Group photo from yesterday’s highly uplifting NW TUC Conference on TUs and the Environment, at which the fundamentals of the ‘green’ component of the TUC’s ‘A Future that Works’ alternative to austerity were discussed, and the basis of several potential future NW actions and ongoing campaigning work were broadly agreed.
The event represents a modest step forward for the broad thrust of our Green Socialist policies & overall approach to economic and environmental issues, in the NW Region, were it is now clearly recognised by key sections of the official trades union movement, as well as ourselves and others, that the fight against austerity, environmental degradation and climate change are all closely interconnected, and should be seen as going hand in hand with each, rather than as conflicting. A number of examples were however given, where this is still not seen as being so, including vis-a-vis nuclear power, the building of nuclear submarines, tanks and the car industry.
The Conference was also a modest step forward in recognising that key to the fight against austerity, climate change and our future survival as a species lies not in a more responsible ‘Green’ Capitalism and neo-liberal policies (outside of state bail-outs of the banks) of further public sector cut backs and privatisation of public services and publicly owned assets, but a new socio-economic arrangement under which the majority ordinary people call the shots, involves the extension of public ownership and control, and major state investment along the lines of that proposed in the One Million Climate Jobs Report, and The People’s Charter to create a more equal, socially just, as well as economically and environmentally sustainable society, which provides employment and decent living standards for all.
The Conference included workshops on the fight against the expansion of ‘fracking’ and other forms of extreme energy, including the incineration of domestic waste, public transport, and the politics of food and climate change. There were also showings of the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ and ‘Fracking Hell – The Untold Story’ films.
It was the first Conference of its kind addressing the issues of climate change and the environment organised by any regional TUC in the country. The opening plenary speakers were Merseyside TUC Green Rep, & NW TUC Regional Exec member Clara Paillard, who was instrumental in organising the event, leading exponent of ‘Ecosocialist’ theory Derek Wall, former principal speaker of the Green Party, and Chris Baugh Assistant General Secretary of the PCS union, all three of whom made absolutely excellent contributions, which were warmly received by everyone attending, and the uplifting spirit of which, lay the basis for the entire day’s discussions.
Around 80 activists attended including TU Green Reps and campaigners from a number of NW based organisations such as RAFF (Residents’ Action of Fylde Fracking), REAF (Ribble Estuary Against Fracking), HAGATI (Halton Against the Incinerator) and the Campaign for Free Public Transport. Ian Hodson, President of the Baker’s Union (BFAWU) Kevin Morrison, RMT Exec for NW, and Barbara Cookson, one of the ‘Cuadrilla 3’ found guilty and fined in the recent ‘Fracking on Trial Case’ in Preston also participated in, and spoke at the Conference.
A further meet up for ALL those wanting to be involved in the fight against fracking and other forms of extreme energy in the NW, will take place in Preston on Saturday 4th August at St. Wilfrid’s Church, 1 Winckley Sq Preston PR1 3JJ between 11.00am and 4.00pm.