It’s Our Birthday – Make Us (Vegan) Cake!
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To celebrate our first anniversary, the Bath Bomb has teamed up for an exclusive partnership with the Bristol Evening Post, who are now offering a free Bath Bomb with every issue! Money-grubbing egghead MD Kevin Beatty, of media monopoly Associated Newspapers (proud pro-fascist owners of the Daily Mail, as well as Northcliffe Media - who have been busily buying out every local media outlet they can over the last 5 years and reducing them to the same generic mould) had this to say about the happy union: “…venture capitalism… caviar…tax loopholes…fourth holiday home in the Bahamas…co-opting anything radical and real….” Happy first birthday us! Now, we look eagerly forward to the next year of blandly censoring all opinion, cost cutting, and sacking surplus journos!
Life At Climate Camp
Twelve activists from Bath Activist Network attended this summer's Camp for Climate Action, held from the 3rd-11th August, near Kingsnorth Power Station, in the Hoo Peninsula of Kent. The Camp was not only held in defiance of E-On’s plans to build the UK’s first coal-fired power station for 33 years, but also to suggest alternatives to the lifestyle options provided by state capitalism that damage the earth and its poorest people. The Camp had no leaders; decisions were made collectively and everyone volunteered for jobs that needed doing. Vegan food was prepared using local organic ingredients and eaten communally. It provided its own physical and mental health care, security, independent media (with internet access) and conflict mediation. Grey water filtration systems were used to irrigate the fields, rubbish was recycled and composted and the waste from compost loos will be used by local farmers. The site was powered by wind and solar energy. The technical potential for global wind and solar power exceeds current energy use. Plus, in general, weather that is unfavourable for wind power production is favourable for solar energy and vice versa.
Entertainment was provided in the form of live music, pedal powered sound systems, a cinema, barn dance, vegan cake baking sessions, pirate radio, karaoke and beer! Workshops ranged from education on environmental science to recycled bike part jewellery making and practical feminist self-defence. All in all, a great nine days and well worth getting muddy for.
Hoo Grrrs Wins
B. da Fucha continues our exclusive report: “Not only was the Camp a near-perfect experiment in sustainable living, but was also a launch pad for uncompromising action against the climate criminals. What with the agrofuels industry being responsible for 75% of recent global food price hikes, on Thursday the 7th August, activists blockaded the Vopak biofuels depot in nearby Thurrock, which supplies so-called 'green' companies like Greenergy and Tesco. Elsewhere, during the Camp, there were more banner drops and lock-ons than you can shake an extendable baton at, but here follow just a few:
Actions took place the same day at Gatwick Airport against short-haul flights (139 flights from London to Edinburgh, but only 22 trains); an oil-spattered 'die-in' at RBS' HQ ('The Oil and Gas Bank', who provides $20 million to polluting coal projects such as Arch Coal's Bond villain-esque 'Mountain Top Removal' schemes); and - proving that size isn't everything - in Legoland in Windsor, Lego campaigners scaled and hung a banner from E-On's mini replica power station!
Meanwhile, on Saturday the 9th, to the tune of 60 or so arrests, activists laid siege to Kingsnorth with a three-pronged attack: over water, land, and, apparently, air. 1,000 made their way over roads in a peaceful and family-friendly parade, though restricting crowd control barriers vanished one by one (to onlooking plod's dismay), and there were some minor scuffles due to police brutality. Meanwhile, over the fields, a 200-strong brigade of Green Guerrillas clambered, crawled, waded and leapt their way to Kingsnorth, eventually breaching three rings of fencing (luckily, wily saboteurs had secretly shut the electricity beforehand), facing riot cops, Alsatians and horses. And along the Medway, with 'The Great Rebel Raft Regatta', a motley flotilla of 28 homemade pirate vessels braved the currents, with one craft getting through.
Elsewhere, protesters clambered atop pylons, and occupied Selfridges in London, chained to a banner reading 'Our consumption will fuck us all.' And the next day, shenanigans continued, with the Smithfield's meat market waking to the sight of rooftop messages: 'Fight Climate Change - Go Vegan,' and a squadron of imitation planes educating USAF Mildenhall about the links between climate disaster and military ventures.
At the end of the day, 4 people got into Kingsnorth and disrupted operations, despite the £17 million security/policing budget, and the day was won - and, if they do make the mistake of commencing building work, we will be back, and we will shut them down!”
If E-On is given the go-ahead:
- It will undermine the Government’s commitment to meet European targets for producing 20% of energy from renewables by 2020
- The UK’s chances of meeting the necessary 80% emissions reductions by 2050 will be blown
- The inefficient, centralised energy generation system that's responsible for 2/3s of all the energy within fossil fuels being wasted will be propped up, potentially for another 50 years
- It will emit as much carbon dioxide as the world's 24 lowest emitting countries combined
FFI, check out these two new publications:
Smith, Kevin - Cashing In On Coal; RBS, UK Banks and the Global Coal Industry; available from http://www.carbonweb.org
Fauset, Claire – Techno-Fixes: a critical guide to climate change technologies; available from http://www.corporatewatch.org
QUOTE OF THE MONTH: “I’m not here to fuck about – I’m not here to feed the police hobnobs!”
