How the arms trade took over the census (and what to do about it!)

Come along to a self-organised session in the Rich Mix bar at 17.00 to find out how the world’s biggest arms company is helping to run the 2011 census. We’ll be brainstorming exciting ideas for how to spread the word and take action against Lockheed Martin’s involvement in the census. Open to all!

When: 17.00

Where: Rich Mix bar (by the stage)

For more info see www.countmeout.me.uk

Find us on Facebook and Twitter @countme_out   #countmeout

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Planet in Crisis: where next for global action on climate change?

Kicking off this dynamic discussion of the biggest of issues was Bolivian ambassador to the UN, Pablo Salon. At last year’s Cancun  climate change talks, Bolivia broke the status quo by objecting to the negotiations. All countries that participated were under huge pressure to agree, comply, and push forward the bill, and Bolivia speaking out against the process was a significant step.

Salon was enourmously critical of the UN process in general, and said that the conditions of the climate change bill were disaterous for developing nations and the future of the planet as whole. A severe reluctance to significantly cut carbon emissions and prevent global temperatures from rising between 2 and 4 degrees is set to have unprecedented consequences for developing nations in particular, as well as threatening the very existence of small island states.

Salon stressed the need for social participation within the climate debate, making the point that the politicians and UN ministers in the boardrooms at Copenhagen and Cancun have not successfully represented the needs of people accross the globe. He also criticised the short-termist approach of politicians and the damaging effect this has within the global climate change strategy. Unfortunately, the majority of politicains are largely more concerned with winning elections and offering quick-fix solutions than planning holistically for the handling of the environmental crisis as part of the bigger picture.

Offering a more localised perspective in terms of the steps we can take to address climate change in the UK was Hugh Lanning, from the Public and Commercial services Union. His core narrative was focused around the fact that environmental issues are also social issues. He criticised the destructive methods employed by the current government, and their short term quick-fix spending and investment in unsustainable projects.  Lanning is demanding a mass creation of ‘climate jobs’ and a radical shift in the operations of public services. He pointed out that many skilled workers within British society – engineers, transport employees and construction workers for example – are the very people being affected by job cuts under the coalition government. Lanning emphasised that these are the people who need to be trained and invested in accordingly, in order that we can develop new, more environmentally intelligent methods of construction, insulation and a greener transport system, and ultimately boost the econmy in the long run.

The prevailing sentiment of the session, and one that united all the speakers despite their different fields, approaches and areas of expertise, was the importance of civil society participation in resolving the planet’s environmental crisis. Climate Camp participant Mel Evans also highlighted the need for the public as well as activists to put pressure on our governments in the North as well as targeting the root causes of climate change.

Mel encouarged the public to hold to account those corporations and multnationals that entirely disregard the best interest of the planet and its people in their relentless quest for profit. All the speakers seemed to agree that if we are going to find an effective solution to runaway climate change, we need to create a global climate alliance that represents the opinions of the people being effected directly by the crisis, not those who refuse to aknowledge its full magnitude and implications.

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Why are poor countries poor?

Why indeed?

Ricardo Navarro eloquently mentioned that we should be talking about impoverished countries, not poor countries.

Poor countries are just a little down-and-out, they’re lagging a little behind economically but they’ll be alright in the long run. Maybe they’ve got a slightly corrupt government (who hasn’t?) and they’re slowly “trading their way out of debt”.

That picture might not be entirely accurate.

He notes that it’s important for us to regard poverty as one side of a coin. On the one side, we have impoverished countries and, on the other, wealthy countries. We can’t talk about poverty in Africa without considering the wealth of France. They’re two sides of the same equation and the stench of colonialism inevitably creeps into the discussion.

The vast majority of impoverished countries are former colonies. There is commonly minimal domestic ownership of abundant natural resources, which are then traded out of the country by companies who are very successful at paying little, if not no, tax at all. Though the military conquest is all done and dusted, neither the exploitation nor the ecological harm have receded at all. And although it’s private, unrestricted and unapologetic companies that are getting their hands dirty in this racket, the fingers in this discussion are unanimously pointed towards the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World trade Organisation.

