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Sizewell C will “destroy the most important part of the county’s Heritage Coast.”

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Stop Sizewell C!

This was reported on June the 30th.

UK regulator receives application for new Sizewell nuclear reactors

Britain’s nuclear regulator said on Tuesday it had received an application for a licence to build two nuclear reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk county, north of London, from EDF Energy subsidiary NNB Generation Company.

Yesterday the East Anglian Daily Times (EADT) published this article by Paul Geater.

Will the Suffolk coast fall victim to coronavirus as government splashes the cash?

 

I’ve never disguised the fact that I feel that the proposed Sizewell C power station would be a disaster for East Suffolk and would effectively destroy the most important part of the county’s Heritage Coast.

Those who have meet Paul Geater, the main political journalist on the regional paper and the Ipswich Star, will know that he must have good reason before expressing himself so strongly.

One of the things that spurred him is, “It’s a part of the world that is very important to me – I was born at Eastbridge and lived within five miles of Sizewell for the first 27 years of my life.”

The article continues,

Until now I’ve always been optimistic that the proposals for this plant, which would be built on what is – effectively – part of the Minsmere Nature Reserve, would be scrapped because the economics just don’t make sense.

However, I’m now beginning to fear that the Suffolk Coast – with all the jobs it provides in tourism, leisure, and wildlife management – will be fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic as the government looks for projects to throw money at in the hope of creating jobs to get Britain out of the 21st century’s Great Depression.

I’ve always felt that the environmental arguments don’t really cut any ice with EDF and the other groups promoting Sizewell C. Yes their promoters will smile and nod earnestly when confronted by genuine concerns from organisations like the RSPB and National Trust as well as local residents – but when push comes to shove they don’t seem prepared to make any real compromises or do anything to limit the damage they would cause.

For many people this will be a crucial point.

They still seem hell-bent on destroying the Eastbridge marshes, an integral part of the Minsmere ecosystem, to create their new campus while the station is being built. Villages would be ruined by traffic because there is no proposal to bring in material by sea as they did when Sizewell B was built.

And that ignores the fact that nuclear-generated electricity is much more expensive than that from the sun or wind.

The well-known local figure calls to reject this latest move, which many consider to be on the point of being slipped through while attention is diverted elsewhere.

…by rejecting it, there would be a real boost to the local economy. Jobs in the tourist and leisure sectors would be ensured for years or decades ahead. Villages would be protected and the Suffolk coast (hardly the unemployment blackspot it was when Sizewell B was built in the 1980s) would be able to evolve and retain its wonderful character.

Local people recognise that. I know that many who welcomed Sizewell B have been appalled at the plans for Sizewell C and the way it is being planned with no thought to the local environment.

That is the least you can say.

Those affected have been screaming about the destruction to be wrought by new roads, vast car parks, and the rest, for some time.

The local councils recognise that. Both Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal were broadly supportive of Sizewell B. That isn’t what you hear from the planners and councillors at either the county or East Suffolk Council now!

Geater underlines the loss to the local tourism and leisure sectors.

But he finishes saying that “money isn’t everything.”

It certainly is not.

The areas affected are both environmentally highly significant – the status of Minsmere hardly needs underlining – and very dear to many people’s hearts.

The local campaign Together Against Sizewell C notes the plans will,

– devastate the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which provides a rich and varied mosaic of habitats that are a haven for an amazing variety of wildlife including iconic species such as bittern, marsh harrier and otter,

– split the Sizewell Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest in half with a new permanent elevated road,
– be constructed on the boundary with RSPB Minsmere, with 24/7 light, noise and air pollution being a huge threat to the internationally important nature reserve as well as the wider environment,
– result in the loss of acres of valuable farmland,
– threaten homes, land and businesses with compulsory purchase,
– see road building and alterations for 25 miles around the site, including 7 new roundabouts within an 8-mile radius of Sizewell,
– add hundreds of HGV journeys to and from the Sizewell site every day, causing unacceptable levels of CO2 and NOX emissions,
– harm the flourishing and sustainable tourism industry of East Suffolk affecting businesses around the much visited towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold and many popular villages as well as RSPB Minsmere and the National Trust’s Dunwich Heath,
– see up to 2 million litres of mains water consumed each day of nuclear power station operation, in addition to the huge volumes used during construction, in one of the driest parts of the country,
– see tons of fish and other marine life sucked into the cooling pipes along with an estimated 2.5 billion gallons of sea water per day, see article re Hinkley Point C(same design as SZC): https://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/concern-over-hinkley-point-c/
– require nuclear waste to be stored indefinitely on our crumbling, sinking coast as sea levels rise,
– create a huge upfront carbon footprint during construction and from the mining, milling and fabrication of the uranium fuel together with an unknown carbon footprint at the back end of operation – see why nuclear is not the answer to climate change

This Blogger knows the area well.

