The People’s Assembly: Draft statement and proposed action plan

The declaration below represents the beginning of a democratic process leading towards a second People’s Assembly in early 2014. This declaration represents the views of all those who initially called for the People’s Assembly. We hope it will be endorsed by the People’s Assembly on 22nd June. It will then be open to the local People’s Assembly’s, union bodies and campaign groups who support the People’s Assembly to suggest amendments, additions, or deletions. These will then all be discussed and decided upon at the recall People’s Assembly in 2014.

The plans for action are simply the most obvious rallying points for a national anti-cuts movement for the remainder of 2013. They are not intended to supersede local or sectional action by existing campaigns or trade unions. They are intended to be focus national, collective action by the whole anti-austerity movement.

The People’s Assembly, meeting in Westminster Central Hall, declares:

We face a choice that will shape our society for decades to come. It is a choice faced by ordinary people in every part of the globe.

We can defend education, health and welfare provision funded from general taxation and available to all, or we can surrender the gains that have improved the lives of millions of people for over more than 50 years.

We do not accept that government’s austerity programme is necessary. The banks and the major corporations should be taxed at a rate which can provide the necessary resources. Austerity does not work: it is a failure in its own terms resulting in neither deficit reduction nor growth. It is not just: the government takes money from the pockets of those who did not cause the crisis and rewards those who did. It is immoral: our children face a bleaker future if our services and living standards are devastated. It is undemocratic: at the last election a majority voted against the return of a Tory government. The Con-Dem coalition has delivered us into the grip of the Tories’ whose political project is the destruction of a universal welfare state.

We therefore choose to resist. We refuse to be divided against ourselves by stories of those on ‘golden pensions’, or of ‘scroungers’, or the ‘undeserving poor’. We do not blame our neighbours, whatever race or religion they maybe. We are not joining the race to the bottom. We stand with the movement of resistance across Europe.

We are clear in our minds that our stand will require us to defend the people’s right to protest, and so we support the right of unions and campaigns to organise and take such action as their members democratically decide is necessary.

We stand with all those who have made the case against the government so far: in the student movement, in the unions, in the many campaigns to defend services, the NHS, and in the Coalition of Resistance, the People’s Charter, UK Uncut, the environmental movement and the Occupy movement.

We do not seek to replace any organisations fighting cuts. All are necessary. But we do believe that a single united national movement is required to challenge more effectively a nationally led government austerity programme.

We have a plain and simple goal: to make government abandon its austerity programme. If it will not it must be replaced with one that will.

We will concentrate on action not words. We aim to provide the maximum solidarity for unions and other organisations and others taking action. We support every and all effective forms action and aim to build a united national movement of resistance.

Our case is clear. The government’s austerity programme does not work; it is unjust, immoral and undemocratic. Alternatives exist. Debts can be dropped. Privatisation can be reversed and common ownership embraced. A living wage can begin to combat poverty. Strong trade unions can help redistribute profit. The vast wealth held by corporations and the trillions held by the super rich in tax havens can be tapped. Green technology, alternatives to the arms industries, a rebuilt infrastructure including growth in manufacturing are all desperately needed. We are fighting for an alternative future for this generation and for those that come after us.

Proposed actions:

  • The People’s Assembly will support every genuine movement and action taken against any and all of the cuts. We support all current industrial actions by the unions. We encourage and will help to organise the maximum solidarity action with the PCS and teaching union members taking strike action the week after the People’s Assembly, as well as with other action by unions planned for the autumn.
  • Peoples Assemblies against the cuts should be organised in towns and cities across our nations, bringing all those fighting the cuts together into a broad democratic alliance on a local basis.
  • The national and the local Assemblies, in partnership with Trades Unions, Trades Councils, campaigning and community groups, can unite our movement and strengthen our campaigns. Local Assemblies will help us to organise a recalled National Assembly to review our work in the early spring of 2014.
  • We will work together with leading experts and campaigners both here and abroad, and friendly think tanks, to develop rapidly key policies and an alternative programme for a new anti-austerity government. We will continue to welcome support from all who fight the cuts.
  • We will call a national day of civil disobedience and direct action against austerity.
  • We will call a day of co-ordinated local demonstrations in the early autumn.
  • We will work with the trade unions and others to call a national demonstration in November.

