Thursday, 11 July 2019

Campaigners assemble as Cuadrilla to resume fracking at Preston New Road





Campaigners assemble as Cuadrilla to resume fracking at Preston New Road

Anti-fracking campaigners have begun to return to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Lancashire as the oil and gas exploration company announced it would be resuming drilling at the site with a view to completing its work programme by the end of November 2019. Alan Story reports.

Alan Story
The owners of the oil and gas exploration company, Cuadrilla Resources, seem not to have heard the name Greta Thunberg, nor, more importantly, taken on board her message that our planet faces a climate emergency.
Today (11 July), Cuadrilla announced in an upbeat message that it planned to soon resume fracking at its site on Preston New Road near Blackpool in Lancashire. Local residents and anti-fracking campaigners were, not surprisingly, much less enthused,  
“This is an unwelcome but not unexpected announcement. It seems extraordinary that with the government [Parliament] just announcing a climate emergency, we are contemplating a resumption of fracking on the Fylde,” said Nick Danby of the campaign group Frack Free Lancashire.
Gina Dowding, newly-elected Green MEP for the North West, echoed Danby’s words: “With the UK Government [Parliament] declaring that we are in fact, in a climate emergency, it seems entirely senseless to pursue a new fossil fuel industry when we know we have to leave over 80 per cent of fossil fuels in the ground, unburned.”
And I am sure that if we could track down Thunberg for an interview she would send Cuadrilla the same message: this is climate emergency madness.
Yesterday (10 July), more than 150 people attended an event at Preston New Road to mark over two years of peaceful protest.
It is certain such protests will continue. You can follow developments on the Facebook groupFrack Free Lancashire or via the excellent investigative journalism website Drill or Drop.
An observer on the scene a few hours after Cuadrilla made its announcement told Green World in a telephone interview that “campaigners are bemused, but seem very determined.”
Campaigners are already “starting to drift back to Preston New Road” and “while the blue bibs [police liaison officers] are sunning themselves just down the road from here, they’ve already got their high-powered mics out to listen in [on the conversations of campaigners].” He predicted a strong presence here of anti-frackers once Cuadrilla ramps up operations again.
The well-known fracking company seems, for the moment, in a pretty confident mood. Usually, such drilling announcements are released after regulatory approval has been given. At the time of going to press, however, such approval could not be verified. Nor would Cuadrilla confirm it had received approval. The upcoming drilling programme must be completed by the end of November 2019, Drill or Drop has confirmed.
Assuming fracking is approved here again, it is also fair to assume all will not go smoothly on Preston New Road between now and the end of November.  
In a statement, Danby said: “Let us remember that Cuadrilla have a long history of failure and that they caused 57 seismic events last time that they fracked.”
“They have also recently been taken to task and are being investigated by the Environment Agency for failing to properly monitor water quality, having previously failed to record a methane leak. They simply cannot be trusted to put the health and welfare of the community ahead of their commercial interests.”
Dowding added: “We absolutely need to act as though we’re in a climate emergency and start working strategically on sustainable and clean energy solutions. This does not include climate-wrecking fracked gas. A Green New Deal would address the investment required to tackle climate change and create a renewable energy jobs boom.”
Perhaps Greta Thunberg will not be able to make it personally from Sweden to Preston New Road to join the upcoming anti-fracking protests. But rest assured of one thing: announcements like today’s are creating more Gretas by the hour in this country. 
Alan Story is a member of the Sheffield Green Party and a regular contributor to Green World.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Transform: Issue #6 | June 2019 | A Journal of the Radical Left


























