Download the bulletin in English and German we made that we wrote this article for here.
By Niel Laker
For over six years, people in Lancashire in North West England have been resisting fracking proposals. They worked tirelessly to convince the County Council to reject this application, and although the council actually did so, Tory Communities Secretary Sajid Javid wielded executive power to overturn the local democratic decision and allow Cuadrilla to frack Lancashire.
Last month Reclaim the Power organised rolling actions in support of the local resistance at the fracking site to continue to delay and obstruct the drilling. There were lock-ons at the gate, protesters on top of trucks delivering drilling equipment, weekly women’s marches, and mass demonstrations. The movement in Lancashire is an inspiration to all those fighting both climate change and the capitalists driving it. We are moved by the heroism of the locals, and the environmentalists and workers’ movement activists supporting them.
Many of the drivers who are unable to complete their deliveries to the site have requested alternative work to serving the fracking industry. This is hugely significant: if more workers continue to refuse further jobs for Caudrilla that poses them a huge problem (especially as the operation still requires regular drivers once the rig is completed). However blockade tactic is not without tensions. In particular it produces conflict with the drivers. Though they are facilitating the establishment of fracking in Lancashire and beyond – and it is right to be angry about that – our approach needs to be one which is considerate of their position as exploited workers.
We need to build bridges with the drivers and construction workers through agitation at their depots, and in building and radicalising Unite the Union, which on paper opposes fracking. We need to redevelop a trust and understanding with the workers to minimise confrontation with them, make it clear that our fight is with their bosses and the system which exploits us all in the pursuit of profit for the few. We need to discuss the alternatives to polluting industries and strengthen environmental labour struggles to a position where just transition for workers in extractive and carbon emitting industries becomes attainable.