Organising for the Save Vestas National Day of Action - and the campaign into the future
From Jonathan Neale, Campaign against Climate Change trade union group,
On the Isle of Wight
The Vestas wind turbine workers have been evicted from the occupation, but they say firmly that the struggle goes on. They have asked for a national day of action on this Wednesday, with action of some kind in as many towns and cities as possible. This is short notice, so this email is suggestions of what we can do in different cities. It is not about why, just how.
The first thing is that the Vestas workers say Wednesday is the beginning of a national campaign. There will be another day of action, probably in September, and more action before and after that. So what you do on Wednesday is the beginning, not the end.
What can you do?
Here’s an ambitious plan. You can do what activists in Oxford have just done. They already have a rally in the center of town called by the trades council for 5 pm. They have just done a leaflet for it, and are sending it round the town activists and unions by email and then trying to get bundles to people. They are also handing out leaflets in the center of town on Monday and Tuesday evening to build for the rally, and they are also trying to get little meetings of people in workplaces to build support on Tuesday.
Here’s a less ambitious plan. Llet’s say the plan starts with two activists in a town, and it starts now. You can be less ambitious. Still, call a rally in the center of town, or outside town where there are many workplaces. Do a leaflet now. Dont worry about design unless you can do that in thirty minutes. Don’t worry about lots of words, just tell people where the rally is and that it is in support of Vestas wind turbine factory workers fighting to save their jobs and the planet. Just that. Have a meeting Monday night of activists and friends who might help organise it. Book a cafe or a pub for that if you can, or hold it in someone’s house. If you only get four people from the town, because everyone you know is on holiday, don’t worry. Four people can organise a rally of 50. Don’t postpone anything because you are having trouble booking a room. Ask unions and green organisations to support the leaflet for the rally. But don’t wait for them, get a first draft of the leaflet out now and say it is called by the Campaign against Climate Change. We hare happy with that. Then, when you have more organisations, put them on the leaflet. Put the word about the rally round on local email lists and to friends.
Get leaflets to hand out at the rally. Crucially, get posters to give to people to put in their house and car windows. Hand them out to people at the rallly, and get them to take them back to work to give to people. Get people to agree to go down their street leafleting or knocking on doors and handing out posters.
Here’s an even less ambitious plan. Decide to get people to meet up in the main square or in a pub on the evening of the day of action, and however many people come you sit down and decide what action you can do next week, and after that. Email and phone everyone you know, and get them to contact the people they know, and see who comes. If there are a hudnred or you or six on Wednesday, you can start organising.
We also want action from climate camp and direct action people. We want banner drops, sit-ins, rushes, whatever feels right, all over the country, on Wednesday. If that’s not your style, please contact the people locally who do that and encourage them. But please make sure there is a rally too.
A national Campaign against Climate Change leaflet available for handing out on the day of action will be porduced Monday.
Please don’t make the activity a stall by one organisation. That guarnatees it will be small..Please involve as many organistations, unions and friends and friends of friends as possible.
Please call your local RMT union officials and ask for their formal backing, ask the local steward or official to come, and to speak. The RMT has backed the Vestas workers and has 200 members there. The local officials will be eager to help. You can find them by asking at the local station, the trades council, or calling RMT head office.
We probably can’t send you a Vestas speaker for Tuesday or Wednesday. Almost all the worker activists are madly organising the day of action on the Isle of Wight. We will be able to send you speakers later.
After this, the Vestas workers are talking about a massive national campaign. There will almost certainly be another day of action, probably in September, with enough time to build for it. People are talking about teachers getting schools to devote the whole day to classes about climate change, green jobs and Vestas – where we can’t get that, an assembly on Vestas. That day we also want large numbers of workers coming out of their workplaces at lunchtime to leaflet, and large rallies.
And we want to think about solidarity action by workers. That is not easy, but it is possible. This if for jobs and the planet. Maybe people can stop work for an hour. Maybe they can occuply their workplace for an afternoon. This won’t happen just like that, we need to build a sustained campaign and get people energised first. And when the universities come back, we want teach ins and occupations.
This is only the beginning.
As they say down here: Our Jobs, Our Island, Our Planet.