Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Dear Prime Minister...

Sent to Theresa May
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Dear Prime Minister,
About the fracking of our country – we really need to talk. Currently there is a daily nightmare unfolding on Preston New Road in Lancashire; relieved only by the beauty of watching a community come together in defense of its young. For more than six years now your party has sought to inflict this dangerous industry on innocent residents and for more than six years now, those residents have pulled together and grown and stopped you every step of the way.
Each year the industry promises ‘full production within the year’ and each year I mark another that the UK remains frack free. You have gifted this industry subsidies and tax breaks as well as adapting laws to fit this industry’s needs. You have walked all over local democracy where councils said no and worked with clearly manipulative reports to fake safety. You are a disgrace and positively criminal in what you are willing to do to us and our children.
It’s NOT WORKING! We aren’t going to give up or give in – we read the same evidence that all those other more wise governments did that then banned it. What are you ignoring, that they saw… and why? Day in day out I have journeyed these years of resistance and seen your government flounder at every turn – whilst we flourish in ever greater number, beautiful creativity and strengthened bonds. You are not one for plans it seems so I see the pointlessness of this question regarding our situation in Lancashire right now… that’s been going on since 5th January 2017.

What’s the plan then?

We keep jumping on the trucks, blockading the routes, gaining support with wide-reaching campaigns and non-violently clawing back our right to peaceful protest and you? Via your police force, you dangerously run the trucks ever faster to evade us, throw more and more police into our blockades to tear us from them, use trained police as body-guards for trucks and security guards for gates (no wonder you didn’t approve a payrise for them – you don’t value them) and continue to find ways to make our lives ever more difficult with countless, pointless (soon to be thrown out of court) arrests – more restrictions on parking to keep us further from where we need to be and deny the right of those less able to reach us. You force propaganda through the old-world press (thankfully we counter with alternative media). As plans go – this one really sucks.



So really… let’s talk about a Plan B.

Tina Rothery

Orchestral Maneuvers at PNR...

Had to take a few hours of pause away from Preston New Road… re-charging all that is running low on what’s needed to proceed; from phones and laptops, to self. I haven’t caught up with changes since I left before lunch – there were still four mighty truck surfers holding trucks back from their chores and a lock-on was cut out at the gate as the Women's Call 2 welcomed newcomers to these ways of protecting all that matters – becoming the Protectors. Just heard too that the afternoon lock-ons are in place 

We’re still awkward and it's not easy - each group or small cluster or even individuals... plan and execute actions in secrecy for obvious reasons... leading others to wonder if enough is being done... just before another thing happens and it's clear that more is being done than was known. Then there are longer-term goals being met by others through 'build-up' actions that aren't clear either. We're getting better every day at what we do – new techniques and the ability to better co-ordinate are the gifts we receive from each other at the roadside… Reclaim The Power playing a much needed role this month in rallying and equipping residents and groups here - faith in our own ability to succeed is growing.
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Our Tune...

There’s a soundtrack to this world that’s emerging from the side of a road in Lancashire and countless other places of resistance... the music, made up of the note each of us strikes. Not just the humans but the apparatus we use in our resistance…

-the rapid clunk, thump, screams, shouts and urgency as a lock-on action falls into space and locks into place to prevent the passage of those who would harm our community

-the hush, distraction in the distance and roaring whoop of rejoicing as a truck surfer surges up the vehicle to hold it back from its treacherous task

-the whispers, silence and song of a harmony of women in white as they call peacefully for calm to come to soften the crash-bang-whollop of what feels like a battle zone and create the opportunity for newcomers to more softly enter

-the background (virtual) hum as images, videos, letters, research, petitions and sharing rise and fall, spread and sprawl to shift knowledge, awareness and truth around a web of connections and beyond

-the anthemic roar of a march that passes beneath a tunnel to echo a tuning tone that gets us all reverberating with the same note in one mighty moment in unison

The Orchestra of us is creating the soundtrack that will be continued by our children and theirs… composed of our many parts and dedicated hearts.

A soloist is lovely for a while but introduce orchestral backing, focus in on the beauty of the strings, the boom of the percussion, the flutiness of the flute… and the song of the unity of us, begins to become magnificent.

Our diversity takes a while to find its harmony when new notes arise but we settle… in time; to find where we and our own particular note fit in. No single instrument, sound or tone matters more but each can have their moments or join with others to raise the volume, before falling back into the rhythm section or take a poignant pause for breath…

It’s not easy to explain sometimes why a Women’s Call matters as much as a lock-on or a slow walk – but it does. It brings soft notes once absent, to the song and we need all the notes if we are to succeed.

