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Jesse Jackson with the Christian Aid poster. Photo courtesy Christian Aid.
VETERAN US CAMPAIGNER Jesse Jackson has urged people in the UK to fight the government’s cuts, saying they will harm the most vulnerable and leave the wealthy unaffected.
Speaking to around 2,500 people at Methodist Central Hall in London, Jesse Jackson insisted that the poor ‘were not invited’ to participate in decisions about cuts, after which the rich will ‘still have their power and their wealth and their bonuses’.
He compared ‘austerity measures’ to proposals to eat ham and eggs, explaining, ‘the pig always votes no and the chicken always votes yes’.
Jesse Jackson, a Christian minister who worked with Martin Luther King in civil rights struggles, was addressing a rally organised by Christian Aid, who are calling on governments to tackle poverty by fighting tax avoidance and climate change.
He urged listeners to ‘keep dreaming’ that ‘we all have drinkable water and healthcare for free, and we study war no more’.
Jesse Jackson tells us to ‘keep dreaming’ and campaigning
Jackson explained, ‘Jesus saw the world bottom-up; Herod saw the world top-down’. In a phrase familiar to Friends, he added, ‘Our faith calls us to speak truth to power’.
The speech was greeted by a prolonged standing ovation. After hearing Jesse Jackson, Chris Wood of Westminster Meeting described him as ‘an inspiration’.
A number of speakers preceded Jackson. Hannah Brock of Oxford Meeting said that the highlight for her was a talk by Zambian activist Suzanne Matale.
‘The eradication of poverty in the world depends on the decisions that you and we make together, because we are one world,’ insisted Matale.
International development secretary Andrew Mitchell reminded the audience of the government’s pledge to maintain the aid budget. On the question of corporate tax avoidance, he said only that ministers are ‘looking at ways of bringing transparency into this area’.
Major climate change event at Friends House
ZERO CARBON by 2030? We need to reach this goal and we can reach this goal. This is the message of the ‘Campaign Against Climate Change’ (CACC) who are organising a major event at Friends House in London on Saturday 30 October at 1pm.
‘The meeting is to set the agenda for the national climate march on the 4 December, during the Cancun Climate talks in Mexico,’ Phil Thornhill, of CACC, told the Friend.
‘We are aiming to generate a magnified sense of urgency and a magnified sense of ambition for the government on climate change.’
Speakers at the event will include John McDonnell MP (Labour, Hayes and Harlington), Caroline Lucas MP (leader Green Party, Brighton Pavillion),
Maria Souviron (Bolivian Ambassador), Alexis Rowell (‘Cutting the Carbon’, Camden Climate Action Network), Andrew Simms (New Economics Foundation) and George Marshall (founder, Climate Outreach and Information Network).
‘After the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks there is a lack of realisation how significant and damaging that failure was but to move forward when the international talks appear to be gridlocked we have to make progress and transform the politics at the national level with a re-doubled sense of urgency and energy,’ Paul Thornhill added.
The event is free and, in addition to the speakers in the afternoon, there is a concert between 7pm and 9pm.
Raymond Mgadzah the Friend, 29 October 2010