What’s Happening newsletter #11

Real Media logo and Phoenix Media Co-op logo side by side

Real Media and Phoenix Media Co-op have teamed up to release a regular newsletter. We collectively seek to provide bold, accurate, accessible journalism which is unashamedly internationalist and subversive. At the centre of this is covering the work of people in the UK and globally who are forging a better world, largely by organising against marginalisation, oppression and destruction.

Edmonton Incinerator update

We reported last week on the protests leading up to a decision by the North London Waste Authority on the future of the Edmonton Incinerator. An All Party Parliamentary Committee report recommending a moratorium on new incinerator projects was published the day before a final vote. 

Despite noisy protests and a road blockade outside the NLWA meeting, out of the seven councils that make up the NLWA, only Haringey voted against handing the contract to Acciona for the rebuild and expansion of the project, and so the motion was passed.

Campaigners have vowed to carry on and it’s likely we will see direct action in future to delay and disrupt any expansion. 

Watch our updated report and read more at realmedia.press.

End the war in Yemen

The world watches on as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen worsens. On 17 December, the London branch of Campaign Against Arms Trade retweeted an infographic marking the duration of the aggression against Yemen on that day – 2,459 days since the bombing campaign began in 2015.

Houthi forces recently called for dialogue with the Saudi-led coalition to end the war.

The number of Yemenis killed, through direct and indirect causes of the war, is likely to reach 377,000 by the end of 2021, according to a recent United Nations (UN) report, which also estimated that 70% of those killed would have been children under the age of five. 

The hashtag #YemenCantWait resurfaced last week, calling for an end to the ongoing economic decline and famine that the Saudi-led coalition is inflicting upon innocent civilians.

The UN’s World Food Programme tweeted that “the devaluation of currency & soaring food prices have made it impossible for many in Yemen to afford basic food. As a result, hunger is rising.”

The Norwegian Refugee Council released a December survey of 760 Yemenis from the southern part of the country, discovering that 99 per cent of people interviewed said “they could no longer afford to buy meat, chicken, fruit, milk or rice, because of the rising costs”. Read more from Phoenix Media Co-op on the Yemeni crisis here.

Protests against mega-mining in Argentina

In a “surprise session” on 16 December, lawmakers in the Argentinian province of Chubut approved a controversial bill to allow Canadian company Pan American Silver to carry out “mega-mining” projects in neighbouring regions. “Ferocious demonstrations erupted” in the provincial capital of Rawson, as protesters “torched the courthouse, the legislature, and the local Government House”, according to volunteer-run publication Ill Will on Twitter. “Heavy police repression” was also reported, the outlet added.

Twitter surged with hashtags such as #ChubutAguazo and #ChubutResiste, with many showing solidarity with the environmental protesters who were pursued by police. Persona #SOSYanomami, a user supporting indigenous rights in South America, tweeted out videos showing, according to the user, “cops in pickup trucks [chasing] protesters and [shooting] at them”, the sign of “a violent police repression, with rubber bullets”.

A separate TikTok video also showed armed men shooting at civilians in Rawson.

Despite the repression in Rawson, the resistance continued on the day. Persona #SOSYanomami’s Twitter thread showed footage of “thousands of people” taking to the streets of neighbouring city Trelew, “even after midnight, in repudiation of the mega-mining permit”.

It was a dark day for environmental activists, but the newly passed law brought good news to global corporations. Following the news, the New York shares of mining giant Pan American Silver “jumped as much as 8.6%, the most since May [2021]”. Bloomberg reported that this development will be closely monitored by global mining companies “amid decades of wrangling in Argentine provinces, where they’ve been unable to dig up huge mineral resources because of environmental opposition and political infighting”.

Other news

  • In Chile, the electoral campaign of Gabriel Boric, formerly prominent in student protests, has been successful. Despite some critiques of Boric, many grassroots movements backed him because his opponent, José Antonio Kast, was a far-right apologist for the Pinochet dictatorship. The Coordinadora Feminista 8M, for example, agreed that Kast was a big threat to women, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ rights, and political dissidents. Western governments have consistently backed the Chilean government despite its repression of activists, especially in one Indigenous area that a forestry corporation has sought to exploit. 
  • Greenpeace revealed on Instagram that oil giants Total and ExxonMobil are “set to start seismic tests” to explore for oil and gas close to the Greek island of Crete, exposing at least four different species of whales and three species of dolphins to “unbearable noise and pollution” from “blasts and deep-sea drilling operations”. “We must stop them now before they start to wreck the Mediterranean,” the group warned.
  • Blackpool’s Stuart Delivery workers were among the many who joined what the IWGB union is calling “the longest strike in the gig economy”. “Won’t back down until the pay cut is reversed!” the group tweeted. President Alex Marshall tweeted on 19 December. On 20 December, meanwhile, protesters stormed the HQ of JustEat in London in solidarity with the striking couriers.
  • Teachers in Iran have been protesting last week in Tehran for fair pay and better working conditions, but the government is clamping down on them and “treating them like criminals”. Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad said on 13 December that “the nationwide protest took place in more than 100 cities in Iran”. “They are chanting against the arrest of innocent teachers,” she said.

That’s all for 2021

This is the last newsletter of 2021, but we’ll see you back here in 2022!

Remember to subscribe to our regular show on YouTube on Wednesday evenings (GMT). On 22 December, we’ll bring you some ICYMIs and an update, and next week will be a short review of the year.

Please consider helping us continue and expand in 2022 with a donation or better still a small monthly subscription.