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Police Strike after the Camp for Climate Action

Camping Worker | 19.08.2008 10:39

The Camp for Climate Action has ignited an angry debate within the workers movement. Opponents of coal have been called "scabs" (email from Dave Douglass 22nd of Jun 2008), while the fossil fuels supporters have been called "racist" because of the consequences of global warming. This article, by an opponent of coal, investigates this division in order to promote mutual understanding and hopefully to plant seeds of future solidarity.

Arthur Scargill, Dave Douglass and a delegation from the NUM visited the camp to do a workshop laying out their position. The workshop went ahead but debate was limited as many activists were diverted when riot police attacked the camp.

Arthur Scargill told the Independent:
"There are similarities in that they are people who are demonstrating for what they believe in and they are doing so in a way that draws attention to them
from the media and from the forces of the state. I find it offensive and obscene that you can have police in the numbers that you had at climate camp,
particularly riot police, stopping people entering the field. They are stopping and searching people going inside and asking for their names and addresses.
It cuts across their civil rights.
"On Monday, I saw police stopping vehicles on the road near the camp and the police, as in 1984 and 1985, have no right to do this to these people but they get away with it because they are in a uniform.
"The people at the climate camp have my sympathies in that they have a right to demonstrate.
"I am saying that we can use clean coal by removing the CO2 by using a process called carbon capture. And I think that we can fit Kingsnorth, and any other coal-fired power stations, with the technology to do this. That way we can extract all of the oil and gas we need from coal, just like we did during the war, without hurting the environment. It will also allow us to use up all of the coal supplies that we have that will last us for 1,000 years."
"I am saying that it can [work]. The problem is that we are not seeing the Government invest in the way they should be in carbon capture so that it can be achieved."

The police demanded "unrestricted access to emergency vehicles" such that they could bring unlimited numbers of riot police into our site. The camp debated this proposal in regional barrios, each barrio sending two delegates to the spokes meeting. This consensus decision making process resulted that that fire engines should have access through our gate but that the police could have a maximum of 6 officers on site. The police never agreed to this so were not allowed on site. The camp was to liese with the Fire Servie to make sure they were happy with this and to keep the FBU informed. Bob Archer of the National Shop Stewards Network assisted NSSN members in the camp by providing contacts in the Fire Brigades Union.

The violent policing of the camp radicalised not only many of the campers but also apparently the police themselves. They were told: "You'd better hope you
loose, because if you win today you will kill more people than Hitler, as a consequence of climate change. You can expect to be ordered to attack protesters more and more as Peak Oil increases it's bite. Your Federation say you want the right to strike but you won't get that freedom by having marches with Nazis at the front. The leaders of your Federation are friendly with Nazis so they don't really want you to win your rights. We won the right to strike by taking it, not by waiting for permission from the Government. You're on overtime at time and a third; you should be on time and a half". Its great to see the police have today imposed an overtime ban. Lets hope the bastards go out and stay out for good!

In the pub on the last day of the camp, one worker from Kingsnorth complained; "There's no point; the government won't listen to you; you can't change anything."
A camper replied; "Over the last hundred or two hundred years we have changed lots of things; things are bound to change; the issue is in whose interests those changes happen." The campaign intends to sustain it's resistance until Kingsnorth power station is shut down.

Camping Worker


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  1. police strikes are problematic — Stuart