Welcome to this week’s Real Media / Phoenix Media Co-op newsletter. Please also remember to subscribe on YouTube to check out our What’s Happening round-up, which will be back soon.
War, oil, climate, and rebellion
Real Media has launched a new short film looking at how fossil-fuel lobbyists are using the war in Ukraine to push for new drilling, fracking and exploration just a week after the latest IPCC climate report lays stark the inevitability of human suffering for billions of people if governments fail to rapidly transform their energy policies away from fossil fuels.
In a recent report the International Energy Agency has backed up the advice to governments that there should be no more investment in fossil fuel projects if the world is to meet its “carbon budget”.
Last month the UK’s own Climate Change Commission wrote to business minister Kwasi Kwarteng telling him that “An end to UK exploration would send a clear signal to investors and consumers that the UK is committed to the 1.5°C global temperature goal. That would also help the UK in its diplomatic efforts to strengthen climate ambition internationally …”
But Rishi Sunak is reportedly pushing for six new North Sea oil fields, telling Kwarteng to fast-track their licensing.
As Russia attacks Ukraine, Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan has taken the opportunity to call for a reversal on the government moratorium on fracking which has seen his failed Preston New Road site due to be plugged and abandoned.
Last October, the UK government published its own Net Zero Strategy which warns of mass migration, crop failure, and catastrophic climate tipping points if we fail to meet the 1.5ºC warming limit. But a mixture of climate deniers and many of the same lobbyists who were behind the Brexit campaign are fighting back. Nigel Farage has just launched a new campaign ‘Vote Power Not Poverty’ which wants to give the public a false binary choice between higher fuel bills or climate action in a new referendum.
At the launch of the IPCC report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that he’d seen many scientific reports in his time “but nothing like this”. With “nearly half of humanity living in the danger zone NOW”, “delay means death”. In a call to arms, he said “now is the time to turn rage into action…every voice can make a difference and every second counts”.
Escalating war or ramping up domestic fossil fuel production are both strategies that will end in catastrophe.
In the coming weeks, massive civil disobedience is planned by new direct action group Just Stop Oil, and in April, Extinction Rebellion will be on the streets of London and other major cities round the world. Their message must encompass de-escalation and peaceful rebellion against the oligarchs (East and West) who are leading us to hell.
On Friday, led by Ukrainian activists, nearly 500 organisations across the world signed an open letter to governments asking them to ban Russian oil imports but ALSO to rapidly phase out all fossil fuels in the name of peace.
Calling out racism in the midst of war
Racism in corporate media coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has already become viral on social media. But double standards have also been clear in terms of Western policies regarding refugees.
This is a great initiative from Eurostar; but the contrast with non European refugees could not b starker. It demonstrates that safe routes for refugees are possible and no one escaping conflict should need to risk their life again to cross the Channel. A better way IS possible. pic.twitter.com/WW5o21hSvM
— Care4Calais (@Care4Calais) March 5, 2022
[EN] In Calais, while associations have been asking for accommodation for people stranded at the border for years, places have been freed up in just a few days for people arriving from Ukraine. 2/ https://t.co/sTCXowIpJe
— Calais Solidarity (@calaisolidarity) March 4, 2022
Some campaigners have been raising funds to help African and Asian students in Ukraine escape from the country as they face hostility at the border:
🧵of videos from Moroccan students on Ukraine-Poland border.
They speak of discrimination by Ukrainian soldiers against African, Asian & Arab nationals – mostly students – as they fled the war.
"Ukrainians are allowed to cross [into Poland]. But we're not," says one student. pic.twitter.com/BS680QlidV
— Arwa Ibrahim (@arwaib) March 5, 2022
“Black peoples were put in one queue, white people in another.”
In war, some are more unequal than others.
African and Asian students tell #C4News of the racism they’ve encountered at the borders as they try to leave Ukraine. #BlackInUkraine pic.twitter.com/N4t2WidzaW
— Darshna Soni (@darshnasoni) March 2, 2022
There have also been calls to share footage of the violent treatment that fleeing people face in Melilla, one of Spain’s African territories [Trigger warning: violence]:
Hi international friends, can you please share this video of spanish police violence against migrant people in the european south border in Melilla?
