Think Global Extra April 2018
Welcome to the April issue of Think Global Extra, the bimonthly supplement to Think Global. Read it in conjunction with the last full Think Global from March.
Promote the Lucas amendment to the trade bill using action cards or MP lobbying
Lobby your MP to call for conditions to be attached to the public funding of pharmaceutical products. If your MP is on the health or public accounts committee, push for an inquiry into this issue.
Organise to attend the national activists’ meeting in Sheffield or the Scottish activists’ gathering in Edinburgh
National activists’ meeting
11am-4.30pm, Saturday 28 April, Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James Street, Sheffield S1 2EW
A chance to hear the latest updates on our campaigns and ask questions. Includes:
social media troubleshooting session; presentation on new initiatives including our soon-to-be-launched Internationalist Network; tips on facilitation skills and how to have good meetings and more.
The day will be facilitated by area reps but James O’Nions, head of activism, and Radhika Patel, communications and campaigns officer, will be presenting and available for questions.
Lunch provided. Please let East Midlands area rep Mary Steiner know you’re coming by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few travel subsidies are available for those on a low incomes. Please enquire when reserving a place. First come first served.
Labour’s new international development policy
On 26 March, shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor released the Labour Party’s new international development policy. It represents a big step forward and reflects many of the ideas and policies that Global Justice Now has been campaigning for over many years.
Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now’s director, was a member of Labour’s International Development Taskforce which collected evidence to inform the new policy. Check out Nick’s blog about Labour’s policy and what it means for Global Justice Now.
A blow against ISDS
Earlier this month we had good news from the European Courts of Justice, who ruled that corporate courts in intra-European trade deals are illegal. Following years of public pressure on this issue, this is a major blow to the undemocratic ISDS system, which we hope we will ultimately be able to dismantle in its totality.
Trade bill stalled
There has been no further progress in the UK parliament on the trade bill since the March issue of Think Global. The only suggestion of when the next stage of the bill might happen was when Keir Starmer said that parliament would have to wait until May to get a vote on the bill.
However, Conservative whips continue to fear that Tory rebels will use the trade bill to push through an amendment on the customs union. Unless they can confidently win over those rebels, we may be waiting longer than May for the next phase of the bill.
The Scottish parliament is also looking at the Bill, since it has impacts on some areas of devolved policy, and will either give or withhold its consent for it before it finishes its journey at Westminster. Our campaign in Scotland is focused on raising awareness among MSPs of the lack of parliamentary scrutiny contained in the Trade Bill, and calling on them to withhold consent for the bill unless it’s amended to rectify this. Scottish activists signed up to an open letter to the lead committee on this in Holyrood, which was also handed in with a photo stunt and made front page news in Scotland. Even though the bill has paused in Westminster, the campaign in Scotland will use this time to keep the pressure on MSPs. If you’re in Scotland, stay tuned for further actions on this soon.
Building support for trade democracy
The pause that has been created around the trade bill has allowed us to strongly promote the Caroline Lucas amendment to the bill, which contains all our key demands for trade democracy. Over 8500 action cards promoting the Lucas amendment have been ordered, outstripping our expectations. If your cards haven’t arrived yet, they will be with you very soon.
Responding to concerns about lobbying
The Lucas amendment creates a great opportunity for us to continue lobbying MPs through in-person meetings and letter writing, as well as the action cards themselves.
However, some activist have raised concerns about how best to do this. Here are two recurrent concerns and our response:
“It’s no use contacting my MP, he’s pro-Brexit and won’t listen to me”
While there are a number of MPs who are abrasive, rude and dismissive, they are usually like this in order to put people off contacting them. When we got 5000 people to contact the 19 MPs on the trade bill committee, they were furious - precisely because of the pressure they felt from our action.
“Our MP is on board with the campaign – no point in contacting them”
There’s always more they can do – add their name to the amendment, arrange to speak during the debate, plan with you about taking the campaign forward in the constituency.
We are currently working with a team of campaigners and experts in access to medicines, intellectual property rights and innovation economics to develop a report that will explore alternatives to the current profit-driven pharmaceutical system. We will continue to campaign and build on our current campaign ask for conditions on public funding to health research and development so that drugs produced with public research are affordable and accessible. But this new report will enable us to build a wider debate about systemic change. We are hoping that we can launch this report alongside campaign activities around the NHS’s 70th Birthday in early July.