I’ve been walking around there since mid-teens. In my twenties my parents had retired to nearby Firston (one of the places affected by car-park plans), and were active in Leiston Labour Party as Chair and Secretary for some years in the 1980s. An uncle (by marriage) grew up in a hamlet by a local village, Theberton (nearly bordering Eastbridge).

The Eastbridge Eels Foot Inn, by the marshes, is one of the best pubs in Suffolk. The walks around the area, some of which I know like the back of my hand, are outstanding. The reserve called Sizewell Belts, is of special interest, and is free to visit (Minsmere is a RSPB reserve, although you can walk alongside it, including  on the coastline).

On one walk, in the direction of  Weselton I saw my first Adders, one another, my first Mistletoe, and enormous Red Deer. Alas I have never spotted the Otters,who have been encouraged, (and helped by some re-introduction)  since the 1980s.

The Leiston Communist Writer and activist Lee Chadwick (1909 – 2003)  lived in a house on Leiston Common, not far from the Reactors, and in the heart of the sites that will be touched by the new development.

One of her best books, In Search of Heathland (1982), begins with a chapter titled, “Our Vanishing Heathland”.

She wrote,

Leiston and Sizewell commons today lie within the Suffolk Coastal Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the 34 miles f the Suffolk Heritage Coast. Notwithstanding this, the building of a second and possibly a third nuclear power station at Sizewell is under discussion and at the time of  writing seems likely to prove the focus for another form of popular struggle concerning the use of one-time open land.” (Page 66)

Lee, who participated in the 1980s campaigns – as did my parents –  would surely back Together Against Sizewell C (TASC).

Unfortunately we hear from the organisers that UNITE, which has a strong Branch at Sizewell, is not so inclined. TASC says that the UNITE led organising committee of the annual Burston Rally, a rural labour movement event that claims to support Green causes, “won’t even allow us (us being TASC) to have a stall at the Burston rally.”

Paul Geater writes that, “The fear is that while locally there is a great deal of disquiet, the further you move away from the Suffolk coast, the attitude changes.”

Let’s hope he is wrong on that point>

Back TASC!

To: Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

STOP SIZEWELL C HUGE NEW NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENT IN SUFFOLK A.O.N.B.

More information on the TASC site:

Together Against Sizewell C.

TASC has been actively campaigning, since 2013, to stop EDF’s plans to build two EPR nuclear reactors on Suffolk’s fragile Heritage Coast. Sizewell C and all its supporting infrastructure will devastate untold acres of the wildlife-rich Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB and its SSSI, as well as irreparably damaging RSPB Minsmere. The area, a 30 mile radius around the site, will change from rural tranquillity to brutal industrialisation.

 

Here is a tweet from their Twitter Feed.

Here is more news:

Written by Andrew Coates

July 3, 2020 at 4:12 pm

Faced with the Pandemic French Left regroups and debates a better future.

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L'initiative commune – Au cœur de la crise, construisons l'avenir.

French Left Offers Ideas for a Better Future.

On the 14th of May an unprecedented array of political figures from the centre-left (some more centre than left), the French Green Party (EELV), the Communist Party and radical ‘other-globalisation’ organisations such as ATTAC, issued a declaration that appealed for a new direction in French politics.

Titled, “At the heart of the crisis, let’s build the future” it was backed by one hundred and fifty personalities close to the left or to the ecologists , including Olivier Faure (Parti Socialiste), Yannick Jadot (Europe Écologie Les Verts ) or Ian Brossat ( Parti communiste français), called in a long public statement published in Le Nouvel Obsevateur for a “convention for a common world”

France is facing an earthquake on an unprecedented scale. The destruction of nature has encouraged  a pandemic which has generated a major economic crisis, created a brutal social shock, especially for the most precarious, and a out the functioning of democracy into question. Public authorities have had that had to improvise in the face of this major crisis. The extraordinary commitment of carers, the courage of those who have worked tirelessly in the service of all and the civic spirit of millions of people confined in difficult conditions, call for the gratitude of everybody.

Right now, the issue  about avoiding the worst and preparing for the future. Repairing  the damage already in face of us, the defence of liberty the obligation to prepare a resilient society, these require a strong collective response. The crisis confirms the urgent need for large-scale changes. From this imperative necessity, let us give birth to hope. We are not doomed to suffer!

