Members of Global Justice Manchester and the Jubilee Debt Campaign turned out to hear Kate Osamor, shadow development secretary, speak at the University of Manchester Global Development Institute on Friday.
Kate stated that “aggressive change” is necessary since inequality is a defining feature of the world situation, and malnutrition is increasingly widespread. In addition, violence to women, unequal pay and climate change are issues that have their greatest impact on the poorest people. She pointed to an international system of tax avoidance, facilitated by local elites.
Introducing Labour’s Green Paper on international development, she called for a challenge to the fundamental economic causes of poverty, rather than the symptoms, outlining five necessary measures
- The advance of feminism.
- A fairer global economy, including:
- an attack on tax avoidance;
- more debt relief;
- fairer trade;
- national wealth to remain in situ.
- A Global movement for public services and an end to PFIs.
- A drive for World Peace including restrictions on the international arms trade, increased help for migrants and an ethical foreign policy.
- Measures to mitigate climate change in recognition that it is a major driver of poverty and that we have only 12 years left in which to act including:
- an end to subsidies for fossil fuels;
- investment in renewable energy;
- new measures of wealth and wellbeing to replace GDP growth.
Kate spoke of alternative models of prosperity, based on the key recognition that inequality is holding back progress. It is a problem that industry is not currently rooted in local communities. We need to build worldwide progressive movements which will demand an increased say for civil society. We must also recognise that aid alone is not enough; donor countries must not take more than they give.
Afterwards, activists handed out ‘Drop the Debt’ and ‘Sick? Scratch Cards’ to people leaving the event. These were well received and we had some interesting discussions,