Thursday, 1 February 2018

United Resistance... Love & Defiance

The United Resistance covering 3-months of actions April-July is organised by various groups fighting fracking and will see different groups 'adopting' a week each in order to bring about maximum resistance to the fracking industry and growing gas field on Preston New Road in Lancashire; the first week has been adopted by the women of Nanashire as well as women from: the weekly Call for Calm, the local area, other groups and camps and we need you to please TAKE TIME OFF/BOOK HOLIDAYS/ARRANGE CARE in order to be available at Preston New Road to exercise OUR LAWFUL RIGHT to peaceful protest and non-violent action.
This year marks 100 years since (some) women got the vote and we still find ourselves struggling to be heard or have our wise demands heeded. Today we find our rights to keep our children safe, protect ourselves from toxins that harm our reproductive health, fetal development, newborn health and increase our risk of breast cancer are not honoured by a government intent on bringing toxic gasfields to our communities.
The first week of the United Resistance is dedicated to women throughout history who have fought to make change and all the more important to us here in Lancashire if we are to have a hope of stopping Cuadrilla ...before their threat to frack is carried out. The period between April-July is what is timetabled by the industry for fracking to start and we can't let that happen.
Full details of our full week of women's actions are below and further info on actions by other groups in the weeks that follow, will be shared (if possible) when the groups make them public.
Please move mountains to be available... we need vast numbers, more than ever at this crucial time.
FIRST WEEK of United Resistance... Love & Defiance
TUESDAY 3rd April - #100Women Gathering (event click: 100Women)
-Bring - yourself, a friend, a spare bra
-Make - a 'Sash' to wear with #100Women written on it and anything else you'd like to add
-Wear - the Sash you made and as we're working with Suffragette colours of White/Purple/Green, clothing along these lines would be great
-Event plan - gather at Maple Farm Community Hub FROM 8:30am but event is ALL DAY so arrive anytime you can and please plan to stay as late as possible - will end at 6pm. Actions on the day are mostly super-secret so we can't broadcast lol! BUT be assured that all is designed to be safe and lawful and there will be surprise guests you will be delighted to meet!
WEDNESDAY 4th April - 'Woolly Wednesday Yarn-On'
(Starts as always on a Wednesday with the Women's Call for Calm 10-12 noon then an hour break before we head back up to the gates for the next event.)
-Bring - yourself, a friend, wool, knitting and/or crotchet needles, crafting items, baskets and... enthusiasm, even if you can't knit as other roles available
-Make - a nuisance of yourself with wool lol!
-Wear - anything goes today but bright colours and wool are definitely a theme
-Event plan - gather at Cuadrilla site on Preston New Road FROM 1pm but event is ALL DAY so arrive anytime you can and please plan to stay as late as possible - will end at 6pm. Actions on the day are again super-secret so we can't broadcast lol! BUT be assured that all is designed to be woolly, safe and lawful.
THURSDAY 5th April - 'Toxic Thursday'
-Bring - yourself, a friend and another friend
-Make - *info on the day as a bit secret
-Wear - white overalls and white dust-masks (like hazard clothing - available cheap in DIY stores although we aim to have spares)
-Event plan - gather at Maple Farm Community Hub FROM 8:30am but event is ALL DAY so arrive anytime you can and please plan to stay as late as possible - will end at 6pm. Actions on the day are yet again mostly super-secret so we can't broadcast lol! BUT be assured that all is designed to be informative, safe and lawful.
FRIDAY 6th April - 'Funeral Friday Finale'
-Bring - yourself, a friend, flowers (preferably decaying or dead) ...and another friend
-Make - *info on the day as a bit secret but if you could bring a doll with you, it will all become clear
-Wear - funeral attire; everything from black veils to tears 
-Event plan - gather at Maple Farm Community Hub FROM 8:30am but event is ALL DAY so arrive anytime you can and please plan to stay as late as possible - will end at 6pm. Actions on the day are as you're now expecting to read... mostly super-secret so we can't broadcast lol! BUT be assured that all is designed to be impactful, safe and lawful.
If you need a place to stay during this and other weeks during the United Resistance... do get in touch as we have camping available as well as limited spare rooms/couches for those needing indoor accommodation. Food will be provided nightly at Maple Farm Community Hub (we are in need of volunteers if spare time or perhaps prefer this role rather than action at the roadside).
Key contacts for info on logistics like where to stay etc can be obtained through the United Resistance page or directly to Becky DanielsRuth Owens
Updates will come... but so hope this brief overview inspires the women of the movement to join together for one week in solidarity, determination, love and defiance - honouring 100 years of women working together to make change happen
*Please do share this post and future events as they are listed xxx

