On Wednesday (2nd November 2005) there is a Mass lobby of Parliament for trade justice in London. I think I am going to go, as the alternative activity I had planned, that of moving two small boxes from one house to another seems unimportant in comparison.
Having said that I am frustrated by the fact that Make Poverty History is now using the “Trade justice – not free trade” slogan which Christian Aid have been using for a while now. I’m a Christian Aid supporter, but I think that slogan is unhelpful. In fact at Greenbelt the Christian Aid guy in a trade justice debate admitted that the slogan is a gross simplification, but claimed that if you’re going to campaign you need simplified slogans*. I tend to disagree, as did most of the Greenbelt crowd who felt rather patronised I think.
As far as I understand it more free trade is exactly what is needed in many cases, the stopping of subsidies to Western farmers being one example. I’m no economist, but even I can see that a ‘one slogan fits all’ approach doesn’t fit here. I think the ‘no free trade’ slogan is just downright distracting and makes enemies of many who want to end poverty as much as Christian Aid / Trade Justice Movement supporters do.
But the ‘Trade justice’ part I’m fully in support of, and so plan to be there on Wednesday.
As a partial aside: For a brief while I was tempted to look into this tool for armchair activists:
“…the machine is able to receive incoming sms messages and speak them out loud through its powerful megaphones, thus allowing the armchair activist to shout out its rants and protests in the comfort of his sitting room.”
Armchair activism. Oh yes.
*I have the precise quote written down. It was very similar to this but I’d need to find the piece of paper to quote it word for word.