Monday, 23 February 2009

Fairtrade and pickets on campus

Today is the first day of Fairtrade Fortnight, the yearly celebration and campaign to highlight fairtrade in the UK.

The campaign is supported by Oxfam, Save the Children Fund and a wide range of British NGO's as well as Sainsbury, Waitrose and the Co-op to name 3 supermarkets out of many.

For more info about fairtrade then please go to the fairtrade foundation and learn more about what the campaign is about.

So why am i posting a blog here about fairtrade, the answer to that is simple Last week on the University Campus the Co-operative held an event about bees, yes i did say bees, it was linked to the launch of the new Co-operative advert. So it was not the most controversial of events you would think.

Then it came as a bit of a surprise to be told by a good source that their was a small peaceful demonstration against the co-op selling Israeli goods.

Now im posting this here because I want to say to those who protested, their are many of us who share your views and there are many who don't but if you are going to protest outside an event then please get your facts right and don't just think because they are a large retailer that they are the same as a tesco or a walmart.

The Co-operative is different, its member owned and it is member led. i myself have been an active member of an area committee part of the democratic structure of the Co-op for a number of years and have just been a candidate in one of the largest participatory election outside of national elections for the Government.

It is an organisation wish was at the vanguard of the campaign for workers rights, women's rights, environmental protection and indeed was the only UK supermarket to actively boycott South African goods during Apartheid, so its record is a proud one.

indeed this week it has just announced the launch of the first fairtrade olive oil from Palestine, something they can quite rightly be proud off.

So friends yes campaign, yes picket and yes work to achieve the boycott you want but please do some research first and choose your targets a hell of a lot better than you did on this one.

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