Friday, 21 September 2018

Busy week ahead...


Busy times in this movement and all about... I see events and activities where not only fracking but all the fossilised things that should be put in the past, are being discussed, debated and acted against. I get a sense of a surge of awareness and understanding of just how diabolical the situation we find ourselves is and how our system of government has trapped itself into a death spiral with industry and commerce that will not look beyond profit - at the harms to come to communities, families, ways of life and future viability.
In the coming weeks I plan to be part of a whole host of activities that will split my time between PNR roadside and all the essential that that is... and other places for all the usefulness they are - always a tough call but going to try to make it work and apologies to those I share the road with for being split between things x
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This weekend is The World Transformed as part of The Labour Party conference in Liverpool. Panel I'm on is this one:
Disrupting the Status Quo
‘We all want to change the world - working out how to do it is the hard part. Join the conversation as a range of movement activists share their creative direct action strategies and tactics for transformative change.’
Facilitators:
Jo Beardsmore - UK Uncut
Emma Rees - Momentum and TWT organiser
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REALLY IMPORTANT TUESDAY 9am PRESTON COURT
Sentencing happening for our honourable Truck Surfers who are facing absurd custodial sentences for their actions last year at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest - please try to be there. I recall from my own potential-custody case, just how much it helped and gets you through the tough times 

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On WEDNESDAY, following the Women's Call 60... Julie and I off to Manchester to do some outreach at Future Perfect's Russell Howard and Friends:
(huge thanks to Georgina Hoult for making this possible)

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THURSDAY evening it's Lancaster to attend Extinction Rebellion's Climate Change: Heading for extinction and what to do about it. Curious about this as I've not got well informed about it yet...

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FRIDAY late afternoon/evening it's Preston joining a panel organised by They Eat Culture' for Preston Uprising: The Right Time for An Uprising (huge thanks to Helen Ficorilli for making this possible)

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Looking forward to seeing familiar faces and new xxx
*If you can attend ONE thing this week, please make it Tuesday's court support in Preston - so important x
Support the FrackFree4 - sentencing the surfers!

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The Fatal Disease of Fake Democracy





Thank you to Adeline Thomas for sending me this of what they've gone through over there... it tore at my heart to watch. Quite tearful as I look down now at my list of 'To Do's' in preparation for tomorrow's journey to London with our women of Lancashire - 100Women at Parliament Square - we're still trying so very hard to not having running battles on streets as our baseline normal - although it is becoming so. We still try to knit and sing and dance and engage and share knowledge and remain non-violent and try to keep a grip on who we truly are... but this is big and ugly and threatens to make us into the same 

I want to change the bloody system that has us all riding on its suicidal journey in support of industry profit. We're headed for a cliff and as more and more of us scream to be heard... the government here shuts down asking the questions they don't want the answers to... greases the wheels of planning regulations so applications to drill and test can glide through unhindered by pesky safety concerns... and now seeks to remove decision making on production sites from the hands of local councils and the people who will have to live with the worst impacts and outcomes - and put that decision into the hands of a faceless, unaccountable government department far-removed from the sites.
Democracy is a fairytale we're misled to believe in because we're engaged with putting an 'X' in a box every 5 years that gives some impression of it being tangible and real... during those terms of office though, we have no power, no influence, no ability to engage with democratic process, no ability to shout STOP! and hope to be heard... during their terms of office, each government opens its doors almost every day to lobbyists - but slams them shut to us.
We don't have a fracking problem or an environmental or social problem - we have a fatal, systemic disease.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Women’s Vote Against Fracking #100Women




So looking forward to taking our voices where they need to be heard... THIS Wednesday 10:30-16:30 100Women at Parliament Square
If you can meet us there - we'd be over the moon 

Whether or not you can make it, please please take a moment as soon as possible to write to your own MP with a short message inviting them to meet you/us personally outside for a photocall to show their support.

You can find your MP here https://www.writetothem.com and paste a message on-line or send them an email which you can find here https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ ...so quick and easy yet effective if we can show how many do or don't stand with us when it comes to election time particularly:

You can tell them that you will be with (or are supporting online) the women of Lancashire to express your concerns:

Please ADAPT this Draft, copy & paste or write your own 
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Dear XXXXXX MP

I am a local resident in your constituency, and I have huge concerns about the Government’s support for fracking, and proposals to make fracking even easier for shale gas companies.

