Sunday, 15 October 2017

6 Years On... "WHY OCCUPY?"

When I was little and I didn't want to do something... I'd sit, cross my legs, fold my arms firmly and simply stop until things changed 

This moment... give or take a minute... exactly 6 years ago is when I physically became an 'activist'. With hindsight ...this may not have been my wisest choice lol! But for all the pain, change and sacrifice... has been the gain, change and reward beyond imagining. The days serve a clearer purpose and the company of others who find themselves headed in this direction is (for the most part) - exceptional... a few anomalies make it terribly draining and difficult but even those serve as fascinating studies on how we interact, what rubs us wrong and the fact that there are some things individually we cannot even begin to tackle. I've also learned though that for all the things I can't do... there is a someone who can and does... that's the beauty of the most brilliant discovery of all - the actual purpose of diversity.

We live much that is 'homogenised' from identical high streets, to working patterns, standardised processes, predictable house design, crafted pathways without a risk of wandering off into unknowns... activism is the opposite of all that. I won't say it's a good life because it's one of facing ugly truths and threats but I believe it an essential choice because all that homogenisation came at a cost and made a mess that's impacting the very stuff of our survival - air quality, water safety and fertile soil.

A couple of days before Occupy London on 15 Oct 2011 outside London Stock Exchange (that ended up through police kettling, on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral)... I wrote about why I was doing it. The blog follows and having just re-read it for the first time for reasons of nostalgia - it's a relief to see that it still reflects my thoughts despite all that has happened since.

As for FRACKING? Well that turned out to be the easiest way to explain 'Occupy' - although I didn't realise it till later. It is symptomatic of the power of industry over government, the willingness to use force against democratic opposition, the inhibition of our human rights, the manipulation of laws for purpose other than justice, the bias of media, the purchasing away of the integrity of our academic institutions and the reckless disregard for individual humans when measured against the demands of the powerful.

What started at the feet of the police blocking our entry from the Stock Exchange... goes on and all that I do, I still consider to be 'Occupy' 

Blog entry FROM 2011:

But what do you hope to achieve?

On October 15th 2011 I will Occupy the London Stock Exchange

"But what do you hope to achieve?"

...I hope to achieve the breaking of a spell.

Those in power (who are abusing it) have only got away with it for so long because they didn’t hear us complain loud enough.

Those in power (who abuse it), imagine that we are so busy scrambling to make a life with the poor quality tools they provide – that we won’t have time to notice just how bloody fabulous life could be – if ‘we the people’ weren’t held in place by the 1% that has the power (and abuses it).

...I hope to achieve power by standing with others.

‘We the people’ are, in all areas of our lives, labelled and then divided by these labels. We are black, white, male, female, gay, straight, graduate, student, christian, muslim, public sector, private sector, yob, youth, unemployed, immigrant, foreigner, expatriate and all the rest.

These labels are used to divide us by the media representation of those labelled and by those in power who make laws based on highlighting the wrong in any one labelled group at any time. There are no good groups or bad groups, no right labels or wrong labels – just an ease of division.

BUT before my label I am first and foremost one of the people who inhabit this earth. I see this in every other human before I see their label and start working out what divides us. I hope we can hold ourselves to this one label so that our sameness unites us and we cannot be divided and conquered (again and again)

...I hope to achieve change.

I want the system of government to change; not just the party and the people. It is the way government abuses the power we give them with our votes and taxes that needs to change. The way politics and business are so entwined needs to change. The priorities of government need to change so they reflect the role as representative of the people and FOR the people - not banks, business, other governments etc. don’t know what this change looks like – but I know it shouldn't be so ugly.

I don’t have answers - I just have questions.

I don’t have solutions – but I have a starting point along with others from the 99% who are stifled by the abuse of power by the 1%.

And I have hope - because I am with those who:
#OccupyWallStreet #OccupyOregon #OccupyBoston#OccupyToronto #OccupyLeeds #OccupyCanada#OccupyAtlanta #OccupyTheHood#OccupyPittsburgh #OccupyPhoenix#OccupyDameStreet #OccupyDublin#OccupySydney #OccupyManchester#OccupyLondon #OccupyLSX #OccupyTucson@occupytaipeitw @occupystaugust @OccupyUP @OccupyWSaParis @occupyseaside #occupywallstreet #takethesquare #otw and so many more too numerous to list.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Bruises at Bedtime...

Just said goodnight to an 85 year old friend who is currently checking her bruises before bed… 

Today for Anne Power– was a sharp contrast to the day before when she sat next to me at the Green Party Conference to be honoured as a ‘Green Hero’ (video: ) for her dedicated and on-going activism for humanity and its future. Anne is quite literally a powerhouse of a woman who is loved and admired by all who know her. She stands strong in her activism against injustice and the reckless harms being done to the stuff of our very survival – our air, our water, our soil and ultimately, all our children’s futures.

