Music Speaks

bigdress-stiltsMusic Speaks is an alternative music label run by a network of artists and activists. We emerged out of the SPEAK Network.

Music Speaks represents artists from a variety of genres coming together to bring a positive message about our alternative possible future. Producing a wide range of dance music from chill out, to Psy Trance, to Drum n Bass, Hip Hop and Trip Hop we also work with artists bringing acoustic, folk and spoken word pieces.

This site is the place to hear the latest emerging experimental artists who are blurring genre boundaries and building unity across traditional genre and cultural dividing lines. We represent a truly unique fusion of music, activism, philosophy and spirituality, and also engage installation artists to create unique spaces.

Artists from the Speak Network have been engaged in creating uniquely experimental spaces at places like Luminopolis (formerly Synergy). SPEAK has been involved at the forefront of some of London’s most significant underground conscious gatherings, and played a role in the wider conscious music movements in recent years. Music Speaks works with people from a broad spiritual/philosophical outlook. 

We speak for issues of social justice, human rights and environmental concern. We are currently supporting Speak's Arms Trade Campaign. Last year we launched the SPEAK Unfinished Business MP3 petition, demanding the legal Accountability of Transnational Companies. To support the campaign we released an Unfinished Business CD.

bigdress3SPEAK’s Big Dress, the world’s biggest walk-in petition, doubles up as a music venue, and has had a unique, thought-provoking presence in the UK festival scene. The Big Dress is covered in thousands of fabric squares on which people have painted their concerns about injustice in the garment industry. When people enter the Big Dress they are often moved by the vibe of space, and the creative representation of longing for a fairer world.

Find out more about the Big Dress here.

Musicspeaks runs events in London and there are also Dance Upon Injustice events run by local SPEAK groups all over the UK and beyond. The SPEAK Artists 'n' Activists Collective also runs smaller and experimental nights, mainly around London, called Re:creation.

Our next event will be Words against Weapons, a conscious gig night on 28th February 2010, where acoustic and spoken word artists will be reclaiming creativity for peace the night before SPEAK stage an action to call for an end to government support for the Arms Trade on Monday 1st March (more info below). This event is taking place in London at at Passing Clouds, Dalston.

Defend Peace: Disarm Tax - The Arms Trade Campaign

Arms produced by British companies are exported all over the world and are today FUELLING CONFLICT, AIDING OPPRESSSION and HARMING DEVELOPMENT, keeping poor countries locked in poverty.

For over 40 years there has been a government department which has actively promoted the buying and selling of arms overseas.

We want to see an end to the government’s disproportionate level of political and economic support for the arms trade through the closure of the Defence and Security Organisation and the diversification of skills, technologies, and jobs from arms to the civil sector.

NO BAILOUT FOR BOMBS, Monday 1st March 2010

To launch this arms trade campaign, "Defend Peace: Disarm Tax", SPEAK are holding a day of action calling for an end to government support of the amrs trade! Meet at 11:00am at Kingsgate House, Victoria Street (where DSO is based) and join us in handing in a homemade tank covered in peace doves and flowers, a creative petition against an industry responsible for suffering.

Government support of the arms trade...

Fuels Conflict

According to the Armed Conflicts Report 2009, there are 28 conflicts in 24 countries with 10 of these resulting in over 100,000 deaths. Many of these conflicts are caused in part, or at least fuelled, worsened and prolonged, by the sale of arms by the UK. There have even been instances of the UK selling arms to both sides of a conflict, undermining arguments about defence benefits, in the pursuit of profit.

Aids Oppression

In 2008, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual Human Rights Report, listed 21 ‘countries of major concern’. Of these, the UK supplied arms to 11, including, China , Saudi Arabia, Israel, Russia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Columbia. In supplying arms to repressive regimes, the UK government has often perpetuated and worsened the systematic abuse of human rights all over the world.

Harms Development

As well as the obvious negative impact of UK arms sales on situations of conflict and human rights abuses, the arms trade also  hinders the development process for many countries. High levels of military spending are actively encouraged by the UK government, even in poor countries that desperately need to invest money in social and developmental programmes instead.

Unfinished Business! - The Corporate Accountability Campaign

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Multinational companies – the cost of disconnection

The power, wealth and global influence of business is greater than ever. Too often though, this is at the expense of workers, local communities, consumers and the environment.