I will be joining the Lancashire women for their 'Women’s Vote Against Fracking’ day in Parliament Square next Wednesday 12th September from 11am - 2.30pm,.

I would be delighted if you would join me in a photo call with the group between 1.15 - 1.30pm or 2 - 2.30pm.

I am sure you are aware of the dangers of fracking – I have listed some of my concerns below .

If you are unable to join us please would you in any case help retain local community control over fracking applications., which I gather is being discussed in Parliament that day.

The Government’s proposed changes to planning rules would allow exploratory drilling for shale gas to be considered as “Permitted Development”, removing the need for fracking companies to apply for planning permission and the necessary checks and balances by local authorities who best understand the circumstances in their areas.

This change will prevent communities directly affected from having a say in how, and whether, shale gas exploration proceeds in their neighbourhoods.

Please would you sign the open letter here which sums up the issues. https://gofossilfree.org/uk/let-communities-decide-letter

Best wishes
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Things that could be said

1. Fracking (hydraulic fracturing to extract gas) puts our families and environment at risk with the use of massive amounts of water and toxic chemicals

2. Fracking causes water and air pollution, and causes illness (with particular harms to women's reproductive health and increased risk of breast cancer),

3. Fracking and damage to the landscape and wildlife; it will industrialise our beautiful countryside bringing noise, vast numbers of lorries on rural roads, and job losses in tourism and farming.

4. Fracking has caused earthquakes and adds to the problem of climate change,

5. Across the world, towns and countries have banned fracking, including Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, France & Germany as well as states in the USA and Australia. Lancashire’s local councils voted NO to fracking plans, but the government is forcing this industry into the community anyway.


VIDEO 













Wednesday, 22 August 2018

No Balaclava Required...


ORIGINALLY printed/sent in the Blackpool & Fylde Green Party Newsletter (August 2018)
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Here Tina-Louise Rothery adds comment to the discussion of what activism involves.

Identifying with any label is a risky business because the interpretation of that label is not the same for everyone. ‘Activist’ is a tough sell as far as labels go – but the act of becoming an informed and active citizen has never been more necessary. Defined by dictionaries as:

[ACTIVIST Noun: A person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.]

The definition is entirely apt and relatable to Activists but for many, there is an unavoidable stereotype associated with the term; formed from negative media and experience of inconvenience or fear. A study in 2013 prompted headlines to read

“Everyone Hates Environmentalists and Feminists”

The research from Canada, found:

[strongly negative stereotypes about these types of activists, and those feelings reduced their willingness to adopt the behaviors that these activities promoted]

Leading the research was University of Toronto psychologist Nadia Bashir:

[The most frequently mentioned traits describing “typical feminists” included “man-hating” and “unhygienic;” for “typical environmentalists,” they included “tree-hugger” and “hippie.]

Making ‘activism’ accessible or even palatable has emerged as a major part of the challenge for any campaign group and one I personally recognise within the anti-fracking movement here in Blackpool & Fylde in particular.  Our community catchment area embraces a huge diversity of types from low-pay workers in our Blackpool tourism industry, to better-off retirees in Lytham and yet fracking will impact us all without bias.  Ensuring communities are informed and involved in the serious decisions by government that affect us directly, requires action and action by citizens IS ‘Activism’ and therein lies the problem… not everyone wants to BE an Activist, even if they do want to act to stop fracking or save a hospital from closure.

Perhaps it’s the word itself that comes with too much baggage? ‘Active Citizens’ is a more apt description for those across the country who are alert to the potential impact of a whole range of issues from cuts to public services and local issues, to arms sales, nuclear development, status with the EU and of course fracking.

Since 4th January 2017 this subject has been evident here at the developing fracking site on the A583 Preston New Road; residents and campaigners have come together daily in protest. Defined collectively as Activists in the media, I have encountered retired midwives, choir masters, monks, priests, pacifists, anarchists and all the other ‘ists’ who would not naturally land in one place together, let alone share a label.

