Put your money where your mouth is Since our last newsletter, we have launched a campaign to get people to put their money where their mouths are and get more ethical with their banking.
“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is , there will your heart be also.”
So said Jesus in the Bible (Matthew 6: 20-21). And you won’t be surprised to know that we say the same. It’s very easy to talk about ethical banking. It’s very easy to use phrases like Fairtrade without thinking about it. It’s not even that much harder to actually make sure you buy fairly-traded coffee, cake, or cotton. But is it right to spend a few pounds a month on Fairtrade groceries when your life-savings, investments, and mortgage interest may be invested in the arms trade,
environmental abuse, and mass production which leads to highly unfair trade? How much more of an impact could we make by simply moving our bank accounts – ours, our business, our charity, our church – to an ethical bank or credit union where you know your money won’t be used to allow a high street giant to profit from unethical investment around the world, pay huge bonuses or fix LIBOR rates? Ideas For Action CSM are putting forward ideas for action and campaigning, building on the important work of groups such as the Living Wage Campaign and those who are calling for a cap on interest rates and curbs on doorstep lending. And we want your input. What are the biggest priorities? Our first priority is to encourage CSM members and their churches to join in with the 'Move Your Money' campaign. Putting your money where your mouth is is all about moving your money to more ethical banks and helping put the relationships back into banking and economics. It's surprisingly easy to do, and you can do it for organisations you're involved in too. As well as bigger banks, you can also open a current account at a lot of smaller local building societies and credit unions.
A list of institutions that offer current accounts, as well as information about the business practices of types of financial institutions can be found through our website. We want people to see that how and where we invest says as much about our values as possibly any other area of life. After all, where we put our money reveals our true priorities. The other aspect of “where our mouths are” is that financial transactions are meant to be built on relationships.. The very word credit after all is derived from credo, implying a belief and trust between lender and borrower, buyer and seller, shareholder and directors. As we’ve seen of late through Libor and then HSBC’s money laundering, relational aspects have been slowly but surely driven out of financial transactions. Gone are the days of the bankers motto ‘our word is our bond’. We are campaigning to see this change.
Think of the snowball effect of thousands of people moving their money to places where profit isn’t the only bottom line. It has happened with fairly traded coffee, bananas and chocolate, so why not with money?
To Join the campaign either email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office.
CSM Academy to launch Over the last year or two, CSM has offered members the chance to take part in a number of very successful training events, helping to raise skills and strengthen knowledge in a number of areas, whether public speaking, writing, theology, or the economy. After running all these separate events to different people, we decided to bring our curriculum together. In that spirit, we are happy to announce the launch of the CSM Academy. The same programme will happen in Manchester on September 8th at the Mechanics Institute, Princess Street and in London on September 22nd at Buckingham Gate. We will then look to repeat these sessions in different parts of the UK every few months. Planned Sessions We will cover theology, campaigning and community organising, a knowledge of Labour Party structure, dealing with the media, a Q&A with an MP. Worship, fellowship and relationship building will be as important as the training.
SUMMER 2012 The cost of attending an Academy day will be £25 for members and £35 for nonmembers. If you’d be interested in taking part, do contact us on email@example.com rg.uk or call us on 0207 7831590. We’d love to see you there!
CSM Election Results As you know, this Spring saw CSM holding elections to our executive committee. A number of officers were elected unopposed including our new chair, Stephen Timms MP. Six candidates stood for election to the three ‘ordinary member’ posts. The three people elected were Shona Elliot, Anna Briggs, and Graham Hunter. Congratulations to them and well done to all who stood in the election.
Tawney dialogue success After opening the evening with Mother Theresa’s famous justice prayer, there was a fascinating discussion kicked off by Rev Dr John Hughes who asked “if markets need morals, where are those morals?” Rachel Reeves MP pointed out that “Markets cannot create the common good if they aren't connected to the values of the society they are meant to serve.” She went on to add that “Changing our economics is about more than legislation. It's about transformation. An unbalanced economy doesn't just hurt people materially, it breaks the bonds between us”. Lord Myners spoke last and he said “Markets cannot thrive without morality.. We live in a greedy, unspiritual world. Markets must be based on trust, honesty and integrity.” It was a fascinating and wellreceived discussion which is even more relevant since the Libor scandal. You can hear the whole dialogue by searching for Christian Socialist Movement in the podcast section on iTunes or contacting the office.
A letter from the Chair Dear Friend, I am absolutely delighted to have taken up the position of Chair of CSM. I’d like to thank Alun Michael for his enormous contribution to CSM over the last five years, and for his support of my Chairmanship.
SUMMER 2012 Government policies damage their own community. And third, we should be presenting concerns which arise from week by week church life - and insights developed as churches serve their communities - at Labour Party policy fora. Values drawn from Christian faith have always underpinned the convictions of the Labour movement. That has been one of the keys to the Party's appeal. We need to make sure it continues to be in the future.
CSM has an important role as a voice for Christians on the left of politics, and in shaping the attitudes and values of the Labour Party. I One point which local groups may want to am excited to be working with the Director, consider: with constituency selection and reAndy Flannagan, in taking CSM selection meetings coming up, it will be forward. By working together – important for each group to have its sharing ideas and resources constituency party affiliations in – we can bring change to place before 31 December 2012. the communities we live In January, constituency parties in, be a significant voice in will be re-organised on the the Labour Party and, as a revised constituency boundaries, (even though, as a result of result, shape public policy. tensions within the Coalition, the Together we can boundary changes may ultimately be achieve more. scrapped.) It seems to me we have three big tasks ahead. First, to support and encourage our members, in political service at every level in the Labour movement. For example, I am delighted a large group of CSM members is taking part in Labour's Future Candidates programme. They should be able to draw on our help and support. Second, we need to be representing the Party to the Churches, helping persuade church members around the country to support Labour at the next election. The Conservatives often try to present themselves as the 'Christian' party. We need to counter their glossy propaganda and ensure they don't get away with it, as people increasingly see how
To take part in selections, groups need to affiliate before 31 December 2012. Affiliations will be carried over to the new constituencies after re-organisation, which will take effect from 1 January 2013. If your local group wants to know how to affiliate to a local party, contact the office for advice. Affiliation fees are very modest. And if you’d like to set up a group in your area, again, the office will be glad to help.
Annual conference plans This year’s Labour Party Annual Conference is in Manchester from Sunday 30th September until Thursday 4th October. As you can see below, CSM is planning a host of fringe meetings around the conference and we hope you’ll be able to make some of them! The now-traditional Annual Conference Church Service will be held at
SUMMER 2012 10:45am at St Ann’s Church, M2 7LF, and Joel Edwards of Micah Challenge will be the speaker. Our very own Andy Flannagan will be providing music along with a choir and string section. This will be followed by CSM’s reception and St Ann’s Real Ale Festival! Our other events include discussions on religious liberty, food poverty, green growth in Africa, and our economic campaign ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’, On top of all the usual political and theological debate, Andy will also be hosting a concert of his latest album, “Drowning in the shallow”. So lots to see and do! For details, see below.
CSM candidates news Last time, we brought you brilliant news of Suzie Stride being selected at the prospective parliamentary candidate for Harlow CLP. Since then, we’ve had a growing number of CSM Future Candidates being shortlisted for seats around the country. We are also delighted to share that the Labour candidate for the first elected mayor of Bristol is Marvin Rees, one of our future candidates and a long-time campaigner with CSM. Look out for news of how CSM members can help Marvin, Suzie and others in their campaigns very soon!
The newsletter of the Christian Socialist Movement