Policing The Climate Camp
While up to 3,000 people at Climate Camp worked hard to create a peaceful, eco-friendly, educational space, another group in the area were working equally hard to make sure that none of this came to fruition. Normally, it is advisable to ignore the police, view them as a petty distraction and move on, but the (mis)behaviour of the boys in blue at this year's Camp warrants a closer look.
At previous events, the vast majority of police harassment has been focused (entirely unsuccessfully) around preventing direct action and effective protest. This year however, the aim of the police seemed to be to stop the Camp from happening at all. On the first day of setting up, with only 70 protestors present, hundreds of police descended on the site, causing criminal damage, making arbitrary arrests and beatings. They then proceeded to confiscate hundreds of items including water drainage systems, disabled toilets, childrens' crayons, guy ropes, cooking equipment, solar panels and wind turbines. Activists put up a brave and protracted fight that prevented the police from stealing much more. This set the tone for the policing, with tactics ranging from repetitive illegal and intrusive stop and searches, the arresting of innocents (and release straight after Camp without charge; just to clear away protestors), the confiscation of articles ranging from bikes to tents; also, hundreds of riot police routinely attempted to storm the site, using batons, shields and the threat of police dogs, causing numerous injuries (including head injuries to a grandmother and teenage girl, sat at the gate during an attack) almost every morning between 2 and 6am, as well as constant low-level flying over the Camp during the small hours (in violation of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relating to sleep deprivation and mental torture). During one attack, the local MP who was present witnessed such a brutal attack that he lodged several complaints with police high-ups and later declared support for the Camp - he even received a dose of pepper spray to the face from one overzealous copper! It is worth noting that due to determined resistance from campers, the police were successfully kept off site all week, except for that first raid. While refusing to be victims of police brutality, many hardened activists were shocked by the intensity, frequency and sheer unprovoked brutality of police aggression towards the Camp and its inhabitants.
So why were the police so desperate to prevent the campaigners’ message being spread, and why was the emphasis of their operation on disruption of workshops and the general smooth running of the Camp? Two reasons spring to mind. Firstly, the environmental direct action movement, with Climate Camp at its core, has swollen in size and effectiveness over the past few years, and threatens to become a movement capable of making real, radical and lasting change - something the state will never be willing to let happen without a fight. Secondly, climate change is becoming very real to the people of this country. Floods, drastic hikes in the price of fuel and food are all products of government-driven climate change. As such, Climate Camp is gaining a strong social relevance - its criticisms of capitalism increasingly valid and its solutions increasingly tangible. As water levels and recession rise, and discontent and anger start to grow in more and more people, the government (as in New Orleans) respond with greater authoritarianism and social control. They will also defend their crumbling ideology and attempt to violently repress those who show another way.
Despite the police operation being a bungled yet brutal failure, it does set a worrying precedent for political policing, the first signs of a government who, lacking credibility, respect, or answers, turns to violence to protect its increasingly isolated and unpopular agenda.
As well as radicalising the less militant activists present, the police activity also radicalised nearby residents, with one local poll showing 50% of villagers now supporting the Camp.
For a copy of the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU)’s advice for police on how to deal with protesters, see here:
Police assaults during a search: http://www.medwaymessenger.co.uk/news/default.asp?article_id=46009
police stealing bikes: http://blip.tv/file/1149491/
Lawsuits against the police made easy!: http://126.96.36.199/uk.f271.mail.yahoo.com/ya/securedownload?clean=0&fid=Inbox&mid=1_59089_ACW2ktkAAGe7SKP16g3MGjdp7HQ&pid=2&tnef=&prefFilename=suingthepolice.htm&cred=Liy1IXXCscVFc0JQh0o9r3FJcEo3Cltuasu_YRgi8gS1sxTCSf89fxmLQ5lXFFBax1bXeuLBv7NytQfoli4g9qGZzKgDw8pKj9hIjxGArb36Jkkhbg--&ts=1218709236&partner=ymail&sig=JSHCW3uQSwpEnGdyw35J5A--
Much discussion and debate in Kent focused on the very real issue of how the lives of people in the third world are being affected by climate change and how this will be escalated in the future. Whilst for some of us, climate change seems a relatively abstract notion, for much of the majority world it is a daily reality. For many women and girls, their role is primarily that of carer. A speaker during one action at this year's Camp drew listeners' attention to the current situation in India, where progress, which has offered girls opportunities in education, is being counteracted by erratic rainfall, drawing girls away from education and back to domestic roles. As well as this, India's poorest women and girls are often involved in what the UN brands 'climate sensitive' activities, such as paddy cultivation and fishing, meaning that flooding and other catastrophes will put their lives and livelihood on the line.
Despite these setbacks, women are on the front lines in the fight against climate change. For instance, in parts of Bangladesh where farmers face catastrophic flooding which has been increased by climate change, women have adapted their farming methods to cope, including creating floating hyacinth beds and rearing ducks.
