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Remittance Justice Campaign

Our Remittance Justice Campaign aims to reduce the fees charged by big banks and remittance providers like Western Union and Moneygram.

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Press for Change

Press for Change campaign works to put an end to sweatshop practices in the United States and abroad.

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Micro Finance Campaign

Our Micro-Finance Campaign aims to demonstrate that micro-finance has been a failed model for economic growth and poverty reduction in the developing world.

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Latest News

Living Rent Campaign in Scotland has formally affiliated with ACORN International and ACORN Scotland! They have been doing outstanding work, so we're honored to have them formalize the affiliation. Adelante!
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Press Statement

Farmers, Traders, Hawkers and other affected groups oppose the budget proposal to allow 100% FDI in marketing food produced and manufactured locally

Delhi, 1st March 2016—The India FDI Watch Campaign, along with the Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (Federation of All India Traders and Industries), Federation of Associations of Maharastra, The Hawkers Federation, Janpahal and various other groups, opposed the union budget 2016-17 proposal to allow 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in marketing food produced and manufactured in India.

The groups called on the Govt. of India to adhere to its party manifesto which categorically opposed FDI in multibrand retail.

Sri Shyam Bihari Mishra, President of the Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (BUVM), said “If the government is serious about stopping wastage of food and empowering farmers it should work on a sustainable model of distribution of food considering factors of demand and supply. It does not make logical sense to allow supermarkets which are known for wastage of food throughout their supply chain operation and squeezing farmers.”

Mohan Gurnani, President of the Federation of Association’s of Maharastra (FAM) opposed the move saying, “We know for a fact that small farmers, traders and hawkers are impacted when large corporations enter into the retail sector, the Government should be restricting their entry, but instead are allowing them in through various routes, and in the mean time appeasing the public by saying they are not in favour of FDI in multibrand retail.”

Vijay Prakash Jain, Secretary General of BUVM stated that, “the entire supply line of food, which is such an important part of this nation’s retail culture and history, stands to be threatened.”

Dharmendra Kumar, India FDI Watch, Campaign Director added, “the budgetary announcement raises concerns over livelihood, nutrition, food safety, local economies and the environment. Food loses most of their nutritional properties during heavy processing. To prolong shelf life, foods may have preservatives added to them, or they may be sealed in sterile packaging and may also be exposed to controlled amounts of heat, or in some cases radiation. Processing often radically changes the nature of the original food. Processed food ingredients tend to be nutrient-poor, meaning they are high in calories relative to the amount of vitamins, minerals and other key dietary nutrients. Many processed foods are high in added sugar, sodium, saturated fats or trans fats and contain little dietary fiber and can contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks. Case studies of other countries underline the need for development programs and public support to assist small farmers and traders’. Govt of India should not deregulate the farm and retail sectors in a rushed manner until sufficient measures are put in place that will protect livelihoods of farmers and small traders.”

Ms. Priti Maurya of Janpahal works with small farmers says,”processing plants have become larger and handle larger volumes of products, sometimes from many different sources and distribute them over a broader geographic area.Small farmers never become part of such so-called modern supply chain as processors and supermarkets look for large volumes. Small farmers would lose the local market. Food processors and supermarkets, can have considerable influence over who produces food, how it is produced and what is eaten.

Hakim Singh Rawat, General Secretary, The Hawkers Federation stated “Supermarkets too have high percentage of wastage. Wastage of non-perishable foods like grains and cereals has very low level of wastage but the Govt has allowed processors and supermarkets in all food categories in the name of reducing wastage. The policy would threaten livelihood of all street vendors depending on retailing food.”

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ACORN India recruitment video for the ACORN hawkers and street vendors union in Bengaluru being filmed right now.

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Reprint of Article from Bristol 24/7 by Will Simpson

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Acorn - remember the word. The chances are you’re going to hear it a lot in the future. In less than two years Bristol-based community group, Acorn, have not only helped gain a better deal for the city’s private tenants, but also shown how community politics in the UK might be conducted in the future.

The idea is simple. Acorn is a community version of a trade union. It began in Bristol when co-organiser Nick Ballard and a colleague worked on Locality, a government-backed community-organisers programme. Any funding the pair raised to start a community organisation, would be match-funded by the government. When they secured the cash in 2013 the Bristol Acorn was planted. “We thought we would do something to tackle economic issues rather than relatively more superficial things,” Ballard explains

Campaigns covered by Acorn are ultimately up to its members, but it quickly became clear their primary focus is securing a better deal for private tenants. “When we initially talked to people other things were mentioned as being important issues. The cost of living, the high prices of utilities, access to services, but housing is the dominant thing.”

Acorn is not a new idea. A US version has existed since the early 70s. There are also groups in Canada, Peru and the Dominican Republic. Since the Bristol group began in 2013 other UK versions have emerged in London, Newcastle, Birmingham and Reading.

“I have to admit I didn’t know much about the US organisation,” says Ballard. “But when we spoke to their founder it sounded like their model worked and that it would beneficial to operate under that name.”

The Bristol version is set up like a trade union – with neighbourhood rather than workplace branches. Each branch is free to launch its own hyper-local campaign yet if it has city-wide relevance they can co-ordinate with the other groups.

Eventually, as with other unions, Acorn’s funding will come entirely through membership. “We still have a bit of money from that original grant,” explains Ballard. “But our goal is to be 100% self-sufficient through membership fees, which are around £4 to £5 per month. “It keeps us independent and it doesn’t limit the activities we can do or the campaigns that we run.’ At present Bristol Acorn has around 300 members although they estimate up to 8000 have supported the various campaigns and the demonstrations they’ve organised.

And those campaigns have produced speedy results. This spring Bristol City Council adopted Acorn’s Ethical Lettings Charter, committing landlords to certain minimum standards - three of the city’s letting agencies have already signed up. Acorn have also won back deposits for members, and forced landlords to make long overdue repairs and install new appliances. “Just last weekend we demonstrated on behalf of three members in dispute with Liv N Let and as a result, for one of those, the overdue repairs have already started.”

The question is whether Acorn can transform not only individual lives but grass roots politics in the UK. Nick believes the idea has huge potential. “Well, the idea is eventually to be build a national organisation. In the States Acorn started from nothing and grew to half a million members. That's our long term goal. And the more we grow, the greater the ambition, the better campaigns we can run and the bigger political impact we can have.”

“For the moment though it’s been great to see that mobilising people and taking direct action can improve a lot of local people’s lives. It really shows that if we unite and stand up for each other we can change things.”

For more information about Acorn and their latest campaigns go to: acorncommunities.org.uk

Photographs by Julian Welsh

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