Friday, August 08, 2008

Climate Camp 2008 & the State's slow creep towards Fascism

This week has seen the (now annual) Climate Camp, this time taking place at Kingsnorth, Kent, near to the site of an existing (E.ON owned) power station, also the site of a proposed new coal-fired one. The event organisers decided to focus on the subject of burning fossil fuel and how the government is giving way to plants like Kingsnorth, but doing effectively sod-all for renewable energy. You would have thought that a common-sense approach to the huge problems we face in future would be to at least try to mitigate CO2 emissions - but this government is not interested, and for the terminally naive, it's looking less and less likely any future ones will be.

We attended Climate Camp last year, and gave a workshop about government roads policy and the Longdendale Bypass, alongside the No M1 Widening campaign. For various reasons, we couldn't go this time, so we've been following events from afar with much interest.

Anyone who has been following the coverage this week will have seen a lot about how this event has been policed. From mass incursions by riot police (something to do with 'health & safety'!), to continual night-time harassment, to the use of mass stop-and-search tactics (now extended via s.60 of the Criminal Justice Act to the whole of the Hoo peninsula - the Police no longer need to have 'reasonable grounds' to do so), to police Forward Intelligence Teams photographing and videoing everything. People being searched were having loo roll and soap confiscated, on the basis that they could be used as weapons - for fuck's sake! The videos at the bottom of this post demonstrate some of these instances, and other activities such as Police stealing people's bicycles!

Tonight, the Climate Camp website has details of a revelation that the government - and not the Kent Constabulary - are to underwrite 90% of the costs of policing the camp. It is now perfectly clear - or at least should be to those who harbour illusions - that the State and E.ON are acting as one - that multinational corporations enriched by using the dirtiest and least appropriate forms of energy given the current crisis have the power of the State at their disposal to carry on business as usual.

In this country, the State is quickly moving towards a Fascist regime - as time goes by, it increasingly acts that way and is slowly becoming it in all but name. What more proof do people need?

It seems to me that the options for responding to and dealing with this are becoming more and more constrained. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it makes all the reformists and liberals look more transparent and foolish. Indeed, the environmental movement is full of bourgeois liberals who are always asking for the government to do something, or planning to lobby ministers, or even ploughing time and energy into cosmetic bullshit. They are wasting our time as well as their own, and time is running out.

But that also applies to us - meaning those who want to change things and make a difference, for real. You have to question the wisdom of tactics that mean you're couped up in a field surrounded by robocops for a week, and then face massive force and violence (as is likely tomorrow) when trying to undertake Direct Action. Indeed, it's a repeat of the tactics of the London Mayday protests which meant 1000s were effectively corralled by Police.

One of the much photographed slogans last year was "we are armed only with peer-reviewed science" - if that's true, then we are fucked! New tactics are needed for new realities. To all those taking part in Direct Action tomorrow - good luck, and here's to new ways to defeat old enemies in future.

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