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Of Climate and Memory – Extinction Rebellion and Doreen Massey

We drive slowly down the winding lane that leads across the flat landscape on the northern flank of the Solway Firth in the county of Dumfries & Galloway. As we move onto the farmland of Preston Merse, we are distracted by the red stone ruin of Wreaths Tower. All that remains of the craggy weathered...

‘The Knowledge Quarter’ – resistance to capture and divestment from capital

In the Autumn I attended an utterly inspiring Shake! & Stuart Hall Foundation event – the launch of the Black Cultural Activism Map. It was held at the Platform theatre space in the Central Saint Martin’s art school – CSM – part of University of the Arts London. This new premises is a vast warehouse of...

To Bruce Mackenzie – For these and future memories

  In the flurry of a Tuesday afternoon, I receive an unexpected e-mail from Vicki Carroll. The header has your name in it Bruce, and I know instinctively within an instant what the message holds. I hover a while and then open the text to read the inevitable. You have stepped over, passed through the...

Victory at Leith Hill! Divest Fracking! Resisting sites of speculation

This piece was written before the news of the draconian jail sentences passed on those opposing fracking in Preston, Lancashire … but that bitter ruling does not destroy the reality that shortly before that decision we celebrated a Victory! The News of an Amazing Victory! We wrote of it as follows … The permission to...

Vive La Zad ! – in the midst of the tear gas, La Zad exists in our hearts

The police arrived at 03.00 am on the morning of Monday 9th April. The exact number is, of course, unclear but it is said that 2,500 officers in riot equipment, with crash helmets and visors, Perspex shields and plastic body armour were deployed. Two and a half thousand highly trained men appeared out of the...

The slow dismantling the house of oil – The Gulbenkian Foundation divests

Quite unexpected comes remarkable news! Lucy Neal, a long-term part of the Platform family, e-mails out of the blue, forwarding an article from the Algarve Daily News, published on 1st February in southern Portugal. The headline reads: ‘Gulbenkian Foundation gets out of the oil business’ That truly is unexpected. Lucy had not foreseen this coming...

For Lucy Fairley, founder of Helix Arts and Crossings

My friend and Platform ally Lucy Fairley has died, aged 70. We’ve known her and her work for nearly 25 years and worked especially closely with her in the late 1990s. She founded Artists Agency in Sunderland in 1983, and in 1987 appointed Esther Salamon to join her initially as Placement Officer, then as in...

Everything in Motion – of Swallows and resistance to the Lower Thames Crossing

Looking up through the skylight I catch only a glimpse of it soon after dawn. Less than a second. The effortless power of a confident killer. The shape of the dark sickle wings against the depth of the blue. A Hobby passing over the house, flying south down the Hoo Peninsula. It is only at...

Ffos-y-Fran and Nant Llseg – the struggle to #keepitintheground

On the morning of 3rd May 2016 there was a successful occupation at the Ffos-y-Fran opencast mine in South Wales by Reclaim the Power. This blog was written in the build up to that action. We’re heading for our tent in the incessant drizzle, weaving between clusters of newly sprouted tents and trying hard to...

“You come from the premise that we are guilty already” – notes from the BP AGM 2016

Bob Dudley, Chief Executive, who appears tired, pale and jowly, looks up from his notes and addresses a set of questions that have been put to the Board. This particular set from delegates at the Annual General Meeting of BP, are grouped together under the bracket of ‘concerned with climate change’. He peers out at...

Stranding the Leviathan – a report from the Shell AGM in Den Haag, Netherlands

We are in the dim light and red velvet of the Circustheatre in Den Haag for the Shell AGM. Up on the podium are the assembled bishops of the company. Eight in the back row all non-executives. Five in the front row: the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Executive, the Chairman and two non-excutives. Behind...

A journey to ‘communities of the ideal’

A while back James Marriott made a journey to two communities – each of which tries to approach an ideal. This is his reflection on the experience. The first, La R.o.n.c.e in the Morbihan region of Brittany, is being established on an abandoned farm by six activists and artist-activists, two of whom, John Jordan and...