Damp socks but high spirits at Reclaim the Power 2015
I write this post from a damp tent in a field somewhere in Oxfordshire on Monday 1 June. I am wearing yesterday’s clothes and I slept in a leaky tent but I am feeling more inspired than I have done in a long time, particularly since the 8 May Conservative Party electoral win here in Britain. Since setting up early on Friday morning the Reclaim the Power 2015 camp has quickly grown in size and energy, and though the socks are damp, the spirits are high.
Behind me the two cooling towers of Didcot Power Station stand in stark contrast to the colourful sign beneath, which reads ‘Power to the People’. The power station is currently at an important crossroads; its future will be decided this December by energy giant RWE Npower, one of the Big Six companies controlling Britain’s energy supply. RWE Npower claims that it is ‘doing its bit’ for the environment but its record speaks otherwise. As well as owning a huge open-cast coalmine in Germany it regularly lobbies the British government to extend the life of dirty power stations. Worse still, this is the very company that has been selected to represent the UK government in EU decision-making on reducing carbon emissions.
In spite of the camp’s locality, its scope is not limited to regional issues. It takes place as part of an international weekend of action ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June and against the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold over the Paris UN Climate talks set to take place this December. Groups and individuals have come from across the country and beyond to deliver workshops, talks and to share skills on subjects ranging from fuel poverty to migrant solidarity to nuclear energy. Throughout the weekend there has also been a ‘ministry of dissent’, skilling people up ahead of Monday’s day of direct action.
As Laurie Penny observed in her excellent post-election article, ‘An angry population is hard to govern. A depressed population is easy.’
This year’s Reclaim the Power camp is putting those words into practice. We may be damp, we may be tired, and we may be pissed off. But we’re still fighting.
To find out more about Reclaim the Power visit reclaimthepower.org.uk