Climate activists from No Dash For Gas have today been sentenced to community service with some conditional discharge – as if they have not already done enough service to society by challenging the government's energy policy. However they will not face jail.
The protest targeted EDF, an immensely powerful energy corporation with a history of abuse of corporate power, from the role of French secret agents in blowing up the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand to illegally spying on Greenpeace activists to protect the company’s nuclear interests.
The UK is currently on a unsustainable path with its energy generation. On Tuesday, MPs voted against a 2030 decarbonisation target, that would have locked in investor certainty to invest in renewable energy, and generated sustainable jobs and taxes across the booming green economy. Our MPs no longer represent us. Our gas and oil prices are rigged, and nothing is done about it.
Against this backdrop of climate and political crisis, it is clear we need brave protesters like No Dash For Gas more than ever. As campaigner Danielle Paffard recently stated, ‘we don’t have big lobbying money with access to politicians and the media like EDF do, so we need to use all the tools at our disposal to compete.’
What No Dash for Gas have shown us is that corporations are not invincible, and by protest and clever use of the social media tools at hand, we can weaken these unaccountable corporations, by destroying their customer base. We can win.
Npower has recently seen thousands of customers tear up their contracts after the firms tax-dodging ways were revealed by UK Uncut, EDFoff and 38 Degrees, with CEO Volker Beckers departing to work for HMRC as the revolving door or corporate interest keeps on spinning.
64,000 people signed a petition to EDF to drop the vindictive £5 million civil law suit against No Dash For Gas. Hundreds have switched their gas and electricity to alternative providers like Ecotricity, Good Energy and Cooperative Energy. We need to support small-scale producers and co-ops that support us.
Through people power, we managed to shut down EDF’s private energy policy talkfest in London, and to force a reschedule until the autumn. This is just the beginning.
With expectations of jail there was a planned vigil for the activists at EDF HQ, Cardinal Place, Victoria St London - tonight 6pm. Now this looks like it will be more of a celebration.
This article first appeared on Occupy News Network