Who are we?

Contact sowestand@gmail.com and write the name of the SoWeStander you want to contact at the start of the subject header

Cathy McCormack

Location: Glasgow

  

So We Stand Organising: The War Without Bullets – Climate change, poverty and inequality radio show

My name is Cathy McCormack and I live in Easterhouse and I am a long term campaigner on housing, health, poverty and the environment. I am also widely known as a popular social commentator and my writings and broadcast have received international acclaim. My biography which was published in 2009; ‘the wee yellow butterfly’ is both a social history and critical analysis of the economic, propaganda and psychological world war that has been waged against the poor and working classes under Thatcher, New Labour, and American administration; a’ war without bullets’ waged with briefcases instead of guns and which has now intensified under our coalition government.

In 1982 I became involved in my communities struggle to get rid of freezing cold damp housing, fuel poverty and the associated health problems which affected ¼ million people in Glasgow and 10 million families nationwide . When we started to make the links between our sick houses, our sick children and the sickness of the planet, I became involved in the International struggle for justice.

Our ten year fight resulted in the first ever tenant-led passive solar housing energy demonstration project which was completed in 1992. The 36 families who lived in the solar housing project saw their fuel bill reduced £ 50 to £5 per week and some no longer needed the medication they had been dependant on for years. Apart from saving money on the NHS which only treats the symptoms, we also demonstrated a 15% reduction in CO2 emission.

In spite of our long term solution however 20 thousands of our old people died in Scotland in 2010 from hypothermia and other cold related illness and no-one seems to bats an eye lid, yet if a wee dog froze to death their would be a public out cry! Now millions more families are being forced into fuel poverty and also at risk of malnutrition. Why is this?

Well for the past 24 years now I have been working with Professor David Fryer who a Critical Community Psychologist to answer some of these question and to raise public awareness of this war against the poor and most defenceless people in our society. (link below)

I am currently working on a series of radio programmes and on-line media to expose this war and the links between poverty, inequalities and climate change which will be up-loaded on to this website along with my older writings and broadcasts.

Here are some links to my recent publications:

Aneaka

 Location: Manchester

 So We Stand Organising: *Women, Our Environments and Justice*

 Heya, my names Aneaka, I’m from Manchester and am developing a project called ‘Women, Our  Environment and Justice’. I’m interested in education and in particular engaging and empowering ways of doing or being involved in education. I’ve got into politics through environmental campaigning… at school it was about recycling, then I got involved in more radical politics, and now I’m realized that what’s happening to our environment is a symptom of the same unjust undemocratic global power dynamic that drive social injustices. I’m involved in SWS as it is seeking to address the lack of focus in the UK on environmental justice as an issue, and it’s using popular education as its tactic. Recently involved in helping to create – http://environmental-justice.com/exploitative-system/ Memorable moment: Hearing a farmer and anti-Shell campaigner from Rossport, Co Mayo, Ireland, joke about his time in prison for opposing a pipeline coming through his land, as the only holiday he’s ever had.

Mirella

Location: Glasgow

My name is Mirella and I’m from Glasgow (via England, Australia, Malaysia, The Netherlands and China). Aneaka and I are working on a project entitled “Women, Our Environments and Justice” that supports communities of women to explore and address local and global environmental injustices that are impacting our lives on a daily basis.

So We Stand Organising: Women, Our Environments and Justice

Wants to change: To borrow from bell hooks: “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy”. But screw changing it, let’s just destroy it, eh?

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Nim Ralph

Location: Brighton

I grew up in Walthamstow, East London right next to the Edmonton incinerator – one of a handful of waste incinerators in the UK – on the edge of London’s North Circular. Unaware at the time, it’s here that I first witnessed the social and racial injustice of environmental politics. I got involved in lots of environmental and social justice protest while living in Scotland, however became disillusioned by the privileged and oppressive behaviours that went unchallenged in these circles. I met Dan and helped to establish So We Stand as a UK based group where the intersections of these politics could be met. I now work with a Black and Mixed race community group by day, and by night, spend much of my free time coordinating SWS national strategy and educating on the racist nature of environmental injustice. I also run workshops for environmental groups on privilege and anti-oppression see here for links to these inspiring workshops (link soon to come)

So We Stand Organising: National strategy and coordination, Southall organising, privilege and anti racism training.