Transform: Issue #6 | June 2019 | A Journal of the Radical Left

£8.00
The latest issue of Transform is now available. It carries articles and contributions from the No Pasaran conference including:
  • The reactionary rebellion / Walter Baier
  • The new far-right and the authoritarian turn: Hungary at the semi-periphery of the capitalist world system / Tamás Krausz
  • What is the situation in Germany with the AfD? / Cornelia Hildebrandt
  • Progressive nationalism: combatting the far-right in the struggle for national liberation / Paul Gavan
  • The populist far-right upsurge in Brazil: the desire for self-repression and the banalisation of evil / Matheus Lock
  • Brexit and the progress of Jeremy Corbyn / Michael Wongsam
  • Managerialism and the British state: marketisation, work intensification and resistance / Miguel Martinez Lucio
  • Slavoj Žižek and the ‘yellow vests’ / Boris Kagarlitsky
  • Fighting the far-right – the costs and benefits of hindsight / Sue Sparks
£8.00 Postage free (in UK)
To buy the journal CLICK HERE

For orders outside the UK, or to get involved, contact transform@prruk.org

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Crippled: Austerity and the Demonisation of Disabled People | Michael meets Dr Frances Ryan

Crippled: Austerity and the Demonisation of Disabled People | Michael meets Dr Frances Ryan








Published on 3 Jul 2019
SUBSCRIBE 48K
Frances Ryan's 'Crippled: Austerity and the Demonisation of Disabled People' is a searing exposé of the impact of government policy on disabled people since 2010. Here, she speaks to Michael Walker about the human cost of austerity, why the government would deliberately attack people with disabilities, and how the tories got away with it. http://twitter.com/drFrancesRyan http://twitter.com/MichaelJSWalker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfXjRM7ldqU

Friday, 28 June 2019

GREEN MONDAYS (27/06/2019) ForthcomingGreen Mondays:


GREEN MONDAYS (27/06/2019)

ForthcomingGreen Mondays:
Speakers for Green Mondays up until mid-August are as follows: 
8 July - For this Green Monday, our main speaker will be
John Ashton:







Previously, John was the UK’s Special Representative on Climate Change from 2006-12. Since ‘retirement’ from his various roles, he is now an environmental campaigner, and has recently had several OpEds published inThe Guardian.
As regular Green Monday attendees will know, we never quite know what John will be doing once he gets that mic in his hands!
John is expected to be speaking outside the gates at around
12.30pm.




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15 July - For this Green Monday, our main speaker will be Siân Berry, the recently-elected Co-Leader of The Green Party:
Siân - who is a Camden councillor and a London Assembly Member - will be the Green Party candidate in the 2020 London mayoral elections.
She will be making - another! - welcome return to PNR.
Siân is expected to be speaking outside the gates at around 12.30pm.



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12 August - For this 2ND. ANNIVERSARY Green Monday, one of our main speakers will be
Lindsey German:
In 2001, Lindsey was a founder-member of the antiwar organisation Stop The War Coalition (StWC) and, from 2004-7, was also a leading member of Respect.  Currently, she remains the Convenor of StWC, and works closely with Kate Hudson, who will be our Green Monday speaker on 10 June.  Lindsey has also written several books - including two on women’s rights.
Lindsey is expected to be speaking outside the gates at around
12.30pm.


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All the best
Allan Todd


Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Brent Stop the War meeting on the Lucas Plan 17 June 2019

Edited discussion of The Plan – Brent Stop the War meeting led by Peter Murry



url:https://youtu.be/48Y4cuAXHKQ 

 The Plan film by Steve  Sprung   - 30 minute version:https://vimeo.com/305253552

What was the Lucas plan?


THE LUCAS PLAN & THE new LUCAS PLAN: Some Key Points

1.  In 1976 the Lucas Aerospace was a major British manufacturer of weapons components with factories fifteen sites including in Birmingham and Willesden


2.  When it announced job cuts, the Combine which represented staff and manual worker unions responded with proposals that they keep their jobs and use their skills to for ‘socially useful production’ i.e. making products more beneficial to humanity than weapons technology.

3.  The Combine proposed an Alternative Corporate Plan which included designs for various products such as wind turbines and fuel cell technology and building a prototype road-rail bus.


4.  Lucas Aerospace management rejected these ideas and the government, and the TUC only offered moral support so the plan only survived as a ‘might have been’.

