One million voices to end the conflict


On October 18, OneVoice will engage and mobilize hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis in a “People’s Summit”. Ordinary citizens will speak out in unprecedented numbers against violent extremism and demand that their leaders negotiate and implement a two-state solution.

We hope you will join us at the One Million Voices People's Summits taking place in Israel and Palestine, with solidarity Echo events across the globe. These events will serve as a mandate from the people to the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to negotiate an end to the conflict.

Live music, speeches by dignitaries and celebrities, and statements from grassroots activists will draw Israelis and Palestinians out to the streets, where they will be linked via satellite to their counterparts across the region. This platform will allow people on both sides to see that they have a partner in the resolution process. The event will be broadcast around the world.

When is it?

October 18, 2007, 5:00-11:00pm (Jerusalem time)

Who is it?

Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Israeli and Palestinian citizens who refuse to let violent extremists dominate the political agenda. Numerous world leaders and luminaries will also show their support for OneVoice’s mission.

Why?

For forty years, the majority of Israeli and Palestinian citizens have waited for their leaders to negotiate a resolution so that they might live in peace. And for forty years, a top-down peace process has failed to yield results.

With the Arab Peace Initiative on the table and strong international support for a return to negotiations, the time is ripe for the People's voice to be heard with resounding clarity. The accords of the past have been fruitless because they have lacked massive, vocal, grassroots support from the moderate majority. A People's Summit will serve as a call to action for the leadership to heed the will of their people and negotiate a two-state solution.

Through the Echo events, OneVoice supporters outside the Middle East will be able to demonstrate their solidarity with those in the region, and pledge their support for a people-driven peace process. Believers in a two-state solution and the need for an immediate return to negotiations will join in Washington, Ottawa, Boston and now London to raise their voices simultaneously with the OneVoice People's Summit in Israel and Palestine - and in doing so will push their own governments to support the cause.

Compass Youth is proud to be actively supporting this pioneering conflict resolution designed and developed by the grassroots.

Click here to get involved and participate in the event in London on 18 October.

Compass Youth Organising Committee – 2007/2008 Committee Election Results

2007 has been a busy year for the dedicated team of activists who have worked to get Compass Youth off the ground, beginning with the launch of the wAGE discrimination campaign calling for an end to the discrimination and slave wage rate for young people in the National Minimum Wage, and culminating in the first elections to the inaugural Compass Youth Organising Committee.

Compass Youth in 2006/2007 built links with comrades in the Swedish SSU where Compass Youth members fought in the last Swedish General Election, Compass Youth also sent members to France to help campaign for Ségolène Royal in the French Presidential Elections, and have been to Greece to represent Compass and deliver a speech and advice on defeating the far right across Europe at the Pan Hellenic Socialist Movement's Youth Congress attended by 5000 young delegates.

Compass Youth organised the International Youth Plenary at the 2007 Compass Conference, bringing delegates from PASOK - Greece, SSU - Sweden, Desirs d'Avenir - France, and comrades representing the International Union of Socialist Youth together to debate and educate about the role of youth movements in taking global action on issues common to young people worldwide.

Compass Youth have also been involved campaigning for peace in the Middle East through close work with One Voice, the fastest growing Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution group with over 350,000 grassroots members. Compass Youth helped bring together sympathetic Compass MP's, grassroots NGO's and civic society organisations for a UK based rally and global video link up in support of One Voice.

August 2007 saw the first election held to the Compass Youth Organising Committee, formally constituting itself after having functioned as an ad-hoc Compass Youth management committee for nearly under the steady helm of David Floyd.

Duly elected onto 2007/2008 CYOC were:

Samuel Tarry, Daniel Elton, Tom Miller, Noel Hatch, Amisha Ghadiali, Michael Speer, Muhammad Khan, Yue Ting Cheng, Emmanuel De Lange and Jenna Khalfan.

Too ensure fair gender balance on the Compass Youth Organising Committee two other designated women’s positions were to be filled through a process of Co-Option to the CYOC, the first of which has been filled by Gemma Tumelty - President of the National Union of Students. Discussions are still underway to fill the remaining position, any suggestions for co-option should be sent to youthchair@compassonline.org.uk

Two formal positions were created on the CYOC - Firstly; Chair of Compass Youth, to give vision, leadership, direction and be a spokesperson to champion the radical social democratic agenda of Compass Youth, Secondly; Compass Youth Secretary, to ensure the efficient administration of the Committee and ensure that the Compass Youth vision is driven forward at all times.