Long may we make beautiful music together 

ps… we haven’t even heard the single transformative note of the symbol yet 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Day 139 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 139 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were over 200 in number and bountiful with the vegetables and fruits of our lands as we honoured the food growers in their stand against fracking. The day was incredible… though early violent incidents by police marked its start… and lies and deceit by police marked its close. We though stopped work on the site, closed it down for the day and held our gathering in the entrance with picnic benches, music system, speakers, fine food, entertainment, dancing and joy – under the watchful though entirely still view of the standing police who took no action against us during the events. The ending though was sour… although the good people tally on success, far far outnumbers the frackers nonetheless.
So it’s a thing when you become an ’activist’ to know what and who you are at times. Our lives before activism… the lessons, learning, manners, traits and rituals of the worlds we each grew up in, are all still there but the circumstances in which we now find ourselves – are no longer always appropriate places for the things about us that once were. Our kindness, our trust, our consideration, our empathy, our respect… are even brought into question.
As today drew to a close, the site workers asked if they could be allowed to return to their families and after the police relayed this message to ask if we would move aside to let them out… we took a vote. The vast majority of good people said yes – those few that didn’t were proved right in their scepticism. We voted to let the workers go but NOT the trucks … at this point I had to leave but livestream and reports show that as the gates opened – the two trucks came out before workers and yes – we were lied to. Some of our Protectors are angry and some are hurt – depends I think on how jaded you were to begin with. I don’t feel the incident mattered in the scale of stopping fracking – two empty trucks leaving is nothing and we’re still not any closer to fracking as a result of their departure. What matters though is that on camera and face to face… the police lied to us and we will hold this to be a lesson.
On a personal note – I voted to allow the workers to leave (but NOT the trucks) and even though the police lied… have no self-recrimination as I acted from my human kindness; sadly now I will perhaps use less of it in the future and that’s another sad loss from my life by this industry and all that propels it. Some worry that we appear foolish for taking the decision we did – I think we acted with honour and humanity.

…but lesson learned. Crazy, busy times ahead. See you at the roadside?

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Day 137 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 137 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people never waver, rarely falter, always turn up and remain, despite intense and prolonged provocation… non-violent. I had to have time out this past two weeks for visits South where I got to tell our stories and receive huge support and solidarity… thank you Seed Festival and Fraktured Psyche - 6th Edge of the Wild Ecopsychology gathering for incredible experiences and memories now being shared here. Time is not as measurable or reliable as you'd expect it to be; when I returned… it was like when you haven’t seen a youngster for a while and they suddenly seem to have shot up; at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest, the good people at the appear taller, wiser, leaner, quicker, more robust and resilient and never have they appeared more determined. Coming ‘home’ brought added confidence in our ultimate success. Although there is a harsh note to add: that intense and prolonged provocation also grew and is darker and more menacing.

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So it is that the unthinkable is becoming ‘normal’ and despite NO violence from Protectors, we find ourselves listening to the sound of vicious dogs, surrounded by police that far out-number us and amidst over-pumped, agitated, untrained security guards who laugh as they flaunt the law and refuse to show their ID badges the correct way round or at all. Today ranks as one of the worst for ugly scenes as a Protector in a Wheelchair was thrown to the road and the incident, followed swiftly by outright lies from Fylde Police – the video footage from Louise Robinson shows all too clearly the stark reality as the chair is surrounded and with a hand on the back of the chair and one at the end of the arm of the chair, it is toppled backwards and the Protector left on the floor. The statement by Police claims they were trying to save him. Outright lies… from police – they don’t act with honour and then fail to show any redemption with honesty.

This month of ‘an action a day’ has been an outstanding masterpiece of dedication and commitment from incredible Protectors who have joined us at the roadside and in our camps…Reclaim The Power have not simply added to our numbers… they brought with them the knowledge we needed to get better organised; along with the creativity, warm solidarity and humanity needed to establish trust.

Horizontal movements comprised of willful, stubborn Protectors who are driven to lead this demanding life, are not exactly a doddle to sort. We are as diverse as it’s possible to be but the gift of this mass of differences merging… is that within our movement, we contain all of the skills we didn’t even know existed. For every task, someone will understand it… for every action, someone will have creatively thought it up or engineered it skilfully or participated in it honourably… we are many, we are varied and we are - in our entirety - outstandingly beautiful to behold… but still bloody difficult to co-ordinate! Reclaim the Power somehow have this as their skill… they arrive and work hard and that gets respect and co-operation.