5.  However, it is remembered as a potential template of workers’ control over the decisions make about their work and of how technology need not be devoted to warfare.
6.  The plan gave rise to other developments around these issues eg: Greater London Enterprise Board [31] founded by Ken Livingstone and Mike Cooley, an industrial development and job creation agency set up by the GLC to create employment by investing in the industrial regeneration of London and AI & Society, which is now a major international forum for socially responsible technology.  Perhaps most famously, Mike Cooley (a designer at Lucas Aerospace, and chair of  the local branch of the technical trade union TASSA went on to write several books and articles and pursue an academic career based on ‘socially useful production’

7.  In 2016 various activists, including , original Lucas Combine members organised a conference in Birmingham to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Lucas plan  and to explore its relevance in the 21st century’, notably with the emergence of climate change as an issue which gave rise to developments such as the ‘1million Climate Jobs’ proposals originating from the Campaign Against Climate Change (https://www.campaigncc.org/climatejobs) and proposals for a ‘Green New Deal’., and most recently Unison’s call to ‘Nationalise the big six and create a ‘green army’ to help the UK hit net zero,@.

8.  As the New Lucas Plan the conference gave rise to four working groups: ARMS CONVERSION, ROBOTICS & AUTOMATION, JUST TRANSITION, and DEMOCRATIC LOCAL PLANNING which continue to meet and organise and participate in events around the idea of ‘socially useful production’ throughout the UK. For further info contact: info@breakingtheframe.org.uk, https://www.facebook.com/LucasPlan40/, https://twitter.com/lucasplan40





STORY OF THE LUCAS PLAN

BY BRIAN SALISBURY, FORMER MEMBER OF LUCAS AEROSPACE SHOP STEWARDS COMBINE COMMITTEE
In 1976 the Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards Committee produced an Alternative Corporate Plan for Lucas Aerospace that advocated the production of social useful products. This was in response to management announcing the need to cut jobs. 

The Combine was a representative body of staff and manual worker unions on all the fifteen sites throughout the U.K. It had been established by the shop stewards to enable the workforce to have a coherent and unified voice when responding to managements corporate view on wages, pensions, manning levels and other such issues. The shop stewards had realised though experience how management had used divide and rule tactics when negotiating on an individual site and craft union basis.

Following a period of expansion, in 1974 Lucas Aerospace along with other aerospace companies announced the need to restructure the company because of ‘increased international competition and technological change brought about by the need to introduce new technology’. Around half of Lucas Aerospace output supplied military contracts. Since this depended upon public funding, as did many of the civilian contracts, the Combine argued that state support would be better put to developing products that society needed, rather than the state supporting workers through paying redundancy money when they were put out of work.

The idea of the Combine’s Alternative Corporate Plan came about as a result of a meeting held with Tony Benn at the Dept. of Industry in November 1974. Thirty-four Combine delegates met with Benn in an attempt to persuade him to include Lucas Aerospace in the nationalisation of the aerospace industry. Benn indicated he did not have the power to include Lucas Aerospace in the nationalisation proposals; however, he suggested that the Combine should draw up an alternative corporate strategy for the company. This suggestion started a process which resulted in the Combine drawing up the Corporate Plan.

Initially the Combine approached outside organisations for suggested products. After receiving only three replies from 180 outside bodies, the Combine circulated questionnaires to the workforce requesting product suggestions which answered a social need and could be produced using the workforces existing skills and plant technology. Emphasis was also to be put on the way the products were to be made, making sure that workers were not to be deskilled in the process of producing them.

150 product ideas were put forward by the workforce. From them, products were selected to fall into six categories: medical equipment, transport vehicles, improved braking systems, energy conservation, oceanics, and telechiric machines. Specific proposals included, in the medical sector, an expansion of 40% in the production of kidney dialysis machines, which at that time were being manufactured on one of the L.A. sites. The Combine ‘regarded it was scandalous that people could be dying for the want of a kidney machine when those who could be producing them are facing the prospect of redundancy’. In the energy sector, proposals included the development of heat pumps, solar cell technology, wind turbines and fuel cell technology. In transport, a new hybrid power pack for motor vehicles and road-rail vehicles. Later, the Combine produced a road-rail bus, which toured the country.