Duly elected to these positions were:

Compass Youth Chair - Samuel Tarry
Email:
youthchair@compassonline.org.uk
Phone: +447971819830


Compass Youth Secretary - Daniel Elton
Email:
youthsecretary@compassonline.org.uk
Phone: +447843059283


Two CYOC members were given portfolios to develop Compass Youth's strength in two areas - Yue Ting Cheng to develop stronger links with Trades Unions and Trades Union youth sections, and Noel Hatch to continue to develop the Internationalist perspective that Compass Youth has adopted over the past year creating stronger links with Social Democrats across Europe and the Globe.

The Compass Youth Organising Committee would like to extend our warm thanks to David Floyd who had been the Provisional Chair of Compass Youth until this point, whom without his dedication and hard work Compass Youth might not have moved forward so much over the past year. Our thanks are also extended to those who have worked hard behind the scenes over the past year and been at one point or another on the ad-hoc Compass Youth Committee. We know that you will continue to support us as we build Compass Youth and take the struggle to build a new social democratic society forward.

The year ahead is an exciting one for Compass Youth, with plans to build on our work with One Voice, the launching of a new campaign, and plans to take the battle of ideas out to university Labour clubs up and down the country with a heavyweight Compass Youth speaker list, and of course more international expeditions including a summer school hosted by Social Democratic comrades in Sweden.

To get more involved as an activist, or for help setting up a branch or chapter of Compass Youth in your area then get in touch with the new Chair
youthchair@compassonline.org.uk or Secretary youthsecretary@compassonline.org.uk

The best start: tackling child poverty in the North East


This meeting will discuss and debate how we end child poverty in the North East. Our high profile speakers include: Helen Goodman MP; Cllr Catherine Donovan, Gateshead Council; Barbara Roche; Neil Foster, Compass; Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo's and Chair of the Campaign to End Child Poverty. The event has been organised by Neil Foster Compass North East Organiser.

When? Saturday, October 27, 2007 between 10:30am - 1:30pm

Where?
Durham County Hall, Durham

Contact: 07763854143 or neil@compassonline.org.uk

Click here to find out more

Can a consumer society stop climate change?


Climate change is arguably the biggest challenge we face, however can it be stopped in an increasingly consumer society? Some have suggested if we continue to consume at the present rate we'd need 4 planets to sustain our current consumption levels.

With the main parties facing growing pressure to live up to their rhetoric on climate change and in the run-up to the climate change bill, Compass has convened a special debate to discuss these issues.

Our high-profile international speaker Clive Hamilton is the executive director of The Australia Institute, Australia’s leading progressive think tank. He's best known for his work on climate change policy, consumerism and the problems of economic growth. In 2004 the Australia Institute teamed up with the IPPR in London and the Center for American Progress in Washington to form the International Climate Change Taskforce. Clive has published extensively, including the best-selling books Growth Fetish and Affluenza (co-authored with Richard Denniss) and What's Left: The death of social democracy. His most recent book is Scorcher: The dirty politics of climate change.

At the debate he'll be joined by Compass chair Neal Lawson who's currently writing a book called All Consuming (www.allconsuming.org.uk) for publication in Spring 2008. More speakers are to be announced and the event will be chaired by Green Alliance Director Stephen Hale.

When? Thursday, October 4, 2007 between 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Where?
Central London (TBC)

The event is free to attend, but early registration is essential to guarantee your place. Please email gavin@compassonline.org.uk to register.

Time to make business owners equal before the law?



With wobbling financial markets, our fringe event at Labour conference on private equity asks the question: is it time to make business owners equal before the law? If the Daily Mail can campaign against the greed and distorting effects of private equity houses then why can't Labour? As progressives what should we do about private equity?

Excellent speakers include: Rt Hon John McFall MP, Chair, Treasury Select Committee; Chuka Umunna, Compass; Dan Plesch, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy; Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper.

When? Wednesday, September 26, 2007 between 12:45pm - 2:00pm

Where?
Deauville Lounge, Trouville Hotel, Priory Road, Bournemouth

Contact: 02074630633 or gavin@compassonline.org.uk

Click here to find out more

Can we build a more progressive consensus on immigration?


This event coincides with a major project being undertaken over the last 8 months by Compass, the Barrow Cadbury Trust and Migrant's Rights Network on making the case for a more progressive consensus on immigration. High profile speakers include: Sukhvinder Stubbs, Chief Executive, Barrow Cadbury Trust; Jon Cruddas MP; Evrard Oule, Justice for Cleaners with more tbc. The event will see us launch a cutting-edge report on this important issue.

When? Tuesday, September 25, 2007 between 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Where? Dover Lounge, Trouville Hotel, 5-7 Priory Road, Bournemouth

Contact: 02074630633 or gavin@compassonline.org.uk

Click here to find out more

What you can do to end commercialisation!



