Do you think corporations have too much power in society?
Don’t you think it’s time we held them to account for the things they do wrong (and get away with)?
Do you think it is unfair that people across the world lack access to basic justice while the multinationals have their own separate system of courts (called ISDS) that are designed to serve their interests?
For us the answer to all three questions is a resounding – YES.
And we are going to do something about it. A few weeks back we declared that we were going to do actions across Europe to demand an end to ISDS and corporate impunity.
But we don’t just want to change this horrible system. We want to flush it all away completely! As a society, we have spent decades already trying to convince corporations to use their power responsibly. It hasn’t worked. Existing schemes like the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights which are voluntary have failed in achieving transformative change. Merely tinkering with a system of allowing corporations so many privileges is not enough. We need to flush out corporate impunity – preferably to somewhere where the sun don’t shine.
So this is why our slogans for this week of action will be Flush ISDS and Flush Corporate Impunity. Because nothing less is enough. And the things we are criticising these multinationals for are very dirty activities – coal mining that destroys communities, large scale pollution, climate change, destroying the livelihoods of whole communities. Corporate power is a dirty mess and we the people need to flush it away and replace it with a system that puts people first.
So our demands for this Week of Action between 11-19 October are:
- Flush ISDS. This system of obscure corporate courts is used by multinationals to bully our elected governments. They are suing for everything from banning fracking to stopping a project that would destroy an ancient community. It has to go. But our governments are doing the opposite! During our Week of Action, delegates from our governments will be gathering in Vienna to agree a huge expansion of ISDS into a new permanent Multilateral Investment Court (MIC). This is why our Week of Action is so important. They need to see that they are acting against the interests of the people.
- Flush Corporate Impunity. Corporations are getting away with crimes by hiding behind their supply chains and international structures. So communities can be destroyed, land can be devastated and rights activists can be murdered but the multinationals can say “nothing to do with me” – even though they are ones profiting from it.
- Demand stronger rules for corporations. To end corporate impunity, we need better rules with teeth. We need better rules at national level but to truly make a difference we need new rules at the global level. We need a strong UN Binding Treaty on transnational corporations and human rights. During the Week of Action, negotiations will be taking place in Geneva on this UN Treaty. Unfortunately, EU countries have so far been reluctant participants and have opposed a strong treaty. We need to use this Week of Action to change their minds.
What can you do now?
- Make sure you are free for some action between 11-19 October. The biggest mobilisations will likely be on 12 October in many countries. But there will be things happening throughout the week.
- Tell everyone! You can send this Call to Action to your fellow activists and try and get your local social justice campaigners involved in the campaign.
- Start planning. There are things you can think about doing now. We already have this basic guide to activism in this campaign. But next month we will be sending our more material including visual materials. Remember our theme is “Flush ISDS and corporate impunity” so you can use your imagination to help get the message across.
- Make sure you are signed up to updates. Next month we will be sending our more information on what is being planned so make sure you are signed up to the newsletter to stay in the loop.
- If you are already planning something – tell us! You can use this link to inform us of what you are planning to do in your area.