The statement called for a strengthening on an egalitarian basis of the French welfare state, notably in the areas of health and pensions, ‘ecological transition’ (the Green New Deal, which has been a demand of French centre, green and radical left politics for much longer than its recent UK appearance), expansive and flexible European Monetary policy, and the reintroduction of the previous Parti Socialiste government’s tax on the rich (Impôt de solidarité sur la fortune, ISF),

TRIBUNE. « Au cœur de la crise, construisons l’avenir »

Further :

Amongst the signatories were Thomas Piketty, the radical leftist, Christophe Aguiton (La gauche du 21 e siècleenquête sur une refondation. 2017) and the former (Left-wing) Green leader,  Cécile Duflot.

These supporters did not prevent the web commentator Usul, close to La France insoumise, from claiming that this was an attempt to create a post-Macron “bourgeois bloc” of the centre-left. It was, he ironically put it, a kind of pot potpourri of nice green and liberal social democratic ideas that would appeal to the metropolitan elites, and continue the centre-left project, excluding the “classes populaires”. This is the return of the ‘gauche bourgeoise.”

Usul remarked that the bloc of forces excluded Jean-Luc Mélenchon

 

Usul. Le grand retour de la gauche bourgeoise

Here is his, witty, Video version.

The comparison with previous efforts to create a “bloc bourgeois”, allegedly the project of the Parti Socialiste (in power, be it remembered until 2017), runs up against a number of problems.

The book from which the expression is taken, L’illusion du Bloc Bourgeois (Bruno Amable et Stefano Palombarini. 2018) refers to attempts to go beyond traditional alliances, to bring together right and left. Emmanuel Macron has rather monopolised this strategy. The alternative ‘sovereigntist’ attempt to create a political expression that can capture the ‘popular’ classes in a left populist project, that is, La France insoumise (LFI), has failed to take off.

The demand to maintain social protection that is the weakest point of the ‘bloc bourgeois’ of the French centre-left, shown by many of the PS’s labour and welfare ‘reforms’ (see Pages 114 – 146 of the L’illusion). However in another context these rights are linked to EU standards. During the UK Brexit referendum, as promoted  by Another Europe is Possible, and other internationalist left forces, a pro-European strategy made inroads into the labour movement and some (urban) layers of the working class in ‘precarious’ employment by demanding that “une autre Europe possible”. The sovereigntist British left failed to defend these advances, and encouraged not just a hard right Brexit, but the victory of Boris Johnson.

A further sign of the importance of the above unity initiative can be seen on the site of the radical and democratic wing of the left, which forms an independent ally of La France insoumise, Ensemble. This appeared at the end of April and could be said to introduce the terrain on which the Nouvel Observateur declaration was made.

Signed by Clémentine Autain députée (groupe LFI) , Guillaume Balas coordinateur du mouvement Génération·s , Elsa Faucillon députée (groupe communiste) , Alain Coulombel membre d’EE-LV

Many initiatives, public or not, forums and petitions have been circulating since the start of the health crisis. They carry the will to bring about a new world.

It is even harder to dismiss this appeal, (issued this week) signed by the CGT (radical left Union Federation), Greenpeace, Attac, Confédération paysanne, Youth for Climate France and many other groups),

Plus Jamais ça : 34 mesures pour un plan de sortie de crise

(see Le Monde« Face à la crise, il faut sortir du système néolibéral et productiviste »)

In the meantime La France insoumise ploughs its own furrow, competing, it is said, with the Rassemblement national (ex-Front National): Coronavirus : La France insoumise et le Rassemblement national veulent profiter de la colère

The left sovereigntists – or “republicans” (including LFI, some of the PCF, and others, continue their own attempts to recover a political voice.

La gauche républicaine veut se réarmer idéologiquement

La France insoumise (LFI), le Parti communiste français ou la Gauche républicaine et socialiste (GRS), la petite structure de l’ancien socialiste Emmanuel Maurel ; des think tanks, comme Intérêt général ou l’Institut Rousseau ; un site, comme Le Vent se lève ; ou encore des politiques, comme Arnaud Montebourg ou Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The overarching themes these debates raise is brilliantly discussed by New Left Review hate figure Pierre Rosenvallon France Culture: Le coronavirus a-t-il déconfiné la gauche ?

