I enjoyed the fringes that I attended; all the ones I chose were activist led. Learning from such activism was reinforced by giving activists time at the rostrum, most importantly probably speakers from Amazon; the video stream starts here.  

I also attended the Apple solidarity fringe and met the leadership of the recognition campaign; they’re impressive people. I hope we can bring similar success to London.

I also attended the London Fringe, hosted bt the Migrant Democracy Project and the session was  chaired by Lara Parizotto, who used to be in our branch. The speakers were from the voice of domestic workers, by the Bureau of investigative journalism. It’s also heard from Marcela Benedetti from migrants for labour, who spoke about the difficulties that Latinas had in making a home in the UK. She is campaigning to be the first MP of Latin American origin. To me the highlight was Emiliano Mellino from the Bureau of investigative journalism who presented, on his investigative project on the state of the living conditions of migrant workers working British farms who’ve entered the country on the agricultural workers visa scheme. It’s a sad tale of corruption, bullying and abuse. I knew that the conditions were bad,  that employers provided caravan accommodation, used zero hour contracts, with no social wage. But it’s worse than that.

I also attended the Justice for Columbia campaign fringe. It was good to be reminded of the fact that in Columbia they have elected a left wing president, and established a peace agreement to bring the guerrilla movement into politics. They claim that,

JFC promotes links of solidarity between British and Irish trade unions and organisations in Colombia and gives a political voice internationally to Colombian civil society through our work in the British, Irish and EU Parliaments.

Despite the peace agreement and a left wing president, para-military activity continues and the reward for activism is often death. See the Amnesty International country report. A motion was put to Congress which passed detailing the recent history and the slow pace of change, and the GMB’s renewed commitment to act in solidarity with those seeking to build a peaceful life in Columbia. The motion noted that Columbia is still the deadliest place in the world to be a trade unionist.

A fascinating initiative, which I think the GMB should get behind is the ‘Trucks for Peace’ fundraiser, supported by Justice for Columbia, and launched by the Trademark trade union and anti-sectarian organisation based in Belfast. The fundraiser aims to support former FARC guerrillas as they transition to civilian society following the signing of the 2016 peace agreement.

You can donate to the campaign here.

Fringes and solidarity
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