With childhood obesity levels at an all time high and with corporations spending over £30BN a year on marketing to kids in the UK alone, our fringe event at Labour conference looks at what you can do to end the commercialisation of childhood.

Excellent speakers include: Helen Goodman MP; Zoe Williams, Compass; Steve Sinnott, NUT; Adrian Voce, Play England; Rachel Astor, The Mother's Union

When? Monday, September 24, 2007 between 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Where? Deauville Lounge, Trouville Hotel, Priory Road, Bournemouth

Contact: 02074630633 or gavin@compassonline.org.uk

Clik here to find out more.

Our Charter for Childhood has been the collaborative work of representatives of organisations working in the children and parenting fields, teachers and members of the wider children’s workforce, health professionals, campaigners, academics, politicians and individuals. Sign our Charter below

Can the public services deliver the new progressive consensus?



We've a fantastic line up at our rally at this year's Labour conference in Bournemouth. The premiere rally where the real debate will take place at this year's party conference - where you'll get to have a dialogue with both Labour's election manifesto writer and Labour's election co-ordinator. Held jointly with UNISON and Tribune on the Sunday evening in Marquee 3, this energetic and lively meeting will be addressed by:

Douglas Alexander, Ed Miliband, Angela Eagle, Neal Lawson, Dave Prentis, Polly Toynbee and Paul O'Brien.

Free food and drink is of course also provided!

When? Sunday, September 23, 2007 between 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Where? Marquee 3, Highliffe Hotel, Bournemouth

Contact: 02074630633 or gavin@compassonline.org.uk

Click here for more information

Capitalism's catastrophe


INTERVIEW: Naomi Klein

by DAVID FLOYD - Compass Youth

VERY few politicians have run for election promising mass unemployment, much lower wages and a long period of economic chaos for most people, coupled with grotesque enrichment for a small elite.

Once in power, though, many leaders elected over the last 40 years across the globe have chosen to follow economic strategies that they have known to be almost certain to deliver those things. Most of them have pretty much got away with it.

How have they managed it? According to Canadian journalist Naomi Klein, it's often as a result of The Shock Doctrine.

Klein, who first came to prominence on a global scale following the publication in 2000 of her deconstruction of brand culture No Logo is in London to promote her new book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

It's a rigorous 446-page - plus 60 more pages of notes - challenge to the official history of the rise of the neoliberal economic model pioneered by the economist Milton Friedman and his followers at the University of Chicago and put in practice by a rogues' gallery of right-wingers stretching from Indonesian dictator General Suharto to our own Margaret Thatcher.

The "shock" bit of Shock Doctrine refers to the implementation of neoliberal economic reforms at the point where the population of the country being "reformed" is too disorientated by crisis to prevent it.

Klein believes that crisis is almost essential to enable wide-ranging neoliberal reforms.

"I don't think you can go all the way without some enabling crisis," she says.

"You can impose these policies in half measure, but to go the whole hog on the programme there has to be some kind of crisis.

"Now, the crisis doesn't have to be violence. It can be an economic meltdown, but there does have to be some kind of repression, particularly of the labour movement."

The crises examined in the book range from those actively created by political and corporate forces with a neoliberal agenda - such as Pinochet's military coup in Chile - to natural disasters which are used as an opportunity for economic transformation, such as the Asian tsunami in 2004.

One of Klein's starting points was a documentary charting the success of Friedmanite policies across the globe.

"Commanding Heights - a three-part documentary series that was on BBC and Public Broadcasting a few years ago - was the official triumphant story of the spread of Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman's ideas. I'm looking at some of the episodes that they chose to highlight - Bolivia, Poland, Russia."

While she acknowledges that, in cases such as Chile, neoliberal thinkers condemned the undemocratic means used to deliver their economic policies, that certainly isn't true in every case.

"I was watching Commanding Heights and looking at this interview with Goni, the former president of Bolivia. He said that our real breakthrough was that we did this in a democracy and then he just said in a off-hand way: 'Well, of course there was the state of siege' and I was like: 'State of siege, what?' And so, I just started researching what actually happened in Bolivia in that period."

Klein is determined to disentangle the now almost automatic linkage, particularly in the West, of freedom and democracy with the neoliberal free market economy.

"The goal of this book is to fill in some of the holes in that history, to put the violence and the shocks back into the story. And so that we understand that this was contested, you know, it wasn't a clean sweep."

Shock Doctrine tells the story of the market liberalisation process from the point of view of the people who experienced it, providing unexpected angles on events such as the Tiananmen Square massacre and Boris Yeltsin's battle with the Russian parliament.