Wants to… see real community driven change and resistance.

Wants to… address environmental injustice as the racial and social oppression that it is.

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Heather Mudhari

Location: Glasgow

So We Stand Organising: *The Black Gold Injustice: A Permanent Condition? *Race * Poverty * Environment Justice * Action * http://sowestand.com/the-black-gold-injustice-a-permanent-condition-event-series/ I’m a multi talented artist, TV Presenter, Actress and Screen Writer taking advantage of my skills to be a voice for disadvantaged or under represented communities through media. I believe media has the power to build hope in the society and I’m here to build hope showcasing positive actions by communities, organisations, movements and debates over *Race * Poverty * Environment Justice * Action *

I am involved with **AfroGossip (www.truegossip.co.uk)** – an inspirational medium for African & Caribbean communities based in Scotland. We promote and encourage greater awareness and appreciation of the African culture through media. We showcase and create opportunities for fresh talent and already established entertainers/ performers of all backgrounds while developing Black pride to challenge wrongful stereotypical views associated with people of black origin.

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Dan Glass

I am currently one of the network developers for Plane Stupid in the UK, and a key organiser to build a network of communities to take direct action against the impacts of the aviation industry. I also organise the coalition of community groups, charities and individuals to harness the effects of the aviation industry in Scotland and the North of England with Airport Watch. I revel in creating cheeky ways to be a thorn in the side for those destroying the planet and duly stick myself to Prime Minsters, occupying airports, dances with old ladies blighted by flightpaths and help facilitate the online environmental justice blog in collaboration with the brilliant direct action network Plane Stupid (www.planestupid.com).

I have been involved in SWS from the start, helping to build projects as well as the core organising (and try to do all I can to resist the computer and be outside on the ground with communities taking action – its a constant journey!). I bring together anti-racism, anti-poverty and anti-climate change struggles across the UK together to take united action. A trained facilitator and community organiser in facilitation and transformative learning I speak regularly on direct action, environmental and climate justice, climate racism, environmental law and climate change, queer ecology, necessary support systems to empower disenfranchised communities and how to organise for action.

I have spent a few years doing inner-city community and youth organising in Glasgow and London. During my time I have worked with communities of colour disproportionatelyected by polluting industries, working class industrial workers taking over the workplace transforming green industries, Bangladeshi, Caribbean, Jewish, Parsi, Roma-Gypsi (and more communities on multi-racial organising for environmental justice and white progressives on the issues of uncovering and addressing white supremacy (link h//www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk/article/plane-stupid-blog-reframing-race-and-climate-change)

This video on ‘multiracial organising for environmental justice’  (http://www.youtube.com/user/visionontv#p/search/0/7Ux9esnoZ3U) article from the workshop series on race-environment-poverty – explains the purpose of So We Stand well.

My website is www.theglassishalffull.co.uk

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Tilly Gifford

My name is Tilly Gifford. I’ve lived in Scotland for six years now. I grew up in France, where the family business is jam-making. About four years ago the discrepancy between the mainstream media’s gloomy climate predictions and the complete absence of any material response in everyday life was getting me down. I used to fly RyanAir back to France. I was concerned about climate change, but nobody had joined the dots for me: I just didn’t know how polluting aviation was or how directly our actions impact our climate. I’m now 26. I’m a practising artist trained at Glasgow School of Art and still hungry to learn community-organising skills. I work on a farm too. I can’t imagine the inspiration and fear stirred up by runaway climate change is going to leave me any time soon.

I am active with www.planestupid.com too and famous for exposing police infiltration (link http://istheglassfull.blogspot.com/2010/10/climate9-climate-criminals-on-trial.html or http://istheglassfull.blogspot.com/2010/10/2009-may-is-that-spy-cam-in-your-pocket.html) in recent years. Through creative action I straddle the arts and activism to give SWS a creative and imaginative strength.

