Activist Toolkit

Activist Toolkit

(With grateful thanks to the Dump Veolia Campaign whose Activists’ Toolkit provided the model and some of the information here. This is a work in progress and information will be added as and when received (e.g. following legal advice or further feedback from Trades Unions as well as campaign updates, etc.)

General Introduction

This toolkit pulls together in one place what we hope is everything you are likely to need to run a campaign to Stop Hewlett Packard (HP) in the UK. It draws on the experiences of campaigners over recent years and gives summaries of best ideas, draft motions and advice generally.

Some of the information may seem complicated since arguments often hinge on  legal questions, for example whether local authorities have the right to exclude a company on non-commercial grounds; government announcements in early 2016 clearly want to further limit the right of public sector organisations making decisions on an ethical basis.

Some information is still ‘in progress’ and we will update the site as we receive new information as well as news of the campaign.

However, raising awareness of the role that HP is playing and what it is like to live under Military Occupation in the West Bank or in Gaza under siege is the key point of the campaign.

If you have any queries or comments on the Toolkit or suggestions for what to include, or how to improve what is already here, do not hesitate to contact us.

Contents

  1. Advice when approaching local authorities

  2. Draft letters and resolutions 

(a)  A draft letter to send to any public authority asking them to exclude Hewlett Packard from consideration as a supplier of technological systems and content to request they include at the pre qualification stage of the procurement process.

(b) A draft letter to private sector businesses asking them to exclude Hewlett Packard from consideration as a supplier of technological systems

(c)  A model resolution for local authority councillors to adopt

(d)  A model resolution for Trade Unions to adopt

(e)  A leaflet to give out to HP workers you encounter who feel your campaign may be affecting their jobs  (NB awaiting feedback from Union contacts)

  1. Making A Freedom of Information Request
  2. Miscellaneous – examples of leaflets etc and useful links 
  3. Examples of leaflets and other materials used by this campaign that you can download and use
  4. Useful letters for various stages of various campaigns
  5. Useful links (e.g. to US campaigning sites) http://hpboycott.org/
  6. A general guide to organising 

 

  1. Advice when approaching local authorities and other public bodies

It is important to:

  • Intervene in the prequalification process for a relevant public sector contract and that that the authority has a “pre-qualification question’ about whether bidder have committed grave professional misconduct in any of its activities and if this already exists, to send a copy to you.
  • request an early meeting with the relevant authority
  • seek an opportunity to address a meeting of councillors
  • ask for a public meeting with the authority and bidders – including the right for the public to ask questions
  • ask that the authority presses Hewlett Packard Enterprise to address the questions you raise

Even a refusal to meet or share information can be important news to share. The term ‘commercial confidentiality; will often be used as a reason not to share information. (see section on making a freedom of information request)

(b)-(e) are self-evident but the issue of pre-qualification questions (a above)  may not be. Here is an explanation and a model letter is in the following section.

A purchasing body (eg borough council or university) will usually issue Pre-Qualification Questions (a ‘PQQ’) to companies that want to bid for a contract. The PQQ should be designed to establish whether a company which wants to bid meets the purchasing body’s minimal selection criteria.  If possible, campaigners should write to the body and ask it to include the following question in the PQQ : ‘Have you or your organisation ever committed or been accused of an act of grave misconduct in the course of your business or profession?  If yes please provide details and does your organisation fully comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights, the UN Global Compact on Ethical Business Practices and relevant EU regulations.  If unsatisfactory details are provided the Council has the ability to fail this application’. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf , https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc/mission/principles.

The question was included by Brighton Council in a PQQ and campaigners can encourage other bodies to take the same approach.  If Hewlett Packard is subsequently selected as a bidder by the purchasing body, then campaigners should ask for details of the response which the bidding companies gave to this question and whether the purchasing body has taken reasonable steps to check the veracity of the response by Hewlett Packard and other bidders.

Suggested text to include in a letter to a purchasing body about Pre Qualification Questionnaires

You will be aware that under clause 23(4)(e) of the Public Contract Regulations a public body may exclude a bidder or reject a bid where it is found that the individual or organisation in question has “committed an act of grave misconduct in the course of his business or profession”.    

It is common practice for Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) to include a question such as “have you committed an act of grave misconduct in the course of his business or profession?” Not unnaturally the answer given is always no, for if the bidder was admitting to this it is unlikely they would be bidding.  However there are cases where companies bid for contracts even though there is compelling evidence that they have committed grave misconduct and it is important to ask bidders whether they have committed or been accused of an act of grave misconduct, to ask for details and to be clear that if unsatisfactory details are provided that the Authority has the ability to fail this application.