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Who did we harm?

I see and hear how the fracking industry, its paid trolls and other pros - are virtually salivating at the hints of rage raised in my recent blog (…/the-other-black-frida… )... they have longed for any act of violence at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protestfor 364 days now and been left wanting. As I don't doubt they will continue to be.
Our movement is non-violent. We have used all 'lawful' means to defend our communities and when we ran out of those.. we grabbed our placards, our creativity and our unending sheer-determination - along with some incredibly peaceful non-violent direct actions that had people sitting peacefully with their arms in tubes - vulnerable, unable to cause harm and simply, incoveniently located  Truck-sitting too managed to peacefully achieve the delays to industry that we sought - without harming a single soul.
What about us... is dangerous to anyone/anything except this industry? What about our actions... is dangerous enough to warrant the brutal policing we have seen? The only thing that is being protected is the industry and that is a sickening reflection of what our government considers appropriate use of OUR police force.
Tomorrow will come and will unfold in whatever way it willl... we will be mostly wearing black and beyond that... it's every Protector's choice of action and there is no itinerary. I KNOW who I stand beside in this long campaign and I KNOW that there is not one who would willingly harm another... whatever colour clothes we're wearing.
I post my poem to share my heart's true feelings... I (and nor are any I know) am not a 'warrior' or a 'fighter' - I am a grandma PROTECTING my young, and NO-ONE will ever be able to stop me from doing this, it's a fact of my being 

Monday, 1 January 2018

The Other Black Friday...

So... about 'Black Friday':
On Friday we will realise a year at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest and for many of us, this theft of time has been brutal and cruel... stealing from us our joy, time with family, jobs, income, relationships and more. There is a rage inside us at the injustice and cruelty of this industry and our government that forces it on us.People have lost precious moments with dying loved ones, had family break ups as a result of absence and lost so much that could have been ours if 2017 had been for ourselves.
There is both anticipation and concern about what this anniversary brings - understandably because this rage cannot be denied. On a personal level, I have spent this year trying not to be terrifying so that others would not be too scared to come join us... have found places of calm and peace within the chaos of it all, in which to heal and re-focus (the Women's Call is my haven) and importantly - put aside each week's anger and started over. BUT... deep within me where the image of my little granddaughter has been replaced with her towering over me and the bits in-between aren't there because I missed the growing... that bit is boiling.
We have spent this year trying our best to balance the needs of residents and road users... with the need to protect our children and along the way, faced challenge after challenge along with often terrifying scenes. We have been attacked in the old-world press for being NIMBYs, for being outsiders, for being hobbyists, for being anarchists, for being layabouts, for being wealthy, for being paid, for being unpaid... no matter what we do, those with an angle and a vested interest WILL find fault.
Preston New Road has been a place where if you're there enough - the pressure builds but on our side - there is still no violence - we don't attack, we protect and defend... through disruption and delay. There is a good reason to vent steam where there is pressure and THAT is what Black Friday will serve. We need a steam burst to stop us boiling over... an act that will seek to include all our elements and make clear that we mean what we say when WE SAID NO.
There is room for all types of action in this movement and I despise aggression but I am all for making a bold stand on a single day to let rage be let out. I believe shareholders, government and industry have grown too used to our beautiful humanity... that they cease to recognise the drive that puts us at the roadside in all weathers and away from our precious loved ones... THEY WILL HARM OUR CHILDREN with this industry and that is not a gentle fight. We will never make an event that pleases the many that we are... but diversity is the glory of us and I hope for the many to come x

Saturday, 30 December 2017

One Year Passing...