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Report of public meeting about proposed windfarms

A public meeting organised by Bournemouth Conservative councillors was held on 23rd March at The Royal Bath Hotel about the proposed offshore windfarms which would be situated 12 miles off Bournemouth beach. The following is a report of this meeting by local activist Stewart MacArthur

I attended the talk in Bournemouth yesterday. I think the session was introduced by Cllr Mike Green?

First in was Cllr Beesley who said Navitus/Eneco has not been transparent, open and treating people like children. The usual concerns that it’s a World Heritage Site and Tourism affected and that Eneco would only confirm the final design of turbines – post consent.

Andrew Langley from Challenge Navitus
Highlighted that area is a national asset already and the project deserves close scrutiny. Gave some stats…
Navitus is now on round 3 of the public consultation.
Britain’s big wind farm areas are in the North Sea and Irish Sea and are located outside a 12 mile Nautical Mile zone. Bournemouth (zone 7) proposed site is within the 12 Nautical Miles. He highlighted the size of Navitus windfarm area. If transposed onto a land map, the site stretches from Sandbanks Peninsula to Ringwood, to Verwood, to Wimborne back to Sandbanks.
Is half the size of the I.O.W.
Anything between 138 to 218 wind turbines.
Durlston has the most affected views.
Turbines are 2 and a half times the height of I.O.W.
Highlighted we live in World Heritage site. Eneco the Dutch state owned corp. all there 100MW turbines in Dutch seas are 12 miles off shore and all smaller than Navitus proposed site and show considerable less impact visually than Navitus Bay.

Ray Pointer from Poole & Christchurch Bay Association (PCBA)
Phase 3 of Navitus ends 5th April.
Phase 4. Autumn 2013
Planning application: Feb/March 2014
The Secretary of State’s decision will be in 2015.
Listed the concerns, visual impact, environment, sailing and navigation.
Highlighted on Navitus’s consultation brochure page25. That their turbine diagram was inaccurate. The stem of turbine was accurate but the wings of the turbines were not, and are in fact much bigger.
Stated that all European companies and wind farms do not allow farms inside of 12 miles.
Eneco may only create 100+ jobs.
And put forward the thoughts of existing views on visitors to Bournemouth, that a main draw to the resort was the unspoilt beautiful views, and comparing to what may be the view by 2023.
Various diagrams showing scale of turbines against known landmarks such as The Gherkin London, Salisbury Cathedral. Imax. Bus, and sail boat.

Mark Smith Director of Tourism Bournemouth
Tourism brings half a Billion to the area.
Creates 18,000 jobs.
Scotland has the most existing wind farms and therefore the most research stats.
1 in 9 people are put off by going to an area with windfarms.
18% actively avoid going to an area with windfarm.
Holland & Germany have fixed exclusion zones on their windfarms.
Windfarms affect business and property prices.
Dutch beach goers have uninterrupted views due to their exclusion zones.
Navitus have not provided the facts and took up to 15 months to receive info and when info was received, Navitus then only allowed 4 and a half days to evaluate.
People want an extension to the consultation programme, and do not want big business to dominate and steamrolled approach when proposing this site on the beauty of Bournemouth & area.
Then some concerns/questions were voiced by the public/Bournemouth residents
Navitus were asked for visualisations of the Night time view of the windfarm but have failed to produce but have pledged this by the next public consultation in Sept. 2013.
There was no proper debate. One single view from a consistent panel. That the South West Tourism figures show no real impact on the environment and there needs to be a general debate.
Concern about the noise
There is airborne noise & underwater noise, but no data at the moment. These issues never seem to be known in advance and should press for the data.
Drew comparisons with the size of the Imax and that the Dutch windfarms are on 10% the size of Navitus proposed site and turbines are half the size and further out.

Dorset Friends of the Earth
No balance to the discussion.
What about the Bournemouth & Poole Renewables incentive, to make 15% of energy from renewables by 2020?
Cllr Beesley: Are following Government guidelines, is getting updates this afternoon and we are not ignoring those concerns.
We must encourage renewables, but also must respect the local environment.

Terrorist Threat
Will we in 55 years time realise that the only safe alternative for Dorset is Nuclear Power.

Night Views
Eneco don’t seem to think night views were important, hotels worried that night views over bay, the assets of these views will be compromised.

