Our resistance to big firms shows how to beat fracking
Protesters won a landmark victory last month when Lancashire county councillors threw out the proposal to start fracking for shale gas at Little Plumpton near Blackpool.
This was after planning officers had recommended approving energy firm Cuadrilla’s application. Legal advice was taken after a tied vote the week before had said that the proposal should be approved.
Our victory was due in no small part to the size, energy and organisation of the protest movement against fracking in Lancashire.
Months of determined campaigning countered Cuadrilla’s pressure on the councillors. Three days of protest inside and outside County Hall hearings meant some councillors changed their position over the weekend ahead of the vote.
Shamefully, two of the votes for Cuadrilla came from Labour councillors Marcus Johnstone and Munsif Dad. The latter is also a member of the Unite union, which has come out against fracking.
The hundreds who reassembled on Monday 29 June greeted the decision with jubilation.
A carnival mood seized Preston town centre as the celebration turned into a march to spread the news to disbelieving lunchtime workers and shoppers.
Cuadrilla will be back with appeals and further proposals but the anti-fracking movement in Lancashire, which has 39 local campaign groups, is confident that it can be defeated.
It is clear to us as founding members of Keep East Lancashire Frack Free(Kelff) that the alliance of socialists, trade unionists, environmentalists and anti?capitalists has created a powerful movement of resistance to the big energy firms.
The issue has become linked to defending democracy against the onslaught of big business and fighting the Tories and austerity.
The message from Frack Free Lancashire this week is resist, unite and fight back—it works!
Andy Makin and Maggie Smith, Burnley, Lancashire
No to EU, No to Nato
Stop the War Coalition should mount an Out of Europe—Out of Nato campaign in the European Union (EU) referendum.
This would ensure a left presence distinctive and impossible to confuse with Ukip.
And it is a necessary campaign.
The EU is the civilian arm of Nato, formally uniting Western capitalism and Western militarism under US hegemony.
Nato is a predatory military alliance that masquerades as the “international community” and it gives the US military support for its aggressive adventurism in the Middle East.
The EU referendum gives the left an opportunity to raise public awareness of issues which without it would be much more difficult to raise.
Malcolm Pittock, Bolton
Bosses split over EU vote
Socialists should not fall out with each other over how to vote in the European Union referendum.
The ruling class is so split on how to make capitalism work they are giving us “plebs” a vote.
This gives socialists a platform on which to argue that capitalism is always doomed to fail.
Personally, I’ll probably just spoil my ballot by writing “yes to international socialism” on it.
Hugh Parsons, Swansea
Class struggle needs ideas and organisation
The recent heatwave may well remind graduates of long days reading and socialising on campus lawns. I did not go to conventional “uni”, so I applaud those who did.
I consider the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) to be my own form of university, and the Marxism Festival is my campus lawn.
Here I meet graduates and those like me with a less formal education. We mix seamlessly, united in our rejection of war, racism, sexism, class exploitation and above all capitalism.
Revolutionary Karl Marx urged us not just to analyse the world, but to change it. So I joined the SWP at Marxism five years ago.
I would encourage everyone coming to Marxism 2015 who has not yet joined the SWP to do so. We have nothing to lose but our chains.
John Moore, Nottingham
‘Serious failings’ over college payoffs
Since 2010, funding to Scottish FE colleges has been cut by £54 million with a loss of 4,000 staff and approximately 60,000 fewer students.
Many old colleges have been merged and outgoing college bosses have enriched themselves.
Between 2011 and 2014 £7.6 million was spent on 69 senior managers’ redundancy packages—an average of £110,000 each.
Last week an auditor’s report scrutinised payouts at Coatbridge College.
It found “serious failings” in the decision to pay £849,842 to the outgoing principal, five senior managers and a member of staff in the principal’s office.
These exceeded national guidelines through additional payments and the report stated there is “limited evidence” justifying them.
These payoffs are at the expense of thousands of staff and students who remain.
Lecturers should not accept the argument that there is no money when we ask for decent pay. Neither should students who continue to struggle with poverty level funding.
Angela McCormick, Glasgow
Putrid core of capitalism
The royals are rats. They have no right to Balmoral Castle or Buckingham Palace. Instead, all Crown properties must be given to homeless refugees.
The House of Windsor is at the putrid core of British capitalism. It stands for church, war, flag and inequality. It is the enemy of the poor.
Those spoilt blue-blooded vermin are the opposite of revolution.
Zekria Ibrahimi, West London
Stand up to the EU bullies
Stand your ground people of Greece. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
William Vallance on Facebook
Greece is not unique attack
The IMF—screwing little countries over since 1945.
Sara Beddoes on Facebook
Hypocrisy of the right wing
I was sad to see the passing of Nicholas Winton, “Britain’s Schindler”, as some in the press dubbed him.
He helped organise transport for Jews fleeing the Nazi death camps—over 650 children were saved.
But it makes me sick to see the bloody hypocrites on the right celebrating Winton’s acts. They currently support the persecution of refugees in detention in Britain and beyond.
And what’s even more sickening to see is newspapers like the Daily Mail writing about him when its proprietors were Nazi sympathisers.
Jim Craigton, Lincoln
Reasons to demonstrate
many thanks to people who have watched #wellredfilms “They Cut We Bleed”.
It’s a film about the People’s Assembly demo, including an interview with the Artist Taxi Driver.
You can watch it here vimeo.com/131314258
Brian Smith on Facebook