Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham

Archive for December 2008

I am often asked by friends how they can begin to understand the complex issue of international debt. It seems a daunting topic, but now a new resource from Jubilee Debt Campaign makes it accessible and brings it down from high economic theory to an issue of global poverty being caused by power and injustice.

The filming covers some really good news from countries around the world  which have benefited from their debt being dropped and footage of Birmingham demonstrations over the last ten years. The campaign really took off in the city in 1998  with the G8 being surrounded by the human chain of protesters calling on world leaders to “Drop the Debt”.

Now if you were at the ICC 10th anniversary  on May 16th this year you will know that the event was called “Journey to Justice”. This DVD contains extracts from the event plus, interviews and other useful materials.

Over the last ten years thousands of people across the world have travelled a Journey to Justice, demanding that rich countries cancel this unjust and unpayable Debt.

Debts have been cancelled allowing millions more to enjoy free primary schooling and health care, but poor country Debt is still a major problem.

If you want to know more please buy the DVD.

January 18th meeting will be at Dhamma Hall, Osler Street, Ladywood, Birmingham, B16 9EU. This will be the AGM  and is from 3pm until 5pm. It is hosted by the Buddhist community.

The cast list could have not been more impressive ;- retired Bishop, Cannon, clergy, academics  and other seasoned  debt campaigners all took part in a specially written production this week.mary-and-josephThe script uses the poverty of the first Christmas to link with present day debt in poor countries.

shepherds

kings

Quotes from the shepherds and kings all make profound links  for example “I feel we are all indebted to one another – for money, for justice, for love. They need to follow a brighter star than self interest.”

And at another point

Christ has no body now on earth but yours;

Yours are the only hands with which to do his work.

Yours are the only feet with which  he can go around the world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

An inspiring concept for Christians campaigners to follow by showing compassion in this troubled world.

The play written by Elisabeth Leicester  of the Birmingham group you can download your copy.

See also The Stirrer on December 19th.

According to the BBC website on Sat 13th December the President of Ecuador has given the order not to approve a debt interest payment due on Mon 15th December. That was because a large proportion of Ecuador’s $10 billionhad been contracted illegally.

In July 2007 the government set up an investigating commission to examine debts for their legitimacy, legality, transparency, quality, efficacy and efficiency among other qualities and is now acting on the basis of its findings (published in November 2008) which, according to the Guardian, was that 40% of the debt was inadmissable.

The country’s foreign debt amounts to about one fifth of its Gross Domestic Product.

In the short run this decision could mean that others will refuse to lend Ecuador money which could put it in difficulties if oil, it’s main source of revenue, declines.

But in the long run Ecuador’s action forces the rest of the world to confront the immorality of many past loans, and flags up the need for an international mechanism for sorting such issues out in which poor countries can be represented as well as rich ones.

John Nightingale

This December has been a particularly depressing month for campaigners we have just had the  United Nations Finance for Development conference, in Doha, Qatar, but with no positive outcome. I fear that  leaders have abandoned the hoped for reform of the
World Bank and IMF.There is no mention either of tackling tax loop holes or debt problems in the poorest countries.

But then whilst being attacked by a particularly virilent virus infection and  feeling very “down” I recieved this :-

Dear Audrey

Please rest assured that these issues are being considered
as part of our detailed policy review which we hope to bring
forward a Green Paper at some point in the New Year.

Caroline Spelman

Caroline Spelman

When this is complete; it will be available to share
with campaigners. This is certainly something that
is being taken extremely seriously in the Conservative Party,
which is why it is being considered in great depth.

Yours sincerely

Caroline

Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden

Chairman of the Conservative party and some one who has been listening
to local JDC activists for the last ten years it was tremendous boost.
Then shortly afterwards i heard the words of Baroke Obarma with new insight
“Yes we can “! I have to say thank you America! Are we entering anew wave of political activism in the uk too?
That JDC party in December really does have lots to celebrate after all and i am well on the way to recovery.
Do you feel optimistic about 2009 and the debt campaign here and aboard? Leave your comments and suggestion about the way forward for ALL political parties to be involved.


Jubilee Debt Campaign is actively seeking the support of all faith groups in the city. Over the  last 10 years it has become clear that debt and  poverty reduction in the developing world are issues where faith communities have a shared view.

By concentrating on the things we have in common rather than any differences. JDC is asking leading members of each faith group to set out  their view .

First in this series is one from YANN LOVELOCK

A Buddhist – but a Brummie first.

buddhist-pagoda1

Birmingham Buddhist Peace Pagola

JDC in Birmingham has been an excellent example of interfaith work and a beacon for other regions.

The whole of the Buddhist religion is based on individual morality, individuals working together in a moral way for the good of the wider community.

This encompasses a balance between compassion and wisdom, founded on generosity.

The Buddha’s era coincided with the beginning of the capitalist system. The Buddha counselled kings on the necessity for economic justice and had bankers as his disciples; some key spiritual metaphors are drawn from banking!

His teaching embraces relationships, eg between husband and wife or within the family or between employer and employee, and these are seen as templates for creating social welfare and harmony. It covers financial responsibility and mutual respect. He criticises miserliness and wants us to realise and act upon the recognition of our interdependence.

Application to debt. It is important to ask: who was lending? To whom? Why? How come governments  allowed this to take place in inappropriate circumstances?

We should not just be cancelling debt but looking to the future and alternative arrangements where this is unlikely to bring relief.

In our interfaith work on debt together we should be thinking about appropriate help to those individuals suffering under terrible regimes; what counts is individuals at either end working together towards a more just and humane world.

Send us your view and contribution from your faith community.

Audrey Miller


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This is the blog of the local group of the UK campaign calling for cancellation of international Debt.

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