Socialist Worker

'People power' gets results

by Les Harris
Issue No. 1673

ENVIRONMENTAL protesters have scored a success against a huge multinational company. The ex-mining village of Killamarsh, on the edge of Sheffield, has been plagued by chemical leaks from a SARP chemical plant since last May. A 150 foot high incinerator chimney has been belching out gas over nearby houses, schools and a nature reserve. Residents set up an opposition group, RASP (Residents Against SARP Pollution), which has campaigned 24 hours a day. They have picketed the plant and demonstrated in Paris, Brussels, and in Derbyshire County Council meetings.

Campaigners have been locked up by the police, with several facing court action. But 'people power' is having an effect. We are celebrating the announcement that parent company Onyx is shutting the incinerator down. RASP leader John Moran, the local milkman, said, 'The campaign has taught those involved what ordinary people can achieve. We learned how ordinary people - a milkman, a painter, a railway worker and retired people, with no technical knowledge - can not only hold their own with experts but frighten them.' RASP is now campaigning for the rest of the plant to be shut down.

LOCAL PEOPLE and youth workers in the Dingle area of Liverpool have united to organise a campaign to save the Dehon youth club. The Liberal Democrat controlled city council is planning to cut off funding for the club at the end of December. Many local people are furious that the council wants to save £30,000 a year by closing the Dehon, which serves one of the most deprived areas of the city. Young people from the club have helped to write a newsletter telling everyone to get involved.
Public meeting, Friday 19 November, 5.30pm, Dehon Youth Club, Park Place, Dingle, Liverpool.

A FIGHT has sprung up against Lewisham council's plans to close three local libraries. Blackheath, Manor House and Grove Park libraries in the south London borough are under threat of closure. The council says it will open one new library and spend an extra £1.2 million. But this will not compensate for the closures or reverse a long history of low spending. Over 2,300 people have already signed a petition against the library closures, and library bosses were roasted at a recent packed public meeting.

SOME 60 people attended an anti-privatisation meeting at Barnsley public library on Tuesday of last week, called jointly by Barnsley GMB and the Defend Council Housing campaign. One 74 year old woman told the meeting what housing was like in the 1930s before widespread social provision.

The meeting was primarily about what people were going to do to tackle the housing sell offs. It was decided that the 26,000 council houses in the Barnsley area will receive publicity explaining why they should vote against the transfer into the private sector. Mass petitioning and campaigning on the estates are also planned.

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Sat 20 Nov 1999, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1673
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