More of my work here …..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/25/police-informers-tape-recordings-gifford

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6210537.ece – Better a whistleblower than a spy

I am currently involved in PEDAL (link to www.100daystopalestine.org)

PEDAL is a group of community organisers, artists, food growers and cyclists leaving for Palestine on the 21st of March from the UK to support the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, and share stories, skills and strategies for resistance from the London to Jerusalem. Our aim is to link and empower groups across our route implementing the concept of ‘dual power’; by building networks with groups who are involved in opposing oppression in Palestine as well as those creating new worlds and forms of organising in resistance to social and environmental injustice.

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Aaron Franks

Location: Glasgow

Originally from Canada, I have been involved in building the So We Stand infrastructure in Scotland since September 2009. I have been involved in organising workshops on popular education, social theatre, climate justice and poverty. I am also a dad of two and a PHD student in human geography at the University of Glasgow. Here’s the promotional blurb for July 2010 workshop I hosted:

‘We will use social theatre techniques to conduct popular research in to the meaning of the term ‘Climate Justice’– based on our individual and shared experiences and views. The social theatre techniques used will include: Theatre of the Oppressed (Augusto Boal), Forum Theatre (Augusto Boal), Rainbow of Desire (Augusto Boal) and Code Building (Paolo Freire). In addition to asking “What is Climate Justice?” we will also ask ourselves “Can we make the term ‘Climate Justice’ accessible and meaningful?  Can this be the foundation of an effective, heart-centred community organising process?”

My PhD is on the formation of So We Stand and the creation of our climate justice platform.  When completed I hope to have a critical, reflective chronicle of our process, for use by activist groups and anyone interested in the struggles for social, economic and environmental justice that make up the Climate Justice movement.

So We Stand Organising: Gathering Under the Flightpath, Linnvale November 2009; Follow-up workshop, Glasgow May 2010; Living for Climate Justice – Using Social Theatre for Popular Research Workshop, Friends House, Glasgow, July 2010; Popular Education for Social Change Workshop, Peirce Institute, Govan, January 2011

Most inspirational movement/ moment of hope or change: the wave of actions by students, trades unions, communities, activists and artists against the current ConDem government.  Internationally, the groundswell of rural and indigenous peoples fighting back against corporate greed.

Wants to change…my work habits!  less time online and more time with people

Wants to…create spaces of dialogue and constructive conflict that inspire and energise us all to push back against extractive and exploitive capitalism

Memorable moment: the birth of both of my children

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Jimmy Kerr

Location: Glasgow

I am Jimmy Kerr, a 34 year old postgraduate student from Paisley. I have been involved in a whole range of attacks on the governments cuts policy and am looking to arrange direct action and community self deference training programmes to challenge the growing uninhabitable conditions we are forced to live in. I organise with a range of community campaigns around economic, social and environmental justice. I was also involved in www.climate9.com. I live near Glasgow Airport, the biggest single CO2 emitter in the area and the cause of unacceptable levels of air and noise pollution. Some days the noise is so bad that the windows rattle in the tenement flats. Other days, when the wind is blowing in the right direction, the air become tinged with deadly pollutants, but most days I lie awake at night and thinking about the climate change and the future of our planet and how the expansion of the aviation industry will put that future in great peril. As a committed activist and organiser, I am working hard to build strong sustainable communities where each one of us can live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Rebecca Nada-Rajah

Location: Edinburgh

I hold an MSc in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh. I am a facilitator in multiracial organising for environmental and social justice, a community activist and playwright. My first play, ‘The Constant k Determines the Ultimate Fate of the Universe’, premiered at the Pearl Company Theatre in Hamilton, Canada in June 2008. My most recent work, ‘The Goats’, deals with science, spirit and land.

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Barney Francis

Location: Manchester

I am one of the organisers, initiators and mischief makers behind ‘Brandalism – The Art of Self Defence’ (link http://sowestand.com/brandalism/) – Street Art Activism for the masses.

