Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham

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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.

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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.

 

This is your invitation to the Dharmic Faith’s Conference “Faith in Justice”
You are cordially invited to experience a fantastic event scheduled to take place during the World Interfaith Harmony Week on Thursday 2nd Feb 2012.

We have distinguished speakers from the Dharmic Faiths – Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Zoroastrian.who will share their faith perspective on global poverty and debt.
Chaired by Rev Prof Michael Taylor and including words from Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh

The event will enable those from all faiths and none to appreciate the role Debt plays in global poverty We hope within this conference you will get the opportunity to share some core beliefs and thoughts on social justice issues as they relate to debt.

JDC is very keen to collect diverse new resources for educational use that reflect the theology of many different faith groups and how they might link with the issue of international debt. It is our intention to make these new resources freely available via the web site www.jdcmultifaith.org you can collect hard copies at the conference when some leaflets will be launched for the first time.

The purpose of the day is also to raise awareness of Dharmic faiths with other faiths communities and also to raise awareness of JDC multi-faith project during the Interfaith Harmony week 2012.

This exceptional event will take place on:

Thursday 2nd Feb 2012
at
The Nishkam Centre
6 Soho Road, Birmingham,
B219BH

Please ensure you book your place by contacting
Audrey Miller
E: Jubileedebt@blueyonder.co.uk
T: 0121 471 4175

More and more women are coming on board to add their voice to the multifaith gathering on March 10th.

Our keynote  Muslim speaker Shabana Mahmood MP is now joined by our musical leaders  Jackie Roxborough and Sonja Froebel

They form the – Shimmering Tree a recently formed multi-cultural organisation which brings together musicians of all abilities from different communities and cultures, in order to share their musical traditions. It aims to create a melting pot of musical experience. they have already had their work on the  BBC TODAY programme and featured in lots of multifaith projects in Birmingham

At our JDC  event we shall be making use of everyone’s language and form of  song, might even try out some drumming but no musical instruments just our well-tried voices.

It will be a really enjoyable evening creating some fun music together  and hearing stories from women of all the major faith groups. More details of the story tellers to follow but do get your friends to book their place. We have 30 places already taken, do spread the word, we need to have at least 50 women joining this  celebration of International Women’s Day.

Jubilee Debt Campaign once again had a small stall at the Greenbelt Festival over the Bank holiday. I volunteered for a short spell and had some amusing experiences to share with other campaigners.

My main task was to engage with members of the public who were browsing the dozens of charity stalls in the marquee, and persuade them to sign a postcard to their MP about Vulture funds.

It was really encouraging that no one actually refused to sign! In fact one Anglican clergy signed two cards –

One for the MP she lobbies on behalf of her parish community in which the church is situated and a second MP in whose constituency she actually lives. The two MP’s are members of different parties, which again provides for interesting opportunity to play off one political party against the other.

I wonder how many other clergy with several churches to care for might have the same interesting campaigning opportunity. Any advance of two MP’s?

I was also encouraged to see that so many people actually knew their MP. Those who didn’t were able to give their postcode so that I could use the web

and add the name of their MP to the postcard  at a latter stage.

Everyone was keen to take advantage of our free postal service and offer to deliver them by hand to the House of Commons. This set me thinking that we should be given free postal service when we write to our MP. Given the high cost of stamps it is yet another way that the poor are denied democratic rights to let their views be known.

Greenbelt is very much a Christian Festival and many of the festival goers have been committed to the debt campaign for over a decade. It was certainly not surprising to see so many Jubilee rainbow scarves amongst the twenty one thousand  attending. There was a huge range of music, talks, workshops and programme activities.

One new idea, which is taking hold, is the idea of using facebook to promote the campaign and sale of scarves to supporters.

John who is a new JDC worker changed his Facebook profile picture to one wearing his Rainbow JDC scarf and changed his status to recommend his friends to buy one and directed them to me to make a purchase: –

In one week five new sales! It will be fun to see how many rainbow scarves we can get onto Facebook?

Duncan with scarfJohnianjdc

The experience of collecting hundreds of postcards over the weekend was really encouraging to all the volunteers. To speak with the supporters face to face and have that feeling of solidarity is very helpful. Campaigners do need to be nurtured and encouraged in their endeavours either by talking to each other or via comments on the blog so do make your comments now!

It is clear  that we all need to share our passion and anger so that we can be re energergised to fight the injustices we have exposed in Vulture funds.

In my last post to you I asked you to take action and get in touch with your MP. JDC supporters all across the  country have been doing just that and now I have some great news to share.

Last week, the British government announced a consultation on whether it should pass legislation to Stop Vulture Fund profiteering from poor country debt in UK courts.  And, we also have indication from US congressional committee leaders that they are interested in moving forward with the Stop Vulture Funds in America.

At long last it would seem that the British Government is listening to moral arguments and may even take on board that this practice is outrageous to take funds from poor countries which was intended for those in need.  Then to give the money to rich and powerful companies many of whom operate from tax havens.

The other good news story is that Minister for Development Mike Foster MP for Worcester has agreed to speak at a meeting in Worcester on September 15th. Also speaking on that night will be  The Director of Jubilee Debt Campain, Nick Deardon  who will able to voice our concerns about this and other aspect of forgiving debts.

Download a flyer here

Ps If anybody can explain trackback to me please get in touch

A standing room only meeting in Committee Room 15 heard speakers from USA and UK offer legal ways of controlling Vulture houses-of-parliamentFund activity. We heard Adam Smith said “ The criterion for a successful market is Transparency”. Vulture funds thrive on the anonymity of Directors operating from secrecy jurisdictions (Tax Havens). Enforced exposure through international legislation and refusal to allow UK and USA courts to be used for their actions, against the poorest countries, will destroy them. We must ensure this legislation to eliminate Vulture funds preying on the poorest.

Currently Vulture Funds may be set up secretly by one director to pursue a debtor state and to operate from any one of the many secrecy jurisdictions, as with Donegal International based in British Virgin Islands eventually revealed as directed by a Mr Steen. BVI operates through UK courts and Steen used them to profiteer from his court actions against Zambia for debts which, through HIPC ,had already been renegotiated with the other creditors and cancelled. This case has alerted campaigning groups and on August 1st 2008 the ‘ Stop the Vulture Funds Act’ was introduced in USA Senate. If passed this will cap amounts reclaimed, to the sum actually paid for the debt + 6% per annum Interest; it will enforce disclosures on Directors names and locations and certification that no bribes were paid for collusion.

Legislation is possible here; tax payers will no longer have to give tax relief to Banks on such debt repayments. Exposure of identities of the Vulture Fund directors and transparent dealing with international financial institutions could undermine the capacity of these extortionists to profiteer at the expense of the poorest. Three action points for MPs are given in “Time to tame the Vultures” JDC Jan 2009. ‘We can do this; so write to your MP asking them to support this legislation!


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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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