 

These organisations specialise in wielding debt like forceps, prying open economies to be depredated by rich companies from rich nations. “Trade your way out of debt”, they caw, offering veiled deals with fanged grins. Let’s look at Zambia. Zambia has lots of copper that was mined and sold abroad. Their government tried to start up other industries like textiles and railways in order to build upon their copper resources to create a more stable economy. Good plan. The 70s crisis hit when the price of copper collapsed, and Zambia began to borrow much more in order to maintain the economy they’d started to really solidify.

Western banks were in the habit of lending shit loads with low interest rates. Then the US put up interest rates at the end of the 70s and Zambia was in danger of defaulting on their loans. The money that was coming into the economy was barely paying off the interest, let alone starting to clear the debt itself. Similar to Ireland recently, IMF and the World Bank offered new loans to Zambia so the Western banks didn’t lose out. But the loans from the World Bank came with more than just interest payment stipulations, they came with a list of orders. Cut government spending, reduce trade taxes, export more of your resources grow cash crops for the West (like tobacco) and allow Western corporations to make a profit from your essential resources (like water). A classic, almost cliché, neo-liberal economic wish-list.

The price of ‘trading out of debt’ is seldom quantifiable, but the repercussions are felt throughout an economy. Time after time, we see that the money being siphoned out of ‘poor countries’ is several times greater than the money going in.

Zambia became even more dependent on exporting and their economy collapsed in the 80s/90s. Their debt stayed very high and has never been repaid. Arguably, repayment isn’t a priority, so long as they continue to obey the wishes of the richest countries.

About five years ago the IMF ideology was widely seen to have failed completely. Their professed aims had not been achieved, nor were they any closer to being. Oddly, the creation of G20 (the 20 richest countries in the world) rejuvenated support for these global institutions and, oddly, these G20 countries are the same countries who continue to enjoy the spoils of colonial resource-grabbing committed centuries ago.

 

Another conclusion that was echoed by all is that aid, in the sense that it is being reviewed in the UK right now, is no remedy for the ailment of poverty. For every pound that goes to a country in aid money, at least twice that will be taken out of the economy by companies using the indigenous resources and labour while taking repeated ‘tax holidays’.

UK aid is also commonly used by UK PR companies in order to advance and publicise the privatisation agenda – even to the point where popular musicians are hired to compose and sell ballads advocating open markets. This kind of aid is successfully being delivered in Ghana and Bangladesh, to name only a couple, but we need to ask exactly whose interests are being served here.

The structure of exploitation set up by colonialism is very much alive and well. The term ‘post-colonialism’, if it’s ever used any more, is ambitious at best. Neo-colonialism is probably a better term.

 

What are we actually funding with our aid? In whose pockets do these funds rest, after they’ve been routed around the globe?

And why do we think that the countries that instigated this level of poverty are best placed to elect what to do about it?

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When did we become obsessed with the money supply?

I only caught the end of the 6 Billion Ways workshop “the history of money”. But I have to admit, it wound me up a little, for two reasons. The first is that it talked about fractional reserve banking. As Ann Pettifor puts it, “there is no such thing as fractional reserve banking”. If banks called in all of their loans, then they could pay back all of their debts. It is true that, because we give the money we borrow from banks back to those banks, they can lend those pounds out again. But that doesn’t mean money – deposits – is just created out of thin air.

But that wasn’t my main objection. My main disagreement with the analysis given in the conclusion of this workshop was that it blamed the credit crunch on the way that the money supply was removed from the gold standard in the 1970s. Or, more specifically, it blames the way that the economy became overly financialised – that too much of our wealth was focussed in derivatives and other financial products – on specific policies about how we organise our money supply.

