Make Poverty History
An all-night Trade Justice Vigil cum E2 Nodermeet!
(Subverting Social Justice agendas all in the name of a partay)!
Have an over-developed sense of Justice? Don't have anything to do on Friday night? Forgotten how to sleep? Like the idea of catching up with a bunch of noders and a strange Australian amidst a few thousand other people?
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
(or, What's this all about, then?)
The week of 10-16 April, 2005 is a Global Week of Action for Trade Justice, organised as part of Make Poverty History (you know, the white arm-band mob). The key activity of this week of action is an all-night vigil, gathering outside Downing Street, around Parliament Square and at the Houses of Parliament.This first big event of the Make Poverty History campaign is set to be the biggest mobilisation on trade the world has ever seen.
April 2005 is particularly significant in the UK - Britain is hosting the G8 summit in July, and for the second half of this year Britain holds the presidency of the European Union.
So come along for a chance to hold a constant vigil on the Prime Minister's doorstep; stand in solidarity with people campaigning in over 70 countries across the world; and challenge the UK government to deliver trade justice, not free trade.
(or, But where do I go? And how will I know once I've got there?)
Central London - Whitehall (the street next to Downing Street) and Westminster Abbey. (You know: London, Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Northern Hemisphere, The World.)
You'll probably be able to tell when you get there because there will be hundreds or thousands of people there (I usually find that's a bit of a give-away). Also, there will be Stewards around who should be easily identifiable. They can provide information and give you directions.
(or, So, when is this shindig a'happening?)
This Friday! the 15th of April. The organised (Trade Justice Movement) activities run from 10pm until the sun comes up (8am or so). I am certain that there will be sufficient E2ish activities before and after this.
There will also be a mid-morning cup of tea on the Saturday morning for those less adventurous folk, or those with prior commitments.
See the Detailed Details section below for schedule information.
(or, Why are there so many people in London, and why can't they just get out of my way? or, Why should I spend my Friday night in London?)
Look for the upcoming node on Make Poverty History, but until then, this section will describe what it is we are on about.
Coming to London this Friday is a chance to show the UK government how important Trade Justice is, and to convince them to change the unjust trade system that keeps millions of people in poverty around the world.
For more information, check out the websites at the bottom.
"On trade, our hypocrisy is at its most appalling. Trade reform isn't about charity,
it's about justice, and this campaign - Trade Justice - is an unstoppable idea."
Planned events for the night include:
- 10.00 pm: Opening event at Westminster Abbey (with celebrities (like Ronan Keating or Vanessa Redgrave), music and international speakers)
- 11.00 pm: Move from Westminster to Whitehall, forming a human "white band" around Parliament Square
- 11.30 pm: Lighting of candles on Whitehall (beginning of the vigil thingy)
- Miscellaneous Comedy shows, free movie screenings, debates, and 2am Aerobics!
- 04.00 am: Massed Vigil at Whitehall
- 06.30 am: Dawn Procession
- 08.00 am: It's all over, bar the shouting.
There will be programmes and mini-maps available on the night showing where and when activities will be.
E2 unplanned events for Friday night include:
- Beer from 6 or 7pm.
- Venue: An unnamed pub near Whitehall
- Possibly some Singing
E2 planned events for Saturday morning include:
- Venue: A delightful greasy spoon
- Morning Tea in a cafe.
- Venue: Didn't Happen. We all were too tired and went home to bed.
(For all of those unavailable on Friday night, but who can't bear to let a nodermeet go by without showing up)
How to get there
Simply use the well-developed English public transport system. (Ok, that joke was in poor taste. Sorry.)
Nonetheless, the state of British transport aside, there are two underground Tube stations in easy walking distance of the event. These are Westminster (Jubilee, Circle and District lines) and St James Park (Circle & District Lines).
A number of groups are chartering buses from the further reaches of the country - check out the TJM's
Transport Notice Board (http://www.tjm.org.uk/wakeup/coaches.shtml
Where to stay
There's no need to worry about where you will stay in London - we'll be staying up all night as part of the vigil!
What to bring
- Candles or lanterns, and a candle in a jam jar to light as part of the vigil.
- Plenty of warm clothes, and an umbrella if you have an aversion to water
- Food and Drink (Some will surely be available, at a price)
- MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY white band (I can provide these for the special price of 1 pound)
- A Torch, if you want to take part in the "Human white band" around Parliament Square
see: the TJM
) for more details.
