PLATFORM Newsletter May 2011

Dear All,

In this month’s newsletter, PLATFORM hiring, take action on oil drilling safety regulations, BP and RBS Annual General Meetings, new performance poetry, upcoming events, BP sponsorship of the Tate one year after the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, and more!

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Stop oil companies weakening safety standards for ocean drilling

The EU is currently consulting on environmental and safety regulations to prevent a repeat of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. They’ve come up with a series of proposals to protect workers, communities and the environment, but the oil industry is lobbying against it furiously. Find out here how you can make a submission to the public consultation – but you need to do it before Wednesday.

PLATFORM is hiring!

We are looking for a Funding Development Co-ordinator to strengthen and support our existing fundraising activities whilst developing new funding sources for our work. This is an opportunity to have an important impact on the future development of a small, pioneering charity, working for social and environmental justice, which may include helping shape our wider campaigning messages and communications strategy. All the info here.

BP AGM

This year’s AGM saw PLATFORM working with First Nation representatives from Canada and fisherfolk from the Gulf of Mexico to highlight the destruction caused by the oil giant in their communities. An FT blog declared the tarsands campaigners as ‘winners’ in the proceedings, while the visitors from the Gulf were denied access to the AGM despite being proxy shareholders (video here ). You can read a round up of the AGM and the protesters from the Guardian here.

Artists against oil sponsorship

On the 20th of April, the anniversary of BP’s catastrophic spill in the Gulf of Mexico, PLATFORM coordinated a letter in the Guardian signed by 166 people in the art world speaking out against the oil company’s continued relationship with the Tate. On the same day, art-interventionists Liberate Tate carried out a visually arresting performance involving oil and a naked man in fetal position in the middle of Tate Britain. Channel 4 News carried a segment profiling both the letter, and the Liberate Tate performance, that you can watch here and you can also read a thought-provoking blog post on Open Democracy by one of the people that signed the letter about how oil sponsorship harms artists as well as the planet.

Final performance-poetry on video from No Condition is Permanent

Today videos of the final three powerful poems written and performed by Dorothea Smartt and Simon Murray (aka Sai Murai) of African Writers Abroad go live on our YouTube channel. Dorothea performs the penetrating poem A Sense of Denial and the acclaimed Killing TINA, Embracing Taboo. And Simon gives us his epic, pro-feminist, and startling Full Circle. The poets were commissioned to create new work on the theme of climate justice and social change for our major project C Words:Carbon, Climate, Capital. Culture (2009).

You can read their and 17 other poets’ work in the anthology No Condition is Permanent available from PLATFORM now: price £4. Paypal account – [email protected]

EVENT: Fuel on the Fire book launch

Ex-PLATFORMer Greg Muttitt’s definitive book on oil interests and the invasion of Iraq was launched to critical acclaim at the end of last month, including new revelations about the collusion of oil companies and government on the front page of the Independent. PLATFORM is co-hosting a book launch and discussion with Greg on the 23rd of May, from 6.30 to 8.30 at SOAS, London. Information about the event can be found here.

EVENTS: Madagascar and the campaign to stop tar sands going global

Thousands of lives are under threat from French oil giant Total’s plans to mine tar sands in Melaky, Madagascar. Holly Rakotondralambo is campaigning as part of a Malagasy coalition to stop this polluting industry. Total is being financed using UK taxpayers’ money, through the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland. Hear directly from Holly about the campaign to stop tar sands in one of the world’s poorest counties and greatest biodiversity hotspots, and how people in the UK can act in solidarity.

* 23 May – Public talk. Boyd Orr Building, Glasgow University, with the Glasgow Centre for International Development, 6-8pm, free.
* 24 May – Public talk and Petropolis film screening. Augustine United Church Edinburgh EH1 1EL, with Take One Action, 6-8pm, entry by donation for film.
* 25 May – Public talk and Petropolis film screening. Malet Suite, University of London Union WC1E 7HY, 6-8:30pm, entry by donation for film.

More information about the events on the World Development Movement site.

RBS Annual General Meeting

PLATFORM was again up in Edinburgh for this year’s RBS AGM along with allies from Canada, to speak in the meeting itself, and to meet with bank representatives afterwards about their provision of finance for oil companies practicing devastating tar sands extraction. You can see Mel Evans from PLATFORM being interviewed outside the AGM here, and read her blog post about it all here.