Dear friends, colleagues & supporters,
We hope our Spring newsletter finds you well and that there’s something of interest for you in our fulsome round-up below!
Alongside our existing films and campaigning work, we are developing a number of new projects that address economic justice issues. They chime with a wider civil society desire for a re-balancing of political and economic systems in favour of social need and away from the special interest groups that have accumulated power and wealth for themselves over the past three decades. We are developing an Attlee Celebration Festival; an international event and campaign to mark Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign; and a feature length documentary comprising short film essays on a new vision for Britain in advance of the 2020 election.
There is no doubt that the latest revelations in the Panama Papers will further add to public anger about the way in which our societies are being hi-jacked by a small number of super-well connected individuals and businesses. We need to keep the faith that we can make change, rather than succumb to the sense that there is nothing we can do in the face of such widespread abuse of economic and political power.
The Panama Papers, and the debate that’s ensuing, has a special resonance for some of us here at Tipping Point. Back in the mid 2000s, we in the Christian Aid campaigns team took up ‘country by country tax reporting’ as one of our key messages on tax justice. It was founded on the work of Tax Justice Network experts John Christensen and Richard Murphy.
Country-by-country reporting would make transnational corporations break down the financial results for each country they operated in, so that citizens could see what those companies and their affiliates were doing and what, if any, tax was paid or avoided. While ‘country by country reporting’ was central to the development debate, it was a tough, detailed issue to communicate to the wider public and media.
But the global financial crisis catapulted the tax issue to the foreground. Tax is on everyone’s agenda and country by country reporting is now integrated into the wider tax debate. And the Panama Papers have put the UK PM himself in the spotlight. In his defence, David Cameron argues his government has done more to advocate tax transparency than any other government.
If the Tax Justice Network, UK Uncut and all the other NGOs and tax justice campaign supporters hadn’t pushed the government, HMRC and the rest, would the UK government have paid any attention to the immorality of tax havens? Of tax avoidance and evasion? Of the billions lost to public services, especially in the global south, but here in the UK and other developed nations too?
It may take years, decades even. But you can’t forever sideline those progressive campaigns whose time has come.
Deb, Kev, Justin& Ho-Chih
Event Attlee Celebration-Unity Festival: films, debates, exhibition
“the twentieth century’s greatest prime minister.” IPSOS-MORI poll of historians and political scientists (2004)
In 2017, we mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Clement Attlee. This event aims to bring the much under-valued and largely sidelined story of Clement Attlee, and his government, to a new generation. It will be a contemporary cultural project which explores his legacy through documentary films; film and photo archival material; talks; debates and exhibitions. Attlee oversaw the largest and most wide-ranging social reform while in government. Despite being in the most difficult of times, his government laid down the foundation for the subsequent rapidly rising living standard, decreasing inequality and growing prosperity. A celebration for all generations, the Attlee Unity Festival in 2017 will explore how, 70 years ago, politicians did push back powerful vested interests for a caring social democracy – and what lessons we can bring forward for today’s ‘austerity’ debate.
Watch: Spirit of 45 Ken Loach, Dogwoof http://dogwoof.com/thespiritof45/
Event & Campaign Project 2018 (working title)
‘For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of society through a little change here and little change there…but now I feel quite differently. You have got to have a reconstruction of the whole society, a revolution of values… We are not interested in being integrated into this value structure. Power must be relocated, a radical redistribution of power must take place.’
Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
We are in the early stages of developing an international project to mark 50 years since Dr Martin Luther King launched the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. At the time of his murder in April 1968, Dr. King was working on a Poor People’s March on Washington planned for summer 1968 which was a more radical successor to the March on Washington in August 1963. The 1968 campaign had a radical new idea at its heart: An Economic Bill of Rights. By 1968, King had been developing political strategies that forged links between race and class, within the framework of a profound challenge to the wider economic system. He said ‘we must rapidly begin the shift form a thing oriented society to a people oriented society’. And he argued that ‘something is wrong with capitalism’.
