Amelia’s Magazine | The Great Climate Swoop 2009: A retrospective

jerwood drawing prize6
The Jerwood Drawing Prize is back again for another year and 2009’s hopefuls won’t disappoint. The longest running annual exhibition has been going since 1994 and is dedicated to promoting and rewarding excellence in contemporary drawing in the United Kingdom.

kate russo

Spaced over two rooms, more about the first piece I come to is by artist Kate Russo, side effects whose two works sit on top of one another. The first, shop “Dissolving Symmetrically” and the second, “The Key Is Repetition”. Both pieces are done on graph paper, working in the confines of grids. Amongst the mass of verticals and horizontals, Russo has rendered an extremely intricate network of minute coloured squares. Using coloured pencil and graphite she has systematically filled in alternate boxes to eventually build up a repeat pattern that you can only distinguish from a distance. It is clear that time and dedication has been taken to carry through this task she has given herself. It is interesting because the outcome of this drawing was predetermined by the system she chose to follow to colour in the squares. As I look closer the tiny dots almost look as if they’re vibrating, bouncing off one another like molecules in an atom. Or perhaps they even appear to be working ants, busying themselves around a nest. This is quite a satisfying piece of art to study, especially if you have a thing for mathematics, rules or systems.

kate russo2

The work of Catherine Nicholson is quite arresting as my gaze moves over to the next piece. “After The Storm” is in pen and ink on a large canvas. It is the most intrinsically rendered drawing of a collection of apparently decomposing branches, leaves and foliage. On closer inspection you see that Nicholson must have used an extremely fine nibbed pen to achieve the level detail, from the veins of the fern leaves, the cracking of the bark on the branches to the areas where the leaves are starting to decompose. At first this may appear to be a very well executed study of nature but the title makes it take on a new meaning. “After The Storm” makes you think that these are the debris of a natural disaster maybe. Where they all once growing peacefully somewhere in an undisturbed habitat? Perhaps now ripped from their surroundings and discarded in the dirt by the storm.

jerwood drawing prize2

Another two drawings by Japanese artist, Yumi Shimada are displayed to my far left. One sitting on top of the other, “Self Portrait 2008” is drawn in black ink on paper, showing an unknown formless being in the centre of each frame. The undeterminable origin of this creature, no visible facial features and its forthright position on the page is quite confrontational. The surface is made up of dark, black cross-hatching to give a sense of a thick, dense mass. The first drawing shows it slumped over the length of a small table, almost as if it can longer take it’s own weight. The second is far more disturbing, depicting the creature sending itself through a mangle and turning itself into a black, viscous liquid on the other side. The scene described is actually quite disturbing. It appears that it is performing this act of it’s own will. I am brought to mind the ‘stink-spirit’ character, Okusare, in Spirited Away – a sloth-like, sluggish being. I try to work out the connection between the two pictures. There is perhaps a sense of despair in the first, which may consequently lead to the macabre finality of the second. Shimada says that the portrait shows her squeezing negative thoughts through the mangle, somehow disposing of them. The world that this creature inhabits is not one I recognise. The influence from Japan and the Japanese fantasy genre is apparent. The ominous nature of it and connotations of the dark under-belly of somebody else’s imagination does not make for particularly comfortable viewing. At the same time, I have conflicting feelings that it is strangely compelling. A morbid curiosity to look at something you know will scare you.

jerwood drawing prize

The final artwork that I come to is also my favourite. The most reserved of all the pieces on show in size and yet the most monumental in its stature, Samuel Kelly’s “Tokyo Aero-abstraction 7” is quite awe-inspiring. If I had thought the previous drawings had a good eye for detail, it doesn’t compare to this. Drawn on a tiny square of paper, dimensions probably no more than 4cmx5cm, it appears to show an aerial view of a city or road system. Even standing at a normal distance away, it just looks like a grey block of colour. You are invited to stand much, much closer – my face is literally inches from it. Only then can you really see a tiny network of roads and buildings and appreciate its complexity. It is so tiny in fact, that I can only imagine that Kelly would not have been able to draw this with a pencil nib any finer than the point of a pin. I have to say, without delving any deeper into its underlying meaning, it is easily impressive enough as it is. The modest frame seems mammoth in comparison. It allows it so much space, emphasizing even more it’s miniscule proportions. There is something quite impressive about creating work on a microscopic level, like the artist who makes objects to fit on the head of a needle.
samuel kelly

There are many more notable examples of drawing on display today, even in a relatively small gallery space; you could spend hours soaking in the extraordinary talent showcased. This is the last week of the exhibition’s run, so head over soon to avoid disappointment.
Last weekend a thousand protestors descended on Ratcliffe-On-Soar power station to protest against the continued use of coal power, see which is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions.

SW8

The weeks leading up had been filled with outreach and preparation with neighbourhoods, thumb groups and individuals working tirelessly towards making the Great Climate Swoop a monumental event.

The action was a huge success for the movement, more about fences were scaled, camps were made, banners dropped, a railway blockaded, and the power station was effectively seiged for 24 hours.  With one of the prominent aims to create a social movement, the Climate Camp also showed it is a force to be reckoned with, as hundreds of people were prepared to use direct action and face arrest to make their point.

SW1

The weekend didn’t have the best start with the police using preemptive measures to arrest an activist from Leeds and charging him with conspiracy. Plane Stupid were also called and threatened with arrest if they attended the protest, which was a sign that the police were not even prepared to allow people to think about taking meaningful action.

Undaunted, on Friday night and Saturday activists from all over the country arrived at and around Ratcliffe. As the sun rose and the helicopter circled, huddled groups came across each other in woods and the surrounding area. Giving each other a nod and a grin at the impending action, people from the two blocs, ‘Take back the power’ and ‘False Solutions’, then made their way to the muster point.

SW2

At the same time, a few miles away, the bloc ‘False Solutions’ was being created with hundreds of protestors, as well as a critical mass of cyclists arriving at Nottingham train station.

SW4

At one o’clock everybody, organised, excited and nervous, swooped to the power station. Hundreds of protestors descended from the woods on mass, splitting up at the fences, some tearing, climbing and pulling down the barriers.

SW3

A handful of activists even managed to get over several fences and into the power station before they were arrested. With E.ON spending 5 million on new electric fences weeks before, as well as bringing out an injunction to give the police powers to arrest anyone they felt like, it was never going to be an easy task.

Sw6

A procession with banners, bikes, chants and noise rallied further around and made their voices be heard. Second swoops, rallies, makeshift camps and actions continued throughout the day and the £600,000 police force were kept on their toes whilst using riot gear and letting dogs off their leads to tackle the protestors. Dog bites only added to the range of injuries and concussions inflicted by the police. Medical care was very slow to come, if ever. Apart from the one police injury where a helicopter was quickly scrambled and zoomed off to create a cleverly crafted PR campaign for the London based media sitting in their offices.

A cat and mouse game continued through the evening and into the night, with 300 protestors managing to camp overnight, keeping a vigil on the power station. They were kept in spirits by Veggies who did an amazing job of providing food and drinks to the camp.

SW5

The movement is being replicated all over the world, with actions in Australia, that we covered here at Amelia’s Magazine, as well as in Denmark and beyond. Climate camps are being set up all over the world creating grassroots movements essential to combat the rise of climate change by putting pressure on governments and corporations.

SW7

The recent back out by E.ON from creating two new coal power stations at Kingsnorth as well as the end to plans for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, which were coincidentally both venues for past Climate Camps, show that we can really make change.

At the weekend activists from around the world also met in Copenhagen to finalise plans for similar actions during the UN climate talks taking place in December. These talks are seen as the stage for social movements worldwide to show a precedent to governments around the world that we need to take action into our own hands. The Camp for Climate Action will be there, so should you.

SW9

Categories ,action, ,banner, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Change, ,coal power, ,Copanhagen, ,Direct Action, ,dog bite, ,E-On, ,False Solutions, ,fences, ,helicopter, ,injury, ,march, ,Pictures, ,police, ,protest, ,Ratclife-On-Soar Power Station, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,social movement, ,swoop, ,The Great Climate Swoop

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Earth Listings: 12 – 18 October

Radical Nature is an exhibition at the Barbican that explores art and architecture for a changing planet, side effects illness it was held over summer and now next week is the last chance to go and see the exhibits.

Rad1

The gallery has brought together an array of artists, recipe designers and architects across different generations to collaborate in the space. The ideas are drawn form environmental activism, case experimental architecture and utopianism and make for an interesting whirlwind tour of how we can look to live in the changing global climate.
With over 20 artists presenting their work there is plenty to take in take in and lots to learn, I’ve picked out my top 5 which I think we can learn the most from or are just pretty dam inspiring.

Air-Port-City
Tomas Saraceno

rad3

One of the first things you come across, the bubble cell joined up plastic blobs that relate to Tomas’s concept of Air-Port City. He wants it to challenge the political structure and look for people and nations to communicate and join in synergy with a no borders approach. The conjoined cells, and black rope make up an interesting visual and you can instantly relate it to some far off futuristic utopia.

Geodesic Dome
Richard Buckminster Fuller

rad6

Taking one of the centre places is the Geodesic dome, pioneered by Richard Fuller over sixty years ago. The revolutionary structure built up of triangular elements is now replicated all over the world. A film, Modelling Universe, where Fuller explains how universal and natural elements can be simplified down to triangles is defiantly worth a watch.

The survival Series
Newton and Helen Harrison

rad5

A collaboration in the seventies where the two began to work on projects that would benefit the ecosystem. It culminated in Full Farm, which is restaged at the Barbican. Cleverly constructed raised beds and vegetable plots are used to grow a range of crops. Tomatoes in a gallery are certainly a first for me, although not too sure about the huge watt bulbs powering the photosynthesis.

Wheatfield
Agnes Denes

rad4

An inspiring take on environmental art that can’t help to challenge peoples perceptions. Wheatfield – A Confrontation where two acres of wheat were planted in a landfill right next to New York created amazing images. The project was created at Dalston Mill for the Radical Nature exhibition. The fields and towers give an apocalyptic and futuristic feel and the idea of crops bordering towns and cities seem like an attractive idea to me.

Fallen Forest
Henrik Hakansson

Rad2

Another installation to challenge perceptions, a 16metre squared piece of rainforest is flipped on its side. The massive lights create an artificial environment that Hakansson aims to point out the unbalanced relationship between man and nature, although I’m not sure if the huge electricity power needed is meant to be part of the analysis.

Waste Flow
Mierle Laderman Ukeles

rad10

Involving all of New York’s districts Mierle met every bin man in the area and personally thanked all 8,500 of them. What I found most interesting was the rubbish flow film that came out of the project, which follows the household rubbish through the streets to landfill. The amount of waste and the fact that we all distance ourselves from the process means that it is a fascinating and eye-opening documentary on our waste and throw away culture.

rad7

The exhibition is defiantly worth a visit and with plenty of other intricacies and projects to look at and learn from on the two floors. Urban Harvest Festival will also be taking place next Thursday the 15th where a DIY disco invite people to bring their own music to season the evening alongside a food and end-of-season harvest Swapshop, as well as chefs from Searcy’s cooking up a treat.

Radical Nature is an exhibition at the Barbican that explores art and architecture for a changing planet, information pills it was held over summer but is now coming to a close with next week as the last chance to go and see the exhibits.

Rad1

The gallery has brought together an array of artists, web designers and architects across different generations to collaborate in the space. The ideas are drawn from environmental activism, experimental architecture and utopianism and make for an interesting whirlwind tour of how we can look to live in the changing global climate.
With over 20 artists presenting their work there is plenty to take in and lots to learn, I’ve picked out my top 5 most inspiring installations.

