Coping with the crisis
People were calling for campaigners to make the link between policy and how people are experiencing the crisis. We recently launched an initiative for young activists to tell us their stories of how they got involved in campaign and what being "born free and equal" meant to them. How about using a similar approach to encourage young people to share their stories of how they're coping through the crisis? These could be stories people submit directly to us, or it could be stories that people have put up on their own blogs. In fact why not do it face to face in the form of a listening campaign? By geo-locating the stories, we could then target what people could do together in their local areas?
Ann Pettifor, executive director of Advocacy International and inspiration behind the Jubilee 2000 Debt campaign (the successful equivalent of Make Poverty History), kicked us off by arguing that getting people to work together wasn't the only challenge of building coalitions, it was to keep them working together. This rings bells as after the Put People First rally, as I was walking down Park Lane to find refuge from the pouring rain, I wondered why there was no next steps for us activists to take. Invading the Channel Islands to close down tax havens here may have split the "Stop the War" coalition but at least asking to do something would have been better than nothing.
Neal Lawson pointed out that we've been running up the downwards escalator of equality for 10 years, no wonder people are so exhausted and stressed out...and what a waste of electricity...
He followed up with the more serious need to talk about the economics behind all of this into simple language as most people think that "quantitative easing" is what the hubby of the home sec gets up to when she's out of the house.
John Harris looked back through the rear view mirror of conventions (I guess something only journalists have the magic skills to do) and dreamed of making McDonalds a co-op and mutualising Tescos. I wondered whether staff with their new found powers would still want to serve unhealthy super size me food? Continuing down the route of analogies, John then wondered what kind of choice voters have got on the electoral menu between the "political one arm bandits" Mandelson, Clegg or Osbourne?
We can't just keep trying to get people to join Labour and the best they get after a session of procedures is getting a motion passed that will be ignored, like the "4th option on council housing" has been four times in a row at party conference. When you look at the No Turning Back statement, out of the 10 Compass ideas, six are from the Lib Dem manifesto, nine from the Green Party and zilch from the Labour Manifesto. People may then start to ask, so now who do we vote for?
Instead we need to broad-based and hard-edged to win our demands. Someone pointed out that even though New Labour was created by five people and they changed the world, Compass needs to keep building up its troops? I wonder whether Compass operates more as a mix between "Dad's Army", the "Foreign Legion" and "MI5"?
If you want to continue the conversation, just follow #noturningback on twitter or the blogs.
Thanks to nolnet for the Lego photo published under Creative Commons license.