Fighting inequality in 2017 – together we are stronger
Come January, come the annual festivities in the Swiss ski-resort of Davos. The rich and powerful in business and politics come together to rub shoulders at the World Economic Forum.
Whilst they hob nob and network, I’m proud to be part of an alliance organising to tackle inequality on the ground, and to challenge the elites who have been taking more than their fair share of wealth and power. The Fight Inequality Alliance is an idea whose time has come, and I know that I am at the right party. The one that will really change the world.
Whilst 2016 was undoubtedly a depressing year in many ways, as we move into 2017 I also think of the activists I’ve met over the last year who have moved and inspired me as we have begun to build this diverse and brilliant alliance. From women in rural Uganda forming a co-operative to earn a living, and fight for health and education services and their land rights, to students leading education protest movements in South Africa and Brazil and many, many more. It is their experiences, energy, ideas, courage and resilience that will light the way forward when times feel dark. They are also why I feel optimistic about the alliance’s first global week of action kicking off tomorrow in countries around the world – it is the first time the collective power of so many diverse groups and social movements begins to build together in collective action, towards a better, more just and equal future. Together we are stronger than we know.
The World Economic Forum’s own Global Risks Report this week identified inequality as the number one risk to the global economy. The case for how serious the situation is no longer needs justifying; morally, economically, socially, environmentally. We know it’s possible to have a society where everyone matters, and nobody is rich or powerful enough to be immune from the rules.
But powerful elites and corporations won’t change a system that works for them without pressure.
The fight back begins with women like Haoa, Ipaishe and Hamide. They are living on the frontlines of inequality, but they are winning battles for ordinary people every day. Next week millions more people will join them. People will take action in countries around the world, to speak out and disrupt the cosy conversation of the world’s political and business elites at Davos with a new narrative about what must be done to fight inequality, and where change is going to come from.
In the snow-capped mountains of Davos, elites will be reflecting on the meeting’s theme of ‘responsible and responsive leadership’. This coming week, we are going to give them something else to reflect on.
And the Fight Inequality Alliance will be here, standing together in solidarity, until we achieve the more equal and sustainable world we desperately need, where everyone matters. Together we are strong.
Jenny Ricks is Convenor of the Fight Inequality Alliance