Air-Port-City
Tomas Saraceno

rad3

One of the first things you come across, the bubble cell joined up plastic blobs that relate to Tomas’s concept of Air-Port City. He wants it to challenge the political structure and look for people and nations to communicate and join in synergy with a no borders approach. The conjoined cells, and black rope make up an interesting visual and you can instantly relate it to some far off futuristic utopia.

Geodesic Dome
Richard Buckminster Fuller

rad6

Taking one of the centre places is the Geodesic dome, pioneered by Richard Fuller over sixty years ago. The revolutionary structure built up of triangular elements is now replicated all over the world. A film, Modelling Universe, where Fuller explains how universal and natural elements can be simplified down to triangles is defiantly worth a watch.

The survival Series
Newton and Helen Harrison

rad5

A collaboration in the seventies where the two began to work on projects that would benefit the ecosystem. It culminated in Full Farm, which is restaged at the Barbican. Cleverly constructed raised beds and vegetable plots are used to grow a range of crops. Tomatoes in a gallery are certainly a first for me, although not too sure about the huge watt bulbs powering the photosynthesis.

Wheatfield
Agnes Denes

rad4

An inspiring take on environmental art that can’t help to challenge peoples perceptions. Wheatfield – A Confrontation where two acres of wheat were planted in a landfill right next to New York created amazing images. The project was created at Dalston Mill for the Radical Nature exhibition. The fields and towers give an apocalyptic and futuristic feel and the idea of crops bordering towns and cities seem like an attractive idea to me.

Fallen Forest
Henrik Hakansson

Rad2

Another installation to challenge perceptions, a 16metre squared piece of rainforest is flipped on its side. The massive lights create an artificial environment that Hakansson aims to point out the unbalanced relationship between man and nature, although I’m not sure if the huge electricity power needed is meant to be part of the analysis.

Waste Flow
Mierle Laderman Ukeles

rad10

Involving all of New York’s districts Mierle met every bin man in the area and personally thanked all 8,500 of them. What I found most interesting was the rubbish flow film that came out of the project, which follows the household rubbish through the streets to landfill. The amount of waste and the fact that we all distance ourselves from the process means that it is a fascinating and eye-opening documentary on our waste and throw away culture.

rad7

The exhibition is defiantly worth a visit and with plenty of other intricacies and projects to look at and learn from on the two floors. Urban Harvest Festival will also be taking place next Thursday the 15th where a DIY disco invite people to bring their own music to season the evening alongside a food and end-of-season harvest Swapshop, as well as chefs from Searcy’s cooking up a treat.

Radical Nature is an exhibition at the Barbican that explores art and architecture for a changing planet, symptoms it was held over summer but is now coming to a close with next week as the last chance to go and see the exhibits.

Rad1

The gallery has brought together an array of artists, for sale designers and architects across different generations to collaborate in the space. The ideas are drawn from environmental activism, page experimental architecture and utopianism and make for an interesting whirlwind tour of how we can look to live in the changing global climate.
With over 20 artists presenting their work there is plenty to take in and lots to learn, I’ve picked out my top 5 most inspiring installations.

Air-Port-City
Tomas Saraceno

rad3

One of the first things you come across, the bubble cell joined up plastic blobs that relate to Tomas’s concept of Air-Port City. He wants it to challenge the political structure and look for people and nations to communicate and join in synergy with a no borders approach. The conjoined cells, and black rope make up an interesting visual and you can instantly relate it to some far off futuristic utopia.

Geodesic Dome
Richard Buckminster Fuller

rad6

Taking one of the centre places is the Geodesic dome, pioneered by Richard Fuller over sixty years ago. The revolutionary structure built up of triangular elements is now replicated all over the world. A film, Modelling Universe, where Fuller explains how universal and natural elements can be simplified down to triangles is defiantly worth a watch.

The survival Series
Newton and Helen Harrison

rad5

A collaboration in the seventies where the two began to work on projects that would benefit the ecosystem. It culminated in Full Farm, which is restaged at the Barbican. Cleverly constructed raised beds and vegetable plots are used to grow a range of crops. Tomatoes in a gallery are certainly a first for me, although not too sure about the huge watt bulbs powering the photosynthesis.

Wheatfield
Agnes Denes

rad4

An inspiring take on environmental art that can’t help to challenge peoples perceptions. Wheatfield – A Confrontation where two acres of wheat were planted in a landfill right next to New York created amazing images. The project was created at Dalston Mill for the Radical Nature exhibition. The fields and towers give an apocalyptic and futuristic feel and the idea of crops bordering towns and cities seem like an attractive idea to me.

Fallen Forest
Henrik Hakansson

Rad2

Another installation to challenge perceptions, a 16metre squared piece of rainforest is flipped on its side. The massive lights create an artificial environment that Hakansson aims to point out the unbalanced relationship between man and nature, although I’m not sure if the huge electricity power needed is meant to be part of the analysis.

Waste Flow
Mierle Laderman Ukeles

rad10

Involving all of New York’s districts Mierle met every bin man in the area and personally thanked all 8,500 of them. What I found most interesting was the rubbish flow film that came out of the project, which follows the household rubbish through the streets to landfill. The amount of waste and the fact that we all distance ourselves from the process means that it is a fascinating and eye-opening documentary on our waste and throw away culture.

rad7

The exhibition is defiantly worth a visit and with plenty of other intricacies and projects to look at and learn from on the two floors. Urban Harvest Festival will also be taking place next Thursday the 15th where a DIY disco invite people to bring their own music to season the evening alongside a food and end-of-season harvest Swapshop, as well as chefs from Searcy’s cooking up a treat.

Radical Nature is an exhibition at the Barbican that explores art and architecture for a changing planet, nurse it was held over summer but is now coming to a close with next week as the last chance to go and see the exhibits.

Rad1

The gallery has brought together an array of artists, malady designers and architects across different generations to collaborate in the space. The ideas are drawn from environmental activism, cost experimental architecture and utopianism and make for an interesting whirlwind tour of how we can look to live in the changing global climate.
With over 20 artists presenting their work there is plenty to take in and lots to learn, I’ve picked out my top 6 most inspiring installations.

1. Air-Port-City
Tomas Saraceno

rad3

One of the first things you come across, the bubble cell joined up plastic blobs that relate to Tomas’s concept of Air-Port City. He wants it to challenge the political structure and look for people and nations to communicate and join in synergy with a no borders approach. The conjoined cells, and black rope make up an interesting visual and you can instantly relate it to some far off futuristic utopia.

2. Geodesic Dome
Richard Buckminster Fuller

rad6

Taking one of the centre places is the Geodesic dome, pioneered by Richard Fuller over sixty years ago. The revolutionary structure built up of triangular elements is now replicated all over the world. A film, Modelling Universe, where Fuller explains how universal and natural elements can be simplified down to triangles is defiantly worth a watch.

3. The survival Series
Newton and Helen Harrison

rad5

A collaboration in the seventies where the two began to work on projects that would benefit the ecosystem. It culminated in Full Farm, which is restaged at the Barbican. Cleverly constructed raised beds and vegetable plots are used to grow a range of crops. Tomatoes in a gallery are certainly a first for me, although not too sure about the huge watt bulbs powering the photosynthesis.

4. Wheatfield
Agnes Denes

rad4

An inspiring take on environmental art that can’t help to challenge peoples perceptions. Wheatfield – A Confrontation where two acres of wheat were planted in a landfill right next to New York created amazing images. The project was created at Dalston Mill for the Radical Nature exhibition. The fields and towers give an apocalyptic and futuristic feel and the idea of crops bordering towns and cities seem like an attractive idea to me.

5. Fallen Forest
Henrik Hakansson

Rad2

Another installation to challenge perceptions, a 16metre squared piece of rainforest is flipped on its side. The massive lights create an artificial environment that Hakansson aims to point out the unbalanced relationship between man and nature, although I’m not sure if the huge electricity power needed is meant to be part of the analysis.

6. Waste Flow
Mierle Laderman Ukeles

rad10

Involving all of New York’s districts Mierle met every bin man in the area and personally thanked all 8,500 of them. What I found most interesting was the rubbish flow film that came out of the project, which follows the household rubbish through the streets to landfill. The amount of waste and the fact that we all distance ourselves from the process means that it is a fascinating and eye-opening documentary on our waste and throw away culture.

rad7

The exhibition is defiantly worth a visit and with plenty of other intricacies and projects to look at and learn from on the two floors. Urban Harvest Festival will also be taking place next Thursday the 15th where a DIY disco invite people to bring their own music to season the evening alongside a food and end-of-season harvest Swapshop, as well as chefs from Searcy’s cooking up a treat.

The week kicks off with demo against agrofuels and ends with the Great Climate Swoop, page we are riding on a wave with the cancellation of Heathrow’s 3rd runway and the plans for 2 new coal power station put on hold, lets see what changes we can make this week…

el1
Illustration by Michael Maitland

Agrofuels don’t ROC(k)! Demo
Monday 12 October 2009

Agrofuels – biofuels produced using intensive agriculture – are a major driver of deforestation, in turn, a major cause of climate change. Agrofuels from palm oil in particular are accelerating the burning of Indonesian forests and underlying peat bogs with truly astronomical emissions as a result.

Burning palm oil is probably the most environmentally damaging and climate negative way to produce power and yet this seems to be what the government wants to subsidise. A demo called by
Campaign against Climate Change, Biofuelwatch and Food not Fuel will take place on Monday outside DECC (Dept of Energy and Climate Change)

Web Address: http://www.campaigncc.org/node/336

2012 Imperative Teach-In
Monday 12 October

An event geared for the education system, students and teachers alike and how we can confront the issues of the time, resource depletion, loss of biodiversity and especially the issue of climate change. Speakers include John Thackara, Andrew Simms, Jonathan Crinion, Stephanie Hankey, Richard Hawkins, Ben Gill and Emma Dewberry.

Website: http://www.teach-in.co.uk/
Time: 10am

Architecture and Climate Change
Tuesday 13 October 2009

The UK has one of the biggest targets of for delivering zero-carbon homes by 2016, with time pressing how is the government living up to it’s targets? Join the debate with leading Ashden Award winners as the respond to the proposition: ‘If I were the Government Minister responsible for zero carbon new buildings the key things that I would do to ensure that we are able to meet our targets would be…’
In partnership with The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy £8, £5 concession.

Venue: RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD
Time: 6.00pm
Venue: www.architecture.com/WhatsOn/Talks/Events/2009/Autumn/Talks/IntDiaPorritt.aspx

Earthwatch lecture: Meeting Marine Needs
Thursday 15 October

el3

Human activities and climate change pose multiple threats to marine species. At the lecture you will hear how their conservation needs are being addressed, while also bringing social and economic benefits to the local communities.

Time: 7.00pm-8.30pm
Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR
Website: www.earthwatch.org/europe/get_involved/events09/lecture09-marine/

Naturewise Workshops
Date: Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 October

Feeling a bit out of touch with the how the food got onto your plate? A day dedicated to an overview of traditional ways of preserving food and to gain hands on experience of some of those techniques.

Venue: Hornsey Rise Gardens, N19
Time: 9am-5pm
Web Address: http://www.naturewise.org.uk/page.cfm

How to make a wood-burner from a gas bottle
Date: Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 October

el2

Been impressed with someone with a wood burner, here is your chance to learn how to construct a wood-burning stove out of recycled materials quickly and easily. Suitable for home, workshop, motor-home, yurt, shed or canal boat. Learn how to design, build and install a strong, effective, durable stove for your own needs.

