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Origins of the Global Justice Movement

Over the period 1990-99 Rodney Shakespeare worked (with Robert Ashford) on Binary Economics – the new paradigm. Binary economics proposes a secure income for all individuals by using interest-free money to extend individual capital ownership to 100% of the population. In particular, it also contains a new understanding of how wealth is created and the possibility of a green growth. In binary economics, the justice creates the efficiency (in contrast to conventional economics which alleges that justice and efficiency are incompatible).

While Rodney was developing binary economics, Peter Challen was continuing his work as Chair of the Christian Council for Monetary Justice. In 1997, moreover, Peter was party to the founding of the Forum for Stable Currencies which provides a meeting point for various schools of monetary reform. And also since 1997, Peter has been organizer and moderator of the London Global Table – a regular Wednesday morning meeting devoted to establishing a just economy, to which visitors come from all around the world.

Perhaps even more importantly, over many years, Peter had been examining the analyses and policy proposals of different groups and schools of thoughts. Such examination began to reveal what was, and was not, held in common and it became clear that virtually all the groups tended to see the world only from their own relatively narrow perspective. Which would be a depressing thing except that, perhaps unknown to the individual groups, they often had more in common with others than might be supposed. All of which gives a clue to the nature of the GJM and its promise of success if groups and schools co-operate with each other. Without co-operation, the individual groups and schools have little, even no, chance of success. But, in contrast, the chances of success immensely increase with co-operation because so many others have similar elements of policy or belief.

Then, early in 2000, the four strands – binary economics, monetary reform, examination of groups and Global meetings – came together when, after participating in an internet debate, Rodney and Peter contacted each other and decided to meet. On the one hand, Rodney had begun to see that binary economics, while providing a secure income for all from independently owned capital estates, had to be related to a wider setting if its benefits were to be properly understood. On the other hand, Peter was looking for the analysis and thinking which would clearly bring out what groups and schools had in common (as opposed to what they did not). Help came from members of the London Global Table such as Janos Abel (admirably doing his own development in this field), and, by September, 2000 a paper entitled Brom 15 (‘15’ for the number of re-writes!) was ready and presented at the October conference of the Bromsgrove Group. Thereafter, the thinking developed. The title of the paper changed to Four Demands then, even more stridently, to Five Demands before evolving differently completely to become A Non-Inflationary Global Proposal and finally settling down as Seven Steps to Justice.

The Seven Steps to Justice, newly printed in August, 2002, generated widespread discussion that led to focussing on its title and intellectual and moral content for developing the thrust for Justice. The book was also introduced at an important (August) Kuala Lumpur conference on the future of the global monetary system called by the Malaysian Premier Dr Mahathir. The Seven Steps received a strongly positive reception resulting in its authors having a long private meeting with Dr. Mahathir’s economic adviser, Tan Sri Nor Mohammed Yakcop.

Word about the book spread as did its message of Global Justice and late in 2002 internet discussion suggested a broad movement with Rodney proposing the title of “Global Justice”. Interestingly, the term “Global Justice” was at first resisted in the discussion because participants did not quite see that the new GJM requires everybody to look considerably wider, indeed beyond, their own intellectual and moral focus to the foci of others. Put simply, just parroting your own ideas is most certainly not enough. Within a little time however, the term “Global Justice Movement” had revealed its potency and was rapidly being approved.

It should be added here, however, that the term “Anti-globalisation movement” was, and is, still the commonly used description for those who protest and demonstrate against much that is wrong in the world. The term, unfortunately, has negative implications and, of late, rhetoric has begun to develop use of the term “Global Justice Movement”. Furthermore, over the years, terms with the word “Justice” in them (e.g. Social Justice; Economic Justice; Peace and Justice) have gathered momentum so perhaps it is no surprise that “Global Justice Movement” has recently been gaining general currency as a positive expression of groups who wish to see the world improve. BUT while many groups undoubtedly had, and have, parts of GJM thinking, moral purpose and proposal, we could nowhere find the cohesive, specific and incremental thinking of the GJM until it was first given expression in Seven Steps to Justice. In other words, there was undoubtedly a desire for there to be a Global Justice Movement in the minds of many of people but the specific overall intellectual and moral content was missing until the book became available.

In November, 2002 an internet search then revealed that the domain had been taken although, apparently, not used. The domain, however, was available so it was bought. A few days later, the Center for Economic and Social Justice in Washington, D.C., took the domain so as to prevent anti-Justice forces taking up a domain similar to the .net domain and confusing people by introducing negative content.

As debate developed between London and Washington it became clear that there was advantage in developing the .net and .org sites in parallel to countenance some differences of approach between groups with rich common ground. GJM works in close parallel and co-operation with all groups pursuing allied interests.