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Inside the Murky World of Make Poverty History

Red Pepper | 27.06.2005 23:16 | G8 2005 | Birmingham | World

Make Poverty History would seem an unprecedented success story. Uniting trade unions, charities, NGOs and a stellar-cast of celebrities, its cause is dominating media coverage while the campaign's white wristband is being worn the world over. So why, as the G8 summit approaches, are leading members briefing against each other to the press and African social movements saying ‘nothing about us, without us'? Stuart Hodkinson investigates.

For a sun-soaked Friday in late May, there was an unusual air of panic at the British Trade Union Congress (TUC) for the monthly members' assembly of Make Poverty History (MPH). Officials hurriedly briefed reception with some last-minute security instructions: “You must make sure that only assembly members are let in,” one instructed. “The meeting is open to the public, but only public members of Make Poverty History.”

The nerves were understandable. Two damning stories about MPH were about to break in the British national press. The cover story of British centre-left weekly, New Statesman, ‘Why Oxfam is failing Africa', had exposed deep anger among members of the MPH coalition at Oxfam's ‘revolving door' relationship with UK government officials and policies, accusing it of allowing Britain's two most powerful politicians, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown, to co-opt MPH as a front for New Labour's own questionable anti-poverty drive.

The right-wing Sunday Telegraph, meanwhile, had given notice of its shocking exclusive on how large numbers of the ubiquitous MPH white wristband – the very symbol of the campaign – had been knowingly sourced from Chinese sweatshops with Oxfam's blessing.

Inside MPH, however, the embarrassing revelations were no surprise. For the past six months, some of the UK 's leading development and environmental NGOs have been increasingly vocal in their unease about a campaign high on celebrity octane but low on radical politics. One insider, active in a key MPH working group, argues there “has often been a complete divergence between the democratically agreed message of our public campaign and the actual spin that greets the outside world”. He is angry:

“Our real demands on trade, aid and debt, and criticisms of UK government policy in developing countries have been consistently swallowed up by white bands, celebrity luvvies and praise upon praise for Blair and Brown being ahead of other world leaders on these issues.”


This is surely not what campaigners had in mind back in late 2003 when Oxfam initiated a series of informal meetings with charities and campaigning organisations to consider forming an unprecedented coalition against poverty in 2005 to coincide with the UK presidency of both the G8 summit and EU, the first five year evaluation of progress on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed in 2000, the 6th WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong, and the 20th anniversary of Live Aid.

In September 2004, the Make Poverty History coalition was officially launched as the UK mobilisation of an international coalition, the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (G-CAP), led by Oxfam International, Action Aid and DATA – the controversial Africa charity set up by U2 frontman, Bono and multi-billionnaires, George Soros, and Microsoft's Bill Gates, the world's second richest person with a fortune of just under $50 billion.

Since then, MPH has become an impressive campaigning coalition, boasting over 460 member organisations including all the major trade unions and the TUC, development NGOs, charities, churches as well as several faith and diaspora groups. Its successful mix of celebrity backers and anti-poverty message has captured the attention of both politicians and mass media, encapsulated in the near-hysteria following the annoucement by veteran rock star and Africa campaigner, Bob Geldof, that a series of free concerts in London, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, and Berlin would take place under the banner ‘Live 8' to coincide with the MPH campaign to lobby the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland in July.

But despite the success, there is widespread unhappiness within the coalition over the campaign's public face and its cosiness to Blair and Brown. Critics argue that on paper at least, MPH's policy demands on the UK government are fairly radical, especially its calls for “trade justice not free trade”, which would require G8 and EU countries, notably the UK, to stop forcing through free market policies on poor countries as part of aid, trade deals or debt relief. MPH also says rich countries should immediately double aid by $50bn per year and finally meet 35-year old promises to spend 0.7 per cent of their national income in development aid. More and better aid, meanwhile, should be matched by cancellation of the “unpayabale” debts of the world's poorest countries through a “fair and transparent international process” that uses new money, not slashed aid budgets. With additional calls for the regulation of multinationals and the democratisation of the IMF and World Bank, John Hilary, Campaigns Director of UK development NGO, War on Want, has a point when he asserts that MPH's policies “strike at the very heart of the neo-liberal agenda.”

The problem, however, is that when these policies are relayed to a public audience, they become virtually indistinguishable from those of the UK government. This was brought home back in March this year when Blair's deeply compromised Commission for Africa set out its neo-liberal proposals for the corporate plunder of Africa's human and natural resources under the identical headlines used by MPH – ‘trade justice', ‘drop the debt' and ‘more and better aid'. In return, most MPH members, led by Oxfam and the TUC, warmly welcomed the report's recommendations. As Ghana 's Yao Graham makes clear in July's Red Pepper, African civil society is far less enamoured with the Commission's report, which he argues lays out a blueprint for “the new scramble for Africa ”.


