Fossil Fools: A devil of a week…

IssueMay 2008
Feature by Kelvin Mason

“Fossil Fools Day”, 1 April, began an international week of action against the fossil fuel industry, mobilising the Rising Tide network of people dedicated to building a movement against climate change.
In Wales, groups shut down Ffos-y-Frân, an open-cast coalmine in Merthyr Tydfil operated by the Miller Argent Consortium. Later in the week, the target was Aberthaw power station which burns coal from the mine.
These spectacular actions were the result of weeks of planning that ensured they were determinedly nonviolent and as safe as possible for everyone. While the mainstream media did their worst to under-report Fossil Fools, there are many telling stories.

Rough injustice

A protestor arrested by police was handed over to workers who, in a surely predictable outcome, administered some rough injustice.
One worker, however, “Richard”, proposed green jobs for Wales. Though he also believed “it was too late to prevent climate change because the damage was done.” As the police cleared protestors to permit dirty business as usual, that depressing view was hard to challenge.

Dic Penderyn

The police seemed determined to play their full part in ensuring ecological catastrophe. In an incident that surely had Dic Penderyn spinning in his martyr’s grave, a Welsh dragon (distributing fliers) was expelled from a Merthyr shopping precinct at the behest of its US multinational owners. Meanwhile, the landlord of a pub that was to host a benefit gig for Residents Against Ffos-y-Frân on 5 April was allegedly warned that things could turn nasty.
Such unfounded claims may also have played a part in keeping down the numbers participating in a march and rally. Though 10,000 people signed a petition against the mine, only a few hundred were steadfast enough to hear George Monbiot and speakers including Jill Evans MEP and Gordon James of FoE Cymru.

Marriage made in hell

On the steps of the Civic Centre, Reverend Willy of the Church of Non-Stop Mining conducted a wedding between Miller Argent (Killer-Agent) and the compliant local Council: “Dirty-Digger Killer-Agent Consortium, will you take Sell-out Cringing Not-Awfully-Bright Merthyr Tydfil Bowing-and-Scraping Council to be your wife? Will you rob her blind, defile her landscapes, pillage her resources, and finally leave her in the lurch, and, not forsaking any others, be unfaithful to her as long as you both shall live – which won’t be long the way you’re going on? ….You may kill the bride!”

Suffer the children

The last word should go to the Merthyr boy who was forbidden to raise the subject of coal in his school eco-club. We learned that Miller Argent were paying for an eco-garden at his school and plying the pupils with Easter eggs. The fossil fuel industry may be nobody’s fools but, like the boy said: “Evil devils”.

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