Venue: Hackney City Farm, London
Web Address: http://www.lowimpact.org/

Introduction to Permaculture Design
Date: Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 October

A chance to learn the basics of permaculture, a process where plants are grown in accordance to the natural order of things.
These courses introduce the basics and show how this approach can be applied to your garden at home or allotment.

Venue: Brighton Earthship, Stanmer Park Brighton
Time: 9.30-5pm both days
Web Address: http://www.brightonpermaculture.co.uk/

The Great Climate Swoop
Saturday 17 October

This Saturday people from across the country will descend on Ratcliffe On Soar Power station to raise awareness of the huge affect coal power has on the planet and how the governments continued reliance of the energy is accelerating climate change.
There are a four different blocks to choose from that will aim to shut down the power station, make sure you get down for what’s geared to be an exciting and empowering day.

Venue: Ratcliffe On Soar Power Station, meet at Nottingham Train Station at 10am
Website: http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/actions/climate-swoop-2009

Categories ,agro fuels, ,climate, ,demo, ,earth, ,lectures, ,marine, ,permaculture, ,protest, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,students, ,talks, ,Teach-In, ,wood burner, ,zero carbon

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Climate Camp 2010 at the RBS HQ in Edinburgh: a Break the Banks action round up.

Climate Camp 2010-nature doesnt
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Over the past few years I have become increasingly embedded in the process of Climate Camp, see so I am well aware that the run up to this year’s Climate Camp has been more fraught with difficulties than ever – but as a spectacularly open grassroots non-heirarchical direct action organisation we would be the first to acknowledge this fact. We argued long and hard about whether RBS was an appropriate target for this year’s activities, physician and we picked our spot without really checking in with Scottish activists who were not present at the meeting, information pills thereby alienating some of our allies… so it’s a testament to the movement we’ve created that I left the Edinburgh camp feeling that Climate Camp, whatever nebulous thing that might be, is stronger than ever. We may not have grown in numbers but there has been a definite increase in the quality of active participation and we are slowly becoming more diverse too – there was a notable improvement in our age, class and racial make up this year, though we still have a long way to go.

Climate Camp 2010-camp life
Climate Camp 2010-scene

And we were successful – we didn’t for one moment imagine that we would make the same kind of splash in the national media as we have in other more southern based years (journalists are notoriously bad at travelling for any kind of story: witness the lack of press surrounding our extremely successful Ratcliffe on Soar action in October 2009) but we certainly made big news in the Scottish press, we did loads of outreach and best of all WE GOT IN THE WAY. We shut shit down and generally made a nuisance of ourselves that served to highlight climate and community wrecking investments in tar sands, open cast coal and biofuels. We’ve cost RBS and the companies it funds a certain amount of money and reputation, and we’ve got people talking.

Climate Camp 2010-welcome
Climate Camp 2010-setting up site
Setting up site.

So, back to the beginning. I was part of the initial Land Grab on Wednesday evening…. which meant taking two days to get up to Scotland and not at any point giving away our whereabouts. On arrival at our destination we scrambled through fields in search of the huge seven tonne truck that transports our big marquee poles, already parked in the middle of the manicured lands that belong to the RBS HQ. From there I walked into the adjoining field and marvelled at our audacity, for we’ve never been this close to our target before. There it was, the HQ lit up like a giant christmas tree well into the night, rumoured to be so large that it supports its very own supermarket. It seemed almost impossible that with only a hundred people we might take this second field too, but take it we did because soon people were trundling around with wheelbarrows full of tat (an all encompassing word to describe all the stuff we need to run a camp). From the top of the man made mound we could see right into the glass walled HQ, where bored workers were no doubt entertained by us for a few days before RBS decreed they should work from home.

YouTube Preview Image

By the time I got up the next morning the site was already humming with activity and new campers who had joined us over the course of the night when they heard about our location via text and twitter. This year’s site, as well as being the cheekiest we have ever taken was also the most beautiful, and abundant with wildlife: mice, frogs and lots and lots of slugs. It’s long layout did however put paid to the permaculture plans we have adhered to in previous years, and necessitated a long walk from one end to the other.

Climate Camp 2010-set up

My role at Climate Camp has settled into a bit of a routine – taking photos, video and twittering. It leaves precious little time for physical work around site and I’m usually to be found in the media tent or rushing around on an action. We had incredibly bad reception on this site, and I soon became friendly with the Comms tent which was sited on the top of the hill and had a better 3G signal. For those of you who don’t know what I’m wittering on about, Comms refers to our defence and communications system which works by collating information from people on all the gates around site. It’s a 24 hour a day job and this year it was skill shared in a most impressive way for the first time.

Climate Camp 2010-media team
Some of the media team.

I think we’d all been fearful that this camp would be much less well attended than previous ones, but by Friday I estimate that there were almost 1000 people on site, and it felt as though they were all there for a purpose. At Blackheath last year we really focused on outreach and both that and our location ensured rather a lot of sightseeing which unfortunately meant that direct action took a major back seat to workshops. This time the workshops timetable was slimmer, and from early on there was a notable amount of small affinity groups planning direct action in the tall grass. This I think is a good development. And take direct action we did – every day. Here are some of the best actions I took part in:

Climate Camp 2010-refugee camp

1. Taking the land, obviously.
The biggest direct action of them all – it’s hard not to be nervous with an action like this on which the rest of Climate Camp depends. We stopped in at some charity shops for entertaining cut price CDs on our way northwards, and as we drove towards our swooping point we played the Star Wars theme tune at top volume. Despite our huge truck and noisy scrambling it took the police at least half an hour to arrive, by which time we were able to hold the space and had started erecting tents by torchlight. It did, however, mean that the advertised swoop the next day was a bit of a damp squib, and some of the participants must have felt a bit left out of all the excitement.

Climate Camp 2010-site take
Erecting the first marquees on site by torchlight.

2. Raising a Ruckus
On Friday we held a merry little dance parade around the RBS offices, culminating in an incursion into a conveniently open entrance where we jumped up and down in the doorway whilst security looked bemused and staff gazed down from the floors above. At the same time, unbeknownst to us, a lone activist had infiltrated the offices as a banker and stuck herself to a reception desk, where she berated RBS for agreeing to fund Vedanta’s mining activities on the sacred lands of the Dongria Kondh tribe in India. We later learnt that she had changed her name to Dongria Kondh by deed poll the week before, declaring that she would only change it back if RBS retracted funding. Fortunately it was announced this week that India has blocked the mining operation. Though I quite like Dongria Kondh as a name….

Climate Camp rouser
Climate Camp rouser door
YouTube Preview Image

3. A Lady Gaga tribute: the Dirty Oil dance action
Conscious of Climate Camp’s decision to descend on Scotland without much forethought about how we could support local struggles I volunteered to attend the solidarity demo against a new coal mine at Cousland, but then I was reminded that I had also promised to document my Green Kite Midnight friends’ musical action. Lady Gaga won out in the end. Standing inside a small candy striped marquee we learnt new lyrics to Poker Face, featuring the immortal lines:

It’s getting hot, the planet’s nearly shot
We’ll make them stop, we’re putting up a block

Tar sands is dirty oil
Can’t use my, can’t use my taxes no
To invest in dirty oil

Climate Camp 2010-gaga rehearsal
Climate Camp 2010-Dirty Oil
Rehearsing dance moves and getting ready to leave.

By midday we were ready to take our act to the streets of Edinburgh. With black bin bag bows in hair and fluorescent waistcoats we marched with resolve towards the biggest branch of RBS on St Andrews Square…. to find it already closed. Closed by the threat of song and dance. Score! We then set off on a tour through the town centre, jumping an RBS fringe stage for a special ten minute non-sponsored rendition. You can watch this here. We taught some onlookers the dance moves, bumped into the Greenwash Guerillas en route and handed out loads of leaflets.

Climate Camp 2010-Dirty Oil Gaga
Climate Camp 2010-Dirty Oil Gaga-on steps
Climate Camp 2010-Dirty Oil Gaga-fringe stage
Crowds watch us at the Fringe
Climate Camp 2010-fringe audience
and the Greenwash Guerillas…
Climate Camp 2010-Greenwash Guerillas

4. Sunday site incursion
I knew there were plans afoot but I wasn’t quite prepared for the huge mass of people dancing towards me in white paper boiler suits. And then they carried on dancing their way over the bridge to RBS, pushing the police back with ease and racing around the corner towards an unguarded part of the RBS HQ. When I got there it became apparent that they had completely taken the police by surprise and several windows had been smashed as the morass propelled forward. For a short moment chaos reigned as the police tried and failed to contain the seething crowd (who needs Black Bloc when you’ve got White Bloc, as one twitterer noted) and they were successfully able to de-arrest several people.

RBS site incursion march
RBS site incursion
RBS site invasion tussle
RBS Sunday invasion

Unfortunately this short point of panic enabled the police to gain the upper hand, and if the intention had been to get in and hold the building we had lost the head start. After two arrests there was a brief stand off with police at the bridge and the action petered out, the white garbed frontline on the bridge replaced by a large white fluffy bunny. I kid thee not.

Climate Camp 2010-white bunny

At our evening plenary a dampener was put on the situation almost immediately. Unfortunately the action had been badly timed to coincide with a speech from our visiting tar sands activists, who had felt seriously disrespected by the disruption to their workshop. They were also uncomfortable with the apparent violence of smashing windows, as were a few others. Through skilful facilitation we were able to talk through these issues, with many good points being made that Climate Camp comprises a diverse range of people who use different tactics, and whilst we would never ever condone physical violence against people, corporate property is another matter altogether. All successful direct action campaigns have attacked physical infrastructure, from the Suffragettes to the 1990s road protest movement. Causing infrastructure damage hits a company where it hurts: their pockets.

Climate Camp 2010-meeting
An early site-wide meeting.

We’ve always been very careful with our language, although the media often insists on referring to us as “peaceful” or NVDA (Non Violent Direct Action). In another twist seasoned activists have levelled many criticisms at us over the past few years with regards to us being too media friendly. For many this action proved that we really are capable of doing more than the media stunts and banner drops of recent times. It was also acknowledged that whilst we could sympathise with the feelings of First Nations activists it could not dictate the way that Climate Camp works, and indeed whilst we should work hard at international bonds we should not deify indigenous peoples above our local communities. We finished the meeting with a euphoric group hug that seemed to express: Yes! We are powerful together! We can break through police lines and inflict serious physical damage to a building! With a bit more intent we could have got into the HQ and dug in for the duration: of that I have no doubt.

Climate Camp 2010-serving dinner
Serving dinner at the South Coast neighbourhood.

5. The RBS Trojan Pig leaking molasses outside Cairn Energy offices
At just past 9am I dropped my half drunk tea and ran full tilt out of the cafe where I had been sitting on Lothian Road. Ahead of me a group of people in black ceremoniously carried a large pink pig – eyes painted with the RBS logo – up the impressive granite steps of the offices for Cairn Energy, who received £117 million in loans from RBS last year, some of which helped them to start drilling for oil off the coast of Greenland. Two activists sprayed molasses against the side of the building in decorative swirls as more molasses seeped out of the pig and down the steps. A security guard briefly looked on, but never moved the large pink carcass which was reported later that day as forlornly pushed aside on the steps. Ironically it is only because of climate change and melting ice that Cairn Energy are able to drill in the polar regions as new oil reserves are revealed. By coincidence a Greenpeace ship reached the drill rig on our day of action, where it was met by a Danish warship. It is hoped that lots of activists will join Crude Awakening, a day of mass action against oil supported by Climate Camp on Saturday October 16th in London.