Thanks to the New Statesman exposé, much of the blame is placed on the leadership of Oxfam – the UK 's biggest and most powerful development agency. Despite its pro-poor image around the world, over the last two decades, Oxfam has become a feeder school for government special advisers and World Bank officials and has a particularly close relationship with New Labour. Blair's special advisor on international development, Justin Forsyth, was previously Oxfam's campaigns manager. Forsyth's opposite number at the Treasury is Oxfam board member, Shriti Vadera, a former director at the US bank, UBS Warburg, and specialist in public-private partnerships, a policy that litters the Africa Commission's report. Less well known is John Clark, who left Oxfam for the World Bank in 1992 to join the World Bank where he was responsible for the Bank's co-optation strategy with civil society before advising Tony Blair in 2000 on his “Africa Partnership Initiative” that directly led to the New Partnership for Africa 's Development (NEPAD) in 2001. At the heart of MPH is Oxfam's Sarah Kline, a former World Bank official who champions the organisation's ‘constructive dialogue' approach with the IMF and World Bank.

Oxfam's political independence from neo-liberal governance is also compromised by the £40m or so of its annual income that comes from government or other public funds. Nearly £14m alone originates from the Department for International Development (DfID), which is a major champion of privatisation and its benefits for UK companies in developing countries. In this, Oxfam is of course by no means alone – almost every development NGO in Britain is on DfID's payroll. While it is possible to take and use government money progressively while being critical of the donor's policies, such large amounts of government funding inevitably influence how far Oxfam will stick its neck out politically and risk future funding cuts.

Oxfam's unrivalled financial resources and existing public profile make it by far the most powerful organisation in the MPH coalition. Last year, Oxfam's annual income surpassed £180m – three times the amount received by its nearest rival, Christian Aid, and dwarfing more social movement-oriented development NGOs like WDM and War on Want who punch way above their weight on just over £1m each. Such wealth disparity inevitably translates into the direction taken by the coalition, especially its public image. Oxfam's army of press officers, researchers and campaign officers can naturally take advantage of the huge media opportunities generated by the campaign.

But making Oxfam the scapegoat for MPH's co-optation by New Labour misses the key role played by Comic Relief and its celebrity co-founder, the film director, Richard Curtis. As one of Britain's most prolific and brilliant comedy writers, Curtis shot to fame in the 1980s with the TV series Blackadder, and his since penned hits like Mr Bean, The Vicar of Dibley, and the blockbuster movie, Four Weddings and a Funeral. With wealth and fame has come enormous political clout. In 2001, British centre-left daily broadsheet, The Guardian, ranked him the 10th most powerful person in the UK media industry, ahead of every national newspaper editor, except Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail.

Curtis's personal commitment to raising money for Africa goes back to 1985 when, at the height of the Ethiopian famine, he visited refugee camps as a guest of Oxfam. It was a life-changing experience and on his return to London persuaded showbiz friends to set up Comic Relief, the celebrity-led charity that uses the medium of comedy to raise both awareness about poverty, famine and disease in Africa , and huge sums of money to such causes.

Despite its incredible success in bringing in the bacon – over £337m since its inception – Comic Relief's live televised shows every two years are also criticised for their distinct lack of politics and inaccurate portrayal of Africa as a continent-come-country ravaged by natural disasters and warring tribes – the roles of colonialism, IMF and World Bank structural adjustment programmes and Western corporations don't get a look in.


Comic Relief's apolitical approach to Africa is deeply important to the fractious debate inside MPH. For while Bono and Geldof get the limelight and Oxfam dominates the policy agenda, it is Richard Curtis who is in the driving seat of MPH's all-important publicity machine.

Curtis's power partly lies in the financial and human resources he brings to the campaign. He has personally ensured the bankrolling of MPH, convincing Scottish multi-millionaire business tycoon, Sir Tom Hunter, to donate a £1m to the campaign, and advertising executives to donate more than £4m of free airtime. This helped propel his ‘Click' advert worldwide in which global film and music mega-stars, like George Clooney, Bono and Kylie Minogue, kitted out in full white T-shirt and wristband regalia, click their fingers every three seconds to mark another child dying in Africa . Curtis has used his unrivalled celebrity address book to ensure that MPH's platforms, events and entire PR strategy are dripping with celebrities.

