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What’s happening out there?

How UK activist organisations and radical media have been responding to the current crisis (continued from last issue).

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Some 'These Walls Must Fall' campaigners in Yorkshire

CND
www.cnduk.org

Since the beginning of lockdown, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has held a series of webinars (including ‘Ventilators not exterminators: why now is the time for defence diversification’); run an online lobbying campaign directed at MPs (‘Wash our hands of Trident to combat COVID19’); and run an online competition to produce eye-catching posters that people can print off and display in their windows.

This year’s annual CND conference will be taking place remotely on 10 October (AGM and policy conference) and 18 October (‘Real security after COVID-19’, hosted by London Region CND).

Ethical Consumer
www.ethicalconsumer.org

The Ethical Consumer co-operative has focused several of the product guides in its bi-monthly magazine on things people are using much more at the moment: soap, video conferencing and online retailers, comparing the ethics of the companies behind the brands.

It’s also been covering the impact of COVID-19 on workers’ rights, from the abandoned garment workers in Bangladesh, to worker protests at Wetherspoons and Amazon. In May, it published a list of 10 companies to avoid over their response to COVID-19.

In April, it ran a crowdfunder to support migrant workers in Spain as an urgent response to the impacts of COVID-19, even as it continues its ongoing campaign pressuring UK supermarkets to protect the rights of these workers in their supply chains.

This year’s annual EC conference will be online, with an Ethical Consumption Week from 24–30 October. It will explore the role of consumers, business and NGOs in building more resilient communities in the face of COVID-19 and the ecological crisis

The current (July–August) magazine and associated web articles include a round-up of climate- and people-friendly COVID economic recovery programmes.

Peace Pledge Union
www.ppu.org.uk

Since the pandemic hit the UK, the PPU has held a day of online action calling for military budgets to be diverted to tackling COVID-19 and related threats. On 15 May, it organised a national online ceremony to mark International Conscientious Objectors’ Day, with actor Michael Mears and Niat Chefena Hailemariam from the Network of Eritrean Women.

More recently, the PPU joined calls by other peace groups and anti-racist campaigners for the UK government to end the export of tear gas and rubber bullets to the US. It also reiterated its call for the removal of Central London statue of Arthur Harris, known for his colonial atrocities and for bombing German civilians. The PPU also supported a Cardiff pacifist (and PPU council member) who brought a legal challenge after the police used facial recognition technology at an anti-arms trade protest that he attended in 2018.

The PPU is currently encouraging people to take part in the International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth (7 – 13 November) as well as promoting its annual White Poppy campaign.

These Walls Must Fall
www.detention.org.uk

These Walls Must Fall is a network of groups, organisations and individuals working all over the UK to end immigration detention. It has local campaigns in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.

Since the start of lockdown, the network has co-ordinated a letter to the home secretary (signed by over 100 organisations and 897 individuals) demanding ‘the immediate release of everyone held under immigration detention powers’, in order to save lives during the pandemic.

TWMF has also raised over £8,000 through online fundraising events for community projects helping at-risk migrants.

Meanwhile ...

End Heathrow Immigration Detention (EHID, www.ehidcampaign.org) held an ‘online offensive’ (13 – 15 June) against facilities management company Mitie and Heathrow Airport Ltd, protesting against the holding of people in Mitie immigration detention centres and plans to build Europe’s largest immigrant detention centre as part of the expansion of Heathrow. (EHID also opposes the building of new runways at Heathrow or elsewhere in the UK.)

Oxford Against Immigration Detention has produced A Short History of Resistance to Immigration Detention and Deportations in the United Kingdom, focusing mainly on the period since the 1970s: www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3413

Topics: Activism