Rising Tide UK adopts the PGA Hallmarks

As of May 2007, following discussions at our 2007 National Gathering, the UK Rising Tide network has adopted the Peoples’ Global Action Hallmarks.

PGA Hallmarks

  1. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalisation.
  2. We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious fundamentalism of all creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.
  3. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organisations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker.
  4. A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local alternatives to global capitalism.
  5. An organisational philosophy based on decentralisation and autonomy.

Why did Rising Tide sign up to the PGA Hallmarks?

First, what is Peoples’ Global Action? PGA is a network for spreading information and coordinating actions between grassroots movements around the world. These diverse groups share the same opposition to capitalism, and commitment to direct action and civil disobedience as the most effective form of struggle. PGA grew out of the international Zapatista gatherings in 1996 and 1997, and was formed as a space for direct and un -mediated contact between autonomous groups.

And why did we sign up? The reasons given below are drawn from discussions had at the 2007 RT National Gathering.

The hallmarks capture the essence of Rising Tide’s political analysis, preferred tactics and way of organising. The hallmarks do a good job of explaining who we are, in clear terms by:

  • Describing our political analysis in a no-nonsense way. We are agreed that a commitment to endless economic growth is the (biggest) root cause of climate change, and that market-based solutions are not only ‘smokescreen’ solutions, but are actively detrimental.
  • Capturing our preferred tactics: energy dissent/descent – direct action against the root causes of climate change, and the creative search for and promotion of low-energy lifestyles and local, community-run solutions to our energy needs.
  • Capturing our way of organising: decentralised, autonomous and non-hierarchical.

The main discussion we had was about hallmark 3, which rejects lobbying and calls for a confrontational attitude. It was agreed that in the UK Rising Tide context, a confrontational attitude means taking nonviolent direct action. Over all it was concluded that the rejection of lobbying contained within hallmark 3 fits with the Rising Tide political statement, which views governments as very much part of the problem, inextricably tied up, as they are, with corporate power. We can’t trust governments to bring in needed changes – mostly because they can’t, because they’re in the pockets of big business, because politicians want to get re-elected and don’t want to lose votes with huge new taxes or caps on flights for example, and mostly because what we believe is the root cause of the problem – economic growth – they see as a key goal. Fundamentally, lobbying means asking governments to change things on our behalf. Instead, we choose not to give up our power or transfer our responsibility to someone else – we try to make those changes that we believe need to happen for and by ourselves. And we try to do it using methods that pave the way for the different kind of world we want to bring about, rather than ones that reinforce the current order. 

The hallmarks and PGA itself are not perfect, but they do provide a reminder of our principles and ideals in a world where it is easy to slip into unacceptable compromises. At a time when it feels like the tipping points are fast approaching and the climate crisis is about to explode it is easy to begin to think that the only way out is to ask governments to take control, invest in techno-fixes and legislate against unsustainable behaviours. This is the point when we have to shake ourselves, think about what that actually means and remember the kind of world we’re trying to build. This is the time when we can re-read the PGA Hallmarks, re-orient our thinking and reconnect with grassroots struggles from resistance movements around the world, movements committed to taking direct action for systemic social and ecological change. These hallmarks are not overly radical – they are the voice of sanity, and it is our role to carry these ideas forward. By signing up to the hallmarks we hope we are helping to make the important ideas contained within them accepted norms rather than dismissed as fringe or extremist.

Find out more about the PGA, including history and organising principles.