Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham

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 Clipboard03Jubilee Room Houses of Parliament.

Some 80 or so MPs and campaigners were present. It was the fifteenth anniversary of Jubilee Debt Campaign (formerly Jubilee 2000)

Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells, saw JDC as a movement of ordinary people. He recalled Bill Peters who had the original idea and was at time the chair of USPG while he Peter was the General Secretary. Bill had asked him for £1,000 to get the idea off the ground. Though they were sort of men, they agreed. Bill, together with Martin Dent, got the vision going. The change had come about through grass-roots action, from the bottom up. “When debts are remitted, lives are changed.” New life had been made possible thanks to the people, faith leaders and parliament.

Bhai Mohinder Singh from the Sikh Community recalled how the Sikh Scriptures spoke of there being one God and the human race being one large family; God abhors our exploiting other human beings – our own kith and kin. The different faiths could agree about the millennium goals and about the principles of compassion and love. His Sikh community held continuous days of prayer for peace and prosperity for all. A global infrastructure was required, and a just and fair financial system. There should be responsible lending and borrowing, with a proper debt work-out mechanism. He had been delighted to sign the faith leaders’ letter. There were enough resources in the world as long as people were not greedy. It was greed that led to financial crises.

Rabbi Sybil Sheridan from The Movement for Reform Judaism referred to the book of Leviticus chapter 25 verse 10 by which, in the year of Jubilee every 50 years, liberty was ensured for everyone in the land. People’s ancestral lands which might have been sold to others were then restored to them. Wealth then was seen not so much as a wealth but as a gift from God, with corresponding responsibilities to take care of the widows, the orphans and the strangers; neighbours who had become slaves were to have their liberty bought back. The same principle should be followed today through the development of some sort of international bankruptcy procedure by which indebted nations could have their situations resolved.

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin, President of the Methodist Conference, said that organisations like JDC encouraged us to change our narrative so that politicians could change the world.

Trisha Rogers, a past Director of JDC and Vice Chair of the British Humanist Association felt honoured to be present. Humanist values, she said, included thinking for oneself with reason, empathy and compassion, respect for the individual, democracy and cooperation. Unfortunately international debt was not subject to the safeguards that applied to lending within the UK where judges could overrule repayment conditions that were unfair; international loans were often to the advantage of the lender and the conditions unreasonable

Nick Dearden, current Director of JDC, spoke of the success of JDC over the years in putting pressure on the G8 and holding governments to account. The most important change had not in fact been the $130 debt relief achieved but rather the change in values – the principle that debt should not always be repaid, irrespective of circumstances or consequences. That was still relevant for another generation since we now had a debt crisis on our own doorstep, with the worst features of the Latin American experience applied to Europe. It was not acceptable for the poorest to be paying the price of the errors of the rich. Justice required not just a one-off cancellation of debt but, in the pattern of the biblical Jubilee, a continuous process within the world economy. A spiritual renewal was needed, the equivalent today of the abolition of slavery, something once thought utopian but which actually happened. We needed to think the impossible and embark on a major fight against soaring inequality and deep levels of world poverty. He expressed his thanks for the past and looked forward to further cooperation in the future.

John Nightingale

I am very much looking forward to attending the Crash Conference at the University of Aston. The purpose of this is to bring together all the many people concerned about economic justice. Also to give confidence to those of us who feel inhibited because of its complexity and so empower us to speak out. Great speakers. It’s free but please register as soon as possible.

Best wishes, John Nightingale, Chair JDC Birmingham

The financial crisis and what to do about it.
From Birmingham to Barcelona and beyond

FREE EVENT
    Saturday 24th November 2012
    10.30 – 17.00
    Main Building, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET

If you want to understand how the global economy got into such a mess, and what to do about it this event is for you!

The financial crisis has led to wide-ranging cuts to public services, job losses and massive bank bailouts in the UK. This isn’t the first time this has happened – countries across the global South have experienced the same process after devastating debt crises from the 1970s to the present day.

Find out about the history of the present financial crisis, understand the basics of how it happened and the impacts it is having on social justice in the UK and around the world.

Whether you are interested in global justice, or the UK anti-cuts movement, whether you know a bit about the economy, or nothing at all, this event is for you.

  Speakers include:
    – Roger McKenzie, UNISON Assistant General Secretary
    – Nick Dearden of Jubilee Debt Campaign
    – Iolanda Fresnillo Spanish Debt and anti-austerity activist
    & more to be announced

Workshops will include:
How to understand the financial crisis | What would a fair economy look like? | Tax Justice in the UK and around the world | How to communicate effectively about the financial crisis | Direct action taster session | Local economies in the West Midlands | Eurozone crisis: what is going on? | and others…

REGISTER NOW
This is a free event, but please register by phone 020 7324 4722 or at www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/crashto help us plan.

