31 May 2015


Back to the democracy theme.  I seem to sign a lot of on-line petitions. I was also out the other week in Fairford getting signatures for the 38Degrees 'Save our NHS' campaign.

The first petition site I joined was Avaaz . Avaaz is the campaigning community bringing people-powered politics to decision making worldwide with over 41 million members all over the world. They work with other organisations to eg. arrange the biggest climate march ever on 21 September 2014. They have won battles eg.  against Monsanto and stopped a GM seed plant in Argentina. The organisation is funded by members and members can suggest actions.  It does not accept funds from companies or governments and so is free to fight against corruption and for human rights, animal rights, tackling poverty and climate change.

I have recently signed their petitions to save the BBC sent to John Whittingdale (Minister of Culture, Media and Sport), David Cameron and other key MPs in Parliament and one against Shell drilling in the Arctic sent to Seattles's Mayor, Ed Murray.

Another petition site is SumOfUs. A movement of consumers, workers and shareholders speaking with one voice to counterbalance the growing power of large corporations. The latest petitions I have signed have been directed at the World Bank to ask it not to make El Salvador pay millions of dollars to mining giant OceanaGold for rejecting its proposed gold mine. 90% of El Salvador's water is contaminated already and OceanaGold's mine would ruin the country's last remaining clean water. I also signed the petition being sent to the EU Antitrust Commission & US Department of Justice to try and stop Monsanto taking over Syngenta which would create a giant corporation with control over 35% of the world's seed supply.

Are these petitions worthwhile - do they work? In an article in the Guardian in 2013
Brie Rogers Lowery, campaigns director at  Change.org says the answer is a resounding YES.

'Petitions are simply a big group of people. As such they are the basis of your movement - the army you assemble to march toward your target....Critics of online campaigns (users of the annoyingly over-debated word 'clicktivism') will tell you people mindlessly click on something and the web has made it 'too easy'. Well I say they're wrong. People have more information and are more informed than ever before. They share more, chat more and do more, all because of the web.'

So I will keep signing on-line petitions as well as being active in the Green Party.

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