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Vestas Blades UK on the Isle of Wight is due to close on 31st July. 600 jobs will be lost immediately, many more jobs that depend on Vestas will follow. This makes no sense from a green or a labour perspective!

The government has just announced a major expansion of renewable energy including wind power. We are calling on Vestas to keep the factories open, saving jobs and offering those who want to leave a better redundancy deal. We are calling on the government to intervene to save jobs at Vestas – through nationalisation if that is what it takes – to show that it is serious about saving the planet.

For further formation and to support the workers, please visit: http://savevestas.wordpress.com/

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Vestas wind turbine pickets mount 21st century-style protest

Huddled around a smoking brazier early today , the fluorescent-vested union officials looked perfectly at home.

But surrounding them on the traffic island at the far end of Newport’s St Cross industrial estate, on the Isle of Wight, was a scene that looked a little different from the usual picket line. Battered army surplus boots stuck out of the handful of colourful tents, a half-drunk bottle of South African chardonnay lay on the grass, and the gazebo hastily bought from the local B&Q contained the expected tea, coffee and biscuits, but also two cartons of soya milk.

On a grass mound outside the HQ of wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems, which is set to shut down with the loss of up to 600 jobs, a new kind of industrial dispute has taken shape. About 25 workers have occupied the plant in an attempt to prevent the closure, scheduled for 31 July, supported by a unique “red and green” coalition.

This is a protest significant not just for the way in which it has seen environmental campaigners, socialist activists and trade unionists join forces, but also for the way in which members of a previously non-unionised workforce in the largely conservative island community have been mobilised in a way they never dreamed of.

Tonight, about 300 people marched from the town centre to the plant for a rally to show their support for the action. Inside, the men, who since their arrival on Monday have been sleeping shifts on office floors, take it in turns to go out on a balcony to wave at supporters or pass the time with a keyboard discovered under a desk. “People have been putting on headphones, playing prerecorded tracks and pretending to be DJs,” said Ian Terry, 23, one of the occupiers.

A game invented to kill time involves throwing and catching balls while seated on increasingly far apart office chairs in the corridor.

Since Thursday morning, Vestas’ management has been providing them with two meals a day, so far centred on cheese sandwiches but the men said they were still hungry. Tobacco has been provided by their workmates outside, who throw tennis balls stuffed with goodies.

Those that land short are scooped up using a pole of joined-together broom handles, with a sticky ball of tape attached.

Spirits are high, according to Terry. “The atmosphere is brilliant,” he said. “I think it’s amazing what people have done. We know there are different groups with different opinions on certain things but they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet and support is just snowballing.”

Outside Sean McDonagh, 32, a team leader at the plant, marvelled at the cultural shift of the last week. “For so long, management kept us down; they’ve broken us and bullied us,” he said. “To move up the ladder you had to do anything the management wanted. If you didn’t want to do that they didn’t want to know. People were too scared to stand up for themselves, because they were worried they’d lose their jobs. It’s good money, and that’s really what the management has worked on.”

All that has changed after the arrival, last month, of a handful of socialist environmental campaigners from the group Workers’ Climate Action.

By night, they camped at a farm near Cowes and by day set about hanging around the gates of Vestas’ two plants at shift-change times, handing out leaflets. Initially, they were met with scepticism, but gradually a small number of workers began to be convinced that action could make a difference.

Last week an occupation committee formed and by Monday evening the men had taken their places inside the plant.

Vestas, the world’s biggest wind turbine maker, claimed tonight that “outsiders” were involved in the occupation of the closure-threatened factory but the real blame lay with “faceless nimbys” who opposed wind schemes in Britain, leading to them having to close the factory.

The Denmark-based company, which will go to court on Wednesday seeking a possession order to stop the occupation, also said that green activists should support the switch of manufacturing from the UK to America which was its main market, explaining that having to send the blades by ship across the Atlantic raised the carbon footprint of Vestas.