It’s not been easy and remains a fine line between acting together because there is no choice when we are each defending our young - and avoiding all those other subjects and opinions that would otherwise divide fragile unity. After 20 months though, our actions have prevented site completion and fracking (so far), set the company many months behind schedule and raised national awareness massively; Activism works even if the label doesn’t do so well for us.

Trying to call ourselves ‘Active Citizens’ or something less sharp like being ‘Activey’ or more neutral like ‘Campaigners’ is just not practical or likely to bring much needed success but we do need more involvement and less fear of the consequences of the label – consequences that are nothing compared to what happens if we do nothing in the current climate. The research above suggests that it’s how accessible and inclusive we make the ‘acts’ of Activism, that could be key:

[...the very nature of activism leads to negative stereotyping. Participants were less interested in befriending activists who participated in stereotypical behavior (such as staging protest rallies), but could easily envision hanging out with those who use “nonabrasive and mainstream methods” such as raising money or organizing social events.  By aggressively promoting change and advocating unconventional practices, activists become associated with hostile militancy and unconventionality or eccentricity.

Furthermore, this tendency to associate activists with negative stereotypes and perceive them as people with whom it would be unpleasant to affiliate reduces individuals’ motivation to adopt the pro-change behaviors that activists advocate.]

So becoming people who are more pleasant to be with because we offer more ways to be an Activist is the answer and one we’ve quite-by-chance been doing over this past 20 months. We’ve brought diversity to our days and actions that offers an in-door to many more than any rally would.

‘Green Mondays’ each week brings respected academics, politicians, authors, celebrities, environmentalists and others to the roadside to host workshops and give talks; on Wednesdays there’s a women-led ‘Call for Calm’ that revolves around a 15 minute silence in which the women call for calm amidst the protest and go on to dance, sing, speak their reasons for attending and bring shared food to raise the mood in an otherwise distressing place and on the last Friday of each month, faith groups of all denominations come together to hold prayers, silences and rituals; these events open a space in which ‘non-typical Activists’ or at least ‘non-identifying’ ones, can find a reason to relate to what’s going on and particularly in the case of the very structured Wednesdays, a safer space in which to arrive and participate.

No Balaclavas Required… just each of us who give a damn, pay attention, recognise a wrong and ACT because morally we must – that’s being an Activist. Please join us at the roadside or host a cake sale, organise a talk, attend a film showing, chat with friends, join a group, lobby your MP, share research or do whatever it is that you devise as your personal Activism.

Tina Rothery – BFGP
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*Our Facebook Page is ‘Green Party Against Fracking’ and is a great place to start getting involved. BFGP’s Garry Richardson updates events, speakers and research that matters. We look forward to any suggestions or input that could work to engage more people to this ‘Activey’ stuff ;)





Friday, 10 August 2018

#100Women at Parliament Square 12 Sept 2018

We ask what point a vote... in a broken democracy? The women of Lancashire have called this because as a community and county, (through our local Council) voted NO to fracking here - but Parliament overruled this and the fracking site nears completion. We have demonstrated daily at the site for 20 months now... and it is soul-destroying to watch as the government plays Russian Roulette with our children's health and futures. We have been restrained from effective protest by the use of injunctions, and now feel we need to take our plight to the heart of the problem - government and its facilitation of a dangerous industry into our communities. The fracking firm Cuadrilla are hoping to develop the 'largest gasfield in Western Europe' here just outside Blackpool. In this 100th year since other mothers and grandmothers stood for better. fairer futures... we stand strong for our young and will not relinquish this responsibility. We'll be bringing a woolen length of 800 metres (made by women from across the world) that is symbolic representation of the horizontal pipe that is due to be fracked beneath us... do please join us and feel free to contribute woolen lengths, ... Please do click this event on Facebook if you are going - whether with us by coach or on another coach or under your own steam - want to see numbers attending and will set up coach list later - others from groups in London and South will meet us there - be a good one

Busy week ahead...

Busy times in this movement and all about... I see events and activities where not only fracking but all the fossilised things that sh...