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Electrical network sabotage Nottingham area (UK) in May 2016

There are two news reports that someone with an air rifle has targeted an electrical substation [1] and overhead electrical cables [2] in the Nottingham area in May 2016. Its unclear exactly how many incidents there were. It resulted in power cuts in 8,000 homes and businesses in the Nottingham area. The electrical company was able to “pinpoint a damaged component which was consistent with having been caused by a firearm,” [1]

Endnotes

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-36383925
  2. http://legacy.newarkadvertiser.co.uk/articles/news/Power-cuts-follow-person-shooting-near-overhe

The Situation in the British Countryside

by Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

In Europe, we have conveniently forgotten the devastation this culture has inflicted (and continues to inflict) on the continent. In the USA and Australia, where the ecocide, specicide, and genocide committed by colonial forces are far more recent, people have a harder time pretending to be unaware of the effects. In Europe, we’ve lost the majority of (and are losing the last of) the primeval forestlands, once the face of this landscape and home to a diverse biotic community stretching across the bioregion. In Europe, we ignore this culture’s destruction of indigenous communities and those trying to live in truly sustainable ways.

In Britain, those in positions of authority are intent on decreasing rather than increasing institutional protection of our biotic communities. With so much at stake, we must take on the responsibility for protection ourselves. I describe here four examples which deserve support from people across Britain. These are local to my home in Devon; wherever you live, you can get involved in an important struggle to protect the remaining biotic communities in Britain.

Manning’s Pit

Manning's PitManning’s Pit in North Devon is an area of profound natural beauty. Developers, though acknowledging its high biodiversity, seek to build new human housing against the desires of the near-by community. Devon’s dominant natural features are grasses, broken up by hedges to mark differing areas of farmland, woodlands full of bird song and coastal areas whose faces are defined by the sea. As someone who lives here, it is personally saddening to witness increasing development and urbanisation. In a more politically relevant sense though, it is awful as this is the increasing encroachment of this culture on the natural world and the subsequent lose of biodiversity that results in.

It’s an area comprised of Devonshire grasslands and patches of woodland; one of the last remaining homes for the bat, hedgehog and other communities of local wildlife left after agriculture and now urbanisation have left their marks. I fear what will be lost if the developers are allowed to build upon this area or others like it. While local people have a petition going and are appealing to the government for protection, should these institutional means fail, it will become necessary to resist this development directly, be that through occupation of the land, through acts of sabotage or whatever will work.

Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National ParkIn Britain the national parks represent the last of our natural landscape, before urbanisation, industrialism and other destructive effects of this culture. They are areas of beauty, where what is left of the natural biotic communities able to exist away from this culture. However, with drastic cuts to the institutional apparatus keeping the Dartmoor national park going and a 25% staff reduction threatened by the government, the future of this area is threatened. It is all too likely that Dartmoor will be sold into private hands, who will pay no heed to the habitats and biotic communities in their pursuit of profit. The woodland community that attempt to live on Dartmoor in such a way that takes responsibility for the environment are already under threat and face being removed. They’re hunter-gatherers attempting to live a way of life this landscape can support.

Clearly the powers that be are more interested in maintaining the status quo of this culture (austerity measures to support a collapsing neoliberal economy) than they are in the land-base. Dartmoor is home to frogs, toads, snakes, slow worms, lizards, buzzards, cuckcoos, ravens, skylarks, owls, peregrine falcons, song thrushes, salmon, trout, dartmoor ponies, foxes, badgers, rabbits, squirrels, hares, stoats, weasels and deer, as well as a huge array of flora, including endangered plant species. To lose this to further destruction would be to lose one of the last strongholds for the natural biotic-communities that covered the length and breadth of Britain. Like with Manning’s Pit, if the institutional measures fail, it is the role of activists to protect this area and areas like it, through both aboveground and underground measures.

Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station

The first new UK nuclear power station in a generation may be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The energy conglomerate EDF will soon make its final decision whether to build Hinkley Point C power station, and although the project has faced considerable delays amidst backlash from environmental groups including Greenpeace, a decision to proceed looks increasingly probable. Chernobyl and Fukushima gave us glimpses into worst case scenarios, but even without an extreme emergency the dangers around disposal of nuclear waste are reason enough to resist this possibility in the South West’s future.

High-level radioactive waste from nuclear power stations is primarily uranium fuel, and its hazardous radiation can take longer than 24,000 years to decay. None of the methods of storage and disposal are perfect, and some are outright dangerous. With EDF poised to finalise the decision to build Hinkley Point C power station, environmentalists and activists in the UK need to defend the land and resist the corporate-hegemony of this energy conglomerate.

Badger “Culls”

Finally, farmers covering up poor farming practices are fuelling an active campaign in specicide towards badger communities across the South West. These farmers, desiring removal of the badger’s status as a legally protected animal, are driving a scientifically invalid and barbarically cruel cull done in the name of protecting cattle against TB.

Badgers are an integral part of biodiversity in the region and in seeing their sets in banks and woodlands, you are reminded that, despite everything, there is still life on this island. This life represents the last of a multitude that were part of the community that characterised this land, before the dominance of this culture and human exceptionalism. Hunt Sab resistance groups are opposing this campaign and other acts of cruelty to animals, and need support if this supposedly protected animal is going to survive. The cull zone has been extended to right across the South West UK so resistance is highly needed, from both activists and those not politically active.

Conclusion

So this is the situation in the British countryside. This culture is destroying what is left of the natural world. Immediately, in the area I live in, there are four important grassroots struggles, with many others across this island. Campaigns such as Rights of Nature UK strive for institutional protection of the natural communities with whom we share these islands. These forms of protections are highly valuable, particularly as incremental means of resisting this culture. Unfortunately, the weaknesses of laws such as those banning fox hunting, or those granting badgers status as a protected species, show that institutional measures are by no means enough. Those of us who value the natural world must fight to defend the natural biotic community and to resist this culture’s violent onslaught, in all the ways we can.

The ecosabotage we don’t hear about

We’ve listed the underground actions in the UK that are in the public domain, but what about those we don’t hear about? There’s a rich and continuous stream of resistance that never sees the light of day, never seeks the media feeds or the spotlight. A conversation with a friend recently highlighted this ongoing resistance; whilst transiting through a train station near London he overheard an interesting conversation between four rail engineers discussing ongoing targeting and sabotage of strategic signals in the area.

He followed them discreetly to hear more. It seemed that for a prolonged period of six months or more, specific signals along a freight route had been targeted and sabotaged. Trains on this route transport key resources such as minerals and coal. The nuclear waste train also uses this route.

The engineers said it was happening with such foresight, and so very well timed to disrupt the route on a regular basis, that it must be done by someone with inside or working knowledge. We can’t know or speak for these people but we in Deep Green Resistance support their work.

With foresight, planning, and research, it is possible to conduct effective actions without disrupting or harming the public. These actions have caused so little trouble to the public that no one is aware of them, and they’ve gone unreported. The establishment don’t want to report these (unless for disinformation or to discredit groups) so as not to encourage or alarm the general public to the fact that resistance is organised and ongoing. Please share this story as one example of the untold resistance.

Deep Green Resistance UK at anti-austerity march

deep-green-resistance-uk-austerity-protestOn the morning of 20th June, some members of Deep Green Resistance UK met outside the Bank of England in London to join hundreds of thousands of people on the anti-austerity march to Parliament Square.

We decided to join the march to show opposition to the proposed public spending cuts that would disproportionately affect lower classes, women, and people from ethnic minorities. Government figures show the cut are only necessary because of the hundreds of billions of pounds spent to bailout bankers in 2008, and also could be avoided if international corporations were forced to pay tax.

The day was peaceful and had a carnival-like atmosphere with music, dancing in the streets, elaborate costumes, and people from a range of backgrounds coming together to unite around a common belief.

