Anti-capitalist activists and comedy fans (and a few people who fell into both categories) packed out London's Cross Kings pub on February 10 for a music and comedy benefit to raise money for Batay Ouvriye, the radical Haitian workers’ federation with a proud history of organising amongst Haiti’s hyper-exploited workers and urban poor. We were responding to an appeal for international solidarity in the wake of the devastating earthquake.
High-profile comedians such as Jeremy Hardy, Robin Ince and Shappi Khorsandi appeared on the bill, alongside folk-rock singer Robyn Hitchcock. The comedy, as well as the context, was political; Shappi Khorsandi's scathing attacks on the Stop the War Coalition and George Galloway for their support for the Iranian regime were particularly well-received by AWL members in the audience.
No Sweat also used the gig to launch its “Send It Back” campaign, through which it encourages activists to cut the labels out of their sweatshop-made goods and send them to No Sweat in preparation for an eye-catching piece of direct action at Christmas 2010...
Andy Taylor from the Haiti Support Group made a moving speech in which he described the conditions of life for Haitian workers and explained how every pound given directly to a grassroots organisations like Batay Ouvriye translates to £1,000 given to a mainstream, bureaucratic charity appeal like the DEC.
No Sweat will be continuing its work in solidarity with Haitian workers and its February forum is dedicated to discussing the subject; come and join us.