We're grassroots Heathrow residents proving that communities less dependent on oil can be more resilient, stronger and happier. We take direct action on climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy by transitioning to a post-oil, community-led future for the Heathrow villages.
On May 3rd, the same day as the London Mayoral elections, The Climate Justice Collective will be taking to the streets to block the energy monopoly going on behind closed doors at the UK Energy Summit.
The summit will see companies from the Big Six including EDF, EON, RWE Npower and Scottish Power, as well as oil giants like Shell and BP, conspiring with government to line their pockets at the cost of climate crisis and millions of people locked into fuel poverty. The UK Energy Summit is the wrong people asking the wrong questions and proposing the wrong solutions.
The Big Six energy companies are the obstacle to an energy system that could keep the sea levels down and get the heating on in fuel poverty homes. We want a fair, democratic and clean energy system, not a corporate monopoly – the UK Energy Summit cannot go ahead!
Be in Central London on Thursday 3rd May. Be ready to go at 11am. Keep an eye out on our Twitter (@CJ_Collective) for updates on meeting points and live and instant action plans.
Climate Camp has traditionally offered three things – it showcases sustainable living, it offers a programme of radical education and throughout there is a commitment to undertaking effective non-violent direct action.
Climate Camp Lewes certainly did this well. A local camp with a local focus, the response has been positive to the point of an embedded, local-driven occupation being a realistic legacy.
A criticism of previous camps has been that a hit-and-run approach empowers few people from the local community and presents the powers-that-be with a noticeable, but nonetheless limited, source of irritation.
Here in Lewes there is an opportunity for a Grow Heathrow-style community-activist squat-project which could truly get under the skin of both the County Council and the destructive companies who will line their pockets when flattening the lot and ordering the concrete to be poured.
But words are useless. We are in a seriously affluent town, and regardless of the generally agreeable sentiment, without feet on the ground and a willingness to go nose-to-nose with the bailiffs, cops and nay-sayers, we are looking at a pipe-dream…
But I’m sick of ritualistic activism… I’m sick of meeting once a week and going through the motions… to locking on to this or that… we need embedded sites with staying power… and we need them everywhere…
Whether the threatened site in Lewes has the ingredients to hold fast is irrelevant. It’s the principle that matters. We need a shift change in both how we think about our activism and how we think the largest impact can be made.
It can no longer be about using direct action to chase column-inches in the hope of influencing some suits… The change and inspiration has to come from us… direct action as a show of our collective-power, unity and anger.
If we are to be anything more than ‘weekend warriors’ flitting between smart-phones and black masks, we need to dig-in… to lead by example and put our full-weight behind projects which don’t only reach those who already know what ‘consensus decision making’ looks like, but those who have never had an opportunity to imagine – let alone experience – a genuine alternative.
Last Sunday members of local group Hillingdon Friends of the Earth dropped in at Transition Heathrow’s Grow Heathrow site to present a cheque for £100 to buy seeds for this year’s crops.
They were shown the progress being made in clearing more of the land for tree planting and raised bed construction. Hillingdon FOE said they look forward to seeing the progress of the project in May, when the group will hold one of their regular meetings at Grow Heathrow.
On Saturday 16th October, somewhere in Central London, activists from all over the country are going to give oil a Crude Awakening.
There is a lot of mystery and anticipation around what form of protest will actually take place. There is 10 unspecified targets and from the video above it looks like holding a space could be involved. Whatever happens, it is going to be exciting.
Here is the callout:
Floods in Pakistan, drought in Russia, huge glaciers breaking up in Greenland…
Our climate system is rapidly sliding into crisis, as oil companies destroy people’s lives and the environment to keep sucking up their profits.
Oil saturates every aspect of our lives. Oil profits lubricate the financial markets and its sponsorship clings like a bad smell to our cultural institutions. It flows through pipelines to the pumps, airports and factories of our cities.
The failure of the UN COP15 process showed us – if there was ever any doubt – that government and industry can’t tackle climate change. It’s up to us and it’s time to up the ante.
As a movement, our actions against coal and aviation have made a real difference. Now oil’s time is up.
Together, on October 16, let’s give the oil industry a Crude Awakening.
Meet in central London. Be ready to move. Be ready to stay and stand your ground.
Be creative. Be prepared. Be there.