We are currently exploring partnerships with church networks and movements in the USA, sub-Saharan Africa and the UK to mobilise around a renewed call for us all to march on power with a progressive manifesto for transformative change founded on King’s original Economic Bill of Rights. A Manifesto that will reverse economic inequalities, racism, militarism and climate change that, combined, are destroying families, communities, nations and the very planet we live on.
Film 10 for 2020 (working title)
The grassroots support for politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders is a public call for action on the gross inequality our societies face. Both men over their long political careers have given active support to many issues that other politicians would not address for fear of public or media backlash or simply because there were no votes in it. Now it seems the time has come for their voices to be heard on national platforms.
In Development: We are working with several independent producers to develop a documentary which will invite a range of directors to offer up their ‘vision’ for Britain in 2020 – one which will reflect the spirit of hope that delivered Corbyn’s election. Reversal of profound inequality; renewed respect for the political process and increased investment in public services; prioritising green jobs and a green economy; development of a new vision of Britain in the world where Trident is not renewed and going into illegal wars is out of the question.
FILM & CAMPAIGN UPDATES
Open Bethehem had its Palestine Premiere in Bethlehem on March 29! It was hosted by Dar Al-Kalimah University for Arts and Culture in association with Visit Palestine and NEPTO (The Network of Experiential Palestinian Tourism Organisation). The film received a great reviewfrom one of the region’s leading commentators Daoud Kattab.
Leila Sansour’s ‘film Open Bethlehem is not just another documentary; it is a ninety-minute epic that transcends politics and normal cinema and gives the viewer a personal view of the life and passions of a single individual who is committed to giving her townspeople a better future…After seeing Open Bethlehem you can’t sit still. A clear and powerful case is being made through the efforts of a human being who is bringing to the world a call in which she wants the world to join her. So let us all say it loud and clear: OPEN BETHLEHEM.’
And in January Malala, Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Prize Laureate, and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, the United Nations Special Advisor on Global Education, became the newest citizens and ambassadors of Open Bethlehem.
Find out more at http://www.openbethlehem.org
We Are Many The Iraq War remains a live issue 12 years after the invasion and is never from public debate, especially now, with anti-war campaigner Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour Party and Bernie Sanders campaign gaining so much support in the USA. Plans are being finalised for the release of the film in the USA; and TPFF and Amir plan to hold a number of public screenings in the UK later this year. Watch this space.
New Release: On the subject of war and the arms trade, we are delighted that the film based on the book The Shadow World, also titled The Shadow World, has just been premiered in New York. It carries interviews with, amongst others, Colonel (retired) Lawrence Wilkerson, Fmr. Chief of Staff to US Sec. of State, Colin Powell also a contributor to We Are Many. Andrew Feinstein’s work to expose the arms trade and its impact on democracy and development has been a foundation stone for our Five Per Cent military spending campaign research. We cannot wait to see the film on its UK release.
The Power of Us (working title) We’re delighted to be picking up on our Co-op Movement Film again, which has had a new wave of interest and energy. We are currently updating the original proposal with a view to getting the film into production sometime in the next 12-18 months.
Make Apartheid History – we had a busy December/January period with our Advent Calendar and our re-edited WALL animation which took off on Facebook. We are now working towards some key 2016 calendar moments.
May 7-15th. We will be taking part in PSC led programme of events to mark ‘Nakba’ – ‘catastrophe’ in English. Background: Every year Palestinians mark the Nakba – “catastrophe” in English – when in 1948 around 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel. Palestinian society was all but destroyed, with refugees scattered around neighbouring states and across the world. The ethnic cleansing continues today, with hundreds of Palestinians losing their homes due to Israel’s demolition policies in 2015, and the Palestinian Bedouin suffering repeated dispossession and displacement in the Naqab/Negev desert in Israel, to give a few examples. While Israel’s Law of Return entitles automatic citizenship to Jews born anywhere in the world, Palestinian refugees are denied the right to return to their homes and land, from which they were expelled. http://halifaxfriendsofpalestine.org.uk/nakba-week-of-action/
July 18th Mandela Day: Watch this space for forthcoming events on this day. We launched MAH on Mandela Day 2015 and our first eventwas at the South Bank. (Photos here ). Find out more about why we want to Make Apartheid History: Our ‘Rationale’ – Jeremy Hardy, Adjoa Andoh, Ken Loach and Juliet Stevenson explain; and leading Palestinian artists who support MAH tell how apartheid is a daily reality.
