Our bullying corporations are the new enemy within - George Monbiot

Below is a snip from "Our bullying corporations are the new enemy within" by George Monbiot.

Might be a good idea to read the whole article.

The corporate consensus is enforced not only by the lack of political choice, but by an assault on democracy itself. Steered by business lobbyists, the EU and the US are negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This would suppress the ability of governments to put public interest ahead of profit. It could expose Britain to cases like El Salvador’s, where an Australian company is suing the government before a closed tribunal of corporate lawyers for $300m (nearly half the country’s annual budget) in potential profits foregone. Why? Because El Salvador refused permission for a gold mine that would poison people’s drinking water.


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Comment by Gavin Barker on October 14, 2014 at 12:35

Ruth, Joe,

Have only just seen this. A reply from my MP actually came in yesterday. I have promptly put it up on the blog and will look at this in detail later on in the week. This is the fastest reply from an MP that I have ever received - a record 4 days from time of writing to time of response!


Comment by Gavin Barker on October 14, 2014 at 9:54

Hi Ruth - yes I will share. And if you do write an open letter please share back as there may be lessons to learn as to what works and what doesnt. I had a skype chat with Joe and we talked about me setting up a small  group who will test out how this approach could be developed - a sort of informal learning and feedback group where people could contribute different ideas. I have some ideas but still fuzzy and anyway I want to get a reply from MP first.

Comment by kevin Frayne on October 13, 2014 at 20:47

Cracker Joe reminds me of the two children hidden under the ghost of Xmas presents garments, want and greed but well hidden. Dickens said "they are there but people just prefer to ignore them at their on peril. Its seems Democracy is taking its last breath in the Arena built and paid for by both Corporations and your Governments. Who do you think is the weakest?  

Comment by Ruth Stokes on October 13, 2014 at 14:48

Agree with Joe - thanks for sharing the letter Gavin. Really well put together. Please do share the reply, if you get one. You may have just inspired me to write my own letter...

Comment by Roger Alexander on October 13, 2014 at 12:31

I was in Bracknell giving out 38 degree leaflets on Saturday with four others.  I watched as people sometimes politely accepted the fyers and then binned them as soon as they were out of sight.  Most people seemed to brush them off and not accept them at all.  My approach was to first ask people if they were rich and that drew their attention.  I then asked them if they knew where money actually came from and told them that the government made money out of thin air in the form of bonds that they gave to the Bank of England who lent it back to the government and to the other banks with a higher interest than they promised to pay OUR government.   At this point each of the groups and couples I approached started at ask questions or become more interested in money.  I then refered them to Ellen Brownes Youtube presentations as they are easy listenning and well presented.  I then gave them the leaflet about TTIP and told them that this is a private arrangement between the very rich financiers and money lenders that they wish to make into national law in Europe and the member states.  The effect of this is to make a law above our law that the multinational corporations can use our police and authorities to enforce their contracts on the population.  I gave leaflets to two police officers and told them the above.  One was going to look on line about it and I asked them to tell their mates as they would be personally involved it it ever came onto effect.  I told them that it would give private security firms the upper hand in their own personal finances and wages.  TTPI has been tried over the past decades under a variety of names and the USA are doing the same in the far east and Asia.  In the Middle East they are simply selling weapons and stirring up fear and hatred, as usual.

Comment by Gavin Barker on October 12, 2014 at 19:57

PS I'm also mulling over other ideas to build on the letter but can't say any more at the moment - dont want to get ahead of myself! :-)

Comment by Gavin Barker on October 12, 2014 at 19:51

Thanks Joe. I will update you on any developments. Just thinking out loud....

What if there were hundreds of open letters to our MP's up and down the country: letters that are open, online, widely shared locally and open for comments? In other words a spreading grass roots campaign that spills over into street conversations on anything from inequality and poverty to the privatisation of public services - conversations that start to be better informed, more searching, more critical, more questioning?  This is the very opposite of the carefully choreographed, top-down, centrally directed party campaigns with soundbytes stamped on glossy brochures which are then stuffed through letter boxes. It also bypasses a national media that too easily filters out news of real concern - or counters it with a distorted representation of issues and people that pose a threat to vested interests? If you read the 38 Degrees newsletter a few days ago, this is the way they seem to be heading - local campaigns that bypass the dangers of the Gagging Law which is now in force.

It need not be a long letter that covers all the issues I tried to; shorter is actually better but I could not help myself. And it could be on any subject of personal concern that members of NATCAN choose to write about.

To build on this suggestion: what if just five other people from NATCAN tested this out? we could come back, share what we learned - what worked, what failed, what could be done differently, and then share more widely within NATCAN as well as with other outside organisations and groups sympathetic to our concerns. 

I am too realistic to expect my MP to respond other than to give the party line but maybe what comes out of this is more local awareness of issues. So far there are been a lot of web visitors (as opposed to 'hits') just over 110 visitors in a few days and I am pretty sure that well over half are local to the Truro area. 

Comment by joe taylor on October 10, 2014 at 21:28
That is one hell of a good letter Gavin.  I’m sure it rings a bell with every one of us.  Congratulations on having the wherewithal to actually do something constructive about the situation we all now  find ourselves in  -  not just sit back and moan, hoping someone else will do what has to be done on our behalf.
I sincerely hope that everyone who reads your letter will take likewise action.
For way too long our major political parties simply haven’t represented the electorate. The politically aware have know that for decades but now ordinary people have come to realise that there is no difference between the major parties, so they either don’t vote or are driven to the fringes.
If any one of the major parties had the courage to  reject this catastrophic, defunct free market ideology and to put peoples’ welfare above corporate interests, we would all have something to vote for and democracy might triumph.
Tomorrow I’m one of, reportedly, eight thousand 38 Degrees volunteers on the streets giving out leaflets about TTIP.  Eight thousand seems a lot at first glance but it wont get a mention in mainstream media - eight million might.
TTIP will put an end to even the sham we presently call democracy. If it goes through, as it probably will, it wont matter what legislation a democratically elected government may enact - absolutely nothing will be allowed to supersede or hinder a corporation’s ability to make profit.
If TTIP becomes a reality before the election, it could well be too late.  Unless one of the parties speaks out against TTIP before the election and then wins, what hope is there?
Maybe your MP will tell us in her reply. Hope you aren't holding your breath.
Thanks for setting us a fine example Gavin.
Comment by Gavin Barker on October 10, 2014 at 18:47

Thanks Joe - I have included this example in an open letter to my MP about the threat of TTIP to the NHS http://mymp4truro.wordpress.com/ The website is getting a lot of hits locally  and while some responses have been "Why bother? you're just going to get a standard reply" Others are more positive. In the end I am trying to get a local conversation going  and I am wondering if others did similar open letters to their MP's about a subject that personally concerns them, on which anybody could comment, whether that would be another  way forward. I am not sure top down pr campaigns directed by Labour HQ with glossy leaflets stuffed through the door is enough; it is necessary, it has its place but where are the local social conversations that engage and inform? Any examples, please tell me. I am looking for ideas. Thanks

Comment by Josef K Kafka on October 9, 2014 at 11:37

Many thanks Joe, for these most useful looking links - I'll go thru' them this evening when I can give the concentration and time that they deserve.

Fraternal Regards


[ [You and I met last at the event held in Bradford a few months ago. If you would kindly PM me I have a couple of follow ups to the tentative enquiries I made of you at that meeting.

Many thanks

J K K ] ]

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