The proposals were rejected out of hand by L.A. management, indicating they would not diversify from aerospace work, even though they had clearly indicated that aerospace work was in decline, and the existence of marginal industrial and medical equipment already being carried out on some of the sites, which could have been built upon.

The Combine’s Alternative Corporate Plan received worldwide support from a multitude of organisations including those who would not normally support trade union activity. Combine shop stewards attended numerous meetings in the U.K. and visits abroad to Sweden, Germany, Australia and USA. In 1981, Mike Cooley, a member of the Combine, received the Right Livelihood award, the money from which he donated to the Combine. In addition, the Combine was successful in attracting funding from charitable bodies, which enabled us to set up the Centre for Alternative Industrial Systems (CAITS) at North East London Polytechnic and the Unit for the Development of Alternative Products (UDAP) at Coventry Polytechnic.

While individual Trade Unions and the Labour Government supported the Combine’s Plan in principle, there was neither the structures in place, nor the political will, to put pressure on Lucas Aerospace management to negotiate with the Combine to implement the Plan. An opportunity was lost to make a company receiving public money accountable to the community in which it served.

Forty years on, the products put forward by the Combine in their worker’s plan are now mainstream. Two examples (there are numerous others) of this are the production of hybrid power packs by most vehicle manufacturers and the contribution wind turbines, both onshore and offshore, make to our renewable energy needs.

Meanwhile Lucas Aerospace, as a company in its own right, no longer exists, parts of it having been sold off, while other parts no longer exist. Like other UK-based manufacturing companies, Lucas Aerospace was a victim of poor, unaccountable management, and a sad lack of successive governments’ industrial strategy.
Lucas Plan References
STORY OF THE LUCAS PLAN BY BRIAN SALISBURY, FORMER MEMBER OF LUCAS AEROSPACE SHOP STEWARDS COMBINE COMMITTEE https://lucasplan.org.uk/story-of-the-lucas-plan/
The New Lucas Plan  AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME? http://lucasplan.org.uk/
VIDEOS FROM THE CONFERENCE: Watch the videos from the Lucas Plan 40th Anniversary conference here:http://lucasplan.org.uk/videos-from-the-conference/

Friday, 14 June 2019

Libraries are Vital for the Common Good: How do we campaign against cut-backs, closures and replacement by volunteeer libraries : Green Party conference meeting 8 June 2019

Libraries are Vital for the Common Good: How do we campaign against cut-backs, closures and replacement by volunteeer libraries : Green Party conference meeting 8 June 2019 Libraries are Vital for the Common Good: How do we campaign against cut-backs, closures and replacement by volunteeer libraries : Green Party conference meeting 8 June 2019. Video from Preston Rd Library campaign, Brent, London. url: https://youtu.be/ccHhvSypeQ4 Libraries are Vital for the Common Good: How do we campaign against cut-backs, closures and replacement by volunteeer libraries : Green Party conference meeting 8 June 2019. Martin Francis (Brent Green Party) introduction and messages from Library campaigns.Angela Thomson (SOLE-Save Our Libraries Essex),Questions & discussion url: https://youtu.be/h3shlmaUMlE Libraries are Vital for the Common Good: How do we campaign against cut-backs, closures and replacement by volunteer libraries : Green Party conference meeting 8 June 2019. Matt Smith (Save Sheffield Libraries) Questions and discussion chair : Martin Francis (Brent Green Party) url:https://youtu.be/rKrcnGPyIgY Libraries are Vital for the Common Good: How do we campaign against cut-backs, closures and replacement by volunteer libraries : Green Party conference meeting 8 June 2019. Becca Thackray and Pete Elliott (Lambeth Green Party Councillors), Questions and discussion. chair and Closing remarks : Martin Francis (Brent Green Party) url: https://youtu.be/9YWO4SCztr0