So We Stand and Upper Space (upperspace.blogspot.com/ ) are coordinating their mischief making and building a big public campaign to build a network of socially-engaged artists to build ‘Brandalism – The Art of Self Defence’ – Street Art Activism for the masses (http://commonvandal.blogspot.com/). This will build strong public imagery for all the community- organising projects So We Stand are engaging with as well as aid in the creation of a UK network of brandals, culture jammers and creative dissidents.

Upper Space is a collective of artists, activists and thinkers that utilise street art as a form of social agency. As more and more public space is made private, sanctioned behaviour and visual language are increasingly only those which are compatible with consumerist activity; commodity is not the measure of worth. Upper Space aims to explore meanings, values and potentialities of space at a time when its democracy is highly contested. We love to disobey and disobey to love.

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Harmit Kambo Photojournalist collaborator with So We Stand

I am a London-based photojournalist, whose work aims to contribute to social justice movements.

My background is in the charity sector – in front-line services, communications, campaigning and lobbying. I use photojournalism as part of a process of achieving justice for marginalised, disposessed and exploited communities. I have been supporting communities in the photo project at key sites of environmental justice– the Asian community in Southall by the airport, the community by the mine in Merthyr Tydfill, Wales and those by the oil refinery in Grangemouth, Scotland.

More here http://www.environmental-justice.com/

Through photography, Environmental-justice attempts to build a picture of what environmental injustice looks like in the UK. Treading the ground between anti-poverty and environmental movements, ‘environmental justice’ is a concept and social movement that seeks to address the reality that environmental burdens (eg: intrusive mining and extraction, dumping of toxic materials, highly-polluting industry etc.) are inequitably distributed and often concentrated in areas of socio-economically marginalised people.

My website is www.harmitkambo.com/

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Pablo Kala

Pablo Kala has 25 years activist experience in environmental and alter-globalisation movements, including People’s Global Action and the Rebel Clown Army. He is a Reader in Geopolitics at the University of Glasgow and a member of Camcorder Guerillas film-maker’s collective with experience in direct action; workshops; conferences; activist caravans; teach-ins with peasant movements in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Borneo, Indonesia.

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Dr Mandy Meikle

Location: 25 miles SW of Edinburgh (on a lovely moor!)

SMM croppedo We Stand Organising: I was involved with Dan & Rose and others in setting up DIY Education Collective, which became So We Stand.

Most inspirational movement has to be the Transition Towns movement as they understand ‘peak oil’ and the greater enery crisis, not just climate change (which is huge!), and they have captured local imagination globally. Those working now to create local community resilience are the hope for the future.

Wants to change…. the story of ‘growth at all costs’ which is perpetuated by western culture.

Wants to….. contribute to awareness-raising of environmental and social injustices caused by run-away capitalism.

Memorable moment: attending an ASEED conference in a squatted village (Lakabe) in northern Spain in 1999 (I think!)

Biography: Dr Mandy Meikle trained as a microbiologist and has been involved with the environmental movement in Scotland for over 15 years. From 2002 – 2008, Mandy edited the Reforesting Scotland journal, as well as working for the Scottish Green Party on energy policy, and being active with groups including Depletion Scotland and the Transition Towns movement. Mandy was one of the first people in Scotland to start publicising the concept of peak oil, its links to climate change and the need for communities to increase cooperation and local resilience. She has given over 50 talks on the subject since 2004 and believes that people need to be prepared for a future where all costs (energy, food, everything) are higher. It’s time to cooperate, not compete. Mandy is now a freelance consultant but also works part time as a Student Support Assistant at Edinburgh University.

Website – http://mandymeikle.wordpress.com/

Ann Lynch

Mover and shaker across Scotland addressing the connections between fuel poverty and climate change

*Community Activism on Fuel Poverty in Clydebank*

Ann Lynch one of the community activists working with the Poverty Alliance is a leading a community campaign against fuel poverty entitled Campaign 250. As a result of campaigning, a motion against fuel poverty and for the £250 National Winter Fuel Allowance to be extended to everyone UNDER 60, and on benefits//low pay was passed UNANIMOUSLY by the whole council!

