Category Archives: shell to sea

People & planet before profits! For socialist change – Not climate change

This is the text of the leaflet distributed by Socialist Youth activists at the Global Day of Action against Climate Change protest in Dublin on December 8th. You can also view it as a PDF here.

Catastrophe faces our planet because of climate change. A whole number of studies, reports and films such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth have highlighted this fact.

In February of this year, a report written by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that temperatures could rise as much as 6.4OC by the end of this century. Already climate change has resulted in the doubling of category four and five storms in the last 30 years, while arctic ice has thinned by 40% in the last 40 years.

For socialist change - Not climate change

While climate change effects our planet as a whole, it is the world’s workers and poor who will bear the brunt. If major action is not taken to halt climate change then 600 million more people in sub-Saharan Africa will go hungry from collapsing agriculture, 400 million more will be exposed to malaria and 200 million people will be forced to migrate due to rising sea levels, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

Kyoto II?

This week, the representatives of 169 countries will meet at a United Nations summit in Bali, Indonesia. The supposed aim of this conference will be to tackle global warming and produce a “Kyoto Treaty II”. However, the Kyoto Treaty itself was completely insufficient in reducing carbon emissions. Now, 150 of the world’s major companies have come in favour of a treaty that will cut climate change. The commitment of multinationals such as these and their representatives such as Bush, Brown and Sarkozy to tackling climate change is as hollow as their supposed aim of “Making Poverty History” a number of years ago!

Big Business opposes tackling climate change

It was oil and car companies who lobbied to stop the development of environmentally friendly electric car ten years ago in the US. They were afraid that the production of such a car would cut across the obscene profits that they make annually. When the IPCC report came out this year, Exxon oil offered $10,000 to any scientist who could discredit its findings.

When it comes to tackling climate change big business is the problem not the solution! In Ireland, it is the profiteering of property developers that has led to the unsustainable development of our cities. This development has meant an enormous urban sprawl, without the necessary infrastructure such as a properly funded public transport system. This has led to massive gridlock on our roads. It is hardly surprising that CO2 emissions in this country have increased by 25% in the past 15 years, while transport emissions have increased by 125%!

Green Party sell-out

In this weeks budget Fianna Fail and the Green Party introduced changes to VRT and motor tax aimed at reducing carbon emmissions. These changes are tokenistic and when related to the scale of the problem they are irrelevant. Contrast these superficial changes with what else the Greens have done. As government ministers, Eamon Ryan has allowed Shell to continue with its refinery in Bellanaboy, and John Gormley now supports the construction of waste incinerators!

Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party believe that parties such as Fianna Fail and Fine Gael represent the interests of big business and are therefore incapable of effectively reducing carbon emissions. We believe that any party that claims to have our planet’s interests at heart should not enter government with parties such as these. The experience of the Green Party in government since then went into coalition with the Fianna Fail and PDs in June proves this point.

Build a movement for system change

Socialist Youth stands for the building of a mass movement of working and young people to challenge climate change. We need to fight for a democratic publicly owned and properly funded transport system as an alternative to cars. We should demand that adequate resources are put into renewable energy as a step to phasing out our reliance on fossil fuels.

The international dictatorship of big business means climate change, war, poverty and attacks on the rights of workers and young people. In a socialist society the democratic public ownership and planning of our world’s resources could make the necessary investments into challenging climate change, while at the same utilising our planet’s wealth to abolish want and insecurity. This could be done by getting rid of the wastage that capitalism produces such as the $800 million spent on the arms trade each year and the unnecessary duplication of goods as well as the $1 trillion spent on advertising yearly.

We demand:

No to the exploitation of the environment for the profits of big business

No to nuclear power – For clean, safe and renewable sources of energy to be used in place of fossil fuels

For a massive injection of resources into reversing global warming

No to working class people paying the price of the bosses’ pollution

For a democratic and sustainable socialist plan of production that prioritises the needs of the world’s majority not the profits of big business

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UCD: International solidarity wins a victory for victimised students

By Paul Murphy

The close to a hundred emails and phone calls received by the UCD authorities from around the world protesting against their attack on the right to protest has forced them to back down.

Darren Cogavin and Enda Duffy, both of whom were facing possible fines for engaging in peaceful protest against Shell and Green Party Minister, Eamon Ryan, have met with Martin Butler, the Vice President for Students.

At both meetings, he was very defensive, having been stung by the unexpected international solidarity. Apparently, he was completely shocked about getting so many emails from students and staff in UCD, activists around the country, and from people around the world. He was particularly perplexed about getting emails from Greek trade unionists and American students!

As a result, all the indications are that Darren and Enda will face no punishment. This will be finally confirmed by a letter they are due to receive this week. From Butler’s response, we are very confident that they have been forced to back down.

International solidarity has forced the college authorities to back down, and defended the right to protest on campus. A big thank you from Darren and Enda to all those who emailed and phoned in!