While most MPH members gratefully accept that Curtis's celebrity support has been integral to the campaign's phenomenal marketing success (sales of the MPH white wristband are nearly 4 million and the website gets thousands of hits a minute), some believe it has come with too heavy a price. First there's the dubious role of Sir Tom Hunter, no ordinary sharp-dressed philanthropist. Worth £678m, his Hunter Foundation charity is an evangelical force behind public-private partnerships and child entrepreneurism in Scotland . Since 2001, it has helped fund the Scottish Executive's Schools Enterprise Programme in which the private sector helps groom children as young as five in the wonders of business.

Ewan Hunter, CEO of The Hunter Foundation, rejects this characterisation of the scheme as “completely erroneous”, and claims it is “a world leading initiative” to support a “can do” attitude in children: “For the record we consult widely with the relevant trade unions, councils, governments, teachers and children before agreeing any investment in education.” Note he doesn't actually refute the business-child relationship.

Tom Hunter recently caused a storm even in the right-wing tabloid press when he began selling special edition charity Live 8-MPH white wristbands stamped with the logos of six global fashion brands, including Hilfiger Denim whose owner, Tommy Hilfiger Corporation, is accused by labour right campaigners of sourcing its clothes from anti-union sweatshops in Latin America and the East Asia.

According to Stephen Coats, Executive Director of the Chicago-based US/Labor Education in the Americas Project that monitors and supports the basic rights of workers in Latin America, Hilfiger's labour record falls short of minimum standards:

“In our experience, Tommy Hilfiger is at the bottom of the list in demonstrating refusal to accept responsibility for the way workers are treated.”

Back in October 2003, the company was accused by labour rights campaigners of cutting and running from its responsibilities to workers when evidence was uncovered of labour abuses at the Tarrant blue jean factory in Ajalpan , Mexico .

The revelations have once again left Make Poverty History campaigners angry at the contamination of their high-profile symbol by its association with anti-labour companies. War on Want's John Hilary speaks for many inside MPH when he says that unless Hilfiger had suddenly reformed without them knowing “it's not the sort of company we'd want to be associated with”.

Then there's Abbot Mead Vickers (AMV), the UK 's largest advertising agency that has previously worked for Comic Relief and has been brought in to help with the campaign's communication strategy. Among AMV's many ‘politically incorrect' proposals rejected by incensed MPH members was a high-profile billboard campaign in which images of Ghandi and Nelson Mandela would sit alongside Gordon Brown, with the caption ‘2005…?'. The ad's message was clear: this could be the year in which Brown himself becomes a ‘man of history', cajoling the G8 into the ultimate sacrifice of dropping Africa 's debt to take his place alongside two martyrs of anti-colonialism.

Unsurprisingly, this ridiculous proposal to draw an equivalence between those whose lives were dedicated to fighting white supremacist imperialism, and a man who wants to turn Africa into a giant free trade zone on behalf of Western multinationals, was blocked by several incensed Make Poverty History members. But such insensitivity comes with the turf: AMV's corporate clients not only include Pepsi Cola, Pfizer, Sainsbury, Camelot, and the Economist but also, ironically, Diageo, the drinks multinational which happens to own the Gleneagles Hotel where the G8 leaders will be meeting, and is a major investor in Africa.

According to Lucy Michaels from UK-based research and campaigning organisation, Corporate Watch, Diageo has a track record of lobbying OECD and G8 countries to push for greater investment liberalisation in developing countries and its PR activities in Africa are deeply controversial:

“Diageo aggressively promotes its products in Africa by attacking one the continent's key micro-scale industries – home brewing. It recently released its 'Corporate Citizenship Report for East Africa' in which it labelled unbranded alcohol as posing severe 'health and social risks', despite evidence from the International Centre of Alcohol Policies, incidentally funded by Diageo, that 'illicit' brew' is generally of good quality and is vital to the household and local economy.”


But the most destructive aspect of Curtis's involvement, critics argue, has been his personal intervention in the public communications of MPH to ensure that the politics are routinely buried by the personality as part of his own personal and completely unaccountable strategy to change G8 policy: “Richard's philosophy has become painfully obvious to everyone in MPH,” one critic argues. “He believes that we should support the efforts of the UK government to bring other G8 countries into its line on aid and debt, and is adamant that Brown and Blair should not be criticised.”

A few months ago, tensions came to a head when members challenged the discrepancy between MPH's agreed position and the campaign's pro-government public face. The response from a key Comic Relief official was that Curtis “found it difficult” to turn against the government because of his personal friendship with Gordon Brown. The extent of the Curtis-Brown relationship was revealed on primetime national television on Saturday 25 June in Curtis's BBC 1 film, The Girl in the Café (bizarrely announced as being shown across Africa ).

