London Indymedia

Mass Lobby of MPs For 'Trade Justice not Free Trade' (report and pics)

fairy trader | 02.11.2005 17:40 | Globalisation | London

Campaigners numbering in the thousands today took part in a mass lobby of MPs demanding Trade Justice, not Free Trade, ahead of the WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in mid December.

They assembled in regional groups, snaking from parliament over the bridge and right along the other side of the thames back up to parliament bridge.

At 1pm there was a minutes silence and much waving of white items (the trade mark colour of the campaign).

This was the first major event for the Trade Justice Movement since the Make Poverty History (MPH) rally and march the weekend beore the G8 Summit in scotland.

While many both inside and outside of the MPH coalition have criticised the campaign for being too simplistic, superficial and compromised by pop stars and politicians, the campaigning has to continue.

For two good perpectives on the MPH campaign post G8 see:

The mass organised lobby of MPs saw many politicians meeting constituants in their pre-arranged locations along the thames, in a repeat of the scenes seen in 2002 during the last mass lobby. It provided people the opportunity to talk openly about the issues and was certainly an interesting sight seing so many politicians on the street talking to people. "Democracy in action" commentated one old lady, although many younger campaigners were sceptical that the event would produce real results. It was also of course a great opportunity for the MPs to get some positive coverage and get their pictures taken along with campaigners.

Plenty of TV cameras and press photographers were out and about after the initial panic caused by Blunkett's resignation - as were several community video and radio groups recording the days events.

Other campaigners queued up outside parliament to go inside and lobby their MPs - when I left at 2pm the MP-omiter, measuring how many MPs had been lobbied was up to a count of 32. It's expected that that figure will reach into the hundreds by the end of the day.

People were lobbying their MP's to support the calls to stop pushing poor countries to open their economies through world trade talks and respect poor countries' right to decide on trade policies to help end poverty and protect their environment. Campaigners were also urging their MPs to sign the trade justice Early Day Motion 679 'Making Poverty History through Trade Justice'.

Similar lobby efforts were also happening in other countries and a european wide lobby will take place in Brussels on 21 November. In the UK, so far 600,000 people in the UK have already added their support to the Vote for Trade Justice campaign.

More info:

Trade Justice Network Mass Lobby Info:

Indymedia Global Feature on forthcoming WTO ministerial in Hong Kong (11-18 Dec):

WTO to abandon "Development Round" of trade talks
19-20 October 2005
The World Trade Organisation is set to abandon the "Development Round" at its General Council meeting this week and return instead to a corporate agenda based on self-interest and power politics, according to proposals.

2002 Trade Justice Mass Lobby - Report and Pics:
(NB the 2002 one was much bigger attracting well over 10,00 people)

fairy trader


Hide the following 7 comments

Pix from TJM Lobby

02.11.2005 17:58

Stretching along the banks of the thames
Stretching along the banks of the thames

Out for Trade Justice
Out for Trade Justice

School's Out for Trade Justice
School's Out for Trade Justice

599 were contacted in advance
599 were contacted in advance

From far and wide
From far and wide

and wider...
and wider...

Waving white and making noise
Waving white and making noise

Student group P&P
Student group P&P

Interviewing MPs
Interviewing MPs

Another Photo Op
Another Photo Op

'Live' news commentary
'Live' news commentary

Neoliberal Capitalism
Neoliberal Capitalism

More waving
More waving

WTO Kills
WTO Kills

Spin the wheel of misfortune
Spin the wheel of misfortune

Target for today
Target for today


Free Trade advocate gets in on the act!
Free Trade advocate gets in on the act!

World Development Movement (WDM) policy chief Peter Hardstaff said: "Despite calling 2005 the year for Africa the government had already failed to do nearly enough on aid and debt cancellation.

"Now they are pushing developing countries to open their markets in return for reform of the EU's agricultural policy.

"This lobby shows that campaigners refuse to trust the government's claim that they are committed to a development agenda.

