Sunday, 11 November 2018

Punching Police...

On not (yet) punching the police...

I watched your face, the glint in your eyes, the upturned lips between smile and grimace, the way you relished her scream of pain, the way you twisted tighter so she’d do it again, the way your uniform meant nothing at all, the way when you knew I was looking – seemed to make you even more cruel.
That was the moment I cracked – you were the straw on my camel’s back; I wanted to punch you again and again, wanted you to know MORE than her pain, wanted you to feel futile and small, wanted YOU to curl up in a protective ball. I wanted to punch you in your gloating face, how the hell do we end up in this sort of place? I actually wanted this to be a thing I’d do and realise you’re making me just like you.
You treat this as just another Saturday night brawl, throwing the elders, the young and all; not once have you bothered to truly assess, the reason we’re here and why we protest. ACAB they say and I did not – some are absolute bastards and others are not… but that uniform paints you all the same and I find it hard to remember your number and name … so soon it will be that I no longer engage and the sight of you will just bring on the rage.
So I write this to you, the cop with the face – I still want to punch it and that’s a bloody disgrace… what part of community safety do you represent? What possible way can our rifts ever mend? We’re broken and battered, bruised and pained – but despite all the confrontation, you can’t say the same. Exemplary are we who are not punching your faces, be grateful for that as one day… we may trade places.
Now as I sit in the company of my grandchild, fresh from a cuddle and an ‘I love you Grandma’ – I find the hate in my belly still festering, an alien in there resting. Life touched in all its parts, uninvited you’re in here attacking my heart. There’s no calm strong enough to shut you out, no way I can escape what you’ve made this about.
I came in peace but you made this war.
There is a cure though and I know it well… it’s over here where there’s genuine heart-felt – love and compassion, trust and support in the arms of the activists… my beautiful cohorts 

The Sound of Silence

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Twisted Systems & Ugly Truths...

“It is a right and duty to rebel against a tyranny of idiocy”

Time after time we’re reminded that Brexit is the most important issue facing the country. Really?
The UN is currently in the UK exploring our poverty levels – 20% of us are living in poverty in this, the 6th largest economy in the world – why? What did 20% of us do to deserve this and what’s worse, many of those in poverty, are working. How is the government tackling this? Getting rid of the old benefits system that has failed and replacing it with Universal Credit that’s being rolled out despite revelations daily of its failings and reports showing it will actually cause 3.2 million families switching to it, to lose £48 per week (maybe they could have foreseen this as Universal Credit is on £3 billion less than previous system!). For workers, the government tackles poverty by ‘topping up’ low wages with tax credits (paid for by our taxes) – in other words, we the workers help cheapskate employers to pay their staff – why? This is unworkable, illogical and makes no sense …but it happens.
Our health and social care are so underfunded that dignity, comfort and hope die along with those who ‘slip through’ the system due to the cuts called ‘austerity’ – same too for the treatment of citizens with disabilities now forced to almost literally jump through hoops to get what any natural human would want for another – an easing of suffering in an already challenging life and maybe even the chance to thrive. But… Brexit hey.
Then there’s the foreseeable disasters and events that our government doesn’t choose to see or prepare for. How many more times will we accept the sequence of statements that follow yet another report of government wrong doing, incompetence or criminality? “There will be a full inquiry” (years pass) “The inquiry’s findings show there are lessons to be learned”… end of? From the Iraq war to Hillsborough, Grenfell to (at a future date soon) fracking , this pattern is repeated and those lessons... they're never learned.
When is enough, enough? Well it seems the decision to challenge authority has been taken out of our hands; the planet itself is in rebellion for us. For all those unlearned lessons about environment, all those toxic spills, all that deforestation, all those plastic bags, all that mining, all those polluting vehicles, all that discarded waste, all those industry processes and chemicals that finally reached overload that can’t be absorbed.
The decision to act is no longer a choice we make – it is choked out of us with each gasp of asthma-inducing air.

