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Nb. This blog needs updating as So We Stand is no longer – making way for fresh energy and new projects with many and more great people in 2013! :)

So We Stand 2012 into 2013 – where next?

The journey supporting communities on the front-lines of social, economic, racial and environmental justice has come a long way over the past few years. SWS has built up a strong network of communities, activists and collaborators who are becoming stronger to fight the war of injustice and gross inequality we find ourselves everyday in the UK. This include the popular education Gathering Under the Flightpath in Clydebank Glasgow (2008),  ‘Women, Our Environment and Justice’ workshop series in (2010),  ‘Black Gold Injustice – Race, Poverty, Action’ – tour across Scotland organising with oil workers against environmental and racial injustice – with the Remember Sarowiwa and the African Caribbean Network (2011),  the range of popular education trainings across Scotland (2010/2011), Remember Olive Morris Award Winners (2011) to the War Without Bullets Radio Show with Cathy McCormack (2012) to many projects we have helped develop and so much more. SWS are proud and honoured at all that has been achieved with our collaborators and communities. We are now at a bridge and deciding where best to go next.

Summer School – introduction to Social Justice Community Organising …

Whilst the School 2012 may have come to an end, the magic still continues and the plans are afoot for the School 2013. The videos from the School will be out soon! They will consist of several short programmes on issues from intersectionality to racism + police brutality, each tackling a particular theme, and we plan for them to be out sometime early in the new year, if not sooner. There will be a short film out later this year to give a summary of what happened and how communities on the front-lines of social, economic, racial and and environmental justice can be empowered to tackle oppression. On the website currently you can hear and see some of the press – such as Eastern Eye ‘young people pushed out of society’, some of the audio sessions from the launch of the School Reclaiming the riots: legacy, representation and strategies of resistance – One Year On. Where Now? which was organised with our allies at the brilliant George Padmore Institute. You can also hear some of the full workshop sessions from anti -racist environmental justice Southall organiser Salvinder Dhillion, (anti) Joint Enterprise campaigner Gloria, Ajamu from Rukus and Fierce and an interview on GayDar Radio from a queer perspective building alliances and organising against oppression and much more. You can see a list of all the places we went and amazing organisers and facilitators we organised with here – as part of the ongoing internships for the participants to deepen their strength and power in community organising for social justice. From Southall to Tottenham to the high courts exposing institutional racism and police brutality the School didn’t stop! Here is the link to all the photos from Barney, who is currently doing an amazing job of collating all the footage from the School.

The Summer School was a great learning experience and the workshops were facilitated by engaging activists from different backgrounds. I have made new friends and plan to use what I have learnt to inform future action including collaborating with other participants. A huge thank you to So We Stand for letting me be a part of it!” Amy-Jo Lynch

Fundamentally a massive thanks to all involved. Check out the mammoth list of facilitators and organisational collaborators here – whether you were lucky enough to be involved in the School this year or notif you would like inspiring organisers for social and environmental justice – you should definitely get in touch with the crew here.

The 3 pillars of the School are political education and (2) skills training and (3) ‘informal organising internships’ to deepen their community organising practice from the School. Currently So We Stand are connecting all the participants with their desired facilitators to strengthen their community organising practice. SWS are in the process of seeing what’s possible with whom for mentoring. For the participants this will be an invaluable opportunity to learn and develop skills both for employment, campaigning and personal self-determination.

The Summer school was excellent.  It was serious but also fun.  And it inspired all over us to realize we can make a difference.” John Stewart

Other SWS activity ……

New Article – “The price of economic barbarism: an uncomfortable truth”

On other SWS news – Cathy McCormack has spent a lot of time the past few months penning her latest brilliant, powerful and pioneering article “The price of economic barbarism: an uncomfortable truth”. Cathy is a Commissioner at The Church of Scotland Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity and Anti-poverty campaigner and author of ‘The Wee Yellow Butterfly. “It was only through coming to the end of my story that it confirms to me that for the first time in the history of human ecology the survival of the rich is now dependant on the liberation of the poor“. As Andrew Lyon from the International Futures Forum said, “We cannot return to what was never there even if we wanted to. We need to try and find ways of what it means to be human. Learn to love and get along with each other and with the rest of the planet, species and habitats. Otherwise we will really be the generation that breaks the bank. The planet and poverty and all that goes with it really will cost us all the earth.” Read the full article here – in the Coracle – the magazine of the Iona Community. You can also hear Cathy’s latest radio show as part of the radio series with SWS organiser dan glass on how their anti-poverty and environmental justice activism has crossed paths and challenged power over the last few years.

SWS Coordination Update and Events to watch out for …..

Nim and dan have finished their roles as training and support coordinators and many of our frontline organisers and training facilitators are moving and shaking and causing a stir in the fight for justice in many amazing ways. We are sad to see popular education / theatre of the oppressed facilitator Aaron to move back to Canada and are grateful for all he has contributed to SWS. There are many related and pioneering events coming up over the coming months – watch this space for the leading civil rights movement, The Monitoring Group’s upcoming events and the launch of the exciting and very necessary grassroots funding project ‘The Edge Fund – an experiment in devolving the power of donors. ‘The Edge Fund is a grant-making body with a difference. We support efforts to achieve social, economic and environmental justice and to end imbalances in wealth and power – and give those we aim to help a say in where the money goes.‘ In Scotland Eurig has been busy organising the Bhopal Survivors Tour highlighting the companies such as Dow – whom benefit from environmental racism from the UK to Bhopal.

 

The website is currently being updated to reflect all the latest activity and everyone can finally sign up for the newsletter – here. Discussions are being had about how the participants from the School 2012 would like to build for the School in 2013. Last Friday the Glasgow participants were presenting their thoughts and experiences at the African Caribbean Network (Scotland’s) Africa Centre where Cathy McCormack showed the film ‘The War Without Bullet’s’ too. The event also served as a thank you to all our international inspirations in the fight for justice such as School of organising Unity and Liberation (SOUL) and as a goodbye party as SWSer dan is off to South Africa to develop popular and training for transformation programmes. The training is with the mighty Grail Centre which will build trainings for 2013 which could feed into related School training programmes. It’s still early days but many of the participants and facilitators are discussing training a number of young people to be spoken word artists and popular educators – to fight this war – read more here about the violence on the ground. This continued organising is inspired by so many of the amazing contributors to the School such as Zena Edwards whom also collaborated with ‘Voices that Shake’, Asmita Chauahan and John Stewart and so much more.

As ever our communities and allies mean the world to everyone in SWS. The public’s support and donations are, as ever, greatly appreciated – see here to donate. Watch this space for continued organising on the frontlines for racial, social and environmental justice.

The GPI session we did for the Summer School went really well and I enjoyed being there (I wasn’t able to attend Reclaiming the Riots but I’ve heard positive comments from everyone I’ve spoken to at the GPI). Being able to place archives into the hands of those who can recognise and appreciate their continuing value is always rewarding. It was a privilege to take part in the School and may its legacy continue.” Sarah, Archivist, George Padmore Institute