Campaigners can make councillors aware of the risks to their reputation of unwittingly awarding a contract to a bidder that has committed an act of grave misconduct and including such a clause would minimise that risk.

  1. Draft letters and resolutions

(a)  A draft letter to a local authority asking them to exclude HP computers and printers from their purchasing options.

(b)  A model resolution for local authority councillors to adopt

(c)  A leaflet to give out to HP workers you encounter who feel your campaign is threatening their jobs. (Given most of the manufacturing is done abroad, this may well be mainly for the London HQ and for those engaged in the Research and Development site in Bristol.)

  1. a) Suggested text of a letter asking a public authority to exclude HP from being a supplier.

Dear

We are writing to ask you to exclude Hewlett Packard from consideration to supply your organisation with printers, computers, other products such as ID cards and from providing technological systems, support and infrastructure.

We do so because Hewlett Packard business activities that in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories fail to meet the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or the Global Compact on Ethical Business and we believe that these business activities amount to complicity in Israel’s grave breaches of international law and therefore to grave misconduct.

Evidence for this is summarised below and further information is available, which we would be happy to provide. We are asking you not to use HP because of HP’s role in developing and maintaining the biometric identification system that is used to restrict movement for Palestinians and because it  supplies technology for the Israeli Navy which is used to enforce the Blockade of Gaza.

We refer to relevant areas of international law and show that under the Public Contract Regulations and despite recent Government Guidance, you have the authority to exclude Hewlett Packard from consideration because of the grave breaches.

The key areas where Hewlett Packard is involved are:

Biometric ID cards – both in the occupied territories and for citizens of Israel – HP’s biometric identification system facilitates Israeli control of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank. Even the ID numbers for these Green cards that bear the Palestine National Authority insignia are actually assigned by Israel, which controls the Palestinian population registry. This is part of the Israeli system of control that restricts Palestinian freedom of movement.

HP’s Basel system is installed at the Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank which deprive Palestinians of freedom of movement in violation of international law.

And use of HP’s biometric ID system in Israel differentiates between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel, among other ethnicities and religions. It facilitates their different treatment  – “this system takes to a new level of technology the stratification of citizenship rights.” There are more than 30 laws in Israel that place non Jewish citizens, especially Palestinians, at a disadvantage compared with Jewish citizens.

The Israeli Military – HP provided the IT infrastructure for the Israeli Navy, thereby helping to enforce the blockade of Gaza; it also supplies the computer systems for the Ministry of Defence. The blockade (or siege) of Gaza is deemed to be collective punishment and, therefore under International Law, is a war crime.

Israeli settlements – HP employs settlers in Beithar Illit and provides services and technologies to two of the largest in the occupied West Bank (Modi’in Illit and Ariel).

 

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal under international law.  The settlements violate Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention which states that: “…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”

Settlements also constitute ‘a significant alteration of the infrastructure of the occupied Palestinian territories’ which is contrary to the Hague Regulations of 1907, Section 3, which also form part of international law.

Under the Public Contract Regulations (2006) a contracting authority may exclude an economic operator from bidding for a contract or may reject any such bid where it is found that the individual or organisation in question has “committed an act of grave misconduct in the course of his business or profession” (section 23(4)(e)).  This is an important provision that needs to be applied rigorously.

The government’s own guidance on trade with settlements refers to risks for business incluiding reputational risks. Hewlett Packard’s activities clearly constitute misconduct sufficiently grave to warrant their exclusion from public contracts.  Indeed, it is difficult to imagine what ‘misconduct’ could be more ‘grave’ than the aiding, abetting, facilitation or exacerbation of war crimes and human rights violations.

Accordingly, please confirm as soon as possible that you will now exercise your discretion to exclude Hewlett Packard from bidding or renewing contracts with your authority with immediate effect.

*************************************

(b) A model resolution for local authority councillors to adopt.

