Jubilee Debt Campaign’s National Mobilisation, 29th September

The gathering marked 20 years since Jubilee 2000’s mould-breaking ‘Human Chain’ at the G7, in Birmingham. It revealed that JDC’s supporters are in good heart – and that the campaign still have important and innovative things to say! Among the contributors were those well known to NE-CAP, such as Ann Pettifor, the former Director of Jubilee 2000, and Nick Dearden, the former Director of JDC and now Director of Global Justice Now.

David Golding was asked to give a presentation on Saturday on, “The role and importance of local groups and grassroots campaigning, both in the 1990s and 2000s, but also in the present day”. [In 10 minutes. Gulp!] The headings are as below, but the full text can be found here.

First, Jubilee 2000 brought home to us not only the terrible reality of the lives of so many people trapped in what the Millennium Declaration calls “the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty”, but also, perhaps more important, the role that Western governments were playing in consolidating those conditions. To people of my generation – I was born just south of London, in 1940, this was a profound shock! [And so on.]

Second, Jubilee 2000 and the Chain brought home to us what could be achieved by working together. [Quoted Longfellow’s poem,] And so on… One other important point about working together locally can be summed up in the familiar exhortation, “Bloom where you’re planted”. [And so on.]

“A final lesson I learnt from Jubilee 2000 (says he provocatively) is not to follow its example and stand down too soon. How many of the promises on debt relief made prior to the end of 2000 would, in fact, have been honoured, had Jubilee Debt Campaign not ‘kept their feet to the fire’?

Similarly, would ‘Drop the Debt’ have been so prominent on the Make Poverty History agenda had it not been for our pressure? And would relief have been given to Liberia and Haiti? And would our leaders have passed the Vultures Bill?

In each case, probably not, and from this I conclude that perhaps the greatest contribution made by grassroots campaigners to the debt campaign was the ‘right rumpus’ we kicked up at the prospect of the closure of the campaign at the end of 2000.

So one of the great lessons from Jubilee 2000 and its transition to Jubilee Debt Campaign, as from the anti-slavery campaign, is the need for persistence… [And so on.]

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