6 Billion Ways – Keeping up the momentum

The day after the main 6 Billion Ways event, we held an open space session at Toynbee Hall on building the movement for global justice.

The meeting used open space facilitation, which meant that the agenda was constructed by the people who came based on what they wanted to discuss, and people were free to move around to different discussions at any point. About 60 people came, most of whom had been the previous day. Many more made excuses based on too much partying the previous night…

Hot topics
There were a variety of issues raised, from carbon trading to housing, fixing the financial system to what UK Uncut should do next, and what to do about arms company Lockheed Martin running the census. One of the most popular discussions was about plans for the 26 March anti-cuts demonstration in London, which led to a callout for a national day of publicity for the demonstration on Saturday 19 March, on high streets and on Facebook and Twitter (use #March26 #whyiammarching #demo2011).

Keeping up the momentum
Another popular session was on ‘Keeping up momentum after 6 Billion Ways’. As one of the organisers of 6 Billion Ways, I was particularly interested in this one. So far 6 Billion Ways has been an event we’ve held twice to bring together lots of different strands of the movement and encourage cross-fertilisation to make it stronger. But this session indicated an appetite for more than that. Some of the suggestions that came up in the session were:

  • Holding 6 Billion Ways once a year not every two years (the first event was in 2009)
  • Regular meet-ups in London every two or three months. These could be public meetings in the manner of the sessions at 6 Billion Ways or open-space sessions like the Sunday event.
  • Organiser training for global justice activists around the country, perhaps with a focus on making links between issues and networks as at 6 Billion Ways
  • A web portal where people can find out about global justice campaigns, including being able to filter by region and issue. Like False Economy but not just on the cuts. It could be a list of existing campaigns and maybe aggregate from other sources like Google News.
  • More co-ordination at national level between all global justice organisations, so that people feel part of something bigger (Make Poverty History, Stop Climate Chaos and Put People First were examples of where this has been/is being done before, in different ways)
  • Using the 6 Billion Ways Facebook page to build up a network of global justice activists and discuss the issues raised. Also perhaps to identify some priority global justice issues for people to work on together

What do you think?
Some of these things, or things along the same lines, may be happening already, but not everyone might know about them. Some of them might not be useful, and some of them might be easier said than done!

As the 6 Billion Ways organisers we’re thinking about what we do next, and we want to know what you think. So let us know in the comments.

  • Joe Hall

    Good round-up of the discussion on Sunday. I feel we also need a physical home — in London and probably in other cities/towns too — somewhere people can revolve around regularly, a hub for this movement. Any ideas?

  • Heather

    Hi, I thought the Saturday event was great…even with a bad hangover. However, I came on my own and felt it would have been nice to have had the opportunity to get to meet others with similar campaigning interests, so yes, I’d be up for regular meet ups.

  • Amita

    thank you for organising the event; i came both days and left inspired and ready to get more involved…i think an annual 6 Billion Ways would be awesome, and regular meets would be really useful, so that a regular structure of activity can be clearly planned on a larger scale… :)

  • mikedean

    Somewhere in this posting, you ask us to join the 30th November march in support of public sector workers. It has been reported for years that pensions for public sector workers are far, far better than those for the private sector.
    If this is the case – and I have no idea of the truth of the matter, truth these days being as rare as hens’ teeth – they are striking to maintain their advantage over the rest of the country’s workers. If so, I am against the purposes of the march and shall not join it.
    It is also clear that the march will have a very deleterious effect on the nation’s productivity, in the hardest of hard times. The unions say that 1/2 billion pounds the strike will lose for the nation is a gross exaggeration. If so, what is the truth? Like the one-day holiday for the royal wedding, it must be considerable and will delay our getting out of the debt the banks and government have landed us in.
    A great deal of objective truth, from unbiased and independent sources, on matters such as these, would be a great help.
    Mike Dean

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