I nearly broke when I filmed the brutality and vile behaviour of the police who threw the Protector from his wheelchair today… but only nearly. I got a clear sense of what it will be, when I truly cannot contain my outrage. I am more than just non-violent by nature (I literally can’t harm even flies) I do all I can to avoid violent confrontation… but as a mother and grandmother, I am of course aware that if someone looked to be about to cause harm to a child, I would act in whatever way was necessary to prevent it… today I looked at my dear and much admired friend as they toppled him from the chair – and my mother/grandmother fire sparked like a fuse box igniting… dark days but the Protectors shine ever brighter by contrast. Thank you to all who endure, share solidarity, support, feed and nurture this movement. See you at the roadside? 










Monday, 10 July 2017

EVENT Wednesday 12 July 2017 #CallForCalm

Nana call out to ALL women... we need you to bring the power of our sisterhood to confront the violence being endured by the peaceful sons and daughters of other mothers... and to shame those who harm them.
WEDNESDAY 9:30am-11am at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest #CallForCalm
The violent handling of peaceful Protectors by security and police at the gates to the growing fracking site on Preston New Road in Lancashire, is increasing. From appallingly dangerous and aggressive driving by suppliers, to heavy-handed policing and untamed security guards lashing out - we have borne this without resorting to violence in return.

We call on women to come and be representative of the mothers and grandmothers of those wo are part of this violent scene - this action is to demand safety for our peaceful Protectors, for a calming of the aggression by authorities and to recognise our human rights to protest. We will stand together in a period of silent protest to be the calm we wish to see and following this, have messages from other women who are facing the same challenges across the world, in their fight to protect the children from the dangers brought by industries like fracking. The event is for just a couple of hours to enable maximum availability for those with carer responsibilities, school-runs and jobs to consider... hoping that if you join us, we can make our stand as many. We will be alerting media and releasing a statement so would like to produce good imagery to go with it - if you can WEAR WHITE, it would enhance this. Nothing more is required other than your presence... we will have yellow ribbon to bind our solidarity and spend some time in silence and the rest in speaking out if we choose. Come feel the unity and be part of this call for the humane treatment of Protectors and respect for the non-violent way that all have conducted themselves at this site since 5th January 2017. Checklist if you're coming: -Arrive by 9:30am -Finish around 11am -Wear white clothing -Bring your words & your silence -Bring a female friend EVENT PAGE here: Women's Call
***If you CAN'T make it... please take a photo of yourself in support and add it to the event page HASHTAG (to add onto your photo): #CallForCalm Hosted by Nanashire & RAFF - Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Day 125 in the Cuadrilla House...




Day 125 in the Cuadrilla House... and the good people are bleeding, bruised and under attack - though not broken, never broken as the worse it gets - the tougher we grow. All though at the gates is atrocious and getting worse. Violence escalating by police, site staff and security staff (NEVER by Protectors! Never.). We are being brutally assaulted and are abandoned by all official bodies, government and opposition. Promises that this is the most important issue in Lancashire in the run up to the election are not followed up with actions. Words and deeds need to match and they bloody matter now. Help us please.