A love story between Gina, an idealistic young campaigner, and Lawrence, an adviser to a tough but caring Gordon Brown-style Chancellor, who helps his new lover get an audience with world leaders at a pretend G8 summit in Iceland and inspires the UK government to insist on ‘making poverty history'. Brown even attended the Scottish première of the film in May at an event organised by MPH paymaster, Tom Hunter, who has since been knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Against this background, it is little wonder that a number of NGOs in MPH have recently felt forced to try to undermine the Oxfam-Curtis-Brown axis by making their displeasure known to the press. The ensuing fall out led to MPH members agreeing to quickly distance the coalition from the government by rushing forward by several weeks a report criticising UK government policy. However, the respite was only temporary. The coup de grâce came in a recent announcement that Gordon Brown has been invited to the 2 July rally in Edinburgh .

Frustration would not perhaps be so intense if there was real pluralism and democracy in MPH's organising practices. But as the G8 draws near, MPH apparatchiks have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that come the 2 July rally in Edinburgh , only the branded, monolithic message and speakers of MPH are seen and heard.


MPH's website fails to even acknowledge the other protests, events and groups like Dissent, Trident Ploughshares and G8Alternatives, but who themselves are actively encouraging everyone to go and support the MPH rally. The MPH Coordinating Team, which includes Oxfam, Comic Relief and the TUC, has also twice unanimously vetoed the Stop the War Coalition's (STWC) application to join MPH on the Orwellian grounds that the issues of economic justice and development are separate from that of war, and STWC's participation in Edinburgh on 2 July would confuse the message. It will be interesting, then, to see if Oxfam bans itself – it is currently leading a global campaign for an international arms treaty on the basis that “uncontrolled arms fuels poverty and suffering”.

STWC has since been banned from even having a stall at the MPH rally. A leaked email in late May to MPH from Milipedia, the ‘ethical' events management company helping to organise the MPH rally, asks the coalition to “consider the desirability / strategy for removing people from our event who are setting up unwanted stalls, ad hoc events, facilities etc” and to draw up a list “of the likely infiltrators and decide what we're prepared to tolerate and at what point we draw the line and what action we want to take”. This followed a tip-off that the Socialist Party (formerly Militant Tendency) is planning to sell its newspaper on the Edinburgh rally, shout slogans through megaphones and wear red MakeCapitalismHistory T-shirts and wristbands (Red Pepper, incidentally, will be wearing ‘Make the G8 History' T-shirts on the day).

The email also recounts how, in response to Stop the War's announced intention to lead a break away rally at 4.30pm on 2 July, the local council, the police and MPH organisers are working together to ensure that STWC would be denied their own stage in order to retain “our ownership of the event and our key messaging”.

This is not just about political domination. Part of MPH's concern lies in the perceived threat to its monopoly of all commercial trade taking place on the day – the coalition has taken out a market traders licence for the 2 July that will solely benefit the coalition's members and empowers MPH to move illegal traders, including political activists, off the site. Comic Relief has also registered the MakePovertyHistory slogan as a trademark with the European Union and is threatening to take action against “any misuse or alleged of the Trademark”.

But concerns about MPH lie much deeper than the political divisions within the UK development scene. The most obvious question, increasingly on the lips of even mainstream journalists, is where are the voices of African civil society, and other social movements of the Global South, in a campaign that is supposedly about them?


Kofi Maluwi Klu, a leading Ghanaian Pan-African activist and international coordinator of Jubilee 2000 Africa Campaign in the late 1990s, is angered by MPH's lack of representativeness: “We have a saying in the African liberation movement – ‘nothing about us, without us'. Make Poverty History is a massive step backwards in this regard, even from Jubilee 2000.The campaign is overwhelmingly led by Northern NGOs and its basic message is about white millionaire popstars saving Africa 's helpless. The political movements still fighting for liberation on the ground are completely erased”.

The absence of the South in the leadership of MPH inevitably translates into the campaign's politics. For instance, Southern NGO's and movements are generally critical of making demands on the G8: “The G8 is a completely illegitimate and unnaccountable body of global governance; its governments and corporations are historically responsible for most of the problems of developing countries, and remain so today” say Nicola Bullard , of the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South, the respected international non-government policy research and advocacy organisation. “Lobbying the G8 contradicts the very clear call made by hundreds of social movements, NGOs and trade unions from the South and the North at this year's World Social Forum to mobilise protests against the G8 summit.”

The same is true for MPH's policy demands. While Southern movements welcome MPH's more holistic development agenda to Jubilee 2000's single issue campaign for debt relief, they argue that its position on debt contradicts what grassroots African and other Southern campaigners are demanding: “MPH is calling for 100 per cent cancellation of the unpayable debts of the poorest countries – but so is the UK government,” explains Jubilee South's Brian Ashley. “This does not address the ‘illegitimacy of the debt' in the first place, the fact that many South countries' debts were either a hangover from colonialism or came from the huge hike in interest rates during the 1970s and 80s, and have been paid back many times over, making the South the creditor of the North. We demand the total, unconditional and immediate cancellation of all Southern country debts, not just those of the very poorest as MPH requests.”

