Freedom News

Next steps in civil resistance

Industrial capitalism is the target and climate the context, as good an observation as you’re going to get on the current shituation.

With the climate crisis becoming ever more difficult to ignore/deprioritise, building wider alliances is necessary. Younger eco-activists are increasingly restless, intent on sweeping away the ineptitude and double-dealing of the profiteering UK state/government, which seeks to pacify using the divide and rule of yesteryear.

Just Stop Oil (JSO), This is Rigged, and other actors are upping the ante, bringing accountable and non-accountable, non-violent direct action to the doors of power and striking at the lifeblood of the capitalist economy. In April 2022, activists with JSO caused a series of oil refinery shutdowns, which dried up 52% of the forecourts in Britain for a week. Some young activists perched perilously on refinery pipes and tankers in the snow for 36 hours or more.

The M25 was shut down for a week, coinciding with the opening of the COP-out 26 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh in November 2022. The demands are: no new oil, gas or coal licensing; free public transport; and retrofit insulation of all social housing.

Following Insulate Britain’s campaign a year earlier, September – November 2021, there are now a number of DIY small insulation co-ops starting up around the country.

Root and branch, radical change is required to save even an ‘enth of a degree of global heating. More people are coming to the realisation that they can’t kick the can down the road any longer.

“I’m 25, and I’m not getting talked down to by people in their 40s [50s 60s]– I don’t even know if I’ll get to 40, it’s shit scary,” said one activist to me, recently.

Green Anti-Capitalist Media, working alongside the Green Anti-capitalist Front, states: “By ignoring intersectionality and seeking reform rather than the total destruction of oppressive and ecologically catastrophic structures in their entirety, the movement is weakened to the whims of politics – a game the state will always win …

“It is not realistic for anyone who is not white, with a stable house and finances, to put themselves in a position where they are forced to be brutalised, arrested, and attend court. This strategy of playing within the system aids the state’s ability to quell dissent and manage resistance, rather than generating any real threat to the systems of domination.”

Of course, the state has the guns and money, to paraphrase The Clash, but we have the numbers, and the right is on our side. Windows to change, meanwhile, close. If you are to win anything, however small, you would think the environmental movement must necessarily play the percentage game, and relentless, non-violent resistance is as effective in its way as self-defence and violent resistance are in its.

We are up against a state with brazen contempt for eco-activists, the working class, and minority ethnic communities. Take the far from surprising revelation in May 2023 by The Times of India news agency that the Prime Minister’s wife’s family company, Infosys, signed a £1.3bn deal with BP while the poor struggle to pay their monthly energy bills. And all this just a month before Sunak’s announcement on granting 100 new oil gas exploration licenses, as well as appointing Shell’s CEO, Wael Sawan, to join his Business Council.

Social tipping points are nearing – when you have BBC journalists on prime time telling it as it is, the pressure valves begin to buckle. Reporters on the News At Ten (July 13th) talked of the hottest week ever recorded, with global average temperatures at 17+C. Humans have been around 300,000 years, but it is only a blink of an eye and the last 175 that the stability of temperatures has been shattered, with CO2 emissions increasing from 275 parts per million pre-industrial revolution to over 420 now and up to 500 when you take methane into account.

James G. Anderson, a US climate scientist, back in July 2015, made plain that as the Arctic warms (in 2023, it is warming 4.5 times faster than the rest of the world), the temperature differential becomes closer to the tropics and the overturning capacity of atmosphere relaxes, and the stratosphere becomes wetter.

In July 2023, UK climate scientist David King broadcast how this change was causing devastating fluctuations in the jet stream, high winds travelling anti-clockwise around the Arctic circle, causing the extreme weather patterns we have now, and next year, and after that and that … He pointed to the ‘irreversible’ melting of Greenland predicted by 2045. Once gone, there is a 24ft rise in sea levels, in other words, “London underwater”.

The fight is for an end to new oil, gas and coal, an immediate, widescale shift to renewable energy, energy conservation, zero waste, free public transport, and circular, steady state, localised economies/anarchies centred upon organised, friendly, grassroots-up communities.

We fight for what there remains to be saved!

~ Jan Goodey

Image: Guy Smallman

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