Klein also details the crushing of the co-operative ideals of Poland's Solidarity movement thanks to the advice of Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs.

"Really, this is the second draft of history. The journalists got the first draft and now the second draft is emerging and I'm connecting the dots - from the Polish academics that helped me with the Polish chapter to the new wave of thinkers in China who are emerging and giving their interpretations of events."

When it comes to the war in Iraq, though, even the official view of events now accepts that there is crisis. Klein, however, firmly rejects the conventional view that things went wrong due to a lack of planning, pointing out bluntly: "They knew exactly what they were gonna do next."

According to Klein, the US administration tried to turn post-Saddam Iraq into some kind of free-market utopia, although "free market" in this case meant that the vast majority of business would be going to US defence contractors.

Klein thinks that the failure of the mainstream media to understand the political content to catastrophic policies of Iraq's US administrator Paul Bremer is a symptom of a wider problem.

"It's just a question of what gets amplified. If you look at my endnotes, my sources are the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal - it's mainstream news sources and it's all public information. It's just that most of it is either buried on the inside pages or it's presented as corruption and scandal," she says.

"The way that corruption is built into the model and, in fact, is the desired result of the model is never discussed. It's all about new, aberrant contractors as opposed to an analysis of how Iraq was deliberately turned into a wild west so that corporations could go and gorge on it."

Klein's detractors have suggested that this analysis of economic motives is a weakness of the book. This is an objection that she finds puzzling.

"One of the criticisms of the book is that I attribute motive in these situations," she says. "For some reason, it's much more comfortable to pretend that everything's just a series of mistakes and mismanagement, that there's never any plan. I don't know why so many people really want to believe that it's all haphazard."

Even the fact that both former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice-President Dick Cheney retained strong links to the defence industry while in office seems to have slipped off the radar. Klein finds this frustrating.

"A few years ago, there was a wave of articles about Cheney's relationship with Halliburton, but then people got bored of the story. It seemed like such an obvious point that it wasn't even one that particularly interested me. But then I realised that this wasn't being written about.

"Ultimately, I added those chapters fairly late in the game, because I realised that, actually, we need to look at this."

The term "anti-capitalism" has barely been mentioned since the emergence of "terrorism" as the all-consuming threat to the neoliberal consensus, but Klein believes that the anti-capitalist ideas that she raised in No Logo which were aired at protests in Seattle and elsewhere are actually growing stronger.

"It was always a global movement and, if we look at the targets of that movement, they were the multilateral institutions that were advancing neoliberalism around the world - the World Trade Organisation (WTO), The International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Bank and then trade agreements such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

"The FTAA is in crisis and the WTO is also in crisis - talks have been derailed for four years. The IMF is in debt and the World Bank had to throw Paul Wolfowitz overboard to save itself."

Klein sees the desire of neoliberals such as Rumsfeld and Cheney to impose their ideology on the chaos of Iraq as a symptom of the growing rejection of the policies in elections and within international institutions.

"I see a relationship between this and what I'm calling the rise of disaster capitalism because I thinks it's become increasingly difficult, precisely because of the opposition to these policies, to impose them under non-cataclysmic circumstances."

While accepting that the rejection of neoliberalism is currently stronger in Latin America than in the West, Klein is cautiously optimistic about the possibilities for change in Britain.

"You know, Gordon Brown made an announcement yesterday that he couldn't increase public-sector salaries, even though the City bonuses were 14 billion dollars," she says.

"I think that most thinking people will look at that and go: 'Something isn't adding up. There are more choices than we are being allowed to believe.' The difference is that Britain is still in the grip of Thatcher's fateful proclamation that there is no alternative, while other parts of the world are shaking that off.

"I think Latin America's at the forefront of this change because Latin America's lived with these policies for longest."

The Shock Doctrine doesn't propose any specific remedy for disaster capitalism. For Klein, this is not the point. Her aim is explain how we got where are now so that, when the next crisis hits, the left is ready to fight back.

"The reason why I think this history is so important is because many of us on the left have accepted the idea that all of our ideas have been tried and failed.

"The message of the book isn't just that capitalism has required crisis. It's also that, in Poland, people voted for Solidarity and wanted co-operatives.

In South Africa, they voted for the ANC and they wanted redistribution and they voted for Allende in Chile.

"We're told all the time that the only thing worse than capitalism is the alternative but we need to understand that these ideas were not tried and didn't fail - they were killed in the crib."

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein (Allen Lane, £25).

This article was originally published by the Morning Star - Britain's only Socialist daily newspaper