The environment we depend on for life, has reached a point where it is becoming a threat to our existence… and we can’t win this battle by attacking it like we do most things we term a threat (that’s what got us here in the first place). Life literally depends on finding a way to deal with this but our government and the powerful industries that support it, is facing in the other direction, treading plastic-dense water, holding its nose, gripping an inhaler and claiming economics trumps all else, trade deals matter more and then there’s Brexit.
How can we expect a Government system that by the flawed design of our voting system, nearly always returns just one of two outcomes and then pits those two parties against each other in a baying and howling ritual of extreme rudeness and unprofessional-ism? It’s less about healthy debate that reaches mutual wise conclusions on behalf of the people – but instead seems to be to ensure there is no overall agreement as in order to remain in ‘opposition’ to whatever the other side is saying – one or other must oppose regardless of the plain truth of a thing. There has to be a better way and wiser minds available to devise it. But …Brexit hey.
Rising Up
When a people’s uprising begins to form, the edges of our differences begin to bleed into each other and we start to get a feel, a sense and an awareness of our sameness through the shared goal and a falling away of caring about what might make us different. Each time too though, something seems to get planted within that seeks to re-establish walls and boundaries between us and to flash doubt and mistrust in front of us instead of trust and faith in each other and it’s that, which gives us an easy way to say ‘No that’s not for me’.
I got to this place I’m in (being actively involved in demanding a change to the way we are governed in order to ensure a safe, just (and downright enjoyable?) future, via Occupy … as you read the word Occupy… an image forms in your mind about what it was and that image is based on a mish-mash of biased, ill-informed media coverage, tales and posts you’ve read. For some it will eternally be the birthplace of our activism, a spark that lit a variety of flames - for others it will be a ‘controlled opposition’… a ‘Tavistock’ thing (never really understood what that theory was about?) or just not 'spikey' enough or way too radical… depends who you are and what you think is needed to get change to come.
The reality is that for each individual there outside St Pauls in 2011/12 – we each had our OWN Occupy; taking only the steps that individually suited us and acting together yes but autonomously. No leaders, no dictates just an acceptance that we stood side by side in addressing/acknowledging the same problem… not controlling how we respond to it.
Without taking a nervous step into Occupy on 15 October 2011, I would still be at home raging at news, fearing activists and powerless to do anything about the deeply worrying direction the government is taking us in. Now of course I may want to curse the day as activism has indeed taken over but I think it’s necessary that it does. We live in dangerous and important times and SELF-empowerment is about the only thing we can activate and control.
Extinction Rebellion came into view this year and as I knew some of those behind the idea of it, I looked closer and wondered if it would be a ‘me thing’ – I take my actions seriously; try not to waste vital energy, avoid pointless actions or those that will bring more harm than good. It’s taken me a while and I’ve followed the evolving picture of how Extinction Rebellion is shaping up and I’m now ‘in’. Not all actions that are done are the way I would do them and the best bit about that, is that it doesn’t matter; the aims are as my own, the sense of urgency shared, the demands echoed and the insistence on non-violent, civil disobedience – my insistence too. Most importantly for me, I believe the intent and motivation behind Extinction Rebellion to be honest, genuine and potentially effective.
Right now as we in the anti-fracking movement face the daily reality of being more than just ignored by government – but bullied, threatened, harmed and punished by them, we are running out of options. Daily too, the frackers do their worst and 36 seismic events are the scream from beneath our feet that there’s worse to come. Already I hear some murmurs and doubts and stirrings about Extinction Rebellion that seek to disrupt what may be the only plan there is right now –but it’s a plan I urge you to consider looking into for just that reason; we need to act and time is running out.
Our governments across the world are not facing facts of environmental degradation that will bring harm to all of us, our children and those to come and it’s ONLY US that can and must make them face responsibility and do as we insist: stop the harms, instigate the solutions and act now. We’ve rallied before as nations after wars and we’ve found limitless funds to bail out banks – we can pull together and we do have the resources – all that’s lacking is what Extinction Rebellion seeks to remedy… the willingness of government to act.
Raging against the machine
My original doubts about Extinction Rebellion included a concern about what would come after we gathered and acted – how would that lead to change? What was the next day like? Then I studied some more and asked some question and I get it – with the aim being to wrestle back control of the system of government (not just change parties), to force their actions to replicate our wishes and the process to be used is disruptive civil disobedience that is impossible to ignore; some of us risk arrest, many simply support actions, some go to prison and we just keep doing this until the government is forced to act.
It was a method used by the Suffragettes, Civil Rights, Ghandi and as anti-frackers I suppose that’s roughly what we’re currently doing – acting in disobedience and defiance with every truck we delay. Although our actions have hugely impacted the fracking industry, we haven’t yet succeeded because the government abuses power by changing laws, applying force and enabling the harm. For 7 years we’ve held the frackers back valiantly but the actual end can only come by an act of government and they’re not going to do that unless we make them.
The government is not ‘in power’ it is ‘in office’ and we must force it to turn away from the lobbyists and face us.
There are a multitude of reasons to rebel – fighting for our very survival is clearly the most powerful driver of all. Extinction Rebellion offers ugly truths too vile to face, too threatening and imminent to ignore and they are calling for unity at a time of emergency:
“It’s the equivalent of boarding a plane with a 1 in 20 chance of crashing – you wouldn’t board it but we’re willing to send our children and grandchildren on that plane. The government committing a crime against humanity – that WILL lead to suffering and death.”

