Lobbying for Build Back Better
9 July 2020 by Grace Da Costa
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone around the world. It has also laid bare the deep inequalities in our economic system and society, where 'normal' was failing millions.
As with climate breakdown, poor and sidelined people are paying the highest price. Quakers in Britain are acting to ensure that the needs of the worst off are at the heart of recovering from the pandemic.
We have joined a coalition of over 80 organisations to launch Build Back Better, a campaign to do just that.
9 July 2020 by Grace Da Costa
Back in 2011, the annual gathering of British Quakers noted that 'the global economic system is posited on continued expansion and growth, and in its pursuit of growth it is often unjust, violent and destructive.'
Quaker work on economic justice springs from this understanding. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this understanding into even sharper focus.
As part of the Covid-19 recovery, we have an opportunity to transition to an economic system that has equality, justice and environmental sustainability at its heart.
How we get there is just as important as the end goal. That is why we talk about 'just transition' and why we call for the rights and voices of poor and sidelined people to come first in this transition.
Quakers around Britain are organising local Covid-19 responses through
Build Back Better (offsite link). This campaign brings social movements and mutual aid groups together, and advocates for change at the legislative level.
To create a healthy society and economy, we must:
These are the 5 key principles of the Build Back Better campaign. Quakers in Britain are one of over 80 organisations involved in the campaign, launched in June 2020. Read more about the campaign and how you can take action.
Quakers in Britain have contributed responses to the inquiries and consultations looking at the post-Covid future. These include the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee's inquiry into 'Post Pandemic Economic Growth' and the Reset inquiry run by the Parliamentary Group on the Green New Deal.
As part of this parliamentary engagement work, we have developed 'Six principles for a green and just recovery'.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how vital, invisible and under-recognised care work is in our society. Nurses, cleaners, parents, carers, and people who keep us – and the places we live – safe, healthy and clean.
Their jobs are vital to a zero-carbon future, and enable all the other work that needs to be done. As we recover from the pandemic we are calling for care jobs to be recognised as green jobs too.
A green, just transition away from the sickness of the pandemic, and the injustices it has worsened, requires an economy that values people properly.
Alongside many grassroots groups, Quakers have been working towards a new economy for some time. This new economy isn't just an idea: it's already here – in food co-operatives, in repair workshops, in the unpaid help that people give their neighbours.
Many Quakers are involved in practical initiatives that form the basis of a new economy, such as community food growing, renewable energy cooperatives, and sustainable small businesses.
Read about new economy initiatives and find ideas for action in these guides for Quakers:
Quakers see the connections between issues and take a holistic approach to resolving them. At Quakers in Britain, we have been working to build back better in a joined up way. In this short video we outline some of the ways we have been doing this:
How Quakers in Britain are joining the dots to help society build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Between 2014 and 2017 Quakers in Britain commissioned experts in new economic thinking to share their knowledge in a series of seven booklets. Each booklet looks at a different aspect of the economy through a Quaker lens and contains key facts, ideas for action and questions for reflection.
All seven booklets are available to read for free online. When pandemic health restrictions lift, paper copies will be available to order.
Since the launch of these booklets in November 2016, there have been more than 50 active new economy reading groups across Scotland, England and Wales. Anyone can set up a group of their own. Learn more and contact Rebecca Woo firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected to an informal network of some of the reading groups.
Yuan Yang, a Quaker, Beijing correspondent for the Financial Times, and founder of Rethinking Economics, spoke about her Quakerism and new economics in a 2017 episode of the Q:Witness podcast.
The episode features an introduction to Quaker new economy work from Cait Cross, the project manager at the time, and explores how to ensure a favourable reincarnation of the economic system.
12 June 2020 by Olivia Hanks