One of the main themes emerging is a return to idea of planning, and the  merits of the commissariat général du Plan (CGP) that existed from 1946 to 2006,

The radio links to these articles (I do not repeat the one this Post began with):

Pour un projet social et écologiste, éditorial de Denis Sieffert, de la revue Politis.

Le monde d’après sera un champ de bataille, éditorial d’Hervé Kempf, du site Reporterre.

Un mal sanitaire pour un bien politique ? Editorial de Laurent Joffrin de Libération.

Better than own factionalists in fact…

Beyond Market Dystopia. Socialist Register 2020. Review.

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Dystopian photograph peering down the long hallway of an abandoned building full of debris.

Beyond Market Dystopia. New Ways of Living, Socialist Register 2020. Edited by Leo Panitch and Greg Albo. Merlin Press/Monthly Review Press.

 

This Review appears in the latest print edition (May/June 2020)  of Chartist Magazine.

(As will be obvious, it was written before the present Coronavirus pandemic swept the world. The difference this has made make a post in itself).

“Perhaps the foremost challenge in trying to think beyond the market dystopia of contemporary capitalism” the Preface to the 2020 Edition of the Socialist Register states, is to “asses the implications of the alarming ecological conditions” we now confront. The two editors ask whether a “new strategy for structural reform that would take capital away from capital” and remake the “nature-society relation”.

In the opening essay, Stephen Mahler, Sam Ginden and Leo Panitch hail the “renewed appeal of socialist discourse”. They speculate on the challenges that would face socialist-led governments and André Gorz’s (1968) “non-reformist reform”. The opportunity to test plans for economic democracy against Gorz’s later sceptical view that the working class no longer had the capacity to organise production, and be the subject of social transformation, has, for the immediate future, vanished (Adieux au prolétariat. 1980). Today the “tens of thousands of young people” “galvanised” into groups like Momentum and the Democratic Socialists of America are digesting the Labour Party’s historic 2019 defeat and Bernie Sanders’ uncertain future.

One aspect looks set to continue, “the ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘just transition’ have become central parts of the socialist lexicon.” Indeed some are staking the survival of the Corbyn project through a dose of Ecosocialism, as offered by Rebecca Long-Bailey’s version of the Green New Deal.

Other contributors offer a glimpse into the scale of environmental and other global problems. In a thoughtful article Barbara Harriss-White probes the world’s ecological catastrophes and suggests that alarm is not misplaced. What can be done in one country, she asks, when capitalism is the problem? Carbon-reducing mechanisms are not yet up to the task. Climate change is set continue. Nancy Holmstrom is more upbeat, “Based on a global commitment to public goods/commons as the default and social rationality we can aim for the ‘buen vivir’ for all”. Many readers will agree with Harriss-White that in this area there are more questions than answers.

Amy Bartholomew and Hilary Wainwright strike a more optimistic note. Recounting their take on the refugee and migrant crisis in Greece they discover “radical democracy” in the refugee-solidarity City Plaza Squat in Athens. This “accommodation and Solidarity Space” was linked to broader anti-racist initiatives. A “radically democratic model of living together” in this one hotel, practiced “equality and freedom”. Evicted under the victorious right-wing New Democracy government, the authors see the City Plaza as part of “solidarity across struggles”.

Despite this “new landscape” there is no indication about how a radical left government, led by Syriza, under EU and home-created fiscal pressure, could deal on its own with large numbers of migrants.

One of the contributions to Socialist Register stands out. Yu Chunsen offers a brilliant account of the struggles of the “new precarious working class” in Chinese factories. Workmates, “gongyou” have established their own forms of solidarity faced with “management by stress”, workplace despotism, and trade unions which function as conveyer belts for management rule. Chunsen compares the Chinese willingness to take “collective actions” with the making of the English working class described by E.P.Thompson.

“Socialism is Back,” declares Nancy Fraser in the concluding contribution. Some people suggest that the Tory victory in Britain will see a revival not of socialism but of “left folk politics”. That is, a retreat to indignation and moral protests. Alyssa Battistoni, from the populist cheerleaders of the US Jacobin magazine, cites a long list. In the indignados, Occupy, Nuit Debout, the “London riots” Black Lives Matter to Red for Ed (Red For Education)” she sees “struggles combine critiques of wealth inequality, renewed labour militancy and attention to the spaces of daily life..” To which one can add Extinction Rebellion and the Global Climate Strike, admirable though they are. None of these have been strategies towards an electorally victorious socialism prepared to begin “non-reformist reforms”.

Andrew Coates

Written by Andrew Coates

May 17, 2020 at 9:45 am