In case of emergency, break glass (What’s Happening newsletter 19/07/22)

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Welcome to this week’s Real Media / Phoenix Media Co-op newsletter – focused on breaking with the status quo. Please also remember to subscribe on YouTube.

On the Rojava revolution’s 10-year anniversary, a Turkish invasion looms

One key example in modern years of people breaking with the political status quo has been the Rojava revolution in northern Syria. NATO member Turkey, however, has recently been hinting at a new invasion of northern Syria, and has used its veto powers in the organisation to influence the positions of NATO hopefuls Sweden and Finland.

Despite the brutality of Syria’s civil war, severe regional and international isolation, and intense military aggression from fascist forces like Daesh (Isis) and the Turkish regime, though, the Rojava revolution of northern Syria has just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. This green, gender-equal, and democratic system has become a beacon of hope for many on the left both in the Middle East and around the world.

The self-defence forces of North and East Syria (NES) have said that a new Turkish assault on the region would be an opportunity for Daesh to launch new attacks too. The Al-Hol displacement camp, for example, has been called a “ticking time bomb”. NES authorities say they simply don’t have enough resources for the camp, where tens of thousands of people (from 51 nationalities) live, including detained Daesh militants and their families. They have long called on countries to repatriate their citizens, or at least to support the maintenance of the camp’s facilities.

In case of medical climate emergency, break glass 

On Sunday morning, six health professionals cracked eight large plate glass windows in a protest at the Canary Wharf headquarters of JP Morgan.

JP Morgan has topped the chart for global fossil fuel financing since the 2016 Paris Agreement 2016, continuing to invest in new projects in spite of the International Energy Agency’s warnings.

The action highlighted the multiple health risks and deaths from extreme heat, and the part that fossil fuel financiers play in climate breakdown.

There was virtually no corporate media coverage despite yesterday’s first ever Level 4 National Emergency Heat Alert in the UK.

Dr Patrick Hart, one of the GPs involved in yesterday’s protest, said: “When a patient gets sick, the first thing you do is stop the harm. There is no point in administering an antidote to a patient while someone is still pumping poison into their body.”

Full story here.

In case of lying media, break glass

Five climate activists were arrested early this morning at the London offices of News UK (home of The Sun newspaper) after three large plate glass windows were broken and slogans were sprayed on the walls at the main entrance to the building near London Bridge.

Staff had to use rear doors to enter the building while glass was cleared.

The action was in protest at coverage of the climate crisis and particularly the current heatwave. As well as the slogans “40 Degrees = Death” and “Tell The Truth”, copies of Sun news coverage were pasted to the walls. One showed bikini-clad women apparently enjoying the sun, next to a headline about the Met Office ‘danger to life’ warning.  A story about railway lines ablaze showed two young children paddling in the sea.

Real Media interviewed scientists and a former Sun journalist at the scene. All wanted to see an urgent end to new fossil fuel exploration and they explained the ways in which the business interests of media billionaires misinform the public and guide government policy, with terrifying results.

Watch Real Media‘s film and read more here.

Haringey plane tree protectors

As reported previously, Haringey is currently a front line for urban tree protection as local residents campaign to save a 100 year-old plane tree caught up in a battle between insurance companies and the council. Insurance companies have a long-established policy of ‘implicating’ trees in subsidence claims and passing costs onto the public by holding councils responsible.

Campaigners wrote in June asking for a meeting with Colm Holmes, CEO of Allianz (one of the insurers involved), but it was only after a protest outside the London office on the 12th July that he replied.

Watch the film and read more here.

Other news

  • Indonesia’s ongoing violent occupation of West Papua continues. And due to intensified violence, over 100,000 West Papuans have reportedly had to flee from their homes. It’s difficult to determine the exact number of casualties, however, because aid agencies and journalists aren’t allowed access to the region. According to Joe Collins from the Australian West Papua Association, a highly controversial Indonesian government attempt to split Papuan provinces “is a divide and rule tactic” that will result in a greater military presence in the region and “more human rights abuses”.

There won’t be a newsletter next week, but watch out for Real Media‘s coverage of the first national march (and action) of the Just Stop Oil Coalition which takes place in London next Saturday 23 July. This is an interesting development which was first covered by Real Media last month – possibly a real alternative to the current failure of our parliamentary democracy – bringing together campaign groups, direct action networks, unions and politicians. 

The newsletter will be back on 2 August. In the meantime, though, do let us know of any stories and issues you’d like to see more of, remember to subscribe on YouTube, and please consider donating to help us carry on our work and bring you this newsletter.