And I think this is wrong for 2 reasons. First, I think it’s wrong because it, for me, it misunderstands what went wrong. David Harvie’s analysis is much more compelling for me. Harvie argues that the credit crunch happened because of a broader crisis of capitalism – specifically, he tells us that capitalism is supposed to work on the theory that the surplus capital – extra wealth – created by our work is then re-invested in socially useful things: new inventions, new companies, new ideas. But this is hard. Building things or inventing things are tricky. It is much easier – particularly in the short term – to make money out of money. And so our surplus capital, controlled by the mega-rich, was invested not in things which are useful for society, but in making money out of money – in gambling on derivative markets.

Or look at what’s happened in people’s lives. In the USA, real wages haven’t gone up since the 1970s. In the UK, they have stagnated as the wealth in our economy has increasingly been distributed through shares (disproportionately to the already wealthy) and decreasingly through wages. As most people’s wages stagnated, but the mega-rich got much richer, pressure to allow credit increased – the iron fist that was keeping everyone poor was cushioned with a velvet glove of credit.

Ultimately what went wrong was not that some men in sharp suits somewhere made a tactical mistake when deciding how to organise our money supply. What went wrong was what has always gone wrong in the economy: a small group of very powerful people managed to secure an economic system which made them wealthier in the short term.

And this leads to my second objection. If we go around talking to people about a specific technocratic failure in the way some clever men organised the money supply, then we misunderstand what political economy is about. It is easy to believe that the way we organise our society is based on evidence and argument. But the truth is that society is organised around the competing interests of different groups in society. And so what we need to do is not try to persuade a few clever men to change our money supply system, but organise our power to force control of the economy from an elite. And that, surely, is a much more compelling, and a much more empowering message.

So, please, let’s stop talking about the money supply – it does need reform, but it isn’t why our economy was destroyed. And let’s start talking about what really went wrong with our economy – we handed it to an elite of bankers, and hoped that they would create real wealth for us all. And we failed to understand tht it is we, all of us, who create wealth, and it is we, all of us, who should contol that wealth.

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Money, power & austerity

This is a reponse to the workshop: A history of money. It has been crossposted from Topsoil.

The story of money is long, so I hear. credit, debt and even blood debt have existed as a way of long-distance trade, but its influence has always been in a way that has culminated in its collapse.

Put it this way: standardised capital is usually a method of control. Money represents that capital control, symbolising not only the value of exchange but the value of political structure that ensures that exchange. Thus, when the value of that money denigrates, the power of that authority is weak and open to fall apart.

Which only makes you question – when the gold standard was removed from monetary policy, were we glimpsing the beginning of the fall? Certainly Samir
Amin
would say so.

So it’s no surprise that the Euro weakness is sending spasms through the banks and our governments. Perhaps that’s what is driving our ardent austerity measures. A need to retain power without capital in a globalised world. I wonder also if this is now the opportunity -  the opportunity to create change on a global level.

The collapse of currency is a collapse of power, and our states are more willing to put us at risk so that they can remain in power. Which only reiterates the role of monetary policy – to keep the rich powerful at the dispossession of the poor.

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Clicktivism – will we acknowledge its impact?

In response to Clicktivism: Can we save the world in one click? [10.00-11.15am]
These views are my own and not affiliated with 6 Billion Ways.

Speakers

Krissie Nicholson, Local Organiser, London Citizens
David Babbs38 Degrees
Ellie O’Hagan, UK Uncut
Kevin Gillan, University of Manchester
Gigi Ibrahim, Egyptian activist

The general question this session aimed to discuss was ‘what is the most effective role for the internet to play in activism?’ – unfortunately the effectiveness of the internet was more predominantly denied rather than discussed.

I had hoped that with a varied panel of speakers such as those featured above there would be a nuanced and balanced discussion on the issue but unfortunately the conversation seemed to get stuck in the somewhat tired rhetoric of ‘offline versus online’ rather than how the two forms of activism can collaborate and benefit each other. Unfortunately the debate didn’t seem to recognise or at least fully vocalise the power of the internet, rather it was stuck in a rebuttal of its impact compared with more ‘sustainable’ offline methods of engagement.