Connor Burns and Robert Syms and Richard Drax have been active in Westminster concerning Navitus.
They have asked Eneco a simple question…
How many, where, how tall, what do they look like?
We are none the wiser and no better informed.
The decision is down to the Secretary of State and will be the biggest decision facing Bournemouth in 25 years.
Get involved, respond to MPs and Navitus.

Approx 380 people attended.

My opinion: Complete propaganda and gave NO voice to opposition, the only voice was from a public question from A local Greenpeace rep. (Andrea?) and one young man who got an irate response from Connor Burns. No depth to anything the councillors said, just listing off words, like “environmental concerns” but not willing to address in any depth what those concerns are. The biggest applause came to a public statement that in “55 years we will look back and wonder why we didn’t propose nuclear…unless we come to our senses.”…which was somewhat worrying. I also had fun by staring intently and menacingly at Beesley, Burns, Kelsey from the stairway like DeNiro in Taxi Driver ….but that’s just personal.

Utility provider(s) ‘Smart’ Meters

This is a bit off-track but may be of interest / concern to people. Stop ‘Smart’ Meters campaigners were leafleting in Poole High Street today. Below are some extracts of the leaflet which can be viewed / downloaded in full here


Some time soon, your utility providers(s) will request access to your home to install one or more ‘Smart’ Meters that will measure (and in future control) your use of gas, electricity and water. The promise is a greener environment and cost savings – the reality is the opposite. Large numbers of people have reported debilitating health effects, privacy violations, safety and security dangers, environmental damage and much higher bills.

WHAT IS A ‘SMART’ METER?
‘Smart’ Meters monitor, measure and communicate customers’ private electricity, gas and water usage data to utility providers. They operate in a wireless ‘mesh’ network with your neighbours’ ‘Smart’ Meters and transmit intense bursts of non-ionising, microwave radiation, 24 hrs/day. This radiation (also known as RF EMF) is the same kind emitted by mobile phone masts. More than 5,000 studies show RF EMF radiation is harmful to humans, plants and animals.

Actual symptoms reported from exposure to ‘Smart’ Meters include:
European surveys have shown at least 1 in 20 people are moderately or severely sensitive to RF EMF radiation, experiencing one or more of the symptoms above. The number of sufferers is rising rapidly.

European surveys have shown at least 1 in 20 people are moderately or severely sensitive to RF EMF radiation, experiencing one or more of the symptoms above. The number of sufferers is rising rapidly

Human, animal and cell culture studies indicate long-term systemic health effects from radiation, including hormone disruption, DNA damage, leakage of bloodbrain-barrier, sperm count reduction & damage, sleep disorders, learning difficulties, attention deficit & hyperactivity disorders, dementia and cancer including leukaemia and brain glioma (tumours). There is concern that pregnant women & children are particularly vulnerable.

NOT PRIVATE
Wireless transmissions of personal data, with information about the devices you use, when you use them and what you are doing with them at any given moment, will be available to energy companies and any potential hackers. Wireless is easy to hack.

In the US, this data has been sold by energy companies to 3rd parties, e.g. police, corporate marketing depts and insurance companies. ‘Smart’ Meters are pieces of invasive surveillance equipment within your home. You might have nothing to hide… But you stand to lose your rights to privacy and self-determination in your own home, forever.

NOT CHEAPER
A recent study in Canada found 80% of ‘Smart’ homes faced higher bills, often over 50% higher. Similar patterns have been seen in the US. The UK Government has said ‘Smart’ Meters will cost tax payers £11 billion for estimated savings of just £25 per home/year – and that saving only possible if customers change their behaviour and have two ‘Smart’ Meters!

‘Smart’ Meters will also make it far easier to disconnect customers remotely – a particular concern in light of the hacking threats, especially to Water Meters.

NOT GREEN
Scientists are refuting claims ‘Smart’ Meters are green. In reality, they harm nature and our environment.

Hundreds of studies have identified significant impacts of sustained RF microwave radiation on our natural environment, including: stress reactions and genetic problems in plants, trees, animals and insects, problems in migratory animals like birds and bees, birth defects in calves and fertility problems in herds. Source: Council of Europe Report – May 2011.

Tree deaths, plant die-offs and bee colony collapse disorder cases have also been reported shortly after Smart Meter installation.