'Seeing all our struggles as connected has never been more important'

The last few years have brought into sharp focus the depth and interconnectedness of the crises of climate, inequality and injustice. From devastating floods in Pakistan to deadly wildfires in Chile, extreme weather events are hitting countries whose public services have been hollowed out by decades of neoliberal policies. Globally, we know that those least responsible for these crises are facing the worst impacts.

Meanwhile, global hunger and malnutrition are on the rise. Corporate agribusinesses are dominating world food production and subjecting smallholder farmers to hazardous pesticides, depleted soil quality and water and land grabs. In the Gaza Strip, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, imperial geopolitical machinations are upholding the most brutal forms of racialised violence in their pursuit of wealth and resources. 

The Global North is not exempt from the impacts of these crises. In the UK, over a decade of austerity, stagnating wages, and the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic drove half a million people to go on strike last year in response to the crippling pressures of the cost-of-living crisis.

War on Want’s ‘And Still We Rise’, festival was born out of a need to respond to this critical moment of interconnected crises. With internationalism at its core, the radical one-day festival taking place in London on 24 February seeks to break national siloes and connect struggles from the ground up. 

 

‘This event is not just a gathering, it’s a powerful convergence of voices determined to address the urgent global challenges we face,’ said Nnimmo Bassey, one of more than 60 activists from 25 countries due to speak at the event.

Bassey’s work against the destructive practices of multinational corporations in his home country of Nigeria has made him one of Africa’s leading campaigners for environmental and human rights.

He’ll be joined on 24 February by fellow climate activists Tasneem Essop from the Climate Justice Network and Sabrina Fernandes of the Alameda Institute. Through a series of talks, workshops and training sessions, the event aims to forge global solidarity, inspire collective action and build solutions to intersectional global crises – turning crisis into justice. 

'This event is not just a gathering, it’s a powerful convergence of voices determined to address the urgent global challenges we face.'

War on Want protestors hold signs marching through the street

 

Among the speakers are Indigenous activists in Latin America defending their lands from destructive mining corporations, as well as Sri Lankan garment workers and workers’ rights advocates from Pakistan taking on low wages and poor conditions in the exploitative fashion industry. As Israel continues to wage a merciless bombing campaigning against the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip, we’ll hear from the Palestinian poet and human rights activist Rafeef Ziadah about ending colonisation.

Closer to home, leading figures in the British Left, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, as well as trade union leaders Mick Lynch and Sarah Woolley, will stand shoulder to shoulder with Global South leaders and movements, including human rights activist Lidy Nacpil, political activist Morgan Ody from La Via Campesina, and S'bu Zikode - founder of Abahlali baseMjondolo, alongside War on Want’s Executive Director Asad Rehman.

The festival comes at a crucial time, with 2024 set to be the biggest election year in history. Elections are due to take place in at least 64 countries, plus the European Union, representing 49 per cent of the world’s population.

While the climate crisis puts us on an emergency timeline, the interconnected nature of the current crises also present opportunities – and movements have already begun to seize them. For instance, our partner, Abahlali baseMjondolo – South Africa’s shack dwellers movement – has secured unprecedented victories to return land to the urban poor through land occupations, political education and protest. In Chile, our partner Latin American Observatory for Environmental Conflicts (OLCA) is supporting communities with the tools to defend their land and water from extractive mining.  

Seeing all our struggles as connected has never been so important. ‘And Still We Rise’ will bring together formidable social movements from across the Global South and North to provide a unique opportunity to learn, dream, and take action together in the pursuit justice and equality for everyone, everywhere.

 
Tickets can be booked here for ‘And Still we Rise: The War on Want Festival of Solidarity and Resistance’ on 24 February at Friendship House, London New Internationalist is the official media partner for this event.