Online activism and the somewhat damaging term of ‘clicktivism’ (implying a click is all it takes) has been criticised by many commentators following Malcolm Gladwell’s controversial article last August and in light of recent events in the Middle East being labeled (and accurately denied) as ‘twitter revolutions’. Unfortunately the responding outcries from e-activists and online campaigners have largely been of a defensive and justifying tone which perhaps has undermined rather than enriched this legitimate form of activism.

Online campaigning can take many forms, from signing a petition, emailing your local MP to donating to get an advert in the paper. Some might say that these are ‘just clicks’ and don’t indicate a ‘true’ sense of activism or involvement but what I see as one of the key appeals of online campaigning (at least personally) is that you can take action on issues you care about without necessarily feeling or being branded as a ‘radical activist’. Now that’s not saying there’s anything wrong with being a radical activist (we’d all be a lot worse off without those passionate individuals!) but being able to take part in campaigns you are interested in opens ‘activism’ up to a far wider audience. Protest and activism can take many forms so is it really justifiable to view their actions as any less legitimate just ‘cos they won’t get out in the streets and protest?

As David Babbs (38 Degrees) rightly pointed out during the debate; no online campaigners are claiming that the internet is the sole tool for creating change or being ‘one click away from saving the world’. David believes there’s no inherent superiority to any form of activism, that instead it depends on campaign, target, strategy and where you are in your life (both as an organisation and individual). He recognised that “the common factor of online and offline campaigning is power – if we as campaigners want enough power to make a difference we need to pool resources…the power of the internet is that it is a method to do this by facilitating collaboration”.

David also acknowledged that 38 Degrees (the UK’s largest online campaigning organisation) does not run purely online, instead it has been expanding its offline presence through ‘GetTogethers’ (a term coined by my previous organisation GetUp! Australia) which connect and mobilise locals to engage offline around the issues they explicitly care about online – thus enhancing the impact of both.

A particularly interesting viewpoint in light of recent events was that of Egyptian activist Gigi Ibrahim who gave a history of the revolution, “this was definitely not an internet revolution…it has been brewing for years…from all the previous mobilisation and the growing of the youth, labour and anti-capitalism movements over the last decade, then events in Tunisia that inspired Egypt that change was possible…it’s interesting that everyone is crediting the internet when the real battle was on the streets factories, workplaces”.

Gigi did however acknowledge that the internet had a role to play “the real role of the internet was helping to mobilise these movements. When we started planning for the January 25th Movement yes the web was useful for coordinating and mobilising…the most important role of the internet was to get info from on the ground out to the wider world and rest of Egypt to let them know what was happening, building awareness through the web to spread/receive information but at the end of the day it took the power of the people to make a difference”.

Analysis of the extent to which the Egyptian and Tunisian events were ‘twitter/facebook revolutions’ has been prolific in the media and online blogs but I think it’s important to note that this cannot be answered simply with an ‘all or nothing’ approach. It’s important that we understand the differences between a medium (either online or offline) being solely responsible rather than assisting in change.

I could give you countless examples of where offline campaigns have been enhanced and reinvigorated by online actions, just as online campaigns have benefited from on-the-ground support (if you’re interested then check out some of the Avaaz or GetUp! campaigns such as the recent ‘No Child in Detention‘ online-offline action).

Ultimately offline and online activism are two sides to the same coin and need to be seen as such, they go hand-in-hand and (when done well) can complement and enhance each others’ actions. But this need for a ‘PC’ approach to online activism needs to end – yes online can’t happen without the offline support but we cannot continue to deny that it does have an impact, so let’s recognise that.

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Brie Rogers Lowery is a freelance e-campaigner previously of 1GOAL & GetUp! Australia.
She tweets at @brie_rl and blogs via Breezy Thinking.