Peter Kruse, a spokesman for Vestas at its head office in Copenhagen, said the company had been surprised by the occupation and would do all it could to bring it to a peaceful end. He refused to say whether the company would change its mind but said that even with some government aid it “can’t make ends meet”.

Campaigners rejected the claims that anyone other than Vestas staff were involved in the sit-in and blamed the company for changing its mind, from an expansion of the plant to closure.

But Kruse said the company could not sustain a business at Newport because of the credit crunch, a weakening of the pound and a lack of political action. Later, the Vestas man said he recognised the government was doing “a lot for us”.

Back on the traffic island, Jonathan Neale, of the Campaign Against Climate Change, said the coalition gathered there was like nothing he had ever seen in Britain.

“I grew up in the southern US and I remember when the civil rights movement started. This feels like 1960.”

Rachel Williams, Guardian, Friday 24 July 2009

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There’s no doubt that the six weeks from March 28th – May 4th offers our anarchist movement a chance to move out of the shadows. Against the background of recession there has been rioting across Europe from Riga to Sofia. These are riots not by activists but by poor people hurting badly. The Greek uprising has provided a fine example of anarchists being prominent in a wider social movement for radical change. In Britain the war on Gaza and the Heathrow runway decision has brought protests – and direct action – back on the street across the country. They are not yet focussed on the recession but they may become so.

The G20 summit in London on April 2nd provides an opportunity for all these strands across Europe to come together as in the PARIS DECLARATION calling for a mass demonstration in London on March 28th – Saturday before summit – and across Europe on April 1st-2nd. In London the Trade Unions, Stop the War are organising marches on April 2nd. ?THE BEHEADING CAPITALISM? event by the folks behind J18 is planned for the same day. Other anarchists are planning a large entral London anarchist rally on the night of April 1st with speakers from across Europe. After G20 the European leaders move on to the NATO summit in Germany – sure to get the anarchists back on the streets

To often momentum is built over a few events then dribbles away. But this year we have the Mayday marches, a planned UK anarchist conference in London over May2-3rd and a Reclaim the Streets event in Brighton on May 4th. The fates are with us comrades, the sheeps entrails are promising, all we need are a few portents and omens to kick the whole fucking thing off,

JOIN THE SPRING OFFENSIVE!

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Anti-globalisation activists are plotting a mass demonstration against bankers in the
heart of the City, the Evening Standard can reveal. —- Police are on full alert ahead of
the protest, planned for 1 April – the day world leaders arrive in London for the G20
summit. —- Thousands of demonstrators, including anarchists and anti-aviation activists, are planning a series of protests, aiming to capitalise on disenchantment with City financiers blamed for dragging the economy into recession. —- The event, dubbed ‘Financial Fools Day’, is likely to cause mass disruption as demonstrators try to block traffic and buildings by lying in tents and sleeping bags across the road. —- One source suggested the protest would include a “spectacular action”. Organisers said on the Climate Camp website: “Join us for camping, workshops, protest, positive alternatives, direct action and community.

“We need to stop this foolishness… Bring a pop-up tent if you have one, sleeping bag,
wind turbine, mobile cinema, extra shoes, action plans and ideas… let’s imagine another world.”

Protesters hope to mobilise “anti fat-cat” sentiment among students and workers affected by the credit crunch as they demonstrate against the financial system, and are inviting activists to “set up camp” in London’s financial centre.

One environmentalist source said: “People are angry about losing their jobs and bankers still getting their bonuses. People are also up in arms about the Government bulldozing anti-airport legislation through as we saw with the third runway at Heathrow.”

Despite police becoming adept at controlling such demonstrations and preventing widespread disorder of the type that occurred during the May Day and poll tax riots in the Nineties, there are fears small groups will wreak havoc.

Police sources said: “Angry activists and aggressive City trader types are a volatile mix, as we have seen before.”

During the 1999 City Riot, which left 46 people injured and caused up to £2 million
damage, fights broke out between City workers and anarchists protesting in the streets and in private premises.

The April protest has captured the imagination of anarchists. Some are plotting further
demonstrations against the G20 on the day of the summit on 2 April.

