made a splash with our new campaign for affordable medicines 

In September, we launched our campaign for access to medicine. To mark the occasion, we invited Sibongile Tshabalala to join us on our UK speaker tour to share her story of how she challenged big pharmaceutical companies in South Africa – and won!  As part of the UK coalition Missing Medicines, we’ll continue to fight for conditions on all public health research to make sure the medicines developed using public funds are affordable and accessible here in the UK and across the world.


8. We received big backing from MPs on our campaign for democratic trade

Together with trade unions, social justice groups and environmental organisations including the Trade Justice Movement, we have been calling for all trade deals to be subject to parliamentary scrutiny, transparency, human rights impact assessments and a final veto by MPs. And leading opposition MPs, including Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas and Labour’s shadow secretary for international trade Barry Gardiner, vowed to amend the Trade Bill when it is given a second reading in January.

Plus thanks to Scottish campaigners and activists, when the toxic Canada-EU trade deal CETA* was voted on in the European Parliament, the SNP voted against it. Later in the year the SNP also announced that Scotland should have its own trade policy.


9. We mobilised 265,000 people to petition Liam Fox to give MPs power over trade deals

Working closely with the Trade Justice Movement, we mobilised 265,000 people to petition Liam Fox to give MPs power over trade deals. We also submitted 60,000 comments on the trade consultation and our parliamentary motion on trade democracy is currently the second most popular in this session – a significant achievement.

Over the next three months, we’ll continue to work hard on making sure the new Trade Bill is amended before it passes through parliament. You can read more about our campaign in my blog post.


10. A crucial step forward in our campaign for a binding corporate treaty


Whether it’s by donating, signing our petitions, meeting your MP or organising local events, time and again you’ve helped us boost our campaigns and get our demands heard. This December, we celebrated a big success in our campaign for a legally binding UN treaty, when Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, pledged that the next Labour government in Britain will actively back such a treaty on transnational corporations and human rights. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to achieve serious binding controls over corporations, so this is a crucial step in the right direction for a better and more sustainable world.

Again, thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for our campaigns in 2017. I wish you a great year ahead.

P.S. Most of our funds come from individual supporters like you dedicated to challenging injustice. When you join us for as little as £2 per month today you help us remain an outspoken and sustainable organisation. Again, thank you for your support.


*The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU


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