Image result for extinction rebellion

They add little to no hope of best outcome, instead reminding that:
“Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending”

In a nutshell – this aims to be a worldwide rebellion that forces our systems of state to stop, face the evidence and act to save the planet’s future ability to sustain us.
Extinction Rebellion Declaration states:
“When government and the law fail to provide any assurance of adequate protection, as well as safety and security for its people’s wellbeing and the nation’s future, it becomes the right of its citizens to seek redress in order to restore dutiful democracy and to secure the solutions needed to avoid catastrophe and protect the future. It becomes not only your right, it becomes our sacred duty to rebel”.
The demands Extinction Rebellion is making of our government are clear and straightforward:
“We demand the UK government declare a state of emergency, take action to create a zero carbon economy by 2025, and create a national assembly of ordinary people to decide what our zero carbon future will look like.”

1. That the Government must tell the truth about how deadly our situation is, it must reverse all policies not in alignment with that position and must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals and communities need to do.

2. The Government must enact legally-binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions in the UK to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases. It must cooperate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet’s worth of resources per year.
3. By necessity these demands mean an initiative similar to those enacted at times of war. We do not however, wish to hand further power to the Government. Instead, we demand a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee these changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose.
*On 17th November, Extinction Rebellion is calling for a mass gathering at parliament - see you there? 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Rebellion Required...

Why is every day such a fucking struggle? It's not like any activist or campaigner I know is asking for the bad stuff or the impossible stuff or the inhumane stuff. We're protecting the safety and quality of the very stuff we need to survive - our air, water, soil, oceans, creatures. We're trying to keep the dangers at bay. We're trying to fight injustice. We're striving for a safer, fairer world where all the people are heard and heeded- not just those with money/power/influence. What is so wrong with what we are doing? Why does it warrant sustained suppression and attack by State? Why is it the 'norm' for our police force to be used to stop protest and to silence discontent in communities that rise up and question decisions by State? What happens when we're right? REAL CRIMES ARE HAPPENING and being facilitated by those with the power to control our lives through our police force, armed forces, courts, councils. I heard a phase "breathtaking environmental vandalism" and I think it just touches the surface of what the greed of corporates and industry has brought about... what is being committed is ecocide... ...where GENOcide is the 'intentional action to destroy a people'- ECOcide is the 'destruction of the natural environment, especially when deliberate'. And how can what is happening NOT be deliberate? We have the facts, we have the science, we have the evidence, we have the deaths, pollution, environmental refugees, toxic landfills, poisonous industries, impossible to breathe cities, extinctions and increasing shrinkage of green spaces that could help to heal us and our vile air... those with the power to stop the harm, KNOW what is happening just as we do - so YES this IS ecocide and criminals are committing it. WE CAMPAIGNERS/ACTIVISTS ARE THE GOOD GUYS at this time - yes we disrupt, we get angry, we may get worse... but what else can we do but just keep challenging and becoming (as a result) ever-more 'criminal' by our essential actions? No-one has the answers and it'll take a whole lot of us working from the same motivation, to find them. We KNOW the solutions or at least how to ease the harm and create less damaging futures but what we don't know... is how the hell to take back power! ... In our world today it was announced that we humans are responsible for wiping out 60 percent of vertebrate wildlife since 1970. Rising up is essential, to do anything less would be criminal. We may not all agree every item on each other's agenda or the practices each take to achieve goals - the autonomy of activism is essential though to ensure we each only do what we feel is right for us and that there is not responsibility for another's actions. I can't get to the action tomorrow by Extinction Rebellion but offer full support and solidarity to all who do xxx

Punching Police...

On not (yet) punching the police... I watched your face, the glint in your eyes, the upturned lips between smile and grimace, the w...