Ann is a member of the Community Activists Advisory Group (CAAG), a newly formed forum of different community activists in Scotland who will be working very closely with the Poverty Alliance in developing a consistent strategy for engagement with grassroots based organisations on poverty. Ann currently volunteers in Drumchapel, doing benefit forms, debt negotiation and advocacy.

 Ann has been highlighting and fighting against the Welfare Reform Bill for the last few years. She has addressed lots of public and community meetings to highlight how horrendous this Bill is, and has had pieces published in relation to what has been described as ‘the most vicious piece of anti-working class legislation ever seen’.

Ann lives in Clydebank, a very financially deprived area of Glasgow but rich with community spirit to tackle the social impacts of climate change. Ann has been an active campaigner for decades and is an inspiration to many.

 http://www.clydebankpost.co.uk/opinion/roundup/articles/2009/12/09/394884-fuel-poverty

http://www.povertyalliance.org/actions_detail.asp?act_id=18

Rose Rickford

Rose Rickford has been involved for some years in the movement against climate change in the UK and has developed a position that climate change and other environmental problems cannot and should not be addressed outside of their social context. She has been involved in anti-poverty organising in London with London Coalition Against Poverty, working in solidarity with homeless people, through which she has developed a broad definition of environmental justice, from air pollution to homelessness and access to food. She is committed to fighting capitalism from a class-struggle perspective, and to the struggle against racism and patriarchy in all its forms.

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eurig arrestDr Eurig Scandrett

Dr Eurig Scandrett is a lecturer in Sociology at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. After doctoral and postdoctoral research in plant ecology, Margaret Thatcher’s reforms drove Eurig out of scientific research and into adult education, community development and political activism. Most recently he was Head of Community Action at Friends of the Earth Scotland, where he developed courses for environmental justice activists. Eurig has also collaborated with Scottish Women’s Aid and anti-racist activists, and continues to attempt to use popular education to support social movement organisations’ action for social justice with the resources of the university. He is conducting research in environmental justice movements in Scotland and Bhopal, India, as well as liberation theology and environmentalism of the poor, and is a Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology.

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Adam Weymouth

After studying human ecology, which looks at the importance of rebuilding community in order to deal with today’s social and environmental problems, I’ve been involved various groups that are working to tackle the harm that is being done to our environment. Last year I was out in Poland for the UN talks on climate change, and for the past 6 months I’ve been working on the new documentary The Age of Stupid.  I’ve come to believe that climate change cannot be tackled meaningfully without looking at the root causes of localised environmental injustice. I’m interested in the power that communities can have when they work together, and how popular education can be used to allow communities to find that voice.

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Chimezie Umeh

Location: Glasgow

So We Stand Organising: *The Black Gold Injustice: A Permanent Condition? *Race * Poverty * Environment Justice * Action *

http://sowestand.com/the-black-gold-injustice-a-permanent-condition-event-series/

Website: http://chimezieumeh.com

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Chigozie Joe Adigwe

Location: Glasgow

So We Stand Organising: *The Black Gold Injustice: A Permanent Condition?* *Race * Poverty * Environment Justice * Action *

http://sowestand.com/the-black-gold-injustice-a-permanent-condition-event-series/

Most inspirational movement: Survival International

I am chair of the African and Caribbean Network Ltd (A&CN) – a voluntary sector umbrella organisation and coordination body providing surgery, advice and support services in housing, anti-poverty work, employment, group capacity building and community development for 40+ African and Caribbean community groups representing 10,000 people in Glasgow and the surrounding region.

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Graham Campbell

Location: Glasgow

So We Stand Organising: The Black Gold Injustice: A Permanent Condition? *Race * Poverty * Environment Justice * Action * http://sowestand.com/the-black-gold-injustice-a-permanent-condition-event-series/

I am development of the African and Caribbean Network Ltd (A&CN) – a voluntary sector umbrella organisation and coordination body providing surgery, advice and support services in housing, anti-poverty work, employment, group capacity building and community development for 40+ African and Caribbean community groups representing 10,000 people in Glasgow and the surrounding region.

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