9 August 2009

From Our Own Correspondent

An update from James Beecher on events on the Isle of Wight:

I said I was too busy to visit Vestas, but (un) fortunately for me,
the Big Green Gathering was cancelled at the last minute (seemingly a
political decision based on the links to the green movement, in
particular the climate camp).

Instead a few Bicycology people decided to visit the Isle of Wight
protest camp on the 'Magic' mini Roundabout outside the Vestas wind
turbine factory.

'Vestival' as it became known briefly is now a hodge-podge of the
Climate Camp with it's volunteer vegan kitchen, regular consensus
meetings and up-for-it experienced activists, mixed in with a healthy
dose of factionalist lefty groups (Workers Liberty, SWP, Socialist
Party) all doing a stirling effort to put ideological differences
aside and get down to what they do best (usually writing the leaflets,
rather than occupying the roofs of connected factories, but leaflets
are needed too!)

These elements of course combine with a large presense of Vestas
workers, many of whom have joined the RMT since being forced out of
the factory by the management. Unions were banned during there time
working in the factory, so it is a great symbol of defiance for them
to wear orange hi-viz RMT jackets, fly green RMT flags high, and
discuss unions in all their glory and grit.

Many workers joined the RMT becuase they appreciated it's helpful but
non-controlling approach. Many however, including the 6 remaining
occupiers, still feel no need to join a union - they stood up for
themselves anyway, after all, and are organising themselves very

Of course, there are a myriad of other people at the demonstration.
There are local teenagers and children, enjoying the music, bands,
face painting and craft workshops that take place (including, the
other night, a bunch of boy racers who showed up to toot there horns
in support). There are local people of all ages in fact, up to a 70
year old man i spoke to yesterday about similar underhand tactics when
Enfield left the island years and years ago to mov e production to
china (then, as now, the workers in britain trained those who would be
given there jobs)

Simon Hughes has visited, and the local lib dem candidate is regularly
in attendance.

There are some notable absentees however. I met two green party
members during my time there, both involved in the Green Left bit. No
Green Party elected representatives have turned up, which means the
workers feel let down by the Green Party, despite their good words on
the subject. Similarly, although the local labour party candidate has
turned out and said helpful thing, Ed Miliband still believes the
fight is over, and he cannot do anything. As Seize the Day sing in
their song they wrote for the occupation, "he can come down here and
support us too" whenever he builds up the courage!
Bob Crow attended court, and spoke at the rallies at the factory early
on, but no other union officials have attended (despite many rank and
file members of unions such as the PCS, Unison, Unite, FBU and others
regularly attending, and bringing their banners).

Dale Vince put out a great press release, and I am hoping to get both
him and David Drew to visit, or at least provide me with a spoken word
recording to take to play to the occupiers and their supporters.
Please consider what you can do.

1. Visit the factory. The atmosphere alone is truly inspiring. Better
even that any climate camp i have been to.
2. Contact anyone in any network you are in who you think could
mobilise support or resources to help.
3. Don't fail to phone Ed Miliband every day and let him know what you
think of the government's environmental credentials
4. Send some money to the redundancy fund for the occupiers (who have
been told they will receive nothing, and will "never work for Vestas
5. Be creative and think of your own solutions to the problem! Order a
wind turbine blade (they *are* 40 meters long though!), Ocuppy your
place of work in solidarity, go on strike, leaflet, get on telly -
whatever you can.

There are days of action called for this saturday and next wednesday.
This is the opportunity many of us have been waiting for to turn
climate change and capitalism around. Please be a part of the

Photos and more on Indymedia.org.uk, savevestas.wordpress.com, and
ventnor blog (including interviews with me and videos of the seize the
day song)

Love to you all, I have renewed belief that we can win - but we need
to step up to the plate...


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