Monday, March 30, 2009

Put People First

Saturday saw the biggest public demonstration since Britain hit this current financial mess.

What I found heartening was that groups with very different agendas could find common ground to come together for the Put People First march.

Hardened trade unionists, traditional church groups and a huge variety of charities, from big names like ActionAid to smaller environmental campaigners, all walked together to press the G20 leaders to turn their minds to ‘jobs, justice and climate’.

Less peaceful protests are feared for later this week, but at least for this one day ordinary people had the chance to turn out and show that grassroots action is still alive and well.

We in the UK still have the right to march, shout and protest.

And even if you feel cynical about how much effect waving banners or chanting has, that right isn’t to be taken lightly.
It’s something that people in many countries are denied.

Watching Saturday’s protest, and the daily news headlines, makes us all wonder what’s to come.

It’s a time of confusion, from wondering what hope there is for the global economy and the environment to whether your job will be there tomorrow morning.

Some would say it’s the end of an era, and we are all being dragged into a very necessary world change, that could be the next stage of evolution.

It is possible we are witnessing the birth of a largescale shift in economic and political cultures.
But in such times of change, we all need to hold fast to some things, to reassure ourselves and shore up good feelings for harder times to come.

A good start is doing small things that make our lives more meaningful and positive.
That could mean something as simple as doing a good turn for a neighbour, putting something on Freecycle or teaching your kids about Fairtrade or climate change.

Small steps are all part of building a more positive future for ourselves and others, and what better place to start than with our homes, workplaces and families. Then, we'll be in an even better, more informed position to take to the streets to call for wider change...

Kristian Buus/ActionAid

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