We are producing stall packs for groups to use during the summer for events and festivals. The pack will include ideas, materials and resources to help you to theme your stall and engage people in the campaign. The stall packs will be ready by at the beginning of May to help you start planning. To order your pack please email email@example.com.
Last month, we sent you some resources to help you with lobbying your MP. These are now online in case you want to download more copies:
Guide for local groups – This is a lobbying guide for your group that sets out the key issues and what we are asking MPs to do on this campaign
Parliamentary briefing on the campaign – This briefing summarises the key issues and can be given to your MP
We are pushing for the health select committee and public accounts committee to hold an inquiry into this issue, so if your MP is a member of either of these committees, it would be great if you could urge them to support the idea of an inquiry. You can find out if they are members of these committee if you have a look at their profile page on the parliamentary website.
On Saturday 24 March, Global Justice Now activists went to the demonstration at Yarl’s Wood to show support for the ongoing protest taking place inside the immigration detention centre. The protest has included a month long hunger strike by 120 detainees. Although the hunger strike has ended a work strike is ongoing. The strikers, who face the threat of deportation at any time, are demanding basic standards of human dignity - such as end to indefinite detention and access to decent healthcare and food.
Indefinite immigration detention is a practice closely related to the government’s Hostile Environment in its attempt to make the UK a scary and inhumane place for immigrants. In solidarity with the hunger strikers and protesters, Global Justice Now has invited supporters to write to MPs to spread word about the strikers’ demands, or tweet a message of solidarity using the #HungerForFreedom hashtag.
Know your rights - a guide for migrants
Our friends at the Migrants Rights Network have produced a guide to migrants’ rights in the UK. In the wake of the government’s hostile environment policy, there is a particularly strong need for this guide. It is also a useful overview of the policies of the hostile environment. Please pass the guide onto local migrant and refugee groups who might benefit from it.
In the March issue of Think Global we included copies of our briefing on the hostile environment for immigrants that the government has been pursuing since 2012. We have been working with other groups including Migrants Organise and Liberty and can support Global Justice Now groups who want to organise public meetings to raise awareness about the hostile environment.
Likewise, can also send speakers to talk about our arguments for global free movement, based on our cartoon booklets, making the arguments for a world of free movement and open borders.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in organising an event.
Last call: Speaker training for activists
12.30pm to 5.30pm, Saturday 7 April Global Justice Now, 66 Offley Road, London SW9 0LS
A few places still available. See globaljustice.org.uk/events/speaker-training-activists
Youth network national gathering, 12:30- 18:00, Sunday 15 April, Hyde Park Book Club 27-29 Headingly Lane, Leeds, LS6 1BL
A day of discussion and building skills for change. Including: Radical cities: Barcelona and beyond • Are open borders possible? • Skills workshops from cutting edge activists • Live performance
Open to anyone under 30. Please help us spread the word!
Travel subsidies are available for people coming outside of Leeds.
Scottish activists’ gathering
10am-5pm, Saturday 21 April, Quaker Meeting House, central Edinburgh, EH1 2JL
A gathering for local groups, members and anyone who is interested in finding out more about what we do and taking action for social justice with us. There will be a mixture of campaign updates and discussions focusing on trade and pharmaceuticals, and training on using the media, social media and video making skills.
We also have a workshop on the Scottish climate change bill with Clare Hymer from Novara media, exploring the need for a systemic approach to climate change, and strategies for pressuring politicians to take effective action on the bill.
The World We Want
Global Justice Now’s national gathering. 2pm-6.30pm, Saturday 16 June, Priory Street Centre, 15 Priory Street, York
Speakers will include Jason Hickel, author of The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and Its Solutions and Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central and Shadow Rail Minister
Join us to for workshops on: Food sovereignty • Public ownership • The commons and access to medicine • Energy democracy • What good trade deals would look like • UK aid as global redistribution • Freedom of movement • Growth and degrowth
The World We Want is being co-organised with the York Trade Justice group, and will be preceded in the morning by our AGM, starting at 11am (registration, tea and coffee from 10.30). The venue is a short walk from York train station.
Get more information on all these events at globaljustice.org.uk/events