Cairn Trojan Pig parade
Cairn Trojan Pig molasses
YouTube Preview Image

6. Shutting down Nicolson Street branch of RBS
The weather was not kind to us on our main day of action, and getting lost en route to my next destination didn’t help. By just after 10am I was soaked through to the skin. Across the entrance to Nicolson Street RBS three of my friends glued themselves together with green posters pinned to their fronts that said “Ask me why I won’t bank with RBS“. As customers arrived they engaged them in conversation and then let them duck under their arms. With musicians and a small gaggle of Lady Gaga impersonators I went inside to be greeted by an old man grumbling bad-temperedly at the counter. He then proceeded to watch several reprises of the Dirty Oil song and dance routine, by now familiar to all. Next up was a reinvigorated version of the Gloria Gaynor classic I Will Survive, and as we moved outside the police finally arrived. I went to upload some tweets and when I returned journalists and photographers were out in force and the branch had been closed. Later that day another bunch of activists dressed in bin bags and dripping in molasses closed down the same branch.

Climate Camp 2010-Nicholson-RBS
Climate Camp 2010-Nicholson-RBS 2

7. We’ve built a Rhino Siege Tower!
Yes really. At the top of the hill above RBS what looked like a watch tower had risen during the course of the camp, gaining painted corrugated metal sides and a roof. And perhaps best of all a huge paper mache Rhino head attached to it’s derriere. I got back from the mornings actions to find a huge gaggle of people surrounding the tower, all dressed in wonderful outfits, inspired by medieval battle, clowns, animals and pagan dress. And then we waited…. and waited… and joked about slow action being the new slow food movement. Finally, we were ready to roll. The siege tower was on wheels. And with people guiding it via a series of ropes and pulleys it began to inch it’s way around the wind break and down the hill as we all held our breath and prayed that it didn’t topple into the bank of photographers waiting below. This process took about four hours, by which time I’d long since stopped worrying that I would miss anything crucial every time I went to recharge my damn iphone again. Over at the bridge a series of mollassapaults were fired onto the HQ by black clad activists. And then as we finally crawled towards the gate the rain really set in. Dancing animals met lines of riot police and squirted silly string over their heads as the Siege Tower finally cleared a low hanging branch and the rhino headbutted a police van.

Climate Camp Rhino Seige Tower
Climate Camp 2010-scary clown
Climate Camp 2010-Seige Rhino-hits van

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a line of riot cops so bemused. What the hell were we doing? On the side of the tower There Is No Planet B had been painted over at some point during the long journey to say There Is No Plan. My camera decided to complain about the incessant rain. It packed up. I decided to call it a day, and soon so did many soggy others. The Guardian’s live blog had long since stopped reporting on our actions of the day since most of them were done in the morning – including a very brilliant banner drop off the roof of Forth Energy in Leith in protest of a new and huge biomass scheme that would require the mass importation of vast quantities of wood chip.

Climate Camp 2010-Seige Rhino-frontline
Climate Camp 2010-Seige Rhino-sillystring
mollassapault tim morozzo
The mollassapault. Photography by Tim Morozzo.

And so, we didn’t give the mainstream media the huge action they might have liked. Instead we gave them lots of small and effective affinity group actions across Edinburgh and beyond, as planned. Topped off with the most surreal action of them all – a Rhino Siege Tower that effectively closed down the RBS HQ merely through creative farce and the power of suggestion. Sometimes my heart is so full of love for the thing that is Climate Camp that it feels fit to burst.

Climate Camp 2010-Seige Rhino

Other highlights of this years’ camp included a storming ceilidh (apologies to the Scottish for making this word our own) with my band Green Kite Midnight, spoken word from Harry Giles, visits from Fringe comedians Albie Philbin Bowman and Josie Long, and dancing long into the night after our day of action. Despite all the trials and tribulations of being so involved with Climate Camp I can’t wait to see what we come up with next. Even if we didn’t Break the Banks you’ve got to admit it was a damn good slogan, and we’ve successfully managed to highlight the investment of our money in fossil fuels to a far wider public. Now we just need to change the system that encourages wanton consumption of fossil fuels to the wide scale detriment of the only planet we have to live on. Who’s up for helping out?

You can watch lots more of the videos that I took on my Qik channel here.

Climate Camp 2010-Albie Philbin Bowman
Albie Philbin Bowman performs for us.
See some of Josie Long’s performance on this link.

Many other inspiring actions happened across the course of the camp, but these did not include the supposed oil spill on the A8 on Monday morning, as press released by the police. Our targets have always been corporations and the government not innocent people, but isn’t it somehow predictable that the press picked up on the “oil spill” so relentlessly – happy to reel it off as fact without adequate research or proof. More on how the press have related to this year’s Climate Camp in my next blog post here.

Climate Camp 2010-compost loos
A beautiful painted compost loo.
Climate Camp 2010-anarchist baby
Climate Camp 2010-RBS bridge
Climate Camp 2010-bunny

Categories ,Albie Philbin Bowman, ,Cairn Energy, ,Climate Camp, ,coal, ,comedy, ,Cousland, ,Crude Awakening, ,Direct Action, ,dirty oil, ,Dongria Kondh, ,edinburgh, ,Edinburgh Fringe, ,First Nations, ,Gloria Gaynor, ,Green Kite Midnight, ,Greenland, ,Greenpeace, ,Greenwash Guerillas, ,Guardian, ,Harry Giles, ,Josie Long, ,Lady Gaga, ,Nicolson Street, ,NVDA, ,Oily Gaga, ,police, ,Raising a Ruckus, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,RBS, ,RBS HQ, ,RBS Trojan Pig, ,Rhino Seige Tower, ,Riot police, ,Royal Bank of Scotland, ,Suffragettes, ,Tar Sands, ,Tim Morozzo, ,twitter, ,Vedanta

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Climate Camp 2010 at the RBS HQ in Edinburgh: a Break the Banks action round up.

Climate Camp 2010-nature doesnt
All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

Over the past few years I have become increasingly embedded in the process of Climate Camp, see so I am well aware that the run up to this year’s Climate Camp has been more fraught with difficulties than ever – but as a spectacularly open grassroots non-heirarchical direct action organisation we would be the first to acknowledge this fact. We argued long and hard about whether RBS was an appropriate target for this year’s activities, physician and we picked our spot without really checking in with Scottish activists who were not present at the meeting, information pills thereby alienating some of our allies… so it’s a testament to the movement we’ve created that I left the Edinburgh camp feeling that Climate Camp, whatever nebulous thing that might be, is stronger than ever. We may not have grown in numbers but there has been a definite increase in the quality of active participation and we are slowly becoming more diverse too – there was a notable improvement in our age, class and racial make up this year, though we still have a long way to go.

Climate Camp 2010-camp life
Climate Camp 2010-scene

And we were successful – we didn’t for one moment imagine that we would make the same kind of splash in the national media as we have in other more southern based years (journalists are notoriously bad at travelling for any kind of story: witness the lack of press surrounding our extremely successful Ratcliffe on Soar action in October 2009) but we certainly made big news in the Scottish press, we did loads of outreach and best of all WE GOT IN THE WAY. We shut shit down and generally made a nuisance of ourselves that served to highlight climate and community wrecking investments in tar sands, open cast coal and biofuels. We’ve cost RBS and the companies it funds a certain amount of money and reputation, and we’ve got people talking.

Climate Camp 2010-welcome
Climate Camp 2010-setting up site
Setting up site.

So, back to the beginning. I was part of the initial Land Grab on Wednesday evening…. which meant taking two days to get up to Scotland and not at any point giving away our whereabouts. On arrival at our destination we scrambled through fields in search of the huge seven tonne truck that transports our big marquee poles, already parked in the middle of the manicured lands that belong to the RBS HQ. From there I walked into the adjoining field and marvelled at our audacity, for we’ve never been this close to our target before. There it was, the HQ lit up like a giant christmas tree well into the night, rumoured to be so large that it supports its very own supermarket. It seemed almost impossible that with only a hundred people we might take this second field too, but take it we did because soon people were trundling around with wheelbarrows full of tat (an all encompassing word to describe all the stuff we need to run a camp). From the top of the man made mound we could see right into the glass walled HQ, where bored workers were no doubt entertained by us for a few days before RBS decreed they should work from home.

YouTube Preview Image

By the time I got up the next morning the site was already humming with activity and new campers who had joined us over the course of the night when they heard about our location via text and twitter. This year’s site, as well as being the cheekiest we have ever taken was also the most beautiful, and abundant with wildlife: mice, frogs and lots and lots of slugs. It’s long layout did however put paid to the permaculture plans we have adhered to in previous years, and necessitated a long walk from one end to the other.

Climate Camp 2010-set up

My role at Climate Camp has settled into a bit of a routine – taking photos, video and twittering. It leaves precious little time for physical work around site and I’m usually to be found in the media tent or rushing around on an action. We had incredibly bad reception on this site, and I soon became friendly with the Comms tent which was sited on the top of the hill and had a better 3G signal. For those of you who don’t know what I’m wittering on about, Comms refers to our defence and communications system which works by collating information from people on all the gates around site. It’s a 24 hour a day job and this year it was skill shared in a most impressive way for the first time.

Climate Camp 2010-media team
Some of the media team.

I think we’d all been fearful that this camp would be much less well attended than previous ones, but by Friday I estimate that there were almost 1000 people on site, and it felt as though they were all there for a purpose. At Blackheath last year we really focused on outreach and both that and our location ensured rather a lot of sightseeing which unfortunately meant that direct action took a major back seat to workshops. This time the workshops timetable was slimmer, and from early on there was a notable amount of small affinity groups planning direct action in the tall grass. This I think is a good development. And take direct action we did – every day. Here are some of the best actions I took part in:

Climate Camp 2010-refugee camp

1. Taking the land, obviously.
The biggest direct action of them all – it’s hard not to be nervous with an action like this on which the rest of Climate Camp depends. We stopped in at some charity shops for entertaining cut price CDs on our way northwards, and as we drove towards our swooping point we played the Star Wars theme tune at top volume. Despite our huge truck and noisy scrambling it took the police at least half an hour to arrive, by which time we were able to hold the space and had started erecting tents by torchlight. It did, however, mean that the advertised swoop the next day was a bit of a damp squib, and some of the participants must have felt a bit left out of all the excitement.

Climate Camp 2010-site take
Erecting the first marquees on site by torchlight.

2. Raising a Ruckus
On Friday we held a merry little dance parade around the RBS offices, culminating in an incursion into a conveniently open entrance where we jumped up and down in the doorway whilst security looked bemused and staff gazed down from the floors above. At the same time, unbeknownst to us, a lone activist had infiltrated the offices as a banker and stuck herself to a reception desk, where she berated RBS for agreeing to fund Vedanta’s mining activities on the sacred lands of the Dongria Kondh tribe in India. We later learnt that she had changed her name to Dongria Kondh by deed poll the week before, declaring that she would only change it back if RBS retracted funding. Fortunately it was announced this week that India has blocked the mining operation. Though I quite like Dongria Kondh as a name….

Climate Camp rouser
Climate Camp rouser door
YouTube Preview Image

3. A Lady Gaga tribute: the Dirty Oil dance action
Conscious of Climate Camp’s decision to descend on Scotland without much forethought about how we could support local struggles I volunteered to attend the solidarity demo against a new coal mine at Cousland, but then I was reminded that I had also promised to document my Green Kite Midnight friends’ musical action. Lady Gaga won out in the end. Standing inside a small candy striped marquee we learnt new lyrics to Poker Face, featuring the immortal lines:

It’s getting hot, the planet’s nearly shot
We’ll make them stop, we’re putting up a block

Tar sands is dirty oil
Can’t use my, can’t use my taxes no
To invest in dirty oil

Climate Camp 2010-gaga rehearsal
Climate Camp 2010-Dirty Oil
Rehearsing dance moves and getting ready to leave.

