Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Vestas workers take on climate change minister in Oxford

Vestas workers challenged Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband at a packed public meeting of 600 people at Oxford Town Hall on Monday evening.
Protesters supporting the Vestas workers heckled Miliband earlier in the day when he met the public at Oxford train station. Local trade unionists and environmentalists forced him to agree to an impromptu personal meeting with one of the Vestas workers.

Later, local campaigners gathered signatures from the public as they entered the public meeting, calling for a Vestas worker to be allowed to address the meeting from the platform. Just as Miliband was about to speak it was announced, to much applause, that “due to popular demand” the meeting agenda would be rearranged to allow a Vestas worker to speak to the meeting.

Vestas worker Dave Hughes addressed the meeting. He explained what had happened and why the workers were occupying the factory – to save their jobs and to show the government that they have the skills to make wind turbine blades for the UK market. He asked Miliband, “Why has the government stood back and allowed 600 workers to be fired?” and said that if the government was serious about tackling climate change it should save Vestas.

Miliband replied that Vestas management had told him that government money would not save the plant and that the biggest problem was UK planning laws – laws that he said the government was going to change. Several Vestas workers and others challenged Miliband from the floor. They asked why, if the government could find billions to nationalise the banks, they could not nationalise Vestas to save jobs and help save the environment. Miliband argued that, “If I nationalise I don't think it will encourage others to come here and invest”. A speaker from People and Planet lambasted the government’s new energy white paper saying it was “incoherent and does not have a long term strategy behind it”. To much laughter people pointed out that, while the government claims to be a global leader on carbon reduction, it now owns the Royal Bank of Scotland—the biggest funder of fossil fuels in Britain. Miliband urged us all to “suspend our pre-existing views” to find ways to deal with climate change. Yet when challenged again from the floor as to why the government won't step in and save Vestas he replied, “It’s not about the amount of money from us – to nationalise will do more harm than good”.

New Labour is clearly not prepared to drop its ideological belief that the free market is the answer to solving climate change and creating much needed new green jobs during the biggest recession the country has faced since the 1930s.
Many people left the meeting unconvinced by Miliband’s lukewarm response – but inspired by the Vestas workers’ action.

A collection for the Vestas workers raised £200

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Unite Against Fascism- Oxford coach for 15th August

A national demonstration will take place against the Red, White & Blue fascist “festival” organised by the BNP in Derbyshire on Saturday 15 August

Despite significant local opposition, the BNP are going ahead with their Nazi rally in the Derbyshire countryside.

In previous years, BNP members were secretly taped by BBC documentary makers singing Nazi marching songs at the event.

In the wake of the election of two fascist BNP members to the European Parliament, we must ensure that the BNP does not use its electoral foothold to promote their bigotry and hatred on our streets.

Unite Against Fascism is calling on every organisation and individual opposed to the BNP to join the national protest and rally against the Red White and Blue “festival of hate” in Codnor, Derbyshire. We want to bring enough protesters to Codnor to “kettle” the BNP rally by encircling it with anti-fascists. This action will symbolise the fact that the vast majority of people in this country reject the BNP’s Nazi politics.

This action is supported by local Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism groups.

Seats on the coach from Oxford can be booked online c/o
http://web.bethere.co.uk/OxfordUAF/ or email OxfordUAF@bethere.co.uk. Alternatively ring 07790532513. Please talk to your friends, work mates and members of your organisations about supporting this demonstration.

Message from the Campaign Against Climate Change

Save Vestas - Defend Jobs, Save the Planet - Support the Occupation
Workers at the Vestas Wind Turbine factory on the Isle of Wight have
JUST NOW occupied their factory. They are fighting for 600 jobs and 
the future of the planet. They need help now.


There is a large picket of support starting outside the factory. This 
will be crucial in giving people confidence inside. We want hundreds 
of people by morning.
If you are not working, come now, by car, bus or train.
If you are on the South Coast and working, come for the night and go
to work exhausted and proud.

If you can’t come, call up friends and offer to pay the fare or petrol 
money for someone else to come down. Or part of the fare.
Don’t just call the environmental and union activists you know. Call 
your friends and ask them who they know. Call your brother’s friends=2 0
or your children’s friends. Text everyone. Get your friends calling 
and texting.


The workers want Gordon Brown to step in as if it was a troubled bank 
and save the jobs and keep making wind turbine blades. They gave the 
bankers trillions. They say they care about climate change. He has 
talked about creating 40,000 "Green Jobs", the first step should be 
protecting these 600.
The workers will need solidarity - donations of money, food and other 
assistance. In the first instance please send messages of solidarity 
to savevestas@gmail. com

We will suggest other forms of solidarity soon. Do this now. Reach for 
your phone.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Why we should get the Troops Out of Afghanistan

Why has one of the poorest countries in the world been soaked in blood for over 150 years, as three major powers have sought to control it? Stop the War officer John Rees presents a short video history of imperialist intervention and local resistance in Afghanistan.The 20 minute film can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/13TEmJIt is part of the Timeline series produced by the Islam Channel (http://bit.ly/4jCqQ).