This week of stopping has been so lovely in part (except for the bit where along with others, I feel a bit poorly)… so full of gratefulness too to those who aren’t taking time out, aren’t wallowing in family warmth or able to stop because they agreed to rotas at gate camp or providing food, wood and kindness and fulfilling other essential roles. Gratitude is too small a word for the honourable people who ‘hold the fort’.
It’s been a heck of a year that’s forced polar-opposites to find middle-ground, brought together people who would never have cause to meet under any other circumstances and created surprising friendships that will never end… and some rifts that will likely never heal. I find that those I thought I’d have trouble forming bonds with – have become those I have the utmost respect for …and in contrast, a very few that I thought genuinely cared too about the shared end-goal – turned out to have other issues, priorities or agendas that set us apart. It’s a messy mish-mash of types that we are and each with our own back-story that means we interpret differently, read signals to mean different things and have different ways of reacting and communicating… but for all the different that we are and all the challenges that we face… we’re still here, we’re still caring for each other and still turning up to oppose this… because it’s impossible to walk away from a direct threat to the children. We have had to find ways to either get on or at least stand side-by-side on the same side… and for the most part, this works and even when it doesn’t… we still turn up anyway and just accept the additional discomfort.
For me it became clear really quickly (probably about Day 2 at the PNR roadside) that this wasn’t going to be just about stopping trucks and disrupting Cuadrilla …but more importantly, ensuring freshly-joined residents and newcomers weren’t more scared of us – than fracking. Numbers were and remain vital and we only get these, by others recognising what we’re doing and seeing themselves able to join us. The message that we are each just residents of this country and require safe water & clean air in order to survive and leave as a legacy for our children… is our story and the single thing we all agree on.
Each new day has brought and continues to bring new people coming to the realisation of what fracking will do to our communities and with the old-world media still holding an audience we can’t reach – we have had to hold ourselves and our actions to a ridiculously high moral standard and even when we do… when despite brutal treatment by security guards and police, we DON’T retaliate with violence… we are still painted as ‘the bad guys’ by some.
The power of industry over our government is obvious (the overturning of our council’s planning objection just one example along with the passing of the Infrastructure Bill into law) but the power over old-world/mainstream (is it still mainstream when so many now get a variety of news from a variety of sources?) media has been a huge challenge. When you boil it down, Conservative voters (more than 70% of voting age didn’t vote them in) put this pro-fracking party in place and the right-wing press, champion and cheerlead the ‘all out for shale’ cry of the Conservatives… so essentially it is a tiny percentage of people keeping this going… but with our unrepresentative ‘First Past the Post’ voting system and sold-out journalism, that’s all it takes.
2018 approaches and Protectors across the country, in all our counties… cannot rest, We always need to grow our movement but if 2017 is anything to go by, I am hugely confident. What I remember most about this year will be the individuals who showed what we are made of; watching as some in deep grief and pain and suffering in their own lives, still show up… others who risk reputations, jobs and community standing, prioritise this instead and stand in the glare of opinion … and most movingly, seeing the shy, the private and the soft-spoken - arrive, join in, and freshly shout out from a place of self-empowerment, regardless of personal circumstance… we are made up of people of strength, honour and compassion who have a stubborn determination that means this isn’t over till we succeed.
Whatever the future brings… so far, it’s been a heck of a ride in the most outstanding company and although I wish it over, I will never wish it hadn’t happened because I would rather know the truths than live the lies. Onward 
Busy times ahead and I’m hoping to be back to normal in time for the first week of 2018 (thankfully Christmas bought warm snuggly boots and rainwear yay!)… Wednesday sees the first 'Call for Calm' of the year - Women's Call 22 - and then on Friday 5th Jan –the anniversary, 365 days that Protectors have been at this site and we’re marking the date with Black Friday (One Year at PNR)… if you can only make one date, please make this the one so we start as we mean to go on... full on  There's a solidarity bus from Manchester - MCR joins Black Friday (One Year at PNR)
The next day is the first ‘Solidarity Saturday’ of 2018 and we’re planning an Anniversary Day of Offerings - Solidarity Saturday... to tidy our space outside the Cuadrilla site, with new ribbons, toys, trinkets and banners for the hedge as well as warm company, cuppas and cakes down at Maple Farm.
I'll update as more comes in... but certainly 'Green Mondays', 'White Wednesdays' & 'Black Fridays' are weekly and ongoing.
Final thought as I was playing 'Ode to Joy' whilst writing...
We're like an unfinished by one the elements of the orchestra arrive to add individual notes to a piece that becomes a masterpiece only by its diversity of voice and instrument. We each started individually… came with our different ways and means, different approaches… tried, failed, tried, succeeded… it is in the ‘trying’ though that we found our truer selves and the truth in each other. Maybe the realisation that all effort, matters and helps over time to increase our tolerance of our differences… maybe too, the witnessing of the trying, brings respect. There will always be those stuck in their solos - unable to realise the beauty of diversity and sheer joy of shared music… but even then, they too are still trying in their own ways.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Lost & Found of Activism...

