Here is a series of articles that were written for Reclaim the Power.
Reclaim Our Future
It is not hard to see why we romanticise a mythical past in this country right now – and why we have seen a rise in reactionary nationalism.
The robbery of all our wealth by the bankers and politicians has left us divided and angry,blaming immigrants and poor people for joblessness, poverty, declining real wages, longer hours, insecure work and the many other trials that blight our daily lives now.
Our education is being privatised, sold off to religious groups and corporations through free schools. University is an expense that can never be paid back. It is no longer a place for learning, but a place to turn yourself into the ultimate economic unit.
The NHS, Pensions and Welfare as we know it will probably not exist within a decade.
We are the first generation in modern history to be poorer than our parents.
We are all in debt now – mortgages, university, credit cards, payday loans – we are all chasing that chimera of a moment when we finally get caught up.
Even our nation is in this kind of debt, one that can never be repaid, or even really afforded.
And with all of this we are now a people without a future. It has been sold off – financially packaged and redistributed to us as reminder letters, and personal financial advice, and ‘careful planning’. Austerity is our future.
Of course, this is all a mirage. Money is no more real than debt. They are both ideas. We can say no. We can refuse to pay.
However those ideas are as real as the bailiffs who come to collect them. So what are we to do?
No one seems to be offering solutions, politicians are barely even lying any longer – they all say we face even worse times ahead.
But another future is possible.
Across the UK and the world people are living the change we want to see. Housing, energy , food, arts, banks and all the other good things are being created in cooperatives and localities all over.
These are owned by the people who use them and they are created for the benefit of all, not just for the profit of a few. They help people provide more of what we need and work less.
There is hope through 3D printing, the internet, and other technology that – if we keep it free and usable for all – we can create another world directly, without any interference from above.
Resistance is occurring globally – from the slums of Rio, to the cities of China, from the streets of the UK, to the squares of Egypt. Too many places and too many people to count and standing up and saying ‘Enough Already!’.
For the first time in human history we can create a truly global change, no longer looking to just solving problems within our own borders – or within the borders of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and the other divides we see as so fundamental.
These are borders reinforced in the mind, and used by the powerful to keep us divided. They can be destroyed by us as they were created by them.
We know any truly liberatory change will have to come for all us, or not at all.
If we work together, learn from the mistakes of the past, be prepared to make new mistakes, andcreate and resist with joy and determination then we can imagine a better world.
We can believe another world is possible.
We can reclaim our future.
Reclaim The Media
Martin Luther King Jr said that a riot is the voice of the unheard. More and more we live in a country where the majority are unheard.
After 2 explosive years of mass demonstrations, riots and occupations, the end of the Occupy movement saw the end of coverage of the politics of dissent.
The media had tried to make these movements seem as petty and awful as possible, but public support was overwhelmingly on their side.
With a Royal Wedding, the Olympics and a hopeless national football team to support, the media ignored the silencing of activists and refused to cover the actions of anti government protestors.
When the Electricians strike crippled Balfour Beatty (the largest construction company in the world), we heard nothing.
When Manchester hosted the largest demonstration in it’s history to protect the NHS, we heard nothing.
When Disabled People Against Cuts occupied the BBC to protest the lack of coverage of their issues, we heard nothing.
TTIP, legal aid cuts, workfare, mental health care slashed, fracking, the bombing of Palestine, housing crisis, benefit sanctions, food poverty, fuel poverty, people’s assemblies, public sector cuts and many other issues have seen movements go beyond protest to direct action and have been routinely ignored.
It is now that we ask the question, when do the unheard riot?
Of course we feel there is still a voice of dissent.
Increasingly aware of the continued anger and frustration of the majority of people in the country the media show us one man who is prepared to stand up to establishment.
That man is – former commodities trader – Nigel Farage!
During the last 12 months UKIP have received 5 times more media coverage on the BBC than any of the main parties and 25 times more than the Greens.
Yet when polled, 73% of UKIP voters said they preferred Green policies. We just never got to hear those policies.
