UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Goldberg opens World Justice Festival

#ewjf2013 The planet's only World Justice Festival was launched in Edinburgh at the weekend by Denis Goldberg who spent 22 years in prison after being convicted with Nelson Mandela in 1964.
   The festival kicked off with a session on ‘World Justice and Austerity’ and will be followed this week with a of unique programme of 21 events. The seventh festival presents a window on to the world justice movement through a two week series of talks, films, concerts, workshops, a walking tours and many other events. http://www.ewjf.org.uk/

Denis was the keynote speaker at the opening event on World Justice and Austerity on Saturday and he was welcomed by Cllr Andrew Burns, leader of City of Edinburgh Council.

The night before, at a civic reception, Denis said,  "I am sorry this is the only world justice festival on the planet", and he joked: "you will have to work harder to spread it".

Introduced as a 'campaigner', Denis preferred the term 'freedom fighter'. He spoke of the South African constitution that gave "dignity, legal and political rights but sadly passing laws does not address racism and inequality. That will take a generation... Racism and class are inextricably linked. That will only be addressed by politics - class politics - and trade unions need to be here as part of that struggle."

On Saturday his speech was followed by sessions run by a diversity of organisations on topics such as Food Justice, Debt, Latin America, trade union solidarity, environmental justice and working for peace.

Matthew Crighton, the Festival’s Chair, says “It is a landmark event to have such a prominent figure as Denis Goldberg coming to Edinburgh to launch the Festival. Professor Goldberg, through his long imprisonment in South Africa, has first hand knowledge of injustice and his work in the peace and restorative justice movement, as well as his experience of rebuilding South Africa into a more just society, will be a fascinating and insightful start to the Festival. We are honoured that he has accepted our invitation”.

The Festival runs from 12 – 26 October and includes 21 events involving 29 different organisations.

“Edinburgh has the only world justice festival on the planet and we’re especially pleased that this year it has grown to cover two full weeks. It shows how vibrant is the city’s commitment to a better world and it offers a brilliant shop-window on all this activity” said Matthew Crighton.

“While millions are unemployed, inequality is growing and our environment is in severe danger it’s important that we highlight the creative thinking and the solutions coming from across the world. We don’t just want to offer assistance to people at the sharp end, we want to learn from them and be part of the solution. It seems that too often in the media that the problems of the world are well-aired but the solutions aren’t”.

UNISON Scotland and local branches are part sponsoring the festival.