Find out more, get involved and sign up for text alerts at www.crudeawakening.org.uk
Workers’ Climate Action, a campaign network of environmentalists, trade unionists and class struggle activists that fights for a Just Transition, hosted a critical mass cycle ride around Heathrow on Saturday 22nd May.
The event was planned to coincide with the British Airways Cabin Crew strikes, but after a petty legal skirmish earlier in the week, it was not certain whether a Flying Bike Picket would actually being picketing anyone. The strikes were due to start on Tuesday 18th May, but BA won an injunction on Monday against Unite to stop the strikes. This judgment was won on a technicality; that Unite had failed to notify every member of 11 spoilt ballots. This injunction was perfectly timed to delay the beginning of the strike. Finally, the injunction was successfully appealed on Thursday, and Unite could then legally proceed with the strikes. But the strikes did not go ahead, and at time of going to press, BA and Unite were still in negotiations.
The legal debacle was clearly an attempt to break the workers, the Union and the right to strike. With this in mind, WCA decided that it was now, even more important to defend the right to strike and to go out to Heathrow to make sure the cabin crew were made aware of WCA’s support and to encourage solidarity action from the rest of the Heathrow workforce.
So, on Saturday afternoon in the afternoon sun, a critical mass of 25 cyclists set off for Heathrow airport. The mass started from Grow Heathrow, a community garden in Sipson set up by Tranisition Heathrow. A number of Sipson residents joined the mass too to show their solidarity with the cabin crew as well as a celebration of the plans to axe the Third Runway, which would have tarmac-ed their village and destroyed their homes.
The mass was a colourful and musical display of creative solidarity and highlighted the current threat to our collective right to strike. The bike were covered in slogans such as ‘Not the Courts, Not the State, Workers should decide their fate!’, ‘Abolish the Anti-Trade Union Laws’ and ‘Environmentalists want to defend the right to strike!’.
The mass cycled through the beautiful greenery surrounding the airport on the way to its first stop: British Airways HQ, where a local resident, who used to work for BA and lost his three-year-old child to aviation pollution, addressed the workers inside to support the cabin crew and fight their bullying boss Willie Walsh.
Next stop – Terminal 5. There were many BA workers by the entrance on smoking breaks, many of whom seemed pleased to accept this playful display of solidarity. Then the critical mass left the road and entered the terminal building, swerving passed dismayed security staff, cycled passed the check-in desks demanding protection of the right to strike.
The mass then continued on its course, visiting other parts of the airport and the surrounding villages to spread its message of solidarity and dissent, while simultaneously slowing traffic at every turn. The critical mass is currently the most effective and creative way to show your solidarity in a workplace such as Heathrow airport; it allows you to be mobile, avoid security and dissent in a fun and inclusive way.
Its been almost 3 weeks since we all returned from Copenhagen, and we’re settling back into normality. With the Direct Action Workshop coming up this Sunday, we’re all getting quite excited that the ball is rolling with the project. I feel like we’re really getting somewhere and our meetings are becoming more productive. I’m really looking forward to having an open-space meeting to broaden my mind in terms of the possibilities of Transition Heathrow. Copenhagen was certainly an invaluable experience for me. We went with a group of about 40 activists; it was interesting to see how everyone within our affinity group coped in a foreign environment, without the comforts and fall backs of normal mobilisations. George Webster, a reporter for CNN who spent time with our affinity group, made this fantastic video about our time in Copenhagen. It outlines some of the things we got up to whilst out there and beautifully captures the essence of our group. You can see the video here:
My next project is to create a video about Transition Heathrow. I’m quite excited to start this because media can be so powerful in winning people over and presenting a clear and concise image of what we are all about. Images and videos can create a more intimate insight into things than just a piece of text. So I’m going to get started with that, and see what happens!
Save Grow Heathrow
Grow Heathrow is under threat of eviction. Since 15 Aug 2014, bailiffs may arrive unannounced at any time. This will be the same long term, unless the landowner lets us buy the land. What's the Latest?
“The land occupied by Transition Heathrow has been cleared by themselves with the support of the local community and others. It has shown that it can be a workable market garden and resource for the community and environment. They should be able to continue their work for the benefit of all.” by KAREN WILLIAMS, LOCAL RESIDENT