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Requiem For Detroit

First up on my 6 Billion Ways schedule is a film about Detroit made by acclaimed music documentary maker and former punk Julien Temple. It’s possibly a bit early in the day to be sat in a dark screening room, but I’m a big fan of Temple’s films. Oil City Confidential, about lesser known 70s band Dr Feelgood, in particular is fantastic.

So why then is a Temple film being shown at an event like 6 Billions Ways?

Detroit boat house by Bob Jagendorf

Well, Detroit is famous for its music of course. But as you probably also know the Motor City is the birthplace of Henry Ford’s mass car production line and modern consumer society. It’s also a city which has been in inexorable decline for the last few decades. The city was built for 2 million but now only 800,000 live there. Huge swathes of the city – both industrial and residential areas – now lay derelict, overrun by wild plants. A friend sitting next to me noted how much the footage reminded him of the film version of Cormac McCarthy’s post apocalyptic book The Road.

As Temple illustrates – through interviews with a huge range of locals, amazing looking old stock footage (where does he find it all?) and a soundtrack of choice tunes from the Motor City – Detroit is pretty much now the American nightmare, as opposed to the dream. Or, as local artist Lowell Boileau puts it: “A slow motion Katrina.”

This is essentially because the destinies of the car industry and Detroit were fatally intertwined, and as the former declined, a vacuum was created. It’s also because the worst and most unsustainable aspects of capitalist and consumer society were promoted here. The first mall and freeway were in Detroit. Racially segregated towns, islands of suburbs. Not forgetting the in built obsolescence techniques of the Ford and GM Motors production line.

As Temple posits, Detroit is first post industrial city. But does that mean it’s the future?

Food for thought – and an advert for sustainability and ramping back the power of the market if ever there was one.

So as not to finish on a totally depressing note, here’s one of my favourite tunes from Detroit. It’s by a techno collective called, appropriately enough for today, Underground Resistance. The tune is also aptly named. It’s called Transition.

Hugh Reilly is Campaigns and Youth Web Editor at UNICEF UK. He tweets at @hughreillygotme

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Take a minute to save the world

By Tim Hardy. This blog post originally appeared on Beyond Clicktivism.

As recent events have shown time and time again, representative democracy as it stands in the UK is anything but representative.

At the level of local government people have been locked out of public meetings in which decisions are being made about their futures. There is little to distinguish between the three main parties – one refuses to apologise for the harm it is doing; one lies that the harm is actually good for people; the third cries crocodile tears then harms anyway. The only party in Westminster showing any kind of principle and political courage is the Greens. This is not what democracy looks like.

In the UK, a significant proportion of the population experience poor mental health. Perhaps the sense of hopelessness that characterises depression is not always endogenous, a matter of chemical imbalance to be cured by the latest magic pill from a multi-billion-pound pharmaceutical industry, but instead a perfectly rational response to a disempowering political and cultural system in which we find ourselves helplessly trapped like the participants in the Kafkaesque nightmare of dealing with a call centre.

The call center experience distils the political phenomenology of late capitalism: the boredom and frustration punctuated by cheerily piped PR, the repeating of the same dreary details many times to different poorly trained and badly informed operatives, the building rage that must remain impotent because it can have no legitimate object, since-as is very quickly clear to the caller-there is no-one who knows, and no-one who could do anything even if they could. Anger can only be a matter of venting; it is aggression in a vacuum, directed at someone who is a fellow victim of the system but with whom there is no possibility of communality. Just as the anger has no proper object, it will have no effect. In this experience of a system that is unresponsive, impersonal, centerless, abstract and fragmentary, you are as close as you can be to confronting the artificial stupidity of Capital in itself.

Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism

Laurie Penny, a journalist and activist who has shown herself to be a true friend to disability activists with her supportive posts at New Statesman, believes that political participation can be curative. “Many people with depression say they find participating in political activism helps alleviate their feeling of powerlessness,” she told me in conversation with fellow activist Martin Young, better known as Mediocre Dave.

