WHAT IS WE SHALL OVERCOME?
We Shall Overcome is a movement of musicians, artists and community organisers who are angry about the human costs of austerity policies but who want to do something practical to help those affected. Focused around a weekend in October we’re encouraging people to organise gigs and events that will –
1. Get direct help to those in our local communities who have been adversely affected by austerity policies.
2. Raise awareness, show solidarity or apply pressure to those who have political power
THE RAISED FIST
We Shall Overcome was launched as a reaction to the 2015 election and the prospect of another five years of austerity policies. A group of musicians decided to put together a coordinated series of events in defiance of the Tory victory, but more specifically, the ever-deepening cuts to come. We considered, and still do, Austerity to be an ideological attack on our communities and we oppose it outright.
We decided to use our events not just to protest against Austerity with words, but through our actions, to help those suffering most under it. We are NOT a charity and we are NOT apolitical. We are however non-Party Political.
We are ANTI-AUSTERITY and we are PRO-COMMUNITY. We exist to bring people together, not to tear them apart; we are a broad alliance of like-minded people looking to help, protest, unite our communities and entertain.
THE HELPING HAND
What makes WSO different is that we use our energy not only to protest Austerity, but to work at easing its burden on our communities. Each event is used to directly help the community in which it is based. We are not a central fund, so YOU (the local organiser) decide where the help you have raised goes according to need in YOUR town.
Some events ask for donations of provisions for their local food bank rather than an entrance fee, others charge a moderate fee and take cash donations in a bucket; some do both. There is no template here. To become a part of WSO all you need is the desire to see an end to Austerity, and the guts to do something about it- if you have, we’ll support you all the way.
WHO RUNS ‘WE SHALL OVERCOME’?
There is no organisation behind this. It is steered by a community of volunteers who created the idea, the logo, the website etc. But each gig and event is independently run and promoted locally. No money comes through ‘We Shall Overcome’, the causes that are supported are chosen locally by individual promoters and everything raised locally stays local.
IS IT AFFILIATED TO A POLITICAL PARTY, TRADE UNION OR CAMPAIGN GROUP?
No this is absolutely not PARTY political but it is a progressive political movement because we oppose austerity policies. We have Socialists, Labourites, Greens, Communists, Anarchists, Trade Unionists, Punks, Mods, Folk singers, Bikers, Hippies, Bass players, and even peer-led demarchists. This is just a bunch of people standing together in defiance of austerity politics in the UK, while trying to do some good for our communities and each other.
BY SUPPORTING FOODBANKS AREN’T YOU JUST PART OF THE PROBLEM?
This is a valid argument and one we have listened to and understand. We want to eradicate foodbanks not sustain them. But whilst there are people in our local communities who are hungry we feel it is the right thing to do to lend them our help. However in order to eradicate them we must also campaign and carry out other action to end the policies that have led to the explosion in foodbanks. We hope to also encourage that activity through We Shall Overcome.
WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS IT MAKE?
Since 2015 thousands of people worked together to organise gigs and events around the country with the purpose of uniting in the face of a government whose agenda they opposed. The gigs were both a show of solidarity and a means to offer practical help to those affected by the policies of austerity. Many gigs supported local food banks or other projects designed to get help directly to people in need. Since we started in 2015 we estimate there have been 750 gigs in 142 towns across 9 countries on 3 continents, raising an estimated £350,000 of cash, food, clothing and bedding for those at the sharp end of austerity cuts.