SHARE THE EVENT
Help us spread the word by sharing the facebook event with your friends

Current contributors include: Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham, West Midlands Office of Christian Aid, student campaigners and the event is supported by People & Planet and Jubilee Debt Campaign UK.

International debt week.
October 8th – 15th is International Debt Week. A moment when campaigners around the world can reflect on the global poor country debt situation.
It is all to easy to perhaps think there is, nothing I can do about such a huge problem.This was certainly the view of some when we began the campaign here in the Midlands.
Dr Martin Dent at Keele University played a key role but the seminal moment was in 1998 when a “Human Chain” was formed around the G8 leaders at the Birmingham summit. 100,000 people coming together in such a peaceful and purpose way.That began the focus of a huge number of people from all faiths and none.
Now in this International Debt week JDC can tell everyone that $130 billions of debt has been cancelled for 34 countries. That means children in school, vaccines given and the fight against poverty begun across the world. We have done something at least. But we fully realise its not enough and have to involve more and more people in the campaign.
It is encouraging that the Jubilee Debt has now become a global movement particular strong in USA where they have special events in the coming Jubilee weekend.
Jewish Christians and Muslims all taking part in the actions.
Here in the UK we will be focussing on getting more Faith Leaders to sign the letter ( 253 so far)to PM. Across the country the Jubilee for Justice petition and the paper chains grow every day .

Now we need to reflect on new ways to take the message to new generation of campaigners seeking Jubilee for Justice in 2012. there are lots of ways to help during the week a prayer  a donation  your ideas and encouragement too.

Jubilee for Justice petition continues to grow. more and more people are signing up  on our paper chain links and even celebrate the completion of each chain by taking photos and wearing them at each event.

The Methodist Birmingham District Synod saw Rev Bill Anderson wearing some of the paper chains beside the Faith in Action banner which had been made by the women attending a multi faith workshop earlier in the year. The hand sewn  red chains were another novel way of raising awareness  through art.

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Dozens of Methodist clergy have now signed the Faith leaders letter to the PM. The total number from across many different faith groups stands at approximately 250 persons.

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The  Zimbabwean Fellowship meeting at Selly Oak Birmingham also signed up in large numbers. Inspired by reading the report on Debt in Zimbabwe.

Do please get in touch if we can have space at one of your meetings to collect more signatures and make this a meaningful Jubilee year for all.

The target is 15,000 chain links with lots more photos.

Jubilee Debt Campaigners braved really tough condition over the Bank holiday weekend at Greenbelt.
On the Saturday afternoon they  had half a dozen or so deluges of monsoon-like rain interspersed with bright sunlight. This led to   periodically streams of water appearing in the tent and the volunteers standing   ankle deep in mud.

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John Nightingale Ruth Tetlow, Roger Chisnall of JDC  and  Rebecca Pannels of Methodist  Relief  and Development Fund all worked very hard to collect well over 130 signatures to our petition .

Faith Leaders  Mike King and Bill Anderson signed the Faith Leaders letter which will be  delivered to the Prime Minister later in the year.
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Dozens of other clergy also signed on the day. The total at the moment stands at 224 and includes leaders from all the main faith groups across the UK.
Please do encourage all your contacts to take part in our call for a meaningful celebration of the Jubilee year.

Jubilee Debt Campaign steering group members were invited to the Arya Samaj on Sunday 19th August to join the  India day celebrations. It proved to be an interesting and informative day for my colleague Rev John Nightingale and myself. We enjoyed a cultural programme that included poems, flag raising, wonderful food and dance.

 

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There was time to also meet a wide cross section of Indian community from across the West Midlands who  were willing to sign our Jubilee for Justice petition.Image

 

International Arya Samaj  preacher was happy to sign  a very special letter which is going to the Prime Minister later in the year. over 200 Faith leaders have signed so far  including the  Jains leader.Image

We look forward to attending more festivals and celebrations where we can share across the faith communities our call  for Justice on the issue of debt and global poverty. Please do remember to ask us also for displays and presentation at your group meetings.

Audrey Miller

More exciting news is coming from Jubilee Debt Campaign  London office about the Faith Leaders take up of our latest action.

“191 faith leaders have signed the letter so far, including Members of the Sikh, Jains, Arya Samaj, Hindu. Jewish and Muslim  Community, Also  many Christian denominations have  signed the Faith Leaders letter. Including Archbishops Bishops and prominent leaders for all sections of the church in the UK.”

Do be inspired by looking at the full list here

You can also view some photographs taken at signings here in Birmingham

The JDC office is now  getting  thousands of chain links  signed by members of  all the faith communities and indeed those of no faith. The level of support  given in just a few weeks has been wonderful.

Keep up the good work.

For more in formation on how you can do your part go to www.jdcmultifaith.org.

 


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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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