GREEN CAMPAIGNERS SAID:
- “If it is serious about tackling climate change, the government must throw out this proposal and promote investment in clean and green alternatives” - Robin Webster, Friends of the Earth.
- Caroline Lucas of the Green Party said the move was a “massive step backwards.” She said “ultimately it's utterly unnecessary, there are other ways of generating energy…it's not difficult to be slightly more efficient than the old power stations…”
- “In the same amount of time and for less money, we could implement an energy system that will do far more to stop climate change and ensure energy security than nuclear or coal-fired power: a combination of renewables, efficiency, and combined heat and power” - Greenpeace
…but that’s enough about so-called ‘experts’ – what do YOU say?
Other Routes Of Change
Climate Camp's all over now, but the 'Roots of Change' day Bath Activist Network put on back in July to promote it, yielded more than just that. We set up, er, camp in the Green Park Market, with stalls to let people know what BAN do and what Camp was all about. We were also joined by Transition Town Bath, Viva! and London Road Food Co-op. There was a beautiful photo-display from last year's Climate Camp and Bath's FreeShop, with loads of people stopping to look and browse. The day really put the message across that there was something for everyone and encouraged people to go at their own pace, changing as much or as little as they liked. Whether plunging in at the deep end with ten days of communal living and non violent direct action at Climate Camp, or paddling in the shallow, but no less important end, by making smaller tweaks to everyday life, embracing ideas such as shopping at a food co op or trying a vegetarian or vegan diet. These changes often lead to more, after all, and too often people get put off making any changes due to a feeling of pressure and lack of support. The other main point is that these changes don't have to be all doom and gloom - changing something and putting something enjoyable in its place is much better than giving something up - enriching our lives rather than diminishing them. I've recently been finding it a very comforting thought that there is an active community of people, often behind the scenes, who are working on green energy alternatives for an uncertain future. There are still improvements to make, but I am constantly impressed by the amazingly dedicated, ambitious and creative people involved in these projects and the improvements they are able to make to anything they lay their hands on, from vegan food to practicalities such as compost toilets. When the shit comes down, we'll be using it as fertilizer.
If I Can't Dance…
On the 5th September at the Porter Butt in Bath, all are cordially invited to a gig fundraiser, benefiting the upcoming Bristol Anarchist Bookfair - more info to follow! Speaking of which, the bookfair takes place on Saturday the 13th September, from 10am til 5pm, at St Werburghs Community Centre, on Horley Road in Bristol. Entry is free, and all are welcome. Oh, and there'll be a vegan caff, too! If anyone wants to help distribute flyers and posters, get in touch: email@example.com.
Monday nights - Bath Hunt Sabs Meeting, 8pm, Bell, Walcot Street
Wednesdays - London Road Food Co-op, 4-7pm, Riverside Community Centre, London Road
Saturdays - Bath Stop The War Vigil, 11.30am-12.30, Abbey Courtyard
Weds 27th Aug-1st Sept - EarthFirst! Summer Gathering, Norfolk, see www.earthfirstgathering.org.uk
Weds 3rd Sept - Bath Animal Action meeting, 7.30-8.30pm, back room of Bell, Walcot Street
Thursday 4th Sept - Bath Activist Network meeting, 7.30-9pm, downstairs of Hobgoblin, St James Parade
Fri 5th Sept - punk benefit gig for Bristol Anarchist Bookfair, 8-11pm, Porter Butt, London Road
Sat 6th Sept - Carnival Against Vivisection march, 12pm, meet opposite Ledbury train station
Tues 9th Sept - Transition Town Bath Open Forum, 7-8pm , Widcombe Social Club, Widcombe Hill
Sat 13th Sept - Bristol Anarchist Bookfair, 10-5, St Werburghs Centre
Sat 13th Sept - Bath FreeShop, 12-3, outside Pump Rooms, Stall Street
Tues 15th Sept - screening of '11th Hour' film, 7.30pm, upstairs The Rummer
Saturday 27th Sept - National Anti Fur march and rally, 12pm, Belgrave square, London, see http://www.caft.org.uk/furmarch/2008.htm
How Many Cops Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?
In answer to this age-old question, let's consider the cop-installed generator, turned off in mysterious circumstances the night following the police invasion of the Camp for Climate Action. Our benevolent state security guards seemed to have a little trouble switching the light back on. It took half an hour and six cops to find the light switch, but hey, I'm sure the country is safe in their hands.
For further info on any of our stories see www.myspace.com/bathbomb
Q: Who Are Bath Activist Network? A: A local umbrella group campaigning on issues as diverse as development, environmentalism, anti-war, animal rights, workers' rights and more. Helping to produce The Bath Bomb, we are open to anyone, and our members range from trade unionists to anarchists, liberals to greens, and people who just want to change Bath for the better. For details on meetings, demos, or just to get in touch, ring us on 07949 611912, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or see our website: www.myspace.com/bathactivistnetwork
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