We are Monzer (Poverty Activist 12 month programme student) and Mel (teacher of the team).
Today we bring you news from out latest investigation!
In the course of the first almost 2 months of the Poverty Activist programme our team have been studying about the Forces that Run the World which included many different topics. Some of the topics were the 4 M-s (Media, Money, Military and Movements). At the end of this study period we made an investigation about these very important matters in the world and their connection.
We wanted to know what people’s view on the 4 M-s are. We started out by defining our questions and we made questions regarding each of the M-s. Some of the questions were about freedom of speech, the concept of MIMAC, people’s views on the Military budget spending, poverty and if they knew any social movements in their communities.
We have asked people if they knew who Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are, as it represents what information you can get from the media, represents Freedom of Speech, and the consequences that you might suffer if you go against the stream. We had an interest in knowing people’s opinion about these 2 activists as they are portrayed in so many different ways depending on which source you get your information from.
The concept of MIMAC (Military Industrial Media Academic Complex) refers to how the Military Industry takes advantage of the Propaganda carried out by the Media, with the support of those in Power and billionaires, creating fear and the image of never ending new threats we need to be saved from with the aim to keep a continuous demand for weapons and therefore grow that money making machine. Studying this, and understanding the connections behind it made the team want to discover if the overall population also knew about this concept. With the same line of thought we also wanted to know if the People agree with the Military budget expenditure and if not, where would they invest the money in instead.
We have asked people if they knew of any social movement or groups of people in their community, which were doing something to mitigate the Big Issues of Our Time as well as if they could notice a big and growing difference between Rich and Poor.
We decided upon 11 questions and we went out both to Beverley and Hull. We have spoken with 33 people and got to know quite many different and divided points of view. We had a very positive response from people about being interviewed. We tried to get more answers from younger people but our plan of going to the University was not successful because the University term hadn’t yet started.
It was not easy to come to a conclusion based on the limited data that we gathered, but we could see clearly that the subject of media had a variety of responses (such as a division between people that never heard of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and the opposite).
We saw that depending from where people get their information (TV/social media or the Internet), it affected their point of view (investing more on the military budget or divert that budget into education, health or climate change mitigation), while something that can be seen clearly, meaning something that is not about what it is told by someone else but what is just in front of you (the noticeable difference between rich and poor), was almost 100% agreed upon.
Because social movements and activists do not get the same attention from the media (our opinion), we noticed it was depending on the interest of each one to seek more information regarding them. Not many did that.
Our overall conclusion was that people don’t have enough information to have a formulated opinion about the 4 M’s and their connections.
Part of our investigation was also to learn more about local movements or groups of people taking action to improve their communities. We visited Raise the Roof which is a non-profit community organisation who do their utmost to look after the homeless and prevent people from becoming homeless. They run “The Street Kitchen” which we paid a visit to, in one of the investigation days and helped out distributing food to the ones in need (67 people in Hull – which is 67 people too many in need of a meal). The following day we donated a few kilos of organic vegetables from our Garden at the school as well as loads of coffee, tea, sugar and home made bread, which we plan on repeating whenever we can. It made a big impression on us and we were very pleased seeing how a few people could join together to mobilise, make a change and do whatever they can to improve their community.