This was my first ever Power Shift, and People & Planet's first ever online Power Shift. Needless to say, in the run up to Power Shift I felt excited, but also nervous and apprehensive. My mind, rather unhelpfully, filled itself with anxieties about not knowing anyone, but also the worries that come with the uncharted new landscape that the Coronavirus pandemic had created. But in the end, it turns out the worried questions about being camera shy or not wanting to speak on video need not have bothered me.
Left-wing rhetoric is clear on the desire and shared goal for inclusivity; for those from varying sexual orientations, gender identifications, races, ethnicities and abilities to share in equality gained through ensuring systemic justice. Movements supporting this are often celebrated within academic institutions; solidarity can be seen through society involvement, democratic practice within student unions as well as increasingly explorative methods in inciting action and civil disobedience.
Power Shift, for me, is what Never Neverland is for Wendy, what Narnia is for Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, and what Hogwarts is for Harry: a magical place where dreams really do come true. In my case, those dreams are being part of the global divestment movement, feeling included in something bigger than myself, and broadening my skill set to become an all-round better activist.
Last week at the Barclays Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Chairman John McFarlane told shareholders that the bank would be withdrawing their financing of fracking company Third Energy - licensed to frack in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Barclays owns 97% controlling stakes in Third Energy. This could be a huge victory for the anti-fracking and climate justice movement in the UK, showing the power of organising and building coalitions in our local communities.