For Southern debt campaigners, the debate is almost identical to the one that led back in 1999, to the North-South split in the Jubilee 2000 movement and the creation of the Jubilee South network, which today brings together more than 80 debt campaigns, social movements and peoples' organisations from more than 40 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia/Pacific. Jubilee South's founding principle was to create stronger South-South solidarity, to strengthen the collective voice, presence and leadership of the South in the international debt movement and lay the basis for global social transformation from the bottom-up.

While MPH is part of the Global Call for Action on Poverty (G-CAP) that has a Southern dimension in its leadership, dozens of Southern-based groups, including Jubilee South and Focus on the Global South, have refused to be part of G-CAP, declining's Oxfam and Action Aid's invitation to the September 2004 Johannesburg meeting that eventually launched the coalition. “Jubilee South decided not to go for the fairly simple reason that you don't launch a campaign on behalf of the South without fully briefing, consulting and working with Southern networks first,” says Brian Ashley. Nicola Bullard concurs, adding: “Focus on the Global South saw the Jo'burg meeting as a way to get a lot of radical groups and grassroots movements to give legitimacy to a pre-determined, Northern-led campaign. We believe you have to mobilise and construct movements from the bottom-up”.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of MPH's blending of its message with that of the government's, and its exclusion of critics North and South, is that it enables the state and media to draw a sharp line in the sand between the ‘good protester' attending the 2 July Edinburgh rally, and the ‘bad protester' – anyone who is contemplating engaging in civil disobedience against what is, after all, an illegitimate institution and set of governments responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people each year.


Those UK development NGOs unhappy with MPH's direction know this only too well, but refuse to publicly walk away from a campaign that is actively derailing the global justice movement. Although it may sound cynical, the reason is simple: MPHistory is a money-spinner. “Although we hate the message and the corporate branding, some NGOs are making thousands of pounds through the wristbands,” one arch critic admitted. “We have loads of new people on our database interested in our campaigns, and because the issues of trade, debt and aid are now suddenly sexy again, we have new funding bodies approaching us to do projects and research. MPH is paying for my job for the next three years.”

This, at the end of the day, is the NGO bottom-line and that is what MPHistory is all about – helping the world's poor in ways that guarantee your own organisational survival. By riding the MPH money-spinning tiger in the hope of becoming stronger, the UK's most respected development NGOs like Christian Aid, War on War and World Development Movement, are themselves in danger of becoming completely detached from their African comrades at a crucial time for unity against the New labour, the G8 and their plan to carve up Africa's natural wealth for Western corporations.

This must not be allowed to happen. It is still not too late for Make Poverty History's dissenting voices to quit en masse and use this symbolic power to inspire the millions of Make Poverty History members to resist the G8, and push Geldof, Bono, Curtis and co to at least use their media influence to criticise G8 policy. Otherwise, the only thing they are likely to be consigning to history is Africa itself.

* Stuart Hodkinson is the Associate Editor of Red Pepper

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Don't forget tonight's 'Make the G8 History' event at LSE, London

28.06.2005 00:57

"Make the G8 History"

Tuesday 28th June, 6pm

New Theatre
London School of Economics
Houghton St
(nearest tube: Holborn)

+ tickets for South Assembly train to the G8
+ latest Red Pepper on sale


George Monbiot on Corporate Power

Tariq Ali on Power and Resistance

Trevor Ngwane on Africa and the View from the South

Victoria Brittain on Colonialism and Racism

George Galloway on War and Poverty

Mark Curtis on British Foreign Policy

Hilary Wainwright (Chair)

Organised by:

LSE People & Planet

Supported by:

War on Want
Red Pepper
World Development Movement
Friends of the Earth
People & Planet
SOAS Said-Fanon Society
Newham Monitoring Project
Radical Activist Network
The 1990 Trust

For details:

Call Nick Dearden on 0207 620 1111

or go to

mail e-mail:

i think that this

28.06.2005 01:05

might be the best damn article i ever read:
well done red pepper


paul c

paul c

nice one SH

29.06.2005 00:38

Thats more like it! I knew MPH was dodge, great to see it put into words. Anyone able to make a printable PDF version to print out at the rally?


Re: I knew MPH was dodge

29.06.2005 10:07

I think the point isn't that it's dodgy but that it's been fucked over by government-friendly Oxfam, Geldof, Richard Curtis and corporate infiltration by people like Hunter.

The majority of MPH is calling for quite radical change, but the message that reaches the public gets totally watered down.

