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Police "strategy" and climate camp autonomy!

Harry | 07.08.2008 08:48 | Climate Camp 2008 | Analysis | Repression

I have been impressed and inspired by campers resistance to the repeated police encursion attempts. The police are shooting themselves in the foot!

One of the main reasons why the climate camp is an exciting and inspiring place to be is the fact that it is a self-managed space. It works well, under difficult circumstances (eg. police harrassment!) due to the voluntary co-operation of a diverse bunch of people. The organisation of the camp is, generally, very good. And this self-management, this autonomy, is intoxicating. This is why people are willing to work long hours cleaning toilets, chopping veg (not at the same time!!), organising workshops, etc - because they are contributing to a very unusual feeling of collective strength and autonomy.

And this is also why people are so up for defending gates against police incursions. The police hate the idea that people can quite happily self-manage without them and everything they stand for. The police hate not being able to strut around "keeping the peace" (no ironic comment needed!) and being in charge. The police require to be in control, otherwise their whole role is negated, for all to see. I think that this is the underlying reason they are so keen to "patrol the site", and it is why they throw their weight around like petulant teenagers wherever possible (eg. obsessive searches, ludicrous confiscations, arbitary stops of vehicles, removing legally locked bikes, etc.). It gives them some measure of control, and they *need* that.

The irony of their repeated heavy attempts to enter the camp is that they are radicalising a new generation of activists, who are young, and often totally new to "protesting". The camp is now *much* more defiant and militant than it was at the start, because people have experienced for themselves the repression of the political police, and experienced the heady joy of resisting it (assertively but peacefully). Whatever else happens at the camp, and even if the police do force their way on eventually, a more clued-up and up-for-it movement will result. This is exactly what a radical movement against climate change needs to be.

Well done to everyone at the camp. See you there - come at the weekend if you can!



Protesters not rising to police provocation

07.08.2008 09:06

I was at climate camp earlier in the week, and was very impressed with the protesters not rising to police provocation. The result was the police looked stupid on telly that day beating peaceful protesters. This is how we should always resist police harrassment: don't rise to it; don't play them at their game; stay peaceful and get the public on our side.



Hide the following 7 comments

why are you doing this?

07.08.2008 09:10

Why are you people targeting the coal industry? This is clean coal technology and involves carbon capture, why attack clean coal technology? Why are you not attacking the nuclear industry? Whose playing your strings?


clean coal is a dirty business

07.08.2008 10:03

"This is clean coal technology and involves carbon capture, why attack clean coal technology?"

Carbon Capture and Storage: A Coal and Electricity Industry Pipedream

The bottom line is that Carbon Capture and Storage is not ready for prime time.

Well they’re at it again. The coal industry has found yet another way to greenwash coal as an environmentally sound source of electricity through a concept called, “Carbon Capture and Storage” (or Sequestration), CCS.

This complex technology is not only decades from commercial viability or implementation, but it is costly, risky and inefficient.

Greenpeace campaigns around the world to shut down old polluting power plants and stop new dirty coal plants from being built. But its not just about protesting at coal plants, we have to have evidence and analysis.

In May 2008, Greenpeace produced a peer-reviewed report surveying the published literature on CCS finding that while coal and electric utility companies are confidently trumpeting CCS and the false hope of “clean coal”, there remain significant questions about the technology, especially as a proposed solution to global warming.

The Greenpeace report, False Hope, Why carbon capture and storage won’t save the climate concludes:

CCS cannot deliver in time to avoid dangerous climate change

Climate scientists and industry agree that CCS will not be ready for commercial scale deployment until 2030 whereas to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, scientists say greenhouse gas emissions have to start falling by 2015.

CCS wastes energy and water

CCS technology uses between 10-40% of the energy produced by a power station to split the coal into gases and compress and transport the CO2. For example, an energy penalty of 20% would require the construction of an extra power station for every four built in order to produce the same amount of electricity. This also means more coal has to be mined and transported. And not only that, power plants that use CCS technology will require 90% more freshwater than a traditional plant.

Overall, wide-scale adoption of CCS is expected to ERASE the efficiency gains of the last 50 years and increase resource consumption by one third.

CCS is a risky bet

While it is not even certain that we have the ability to capture and store the carbon dioxide necessary to implement wide-scale CCS technology, leakage remains a risk. If continuous leakage were to occur at rates as low as 1% per year, it could complete negate climate mitigation efforts.

CCS is expensive

A US Department of Energy study found that installing CCS technology will double the costs of a traditional power plant. This would result in electricity price increases of 21%-91%.

The bottom line is that CCS is not ready for prime time, nor will it be ready in time to help solve the climate crisis, yet it is being used as a ‘free ride’ ticket to build new polluting coal plants that are labeled “carbon capture ready”. To continue to build power plants that may or may not some day be retro-fitted to include carbon capture technology is like intentionally contracting a disease in the hope that medical science will one day provide a cure. Coal is an inherently dirty technology. Any investment that banks on future CCS development is money not invested in deployment of renewable clean energy alternatives and energy efficiency that exist today.


Clean coal? Certainly sir! Perhaps I could interest you in some magic beans too?

07.08.2008 11:22

unmisguided: "Why are you people targeting the coal industry?"

Errm... because we'd actually like a future to y'know... live in? One of those might be useful for yourself too, possibly.

