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.
Squatters and anti-cuts activists at the Friern Barnet Library pleged to appeal eviction to the Court of Appeal. Perhaps they’ll rub shoulders with us at our Court of Appeal date around 15th January.
In yesterdays Guardian:“Squatters who have occupied a north London library for more than three months with the blessing of the local community are to be evicted, a judge has ruled. However, the court recognised their right to protest and the illegal tenants have been given a six-week stay of execution before they will be moved on.”
The southern leg will start on the 12th May in Central London and then move onto Grow Heathrow for lunch. The northern leg starts on the same day in Glasgow. Throughout the tour, there will be meetings, publicity stunts, cycle rides and the spread of information about Climate Jobs. The message of the tour will be simple: the creation of climate jobs – in public transport, home insulation, and renewable energy – can help solve both the economic and climate crisis.
Climate change is not a distant future. Its effects are being felt today. Britain has just experienced its driest March in 59 years with nationwide drought a looming possibility. But it’s not just Britain that is being hit by extreme weather. 2010 saw the warmest summer in 500 years in Eastern Europe, killing thousands and devastating crops. That same year, the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history occurred, killing 1,500 people. According to the Nature Climate Change Journal, extreme weather events have increased over the past decade and are very likely caused by human-induced global warming.
At the same time, austerity is ripping people’s lives apart. The UK currently has its highest levels of unemployment in a generation. According to government figures, 2.67 million people are currently unemployed in Britain. This figure understates the real number. In addition, 22.2% of 16-24 years are unemployed.
The Campaign Against Climate Trade Union Group (CACCTU) believes that these two crises do not have to be understood separately. Instead, we should unite the struggles emphasising the need not only to tackle the economic crisis and get people into jobs, but also put forward a positive programme to address rising CO2 emissions and reduce the prospect of catastrophic climate change.
In 2010, the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group published the pamphlet ‘One Million Climate Jobs’. It outlines how when unemployment is at its highest in a generation and climate catastrophe is looming, what is required is a National Climate Service which could provide one million climate jobs, in particular in renewable energy, transport and housing.
At a time of rising unemployment and further cuts, the Climate Jobs Caravan could not come at a better time. Rather than asking for people to work for free doing workfare, we want to demand the government creates climate jobs that help reduce both emissions and unemployment.
Guest Post by Josh who is part of the tour organising committee
Saturday 26th March saw the biggest wave of protests in the UK since the march against the Iraq war back in 2003. First estimates suggest 500,000 people turned out to voice their opposition to the horrific cuts being imposed by the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition government. The majority chose to show their anger by marching to Hyde Park, others chose to smash windows and throw paint at the businesses who have been perpetuating the problems.
While most were sitting down comfortably listening to Ed Miliband claiming to be the solution to everyone’s problems, thousands of people took their protests directly to the corporate and rich elite who have been dodging their tax, and who remain unaffected by the cuts compared to everyone else.
It wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t meant to be. Tax avoiders Topshop was the first shop to be targeted as its front windows were smashed and paint thrown over the building. Selected corporate targets such as HSBC, Ann Summers, Santander, Lloyds, Mcdonalds, Starbucks and then the Ritz all received the same treatment. What was clear was that this wasn’t just ‘mindless violence’. These targets had been chosen as they represent the corporate elite who are protected by the government as opposed to the people.
At 3.30pm tax avoidance group UK Uncut, who called out for ‘occupy for the alternative’ beforehand rallied thousands of people to shut down Fortnum & Mason. Fortnum & Mason were added to the long list of companies who have been avoiding their tax. Again, they were also a clear symbol of the unequal distribution of wealth felt by many in the UK at the moment. Around 150 people who shut down Fortnum & Mason were held in custody for over 24 hours and released without their phones and clothing.
We at Transition Heathrow have always argued for direct action. Marches definitely have value, however, the Iraq protests taught us all that marching from A to B is not enough. Lets hope the direct action continues, if it doesn’t we have no chance of avoiding the cuts and no chance of creating the future we want to see.
We do not condemn those that took direct action. We do not condemn those who marched. We do not codemn UK Uncut or the TUC. The anti-cuts movement needs to remain united in the face of state repression.
On March 26th hundreds of thousands of people will march through London to protest against the savage government cuts that are currently being implemented. The march has been called by the TUC who have mobilised many people. The march will be brilliant to show the massive opposition to the government cuts however we cannot just simply march from A to B.
One million people marched against the Iraq war and the government didn’t listen. What makes us think there going to listen to us this time? Marching from A to B with your usual speakers at the end is one way of protesting, another way which is arguably more effective is direct action.
UK Uncut will be taking over Oxford Street at the end of the march to say NO to the cuts and make the tax dodgers and the banks pay. We cannot pay for their crisis! From 2pm, occupations, flashmobs and bail-ins will shut down dozens of banks and tax dodgers on Europe’s biggest shopping street. And at 3.30pm, after the dispersed actions, there will be a massive final convergence, ready for a spectacular mass occupation of a secret target. Let’s really put the pressure on!
Campaigners descended on Heathrow Airport around Saturday lunchtime in a coordinated attempt to highlight the fact that the aviation industry pays no VAT.
In a protest modelled on those recently seen at Oxford Street stores like Vodafone and Topshop by campaign group UK Uncut, over 100 campaigners from TakeVAT and other direct action groups such as Plane Stupid ran around terminal 3 at Heathrow airport ‘confiscating items’.
The campaigners were symbolically ‘confiscating’ items such as luggage trolleys and toilet roll, to highlight the fact that there is no VAT on airline tickets, the purchase of planes or on spare parts for aircraft.
In January VAT rose to 20%. Hard working families across the country are being hit hardest by the rise whilst the aviation industry – which is mainly a habit of the rich, remains a special case and is completely exempt.
There were also protests in Leeds where around 20 protesters targeted Leeds/Bradford Airport. As soon as they arrived off the bus they were met by a handful of police and scuffles broke out as the protesters tried to reach the terminal building. In the end they managed to sit down together to make their point heard just outside the main terminal building.
Spokesperson for TakeVAT London, David Nivens said:
“It is simply unfair that aviation pays no VAT. Why should one of the dirtiest and noisiest industries in the world get away scot-free when ordinary people are charged VAT on basic necessities like toilet rolls?”
Spokesperson for TakeVAT Leeds, University of Leeds student Joseph Blake said:
“As the government imposes austerity measures on hard working families across the UK, the aviation industry gets away with £9 billion a year in VAT tax exemptions. We took action today in solidarity with the London protests and to demand the government put people first, and not climate criminals like the aviation industry”.
“Transition Heathrow has made a huge contribution to the local community. The prospect of a third runway meant the community had lived with the threat of extinction for the best part of a decade. It was blighted. Transition Heathrow brought vitality into a depressed community. Rarely has a piece of land been used so creatively to the benefit of local people.” by JOHN STEWART, HACAN