Most member organisations are outraged at the insistence of a softly-softly approach to government, at toning down the radicalism of the message going out to the public, of the stifling of internal democracy, and the stalinist prohibition of allowing anti-war groups to be associated with the campaign.

It's not MPH that's dodgy, it's its leadership. Like most progressive coalitions, left paries, trade unions, etc, the grassroots are quite radical but the leadership is conservative and is used by the opponents to co-opt the movement.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. There are a lot of good people involved with MPH. But they need to learn a lot of lessons about how to organise and how to work together, without being taken over by non-radical government-friendly elements.


Researching articles

29.06.2005 11:03

"The right-wing Sunday Telegraph, meanwhile, had given notice of its shocking exclusive on how large numbers of the ubiquitous MPH white wristband – the very symbol of the campaign – had been knowingly sourced from Chinese sweatshops with Oxfam's blessing."

I don't believe that the Make Poverty History campaign is perfect but maybe it would be a good idea to cross-check facts, particularly facts harvested from a right wing publication. I did some checking and this appears to be what actually happened.

The Make Poverty History bands were indeed made in China. The first batch (for internal use at Oxfam) were produced at a factory who was found to fail Oxfam's working condition checks on two minor counts. Production of the bands was then moved to another factory which passed all checks - these are the bands that are being used to promote the campaign. Further - Oxfam worked with the first factory to bring working conditions up to a standard Oxfam was happy with and now both factories are producing the bands.

Personally I think that's great - not only did they stop using an unethical producer, they actually changed the working conditions.

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Co-opting the 'movement'

01.07.2005 14:32

Fantastic article. I'm a co-ordinator for PowerToThePeople, a member organisation of 'Make Poverty History', we joined on the premise of campaigning against trade injustice, unfair aid conditions and third world debt, legitimate goals for the 'movement of movements' of which we would consider ourselves part. The backbone of 'Make Poverty History' are the hundreds of small activist groups such as ourselves, who intended to demonstrate in Edinburgh on saturday and Gleneagles on weds, with some other actions in between. Yet the 'public face' is Bob, Bono n even Gordon Brown!!? I feel the whole anti-G8 campaign is being co-opted. Bob arranges Live8 the same day as the 'Make Poverty History' demo - that'll get no coverage then! and urges people to demonstrate in Edinburgh on the weds and arranges another gig there - intended to attract people away from Gleneagles no doubt. In the run up to the G8 when Blair should be squirming Bob's on MTV with him cuddling up n say how wonderful the PM is!! Expect Lord Geldolf some time soon then! Meanwhile it is reported that Gordon Brown has been actually invited to participate in the saturday demo - What's going on??? The whole thing seems to have been co-opted. The new labour spin doctors must be chuffed to bits.

PowerToThePeople has contacted 'Make Poverty History' for an explanation regarding Brown's invite and demanding it be withdrawn. Otherwise we are disassociating ourselves and will be issuing a press release to that effect. We urge all activists to converge on Gleneagles to demand world justice and ignore the luvvie love in and new labour PR dream that the official 'Make Poverty History' demo seems to be morphing into.

Also re the above article Oxfam should be ashamed of themselves.

See you at Gleneagles - Power To The People!!

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MPH will be ethical if it publicises a legal advance

02.07.2005 07:37

Where does Indymedia itself stand towards the MPH campaign's workings, after this message posted successfully as a standalone topic at 23:27 yesteday has now disappeared? A topic on ending a media cover-up that has lasted 6 years. This information below has been circulated to the Jubilee anti-debt campaign, both in Scotland and Jubilee South in the indebted world, to MPH and G8Alternatives and every possible lead to make it reach the big names who could make it publicly known through the present events. Whether they do it or not, determines whether they are conning you and murdering the poor or they are genuine.
Someone watch out and see if this already covered-up subject gets wiped from here again!!!

The G8 protest movement that has now
sprung up with a worldwide pop stars' profile, must
not be allowed not to publicise a legal breakthrough
of dircet help to the indebted countries. I am sending
this to all anti-debt related email addresses I can

> > following details about a major advance in
> democracy
> > called the "court change", should be told to the
> big
> > names involved in the present events, to ensure
> they
> > announce it publicly on the day and end the media
> > cover-up of it.
> >
> > The court change has been relevant to debt relief
> ever
> > since Seattle and Genoa, yet the big aid charities
> > have all chosen to ignore it in order to remain on
> > friendly terms with politicians. The World
> Development
> > Movement even called me despicable for
> leafletting
> > about the court change at one of its rallies in
> > 1999,and Oxfam lied to me that it would tell
> people
> > about it as the condition for a standing order
> then
> > when it was caught not doing it it made sure to
> get
> > all the bank details destroyed before claiming it
> > never had to do it!
> >
> > You can see I have made my own efforts to make the
> big
> > names hear of the court change (made more
> difficult by
> > their public image of being down-to-earth blokes
> who
> > can't use the web! except Midge Ure who has got a
> > contactable site) and I have written directly to
> > foreign embassies about it. For, once the court
> change
> > is made public and hence operationally established
> in
> > all the G8 countries, then it applies to the
> IMF/World
> > Bank, and the indebted countries can use the
> > fault-finding power (described below) of the court
> > change,in the Western legal systems, both to annul
> > their debts and to claim for proper world resource
> > distribution.
> >