By midday we were ready to take our act to the streets of Edinburgh. With black bin bag bows in hair and fluorescent waistcoats we marched with resolve towards the biggest branch of RBS on St Andrews Square…. to find it already closed. Closed by the threat of song and dance. Score! We then set off on a tour through the town centre, jumping an RBS fringe stage for a special ten minute non-sponsored rendition. You can watch this here. We taught some onlookers the dance moves, bumped into the Greenwash Guerillas en route and handed out loads of leaflets.

Climate Camp 2010-Dirty Oil Gaga
Climate Camp 2010-Dirty Oil Gaga-on steps
Climate Camp 2010-Dirty Oil Gaga-fringe stage
Crowds watch us at the Fringe
Climate Camp 2010-fringe audience
and the Greenwash Guerillas…
Climate Camp 2010-Greenwash Guerillas

4. Sunday site incursion
I knew there were plans afoot but I wasn’t quite prepared for the huge mass of people dancing towards me in white paper boiler suits. And then they carried on dancing their way over the bridge to RBS, pushing the police back with ease and racing around the corner towards an unguarded part of the RBS HQ. When I got there it became apparent that they had completely taken the police by surprise and several windows had been smashed as the morass propelled forward. For a short moment chaos reigned as the police tried and failed to contain the seething crowd (who needs Black Bloc when you’ve got White Bloc, as one twitterer noted) and they were successfully able to de-arrest several people.

RBS site incursion march
RBS site incursion
RBS site invasion tussle
RBS Sunday invasion

Unfortunately this short point of panic enabled the police to gain the upper hand, and if the intention had been to get in and hold the building we had lost the head start. After two arrests there was a brief stand off with police at the bridge and the action petered out, the white garbed frontline on the bridge replaced by a large white fluffy bunny. I kid thee not.

Climate Camp 2010-white bunny

At our evening plenary a dampener was put on the situation almost immediately. Unfortunately the action had been badly timed to coincide with a speech from our visiting tar sands activists, who had felt seriously disrespected by the disruption to their workshop. They were also uncomfortable with the apparent violence of smashing windows, as were a few others. Through skilful facilitation we were able to talk through these issues, with many good points being made that Climate Camp comprises a diverse range of people who use different tactics, and whilst we would never ever condone physical violence against people, corporate property is another matter altogether. All successful direct action campaigns have attacked physical infrastructure, from the Suffragettes to the 1990s road protest movement. Causing infrastructure damage hits a company where it hurts: their pockets.

Climate Camp 2010-meeting
An early site-wide meeting.

We’ve always been very careful with our language, although the media often insists on referring to us as “peaceful” or NVDA (Non Violent Direct Action). In another twist seasoned activists have levelled many criticisms at us over the past few years with regards to us being too media friendly. For many this action proved that we really are capable of doing more than the media stunts and banner drops of recent times. It was also acknowledged that whilst we could sympathise with the feelings of First Nations activists it could not dictate the way that Climate Camp works, and indeed whilst we should work hard at international bonds we should not deify indigenous peoples above our local communities. We finished the meeting with a euphoric group hug that seemed to express: Yes! We are powerful together! We can break through police lines and inflict serious physical damage to a building! With a bit more intent we could have got into the HQ and dug in for the duration: of that I have no doubt.

Climate Camp 2010-serving dinner
Serving dinner at the South Coast neighbourhood.

5. The RBS Trojan Pig leaking molasses outside Cairn Energy offices
At just past 9am I dropped my half drunk tea and ran full tilt out of the cafe where I had been sitting on Lothian Road. Ahead of me a group of people in black ceremoniously carried a large pink pig – eyes painted with the RBS logo – up the impressive granite steps of the offices for Cairn Energy, who received £117 million in loans from RBS last year, some of which helped them to start drilling for oil off the coast of Greenland. Two activists sprayed molasses against the side of the building in decorative swirls as more molasses seeped out of the pig and down the steps. A security guard briefly looked on, but never moved the large pink carcass which was reported later that day as forlornly pushed aside on the steps. Ironically it is only because of climate change and melting ice that Cairn Energy are able to drill in the polar regions as new oil reserves are revealed. By coincidence a Greenpeace ship reached the drill rig on our day of action, where it was met by a Danish warship. It is hoped that lots of activists will join Crude Awakening, a day of mass action against oil supported by Climate Camp on Saturday October 16th in London.

Cairn Trojan Pig parade
Cairn Trojan Pig molasses
YouTube Preview Image

6. Shutting down Nicolson Street branch of RBS
The weather was not kind to us on our main day of action, and getting lost en route to my next destination didn’t help. By just after 10am I was soaked through to the skin. Across the entrance to Nicolson Street RBS three of my friends glued themselves together with green posters pinned to their fronts that said “Ask me why I won’t bank with RBS“. As customers arrived they engaged them in conversation and then let them duck under their arms. With musicians and a small gaggle of Lady Gaga impersonators I went inside to be greeted by an old man grumbling bad-temperedly at the counter. He then proceeded to watch several reprises of the Dirty Oil song and dance routine, by now familiar to all. Next up was a reinvigorated version of the Gloria Gaynor classic I Will Survive, and as we moved outside the police finally arrived. I went to upload some tweets and when I returned journalists and photographers were out in force and the branch had been closed. Later that day another bunch of activists dressed in bin bags and dripping in molasses closed down the same branch.

Climate Camp 2010-Nicholson-RBS
Climate Camp 2010-Nicholson-RBS 2

7. We’ve built a Rhino Siege Tower!
Yes really. At the top of the hill above RBS what looked like a watch tower had risen during the course of the camp, gaining painted corrugated metal sides and a roof. And perhaps best of all a huge paper mache Rhino head attached to it’s derriere. I got back from the mornings actions to find a huge gaggle of people surrounding the tower, all dressed in wonderful outfits, inspired by medieval battle, clowns, animals and pagan dress. And then we waited…. and waited… and joked about slow action being the new slow food movement. Finally, we were ready to roll. The siege tower was on wheels. And with people guiding it via a series of ropes and pulleys it began to inch it’s way around the wind break and down the hill as we all held our breath and prayed that it didn’t topple into the bank of photographers waiting below. This process took about four hours, by which time I’d long since stopped worrying that I would miss anything crucial every time I went to recharge my damn iphone again. Over at the bridge a series of mollassapaults were fired onto the HQ by black clad activists. And then as we finally crawled towards the gate the rain really set in. Dancing animals met lines of riot police and squirted silly string over their heads as the Siege Tower finally cleared a low hanging branch and the rhino headbutted a police van.

Climate Camp Rhino Seige Tower
Climate Camp 2010-scary clown
Climate Camp 2010-Seige Rhino-hits van

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a line of riot cops so bemused. What the hell were we doing? On the side of the tower There Is No Planet B had been painted over at some point during the long journey to say There Is No Plan. My camera decided to complain about the incessant rain. It packed up. I decided to call it a day, and soon so did many soggy others. The Guardian’s live blog had long since stopped reporting on our actions of the day since most of them were done in the morning – including a very brilliant banner drop off the roof of Forth Energy in Leith in protest of a new and huge biomass scheme that would require the mass importation of vast quantities of wood chip.

Climate Camp 2010-Seige Rhino-frontline
Climate Camp 2010-Seige Rhino-sillystring
mollassapault tim morozzo
The mollassapault. Photography by Tim Morozzo.

And so, we didn’t give the mainstream media the huge action they might have liked. Instead we gave them lots of small and effective affinity group actions across Edinburgh and beyond, as planned. Topped off with the most surreal action of them all – a Rhino Siege Tower that effectively closed down the RBS HQ merely through creative farce and the power of suggestion. Sometimes my heart is so full of love for the thing that is Climate Camp that it feels fit to burst.

Climate Camp 2010-Seige Rhino

Other highlights of this years’ camp included a storming ceilidh (apologies to the Scottish for making this word our own) with my band Green Kite Midnight, spoken word from Harry Giles, visits from Fringe comedians Albie Philbin Bowman and Josie Long, and dancing long into the night after our day of action. Despite all the trials and tribulations of being so involved with Climate Camp I can’t wait to see what we come up with next. Even if we didn’t Break the Banks you’ve got to admit it was a damn good slogan, and we’ve successfully managed to highlight the investment of our money in fossil fuels to a far wider public. Now we just need to change the system that encourages wanton consumption of fossil fuels to the wide scale detriment of the only planet we have to live on. Who’s up for helping out?

You can watch lots more of the videos that I took on my Qik channel here.

Climate Camp 2010-Albie Philbin Bowman
Albie Philbin Bowman performs for us.
See some of Josie Long’s performance on this link.

Many other inspiring actions happened across the course of the camp, but these did not include the supposed oil spill on the A8 on Monday morning, as press released by the police. Our targets have always been corporations and the government not innocent people, but isn’t it somehow predictable that the press picked up on the “oil spill” so relentlessly – happy to reel it off as fact without adequate research or proof. More on how the press have related to this year’s Climate Camp in my next blog post here.

Climate Camp 2010-compost loos
A beautiful painted compost loo.
Climate Camp 2010-anarchist baby
Climate Camp 2010-RBS bridge
Climate Camp 2010-bunny

Categories ,Albie Philbin Bowman, ,Cairn Energy, ,Climate Camp, ,coal, ,comedy, ,Cousland, ,Crude Awakening, ,Direct Action, ,dirty oil, ,Dongria Kondh, ,edinburgh, ,Edinburgh Fringe, ,First Nations, ,Gloria Gaynor, ,Green Kite Midnight, ,Greenland, ,Greenpeace, ,Greenwash Guerillas, ,Guardian, ,Harry Giles, ,Josie Long, ,Lady Gaga, ,Nicolson Street, ,NVDA, ,Oily Gaga, ,police, ,Raising a Ruckus, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,RBS, ,RBS HQ, ,RBS Trojan Pig, ,Rhino Seige Tower, ,Riot police, ,Royal Bank of Scotland, ,Suffragettes, ,Tar Sands, ,Tim Morozzo, ,twitter, ,Vedanta

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?

Woodberry Down girl by Romain Lambert-Louis, cost after ‘Jackie 1973’ by Erica Dobbs http://www.lambartillustration.com

http://www.serpentinegallery.org/2008/03/tom_hunter_a_palace_for_us8_de_1.html

It’s good Tom Hunter’s film is as good as it is, because the last time I queued this long there was a saint at the end of it. Pilgrims wait for hours outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela to hug the statue above the saintly remnants – last Saturday the patient patrons of a crammed Serpentine Gallery were rewarded not so much with a divine cuddle, but with a screening of Tom Hunter’s gem of a documentary.

‘A palace for us’ is set at Woodberry Down, a 2,500-flat council estate complex in North Hackney, up by Tottenham. Going back 50 years, Tom Hunter’s film uses current day narratives and recreated scenes to tell the stories of three people who have spent their lives at the estate. ‘When we came here we realised how lucky we were,’ says one woman. ‘There was central heating and a bath with hot and cold. It was like a palace for us.’ As the woman talks, we see reenactments of when her husband-to-be asked her to dance for the first time. ‘I’d never seen eyes like his,’ she says, smiling at the memory. ‘We have a very good marriage right to the end.’

Woodberry Down dancers by Willa Gebbie http://www.w-illustration.blogspot.com

Commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery and Age Concern Hackney, Tom Hunter made the film after spending time in residence at Woodberry speaking to residents about their lives at the estate. Their stories are lovingly told, reflecting Hunter’s in-depth knowledge of his subjects and the area. One of the film’s interviewees shares the story how he cowered in his bed as the area was bombed back in 1944. Born in Stoke Newington, the man was among the first to move into the Woodberry estate in 1948.