The bruises she is checking for were inflicted by police officers outside the fracking site on Preston New Road in Lancashire. Video footage is available
and here:
that will help you see the events in context. She caused no danger, did no harm and was entirely peaceful and yet, she was lifted from her stool and literally dragged, with no support for her feet… across this broad road. Anne uses a stick to walk and a stool to rest and yes, she is feisty and ferociously dedicated but she is always peaceful, eloquent, polite and intelligently analytical – she knows her rights and the laws better than those who handled her like a rag doll today.

Anne retains the honour dignity and strength that her character commands - and those who grabbed at her gentle skin, pulled at her arms till they bruised, caused her shoes to slip with the dragging and dumped her back down – forfeited their humanity today. They should not rest well tonight as sickness and self-loathing should surely overwhelm them from the pit of their stomachs. I cannot conceive of what it takes, what depths you must reach inside – to put on a uniform and manhandle gentle people whose bodies have journeyed long and have fragility.

Each week we have a ‘Call for Calm’ on Wednesdays – women dressed in white conduct a silence at these gates where so much anguish, violence, frustration and anger have played out since 5th January 2017 when Cuadrilla arrived against our Council or community’s wishes. This week will be our Women's Call 12 walk up to the gates to again call for a re-set point in the week – where we stand as the absent mothers and grandmothers of those on this road who cause violence – to call for calm amidst the tensions. It is worth noting that there have been NO incidents of violence BY campaigners on this road – all incidents that have happened have been during police actions.

This week will be hard. Anne is with us each Wednesday and the epitome of what we seek to achieve. I type with tears for my friend – although she’ll say she doesn’t need them and that she’s fine… I know she will pick herself up, dust herself down and simply keep on doing the things that vitally need doing. So maybe I’ll cry for me or for any of the others in this long battle to protect ourselves from harm in a country with a government that shoves it down our throats. I’ll cry instead for the pain and suffering we each endure, each time the police flex their muscles; I’ll cry instead for the lost time that we’ll never get back because this eats it all and I’ll cry because we have to do it at all – that everyday people have to become extraordinary beings in order to keep their children safe from harm – delivered courtesy of their own government.

The night before, at dinner… Anne popped on her tiara from when the Nanas went to Buckingham Palace to implore the Monarch to act more like a concerned grandma and stop the lunacy of fracking… it was a great night and the conference for Anne as well as me, had been hugely inspirational and uplifting… that this is the day that followed not and never will be the actions or dictates of a lawful government or reflective of civilised society.

I do not understand how we can define the world about us anymore - it is alien to all that is natural. I know though that I stand on the right side of the street and I stand with honour because I stand with Anne 

*Beautiful image courtesy of Ros Wills

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Prayer Assembly at PNR 04-10-17

Love the way today went.. from the beautiful start with Women's Call 11 - through to this amazing experience brought by those of faith who came, honoured the Protectors and stood in solidarity, peace and determination with us - the 45 minute video is worth your time... words, songs and glorious people all 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Scotland Bans Fracking

“Fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland”
-Scottish Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse

Summary article linked from the ever-reliable and independent Drill Or Drop?​ - this from the comments sums it up well:

[Fantastic news – congratulations to Scotland for standing up to the oil and gas industry and protecting its citizens. And for all the pro-frackers out there, note that this decision was taken after a thorough review of the current evidence, so please let’s have no more ‘there is no evidence anywhere that fracking is bad’ nonsense. If only the UK government would stop relying on heavily-selective five-year-old reports and review the mountain of current evidence, as Scotland have done, then they may well come to the same conclusion.

Now England is surrounded by countries that either have a permanent ban (Ireland, Scotland, France) or moratoria (Wales, Northern Ireland). And with only 16% of the British public supporting fracking (according to the latest Government WAVE survey), and over 99% of respondents to the KM8 application in Ryedale opposed it, there is clearly no social licence for fracking in the UK either. I can hear the sound of investors phoning their brokers to divest from this unwanted, unsafe and unnecessary industry as I type …]​

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Stockport Stones...

Each meeting I go to, people express a wish to show solidarity with Protectors at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest and a sadness that they cannot be with us when they so support all that is being done - but life, work, children, mortgages, bills, responsibilities, health etc. make it impossible to realistically expect all who wish they could - to somehow find a way to join us....

Recently on a #CallForCalm Wednesday, the women brought small stones with messages on that were placed at the verges to the side of the site entrance - at one point when I was being arrested. I looked down at my feet and there they were... it was strangely comforting and calming; a sense of all of us who come and do what we can. The image here is of this evening's 'Stockport Stones'... each with a name or message.

They're to be taken to PNR and placed with the others, to represent those who would be with us if they could. Think we could encourage others to get there little stones to us and we can begin to see a mountain grow - certainly I'll be asking each time I do meetings now 

It was a wonderful warm welcome at the Stockport Green Party meeting this evening - many thanks to all who came and especially to organiser Camilla Luff who went above and beyond the call by not only getting me back and forth from station and organising stones into a jar... but provided a delicious meal and hospitality too (I may self-invite to a future date lol!) 

*Big grrrrr though to awful rail travel - just 2 coaches on one train that should have been six, we were all so close we merged into one blob of passenger... a cancellation of another train that meant hanging around an extra hour late at night... and finally a bus replacement service - we really need more civilised public transport