Dear friends, supporters and colleagues,
Another Spring and another election is underway. History has shown us that when far-right politicians reassure or exploit people’s sense of insecurity with easy-fix populist slogans, it can only end bad, yet we are seeing just this playing out across Europe (east and west) and the USA, despite the warnings from history. The French Presidential result is something to take hope from, though 11 million French voters opted for Le Pen. Macron now has a tough ahead if he is to unite his country.
But in the USA, since the inauguration of Donald Trump, an interesting exercise has been taking place as Bernie Sanders and his supporters hold meetings and go out door to door to speak to Trump voters, alienated by the entire political system. And they’re finding that – at the very least – they thank him for simply engaging and listening.
Maybe this is a direction all progressive parties need to be looking at. A different type of ‘canvassing’. Listening first, talking second. And finding the space within which deeper conversations can take place, so that the 40 year old elephant in the room – neoliberalism (‘capitalism with the gloves taken off’ as some describe it) – can somehow come into view, be revealed, explained and understood by those most affected by it, yet who have no idea the project even exists. This is the work we need to here in the UK if we are to have a truly well informed electorate.
Enjoy our Spring news round-up and dates for the diary.
Best wishes from all here.
Deb, Ho-Chih, Justin.
MAKE APARTHEID HISTORY & dates for diary in May
As the pressure to close down the BDS movement by Israel increases, so the movement gets stronger and the success of the campaign grows. Companies are now responding (albeit reluctantly) to the boycott effort; artists are being made more and more aware of the cultural boycott; and the academic boycott has been highly effective at raising awareness of the injustices perpetrated on Palestine by the Israeli government and military. Barcelona has just joined the list of cities now supporting the BDS movement, along with the European Union and the governments of Sweden, Ireland and Netherlands.
Our Make Apartheid History campaign is supporting two events to mark this year’s’’ Nakba’ –
meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic. It refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from British Mandate Palestine during Israel’s creation (1947-49) when between 750,000 and one million Palestinians were expelled and made refugees by Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, during Israel’s creation in 1947-49.
Dates for the diary
Monday 15 May 7.30pm
NAKBA SONGS OF EXILE. Produced by our own Justin Butcher. A fabulous line-up of singers and performers from many parts of the world and covering the musical spectrum from classical to folkloric.
Venue: Priory Church of St John, Clerkenwell
Thursday 18 May 7.30pm
CAMOUFLAGE A new play by Ahmed Masoud. Camouflage is about the experience of a Palestinian refugee trying to flee the conflict in Syria, a young girl in Ramallah who is in denial of the situation, a boy in Gaza falling in love for the first time and an aspiring actor in Haifa who has to come to terms with the unjust society he lives in.
Venue: Amnesty International 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA
Both events take place in this, the 50th anniversary of the Israeli military occupation in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank; the tenth year of the blockade of Gaza and the centenary of the Balfour Declaration
And finally – deadline 15th May for Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK Summer Rebuilding Camp. Last chance to book a place on this life changing experience organised by our MAH partner ICAHD UK. Play your part in rebuilding a demolished Palestinian home in an act of international solidarity. Camp runs from 16-29th July in the Jordan Valley & Naqab/Negev. Find out more here
Films Our film Open Bethlehem by directed by Leila Sansour, continues its journey across the USA with screenings in Texas, Colorado, California and Washington DC. Watch it online here
Visit our Make Apartheid History video gallery.
Also check out Roadmap to Apartheid narrated by Alice Walker. Order info here
FROM PINK TO PREVENTION
We celebrate and remember the life of Rachel Carson on Rachel Carson Day, 27 May.
Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist, writer and conservationist. At the age of 56, after a lifetime of ‘joining up the dots’ between the natural world, the human species and the impact of chemicals on nature and ourselves, Rachel Carson died of breast cancer – and we can but wonder how much more campaigning impact she would have gone on to make, had she lived longer. Here is a short PBS film about her life .
Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962
Fifty years on and the shocking difference between then and now is that there are many thousands more manmade chemicals being produced and released into the environment than the number developed by the smaller scale post-war chemicals industry of Carson’s time. Many of these are linked to breast cancer risk.
Brexit and EU chemicals regulation
Right now there is a battle to ensure that post-Brexit UK remains within existing EU chemicals legislation (REACH), which, though not perfect, is regarded as the best in the world. The UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) recently published the report of its inquiry on chemicals regulation after the EU referendum, and criticised the UK Government’s lack of openness about its post-Brexit plans, and pointed out that most respondents want the UK to remain ‘as closely aligned to REACH as possible‘. Read more about the report here.
This is an issue our campaign will be raising over the coming months with key players in the breast cancer prevention debate – including the leading breast cancer charities and parliamentary candidates in the upcoming election: Will they support the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee call for the UK to remain to as close as possible to EU’s chemicals regulation known as REACH and by extension, play their part in seeing exposures to chemicals linked to breast cancer reduced and ultimately eliminated?
NB Both the UK government’s and breast cancer charities’ reluctance to support the precautionary principle is in stark contrast to the fact that first round French Presidential candidate Benoit Hamon, the Socialist Party successor to former President Hollande, committed to enacting the precautionary principle for all Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in his manifesto leaflet, sent to every voter in France.
From Pink to Prevention resources
We want to educate and empower more people to understand better the links between environment and occupation, and breast cancer.
Booklet, toolkit, evidence, action.
Share our petition
Film: Endocrination by Stephane Horel.
MORE RECENT PROJECT UPDATES
MARTIN LUTHER KING PROJECT 2018
On Martin Luther King Day, 16th January, with our colleagues in the USA, we launched Project 2018. Under the banner that Dr. King himself described as a war on poverty, racism and militarism, we are working to promote the Economic Bill of Rights that Dr.King was working on at the time of his death and which his colleagues continued to work on for a short while after his death. His Economic Bill of Rights of 1967/68 was visionary since, amongst other things, it called for Guaranteed Basic Income – a form of Universal Basic Income, under discussion in many parts of the world today. In 2018, we will mark 50 years since the assassination of Dr. King and our project will be part of the international effort to mark this significant anniversary.
Film: Essential Civil Rights Docs. UK distributor Dogwoof’s catalogue now has some brilliant documentary films on the USA civil rights era up to present day. History and context is everything.
FIVE PERCENT CAMPAIGN
As Donald Trump proclaimed his intention to increase the already hugely inflated USA military budget and as he puts pressure on NATO countries to increase their military spending, the world has now embarked on a new arms race. We argue that this is precisely the time for peace movement, international development groups, human rights and environmental movements to put centre stage, calls for a framework for cuts to military spending.
To this end, we are working with colleagues in various countries (USA, Kenya particularly) who agree with us that military spending must become an international development issue and to get this on the agendas of international development agencies as well as government policy-makers.
Our film We Are Many about the global anti-Iraq war movement, directed by Amir Amirani is available on iTunes.
The Shadow World based on the brilliant book of the same name, by Andrew Feinstein.