One protester said the example of Athens, where young Greeks have been rioting for several months since police shot dead a teenager, could provide further inspiration.

An anarchist blogged: “The combination of the recession, the inspiration of the Greek
anarchists and the G20 summit being in London on 2 April gives us the opportunity to
mobilise far larger than usual numbers on to the streets… Seize the time.”

 

 

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Summit protests and the economic crisis

 

Summit-hopping is so last year. Or is it? When we began conceiving this issue a few months back, it seemed like everyone was gearing up for a busy 2009: NATO’s 60th anniversary party, the G20 summit in London, the G8 in Italy, the UN’s climate summit in Copenhagen… Ten years on from the ‘battle of Seattle’, 2009 was set to be the return of summit-hopping.

However, so far, anti-capitalists in Italy appear to have made little progress in mobilising against the G8 summit in July. What is more, everyone is talking about the UN’s climate change conference next December in Copenhagen. This comes with the awful package of environment minister Miliband calling for a mass movement for green capitalism and an austerity deal. The threat of another paralysing ‘Make Poverty History’-style mobilisation looms. On the other hand, there are, of course, some summits that continue to attract fundamental antagonism. The EU’s meeting on immigration in Vichy, France, last November was one example, despite a lack of mobilisation from the UK.

There is something that is fundamentally different from the previous decade of large anti-globalisation mobilisations: neo-liberalism itself is in crisis! The policies that were promoted by the anti-globalisation arch enemies (WTO, World Bank, IMF) are failing not only in Argentina and Mexico, but also in Europe and North America. The current financial crisis provides a platform for a systematic critique of the current economic system.

Maybe we should be excited that suddenly everyone is talking about the economy. Or should we? Many analyses of the crisis seem to be putting forward reactionary solutions. For a start, who we blame will define how we respond. Socialists blame bankers, government ministers and conservatives (and increasingly liberals) blame immigration, environmentalists and the middle classes blame the mass consumerism of the working class and the corporate media blames everyone. And what, then, will the response be? Anti-consumerism and austerity politics? Economy-boosting interest rate cuts? Tougher immigration controls? Urban riots? Blame creates hierarchies and characterises anti-globalisation protests. If we are to build a collective, emancipatory response to the crisis we need to be critical of any strategies that ignore the realities of life in capitalism, that fuel moral superiority and reinforce class divisions.

Furthermore, with every crisis comes a new conspiracy theory. The problem with these ‘explanations’ is that a capitalist crisis is not the result of the errors of a ‘small and elusive group of people’ as the conspiracy theorists want us to believe.

We live in a system that is antithetical to our needs, and importantly, our desires.

Crises are inherent in capitalism. There is no solution that will make capitalism free of crises. We can demand more regulation of the financial sector or the nationalisation and democratic ownership of banks. Still, capitalism’s crises are based in its inherent contradictory character with the desire to produce for profit-maximisation rather than social needs. And this will always be the central goal of capitalist production. A crisis won’t change that. There are more crises to come, with indications that speculation with raw materials and food could lead to much bigger misery than the bursting of the credit bubble. It is contradictory and irrational to produce, distribute and exchange resources as is done in a capitalist economy, thus capitalism without crises would be an oxymoron.

The left should take the crisis as an opportunity to push for more, to push for a system that puts our needs and desires above profit, to avoid limiting ourselves and scapegoating others. At a time where political leaders are making our demands seem reasonable (whether that’s the nationalisation of banks or a strong climate deal), we should not settle for compromise but demand the impossible!

Despite these new opportunities, there are few signs for a new wave of summit protests that can escape the attempts by governments to recuperate them. Protests are not happening outside summits now. As we write, they are happening in suburbs and big university towns. The migrant youths of St. Denis, the anti-CPE students, the Anomalous Wave movement and the Greek anarchist youth all dominate the headlines, rather than the plans for opposition to the G8 or G20. Also in Britain, radical anti-capitalist protest is no longer connected to the anti-globalisation movement, but is at the radical edge of the failed anti-war movement of 2003. Maybe in 2009 ‘suburb-hopping’ offers new opportunities for resistance?

