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"Bolivar coffee in 250g packets is a practical example of solidarity"

Ex NUPE activist Norman Lockhart is trying to arrange for the importation of coffee from Venezuela as a means of supporting producers there but more importantly to raise awareness about the social and economic revolution underway in many Latin American countries.

Norman is hoping union branches will underwrite a small potion of the cost of the shipment by agreeing to purchase a number of packets of coffee, these would be for your branch to consume, sell or pass on to members.

At a cost of 100 for 40/50 bags this will hopefully be within the reach of most branches. The International Committee would encourage branches to engage with this project. Contact Norman at..

Email. norman@plora.go-plus.net

solidarity through trade

Venezuela in the 21st century now plays the same role as Sandinista Nicaragua did in 80s Tory Britain. It is an example to the poor and oppressed of the world that it is possible to try to organise for a more just and equitable society.

Bolivar coffee in 250g packets is a practical example of solidarity that can be used as a focus for local discussions. It will also be tasty and enjoyable.

I am arranging for a quarter ton [250Kg] of green coffee beans to be imported, roasted, ground, packed and labelled for distribution in Scotland. The Leith based workers co-op, Equal Exchange, is giving advice and help based on years of related commercial experience.

This project will need an overall budget of approximately 2000.

Your organisation can play an important role in helping provide an alternative to reluctant banks and at the same time participate in practical solidarity that will benefit your group's funds.

Organisations will make loans available to solidarity through trade in multiples of 100 which will be repaid in bags of roast and ground coffee from Venezuelan co-operatives and small farms. At present US$ exchange rates and coffee prices this will be approximately 40 to 50 250g bags for each 100.

Your group will then be responsible for selling or distributing this to members, friends, families etc.

Then it will collect in the money from these sales for their own group which will be approximately 15-20% more than your group's original loan.

The practical way of thinking about this is as advance purchase by the group of more than 100 coffee.

Yours fraternally and in solidarity,

Norman Lockhart

Beyond Fair Trade

Fair Trade and Organic products have been increasingly popular as well as trying to get a more just settlement for small farms and co-ops etc. While solidarity through trade will not have Faitr Trade or Organic certification it will have those aims on its agenda.

Solidarity through trade will make political solidarity its first objective. Other certification will not be a condition but aiming to encourage solutions to it in a hostile imperialist economy will be part of the task.

Who am I?

As NUPE shop steward I was also convenor of first JSSC in Glasgow Royal Infirmary with over 13 unions represented in 1982.

I worked for two years as a nurse in Sandinista Nicaragua for Scottish Medical Aid for Nicaragua

As rig medic in N Sea I helped establish OILC as union for offshore oil workers.