Martin has previously written convincingly on why we must see “any attack on people with disabilities as an attack on us all”. He pointed out that it is is not for nothing that we use the same word - depression – to describe both a particular type of economic downturn and a clinical state of helplessness.

We are social beings. To be ignored is a cruel punishment. For our voices to go unheard, to be made to feel that we are shouting in a vacuum, that what we feel and think does not matter is devastating in itself.

It is even worse when the deliberate exclusion of our voices is used as tacit assent by others, elected on lies and false promises and comfortably sheltered from the impact of their decisions, who go ahead and pass budgets and laws that will further devastate our communities.

It is up to make our voices heard and shake off that sense of helplessness that is politically and personally disabling.

Through this weekend 6 billion Ways will be giving you the chance to stand up and do so.

As Lucy E, an artist facilitating the 1 minute manifesto project running tomorrow as part of the event explains:

This project came about because of a growing sense that people are increasingly made to feel unable to participate in political debate – because of their ‘in-expert’ness. Because of the false notion that politics (and political expression) is about perfect expression, that previous qualifications are necessary, slick presentation a must; some sort of kingdom for the confident. That’s a lie. Political expression is not perfect. It oughtn’t be. Politics is messy and perplexing and here and now. It is on the streets and in your school. Don’t wait. We are ‘it’. Have a little confidence and add your voice to the growing call for change.

Don’t wait for the politicians to remember that they are there to represent us not the rich few who fund their parties’ coffers.

Technology can remove the barriers between online and offline. Stand up in person for what you believe in or text or call 07851 390310. If you cannot be present, you can email your one minute manifesto to oneminutemanifesto@gmail.com and have someone read it for you.

This is your chance to share your thoughts, feelings and demands for our future. There is no need to feel helpless any more or to let those feelings stop you from participating.  Take a minute and be the change you want to see in yourself and in the world.

 

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6 Billion Ways and our global struggle

This post originally appeared on Bright Green.

The struggle against neo-liberalism is global or it is nothing. It is easy to imagine that the current cocktail of poisons forced on the people of Britain is something new. But it is nothing of the sort. All around the world, people have faced the same mixture of cuts, privatisation and de-regulation. And all around the world, people have fought back.

Our fight is global because our attackers are global. These cuts are not motivated by the economic illiteracy of George Osborne. Sure, he is illiterate. But those pushing him know precisely what they are doing. The corporations who run the more privatised countries of the world have persuaded British politicians that they must turn our public services onto their back so that they can feed from the soft underbelly of our welfare state. They have convinced our leaders that the only way for corporate capitalism to grow its way from the crater left by the collapse of the banks is through the privatisation of the welfare state – a privatisation that they know will be politically much easier if services are first so run down that few will fight for them. These corporate megaliths are not, primarily, domestic. United Health UK – one of the companies grabbing our NHS with its grubby hands – is part ofthe United Health Group – an American company who led the assault on Obamacare, a company whose president personally pocketted 1 in every 700 dollars Americans spent on healthcare, in one recent year. As long as so much political power is concentrated in the hands of any corporation, anywhere, our public services will be under threat from that power. And so the struggle of the people of Wisconsin is our struggle. The struggle of any people against the power of plunderers is a struggle to defend us all from their piracy.

Our fight is global because those who have already wrecked our economy have globalised. The idea that we must race to the bottom in order to build a prosperous nation is bollocks. Try telling that to the people of of Iceland or the people of Ireland – or to the people of Sweden, or the people or the people ofCosta Rica. But we can’t dismiss it that easily. As long as multinational corporations continue to exist and can find cheaper and more easily abused labour abroad, they will always threaten those who they have made dependent on them. And so the struggle of Bangladeshis for fair wages is inextricably linked to our struggle to fair wages.

