Robin Hood at Rio+20
by Teresa Marshall, Public Services International, on behalf of the Rio+20 FTT working group.
A diverse coalition of labour and civil society allies led a global effort to give high profile to the financial transactions tax (also known as the Robin Hood Tax) campaign throughout Rio+20.
Wearing the bright green Robin Hood hats that have become a popular symbol of this campaign, FTT activists were visible throughout the People’s Summit and Rio+20 official proceedings, handing out information, engaging with media, taking photos, and recruiting new campaign partners.
The International Trade Union Confederation advanced the financial transaction tax, along with decent green jobs and the Social Protection Floor, as the global trade union movement’s top demands at Rio+20. Over 700 international labour delegates participated in discussions and lobbying including through the SustainLabour/ITUC Trade Union Assembly and Major Group (Labour).
It was energising and highly symbolic that the Brazilian bank workers’ unions agreed to work with our coalition to launch the FTT campaign in Brazil during Rio+20. Public Services Internationalaffiliate National Nurses United and partners launched the Robin Hood Tax campaign across the United States at the same time.
The well-respected Brazilian Senator Eduardo Suplicy (Workers Party) was so inspired by his participation in our events in Rio that he wore his Robin Hood hat into the senate and delivered a passionate endorsement of the financial transactions tax – linking it to funding for social protection, sustainability, and as a curb on speculation. The senator, who is also an economist, is well-known as the leading proponent of a basic annual income programme. The rally and the Senator’s comments received media coverage across Brazil.
Newly elected French President François Hollande also took the opportunity at Rio+20 to address world leaders and emphasise his support for a financial transactions tax. Following Rio+20, IMF references have been made in support of an FTT.
These actions were part of a series of campaign events envisioned at a strategy meeting co-convened by PSI, our affiliate NNU, the ITUC, Oxfam, Stamp Out Poverty and many others in London in January 2012. Leading into Rio+20, the international campaign partners worked to produce ‘myth-busting’ documents, engage in government lobbying, organise a global week of FTT actions, and stage FTT events around the G8 in May, followed by Rio+20 and G20 in June, and the international AIDS conference in July. These efforts are also endorsed by the Council of Global Union’s Quality Public Services-Action Now! campaign.
For more pictures visit >> http://www.flickr.com/photos/psi_isp_iska/sets/
Teresa Marshall is the Communications Coordinator for Public Services International.