Capitalism is milking the opportunities presented by the Covid-19 lock-down and restrictions. Construction on HS2 hasn’t been halted, even whilst Covid-19 is used as an excuse to try to clear protesters. Controversial developments are being pushed through during the restrictions in the hope that no-one will notice. Banks are profiting from making loans to people who have no other options to cover their costs.
The Covid-19 situation has highlighted levels of inequality, with members of Government being prioritised for testing over frontline medical staff. Low-paid workers are also being hit hard and putting themselves at risk. If their employers are continuing to operate, they cannot claim government support, and so have to choose between putting themselves at risk to work, or simply not having enough money to make ends meet.
We must not allow the current situation to isolate or divide us, or to weaken our resolve to protect the earth against capitalism. Deforestation and industrial-scale animal farming have been linked to the genesis of this disease, and its spread has been aided by globalised travel, all things driven by capitalism and all things we as Earth First! have been resisting in particular for years.
We must be clear to communicate the root causes behind this pandemic, and its spread, and not allow the international spread of the virus to be seized upon by racists, to advance their agenda of fear and hatred of migrants and people of colour. It is not the fault of working people, migrants, the 99% of us who have limited choices over how we live, that this disease emerged and spread around the world.
The slow response by the UK government, despite having been given a head-start knowing what was already happening in Italy, advocating (at its worse moment) what amounted to a cull of the less socially “useful” citizens with it’s ‘herd immunity’ response, can be blamed at least in part for the high death count we see now and we must reiterate this whenever a divisive racist, misanthropic response resists its ugly head.
It suits the government very well if we blame each other rather than blaming them. We need to show solidarity with each other, not be drawn into playing the blame game, supporting neighbours not grassing them up and engaging in mutual aid if we are able to.
In the light of the Covid-19 situation, we are delaying a decision on whether to proceed with the 2020 Earth First Summer Gathering until its viability becomes clearer. Whilst we would not want our agenda to be dictated by the orders of Government, we are acutely aware of the dangers of spreading the virus that would be created by gathering large numbers of people in a small space, as well as encouraging people to travel long distances across the country – we will update our decisions in line with current advice.
Right now we must not allow the current crisis to be a smokescreen, behind which work on ecologically destructive projects is accelerated, and we encourage people to take action to resist environmental devastation locally – now is a time to think creatively, flexibly and outside the box in how we protect nature and biodiversity in our local communities.
Call for submissions
In response to the current situation, its impact on protest and the ongoing ecological destruction taking place as many other parts of the economy have been shut down we’re making an Earth First! online zine and we want *your* contributions! We are looking to feature pieces on a range of themes covering mutual aid, resilience in isolation, what’s going on while we’re on lockdown (ie. HS2, squat eviction etc.), ideas for resistance in the current situation, campaign bios, reflections on the current crisis, pictures of animals in the cities & nature fighting back, or anything people feel is relevant to the current situation.
Brief: You can submit your own page already laid out scanned as a pdf, or submit text and we’ll lay it out for you, if the latter please send us pictures or picture ideas if you have them, or we’ll see what we can come up with. We are looking for contributions of ideally 1-2 pages. As the zine will be published online portrait orientation will be a lot easier to view so we would ideally be looking for this format, also ask that you consider presenting your piece in such a way as to be as easy as possible for those who are visually impaired to read online.
Word count: If you’re submitting text please limit this to 250-500 words (1-2 A5 pages) We will consider articles of *up to* 1000 words if we feel your submission is saying something that can’t be said in less.
Deadline: please send you submission by June 5th. If you want to discuss length, images or any other aspect please contact us before 1st June so we can help agree these things in time for the deadline. Please email your submission to [email protected]