We held a DGR UK banner and handed out hundreds of leaflets to people who either hadn’t heard of us and were curious to know more, or had heard of us on the internet and were happy to see us on the streets. It was the inaugural unfurling of the DGR UK banner, putting us officially on the map. This is only the beginning. . .

Reclaim the Power – fossil fuel electricity generation in the UK

The 2015 Reclaim the Power camp will be from 29 May – 2nd June near Didcot powerstation in Oxfordshire. Didcot Power Station comprises Didcot A Power Station, powered by oil and coal until its closure in 2013, and Didcot B Power Station, a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT).

Didcot power station stands as a half-demolished monument to the unfinished job of kicking out dirty fossil fuels from the UK’s energy mix. Although the coal-fired section (Didcot A) was shut down and part-demolished last year because of EU laws limiting emissions, the gas-fired section (Didcot B) is still running today. What sustainable alternatives exist for local communities living at Didcot – and how can we create a just transition away from fossil fuels?

While communities around the country have stood together against fracking, our government has been making plans to build a new round of gas-fired power stations, and wants to partly supply them with fracked shale gas. Despite the fact that we need to keep global gas reserves in the ground if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, corporate lobbyists are now pushing hard to scrap the EU legislation designed to reduce emissions across Europe. More fossil fuels will enrich the Big Six energy companies whilst bringing more fuel poverty and climate chaos.

In 2014 about 29% of UK electricity demands were met by coal, 19% by nuclear, 30% by CCGT, and 19% by renewables. The rest came from oil, pumped storage and from other European countries via their interconnectors. Of course included in ‘renewables’ are highly unsustainable practices such as burning biomass and mixed waste. (See the DGR ‘green’ technology and renewable energy FAQs for problems with these methods.)

One third of the UK’s coal power stations will close by the end of 2015, leaving ten still in operation. There are thirty three CCGT power stations in the UK with many more on the way, which will create a demand for fracked gas. This interactive map, though a bit out of date, shows the location of UK electricity power stations.

All of the UK’s coal power stations are due to close by the early 2020’s to comply with air pollution regulations (the Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD) and Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)). But based on a report from Imperial College London, many of these coal power stations will still be operational in 2030. What a surprise. It doesn’t look like Europe is doing much better, although of course, the UK is contributing to this predicted failure.

At last year’s Reclaim the Power camp thirteen decentralised groups carried out actions around the country. Deep Green Resistance UK members will be at the camp this year, to support it and take part in a non-violent direct action. Visit the Reclaim the Power Facebook event page for more details. We hope to see you there!

DGR UK Spring 2015 Newsletter

DGR UK members and supporters ran a day of talks, workshops and discussion on Saturday 22 November in NE London. It was well attended and we had a number of interesting discussions. There are plans to have another DGR UK event in October this year, details to follow.

There was a Resisting Together camping gathering near Frome on October 31st to November 2nd. For a report back on the gathering go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/resisting.together/permalink/361862587323496/

There will be a Resisting Together Gathering from May 15-17 near Oxford. It will be at a farm camp site near the ruins of an old manor house, close to a canal and woodlands, where we can spend some slow time close to the Earth, discuss what’s happening to our world and how to resist it.
Camping costs £9 for one night and £12 for two nights. There will be a fire pit to keep us warn in the evening. We will have a camp kitchen and plan to cater for everyone so need to know if you want to attend in advance. A farm tour is likely and we are hoping to organise a led foraging walk. There will be an extra cost for food and the foraging walk. Its easy to get to the site, a train to Oxford and then a bus will drop you 5-10 mins away. There are limited places so if you want to reserve one email Adam at resistingtogether at riseup.net (replace ‘ at ‘ with @)
Resisting Together website http://www.resistingtogether.org.uk/
Resisting Together facebook discussion group https://www.facebook.com/groups/resisting.together/

Love and rage,

DGR UK team

Deep Green Resistance UK Autumn 2014 Newsletter

Dear friends,

Deep Green Resistance UK would like to invite you to a free day of talks and workshops on Sat 22 November in Willesden, NW London. This will give people the chance to hear more about and discuss our radical analysis, to learn about our strategy and to talk about the kind of tactics we think are necessary to save life on earth. For more information see the event flyer or the facebook event page. Please share with your networks.