Support: New Documentary London Recruits The sensational story of the young men and women who undertook clandestine missions for the ANC during the bleakest years of the apartheid regime. It is a gripping tale that has remained secret for over 40 years.. Ronnie Kasrils was a key player in recruiting British activists. The film is fundraising its production budget. Ronnie is a supporter of MAH and speaks about the similarities between apartheid South Africa and Israel
From Pink to Prevention
Following on from our February meeting with the CEO of the UK’s leading breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now, we are continuing to push them for acknowledgement and action on the established evidence that links environmental and occupation risks to the disease. There is a dogged refusal to widen the remit from primarily lifestyle risks to include our everyday lifelong exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals and carcinogens. We are also keen to explore why this is the case and to start to research the vested interests that may be standing in the way of this issue being taken up. The BIG QUESTION sums up our core concerns and is one that we will be asking of government, cancer charities and industry – for some to come! We have a full programme of campaign activity planned throughout 2016/2017.
If you would like to get more involved with this work, please contactDeborah@tippingpointnorthsouth.org
The FIVE PERCENT Campaign
The long term vision of this campaign is to redirect excessive military spending to global social need via a feasible formula, applicable by civil society across the globe, delivering deep, sustainable cuts. Inevitably, it will expose the winners & losers in the $1.7 trillion of annual global military spending that pits defence industry gains against civil society losses.
While we continue Five Percent conversations with potential NGO stakeholders and other civil society groups, we also are encouraged by a growing public engagement with the issue of military spending (and consistently positive reactions to We Are Many included). For the first time in a very long time, the debate on Trident has been opened up. The UK decision to renew (or not) is due in 2016 and with cuts to public services, the cost of Trident renewal is one challenged by the new Labour Party leadership. And the peace movement is also growing – Feb 27th saw a very large anti Trident Demo in London, addressed by Corbyn.
The annual Global Day of Action on Military Spending is upon again! Every April, citizens around the world take various actions to highlight the immorality of runaway military spending and the harm that comes from spending $1.7 trillion p/a on the world’s military.Take Part: April 18th, 11am-1pm, Friends House in central London. Find out more and vote for a safer world.
Rethink the War on Drugs
TPNS is a partner of Health Poverty Action with regard to their ground-breaking work on this issue and the challenge of integrating drugs reform policy into the development agenda.
On April 19-21st the UN General Assembly will hold a Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS). The development sector drug policy forum, an informal coalition of UK based international NGOs working to address the impacts of drug policy and illicit drugs on development, has drafted a set of recommendations for UNGASS, calling for drug policy to align with the Sustainable Development Goals. Tipping Point North South is a signatory to this call and is a member of the development sector drug policy forum initiated by Health Poverty Action and Christian Aid.
Health Poverty Action recently produced a short animation to show the links between damaging drugs policies, the impact on development in general and health in particular.
Learn More: Christian Aid report [pdf]
Finally, a quick word of congrats to two of our brilliant Management Committee members!
Justin Butcher’s extraordinary The Devil’s Passion – “A light sandblasting for jaded souls, a gleefully heretical flavour … timely, beautifully-written, ingenious, poignant – an impressively versatile performance. Butcher’s writing shines.” (The Huffington Post)
“One of the most amazing evenings I have spent in the theatre. It’s left me speechless. A MUST SEE. Riveting.” (David Suchet)
Karen Lee Street’s new novel Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster(2016) is the first novel in a Poe & Dupin mystery trilogy. Karen is currently working on a sequel provisionally called A Charm of Ravens, set in Philadelphia 1844. The third novel in the trilogy is Edgar Allan Poe and the Empire of the Dead, set in Paris 1849. Point Blank Books (Oneworld Publications) is the UK publisher; Pegasus Books, USA; and Vulkan in Serbia.