For background to this campaign see: UCD students victimised for protesting against Shell and government ministers

SOLIDARITY NEEDED: UCD Students victimised for protesting against Shell and government ministers

 

By Paul Murphy

A member of the Socialist Party, Darren Cogavin, and one other student, Enda Duffy, are due to meet the Vice President for Students at University College Dublin (UCD), Dr. Martin Butler, in the next week. They face punishment for engaging in a peaceful protest against the giant corporation Shell and the Green Party Minister for Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan.

Two protests, organised by the campaign ‘Shell to Sea’, took place on 30 October in UCD, the biggest college in Dublin. They were opposing the giveaway of over 50 billion euro worth of gas for free by the Irish government to Shell, and the building of an unsafe onshore pipeline and refinery by Shell in Rossport, Co. Mayo, on Ireland’s west coast.

The first protest was outside a Shell recruitment fair, highlighting the role of Shell in Mayo and internationally. The second took place outside a lecture theatre where Eamon Ryan was due to speak at a debate. He was confronted by about 50 chanting protestors and he turned on his heels and left.

In the aftermath, the college authorities and some right-wing students tried to paint these as ‘violent protests’, which they were not. Three students have received letters from the college authorities, claiming that the protestors harassed students, intimidated staff and put the safety of others at risk.

One of the students has already met with the authorities and been given a fine of up to 100 euro. The Socialist Party says no student should face any disciplinary action, or have to pay any fine, for engaging in a peaceful protest.

The authorities’ action is clearly an attempt to criminalise protest on campus. Recently, general activity by students in the college has been at a relatively low level, and now the authorities are now attempting to set a precedent of punishing students for protest.

The college authorities can be made to step back, through pressure in the college (the Students’ Union President has supported the students) and from outside, with a campaign of emails and phone call protests.

Please send protest emails to:

Dr. Martin Butler: martin.butler@ucd.ie.
The protest emails should be also sent to

the UCD President president@ucd.ie

and cc’d to: paul@socialistparty.net

Phone calls will have a big impact

Please let the UCD authorities know about your protest by phoning Martin Butler on (01) 716 1280

UCD President, Hugh Brady, can be phoned on (01) 716 1618

Shell gets our gas for free – Protestors get Garda brutality!

By Danny Byrne

On 9 November, over 300 protestors gathered at Shell’s proposed refinery site at Bellanaboy, North Mayo.

The protest brought together the local community, whose health and livelihoods are under attack by the profit-maximising onshore gas pipeline and refinery planned for their area, with protestors from around the country. Many came to fight the government’s criminal giveaway of up to ?600 billion worth of natural resources for free, to satisfy the greed of multinational oil companies, with no benefit to ordinary people.

Protestors were greeted with the now familiar spectacle of at least 300 Gardai who as per usual displayed serious brutality: punching, kicking, choking and throwing protestors into ditches. One protestor narrowly escaped life-threatening injury when a lorry carrying huge boulders was forced through a crowd of protestors, running over his foot causing serious damage. The blatant disregard of Gardai for the well-being of protestors underlines the fact that to the state, Shell’s profits come before the health, safety and wellbeing of local residents, warranting the provision of a virtual army of Gardai as a private security force for Shell.

Protestors successfully slowed down work on the life-threatening refinery on numerous occasions, at one stage holding a lorry up for over an hour, showing the potential that mass action could have in the future. Further days of solidarity are likely to be called in the near future. All who wish to support a besieged community against a multi-national corporation and their hired goons, and who oppose the theft of Ireland’s natural resources should travel up and show their support. Only through mass action by ordinary people from across the country can Shell be stopped.

Shell to Sea – Rossport Solidarity Camp evicted

by Paul Murphy

After over eighteen months as an important base for activists supporting the local community in opposing Shell, the Rossport Solidarity Camp has been ordered to dismantle by 1 January.

The bitter irony of their eviction is that the judge ruled that the camp should be dismantled because it didn’t have planning permission and had the potential to damage a special area of conservation. This while Shell builds a huge gas refinery that will pump pollution out of tall chimneys just down the road and a high pressure gas pipeline that has the potential to explode!

 The difference is clear – the state has consistently backed up Shell, giving it €51 billion of our gas for free, while ordering and defending Garda brutality against peaceful protestors. This eviction is undoubtedly encouraged by Shell who have been surveying the estuary that runs right alongside the camp in preparation for laying the controversial pipeline.

Although Shell and the state now seem to think that they can deal the final blows to the campaign, the mass sitdown protest at the gates of the refinery on 14 September offers an opportunity to prove them wrong. A good turnout locally and nationally would demonstrate the continuing support for the campaign. Achieving even a relatively minor success, like causing serious disruption to Shell’s work for the day, will be crucial in helping to re-energise the campaign.