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Cowley Club Reopens!

Anarchist | 31.08.2010 02:05 | Culture | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | South Coast

After a successful renovation period the Cowley Club is go again.
Here's a list of events in early September, more info available later on our website.
See you soon!

Basque HST Talk
Basque HST Talk


Wed 1st
• 8pm, Film + live music: Crass documentary - ‘There Is No Authority But Yourself’ + ASBO Retards TBC. £4 donation.

Thu 2nd
• 7-9pm: Brighton Greenpeace meeting. In the back building. Every 1st Thur. All welcome.
* 7-8.30pm: Talk and discussion about Basque HST - Free, details below.
• 8pm: Evening meal in the bar. £3.50.

Sat 4th
• 10am onwards: Brighton Free School - day of free practical workshops. With vegan cake and coffee. Every first Saturday of every month.
• 7-11pm, Gig: Lack of Joe, Sack-less Jack, Black Ops (hardcore punk). Donations to Cowley.

Mon 6th
• 6.30pm: Cowley Club General Meeting

Tue 7th
• 7pm, Film: ‘Carefree Vacant Property’. Film about the phenomenon of ‘antisquatting’. Followed by a discussion with the film-maker. Free/donation.
• 7.30pm: South Coast Climate Camp meeting. Every Tue. All welcome.Tue 3rd
• 7.30pm: South Coast Climate Camp meeting. Every Tue. All welcome.

More info on the Talk and discussion about Basque HST -

Thursday · 19:00 - 20:30

In a last minute addition, we have a Basque activist on an infotour around the UK doing his last talk of the tour at the Cowley. The topic is the Basque High Speed Train Campaign.

A Basque activist speaks about the campaign to stop the High Speed Train and what that means: Destruction, energy waste, money waste, CO2 emisions, Impact on small agriculture and economies etc.

This will be followed by the evening meal at 8!

For more info, read on -

Campaign against the High Speed Train (HST) in the basque Country

the campaign against the High Speed Train in the basque Country started almost 20 years ago. This is a project very difficult to materialise here due to the orography: loads of mountains, becuase the railway requires same level and to be straight.

The only way is buiding loads of viaducts/bridges, leveling up valleys and digging loads of tunnels. This makes the project very expensive too: nearly 24 million euros x km of railway!!!
And a very big bussiness specially for the construction companies which , since the crises, have this as the main source of profit. Like everywhere else we witnness here a collution between those companies and the parties in power. The latest crises in S'pain, following the collapse of the Greek economy, meant the IMF's intervention and as a consequence the halt of most of the infrastructure construction to save 1,200 M €. In the Basque Country however, politicians rushed to say that the HST would be finish. Works here persist. The HST will mean a cost of 4790 € per Basque citizaen. And together with this, they announced the rise of their costs, 260 M € more (!!!) in the Gipuzkoa part (San Sebastian). Because of this, because of the crisis (system) affecting so many and so badly, the level of this irresponsible waste is been understood by more people.

Obviously this has turned into a 'matter of state', like many other similar projects (Lemoiz nuclear power, Itoitz dam, Leizaran motorway) because the movement againt the HST (TAV in spanish/ AHT in Basque) has gained huge support. This support is articulated among others (libertarians, greens, etc) by the Basque left which includes the separatist left. Therefore, the project has got mixed up with the Basque conflict.

So the works keep up while the opposition to, though we already feel the effect of their advance, and obviously, therir brainwashing and repression. The propaganda from media and the state aparatus is huge, with massive summed spent on this. The repression huge too. The last years has seen a new kind of repression in the Basque Country where belonging to a party or group or media accused of having suddern ideas was enough to be accused of terrorsim, being tried at the National Hearing Court of madrid which deals with terrorism cases, under anti-terrorist law and therefore being held incommunicado during detention and afterwards, up to five years in prison without trial under 'preventive imprisonment'. Same policy has been transferred to one of the most popular campaigns and continuation of a long tradition of environmental resistance in the Basque Country. After Basque police charged brutally against marchers in Urbina, a few demonstrators were arrested. The regional Home Department (under PNV's control at the time) then attempted to send these to Madrid to the High Court as they were terrorists!! Even the High Court - known as we said for its willingness to try any Basques without proved crimes and known for allowing torture against many- refused this. However many other activists have been called to be tried in Madrid acused of terrorism. This accusation is based on the basis that ETA denounced the HST, included it among its aims and killed on 2nd December 2008 constructor Iñaki Uria. Therefore, the Spanish government, teh basque regional one and the police and courts deal with peaceful activists as they also were ETA - as we say, this is the way 'new democracy 'is applied in the Basque Country. As a result an activist who held a banner was accused of such and taken to Madrid, another one who climbed a tree with another banner too, two activists who hunged in atree with another one too and two demonstrators who graffittied a tram too, or even the mayor of a village where a consultation about the HST took placed (he did not even organized it!)... In the same way apossers are punihed with huge fines - the aim: to try to put them away, to keep people away from the movement, etc

However, apart from all this, we have many reasons to oposse this big project being the environmental destruction one of the main ones. As we said, this project will require a whole new railway. This is a saturated land due to high industralization and a huge road system (S'pain has the longest motorway network in Europe!!). But as we also said, these projects are the solution for concret and construction firms. As well as the High Speed Train technocrats and business men plan MegaPorts like the one in Pasaia (Jaizkibel), power stations, power lines and ring roads which double the existing motorways. The latest one was inaugurated this week meaning more road knots, more viaducts and mainly more land slice. Meanwhile others like the S√∫per Sur or the Eibar-Gasteiz are still under construction.

