Fracking and the Dash for Gas has been in the news a lot recently, with the Battle of Balcombe and a Tory Peer’s remarks about the desolate north. Dannielle Paffard outlines what Reclaim the Power intends to do about it, and why you should join them!
Coal is over, and corporate profit and government apathy cannot be left to decide what comes next. The fight for power in the public interest is happening now. This summer, hundreds of people from all over the country will be travelling to the village of Balcombe to take real action against the governments ‘dash for gas’ and the culture of corporate power.
From the 16th -21st August, we’ll build a space that looks a little more like the world we’d like to see. We’ll imagine, create and resist together, and be part of strengthening a powerful and diverse movement for positive change.
The target for the ‘Reclaim the Power’ camp is Caudrilla’s operation in the small village of Balcombe in Sussex. This is where Caudrilla have been trying to test drill for new and gas, in the face of big opposition from climate activists and local people.
Most chillingly, the ‘dash for gas’ highlights the dangers of allowing large, profit hungry corporations to set the energy agenda for an entire population.We didn’t stop new coal in the UK to let it be replaced by yet another fossil fuel from the same old cartel of companies.
We have the technology to to build a cleaner, fairer and more distributed power system, and use and harness our public resources for public good. We must fight to make sure the crippling short termism of government and the big 6 energy companies doesn’t trump long term public interest.
Direct action has played a crucial role in progressive social justice movements all over the world – from the abolition of slavery to equal votes for women to ending coal at Kingsnorth. When the odds of power and money are stacked against you, people power and direct action are a vital part in the fabric of social change.
Fortunately, the resistance against the dash for gas has already started. And it’s growing. Through the straight-out-of-the-blocks response from Frack Off, tireless local campaigns across the country and escalation support from others, we’ve seen powerful resistance to shale gas extraction rising across the UK. Right now, crowds of local community members and concerned environmentalists are blocking the roads in sleepy Balcombe, demonstrating the lack of social license fracking company Cuadrilla has to muscle its way in and frack their land. In November last year, 21 people shut down the very same West Burton for 8 days – the longest power station occupation in UK history and stopping 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Reclaim the Power will continue the assault on the dash for gas, and work to challenge the systemic power imbalances of which it is a symptom.
Reclaim the Power will bring together a wide range of groups and individuals from across environmental, economic and social justice networks to discuss ideas, strengthen links and take action for people over profit.
The camp is open and participatory, and they’ll be something for everyone whether you’ve been camping in the foothills of power stations all your life, or you’re totally new to the ideas and issues and would like to find out more.
After a welcome event and social on the Friday evening, the camp begins with a day of workshops and plenaries. We’ll discuss the issues we face, take inspiration from those around us, develop new ideas and build affinities. There will be music and merrymaking in the evening, of course. On the Sunday we’ll start training and planning for the two-day mass action to follow… watch this space for your group’s mission.
For four days we’ll build together, we’ll cook together, we’ll take decisions together. We’ll join up the dots between issues, enjoy participatory democracy, and most importantly – we’ll make the connections and friendships that inspire, empower and strengthen us to keep fighting against injustice.
Reclaiming the power is as much about how we physically power ourselves, as who owns the power, who benefits and who has the power to decide. Through mass civil disobedience we will stand up to those that perpetuate injustice, and empower ourselves through collective action to ‘reclaim the power’ as people and communities.
Make sure to put it in your diary, sign up , tell your friends and invite them to the Facebook event, BOOK YOUR TRANSPORT (subsidised coaches leaving from Birmingham, email firstname.lastname@example.org or post on the Birmingham Reclaim the Power Facebook group), and join us in August to Reclaim the Power.
There’s also a social event for everyone travelling from Birmingham on Tuesday 6th August at 7.30 in the Briar Rose pub on Bennett’s Hill. Come and meet your fellow local power reclaimers!
More information about the camp, the programme and travel can be found on the website: http://www.nodashforgas.org.uk/. Resisting together is a powerful thing. Please let yourself come and be part of it.