First held in 2009, where more than 1,000 people took part, the aim of 6 Billion Ways is to highlight the interconnections between environmental, social, political and economic injustice and help build a broad movement for progressive change.
Last week’s revelation that the NHS is to slash 50,000 jobs is part of a far wider picture. While seemingly unrelated to the million people who marched on Tahrir square in Egypt, if viewed through the wider lens of global justice the two are not so distant.
An ideological commitment to the market on behalf of this coalition government is leading to a widespread sell-off of all UK public assets (u-turns aside), while the dependence on global commodity prices – at the mercy of market speculators – has contributed to revolution in a country where Credit Suisse estimates most people spend 40% of their income on food.
In both cases it is power being wielded in favour of private over public interest, discounting the needs of the most vulnerable in our society and elevating those of unaccountable entities whose primary motivation is profit. This is happening at all scales in all parts of the world.
Linking the local to the global has never been more important for the progressive left but moving away from single issue campaigning to encompass the bigger picture is a challenge in itself. 6 Billion Ways – an event that tackles global justice head on – is opening up the physical and political space to not only have the necessary conversations, but bring new voices in.
With more than 60 authors, academics, campaigners, activists and trade unionists on the line-up, the event will feature debates, discussions, workshops art and films on key global justice issues from tackling poverty, inequality and climate change to civil liberties, liberation struggles and challenging the cuts agenda.
6 Billion Ways will span four venues in east London centred around the arts centre Rich Mix with high profile speakers from the UK and overseas, including Caroline Lucas MP, Bolivia’s Ambassador to the UN Pablo Solon, leading human rights lawyer Gareth Pierce and Egyptian academic and activist Samir Amin, as well as campaigners from the Public and Commercial Services Union, UK Uncut and the students’ body National Campaign against Fees and Cuts.
First held in 2009, where more than 1,000 people took part, the aim of 6 Billion Ways is to highlight the interconnections between environmental, social, political and economic injustice and help build a broad movement for progressive change by informing by mobilising a wide range of people on local and global justice issues. It is organised by Friends of the Earth, World Development Movement, War on Want, People and Planet, Jubilee Debt Campaign, Rich Mix and City Circle.
The evidence base is there – and growing by the day – but unless we challenge the current intellectual and campaigning silos and move beyond the single issue, special interest politics that dominates the day, we stand to lose the bigger argument.
6 Billion Ways is not professing the answer but it’s beginning to ask the right questions.
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