Editorial of issue 5 of Shift Magazine, http://www.shiftmag.co.uk

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The Paris Declaration
We won’t pay for your crises?
It is time for change!

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 More than 150 representatives of trade unions, farmers’ movements, global justice groups, environmental groups, development groups, migrants’ groups, faith-based groups, women’s groups, the have-not movements, student and youth groups, and anti-poverty groups from all over Europe gathered on the 10th and 11th of January 2009 in Paris to analyse collectively the current crises, to develop joint strategies and to discuss joint demands and alternatives in response to these crises.
 
As the financial and the economic crises intensify, millions of women and men are losing their jobs, houses and livelihoods. Tens of millions more are forecast to join the 1.4 billion people already living in extreme poverty. The crises worsen the social, ecological, cultural and political situation of the majority of people on our planet.
 
Despite the evident and foreseeable failure of the current economic model, world leaders are responding by trying to preserve the system that is responsible for the crises. Governments have been quick to bail out bankers, corporate share holders and their financial backers with hundreds of billions in public money. To solve the problem, they put into place bankers and heads of corporations: the same actors that created the crises. The workers, the jobless, the poor ? all those affected have received no help in their daily struggle to make ends meet, and to cap it all, they are now supposed to pay the bill.
 
Governments’ proposals to deal with the unfolding economic crisis do not address the other dimensions of the
crisis we face today ? global justice, food, climate and energy ? and with it the need to transform the economic system towards one that allows us to satisfy the basic needs of all people, to implement all human rights and to restore and preserve the ecological basis of life on our planet.

It is time for change!
 
We can build a system that works for people and the environment, a system to serve the needs of the many, a system based on the principles of public benefit, global equity, justice, environmental sustainability and democratic control.
 
As a first step, immediate measures must be implemented to
address the social impacts on people, whilst supporting the
ecological conversion of the economy.
 
We call upon all social movements in Europe to engage in a process of change. To start with, we call upon movements
 
– to engage in the mass mobilisation for the central demonstration in London on the 28th of March 2009 ahead of the G20 meeting, or to take to the streets in their own countries that same day to make their voices heard. 20 governments cannot decide on the future of the global financial system and economy.
 
– to undertake a day of action in the week of the G20 meeting, preferably on the 1st of April (Financial Fools’ Day) all across the world, exposing unaccountable financial power and promoting democratic control of finance.
 
This meeting is a further step in a long? term process of building spaces for European networks to meet. Recognising and drawing on previous and future mobilisations of social movements and civil society organizations in Europe and all over the world, it builds on ongoing efforts developed at the European Social Forum and elsewhere, aimed at realising a democratic and socially and environmentally sustainable Europe. We commit to intensify cooperation and communication among our networks and organisations with the aim of building capacity for sustained mobilisation and the development of joint alternatives. We are committed to supporting and encouraging all people to have their voices heard in reshaping their societies.
 
We will meet again on the 18th and 19th of April 2009 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in order to develop the next steps of mobilisation and strategies towards change. We call upon all social movements and social organisations to join this process.
 

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This talk attempts to situate environmental damage along class struggle lines, within the capitalist system of production/consumption, and provides a vision of an anarchist-communist alternative.

 

In recent years, the anarchist movement has found itself breaking into two camps: traditional, class-struggle (red) anarchists, and more recently, environmentalist (green) anarchists. This talk is designed to provide an anarchist-communist perspective on issues of environmental devastation and the movements that have developed to combat them. Situates environmental damage within the capitalist system of production / consumption and provides a brief vision of an anarchist-communist alternative.

 

http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/5245

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Judi Bari a was a feminist Earth First! activist and dues paying member of the IWW from 1988-94 who even served on it’s General Executive Board in 1991.