Contact me via the intar-web beforehand, or by phone.
email: teos at djackson dot net
Phone: (/msg me for my phone number)
I will be in London from mid-afternoon on Friday (about 3 or 4pm). If you want to catch up then or find out where I am, give me a call.
- The Lady and K9
- booyaa (almost met up for a beer beforehand, but we couldn't manage the logistics)
"Championing the cause of the poor of the world in pursuit of Trade Justice is a truly noble endeavour."
Trade Justice Questions and Answers1
What is Trade Justice?
We have created a system of trade rules and regulations that allow rich countries and their companies to make lots of profits but prevent poor countries from developing their economies. It is not fair that rich countries, who protected their companies to help the economy grow, now say that poor countries cannot do this. It is not fair that farmers in rich countries get government subsidies to over-produce goods, which are then sold very cheaply in poor countries, putting poor farmers out of business. That is why we want Trade Justice - we need trade rules that put people and the planet first.
Aren’t companies good?
The Trade Justice Movement is not against companies. Businesses have played both positive and negative roles in development. But private sector businesses are always driven by the quest to make profit. This is their aim so we should not be surprised when they put profits first. For example, a water company may decide not to expand its water network to poor rural communities because they can make bigger profits from supplying urban communities. It is the role of governments to create rules and regulations that prevent private sector businesses from ignoring the needs of poor people and the environment.
Isn’t free trade good?
Rich countries claim that free trade - no subsidies or protection - is the key to escaping poverty. The trouble is, when poor countries open up their markets to free trade, they let in foreign businesses that enjoy huge advantages meaning that local companies cannot compete. Countries which have rapidly opened their markets to free trade - Haiti, Nepal, Mali, Zambia and Peru - have very poor records on economic growth and poverty reduction. Countries that have reduced poverty through trade, however, such as the South East Asian countries have grown precisely because they have been able to manage their economic development - and have not necessarily used free trade policies.
What is the World Trade Organisation?
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the main international body that decides the rules that govern international trade. There are 147 member countries that negotiate throughout the year on trade issues. There are rules for trade in almost everything: goods (e.g. rice or textiles), services (e.g. health or education), patents (e.g. on HIV/AIDS drugs) - basically, anything where money is exchanged.
What’s wrong with the WTO?
The WTO promotes ‘free trade’ - getting rid of regulations that restrict big business or the free flow of goods. Free trade does not automatically lead to poverty eradication or environmental sustainability. In fact, it can increase poverty and be harmful to countries at different stages of development.
The reach of the WTO is expanding more and more, to cover areas such as water and healthcare that we believe should not be part of its remit.
In theory, the WTO is democratic, and each member has one vote. But in practice, the WTO is quite undemocratic, and poor countries are subject to bullying and exclusion from key discussions and decision making. Over 30 developing countries have no negotiators at the WTO head quarters. Other poor countries have only one negotiator, who has the impossible task of attending over 1000 WTO meetings a year.
Is the WTO the only international body affecting countries’ trade policies?
No - the WTO could be described as the centrepiece of international rules on trade, but the rules and agreements reached there are not the only influence on countries’ trade policies. Many countries also have regional or bilateral trade agreements with other countries, for instance the EU is currently negotiating a new trade agreement with its former colonies. When these agreements are negotiated between rich and poor countries there is a danger that poor countries are forced to make concessions that are not good for their economies. Another major influence on poor countries’ trade policies comes from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other international aid donors. These organisations and countries attach conditions to aid, loans and debt cancellation that require poor countries to adopt certain trade policies. Often these conditions force countries to make commitments that go far beyond what they have negotiated at the WTO.
- Beforehand Drinks (Meet in Pub before vigil - 8pm-ish)
- Do Trade Justice Stuff (until dawn)
- Recovery Breakfast
- Mid-morning cup of tea for those with prior commitments.
Last Updated: Sunday, 12 June 2005, 15:20 with final aftermath notes
1 Quoted verbatim from "Vote for Trade Justice: Action Pack" produced by the Trade Justice Movement. This booklet is provided as a resource for campaigning and raising awareness, and the information within it is intended to be copied or used.
It is available at http://www.cafod.org.uk/resources/campaigners_kit/vote_for_trade_justice_pack.
And in conclusion, I must say
Zoider oi oop, larndlorrd!