Woodberry Down man by Timothy Hunt http://www.ficklefate.co.uk

Built to meet a severe housing shortage during the war, Woodberry was presented as an ‘estate for the future’. Especially the interviewee born on the estate has good memories of growing up at Woodberry, telling stories of playing hopscotch in the alleys, climbing the apple trees and making perfume out of the rose petals growing around the estate. The sense of community is clear, with the residents taking turn mopping the stairs. Now the site is the subject of a major regeneration project, which will replace the most run-down flats and add several more as well.

Woodberry Down kids by Sandra Contreras http://haciendochiribitas.blogspot.com/

The original plan was to see Tom Hunter talk about the film as well, but the despite earlier assurances there was no need to book seats, a flushed gallery worker had to turn away a nearly 50-strong crowd on Saturday. The day’s long lines might have been a one-off, but those who still haven’t seen the film may not want to leave it until the last minute. Because it really is worth seeing, as what I remember even clearer than the queuing is how I wish the film had gone on for longer.

Tom Hunter by Kimberley Jenkins http://www.thesketchbookartist.co.uk

‘A palace for us’ shows daily until 20th January at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2.

Woodberry Down girl by Romain Lambert-Louis, pill after ‘Jackie 1973’ by Erica Dobbs

It’s good Tom Hunter’s film is as good as it is, because the last time I queued this long there was a saint at the end of it. Pilgrims wait for hours outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela to hug the statue above the saintly remnants – last Saturday the patient patrons of a crammed Serpentine Gallery were rewarded not so much with a divine cuddle, but with a screening of Tom Hunter’s gem of a documentary.

‘A palace for us’ is set at Woodberry Down, a 2,500-flat council estate complex in North Hackney, up by Tottenham. Going back 50 years, Tom Hunter’s film uses current day narratives and recreated scenes to tell the stories of three people who have spent their lives at the estate. ‘When we came here we realised how lucky we were,’ says one woman. ‘There was central heating and a bath with hot and cold. It was like a palace for us.’ As the woman talks, we see reenactments of when her husband-to-be asked her to dance for the first time. ‘I’d never seen eyes like his,’ she says, smiling at the memory. ‘We have a very good marriage right to the end.’


Woodberry Down dancers by Willa Gebbie http://www.w-illustration.blogspot.com

Commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery and Age Concern Hackney, Tom Hunter made the film after spending time in residence at Woodberry speaking to residents about their lives at the estate. Their stories are lovingly told, reflecting Hunter’s in-depth knowledge of his subjects and the area. One of the film’s interviewees shares the story how he cowered in his bed as the area was bombed back in 1944. Born in Stoke Newington, the man was among the first to move into the Woodberry estate in 1948.


Woodberry Down man by Timothy Hunt http://www.ficklefate.co.uk

Built to meet a severe housing shortage during the war, Woodberry was presented as an ‘estate for the future’. Especially the interviewee born on the estate has good memories of growing up at Woodberry, telling stories of playing hopscotch in the alleys, climbing the apple trees and making perfume out of the rose petals growing around the estate. The sense of community is clear, with the residents taking turn mopping the stairs. Now the site is the subject of a major regeneration project, which will replace the most run-down flats and add several more as well.


Woodberry Down kids by Sandra Contreras http://haciendochiribitas.blogspot.com/

The original plan was to see Tom Hunter talk about the film as well, but the despite earlier assurances there was no need to book seats, a flushed gallery worker had to turn away a nearly 50-strong crowd on Saturday. The day’s long lines might have been a one-off, but those who still haven’t seen the film may not want to leave it until the last minute. Because it really is worth seeing, as what I remember even clearer than the queuing is how I wish the film had gone on for longer.


Tom Hunter by Kimberley Jenkins http://www.thesketchbookartist.co.uk

‘A palace for us’ shows daily until 20th January at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2.
cure Little Rich Girls, more about 2010″ width=”480″ height=”654″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-31758″ /> Yinka Shonibare MBE, Little Rich Girls, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

In 2009, the Royal Academy of Art’s winter exhibition, Earth: Art of a Changing World featured a selection of artists engaging with the physical impacts of Climate Change. For 2010 the Royal Academy turned it’s attention to the subject of identity and clothing in the reductively titled; Aware: Art Fashion Identity. Broken down into three segments; Storytelling, Building and Belonging and Confronting, the exhibition endeavors to examine the possibilities provided –as explored by artists and fashion designers- by clothing to reveal and conceal our cultural and physical identity.

A new commission from Yinka Shonibare focused on cultural perceptions which turn out, under closer examination, to be false. Shonibare’s ghostly installation reveals the origination of batik pattern synonymous with African tribal patterns, to be in fact from Holland. The pattern makers sold the fabric to Africa once a European buyer could not be found.

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965, A film by Albert and David Maysles of Yoko Ono’s performance of Cut Piece at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, 21 March 1965, 16mm black-and-white film with sync sound, transferred to DVD, running time 9’ Courtesy of the artist

After entering the Royal Academy via Burlington Arcade and walking up the stairs into the main exhibition space. The audience moves through the three sections in a circular motion; first encountering Storytelling (announced by the presence of an embroidered kimono by Grayson Perry) then Building and finally Belonging and Confronting. The audience departs Aware: Art Fashion Identity via the two of the exhibition’s most interesting works – both of which are nearing 30 years old.

Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic’s performance pieces lay bare the artifice and cultural constructs which lay at the heart of both fashion and art identity. In the 9 minute video, Marina Abramovic and Ulay stand naked in a gallery doorway, forcing visitors to confront the physicality of the naked body, stripped of it’s adornments. Meanwhile in a video opposite Yoko Ono sits quietly on a stage whilst members of the audience snip her free from the garments of femininity. An exciting introduction to these two artists, it is a shame that more of their work was not included.

The limited inclusion of performance art is a lost opportunity, specifically because the four included pieces (Marina Abramovic Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman and Mumbai) lend themselves vividly to the concept this exhibition was attempting to explore.

GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy of Arts, 2 December 2010 – 30 January 2011, Marina Abramovi?, Imponderabilia Performance 1977
Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Bologna © Marina Abramovi?. Courtesy of Marina Abramovi? and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. © DACS 2010
Photo by Giovanna dal Magro

Cindy Sherman’s Paper Doll was located within the first room of the exhibition. An early video piece which lasts in it’s entirety of 2.30 minutes. Sherman questions the accepted (gender stereotyping) popularity of a child’s paper doll through the reduction of herself into an inanimate object. Whilst interesting to those who have encountered Sherman’s work previously, the singular nod does nothing to encourage the exploration of Sherman’s overture, including Untitled, a series of stills in which Sherman explores the relationship between the movies and societies ideas of femininity through feminine dress.

Cindy Sherman, Doll Clothes 1975, Stills from 16 mm film on DVD, © Cindy Sherman / Sammlung Verbund, Vienna / Sprüth Magers Berlin London

The final piece of video art that captured the attention is located within the sub-topic: Building. In 10 minutes Mumbai confronts the viewer with the appalling conditions required to produce the clothes we discard so readily and so frequently.

Throughout the exhibition nods are made to artists and fashion designers alike –a single McQueen stands in the corner devoid of its context within an entire collection, becomes a beautiful object, rather than a brutal critique on historical and modern notions of femininity. Within the white walls of the RA the identity of the dress becomes lost.

Alexander McQueen, Autumn Winter 1998: Joan, Photo © Chris Moore, Courtesy of Catwalking

An enjoyable exhibition, the problem appears to be that the art is spread too thin, interesting ideas are left hanging or barely graspable unless you enter the exhibition with prior knowledge of the artists or fashion designers gambit.

The final section of the exhibition briefly explores ideas surrounding Belonging and Confronting. Sharif Waked Chic Point is a video which places the daily humiliation the Palestinian man undergoes at the hands of Israeli checkpoints onto the catwalk. Personally, the work would have been more poignant if these clothes, which reduce the wearer to exposing various sections of flesh had been worn at a real or a recreated check point – highlighting the dehumanization that occurs as every man is treated as a potential terrorist. The photographs included at the end of the film and taken by the artist visualises the moment when clothes cease to become clothes and mutate into something fearful (whether imagined or not).

Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003, DVD, running time 5’ 27” Courtesy of the artist, Photo Sharif Waked

Coco Chanel suggested we “look for the woman in the dress if there is no woman, there is no dress” an idea taken up by Hussein Chalayan’s latest commission. In Son of Sonzai Suri, the fashion designer uses the 300-year-old Japanese tradition of Bunraku puppet theatre to lay bare the hidden puppeteers at the heart of the fashion industry.

Hussein Chalayan, ‘Son’ of Sonzai Suru, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes with the aforementioned video pieces of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono. With the decision to close the exhibition here, it would appear that the critique of identity and femininity stopped in the 70’s. It could have been interesting to see a juxtaposition of performance art against the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela.

The exhibition closes on the 30th January.
Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy
6 Burlington Gardens
London


Woodberry Down girl by Romain Lambert-Louis, buy information pills after ‘Jackie 1973’ by Erica Dobbs

It’s good Tom Hunter’s film is as good as it is, there because the last time I queued this long there was a saint at the end of it. Pilgrims wait for hours outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela to hug the statue above the saintly remnants – last Saturday the patient patrons of a crammed Serpentine Gallery were rewarded not so much with a divine cuddle, but with a screening of Tom Hunter’s gem of a documentary.

‘A palace for us’ is set at Woodberry Down, a 2,500-flat council estate complex in North Hackney, up by Tottenham. Going back 50 years, Tom Hunter’s film uses current day narratives and recreated scenes to tell the stories of three people who have spent their lives at the estate. ‘When we came here we realised how lucky we were,’ says one woman. ‘There was central heating and a bath with hot and cold. It was like a palace for us.’ As the woman talks, we see reenactments of when her husband-to-be asked her to dance for the first time. ‘I’d never seen eyes like his,’ she says, smiling at the memory. ‘We have a very good marriage right to the end.’


Woodberry Down dancers by Willa Gebbie http://www.w-illustration.blogspot.com

Commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery and Age Concern Hackney, Tom Hunter made the film after spending time in residence at Woodberry speaking to residents about their lives at the estate. Their stories are lovingly told, reflecting Hunter’s in-depth knowledge of his subjects and the area. One of the film’s interviewees shares the story how he cowered in his bed as the area was bombed back in 1944. Born in Stoke Newington, the man was among the first to move into the Woodberry estate in 1948.


Woodberry Down man by Timothy Hunt http://www.ficklefate.co.uk

Built to meet a severe housing shortage during the war, Woodberry was presented as an ‘estate for the future’. Especially the interviewee born on the estate has good memories of growing up at Woodberry, telling stories of playing hopscotch in the alleys, climbing the apple trees and making perfume out of the rose petals growing around the estate. The sense of community is clear, with the residents taking turn mopping the stairs. Now the site is the subject of a major regeneration project, which will replace the most run-down flats and add several more as well.


Woodberry Down kids by Sandra Contreras http://haciendochiribitas.blogspot.com/

The original plan was to see Tom Hunter talk about the film as well, but the despite earlier assurances there was no need to book seats, a flushed gallery worker had to turn away a nearly 50-strong crowd on Saturday. The day’s long lines might have been a one-off, but those who still haven’t seen the film may not want to leave it until the last minute. Because it really is worth seeing, as what I remember even clearer than the queuing is how I wish the film had gone on for longer.


