Some highlights from the food speculation campaign

Some highlights from the food speculation campaign

Date: 23 January 2014

A couple of group members from Brighton and Hove WDM and Glasgow WDM look back on campaigning on food speculation:

“It’s March 2013 and I’m standing outside a bank, on the busiest shopping street in Brighton on a Saturday afternoon, dressed in a white coat and pretending to be a therapist, counselling a poor banker on his addiction to gambling on food prices, while someone films us for posterity.

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Amazingly, people aren’t shouting things at me. Instead, they’re stopping to talk and find out exactly what it is bankers are up to this time. ‘Oh yes,’ says one. ‘Food speculation. It’s all over the news, isn’t it?

It occurs to me that three years ago, the issue of commodity speculation was barely on the agenda. Since WDM started the campaign, our group has targeted Barclays on several occasions, including at the university Freshers Fair and at its branches in Brighton and Hove. We’ve played a giant game of snakes and ladders on the seafront, and dressed up in evening wear for our ‘hunger casino’.

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We’ve also travelled to Brussels to lobby our MEPs in person, and we’ve held three screenings of inspirational documentary Growing Change.

We’ve had coverage in our local paper The Argus for every one of our street theatre stunts, and I’m proud of having been a small part of the movement to push the issue of rampant food speculation into the public consciousness and, from there, to becoming EU-wide law.”

By Stephanie Lam from Brighton and Hove WDM

“There’s something special about going to work on Monday morning and answering the question about what you did at the weekend with, ‘I dressed up as George Osborne and talked to people about the need for full transparency and position limits in the global food commodities market’.

And it doesn’t get any easier when the answer is, ‘We went to discuss the finer points of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive with our MEP.’ But for those of us who have started to doubt our own identity over the last couple of years, having spent far too much time pretending to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer (or a Barclays blue eagle on occasion, just for variety), it’s all worth it when you can answer the same question with, ‘We changed the world at the weekend and stopped those crazy bankers gambling with hunger’.”

Steve Rolfe from Glasgow WDM