"This is clean coal technology and involves carbon capture"

Wrong. Clean coal technology does not exist. Besides, the cleanest turd in a pile of turds is still a turd, and coal is the uber-turd!

Even Shell (yes, that Shell) said that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology will not be ready until around 2050. (Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the quote right now, otherwise I'd post the link. Maybe someone else will post it.)

"why attack clean coal technology?"

It's pretty difficult to attack something which doesn't exist! We're not attacking clean coal technology - we're attacking the misleading lies and fabrications surrounding it.

I politely suggest you try doing your own research on the subject to find out just how real CCS isn't. Shouldn't take more than about 10 minutes to get that far. You could do worse than start here:

"Why are you not attacking the nuclear industry?"

I'm pretty sure we're doing that too. (Perhaps with the recent exception of George Moonboot, but then he lost the plot long ago.)

"Whose playing your strings?"

Ourselves? Because let's face it, nobody else is going to play them for us - especially not those in power. They couldn't give two shits if we drop dead tomorrow, as long as they still get to be in power over those who are left.

Wakey wakey!

Misguided Of Melchett

NETCU cock up.. again ..

07.08.2008 18:46

Fantastic and insightful article. Once again NETCU's tactics have failed. They have merely made the protestors more effective. It sometimes makes me wonder whether Steve Pearl is actually an ALF member given the amount of recruitment his stupidity has given the ALF. Not to mention the amount of money given to activists subject to illegal actions caused by police using NETCU tactics. There will be more soon when those who have had their bikes nicked sue the police.

It's a shame that NETCU won't continue as we could all do with more recruits and more cash from the police. Unfortunately someone is sure to discover Steve Pearls gravy train and shutdown these muppets. The amount of tax-payers money they waste is amazing.

Stupid Steve


07.08.2008 20:39

There is nothing so radicalising as a police truncheon! The cops have just wound everyone up and ensured the opposite of what they wanted! Well done everyone for standing up to this bullying and intimidation. The camp has been shown it's collective strength and people are empowered!


Yes police tactics have became so counterproductive its funny

08.08.2008 16:07

Just got back from CC and what you say is 100% true, the moral of the camp went up after every silly little police jape - last night shortly after 'quiet down' time when most people were already asleep the police came to the fence and waved their high power torches about while screaming things like "it's a raid", "POLICE!" and even silly things like "emergency! everyone get up the police are coming" or "rip your numbers off and lets get them!" -the aim was to scare everyone in the camp into waking up, they never even tried to cross the fence. Yeah, we panicked a little and all got up to see what happened, yeah all the children on site (they did it in the area closest to the 'kids area' where most the familys are camped) got really scared and woke up, a few started to cry -but it didn't take long to rumble their ruse (after all most of the police were laughing as they called out threats and 'joke' intimidation) and there's only so long you can stand in a line along a fence waving a torch while screaming nonsence and remain scary, now i realize just how very short that time is. It (or the other 5.20am wake up pretend raid (using about 10vehicles, 50riot gear police & some VERY angry sounding attack dogs)) didn't #really# ruin anyones night, if anything they gave an exhilarating boost of adrenalin and gave everyone a common theme for breakfast discussion 'did you see them all at the fence with the torches? silly buggers, shameful embarrassment really not even proper harassment...'

The funny thing is that this morning the 'reasonable' coppers they put on the day duty (mostly kent and met) were even joking about how poor the intimidation tactics were and how really everyone should just get along, i think not only did it help many of the protesters who attended the camp learn about green issues and the problems with police state tactics but also the many, many police who attended. They had to chat to perfectly reasonable. well informed and polite individuals passionate about making the world a better place and they had to do this for the full fifteen minuets it takes to fill in a 'stop and search' form -most importantly they got to think about 'green issues' in a beautiful rural setting, in fact two of the met boys i chatted with on my way home even thanked us for getting them out of the city.

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Mass legal action?

09.08.2008 13:33

Looking at the broad reporting of police tactics against what is allegedly a legal protest in a democratic country, it makes me wonder what value a mass legal protest would have in challenging the police, the Home Office and government.

Particulary, the claimants would need to submit affidavits to the effect of when and what they heard, saw, experienced in terms of police action against them, others, or the camp in general. Collect enough affidavits and one builds a case. The case would be against the police specifically and the Home Office directly for misappropriation of tax payers' funds. The action would be to get the police to explain their use of such tactics, to pursue chain of command and accountability and to juxtapose this with the government's rhetoric on climate change and the scientific fallacies of CCS technology as a solution here and now.

There has been some mainstream media coverage of this, which gives the camp affidavits mainstream corroboration. Perhaps residents and other impartial witnesses can be asked to submit affidavits. This is a good time to use the strength of the critical mass and pubic awareness to exploit these underhanded, provocative, and quite possibly illegal acts by the police and to leverage the crack between governmental climate rhetoric and hype and police actions as the enforcer of domestic policies and law.

I'm no lawyer, but there must be some mileage in this material. The government needs to come clean publicly about their hypocrisy and the tacit permission to allow the police to undermine the rights of the people of an allegedly democratic country to protest their displeasure, concern and challenge to the government's policies on matters of domestic and global importance for now and forever more.

How did they ever justify the budget allocations for this use of resources? Follow the money and the authorisation trail.


Time to turn the tables