Last night was a festive party put on by our local village hall for those who have been protecting the community in the fight to stop fracking here in Lancashire...

A superb night of laughter, dancing and joy.. followed by the thump of shite in the press that painted these beautiful people in an ugly way... got me thinking of what's been lost and what's been found. For me personally it has been the hardest of years, with more letting go of things I thought mattered too much to lose and it's hard... but it's also a year of glorious discoveries in the new hearts found along the way and a replenishing of spirit and resolve. This path is exhausting but always fascinating.
The Lost & Found of Activism...

What was LOST:
I miss the leisurely nights huddled beneath a mist of imagining where we schemed, my little family and I… of hopes and dreams that we’d weave into reality together.
I’ve lost the warm, comforting cloak of protection that was provided by blissful ignorance. That led me to imagine that ‘democracy’ or ‘justice’ meant something more than lip-service and that in the end we’d be ok because the safeness promised by these words, would kick-in.
I fail to know the truth of my life because in part it was written by a lying media that throughout the years, steered me to a false reality; where they scripted and painted the characters to be friend or foe, said what this or that was measured to be right or wrong and based things on statistics paid for and manipulated by those with vested interests to deceive.
I grieve for the loss of faith in what was and have had to say goodbye to too much and too many …because priorities no longer put my pleasure in the list.

What was FOUND:
I ACTIVELY Protect my (all) young and had to discover a well of strength and self-empowerment to do it. As awful as it is, I’m relieved to have caught onto the fact that unless I stand to protect – then the road is open for industry to run over our children’s futures and sicken them. Without the ugly reality… I would be a bystander helplessly witnessing.
I seize as much knowledge and truth as endless hours of research, conversations, meetings and debates can provide – because knowledge and truth are the mightiest of all weapons in any fight – as well as being on the list of things worth fighting for.
I’ve learned to recognise patterns, traits, cycles and rituals that betray the true intent behind the actions of people - to the point where the people in my life are no longer defined as work colleagues, family and friends – but instead are valued for purpose, intent and humanity – the genuine of the hearts. I am fortunate to find myself amidst circles of people who I choose because of respect and that makes for finer company.
I rejoice in reality – for all its ugly, sharp and vile bits – it IS at least not hidden under piles of bullshit and therefore more easily handled.
I’ve opened my arms and heart to so much of worth that I never knew existed because what’s at the top of my priority list… isn’t mine, it’s ours.

There is no alternative but to Protect and no matter what else is lost or found... this remains a truth