Power Shift: from a politics of persecution to solidarity

Youth
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Donald Trump's US Presidential election victory, the outcome of Britain's EU referendum, and Theresa May's misplaced confidence regarding this Thursday's British national election (8 June) didn't come from nowhere.

After decades of neo-liberalism orchestrated by governments across the globe and xenophobia perpetuated by media narratives and political rhetoric, 2016 saw momentous shifts in our political landscape. It was also the hottest year on record. Combined, these forces have devastating impacts for poor people, black, brown, indigenous people, women and non-binary folk, and for millions of people in Central Asia, across the Horn of Africa, and in the Pacific who cannot protect themselves from the climate crisis that industrialised countries created in the first place. In the face of this, though, comes a fightback – from ballot boxes and beyond.

Young people, and communities most impacted have been at the forefront of this fightback. From the indigenous led No DAPL (No Dakota Access Pipeline) movement fighting on the frontlines of fossil fuel infrastructure development to the Samsung workers organizing secret unions, across the globe, people are rising up against injustice. In order to challenge the gains of the right in recent years, and build a successful and sustainable resistance to injustice, we need a new generation of citizens equipped with the skills, knowledge and passion to take action. Banks, big business and elites are powerful. But together, we are more powerful.

Since British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a general election on 18 April, an incredible 1.05 million young people in the UK registered to vote. Young people are rejecting anti-migrant vitriol, looming post-Brexit trade agreements that threaten human rights and weaken environmental obligations, arms sales to countries with repressive reputations, and further delays to the required decisive action needed on climate change.

But, democracy won't end on 8 June. From 5-9 July in Manchester, People & Planet is bringing together dozens of student activists from across the UK and Ireland to meet, skill-share and get trained up to run powerful campaigns that win tangible change at our annual summer training event – Power Shift. We want to help enable a new generation of movement builders committed to addressing the systemic causes of oppression, climate devastation and inequity.

We'll be joined by experienced and dedicated campaigners, from War on Want, Anti-Raids Network, Movement for Justice and No DAPL.

Over the course of these five days, students will be supported to create successful and sustainable strategies for social change, learn how to take effective non-violent direct action, and build powerful understandings of what practical solidarity campaigning looks like. The right has gained considerable power over the last few years, and we're running out of time to shift away from rule by elite power, toward justice.

We'll be asking, what does a world without human and environmental destruction look like? How do we build movements that are led by the people most impacted by injustice? We'll learn campaign skills to build power and practical solidarity. We'll develop campaign strategies to fight in solidarity with communities resisting fossil fuel extraction, and build a movement with collective liberation at its heart.

Between 21 and 45 million people across the world continue to work in conditions of modern slavery, generating more than USD$150 in profits for the wealthiest corporations. Governments are tightening border controls and building walls to keep out migrants. Despite the need to keep 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change, the fossil fuel industry continues to explore for more opportunities to expand extraction. The need for action has never been more urgent, and nor has the need to understand that each of these crises cannot be tackled in isolation.

Join the dozens of young people from across the UK and Ireland who are coming together, coalescing and joining the dots on climate change, economic exploitation and xenophobia. Join Power Shift: Training for Change from 5-9 July in Manchester.

Book here: https://peopleandplanet.org/power-shift-2017

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