Europe

Apr 25 2017 - 16:45
Author: 
Ali Tamlit

To begin this story, cast your mind back a few months…

It’s May 2016. My facebook feed (the ultimate source of truth in our post-truth world) seems to be schizophrenic, or at least representing two entirely different worlds.

One world is the ‘green’ activists, who are in the middle of two weeks of global actions against fossil fuels. The spectacular actions in the US, Australia, the UK and most notably Ende Galende in Germany, have led some of my comrades to claim: “WE ARE WINNING!”

Nov 25 2016 - 12:15
Author: 
Hillary Wainwright

Back in the 1970s, with unemployment rising and British industry contracting, workers at the arms company Lucas Aerospace came up with a pioneering plan to retain jobs by proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills. The ‘Lucas Plan’ remains one of the most radical and forward thinking attempts ever made by workers to take the steering wheel and directly drive the direction of change.

Forty years later, we are facing a convergence of crises: militarism and nuclear weapons, climate chaos and the destruction of jobs by new technologies and automation. These crises mean we have to start thinking about technology as political, as the Lucas Aerospace workers did, and reopen the debate about industrial conversion and economic democracy.

‘What so inspires me about the Lucas Plan is the democratic egalitarianism which runs through its every part – the work processes, the products and even the very technology they propose.’

This egalitarian ethic inspired Laurence Hall to make the Lucas Plan the focus of a recent national gathering of Young Quakers in Lancaster, up the line from the Trident nuclear submarine yards in Barrow. Eurig Scandrett from the Scottish Green Party made it the theme for Green Party trade unionists because ‘it is the most inspiring example of workers on the shop floor who get self-organised and demand to make what humanity needs.’

The fact that the plan was defeated has not diluted its capacity to inspire. For Eurig Scandrett, its defeat demonstrated that ‘it is the vested interests of the military-industrial machine which is the problem, and that workers liberating their collective brain is where the solution lies.’

The broad outline of the Lucas Aerospace workers’ story was familiar enough in the mid-1970s. Workers faced redundancies, got organised, resisted and insisted that their skills and machinery were not redundant. But here they went further. They drew together alternative ideas with those of supportive academics and, with the encouragement of Tony Benn (then industry secretary in the Labour government), produced their ‘Alternative Corporate Plan for Socially Useful Production’, illustrated with prototypes. Management refused to negotiate. The government, under pressure from the CBI and the City, made gestures of a willingness to talk, but would not move against management. The plan was never implemented, or even seriously considered, although commercial companies elsewhere picked up some of the ideas.

So what are the lessons we can draw from this past experience of ‘ordinary’ people organising and sharing their practical knowledge and skills to illustrate in the present the changes of which we dream? Some of the main ones are discussed below.

Feb 6 2016 - 22:00
Author: 
Andy Rowell

Later this month, a judge in the UK is set to jail 13 non-violent protestors who occupied one of the runways at London Heathrow in July last year.

The protest, the first ever on a Heathrow runway, lasted six hours and caused the delay or cancellation of some 25 flights.

It was carried out by activists from Plane Stupid, who are opposed to airport expansion.

Sep 5 2015 - 10:00
Author: 
John Jordan

The raucous rattle of a low flying helicopter shakes me awake. It must be the Police.  The sun hasn’t risen yet and the tent’s sides still smell of morning dew. I doubt I was the only one in this field who didn’t sleep deeply last night. Today is the day of action we have been waiting for  Ende Gelände (Here and no Further) – 1500 people have pledged to enter RWE’s Garzweiler open cast coal mine, and block the gargantuan “bagger” excavators with their bodies, thus shutting down Europe’s largest source of CO2 emissions.

Apr 19 2015 - 18:30
Author: 
Andrea Germanos
Prague market

The power of food systems is concentrated in few hands, and this narrow control over seeds, food production, and processing creates a disconnect between consumers and their food with repercussions for maintaining cultural knowledge and skills, local connections, and local economies as well, Friends of the Earth Europe states.

But in places across Europe, communities are coming together to show that another way—a better way—is possible.

Feb 19 2015 - 23:00
Author: 
Sean Sweeney

During its first days in office, Syriza has taken actions that suggest it is willing to confront the EU’s neoliberal approach to energy and to embark on a new course. New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has also stated his government will restore collective bargaining agreements and stop 300,000 planned layoffs.

Category: 
Jun 14 2014 - 10:45
Author: 
Jack Paris

An ecosocialist ruminates on the complex relationship between humans and the environment, taking stalk of it first hand on "the extreme edge of nature"

We wanted to feel the seasons on our skin and to work and live in such a way that the hard grey lines between us and nature dissolved. We wanted to be self-sufficient, to grow all our own food and build our own house. We wanted to leave the city for the wilds. We were two young London men who fell in love and decided to return to nature.

Jun 11 2014 - 09:15
Author: 
Brian Collier and Richard Atkinson

This conference was held under the auspices of Socialist Resistance (SR) and Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21) and was a model of revolutionary cooperation on the ground.  It consisted of opening and closing plenaries, with two sessions of four simultaneous workshops either side of (a rather late) lunch.  There was a good variety of speakers on offer from the two sponsoring organisations, obviously, but also from the

Jun 9 2014 - 10:00
Author: 
staff

EXCLUSIVE / Anti-tar sands demonstrations have begun outside a Spanish refinery that will receive the first major European shipment of Canada’s tar sands next week, and activists are refusing to rule out direct action to stop it. The 600,000 barrels of Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend crude, is being shipped by the Spanish oil company Repsol to the port of Bilbao, from where it will be taken to a nearby refinery in a heavily-populated area.

Jun 6 2014 - 09:45
Author: 
Ashifa Kassam and Adam Vaughan

A cargo believed to be Europe's first major shipment of tar sands oil arrived in Spain this week, as European policymakers proposed scrapping the requirement that such oil be labeled as more polluting than other forms of crude. 570,000 barrels of Western Canada Select heavy blend crude, originally from Canada, arrived in Spain's port of Bilbao in the middle of this week, said a spokesman for Repsol. The shipment, which he said was a first for the Spanish oil and gas company, is part of a pilot project to test the capacity of its refineries to process the heavy grade crude.

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