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From: The Socialist issue 887, 3 February 2016: Solidarity with health workers

Search site for keywords: Airport - Climate change - Heathrow airport

Arrested 'Heathrow 13' climate activist speaks

The courts are making an example of climate protesters. 'Plane Stupid' activists face jail for demonstrating against third runway plans at London Heathrow airport last July. Melanie Strickland, one of the 'Heathrow 13', speaks in the Socialist.

On 25 January, myself and 12 others were convicted of aggravated trespass and being in a restricted area of an airport without permission.

We got onto Heathrow's runway by cutting the fence, set up a tripod and cage with temporary fencing, and locked onto it. We had taken extensive safety measures, and no-one was at risk because of the action. It took place less than a fortnight after the Airports Commission recommended a new runway at Heathrow.

We recognise that the destruction of nature is inevitable under capitalism. We took our action because climate change is already killing people and wildlife.

We are on the side of the living, and the side of future generations. We are neither heroes nor hooligans, as some have labelled us. We are just people that want justice for all.

Our action disrupted the UK's second biggest carbon emitter, and sent a clear message against airport expansion.

We need to dramatically reduce emissions from present levels. Obviously a project like Heathrow's third runway is incompatible with that. Aviation is already the fastest growing source of emissions in the UK.

We want to help build the sort of world that the celebrated socialist William Morris envisaged. People can live in harmony with nature, and have decent, meaningful jobs.

Sentence

The judge told us to expect immediate custodial sentences following sentencing at Willesden Magistrates' Court, 9.30am on 24 February. Supporters are welcome to join us at court.

We do not want to go to prison. However, a few weeks inside seems a small matter in the context of our lives, when compared to the suffering of those directly affected by climate change.

We intend to come out of prison stronger and more determined than ever. The messages of support have been really encouraging, please keep sharing those.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

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