What is meant by a ‘participatory movement’? I like to use the term very loosely to describe any action(s) taken by a person(s) to push for change. This could range from an individual starting a petition calling on MPs to provide free school meals, a group of students at a university holding a rent strike in response to their university’s lack of support for their students mental health or an organisation that builds public support for its campaigns against a new UK-US trade deal. But one thing which is key is that it is ‘people’ powered. They are movements of people making noise and pushing for change on issues which affect them and others around them.
However, anyone that is part of a movement pushing for change to make the world a more equitable and just place, knows the struggles that come with it. It can be exhausting to be trying to make changes when others don’t see the same problem. To see refugees making a dangerous journey across the channel on a dingy to be treated as some dehumanising reality TV show with no mention of the impact of Britain’ arms trade or military action in destablising other countries. When 1 in 3 children are living in poverty yet the loudest reaction is about ‘bad parenting’, disregarding the fact that actually 70% of those children living in poverty are in a working family and it’s actually austerity measures, low wages, zero hour contracts and rising housing prices that are the real problems. Hearing reassurances from our government that we will have a COVID-19 vaccine in the new year, knowing that it's a result of high income countries like the UK entering secretive deals with companies, dominating the world’s supply and leaving little for other countries.
Despite this we are not alone in this struggle. It’s crucial that different movements come together and support one another in order to collectively build power. This is necessary in order to shift our neoliberal economic system and unjust society to one where people, planet and health justice are the priority. Our fights might look different but in this need for change we are united. I’m really excited to learn, connect, be empowered and see what grows in this space created by the People’s Health Watch.
What’s my name: Natalie Rhodes
What is the name of your organisation: People’s Health Movement UK
Where are we based: Across the UK
Who are we: We are a collective of individuals, activists, academics organising for health justice, as set out by the principles of the People’s Charter for Health.What injustice are we fighting: We are fighting against the many ways in which injustice manifests itself and impacts the ability for people to achieve their human right to health
Focus area: Connect
How to get in touch with us or find out more about us: Twitter: @phm_uk