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“On May 24, 1990, a car bomb exploded beneath environmental and labor activist Judi Bari’s car seat as she drove through Oakland, California with fellow activist Darryl Cherney. Judi and Darryl were prominent organizers for Earth first! Redwood Summer, a campaign of nonviolent logging protests.http://www.judibari.org/
Interview With Judi About The Bombing: http://www.monitor.net/monitor/bari/interview.html
Wikipedia Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judi_Bari

For several years before the bombing, Earth First! had spearheaded a growing movement of public protest and direct action against the big timber corporations’ strip-logging in the redwood region of Norther California. Judi in particular was instrumental in building a coalition of loggers and environmentalists opposed to cut-and-run logging, and in broadening the scope and appeal of the movement. During the month before the bombing, Judi had received a series of written death threats relating her to timber organizing, the worst featuring a photo of her with a rifle scope and crosshairs superimposed on her face. Shortly afterwards, the bomb exploded in her car.

The bomb nearly killed Judi, and left her permanently disabled and in severe pain for the rest of her life. Darryl escaped with minor injuries. But the terror of the attack did not end there. Within minutes of the blast, the FBI appeared on the scene. In defiance of all the evidence, they had Judi and Darryl arrested for possession of explosives, claiming two were knowingly transporting the bomb that had meant to kill them.

These incredible charges were then trumpeted in the national press, with the FBI and Oakland Police (OPD) falsely portraying Judi and Darryl as violent terrorists rather than the targets of a terrorist attack. After eight weeks of public statements from the FBI and OPD vilifying the activists, the district attorney declined to press charges for lack of evidence. To this day the FBI and police have conducted no serious investigation of the bombing and the bombers remain at large.

In 1991, Judi and Darryl filled a federal lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland Police, charging them with false arrest and conspiracy to violate the activists’ civil rights. The lawsuit charges that the FBI and police knew perfectly well that Judi and Darryl were innocent, and that they were in fact victims of a brutal assassination attempt. Their false arrest was part of an FBI-driven COINTELPRO-style operation to discredit Earth First! and to “neutralize” Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney as organizers.

The most striking evidence in the case is the police’s own photos of the bombed-out car. These photos show that the FBI and police knowingly lied when they rushed to arrest Judi and Darryl for the bombing.

The arrest was based on the FBI’s false claim that the bomb was located on the back seat floorboard when it exploded, and therefore that Judi and Darryl must have seen it and known they were carrying it. But the photos, along with the physical evidence and the findings of the FBI’s own bomb expert, clearly show that the bomb was actually located directly beneath the driver’s seat, and that this was obvious from the damage to the car.

The FBI also claimed that nails taped to the bomb for shrapnel effect were “identical” to nails found in a bag in the back of Judi’s car. In fact, the nails in the bomb were finishing nails while the nails in the car were roofing nails — two types of nails so different in appearance that no honest observer could have mistakenly called them “identical.”

Through the lawsuit’s discovery process, we’ve also learned that the bomb was triggered by a motion device consisting of a large ball bearing that had to roll into place to connect two contact points. In other words, this was a motion-triggered booby trap bomb, set to explode when the car was driven, and wrapped in shrapnel to insure maximum injury to the car’s occupants.

This clearly discredits the FBI’s story that Judi and Darryl were knowingly transporting the bomb to use in some kind of sabotage action. Yet even though the FBI and police retrieved pieces of the motion device within hours of the explosion, they never told the press and they ignored this critical evidence when they arrested Judi and Darryl on charges of transporting explosives.

Even more serious question about the FBI’s conduct have been raised by revelations of an FBI “bomb school” held shortly before the attempt on Judi’s life. According to FBI files and the sworn testimony of Oakland Police and FBI agents, the FBI held a training course for bomb investigator in Eureka, California, in the heart of the redwood region, just four weeks before the bomb exploded in Judi’s car. During the week-long course the FBI blew up cars with pipe bombs and practiced responding.

The teacher at bomb school was Special Agent Frank Doyle, the same FBI bomb expert who showed up at the scene in Oakland and supervised the collection of evidence. It is Frank Doyle who is quoted in the search warrant falsely stating that the bomb was in the back seat and that nails in the car matched nails in the bomb. In the FBI’s own crime scene video, Doyle can be heard joking with his cohorts in an apparent reference to bomb school, “This is it! This is the final exam.”