DGR is requesting support for a documentary promoting strategic, effective resistance. Please visit the fundraiser page for ‘On the Side of the Living’ to learn more and help fund or promote the project.

DGR UK members have had a busy summer.

Adam and Dee ran a stall and a workshop at the Green Gathering at the end July. Read Dee’s report-back. The Artist Taxi Driver interviewed Adam at the stall. Watch the video and visit the Deep Green Resistance youtube channel for many more videos.

In August, DGR members helped with organising the Reclaim the Power gathering that resulted in thirteen actions against the fracking industry. Adam was part of the Earth First Summer Gathering collective and, with DGR supporter Helen Moore, ran a workshop on building a culture of resistance. We will be running this workshop again at the DGR London event on November 22nd.

Adam presented on the DGR analysis/strategy at the Green Party Conference at the start of September as part of a Resisting Together event. Ben and Adam ran a DGR UK stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 18th October.

A number of us will be meeting for a Resisting Together camping gathering near Frome on October 31st to November 2nd.

Love and rage,
DGR UK team

Lessons From the Luddites: Strategically Smash the Machine

luddites-resist
“if we don’t break’em, our lives they will take’em.
Our croft, our cottage, our village as wello.
No freedom or laughter for those who come after,
But a servant and master in a factory hell.”

Seize the Day: General Ludd

Essay by Ben Ludd

Resistance is fertile. It strengthens. It works. It never dies. We are taught to accept progress as if it were inevitable and always desirable. The relentless growth of cities is neither: a quick look at history shows why.

While the dominant culture uses the word “Luddite” negatively to describe people who are against progress, I use it as a compliment to describe those who fight back using the tactics they deem most effective. We are told that Luddite means “One who is opposed to technical change.” However, the Luddites were not opposed to all forms of progress. They did not destroy labour saving devices indiscriminately. On the contrary, they chose their targets carefully, smashing only those machines harmful to the common good, while leaving others in the same workshops untouched. Today we face larger machines harmful not only to the common good of humanity and the natural world, but to the very possibility of future life on earth.

Two hundred years ago the Luddites saw the threat to their livelihoods and lives more clearly than most. Skilled workers being replaced by steam-powered machines, they were early casualties of capitalism’s shift of rewards from workers to the owners of capital. The merchants who owned the new mills broke the law by employing non-apprenticed unskilled workers in their factories. For ten years the weavers responded with non-violent tactics, appealing to the government to enforce the law. They were ignored and, under pressure from the merchants, the Government changed the law.

With no further legal recourse available to them, the weavers, guided by their mythical leader General Ludd, warned factory owners to remove their machinery. When these final warnings were ignored, the ‘machine breaking’ began. The Luddites used sledgehammers made by Enoch, the same legendary blacksmith who had helped to create the machines they wished to destroy. A Luddite slogan was “Enoch made them, Enoch shall break them.” Thus the Luddites proved you can use the master’s tools to destroy the master’s house.

Despite the Luddites’ actions already being illegal, the government introduced new laws making it a capital offence to destroy the particular machinery which had been targeted. Even with machine breaking now being punishable by death, attacks on cotton mills continued throughout 1812. Many Luddites were captured and executed or sent to Australia. They died protecting their livelihoods and the work their communities relied upon. The Luddites were ordinary people acting with the support of ordinary people. Those who were captured were caught in the act of sabotage; there were no informants. The law enforcers struggled to find anyone who would even admit to knowing a Luddite. With the identity of their leader shrouded in myth, even when some were caught and hung, others were able to continue the resistance. Valuable lessons about the importance of maintaining good security culture and strong relationships with your local community can be found in this example.

