Building Movements for Change
So We Stand (SWS) is a people’s movement for empowering social change to develop multiracial politics and self defence strategies to better our lives and communities. Through our creativity we strive for environmental justice, dignity and self-determination in the face of growing inequality.
Environmental justice is about the unequal environmental burdens borne by groups such as racial minorities, women and residents of poorer areas. SWS is committed to making links between struggles for justice. We work to provide support to groups and individuals, and to link up communities and groups that share similar experiences and goals. We are building a movement to reclaim space, share support, ideas, and strategies with one another across our diverse communities to take control of our lives.
We use community popular education leading to creative and effective direct action. Popular education is a tool which helps join the dots – between the causes of poverty, racism, climate change and other interrelated injustices – and what we can do to challenge them. Popular education encourages us all to become more aware of how an individual’s personal experiences are connected to larger societal problems. We are empowered to act to effect change on the problems that affect us.
Direct action is acting together to create better conditions, to resist or stop oppression and exploitation, and to solve problems. We know there is a need for radical social change and asking those in power nicely to relinquish some control doesn’t get us very far. Direct action as a tactic is wide-ranging, including both stopping objectionable practices, and creating alternatives.
With SWS London, communities of colour disproportionately affected by pollution, poverty and heavy industry have had enough and are rising up. In SWS Scotland communities in Clydebank living with pollution by Glasgow airport, in Easterhouse with communities facing fuel poverty and others across the Central Belt who have had enough of living in the shadow of pollution and poverty are organising together.
We are a think-and-act tank, linking the issues of global capitalism, environmental degradation and climate change with their local impacts. For us, this means working locally on issues such as anti-war, police brutality, prison abolition, affordable housing, healthcare and public transportation, environmental justice, racist immigration policies, and many more. We are committed to enabling self-defence against oppression in all areas of our movement. This means addressing whose voices are heard, which priorities are chosen, what actions are taken, who does the work, and who gets the credit.
APE is supporting us to build a skilled volunteer set. This will help immensely with the creative interventions, actions, popular education and logistics of this ongoing work developing an integrated grassroots approach to climate justice. These projects provide, support and a means of communication and resource sharing between groups who are coming to climate justice from different backgrounds and perspectives.
So We Stand is about hope. It gives us all real hope that we can do something about the situation we are living in.