The HST will mean more of that, many tunnels which will mean extraction of land and valleys filled with it as it has already happening. Also many viaducts - incredibles amount of concret: estimate of 4 million Tones. For these purpose there is also a huge plan of quarries which is going to hole Basque mountains: 115 new quarries just in the West Basque region (plan between 2004-2014)!!! In a surface of 2,793.1 sq miles!!

In fact, it's already quite holed!

The other matter is to do with the concept itself: the project does not belong to a transport plan itself. There is not an analisys of how to improve public transport - aclaration: HST is built with public transport but is/will be an elitist transport. therefore, before tackling the public transport lacks we have a huge amount of money invest in something else which... is it a prority? The HST so far will link 4 major cities of a region with many towns in between. Many people will have to use still the existing net, moving to one of the main cities in order to go to another one (like now...) because that train... goes so fast that won't even stop in his/her town. Is that any good? The other thing is that while local politicians were so adamant in a HST the rest of the network is still not clear it will happen.

The resistance against the project is huge with loads of protest but also non violent direct action and quite a lot of sabotage. Camps like the one starting next week wich will be the 15th, occupaion of emptied houses, woods, or even nearby quarries. Another sector whom is very opossed is the agriculture one, having to say that agriculture in this affected side of the Basque Country is a low schale one, based in family production and marketed almost directly through local markets, littly mechanised and diversified, mainly due to the orography and also to other culture and history factors. But mainly a quiet weak social sector. The HST is another attack against their low economy as land will be seized from them, and they depend of it to survive. The HST will also cut accesses, fields, making more difficult the work of the fields.

In fact: HST will divide many locations and mainly it will empower the already big cities. It has been demonstrated that a model focused in big nucleus is not sustainable. Not healthy either. Small communities, spread in geography, with agriculture and services provided within the same area is the kind of model that we should be promoting. The model we have (well: reducing quite a lot polluting/unhealthy industry, saturated areas, private transport dependency, etc) now and not the one HST and the one their new Eurocity (San Sebastian-Bayonne)(1) proposes.

A HST in the basque Country also rises issues related to the energy it requires. These trains consume like planes. The energy comes from power stations. In the last years several Combined Cicle Power Plants have been built in the Basque Country and there are plans for more of them. This is new business. As an anti-HST activist pointed out, they are the HST Garages (among other things). In a country without fuel resources and little renewable energy (the Navarre area has got quite a lot proportionally) to promote a project like the HST means more energy dependency, more natural disasters elsewhere and therefore more ecological debt. Much of the gas used in these plats comes from Trinidad and from Nigeria, a country which is an environmental and social hell itself due to oil and gas extraction. We must add to this the contribution to climate change that this will mean and also our carbon debt.

This project belongs then to a bigger picture of big infrastructures, energy production and public spend. Together with the building of many more power plants which have caused big opossition (so were the campaigns in Zornoza and Castejon, the lemoiz one before, milestone of Basque ecologism) now we have the follow ups: big power-ways, the lines taking al those watts somewhere else, and with that aim there is more land seizure and more environmental damage.

That opossition has been articulated. Among their activities they have organised consultations in all the agffected villages being the result totally against this project. So were the results in the consultations against the power plant of Zornotza. So were those ones at the many consultations celebrated in villages and towns affected by the HST: Anoeta, Aramaio, ... In that sense, we also have to report the lack of democracy as many of this consultations have been even banned or even like in the case of the mayor of Aramaio, he has even been tried by

As the construction advances other problems surface to do with the effect on the land. These are mainly related to landslides and aquifers. The construction is happening in some quite unestable areas and as a consequence of tunnel diggings o soil removal some areas have collapsed, being the main one the landslide at Aramaio. This one covered the main access to this town with tones of soil and caused big trouble to locals who had to used other little access, meaning several road accidents. The landslide happened on 21st january and has not been cleared yet. Aother one happened at Zornotza. The Itsasondo area is very unestable area too as it was a mining area. From the underground research due to be done, constructors only made one.

The problems with the aquifers are many as the Basque HST crosses many Karstic areas. On one side it affects the environment and farmers as they provide water for their needs and fields/animals from them. On the other, they are big risks for the railway itself as many tunnels are included in the project. We have councils ordering their own researchs as those responsible for the construction (institutions, construction companies) haven't done so. Or we also have farms who are left without water neither for the inhabitans nor for the plants/animals. Some had water taken to them by tank after being left with non.