This Council recognises that:

  • HP provided the IT infrastructure for the Israeli Navy, thereby helping to enforce the blockade of Gaza; and that it also supplies the computer systems for the Ministry of Defence. The blockade (or siege) of Gaza is collective punishment and, therefore, a war crime.
  • That by providing the biometric ID card systems, HP contributes to the severe movement restrictions that are daily experienced by Palestinians in the West Bank and contributes to the discrimination of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
  • HP employs settlers in Beithar Illit and provides services and technologies to two of the largest settlements in the occupied West Bank (Modi’in Illit and Ariel).These activities mean that HP is complicit in Israel’s violation of International Law; almost all governments (including the UK and US as well as the United Nations) have repeatedly confirmed that Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law.
  • The Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude in a written parliamentary answer on 23rd May 2012 regarding illegal Israeli settlements was explicit that companies that have committed “an act of grave professional misconduct in the course of their business or profession” may be excluded from a tender exercise.

We recognise that Hewlett Packard’s business activities in the region contribute directly to serious violations of international humanitarian law by Israel and therefore amount to their being complicit in grave breaches of international law.  Therefore, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant legislation, we call on the Leader & Chief Executive not to sign or allow any new contracts or renewal of any existing contracts to be signed with Hewlett Packard or any other company complicit in grave breaches of international law.

 

Model Resolution for Trade Union branches (can be adapted for other local organisations). Our thanks to Brighton and Hove PSC branch for this.

Boycott of Hewlett-Packard (HP) in solidarity with the people of Palestine

Model motion for trade union branches

from Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign

 

  1. This branch affirms its support for the Palestinian struggle for peace, justice and self-determination. The branch stands with the people of Palestine, and with their supporters around the world, in their opposition to occupation and apartheid. (The branch is formally affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.)
  2. The branch affirms its positive response to the 2005 Call by Palestinian civil society (including scores of Palestinian trade unions) for an international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli regime. These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law.
  3. The branch recognises that BDS campaigners in Palestine and around the world place priority on the boycott of Hewlett-Packard (HP). Hewlett-Packard is a US multinational information technology corporation. HP not only profits from developing systems to racially profile Palestinians, and to track and control their movements, but is also complicit in the Israeli apartheid system which limits the parts of the West Bank that Palestinians are able to access. HP is also contracted to provide the Israeli navy’s IT infrastructure. The company is therefore an important target in the global BDS campaign.
  4. The boycott of HP will continue until HP stops profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and the violation of Palestinians’ human rights. Many Palestinian trade unions have specifically called on the international labour movement to boycott HP.
  5. A crucial element of the boycott of HP is the pledge by civil society groups and organisations to not purchase HP products or services, as far as this is feasible. This element of the boycott is supported by numerous groups and organisations around the world, including trade unions, faith groups, student groups and educational institutions.
  6. This branch hereby commits itself to supporting the boycott of Hewlett-Packard, as an expression of its solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination, by adopting the following practical measures:
  • The branch will not purchase HP products or services, as far as this is feasible, and will cancel and/or not renew any contracts for goods or services that involve direct or indirect payments to HP, as far as this is feasible.
  • The branch will inform any third-party suppliers of IT goods or services of its position of boycott of HP.
  • The branch will call on the regional and national union organisation to support the HP Boycott.
  • The branch will consider calling on employers to end all purchases of HP goods and services as outlined above.
  • The branch will encourage its members to join the boycott of HP as individual consumers – including signing the Stop HP Pledge[1] and Petition[2].
  • The branch will inform HP of its decision to boycott the company until it ceases its complicity in the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and the violation of Palestinians’ human rights.

[1] Stop HP Pledge: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/hp-pledge/

[2] Stop HP Petition: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/703/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=11604

http://www.brightonpalestinecampaign.org/campaigns-2/hewlett-packard/model-motion-for-trade-union-branches

Suggested text of a leaflet for distribution to HP workers.

 

Working for Hewlett Packard? 

We have no quarrel with you! Our campaign is against Hewlett Packard’s bosses who allow the company to be used in support of the Israeli occupation in Palestine and the siege of Gaza in the following ways:

  • HP provided the IT infrastructure for the Israeli Navy, thereby helping to enforce the blockade of Gaza; it also supplies the computer systems for the Ministry of Defence. The blockade (or siege) of Gaza is collective punishment and, therefore, a war crime.
  • HP provides the biometric ID card systems; these are used to monitor movements around the West Bank and at Checkpoints; this system is part of severely restricting movements, which is a daily experience for Palestinians in the West Bank. This system also contributes to the discrimination of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
  • HP employs settlers in Beithar Illit and provides services and technologies to two of the largest settlements in the occupied West Bank (Modi’in Illit and Ariel).These activities mean that HP is complicit in Israel’s violation of International Law; almost all governments (including the UK and US as well as the United Nations) have repeatedly confirmed that Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law and are a barrier to peace.

Palestinian workers, unions and union federations are calling for action. They say that Hewlett Packard and other companies that profit from the occupation are complicit with the Israeli government and its occupation. Show your solidarity with them.

The British Government has a clear duty to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions and other aspects of international law that that Israel’s settlements violate. But the government has failed to act.

That’s why we campaign for Hewlett Packard to be excluded from public and private sector contracts while it is continues to profit from Israel’s occupation and violations of international law.

If you are a union member, raise the issue in your branch.

We don’t want to put pressure on your jobs. We ask you to help stop Hewlett Packard putting your jobs and its reputation at risk, by withdrawing from its activities in the occupied territories

The TUC is clear. It reaffirmed at its 2011 Congress to: “Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.”

Examples of Trade Union support in the UK

TUC: 2010 Congress, re-affirmed at 2011 Congress

“…Congress instructs the General Council to work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.”

GMB Congress 2011

“…Not only are our members made indirectly complicit in illegal activities (as defined by the Geneva Convention on Human Rights), but their job security is ultimately undermined by Veolia’s vulnerability to exclusion from contracts. It is therefore in the interests of our members that the company ceases such dubious business practices and stops giving succour to colonialist occupation. Congress therefore instructs the CEC to seek the support of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the co-ordination of a campaign to make public the activities of Veolia in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to encourage the company to disinvest from activities which run counter to this Union’s commitments to justice for Palestinians in the TUC motion.”

Unite Policy Conference 2010

“…UNITE will encourage companies to apply a policy of ethical investment in terms of pension fund holdings, and seek to ensure that investments are therefore withdrawn from Israeli companies as well as companies such as Caterpillar and Irish Cement Roadholdings that directly support the Israeli occupation and destruction of Palestinian land. UNITE members will also be encouraged to use whatever influence they can bring to bear on employers in both the private and state sector to apply such a policy of ethical investment.”

Unison (National Delegate Conference 2012)

Palestine : “…Conference endorses and welcomes the success of the TUC policy of campaigning for a boycott of goods from illegal Israeli settlements and divestment from companies who profit from the illegal Israeli occupation. “…The recommendations of the third international session of the Russell Tribunal are: …global civil society (including all groups and individuals working diligently inside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory to oppose the system of racial domination that exists therein) to replicate the spirit of solidarity that contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa, including by making national parliaments aware of the finding of this Tribunal and supporting the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS); …UNISON to use its influence in trade union congresses and trade union bodies, domestic and international, to which we are affiliated, to:
1) raise the findings of the Russell Tribunal; and
2) call for support for its recommendations.

…In addition, Conference calls on the National Executive Council to ensure that UNISON, as a sovereign union, continues to give effect to our own obligations in respect of the recommendation on global civil society.”

For further information
Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Who Profits? from the Occupation
Corporate Watch 


 

  1. Making a Freedom of Information Request

This page – http://www.dumpveolia.org.uk/2013/08/14/a-freedom-of-information-request/ – gives an example of how to make a Freedom of Information request, based on the experience of the Dump Veolia  campaign.

This is the government guidance: https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-information-request/the-freedom-of-information-act

This guidance is from Corporate Watch – and shows ways that it may be possible to get information about a private company, although they are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.   https://corporatewatch.org/resources/2014/310-freedom-information

  1. Miscellaneous

(a) examples of leaflets issued by existing campaigns

Please put the example from WFPSC here

 (b) Useful letters written at various stages of other campaigns

 

War on Want – letter re the NLWA, Veolia and International Law

Richard Falk’s letter on UN-headed notepaper

(c) Useful links (search on these websites for Hewlett Packard or HP)

Boycott Divestment & Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the Palestinian coordinating body for the BDS campaign worldwide)

Corporate Watch

Jews for Justice for Palestinian

Palestine Solidarity Campaign – http://www.palestinecampaign.org/?s=Hewlett+Packard

Who Profits?

Boycott Hewlett Packard

 

 

 

 

  1. A general guide to organising

(with thanks to Daniel Mackintosh and the Dump Veolia Campaign, which has been successful; This is a slightly edited version of that guide and is useful background for any campaigning)

This guide draws on the experience of people engaged in community organising, popular struggles and international human rights campaigns which should be useful to you as you establish and run your Veolia campaign.