Today, Multinational Companies (MNCs) are more powerful than ever before. 51 of the world’s 100 largest economies are now MNCs. Many companies have bigger economies than most governments. European companies are some of world’s biggest foreign investors, giving them huge power over communities and workers around the world.

In an increasingly global economy, MNCs can set up shop wherever costs are lowest, and too frequently this means wherever labour and environmental standards are minimal. All too often therefore, our clothes are made in sweatshops in the developing world, and the products we buy are made by companies able to release toxic chemicals and pollutants into the environment which have been banned in the developed world for years. Situations where wages are low, people are working under horrific conditions, communities are damaged, and the environment is polluted are unacceptable.

Listen to our Unfinished Business track using the player to the right:

If you want to record a message for the MP3 petition please record it on your mobile or computer and text or email it to 07507305980 or email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

speak-stallWhat are we calling for?

We think that people and our earth are more valuable than anything we could buy.

As part of the Corporate Responsibility (CORE) coalition, we are calling for greater legal accountability in the UK, Europe and globally.

We want companies to be:

Accountable for their impact on people and the environment.

To do this they need to be…

Transparent - to know the real situations throughout supply chains, and make this information available to the public.

And when things go wrong, people harmed by the actions of companies need…

Access to justice – to be able to take companies to court in the UK or Europe if they cannot receive justice in their own country.

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Join our MP3 petition by recording a message now!

We have been campaigning since 2004 with the Corporate Responsibility Coalition for companies to be made legally accountable for their actions at home and abroad.

The good news is that the Companies Act 2006 takes up some of what we have been calling for. Directors of companies now have a legal obligation to consider the effects of their actions on the communities and environments where they are working. Companies are also required to report on the social and environmental impact of their actions at home and overseas.

However, we think that, even with these new laws, companies are still able to put profit before people, and there is too much injustice throughout global supply chains. So we’re not stopping there.

We are campaigning for the creation of a Business and Human Rights Commission in the UK. New legislation would give the commission power to enforce key environmental and human rights standards on UK companies acting abroad. If the Commission found violations of key standards, it could sanction that company and provide a forum for victims of its violations to seek remedies. We think this would make companies accountable, careful and transparent.

In support of this goal, we are collecting MP3 messages from members of the British public, stating that we are no longer willing to stand for the injustices we see in global supply chains. We cannot achieve our goals of poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and respect for human rights without making companies truly accountable for their actions.

The patchwork of voices all calling for the same thing will create a huge noise about injustice that won’t be ignored.

You can put as much thought in to your message as you like. Write a poem, a song, or just make a statement. Your voice counts to show decision makers that this is something that’s important to you. If you want to record a message for the MP3 petition please record it on your mobile or computer and text it to 07507 305980 or email it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Go to www.speak.org.uk/unfinishedbusiness for everything you need to record a message yourself and send it in, and to collect more from people you know.

The Big Dress

bigdress-patchworkWe have built the world’s biggest dress out of thousands of squares of fabric. Each of these squares represents peoples’ thoughts, concerns, and petitions about injustice in the garment industry, and legal accountability for multinational companies.  It also doubles up as a tent which is an inspirational music venue, making its way throughout towns, cities and festivals throughout the UK over the next 2 years.

Along with other groups our campaign played a role in some significant changes in the UK Companies Act 2006.

"The wages I get are not enough to cover the cost of food, house rent and medicine." - Mohua, a factory worker in Bangladesh. The factory Mohua works at supplies Asda and Tesco.

The Big Dress Campaign draws together SPEAK's campaigning on corporate accountability, as part of our call for trade justice. We work with a number of coalitions (Trade Justice Movement, CORE, OECD Watch and others), calling for a fair deal for workers and their communities from a number of angles.

The power, wealth and global influence of business is greater than ever with two-thirds of world trade today carried out by multinational companies (MNCs). Too often though, this is at the expense of local communities, consumers and the environment. Trade has the potential to lift millions of people out of poverty, but unfair trade rules and the poor behaviour of some MNCs can cause great harm. Multinational companies have outgrown current laws and regulations, so there is too little legal accountability to prevent and address these concerns.

Learn about the campaign journey we are on in more detail through our corporate accountability campaign pages.

Please watch our videos below about the Big Dress, and consider going to the main SPEAK site to support it by sponsoring a mile.

1. SPEAK Big Dress Video

 

2. Kwali From Luminpollis/Synergy talks about the Big Dress