About 70 activists from around the country met at the Common Place social centre in Leeds on 26/27 January to discuss a range of proposals after last summer’s Heathrow Camp against Climate Change.
The key concerns were to “join the dots” of what may appear to be a list of single issue campaigns so that the overall anti-capitalist stance towards the issue of climate change is registered. There was a very healthy culture of focussed and respectful discussion and a series of important consensuses were reached.
The summer’s actions are to be even more ambitious than the two previous years. The main target will be the new wave of coal-powered stations that New Labour is pushing through at the moment, focussing on the flagship station at Kingsnorth in Kent. A vocal and convincing contingent pushed an anti-biofuels focus as a necessary complement to targetting fossil fuels; for information see www.biofuelwatch.org.uk. A commitment to continue the work on Heathrow was evident and this will also be targetted again this summer with more work to be done on reaching out to workers; the campaign against expansion is building apace with one meeting in Ealing last month attended by more than 500 local people. A ‘caravan’ or convoy will travel between targets, consciously reminiscent of the traditions of the working-class movement — with the 1936 Jarrow March from the North East to Westminster against unemployment as a direct inspiration.
It was good to see the general seriousness with which activists addressed the need to ground this movement in working-class communities and work-place struggles; the “caravan” idea and the yet-to-be-decided potential to move from a field-based camp to a city-based convergence reflect these priorities. The creation of the Workers’ Climate Action network was welcomed and many indicated they will be attending this weekend’s trade union conference on climate change.