This is a classic example of spectacular distraction, media divide and rule at it’s finest.
The corporate and state media will always be drawn to spectacular over substance – but even the spectacular protests of the recent years have been hidden.
It will always organise in the interests of the powerful and represent their interests whilst it is owned by them, funded by them, influenced by their lobbying and given all their ‘official’ news by them.
However we live in an age of immediate response, of the possibility for our own free press globally.
We can change the story. We can take action that can’t be ignored.
We can hound the media in huge numbers – on their forums and on their websites and at their offices.
We can create an alternative media, and get our news and information directly from those in the know.
We can Reclaim The Media.
Reclaim Our Energy
We know that if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change we need to leave 80% of Fossil Fuels in the ground.
We also know that if we meet our climate change targets we will be 62% less dependent on foreign oil and gas.
Finally we know that the ‘Big 6? energy companies have a basic monopoly over our gas and electricity bills and that they are rising them year on year despite falling energy costs for them.
Yet our government is determined to continue the dash for gas – building more gas power stations and bribing/forcing communities into having fracking on their doorstep.
Why? So these six companies can keep making enormous profits and destroying the planet?
We need to reclaim our energy.
We can create jobs, save money on our fuel bills and make sure that our communities have a safe, clean source of energy for a long, long time.
Our governments and large corporations should be supporting and investing in energy efficiency, house insulation and renewable energy. But as they have vested interests to do the opposite, to maintain profit and power for themselves, we must look to ourselves.
We can follow energy projects like the carbon coop and create renewable power for our community that keeps us off the grid and saves us money.
We can invest in retrofitting our houses, and creating energy efficiency.
All of this creates jobs, and brings communities together. We can do this now. We don’t need to be told what our energy future is, we can create it ourselves.
We can reclaim our energy.
We Need To Reclaim the Power
By Thomas Barlow
In an age of increasing fuel bills,lack of transparency in government and business and climate change, we believe we need to reclaim the power. We need to take back local control of our energy, food production and decision making.
The government believes we should be making a dash for gas to provide for our energy needs – and fracking is a big part of this.
However, communities can provide their own energy – cutting fuel bills and taking power out of the hands of big energy companies – whilst at the same time putting the brakes on climate change.
How? By building renewable energy locally (and creating energy efficiency), which will create jobs and bring communities together to take control of decisions that affect us.
What is the Dash For Gas?
The old power stations are dying out. They are soon to be replaced. and they. The government wants to replace them with gas based power stations which last for about 30 years, instead of renewables. This will leave us increasingly dependent on foreign gas supplies and the use of fracking.
What does this mean?
For the country: not only will we ruin any chance of hitting our emissions targets, but we will be handing control of our fuel bills to the big 6 energy companies who have increased bills 20% year on year.
For communities: more than 10,000 extra winter deaths have occurred the past three winters, due to rising fuel bills forcing pensioners choosing between eating and heating their homes.
What is fracking?
Fracking is an unconventional form of gas extraction that involves drilling into shale and pumping millions of gallons of chemical water into the ground to flush gas out.
It has been linked with severe health issues and a potentially disastrous impact on the environment.
Additionally, fracking is likely to cause house price drops of 25%, damage agriculture massively because of water loss, and affect tourism and small business negatively.
Reclaim The Power is a collective of people bound by the common belief that we should not make a panicked dash for gas.
Groups like the Carbon Co-op encourage groups of people to bulk buy their energy from renewable sources they create, and to insulate their homes and make energy savings.
When people come together to do this, they find not only do they save lots of cash, but they have control of their own energy and are not dictated to by government or big business.
That freedom, thanks to renewable energy, is forever.
This is something we would like to see expand into all areas of life. Together, we can find solutions to the common problems of life. Everything from community food projects to supporting local business help reclaim power for the community.
What is the camp?
It is a place where the alternatives are showcased, from large communal kitchens to renewable energy media centres, to democratic decision making.
It is also a place for learning, where speakers attend and debates are held, with people with a wide range of expertise attending. It is a place that aims to allow everyone to have a voice.