Today the World Development Movement has become Global Justice Now. An organisation which has been around for 45 years doesn’t change its name lightly – so why have we done it?
1. In the last 30 years, we think the idea of ‘development’ has been gradually co-opted by global elites. Poverty has become depoliticised and development has become the rationale for everything from destructive mining projects to luxury shopping malls on the basis that money will ‘trickle down’.
2. You can’t tackle poverty without tackling wealth. Inequality is soaring as more power shifts into the hands of the 1%. Charity and technical fixes aren’t going to solve the problem – we need economic justice.
3. Fighting for economic justice isn’t an easy task. We’ve got some great campaign successes to our (old) name, but we need more people to get involved in our activism if we’re to rise to the challenge. A change of name won’t do that automatically, but only a lucky few organisations’ names don’t date after 45 years – and ours wasn’t one of them.
4. Even more than a decade after the Iraq war, WDM and WMD gets easily confused!
5. It isn’t just potential members here in the UK for whom the name might be a barrier. On several occasions, people from community organisations in the global south have assumed we’re connected to the World Bank – an organisation we’ve often campaigned against. It didn’t help that our logo bore more than a passing resemblance to the World Bank’s logo either. ‘Global justice’ is much more readily understood among social movements and campaign groups globally.
6. Like the World Social Forum, we believe ‘another world is possible’ – a world where growing corporate power is rolled back and the majority own and control the resources they need to live a decent life. We think Global Justice Now aligns us much more clearly to that sentiment than the slightly patrician-sounding notion of World Development.
7. You try saying ‘Good morning World Development Movement’ repeatedly when answering the phone…