Tom Hunter by Kimberley Jenkins http://www.thesketchbookartist.co.uk

‘A palace for us’ shows daily until 20th January at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2.
policeman undercover by daria hlazatova
Policeman Undercover by Daria Hlazatova.

One day a few years ago I agreed to go on an intrepid action to highlight the causes of climate change. I didn’t know where or what it would be, view but as a climate activist I trust the many people that I know who are willing to invest a huge amount of time, page effort and (often their own) money in taking action for climate justice. So it was that I came to be in the Iona School in Nottingham on Easter Monday, for sale 13th April 2009. In a hall packed full of committed climate activists I discovered the sheer scale of the unbelievably audacious covert operation and as I looked around I tried to imagine how we could possibly pull it off: we all suspect that undercover cops must operate within our networks. We were fed, given instructions concerning our target and duly sent to bed in one of various rooms in the school which had been hired out for the weekend. Having made sure that my day pack was ready (warm clothes, a book, some high energy food) I rolled out my sleeping mat, got into my pyjamas, stuffed ear plugs into my ears and settled down for a short night’s sleep before we headed down to Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal fired power station in the early hours of the morning.

Ratcliffe_Disaster_Victoria_Archer
Ratcliffe Disaster by Victoria Archer.

Ratcliffe has been the focus of quite a few climate change demonstrations, not least the Great Climate Swoop, a publicly advertised assault that took place on this huge coal powered station later in 2009. Ratcliffe-on-Soar was chosen because it is one of the biggest coal fired power stations in the UK and it’s owned by E.ON, who were the energy company behind plans to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth (now shelved) and who were the focus of Climate Camp actions throughout 2008 and 2009. In the event of a successful shut down electricity for the surrounding area could easily be obtained from other sources.

ratcliffe by farzeen jabbar
Ratcliffe by Farzeen Jabbar.

As I went to bed there was an the air of the calm before the storm, especially after we received conflicting reports about a growing police presence near the power station. It just seemed so incredibly unlikely that out of the several hundred people involved in the planning of the action (including drivers, hosts, etc) no one could have let slip our plans. Nonetheless I was tired and soon fell asleep.

A few minutes after I dozed off I was woken by my friend screeching POLIIIIIIIIIICE in my ear. No amount of deeply inserted ear plug was going to stop me leaping into immediate bleary eyed action as I realised that the entire building was surrounded and being battered from all sides. I just had time to struggle into some decent clothing before our room was filled with policemen who immediately handcuffed us all, regardless of our state of dress. I never knew I would find out what it’s like to be treated like a terrorist, but I can now safely tell you that I do. And it was utterly surreal. We were kept in our respective rooms (chosen for the type of action we would be taking) for what seemed like hours. As we waited we could hear people singing protest songs up and down the corridor. Domestic Extremists we might be. Your standard terrorists we ain’t.

abi daker Amelia gets arrested
Amelia Gets Arrested by Abigail Daker.

I was desperately keen to take my belongings with me as we were finally led out of the room – I’ve had previous experience of them being kept by police and I knew how long it would take to get them back (nearly a year as it turned out), but my arresting officer would not allow me to pick them up despite others being allowed to do so: the first sign of a somewhat shambolic operation with far from clear instructions.

Ratcliffe on Trial by Rukmunal Hakim
Ratcliffe on Trial by Rukmunal Hakim.

Things were shortly to get much more surreal. We were frogmarched two by two – handcuffed to our respective officers – into an impromptu photo studio that had been set up in the school nursery. Our mugshots were taken in front of the kids’ brightly coloured artwork before we were packed off into vans and taken to holding cells at police stations all over the city. I was held through the night and for most of the ensuing day. Being a well trained activist I kept to No Comment throughout my interrogation, though the investigating officer was very interested in my ear plugs (convinced they were a clue that I was headed to the noisy coal conveyor belt) and my Climate Rush badge (at that time I was still involved with the Suffragette inspired group).

My Mugshot by Alison Day
My Mugshot by Alison Day.

My DNA was taken before I was eventually allowed to leave, taking none of my belongings. I was simply ejected into the night. With no money and absolutely no idea where I was in Nottingham. Fortunately there was legal support waiting in the station car park and I was scooped up and taken to a safe house. I spent another night sharing a bed with an activist before hitching the first lift out of Nottingham. By this time I was desperate to get back to London because I was worried that my house would be raided – someone else had left a piece of paper with my details on in their wallet and it had been waved at me as evidence in the police station. I spent the next few weeks worrying whether I would be raided when my interns were in the house, thereby putting their computers at risk as evidence too. In the end my worries were unfounded, though many other people were raided.

Ratcliffe Trial by Matilde Sazio
Ratcliffe Trial by Matilde Sazio.

It has taken nearly two years for this case to come to court, during which time I have not been able to talk about it for fear of affecting the outcome for the 26 who were charged (out of the original 114 activists who were arrested). Many of those spent the better part of December 2010 fighting their case in court in Nottingham. Green Party leader Caroline Lucas gave a statement and James Hansen testified. Despite comprehensive evidence proving that the climate crimes of corporations such as E.ON are way worse than anything we were planning to do, the activists were all convicted and given a mix of fines, conditional discharges and community service. Maybe the jury was won over by the prosecution argument that we would have been better off spending our time getting Cheryl Cole to promote second hand clothing. Bleurgh. The judge did however praise the defendents for their “intelligence and dedication” – climate activists are certainly some of the most clever and interesting people I know.

GarethAHopkins_Police The Community Ignore The Environment
Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins.

Six more activists were due to go to court today with a defence of Not Guilty because they had not yet decided to take part in the action when they were arrested. It was set to be an extraordinarily interesting case that would challenge the excessively expensive largest ever pre-emptive arrest, which in retrospect seems to be have been designed to capture the details of the entire UK climate activist network in one fell swoop. But their plans have at the last moment been thwarted. The reason? Our very own police mole.

Ratcliffe by Gemma Birss
Ratcliffe by Gemma Birss.

A few months ago the indymedia networks were rife with the news that a climate activist mole had been unmasked. For seven years Mark “Flash” Stone (so called because he always seemed to have lots of cash) was a familiar face on the activist circuit until he was outed by ‘close’ friends who eventually became suspicious of him. He also happened to be involved in much of the preliminary planning for the April action on Ratcliffe: hosting meetings, driving trucks and planning to lead climbers up the huge chimney stack.

Now it is revealed that Mark has left the police force, apparently ashamed of the consequences of his actions. The Ratcliffe Trial blog states that he was even planning to provide evidence in favour of the defendants he did so much to help arrest back in 2009. However it appears that outside pressures (the police he used to work for? surely not) recently caused him to withdraw his offer. The case was then mysteriously dropped in its entirety after the defence pressed the powers that be for details of Mark Kennedy’s involvement in the initial planning stages of the Ratcliffe action.

climate change by Jane McGuinness
Climate Change by Jane McGuinness.

Even before today’s revelations it already seemed a sure bet that Mark’s insider knowledge helped to secure huge funding for the police raid, which cost upwards of £700,000 and ensured that officers were drafted in from across the county on huge overtime wages over Easter. That’s over £6,000 on the cost of arresting me alone. Not to mention the fact that the extremely expensive court case may have collapsed in its entirety had Mark’s involvement been known earlier. I can think of better ways to spend cash, can’t you?

GarethAHopkins_Police The Community Ignore The Environment
Police The Community Ignore The Environment by Gareth A Hopkins.

In the last year Climate Change has all but dropped off the mainstream media agenda and many of our most committed activists have been tied up in lengthy court proceedings. Yet climate change continues unabated. Next month Climate Camp will run a five day long event at Monkton Wyld Court in Dorset called A Space for Change, which will seek to “reflect and re-assess climate justice activism, re-dream what a radical movement can be and re-invigorate ourselves and our network.” There’s never been a better time to get involved in climate activism. You can find out more details here.

Categories ,A Space for Change, ,Abigail Daker, ,activism, ,Alison Day, ,Caroline Lucas, ,Cheryl Cole, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Change, ,Climate Rush, ,coal, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Direct Action, ,DNA, ,Domestic Extremist, ,Dorset, ,E-On, ,Farzeen Jabbar, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Birss, ,Iona School, ,James Hansen, ,Jane McGuinness, ,kingsnorth, ,Mark “Flash” Stone, ,Mark Kennedy, ,Mark Stone, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Mole, ,Monkton Wyld Court, ,No Comment, ,nottingham, ,Paul Lewis, ,police, ,Ratcliffe, ,Ratcliffe 114, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,Rob Evans, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,Suffragette, ,Terrorist, ,Undercover, ,Victoria Archer

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?

policeman undercover by daria hlazatova
Policeman Undercover by Daria Hlazatova.

One day a few years ago I agreed to go on an intrepid action to highlight the causes of climate change. I didn’t know where or what it would be, but as a climate activist I trust the many people that I know who are willing to invest a huge amount of time, effort and (often their own) money in taking action for climate justice. So it was that I came to be in the Iona School in Nottingham on Easter Monday, 13th April 2009. In a hall packed full of committed climate activists I discovered the sheer scale of the unbelievably audacious covert operation and as I looked around I tried to imagine how we could possibly pull it off: we all suspect that undercover cops must operate within our networks. We were fed, given instructions concerning our target and duly sent to bed in one of various rooms in the school which had been hired out for the weekend. Having made sure that my day pack was ready (warm clothes, a book, some high energy food) I rolled out my sleeping mat, got into my pyjamas, stuffed ear plugs into my ears and settled down for a short night’s sleep before we headed down to Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal fired power station in the early hours of the morning.

Ratcliffe_Disaster_Victoria_Archer
Ratcliffe Disaster by Victoria Archer.

Ratcliffe has been the focus of quite a few climate change demonstrations, not least the Great Climate Swoop, a publicly advertised assault that took place on this huge coal powered station later in 2009. Ratcliffe-on-Soar was chosen because it is one of the biggest coal fired power stations in the UK and it’s owned by E.ON, who were the energy company behind plans to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth (now shelved) and who were the focus of Climate Camp actions throughout 2008 and 2009. In the event of a successful shut down electricity for the surrounding area could easily be obtained from other sources.

ratcliffe by farzeen jabbar
Ratcliffe by Farzeen Jabbar.

As I went to bed there was an the air of the calm before the storm, especially after we received conflicting reports about a growing police presence near the power station. It just seemed so incredibly unlikely that out of the several hundred people involved in the planning of the action (including drivers, hosts, etc) no one could have let slip our plans. Nonetheless I was tired and soon fell asleep.

A few minutes after I dozed off I was woken by my friend screeching POLIIIIIIIIIICE in my ear. No amount of deeply inserted ear plug was going to stop me leaping into immediate bleary eyed action as I realised that the entire building was surrounded and being battered from all sides. I just had time to struggle into some decent clothing before our room was filled with policemen who immediately handcuffed us all, regardless of our state of dress. I never knew I would find out what it’s like to be treated like a terrorist, but I can now safely tell you that I do. And it was utterly surreal. We were kept in our respective rooms (chosen for the type of action we would be taking) for what seemed like hours. As we waited we could hear people singing protest songs up and down the corridor. Domestic Extremists we might be. Your standard terrorists we ain’t.

abi daker Amelia gets arrested
Amelia Gets Arrested by Abigail Daker.

I was desperately keen to take my belongings with me as we were finally led out of the room – I’ve had previous experience of them being kept by police and I knew how long it would take to get them back (nearly a year as it turned out), but my arresting officer would not allow me to pick them up despite others being allowed to do so: the first sign of a somewhat shambolic operation with far from clear instructions.

Ratcliffe on Trial by Rukmunal Hakim
Ratcliffe on Trial by Rukmunal Hakim.