The idea that individual governments are powerless against footloose finance is bollocks. Building a post-neoliberal economy will be much harder if we must bear the weight alone, but the more people work together, the lighter this weight will become.

Our struggle is global because we all face the same crises – the crash of capitalism, the crunch of the climate, and, one day, the end of oil.

Our struggle is global because we can learn from each other. It was not without a fight that the people of Bolivia chased the darkness of neo-liberalism from their country. The Shock Doctrine the people of Britain face today is the same one that the peoples of Africa, Latin America and Asia faced in the 1970s. They too resisted, and many of them won. We must learn how they did so.

And our struggle is global because our power comes from numbers. While they have money and they have guns, we have each other. As we’ve seen in Egypt, and Tunisia, and Libya, concentrations of power can only be challenged by mass movements. For too long progressives in Britain have believed that our power comes from the strength of our argument – that we will win win by speaking truth to power – as though we can convince the billionaires with the glossiness of our reports. The truth is that speaking truth to power isn’t enough. We must see where our power lies, and we must play to our strengths. And if it is numbers we need, then surely our movement is best when it is international?

And finally, our struggle is global because we can’t pretend we don’t care about each other. When an earthquake tipped plundered Haiti into carnage, I curled up and wept. As people across the Arab World build a movement for democracy, my heart quickens its pace. As students in the UK fought for education and their futures, we received messages of solidarity from Greece, and from America and from across the planet. Because people everywhere are the same, and people everywhere care.

And if our struggle is global, if there are lessons to be learnt and bonds to be forged, then the Six Billion Ways conference is the place to begin. This Saturday, in Rich Mix, at Hackney, activists will come together from across the UK and across the world to share tactics, share stories, and share beer. With discussions on everything from cuts to the Arab uprisings, and activists from as far away as Egypt and Bolivia, 6 Billion Ways will be the place to be. Because while all politics is local, our struggle is global.

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Radical book fair and campaign stalls at 6 Billion Ways

6 Billion Ways organisers Friends of the Earth, Jubilee Debt Campaign, People & Planet, Red Pepper, War on Want and the World Development Movement will all be running stalls on the Mezzanine at Rich Mix.

They will be joined by:

Campaign Against Arms Trade works to end international arms trading and promote peace, justice and democratic values, using non violent campaigns and action.

Camp for Climate Action is a grassroots direct action movement for climate justice.

Compass is a centre-left pressure group with over 40,000 members and supporters. They work towards a ‘good society’ which is radically more democratic, equal and sustainable.

Corporate Watch is a workers’ co-operative conducting corporate-critical research for action. They produce regular news updates on their website, newsletters and in-depth reports.

Local anti-cuts campaigns from east and north London are running a stall to help you get involved in defending public services.

New Internationalist is a not-for-profit media co-operative that exists to report on issues of global justice; to debate and campaign for the radical changes necessary to meet the basic needs of all.

Pambazuka News disseminates analysis and debate on the struggle for freedom and justice through the voices of the peoples of Africa and the global south.

Platform campaigns on issues of social and ecological justice, combining the power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning. The current focus is on climate justice and moving society away from fossil fuels.

Pluto Press is one of the world’s leading radical publishers, specialising in critical perspectives on politics and social sciences. Authors include Noam Chomsky and Vandana Shiva.

Rising Tide UK is a network of groups and individuals dedicated to taking local action and building a movement against climate change.

Unison is Britain’s biggest public sector trade union, with more than 1.3 million members in the NHS, local government and other public services.

Verso is the largest independent radical publisher in the English-speaking world. Founded in 1970, it has published many of the major figures on the left, including Tariq Ali, Eric Hobsbawm and John Pilger.

Zaytoun is a UK co-operative which imports artisan Palestinian produce, including olive oil, to help ensure a decent livelihood for Palestinian farmers.

Zed Books are a radical, independent, progressive publisher of critical social science titles, focusing on contemporary international issues with an emphasis on the global south.

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