So it is that this morning a peaceful elder, a woman in a wheelchair has remained in position for over 30 hours at the gates to the Cuadrilla fracking site that’s under development just outside Blackpool in Lancashire. She’s been ‘locked on’ (her right arm locked into a heavy barrel padded and weighted with bitumen/cement etc) for more than a day and a night as I write this on a rainy Tuesday morning. I wish she wasn’t doing this… I know it is needed and that we benefit from her sacrifice but I care about her and as all of us who do… we can’t bear to see her suffering and directly in harm’s way. I understand a bit better at times like this, why it is that for many of us, our family and friends get angry and ask us to stop; they don’t want to be part of this fear, anguish and violence – they don’t want to spend sleepless night wondering what pain or risk we’re in. They don't want all this ugly that steals everything else.
All of us who were part of the actions yesterday that saw 13 local residents ‘lock on’ are in pain today for what we saw the good people go through. There were tears from some, as after stealing time to rest… I returned to find such cruelty had happened whilst I had been in safe comfort. We all feel guilt at not being with those at the gates, whenever we’re not the ones at the gates. None of us is the key ingredient but we’re all acutely aware that this takes ALL of us and ALL the time if we're to hope to stop this dangerous industry and protect each other.
Down-time is never restful, it's fraught with concern for what we’re NOT doing. I feel lucky that throwing words out is like exorcism in some ways for me… I shape my thoughts, package them and feel an overview that I don’t have when I’m in the middle of this whirlwind… I wonder how other Protectors sort their heads? This pressure day in and out, night in and out – is heavy and all encompassing. When we step back to the world of family or daily life – the contrast is stark. I feel reluctant to dare to enjoy love, life and pleasures because it makes what we have to do, all the more ugly and cruel. Stolen moments that lead to stolen days, weeks and now years – these moments of anguish that are our lives, have stolen too, the time that would have been marked with joy, laughter, friends, family, nature, pleasure. I'm angry - so bloody angry.
The phrase ‘it doesn’t have to be like this’ is in my head but it IS like this, it IS brutal, it IS unjust, it IS dangerous, it IS hurting people every day and I’ve seen this time and again at anti-fracking actions across the country (and via media, the world) for six years now. It IS this way and although it shouldn’t be… it just plain IS. People ask ‘But ifs…’ or ‘Surely there must be…’ or ‘Maybe you need to…’ are not in the middle of the complete abuse of law and order, disregard for people’s safety and complete abuse of a community that I and others are. There are no mitigating circumstances that will allow me to forgive the police who this morning allowed and facilitated by their absence of intervention – the brutal, blood-drawing attack on the peaceful men and women of our community.
Peaceful citizens in a public pavement area beaten up in daylight by security guards in full view of police – to those police who were there, you are complicit and should in all conscience quit now… give up the role you are failing. You don’t have the guts required to police innocent people who depend on you to keep them safe. Go. You are not worthy of a uniform or rank – let the job go to someone who will act for justice not on instruction dictated through a senior, by a private company – that’s not policing, that’s being in the mafia – in this incidence you're not even being the paid thug… you’re being paid to turn away and ignore law-breaking – you are NOT a police officer. It’s like a doctor being paid to ignore life-threatening injuries
It IS this way and if we don’t act to change it – then the ‘way it is’ in the future, will be worse as what now seems so shocking, becomes everyday - as it is for us. If we don't seize back our rights and genuine democracy, what will our children and grandchildren be seeing when they say the words… ‘It shouldn’t have to be this way’?
My life gifts me strangers… lots and lots of unknown people from unknown places, with unknown life stories and ways of being… the usual ways we measure our feelings about fellow humans, are not applicable in places of conflict and resistance, as ‘normal’ life circumstances are not seen ie: where and how people and their loved ones live… so we measure trust and relationship development only by words and deeds. My love and admiration for Michelle and all who tread this path with good intent, with no concern for personal gain, without ego and FOR all of us – is unexplainable because it is a pure emotion that can only be felt and never described – words fail this sort of love.
Please let us see you soon 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Day 124 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 124 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people have grown in number, stature and determination; coming through from a winter start on 5th January, we find ourselves experiencing an unexpected summer. Reflecting from Day 1 to this, I see now an actual cultural shift about us; the way we act, the way we treat each other and are treated, what priorities have changed and where our boundaries have been pushed or pulled to shape the changing of the days… and I see this in all at the roadside. This isn’t happening just to we Protectors… there’s a shift to in the lives and ways of workers and police too. Each at PNR is in the end just a lone individual trying to find their place in this puzzle not of our making. There’s an absurdity to every day too that can bring laughter or tears of frustration, it’s ludicrous that perfectly everyday adults find themselves here, doing these things… and yet we rise and go on because for us, there is no end till this industry ends.



So it’s no longer possible to mark the days by mere truck movements or Pop Up Protests or even that this counting method is relevant anymore… I started by numbering the days of protest at the working site so it was Mondays to Fridays but now, we have night shifts and weekend work too. It’s all up in the air and everyone’s got really good at thinking on their feet – we don’t always get it right and in fact ‘right’ is impossible to define but we try and try and try some more the next day.

This week there’s been movement of the drill rig or parts of the rig or another sort of rig and we’re watching at the storage site in Chesterfield, following trucks, boarding trucks, locking-on in front of trucks (plenty of truck-action in this line of work!) getting pulled over by police, building pallet towers, challenging eviction notices, building community hubs, sorting a massive kitchen, plugging in the tech, creating incredible art, blessing this and that and calling on the various gods of various faiths to strengthen our resolve... and so much more. I really miss monotony sometimes and the word 'boredom' does not exist where we are.

Saturday 1st July marks another change in how we approach things and a ramping up of planning and implementation – organising within a horizontal movement presents a lot of challenges but somehow things happen and we set the bar high – every day in July, actions WILL be taken to stop this industry. No ifs, no buts… just us insisting that we’re fed up and want this bloody done with. A huge push aided by many groups and individuals, online as well as in the fleshy world… and we’re feeling confident in our numbers and resolve. If you’re about, come join us – it’s been a heck of a ride so far and only less bumpy when we are so numerous, we level ourselves out – we need you  See you in the morning? 



*Photo thanks Cheryl