"We are sick of ministers parroting our slogans back at us while pursuing policies that are opposed by many developing country governments and have been shown to hurt the poor."

Fairy Trader

A few of the MPs who came out to talk to trade justice campaigners

02.11.2005 18:08

some looked more comfortable than others, the conversation was all pretty civil, with several explaining why it was impossible to move any quicker than current speed.

more pix

aLL very well but

02.11.2005 21:10

Weird notions of 'justice' and 'trade'. Like Fair Trade - people are still alienated from the land and this ( corporate - lite) does not help. Yeh, lobby MPs - another greedy bunch just waiting for their non exec directorship bungs. You think this is going to change anything. Trade trade more bloody trade and fuck the planet by the way. Consume less, take the land, fuck the Guardian. Still - it makes you fell like you're doing something without haing to give up your consumer lifestyle. God this is depressing and stupid. Chomp. Munch. Gobble. lets talk about jobs, jobs, and more fucking jobs. Why don't you wake up?????????????????


What to do

03.11.2005 10:45

Nick - I agree with you. Makes me so fuckin frustrated to see how people take part in 'the acceptable face' of protest (MPH), thereby supporting the regimes and system that cause the problems. I have aquaintances who strongly support MPH but who see little connection with the greedy, wasteful way they live their own lives, in between the fun marches ('well, we need 2 cars to get to work'; 'These are the only trainers Clare will wear'; 'We're popping over to Turkey for half-term - the flight's so cheap this time of year') etc.
I know the 'Don't Agonise - Organise' idea and try to do what I can. But what to do when frustration sets in and you're surrounded by people who just don't give a shit?
I don't want to end up having a cosy chat to some twat MP, waving a white banner & matching wristband...


What's wrong with the action?

03.11.2005 11:40

What do you suggest we do instead, Nick? At least this helps educate people about the issue and heightens awareness. Most Mp's are rotten but if you don't debate with them, then they'll feel less inclined to stand up to Blair and his cronies.


Mass Lobby for Trade Justice not free trade

05.11.2005 03:00

I think Nick and Sam are right, but also, Richard too.
(how's that for sitting on the fence ?- no I am NOT an MP.).

Believe it or not I didn't go to London because I couldn't afford it AND I had to sodding sign on!
Yes, the state has got us hooked or f**ked, it seems.
However, what I heard reported back was that around 7,000 people from ALL over the country HAD travelled to London in the piss wet rain to lobby the MPs and raise awareness of the TJM campaign.
Fair do's to them all, on a week day(or giro day) too.
It is right and proper, I think, to campaign, agitate, educate, organise on ALL fronts against these capitalist, imperialistic bas**rds who claim to be elected to govern our countries(HA!).

Fair enough, some people ARE middle class, some people ARE misguided but they are doing their little bit, certainly, to try to make the world a fairer place, even if they mistakenly slip into sodding Starbucks every now and then and, O.K, the vast majority of those in London on the 2nd November at the Lobby were nowhere to be seen on J18 - 1999 when we scruffy self-labelled anarchists danced outside the closed down Bank of England but..........I say.......they ARE doing their bit........and it is a bit .....FOR Genuine GOOD.


Trade Justice not free trade - time to take action

05.11.2005 10:59

Trade Justice is not about trade for its own sake or more trade as if 'growth' itself was inherently good or a trade system that screws up the planet. And that is why it is such a radical concept and why people are mobilising around the idea and building a massive campaign to deliver Trade Justice in the face of real opposition and blocking from vested interests.

Trade Justice activism extends from direct actions to the more mainstream actions the 'acceptable face' of protest of Make Poverty History has offered this year (both for people new to the issues that will hopefully go further and those that have campaigned on these issues since the early 80s and before).

Not everyone wants to speak with their MP. But when over 8, 000 people turn up en masse to do so, real political pressure is exerted that combines with all the other public actions. More, much more, is needed before and during the WTO in Hong Kong. The free trade agenda must be halted. And good on anyone who finds a way to add their contribution.



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