It’s been quite a year (and a half) on migration
30 October 2017
Our migration campaign is one and a half years old! Safe to say, this can be an emotionally demanding issue to work on, so it’s important we recognise how much we’ve done together. So I thought I'd put together a blog post trying to sum of some of the big moments for this campaign. A massive thank you to all of our supporters, members and activists for making all of this possible.
Lighting up the cliffs of Dover with a message of solidarity
We launched the campaign during the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ last year, which witnessed thousands of people dying in the Mediterranean sea at the hands of fortress Europe. We wanted to challenge the racist narrative of the mainstream Brexit debate, which scapegoated immigrants for the UK’s problems. A boat, a projector, and a few committed activists is all it took to light up the white cliffs of Dover with our message, loud and clear: Refugees Welcome Here.
Let’s build bridges, not borders!
As part of our work arguing for opening borders, we hosted events called Bridges Not Borders which pulled together academics, campaigners, activists and members of the public from across the country to discuss and share ideas about open borders and freedom of movement.
Pushing the migration conversation into a global context
In September 2016, we joined thousands of people at the big ’Refugees Welcome’ demonstration in London. As the fury built up around free movement after Brexit, Global Justice Now supporters were adding a global angle to this debate, arguing that we must defend and extend free movement, as a right for everybody, not just a privileged few. Afterall,if we expect free movement for ourselves, we must extend this right to those not lucky enough to be born inside Fortress Europe.
Defend and extend freedom of movement
Around the same time, more than 800 keen supporters ordered our ‘Defend and Extend’ campaigns packs which included posters, leaflets and briefings designed to open up the conversation about migration and free movement in local areas all over the country.
Profit from pain is inhumane!
In November 2016, Global Justice Now joined a coalition of social justice organisations in a protest at the European Custody and Detention Summit. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that the summit was actually a trade fair for the private security companies who are benefiting from the privatisation of border enforcement.
Happy Christmas, Daily Mail! Now change your hateful and divisive narrative
December is a time for surprises and presents. So we decided to deliver thousands of Christmas cards from our supporters to the Daily Mail headquarters asking the editor of the newspaper, Paul Dacre, to end the paper’s hateful anti-migrant narrative. We also made a video to spread the message online and increase the pressure on the Daily Mail and their funders.
Bridges not walls!
In January we took part in Birgdes 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 in the UK. (Photo credit: Bridges not Walls)
Migrant rights are human rights!
In Feburary we helped organise thousands of people on the streets in the UK to oppose Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’. We helped establish the Stop Trump Coalition to protest against Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK. And we launched an online action asking people to pledge to march in protest if Trump does come.
This isn’t just ordinary hate and racism, it’s M&S funded hate and racism
As part of our work targeting the Daily Mail’s anti-migrant reporting, we decided to target some of its major advertisers to ask them to stop funding hate and racism. Marks and Spencer proudly proclaims its ethical business credentials and presents itself to the world as a socially responsible company. By asking all of our supporters to email M&S CEO, Steve Rowe, we set out to turn M&S into another big brand, like Lego and Body Shop, to stop advertising with the Daily Mail.
Having difficult conversations about migration
We teamed up with Hope not Hate to deliver a series of workshops with communities across the country on how to communicate effectively about the issues surrounding migration. Debates on these issues can be uncomfortable, upsetting or evoke angry responses, and often do little to change anyone’s mind. By equipping people with the skills to have these conversations in more constructive ways we wanted to help to start building a more understanding narrative.
Training young filmmakers in social justice video campaigning
In a bid not only to challenge hateful media narratives but also to encourage alternative and diverse media platforms, in April we co-hosted a free four-day training course for filmmakers passionate about social justice, wanting to use their work to drive change.
"I pledge to boycott the Daily Mail."
In May we asked people to pledge not to buy the Daily Mail in protest at their hateful reporting of migrants and refugees. We sent pledgers badges, stickers and posters so that they could spread the message in their local communities and stand in solidarity with migrants in the UK.
Celebrating a big success!
Faced with the threat of mass protests, in June, Donald Trump postponed his state visit until 2018. This was a victory for all of us who are standing up to hatred and anti-migrant rhetoric. And we celebrated. This month there was yet more good news: Trump’s visit has now been downgraded to a stripped-down trip that will not include staying with the Queen.
Confronting the M&S board at their AGM with 60,000 voices against the Daily Mail
Thanks to all of our supporters, members and activists donating to our crowdfunder, we were able to attend 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 delgates to see and our team of staff and volunteers held placards and gave out leaflets to share more information about the campaign. We also presented a letter that we had co-signed with 72 migrant rights and anti-racism organisations, inside the AGM in front of hundreds of shareholders.
Call for an inquiry into press racism
In August we called on the press watchdog to start an inquiry into press racism and dismiss the Sun journalist, Trevor Kavanag, from the board. The Sun had just run a piece by their political editor that referred to "The Muslim Problem" demonising entire cross sections of society without worrying about any consequences.
Fighting for free movement of people, not bombs
In September 2017, staff and activists from Global Justice Now joined the Stop the Arms Fair campaign in trying to stop the set-up of theDefence and Security Equipment International arms fair - a big business event showcasing the latest in weapons of war and murderous technologies. The business deals being done don’t just create refugees - many of the companies profit again from providing the equipment for violent border controls designed to lock people out of sanctuary.
In just one and a half year we’ve done some amazing things together! Now the team here at Global Justice Now are developing the next stage of the campaign, and we’ll email you within the next couple of weeks about what’s next.
Again, thank you for everything you do for our campaigns, and for a world built on compassion, solidarity and recognition of common humanity.
P.S. All of our campaigning is made stronger and more effective by the thousands of members behind us amplifying our voice. If you’re not already a member, you can join today and help us continue this campaign into the future.
- Christmas video to the Daily Mail
- Stop Trump pledge
- Daily Mail pledge
- Blog about our protest at the M&S AGM
- Petition calling for an inquiry into press racism