I have been lobbying people in a series of political
situations throughout the last 4 years to spread
knowledge of the court change, whose shifting of power
in favour of ordinary people ensures that it has been
under a media silence. Nevertheless, it's on publicly
traceable record through petitions 730/99 in the
European, PE6 and PE360 in the Scottish, parliaments.
Since 7 July 1999 all court or other legal decisions
are "open to open ended fault finding by all parties
and recapitulation therupon" instead of final.

This follows from my European Court of Human Rights
case 41597/98 on an insurance scam of evictions of
unemployed people from hotels. This case referred to
violation of civil status from 13 May 1997, yet the
adissibility decision claimed the last inland decision
stage was on 4 Aug 1995. ECHR has made itself illegal,
by claiming finality in issuing a syntactically
contradictory nonsense decision that reverses the
physics of time. It violates every precedent of
member countries' laws recognising the chronology of
cause and effect, in evidence.

The European Convention's section on requiring a court
to exist, now requires its member countries to create
a new ECHR that removes the original's illegality, by
its decisions not being final. It follows this
requires inland courts to be compatible with open
ended decisions and doing inland work connected to
them. Hence legal decisions inland,within countries,
also cease to be final and become open ended, in the
44 Council of Europe countries.

World trade irreversibly means jurisdictions are not
cocooned but have overlapping cases. When a case
overlaps an affected and unaffected country, the
unaffected country becomes affected, through having to
deal with open ended case content open endedly,
that can affect any number of other cases open
endedly. Open endedness is created in its system.

The concept of "leave to appeal" is abolished and
judges no longer have to be crawled to as authority
figures. Every party in a case is automatically
entitled to lodge a fault finding against any
decision, stating reasons. These are further return
faultable, including by the original fault finder,
stating reasons. A case reaches its outcome when all
fault findings have been answered or accepted.

Anyone can add to the list of court change countries
outside the Council of Europe, showing autocracies,
pending their freer futures, as well as democracies.
It starts with:
Israel and Lebanon through the case in Belgium on the
Sabra-Chatila massacres.
America, Canada, Australia through my child brain
research ethics dispute with Arizona university,
stalled by an American government obstruction of
justice. Oviously there will be many cases making
these 3 countries court change, so I should not be
seen as seeking the ego fantasy of taking personal
credit for it through my case, but time priority
entitles me to put my case in the list like this.