Unfortunately, their actions did not stop the industrial revolution. In the years that followed, carbon parts per million rose from 285 to 400, and continue to rise exponentially towards irreversible climate change. However, some people, perhaps inspired by the Luddites, are fighting back. A growing list of examples of modern-day actions similar to those carried out by the Luddites includes:

  • The March 2013 group sabotage of critical equipment, machinery and vehicles belonging to Scottish Coal at Powharnal open cast coal mine in East Ayrshire, Scotland.
  • The November 2008 incident at Kingsnorth coal power station in Kent, when someone climbed two three-metre (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading “no new coal”. This person walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence.

These actions alone did not significantly slow climate change, but they show the vulnerability of industrial infrastructure and serve as blueprints for the types of actions that will stop the destruction of our home. Civilisation is a fragile monster. All that is required to stop it devouring our planet are a few motivated people capable of identifying its weaknesses.

Are you ready to act? The Luddites never lost. Their battle is and always was ours too.

In Solidarity with the Balcombe Community Protection Camp

DGR UK members have just come back from a weekend at the Balcombe Community Protection Camp. The camp has been there since July 25th. We have massive respect for all those there now or who have been there at any time. It is a front line camp on both sides of the verge of a busy B road, with a train line close by and the noisy fracking rig 50 metres from the camp. People at the camp are attempting to blockade each truck that comes in with a police line in between them and the trucks, moving them along.

Cuadrilla’s exploratary drilling licence expires at the end of the Saturday 28th September. Cuadrilla have stated that they will apply for planning permission to measure flow rates so clearly plan to continue at the site.

There is huge local support for the camp. A survey done before the drilling started interviewed about 600 of the approximate 770 households and found that 85% did not want shale gas exploration in the village. Balcombe residents regularly visit the camp and donate supplies to support it.

There is a heavy police presence by the entrance to the fracking rig site. Police patrol along the whole stretch of the B road where the camp is located. The large numbers of police and their vehicles give the camp a militarised feel. The kitchen tent is one side of the entrance to the fracking site, with the camps outside communal seating area on the other side. People at the camp are noting all the vehicles that enter and leave the site. Being sat next to between eight and ten police officers at any time is not a relaxing experience.

For more info see the Frack Free Balcombe website or the Great Gas Gala website for daily updates from the camp. If you want to see how the police are behaving see the truthferretfilms youtube page.

A DGR UK member was part of the group that set up Reclaim the Power camp on farmland near the Balcombe Community Protection Camp that ran from August 16th-21st. From Sunday 18th August there was 48 hours of direct action against the energy firm Cuadrilla, targeting its exploratory drill site in the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, its headquarters in Lichfield, and the offices of its PR company Bell Pottinger in London. The same DGR UK member also took part in the action at Cuadrilla’s headquarters in Liltchfield, north of Birmingham.

For more information about Fracking techniques see the DGR UK post on it.

The next UK fracking site will Barton Moss near Salford by IGas Energy Plc from mid October. For more information see the local campaign facebook group, article in the local paper and information about the site on the IGas website.

Anarchist Group Claims Responsibility for Arson at Police Training Centre near Bristol

An anarchist group calling themselves the Angry Foxes Cell has claimed responsibility for the fire that has ripped through the Police Firearms Training Centre in Black Rock Quarry, being built in Somerset. In their communiqué they state they used an accelerant to burn the major electrical cables which led to the blaze.

Their reasons for targeting this centre are to respond to the increasing levels of oppression and surveillance by the state. It also marks the two year anniversary of the UK riots. And it also coincides with the announced start of the cull of badgers in the South West of England, which this group is strongly against.

The same group have also claimed responsibility for damaging two vehicles near St George, Bristol. One belonged to G4S, who profit from providing prison and security services. The other, belonging to Amey, was targeted because they provide prisoner transport in the UK and run courthouses in the Bristol Area.

Read the BBC report for more information.