Things were shortly to get much more surreal. We were frogmarched two by two – handcuffed to our respective officers – into an impromptu photo studio that had been set up in the school nursery. Our mugshots were taken in front of the kids’ brightly coloured artwork before we were packed off into vans and taken to holding cells at police stations all over the city. I was held through the night and for most of the ensuing day. Being a well trained activist I kept to No Comment throughout my interrogation, though the investigating officer was very interested in my ear plugs (convinced they were a clue that I was headed to the noisy coal conveyor belt) and my Climate Rush badge (at that time I was still involved with the Suffragette inspired group).

My Mugshot by Alison Day
My Mugshot by Alison Day.

My DNA was taken before I was eventually allowed to leave, taking none of my belongings. I was simply ejected into the night. With no money and absolutely no idea where I was in Nottingham. Fortunately there was legal support waiting in the station car park and I was scooped up and taken to a safe house. I spent another night sharing a bed with an activist before hitching the first lift out of Nottingham. By this time I was desperate to get back to London because I was worried that my house would be raided – someone else had left a piece of paper with my details on in their wallet and it had been waved at me as evidence in the police station. I spent the next few weeks worrying whether I would be raided when my interns were in the house, thereby putting their computers at risk as evidence too. In the end my worries were unfounded, though many other people were raided.

Ratcliffe Trial by Matilde Sazio
Ratcliffe Trial by Matilde Sazio.

It has taken nearly two years for this case to come to court, during which time I have not been able to talk about it for fear of affecting the outcome for the 26 who were charged (out of the original 114 activists who were arrested). Many of those spent the better part of December 2010 fighting their case in court in Nottingham. Green Party leader Caroline Lucas gave a statement and James Hansen testified. Despite comprehensive evidence proving that the climate crimes of corporations such as E.ON are way worse than anything we were planning to do, the activists were all convicted and given a mix of fines, conditional discharges and community service. Maybe the jury was won over by the prosecution argument that we would have been better off spending our time getting Cheryl Cole to promote second hand clothing. Bleurgh. The judge did however praise the defendents for their “intelligence and dedication” – climate activists are certainly some of the most clever and interesting people I know.

GarethAHopkins_Police The Community Ignore The Environment
Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins.

Six more activists were due to go to court today with a defence of Not Guilty because they had not yet decided to take part in the action when they were arrested. It was set to be an extraordinarily interesting case that would challenge the excessively expensive largest ever pre-emptive arrest, which in retrospect seems to be have been designed to capture the details of the entire UK climate activist network in one fell swoop. But their plans have at the last moment been thwarted. The reason? Our very own police mole.

Ratcliffe by Gemma Birss
Ratcliffe by Gemma Birss.

A few months ago the indymedia networks were rife with the news that a climate activist mole had been unmasked. For seven years Mark “Flash” Stone (so called because he always seemed to have lots of cash) was a familiar face on the activist circuit until he was outed by ‘close’ friends who eventually became suspicious of him. He also happened to be involved in much of the preliminary planning for the April action on Ratcliffe: hosting meetings, driving trucks and planning to lead climbers up the huge chimney stack.

Now it is revealed that Mark has left the police force, apparently ashamed of the consequences of his actions. The Ratcliffe Trial blog states that he was even planning to provide evidence in favour of the defendants he did so much to help arrest back in 2009. However it appears that outside pressures (the police he used to work for? surely not) recently caused him to withdraw his offer. The case was then mysteriously dropped in its entirety after the defence pressed the powers that be for details of Mark Kennedy’s involvement in the initial planning stages of the Ratcliffe action.

climate change by Jane McGuinness
Climate Change by Jane McGuinness.

Even before today’s revelations it already seemed a sure bet that Mark’s insider knowledge helped to secure huge funding for the police raid, which cost upwards of £700,000 and ensured that officers were drafted in from across the county on huge overtime wages over Easter. That’s over £6,000 on the cost of arresting me alone. Not to mention the fact that the extremely expensive court case may have collapsed in its entirety had Mark’s involvement been known earlier. I can think of better ways to spend cash, can’t you?

GarethAHopkins_Police The Community Ignore The Environment
Police The Community Ignore The Environment by Gareth A Hopkins.

In the last year Climate Change has all but dropped off the mainstream media agenda and many of our most committed activists have been tied up in lengthy court proceedings. Yet climate change continues unabated. Next month Climate Camp will run a five day long event at Monkton Wyld Court in Dorset called A Space for Change, which will seek to “reflect and re-assess climate justice activism, re-dream what a radical movement can be and re-invigorate ourselves and our network.” There’s never been a better time to get involved in climate activism. You can find out more details here.

Categories ,A Space for Change, ,Abigail Daker, ,activism, ,Alison Day, ,Caroline Lucas, ,Cheryl Cole, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Change, ,Climate Rush, ,coal, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Direct Action, ,DNA, ,Domestic Extremist, ,Dorset, ,E-On, ,Farzeen Jabbar, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Birss, ,Iona School, ,James Hansen, ,Jane McGuinness, ,kingsnorth, ,Mark “Flash” Stone, ,Mark Kennedy, ,Mark Stone, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Mole, ,Monkton Wyld Court, ,No Comment, ,nottingham, ,Paul Lewis, ,police, ,Ratcliffe, ,Ratcliffe 114, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,Rob Evans, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,Suffragette, ,Terrorist, ,Undercover, ,Victoria Archer

Similar Posts:





Amelia’s Magazine | Deloitte Ignite 2011 at the Royal Opera House: Festival Review

Red Dancer by Claire Kearns

Red Dancer by Claire Kearns

Mike Figgis held the creative reins at the festival this year. One of the names he had invited along was someone I was keen to see – Hans Ulrich Obrist, diagnosis the director of the Serpentine Gallery and art mastermind. When we arrived at the epicentre of the festival, the Paul Hamlyn Hall, Hans and Mike were in deep conversation about Mike’s career, and his thoughts on Hollywood. Mike spoke bitterly about what he saw as the corruption of mainstream cinema and wasn’t abashed to name and shame, as he slammed Michael Bay and likened Steven Spielberg to Adolf Hitler. A poor shot from Figgis I thought.

Paul Hamlyn Hall by Amelia Gregory

Paul Hamlyn Hall by Amelia Gregory

It was independent film maker Emily James and her two guests, who almost managed to stir the reserved crowd. Emily is an American film-maker who was at the festival to present her film Just Do It. It was actually reviewed by Amelia for this blog back in July 2011 – a great review, which you should go and read here. The film charts three years in the environmental activism scene, focussing on protest groups such as Climate Camp and Plane Stupid. Emily follows a number of activists with her camera, as they show up at places like power stations, bank headquarters, and with no exceptions, films the direct action that takes place. Emily’s documentary provides a refreshing change from the mainstream media’s representation of the activity of these groups, which is often negative and has a habit of portraying the activists as trouble-makers.

The star of the film is Marina Pepper, a passionate ex-journalist who now devotes her life to rallying. In the film she dwells on what she does, and asks, ‘will this really make any difference?’. Cue long pause. She admits that it probably won’t, but she has attached herself to this fight, and will see it through. Marina was one of Emily’s guests, alongside Leo Murray who works with Plane Stupid, who were the group behind the closures of Stansted and Manchester airports a few years ago. It was a shame that feisty Marina faced a timid crowd when she tried to initiate a discussion about the Dale Farm issue. ‘Who here doesn’t like travellers?‘ she bellowed into the crowd. I felt a small achievement was made when Marina did manage to rouse the inner activists with some of the crowd members. She reminded us all that the environmentalist’s bane, oil company BP were the sponsors of the Royal Opera House.

It was a thought-provoking and intelligent part of the day. I felt I’d been given a lot of information that honestly, I hadn’t really been prepared for. Amelia’s Magazine has blogged extensively about activism, and specifically about groups such as Climate Camp. After coming home from the festival, and preparing to write this review, I took some time out to read these previous articles. One article which particularly stood out for me was by Adam S – his account of when over 1000 protestors stood their ground at the Ratcliffe-On-Soar power station. If like me, your not familiar with the good work of these people, go read one of Amelia’s fantastic and energetic articles here.

Dress Display by Amelia Gregory

Dress Display by Amelia Gregory

Alber Elbaz, the creative director at Lanvin, delivered Saturday’s highlight. No-one in Camp Deloitte had anticipated that Alber’s talk would bring in the masses. Due to an impromptu room change (Alber preferred the opulence and beauty of the intimate Crush Cinema Room) not everyone could fit in, and so he agreed to do the talk twice. He instantly won us over when he interrupted co-host Alice Rawsthorn as she mentioned his short lived career at YSL to add that yes, he had been fired. What touched me was the story of how he found his purpose at Lanvin. He had heard from a friend in New York, who was going to see her ‘arsehole husband‘ to sign their divorce. She messaged him, ‘Alber, I’m wearing Lanvin and I feel so protected‘. The idea that he could create this feeling from something as fine as silk is what propels him today.

Dress by Claire Kearns

Dress by Claire Kearns

The cinema room showing interviews from the likes of David Lynch and John Berger were interesting, but I found it difficult to concentrate with people constantly coming and going. I enjoyed it much more in the main hall, sat at a table and engaged with the speakers. This was the playground to several dancers who were performing for both 8 hour days – the young girl in red, continuously twirling on a raised block became a point of conversation for visitors and speakers.

Peter Blake by Amelia Gregory

Peter Blake by Amelia Gregory

On Sunday I enjoyed a cosy afternoon with national treasures, artist Peter Blake, and newsreader Jon Snow. Peter studied at the RCA, and is best known for the album artwork for the Beatle’s Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Peter was genuinely lovely. I felt like I could listen to him and his stories for hours. He was honest to admit that his printed work has made him more financially secure in the last two years than he has ever been before.

Jon Snow and Mike Figgis by Amelia Gregory

Jon Snow and Mike Figgis by Amelia Gregory

Jon Snow was last on the bill. He brilliantly handled a question from the audience about the representation of Palestine in the news. He pondered whether the situation would be as bad as it is now if they had covered the story properly – probably not, he said honestly. He also spoke about the fall of print, and the rise of online media, ‘We’re travelling into the golden age of journalism…democratised information‘, he said after admitting that he frequently goes an entire day without touching a newspaper. He finished with an emotive speech, that highlighted how highly individual we have all become, and how we desperately need something that we have lost, a sense of community. He received a huge applause.

Red Dancer on Podium by Amelia Gregory

Red Dancer on Podium by Amelia Gregory

Only one word can describe the finale, and that is ‘spectacle’. Mike transformed from curator to director, of a sort of hotchpotch avant-garde orchestra. The People Band took one side of the stage, and the Opera House orchestra on the other. They were joined by saxophonist Peter King, Rosey Chan on the piano, the weird but wonderful Feral Choir, and the magnificent flamenco dancer Eva Yerbabuena. She crept on to the centre of the floor dressed all in black, and gave a stand out performance.

I felt like I’d been on an a funny sort of emotional rollercoaster with Mike Figgis this weekend – laughing with him, but quickly annoyed with his eye rolls and name calling. At the end, I saw someone congratulate and thank him. He was speechless, and it was at this point that I liked him best, and I thought, well done Mike, well done Deloitte. I’ll be back next year.

Categories ,Alber Elbaz, ,Alice Rawsthorn, ,Beatle’s Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, ,Climate Camp, ,Crush Cinema Room, ,Deloitte Ignite, ,Emily James, ,Hans Ulrich Obrist, ,Jon Snow, ,Lanvin, ,Marina Pepper, ,Mike Figgis, ,Peter Blake, ,Plane Stupid, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,rca, ,Royal Opera House

Similar Posts: