New Internationalist

Reclaim the Power: time to kick some corporate gas

Kingsnorth power station [Related Image]
Time to say goodnight to power stations like this one at Kingsnorth. Brian Adamson under a Creative Commons Licence

Coal is over, and corporate profit and government apathy cannot be left to decide what comes next. This summer, hundreds of people from all over Britain will be travelling to West Burton Power Station to ‘Reclaim the Power’, taking real action against the government’s ‘dash for gas’ and the culture of corporate power.

From 16-21 August, we’ll build a space that looks a little more like the world we’d like to see. We’ll imagine, create and resist together, and be part of strengthening a powerful and diverse movement for positive change.

The target for the ‘Reclaim the Power’ camp is EDF-owned West Burton gas-fired power station in Nottinghamshire. It is one of the first in a planned new wave of 40 in George Osborne’s ‘Dash for Gas’ – a move that would commit us to decades of increasingly expensive and polluting fossil fuel use, with devastating effects on fuel poverty and any chance we have of avoiding dangerous levels of climatic change.

Most chillingly, the ‘dash for gas’ highlights the dangers of allowing large, profit-hungry corporations to set the energy agenda for an entire population. We didn’t stop ‘new coal’ in the UK to let it be replaced by yet another fossil fuel from the same old cartel of companies.

We have the technology to build a cleaner, fairer and more distributed power system, and use and harness our public resources for public good. We must fight to make sure the crippling short termism of government and the Big Six energy companies doesn’t trump long-term public interest.

Direct action has played a crucial role in progressive social justice movements all over the world – from the abolition of slavery to equal votes for women to ending coal at Kingsnorth. When the odds of power and money are stacked against you, people power and direct action are a vital part in the fabric of social change.

Fortunately, the resistance against the dash for gas has already started. And it’s growing. Through the straight-out-of-the-blocks response from Frack Off, tireless local campaigns across the country and escalation support from others, we’ve seen powerful resistance to shale gas extraction rising across Britain. In November last year, 21 people shut down the very same West Burton for eight days. The longest power station occupation in British history, it stopped 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

Reclaim the Power will continue the assault on the dash for gas, and work to challenge the systemic power imbalances of which it is a symptom.

Reclaim the Power will bring together a wide range of groups and individuals from across environmental, economic and social justice networks to discuss ideas, strengthen links and take action for people over profit.

The camp is open and participatory, and they’ll be something for everyone, whether you’ve been camping in the foothills of power stations all your life, or you’re totally new to the ideas and issues and would like to find out more.

After a welcome event and social on the Friday evening, the camp begins with a day of workshops and plenaries. We’ll discuss the issues we face, take inspiration from those around us, develop new ideas and build affinities. There will be music and merrymaking in the evening, of course. On the Sunday we’ll start training and planning for the two-day mass action to follow.

For four days we’ll build together, we’ll cook together, we’ll take decisions together. We’ll join up the dots between issues, enjoy participatory democracy and, most importantly, we’ll make the connections and friendships that inspire, empower and strengthen us to keep fighting against injustice. Resisting together is a powerful thing. Please let yourself come and be part of it.

More information about the camp, the programme and travel can be found on the website: nodashforgas.org.uk

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