The main issue we encounter in campaigning is how achieve the changes we want to see. To achieve our ends we need to generate and use power; both by ‘raising awareness’ of the particular issues we are campaigning on but also persuading those with the power to accept the strength of our case and to act on it.

Some people are afraid of the word ‘power’ – but we must not be. The responsible use of power is needed to bring more just and equitable ways of doing things at all levels of society. We need people to notice us, to listen to us and to respond to us. That means building appropriate organisational structures – whether as a network, a party or as a guerrilla campaign or any combination – relevant to the changes we are trying to bring about.

In our boycott campaigns, our particular goal is to get both public and private bodies to refuse to use Veolia’s services while it is involved in business activities that directly assist Israel in serious violations of international humanitarian law and which amount to complicity in grave breaches of international law.

Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals (1971), is seen as a classic for organising throughout the world. This book was designed for those who wanted to engage in confrontational struggles – i.e. those who wanted to provoke companies or governments into acting in such a way that they would ultimately lose their support on this issue and be forced to change their policy.

Here are some examples of Alinsky’s Rules:

(1) Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. [This is especially relevant when using the government’s own procurement guidelines and Hewlett Packard’s stated commitment to human rights and clear desire to be seen as an ethical company that has, indeed, won awards for environmental practice.

(2) A good tactic is one your people enjoy. ‘If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.’

If you would like to read more, please see the list of links below.

Action and tactics

These are engagements that put pressure on the ‘target’. It is important to differentiate this activity from something like ‘research’, which may be necessary in the build-up to an action, but does not ‘count’ as such because it is passive and will not influence the target.

Normally, campaigns do not start out by attacking people or institutions. There is first a good faith attempt to engage the relevant decision-makers. It is only once these first steps of good faith do not work that an organisation moves to ‘action’. As Aaron Schultz, an organiser in the USA, says:

‘Put more simply, “actions” and “tactics” come AFTER you’ve said “pretty please”.’  You start thinking about tactics when you decide you need to move forward and impress upon the target the fact that you have some “power.’

This leads to one of the most important insights into organising.  Community organising groups exist only when they are doing something. As Schultz says “[u]nlike other kinds of organizations, like churches, they tend to dissolve when nothing is going on.  People only come together to organize against power when they are actually fighting.  So organizers always need to be thinking about how this battle will help lead to the next one.  A year without battles is a year when the organization is falling apart.’

So, to hold together your local Boycott campaign group you need to do your research, address the people who will make the decisions with the arguments, mobilise whoever you can to put pressure on them whether it is through resolutions, letters, demonstrations, street theatre or preferably all of these! Above all, as Alinsky stresses, find ways of having fun.

‘Power Analysis’: who are the main actors and agents in local authority campaign

A power analysis chart looks at a community’s power structures and identifies places of influence and power. It starts with identifying government, business and nonprofit organizations and their leadership. More informal channels of power will emerge in personal interviews. Identify self-interests, constituencies and connections between institutions as much as possible. By mapping the power “sources” in a wide range of communities, you also map the potential avenues for collaboration, and opposition. You will then need to decide on what strategies you will need to serve as the milestones in your campaign.

You and your group should write these questions up on a large sheet of paper and answer them one at a time:

  1. What is the change you want to see?
  2. Who has the power to make the change that you want (these people are called your ‘targets’)?
  3. What power does the decision-maker have to meet your goal? By what authority?
  4. What is the decision-maker’s background and history?
  5. What is the decision-maker’s position on your issue/goal? Why?
  6. What is the decision-maker’s self-interest?
  7. Who are the decision-maker’s allies?
  8. Who are their opponents?
  9. Are there secondary targets – are there other social forces that may influence the decision maker?

Timeline Action Steps/Tactics Resources Key Players

By when do you want to achieve your goal What needs to happen to achieve that goal What resources do we already have available? What resources do we need? Who are our allies? How will we be able to best use our allies to achieve the main goal? Who are our opponents? How will we best be able to minimise their ability to inhibit our achievement of our goal?

 

Useful links

These books and pamphlets were written in other contexts and for other campaigns but are full of good ideas and advice.

Alinky’s Rules

The Citizen’s Handbook: Practical Assistance for Those who want to Make a Difference

Take Action, Create Change: A Community Organizing Toolkit

On power analysis see  The Praxis Project

 

 

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