At last night’s Worcester City Council one of the Conservatives raised a motion that would have effectively banned non-violent direct action on green issues in the city. Excellent speeches from across the council condemning this authoritarian move. Here’s my speech:
“First let me thank Cllr Amos for raising this motion and helping to create more publicity for those campaigning for meaningful changes that will ensure we limit future world temperature rises to 1.5C. Direct action like we saw in Worcester a few weeks ago must be seen in context of the direct actions in London and the student strikes and marches we have seen across the country. Let us also not forget the great contribution of the sixteen year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg and her efforts to raise awareness for the climate change emergency and a positive pressure for change.
There is a long history of non-violent direct action leading to positive changes in society. In history we have saw the suffragettes face cruel imprisonment, hunger strikes and the force feeding that followed. Would the founders of the labour movement have secured the right to strike without those brave Welsh miners disrupting and blockading the mines?
Peaceful and non-violent direct action is a treasured right in an advanced mature and tolerant democracy such as ours. Our conventions dictate that where these actions are proportionate to the injustices being fought we do as a democracy tolerate these protests – the alternative is a state where our fundamental freedoms to protest have been taken away. So needless to say I will not be supporting the motion.”
The Conservatives just don’t get the environment. From expanding Heathrow, to cutting renewables subsidies, to the cuts to bus services, to the new roads being built and their support of fracking we cannot trust this government on the environment – last night’s stunt proved that. Happy to say that their motion was defeated 18 to 15.
Cllr Louis Stephen
Worcester Green Party
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