Why we contact government officials
War on Want understands the root causes of poverty to be political, the result of choices made by government and corporate elites. Our history has taught us that collective action by ordinary people is the most effective way to bring about the type of change that can challenge the structures of poverty and injustice in the long term.
We take different kinds of action to hold those who make decisions to account and to push for positive change, and each action has a purpose and function that we have thought through carefully, often together with campaign partners. Each action is only a single part of a larger campaign strategy.
Some types of actions we take:
- Conduct research necessary for action (check out our reports and briefings)
- Participate in public meetings to affect discussions and/or get critical feedback
- Hold briefing sessions for MPs and other government officials
- Protest to make our voices heard, especially when critical voices have been ignored or excluded from decision making
We often invite our members and supporters to participate in a campaign by emailing a government official, maybe an MP, MEP or a government minister, asking them to take action in a specific way on a campaign issue. This is a way to:
- Inform government officials of important issues and provide them with evidence based research to help them make informed decisions
- Shape discussions that government officials are having about issues important to us
- Make clear that constituents/the public are paying attention to issues and to what MPs are doing
- Elicit responses from government officials that can help in campaign planning and strategising (even if the response is negative, it’s useful for us to know so we can get a feel for the ‘temperature’ in government on certain issues)
We don’t ever want to limit our campaigning power to what could come from lobbying politicians, that way nothing would ever change. At the same time, engaging those in positions of power is an important part of making change, even if it is only one element of a broader campaign.