Because of this and much more we are actively campaigning. We won't give up!!

This is neither the only campaign against HST. In Italy a big campaign has been on for long time in the Susa Valley, the Sagnore Valley, which gas even achieved to pospone the project for years. this year the gov tried to start it again, but there they were all the activists in the snowed Alps valley to stop them again. Appart from the opposition in the Basque side (+ Landes, Aquitaine), there also many campaigns in the French state: Bretagne, Gironde, Garonne, Loire, Poitou and Limousin, South Rhône and Centrel Pyrénées valleys. In the Spanish state there is some opossiotion in Asturies and Cantabria. The High Speed Train belongs to the European project for high speed transport. To add to all the big airports and roads, cheap flights pumping up tones of CO2 in the air with the only purpose of getting fater, linking the big cities and keeping us moving. Estimulating the capitalist system without stopping, that is the aim of neoliberal capitalism, the same one which has got us into this financial, environmental and energy crises. The same aim they still keep pursuing. The aim we try to challenge.

Following the Joint Declaration signed by different European anti-HST Campaigns and presented at the EU and at the Mobility and Transport Coference of Zaragoza

(1)  http://www.espaces-transfrontaliers.org/en/conurbations....html
eurocity.net (www.eurocite.org, www.eurohiria.org)

Web pages:
Assambley against HST (anticapitalist/ anitdevelopment):  http://sindominio.net/ahtez

Stop the HST!Net (Elkarlana) (Net of different organizations, unions, etc opposing HST - includding the previous one): www.ahtgelditu.org


Joint Declaration of European anti-HST Campaigns, January 23, 2010.

This declaration was worked out by associations and movements of various Member States of the European Union (France, S'pain, Italy) which fight against the construction of new HSR lines (High Speed Railway) and great capacity lines dedicated to fast freight , and which have gathered today to join their forces and to make their voices louder and stronger, since the problems that they are facing are the same everywhere.
The opposition will therefore surpass the local frame to become European.

We, citizens , associations and movements of various states (Italy, France, S'pain) in our fight against the projects of HSR and great capacity lines dedicated to fast freight

Confirm that:
- These projects constitute an ecological, socioeconomic and human disaster for the territories they cross: destruction of natural spaces and agricultural lands, a new barrier of harmful effects and degradation of the environment with important negative impacts for the residents;
- These projects are unable to lead to the participation of the population in decision processes.

We denounce the opacity with which the governments and the administrations act before the deep social malaise, and their scorn of the arguments and proposals of the citizens;
- the official justification for the construction of these new lines is constructed systematically resorting to false hypotheses about the traffic and the socioeconomic yield, as well as to an underestimation of the costs of accomplishment in order to "sell" better a project whose real utility has not been demonstrated; on the contrary, numerous studies have proven the non relevance of these projects in economic and social terms (Essig Reports in Britain, Bermejo in Southern Basque Country, Citec in Northern Basque Country, Brossard 1998 and Ponts et Chaussées 2003 in the Rhone-Alps, Cahiers of the Technical Observatory of the Lyon-Turin in Italy - Italian organization), as well as the reports of the French and Italian Courses of Accounts;
- the priority granted to the HSR is done, with a colossal cost, to the detriment of the traffic of proximity and of the priority in the maintenance and development of the existing railway networks, which are neither maintained nor optimized so as to develop a transport of freight that would irrigate the territories and a public service of transport accessible to all;
- The construction of the HSR falls under a perpetual search for great infrastructures (motorways, enlarging of the airports, super-ports…) and is contrary to the concept of sustainable development. We oppose the aberrant expansion of transport provoked by the globalized capitalism, and which does not allow a uniform local development, but on the contrary supports abnormal concentration of the traffics and productions and a wild delocalization.

We demand that:
- the European Commission and the European Parliament as driving force of the transport policies of medium and long distance in the European Union start a reflexion on the nonsense and unnecessary character of these great infrastructures (HSR, motorways, enlarging of the airports, super-ports…) and a major revision of the strategy of the EU as regards European transports (TEN-T, Trans European Networks – Transport);
- the Governments of France, Italy and S'pain stop immediately the construction work and projects of HSR to undertake a real uniform public debate on a European scale on the model of transport, territorial planning and organisation of our society that underlie this unrestrained development of HSR lines.

We claim that solutions are to be sought in:
-> the regeneration, maintenance and optimization of the existing lines, which is the most acceptable alternative solution from an environmental point of view, and with much lower financial costs than the construction of new lines, and which corresponds to the implementation in France of article 1 of the Grenelle Environmental law of August 3, 2009 (solution also recommended in the “White Book” by Delors);
-> the decrease of transports, together with a major transformation of the economic and social model, particularly by giving priority to proximity and to relocalizing the economy;
-> the restitution, as a last resort, of the capacity of decision to the most directly affected populations, foundation of an authentic democracy and local autonomy in front of an imposed development

- Homepage: http://cowleyclub.org.uk


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