Raised fists and helping hands

We Shall Overcome

Saturday 21st October 2023 at 12.00-2.00pm UK time via Zoom

Interested in running fundraisers and socials in your community? We Shall Overcome can show you how!

This event will broadcast from two We Shall Overcome frontline hubs, with discussion with those involved in the collective, who have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for those hardest hit by austerity. It’s a chance to share strategies for making positive change in our communities.

We Shall Overcome (WSO) is an anti-austerity pro-community collective of musicians and spoken-word performers who have been staging gigs since 2015. Our motto is ‘a raised fist and a helping hand’ – a raised fist because we’re angry at the political choices that consciously cause hunger and suffering; a helping hand because we believe solidarity is an active verb. 

For this online workshop, Joe will be based in The Unity Shop in Hull; Pete will be at the Station pub in Ashton Under Lyne. Hull Unity Shop was set up by the local Trades Council in recognition of the need for Socialism to be demonstrated, on the ground, within the community, in both a gesture of worker-to-worker solidarity with those struggling to make ends meet, and a means of organising against the potential rise of the Far Right as they attempted to prey on poverty. The Station pub, run by Pauline Town, not only feeds hundreds every day but supports people into housing.

Learn more about Pauline.

We’ll explain what WSO is all about, and speak on camera to some of the people our efforts support; people who ensure others are fed, warm, and housed. There’ll be plenty of chances for discussion, and to share news about/learn how to do similar work in your area.

About ‘We Shall Overcome’

Child poverty, food banks, benefit sanctions, cuts to disabled support, carers in crisis, soup kitchens, rough sleeping, homelessness, mental health crisis, pawn shops, payday lenders, gig economy.  Why do these things exist in one of the richest economies on earth?

We Shall Overcome is a movement of musicians, artists, activists and community organisers who are angry about the human costs of austerity policies but who want to do something practical to help those affected.

How it works

We organise events – online and in-person. Each event is used to directly help the community in which it is based. Some events ask for donations of provisions for their local food bank, others charge a moderate fee and take cash donations in a bucket. To become a part of We Shall Overcome all you need is the desire to see an end to Austerity. There are plenty of upcoming events you can support, or you can start events of your own.

What we have achieved so far

The first We Shall Overcome took place over a weekend in October 2015, when 250 gigs in 123 towns raised an estimated £125,000 of cash, food, clothes and bedding for those hardest hit by austerity. Every year since we have battled on.  The Covid-19 Pandemic pushed us online with live streamed events during lockdown. Our Isolation Festival on Easter Sunday 2020 raised £28,000 to keep our front line support networks running when gigs couldn’t fund them.

We are still going. While the need is there, so will we be.

About the facilitators

Joe Solo is a musician, writer, poet, activist and broadcaster.

Pete Yeandle doesn’t play an instrument, or sing, but likes to try and organise things, doing his best to stitch the various nationwide events together.