At the very least, bomb school set up a line of authority that caused the responding officers (many of whom attended the Eureka bomb school) to go along with Frank Doyle when he made false statements about the location of the bomb and the “matching” nails, even though these statements directly contradicted what they saw in their own eyes. At worst, FBI bomb school raises serious questions about the extent of FBI participation in the lead-up to the bombing of Judi Bari, and the possibility of FBI prior knowledge of the attack. ”

Judi Bari died of breast cancer in 1997.

While I’m sure not the only case, this tragic story clearly demonstrates FBI corruption and anti-activism in the U.S. government.

For more Judi Bari recourses:
Official Website:

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CLIMATE ACTION 09

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We stand at a crossroads. The facts are clear. Global climate change, caused by human activities, is happening, threatening the lives and livelihoods of billions of people and the existence of millions of species. Social movements, environmental groups, and scientists from all over the world are calling for urgent and radical action on climate change.

On the 30th of November, 2009 the governments of the world will come to Copenhagen for the fifteenth UN Climate Conference (COP-15). This will be the biggest summit on climate change ever to have taken place. Yet, previous meetings have produced nothing more than business as usual.

There are alternatives to the current course that is emphasizing false solutions such as market-based approaches and agrofuels. If we put humanity before profit and solidarity above competition we can live amazing lives without destroying our planet. We need to leave fossil fuels in the ground. Instead we must invest in community-controlled renewable energy. We must stop over-production for over-consumption. All should have equal access to the global commons through community control and sovereignty over energy, forests, land and water. And of course we must acknowledge the historical responsibility of the global elite and rich Global North for causing this crisis. Equity between North and South is essential.

Climate change is already impacting people, particularly women, indigenous and forest-dependent peoples, small farmers, marginalized communities and impoverished neighborhoods who are also calling for action on climate- and social justice.
This call was taken up by activists and organizations from 21 countries that came together in Copenhagen over the weekend of 13-14 September, 2008 to begin discussions for a mobilization in Copenhagen during the UN’s 2009 climate conference.

The 30th of November, 2009 is also the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO) shutdown in Seattle, which shows the power of globally coordinated social movements.

We call on all peoples around the planet to mobilize and take action against the root causes of climate change and the key agents responsible both in Copenhagen and around the world. This mobilization begins now, until the COP-15 summit, and beyond. The mobilizations in Copenhagen and around the world are still in the planning stages. We have time to collectively decide what these mobilizations will look like, and to begin to visualize what our future can be. Get involved!

We encourage everyone to start mobilizing today in your own neighborhoods and communities. It is time to take the power back. The power is in our hands. Hope is not just a feeling, it is also about taking action.

To get involved and recieve news about this ongoing and open process, send an empty mail to: copenhagen2009info-subscribe[a]lists.riseup.net (make [a] into @ when you send the mail)

http://www.climateaction09.org/

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The Camps are a place for anyone who wants to take action on climate change; for anyone who’s fed up with empty government rhetoric and corporate spin; for anyone who’s worried that the small steps they’re taking aren’t enough to match the scale of the problem; and for anyone who’s worried about our future and wants to do something about it.

The people putting on each of the Camps for Climate Action are all volunteers, lots of us learning how to do it as we go along. We’re a pretty diverse bunch – teachers, nurses, students, couriers, plumbers, graphic designers, doctors, youth workers, lawyers, carpenters, campaigners, artists, carers and many, many more.

We started in August 2006, when 600 people gathered at the UK’s biggest single source of carbon dioxide, Drax coal-fired power station in West Yorkshire for ten days of learning and sustainable living, which culminated in a day of mass action against the power station. Our aim was to kick-start a social movement to tackle climate change.

Every Camp for Climate Action event weaves four key themes: education, direct action, sustainable living, and building a movement to effectively tackle climate change both resisting climate crimes and developing sustainable solutions.

Watch Robert Newman’s ‘History of Oil’

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