Rest of the list:
Yugoslavia through war crimes cases overlapping
Kosovo through war crimes cases overlapping
North Cyprus through Turkey's UN legal challenge
against South Cyprus joining the EU.
Belarus through its election dispute with OSCE
election monitoring.
Monaco through International Amateur Athletics
Federation drug hearings there.
Vatican City through Sinead O'Connor's ordination as a
Catholic priest.
Cuba through Elian Gonzalez.
Haiti through objecting to receiving petty crime
deportations from America.
Antigua through its constitutional crisis on capital
Trinidad through its Privy Council case on capital
Jamaica through claims on both sides of American
linked arms trade background to its violence.
Mexico through the Benjamin Felix drug mafia
extradition to America.
Belize through Michael Ashcroft.
Guatemala through the child stealing and adoption
scandal overlapping America.
Colombia through America's supposed human rights
intervention in training Colombian police and
Venezuela through Luis Posada Carriles.
Guyana through the £12m debt claim dropped by Iceland
(the shop).
Brazil through EU immigration unfairnesses to its
football players,
necessitating a mafia trade in false passports.
Argentina through its ECHR case on the General
Chile through General Pinochet.
Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay through Judge Garzon's
citation of Henry Kissinger for the South American
military conspiracy Operation Condor.
Chad and Senegal through a French action in Senegal
obtaining Chad's former dictator Habre for trial under
Pinochet's precedent.
Algeria through the Harkis'case from the Algerian war.
Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Morocco through the
Insight News case.
Ivory Coast through the chocolate slavery scandal.
Ghana through the World Bank's Dora slave scandal.
Togo through the Lome peace accords for Sierra Leone,
and their breaking as an issue in factional arms
supply to there.
Burkina Faso through an arms trade case of smuggling
through it from Ukraine to civil war factions in
Sierra Leone and Angola.
Niger and Rwanda through Oxfam's case of buying an
arms trade "end user certificate" for Rwanda in Niger.
Burundi through the war crimes trial of Rwanda's 1994
head of state.
Tanzania and Japan through the 2000 G8 summit, because
Tanzania Social and Economic Trust broadcast a
contradiction in implementing both its wishes for
economic advance and its debt relief terms.
Mozambique through its cashew nuts dispute with the
World Bank.
South Africa and Lesotho through a WHO case against
American pharmaceutical ethics there.
Nigeria through reported Nigerian drug mafia crime in
South Africa.
Dahomey and Gabon through their slave trafficking
scandals overlapping Nigeria and Togo.
Zimbabwe through its land finances dispute with
Equatorial Guinea through the charges in Zimbabwe of a
coup conspiracy.
Malawi through its arrests of Zimbabwean refugees
callously deported from Britain.
Zambia through Cafod's collection of objections to
food supply and health violations in its IMF
structural adjustment program.
Namibia through the Herero genocide case against
Angola, Congo Kinshasa, Ecuador through arms trade
smuggling to them from Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Congo Brazzaville through the Jean-Francois Ndenge
case in France.
Sudan through Al Shafi pharmaceutical factory suing
America for bombing it.
Ethiopia through aid sector comment on its conditional
debt relief.
Eritrea through its border dispute with Ethiopia.
Somaliland through its problem with Russian and South
Korean coastal fishing.
Kenya through the Archer's Post munitions explosion
case overlapping Britain.
Uganda through the Acholiland child slave crisis and
Sudan's agreement to return children.
Mauritius through the Ilois rights judgment on the
Chagos clearances.
Yemen through its problem with Spain over the missile
United Arab Emirates through Mohammed Lodi.
Saudi Arabia through the lawsuit by families of 911
Qatar through the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Bahrain through the call for American witnesses in
Richard Meakin's case.
Kuwait through the terrorism arrests in Saudi Arabia.
Iraq through the weapons inspection dispute before the
invasion. NB this does not mean the dispute or
invasion were right!
Jordan through its threat of "unspecified measures" in
its relations with Israel.
Egypt through its disputes with Tanzania and Kenya
over use of Nile water.
Libya, Syria, Iran through the Lockerbie bomb trial.
Uzbekistan through the ambassadorial exposee on
evdience obtained by torture there and used in Western
Afghanistan through Ben Laden.
Pakistan through a dispute between supporters of
enslaved women and the British embassy for not helping
them escape.
India, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia through the World
Wildlife Fund's campaign for tiger conservation,
conflicting western romanticism with local populations
affected by the homicidal absurdity of conserving a
human predator.
Nepal through the Gurkhas' lawsuit for equal pay and
Vietnam through a church publicised refugee dispute
overlapping China.
Cambodia through its enactment for a trial of the
Khmer Rouge Holocaust.
Laos through Peter Tatchell's application to arrest
Henry Kissinger.
Thailand through Sandra Gregory.
Burma through the Los Angeles judgment on the Unocal
oil pipeline.
Sri Lanka through its call for the Tamil
Tigers'banning in Britain.
East Timor through public reaction to the judgment
against trying Suharto.
Papua New Guinea through WWF's Kikori mangrove logging
New Zealand through its ban on British blood
Nauru through the Australian civil liberty challenge
on the Tampa refugees.
Fiji through its land crisis's nonracial solubility by
a Commonwealth constitutional question against rent
and mortgages.
Tuvalu through environmentalist challenges to
America's rejection of international agreements on
global warming and sea level.
Marshall Islands through the Nuclear Claims Tribunal
Philippines and Malaysia through the international
police investigation in the Jaybe Ofrasio trial in
Northern Ireland.
South Korea through its jurisdiction dispute with the
American army.
North Korea through its apology to Japan for abductions.

maurice frank

oh, irony

04.07.2005 17:05

you have to admit, though, that the irony of a socialist antiwar coalition being marshalled out of a tightly-controlled pseudo-political event is rather sweet.



05.07.2005 08:16




05.07.2005 10:13

Stuart it really was a brilliant peice of analysis/ story telling. Required reading for those who want to know why Live8 just never felt that right.

Thank you.

Shiv Malik- New Statesman

What a load of rubbish

20.08.2006 18:34

As one of many people who pushed themselves right to the edge to make that stuff last year work as best as it could, I can tell you this article is rubbish. It picks up a load of half truths and interprets them according to prejudice. Of course there were huge problems with MPH; but the problems with this bollocks analysis are much worse. I meant to write this last year but couldn't be bothered.

Ben Young
mail e-mail:

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