Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Spirit leveling… a bubble toss

“So you decided to become an Activist then?”
“But you’re an Activist!”
“Yes that bits right but I never ‘decided’, it wasn’t like there was any choice in the matter. Once I knew the danger coming for our children, I couldn’t UNknow it, couldn’t just walk away, go home, get back to everyday life and put my trust in the bloody system that brought the life-threatening industry to the doorstep... to keep us safe from it! There was no out-door, this is purely and simply an obligation I can’t escape. I’m an Activist because it’s essential… but I’d rather be dancing and finding joy.”

-When you’re watching the development of a literally life-threatening industry in your back yard and it’s legal… you question the justice of law.

-When the government tells you you’re getting the life-threatening industry and lies that it won’t hurt anything and the children are safe… you question the integrity of state.

-When the media throws out headlines implying that the person you stand beside, protecting your community is a dangerous ‘extremist’… you question the intent of this form of media.

-When the bosses of the life-threatening industry climb into bed with your Chambers of Commerce, educational institutes and some local Councillors… you question the point of democratic process or any bloody process.

-When enough local people and enough cause for concern finally means that the local Council sees sense and stops the life-threatening industry, only to have that decision overthrown by central government… you question the point or validity of our ‘democracy’.

And that’s the thing that we become… the ones who question everything.

We realise the ease with which we’ve been fed lies and react by disbelieving more than we should… mistrusting too much because we’ve lost faith in all the structures that once seemed in place. Even if we already had doubts and criticisms… nothing prepares you for the mess you uncover when you peel back the media-myth of ‘reality’ and start seeing just how ugly the truth can get.

There are lows that take the wind out of you… times when you just weep for what needs sorting and what it means if we don’t sort it all; what we bequeath our children if we fail. Not just fracking either - that’s just one particularly huge and obvious symptom – there’s all the realisations that come with opposing fracking: the lies of media, the abuses of our legal system to serve corporate control and profit , the corruption of our system of government that seems subordinate to corporate greed, the powerlessness of the citizen, the failure of the imagined safe-guards to live up to expectation, the use by state of police to protect the ‘bad guys’ rather than protect the community they’re supposed to keep safe, the prioritisation of ‘the economy’ over other considerations like healthy children and futures where they have safe air and water… and sadly, so much more.

There’s a lot to do and because we know it was possible for our children to be put directly in harm’s way by our government… we question what else has been done? What else has been passed or will come to pass? Facing what has become of the world around us, starts dark and heavy.

Activism is not for the faint-hearted – it tears apart all you believe and leaves you raw. We all have rage about this industry but as the bosses aren’t there in front of us to shout at, the rage can fly in the wrong directions. There have been harms along the way and losses, those who are broken by the fight or are affected mentally; becoming paranoid and quick to accuse. Trust suffers most I think, as we constantly look for the lies, look for the plants and spies, look for the truth so intently.. we miss it clouded in too much doubt.

Life keeps on happening to all of us at the roadside and beyond in this (and other) movement but we’re in no position to deal with it in the way we once did. Finding balance in life is difficult… the finding of time and place for when you can fit in family, work, friends, grief, joy, income-generation, self-care etc and as for future planning – that just doesn’t exist anymore as all is at the whim of this demanding fight. We all deal with the challenges differently.

Amidst the awful – it feels important to take time to see the gains, the good stuff and the wins along with the shiny bits: the way strangers can unite, the way self-empowerment makes people beautiful, the breaking down of social boundaries, the trashing of preconceived notions and judgements, the variety of amazing minds that come with the territory, the way some blossom with purpose after realising that they CAN do something and not just be a victim, the surprise of what you learn from the quietest voices you’d never have heard under any other circumstances…

...the beauty is in the faces of the ‘heroes’ and they don’t wear tights or have letters on their chests; they’re fighting in council chambers with words and wisdom, they’re on top of trucks with honour and bravery, they’re drafting legal challenges and positions so we can get better justice, they’re up night and day informing press so the story doesn’t die, they’re on shifts in the cold noting every move the life-threatening industry makes, they’re knocking on doors informing one person at a time or talking in halls to many… the only common denominator amongst us, is intent. We ALL intend on stopping fracking and that is our pact, our bond and our unifier.

I sometimes get accused of being too soft (other times of being too harsh lol!) and I do question whether I’m any good at being an activist when I find it so hard to hate anyone and keep finding reasons to smile amidst it all. Maybe love is the drug that wrecks the rage of activists? I think it’s all we need to begin the healing and as activism is voluntary and autonomous… I’m going to go on doing it this way for the sake of keeping my spirit level.


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

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