This must be know all around the world.
— Carabanchel Antifa (@KRBC_Antifa) March 5, 2022
Más de 2.500 personas que huyen del hambre y de la guerra intentaron saltar la valla de #Melilla desde #Marruecos
500 han accedido a #España, tras saltar la valla, sufrir graves cortes y ser golpeados por la Guardia Civil.#RefugeesWelcome #Refugeespic.twitter.com/kasA2l9wLs
— Manel Márquez (@manelmarquez) March 3, 2022
New climate movements
On 7 March, hundreds of activists launched the Tyre Extinguishers campaign, hoping to force a conversation about the prevalence of SUVs and 4×4 vehicles in our cities.
In a simple action using green lentils, they deflated the tyres of these oversized cars in cities across the UK, leaving explanatory leaflets on windscreens to warn drivers that their vehicles had been immobilised and tell them about all the cleaner and safer ways they could make their journeys.
The de-centralised group hopes to inspire a mass movement, and says it is taking this action because politicians are failing to protect us from these unnecessary massive killer vehicles, and it wants to make it impossible to own a huge polluting 4×4 in urban areas.
Students For Survival is a fledgling campaign in support of Just Stop Oil, and yesterday morning, small groups of school students staged mini school strikes for the third week in a row across the country. They are calling on classmates to join them, and they hold weekly Zoom meetings to encourage their classmates to learn about civil resistance and join the movement.
Finally, Youth Climate Swarm is another new youth movement practising civil resistance with the intent to bring cities to a standstill with many small fluid groups disrupting traffic junctions.
Again, they plan to provide support over the coming weeks as climate activists hold the government to account.
- Campaigners seeking to disrupt the arms trade blockaded Lockheed Martin’s biggest UK facility at Ampthill on 7 March.
We have used 'lock-ons' to prevent access to the 64 acre site that produces weapons used all around the world, including Ukraine and Palestinehttps://t.co/LPXLuhrLTo pic.twitter.com/maiP8D03Ni
— Block Lockheed (@BlockLockheed) March 7, 2022
- Four anti-HS2 activists were acquitted of aggravated trespass by a magistrate in High Wycombe on 7 March after he heard expert witnesses indicate that a 200-year old alder tree, which the activists were trying to protect, may have been felled illegally by HS2 Ltd.
- Trans campaigners hit the streets of London on 5 March:
then we did a tour of soho, putting stickers on everything and giving out flyers, it was a lot of fun. it was good to be at a thing where we were demanding something, not rattling off a list of evil shit that was done to us
— sammy 😗 (@sup_im_sammy) March 5, 2022
As well as being actual fun, hundreds of flyers were handed out, conversations were had and even members of the public actually left the bars they were in to join the March as we went through Soho. The reception from bystanders to flyers and chants was very positive. 2/3 pic.twitter.com/fIQb4YXt9A
— LAFA North (@LAFANorth) March 6, 2022
- A year on from the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard, campaigners will rally in London again to oppose an increase in powers for the police:
❌️Wayne Couzens used police powers to kidnap Sarah.
❌️Met used police powers to strip search Koshka Duff.
❌️Bristol cops used police powers to beat up Jasmine.
Police are drunk on the powers they have, but government used women's fears to give them more.
JOIN US ⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/vDyO3uKnGq
— Sisters Uncut (@SistersUncut) March 4, 2022
This Saturday Everyone Out! 🔥
One year on from the vigil at Clapham Common we need to keep up the rage and pressure against the Met and cops everywhere! Until we have a world where this can never happen again.
Turn up! This Saturday 5pm at New Scotland Yard in Central! pic.twitter.com/TdsZxxCw3C
— London Anti-Fascist Assembly (@London_AFA) March 7, 2022
- Rent strikers have criticised the University of Bristol amid stalling negotiations:
A statement from the occupiers regarding recent developments pic.twitter.com/hIjZJT5S8W
— Rent Strike Bristol (@RentStrikeBris) March 7, 2022
That’s all for this week. Please let us know of any stories and issues you’d like to see more of, and remember to subscribe on YouTube.