What better way to resist fossil fuel expansion and capitalism this summer than to occupy a beautiful site slated for destruction, sharing tactics and ideas with people taking action from across Europe?
People fighting fracking and campaigning for a more just and sustainable energy and economic system will come together this summer for an international anti-fracking camp in the Basque Country, Spain. The Frackanpada will take place from the 13-19 July and here’s a few reasons why you might want to pack your tent and sunblock for a trip to the Basque Country:
1. The industry is trying to get a foothold in Europe, so our resistance must be Europe-wide.
The fracking industry is eyeing up the trillions of cubic metres of gas spread across the European Union’s member states as though it were a single resource. The stronger a grip the industry gets in any one location the more power it will have to push expansion elsewhere in the continent. With strong resistance in almost every country in Europe where the industry has tried to drill, including bans in the largest economies of France and Germany, Spain is the latest country to have caught the eye of the frackers. They hope to start drilling in the Basque-Cantabrian Basin in the northern part of the state in 2016. The locals have other plans!
2. 2015 is an important year for opposing fossil fuel expansion
2015 sees world governments meeting again in Europe to attempt to make a binding treaty to tackle climate change. At best the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris in December will be a corporate-friendly programme with targets that fail to tackle the scale of the problem. Tackling climate change means keeping fossil fuels in the ground and the most effective strategy is to fight for that goal and to connect these struggles up across Europe: stopping the fracking industry through actions like the Frackanpada, opposing the coal industry through actions like the climate camp in Germany where thousands of participants will shut down the giant open cast mines in the Rhineland coal fields, through to campaigning for divestment from fossil fuels and resisting the economic system that values profit over life.
3. The Basque Country has a strong history of defence of the land against infrastructure development
The anti-fracking movement in the Basque Country is inspired by a long history of struggle against exploitative development, for protection of the land. The anti-nuclear movement in the 1970s prevented five nuclear power stations being built along the Basque coast and has kept that industry out of the country to this day. The movement to oppose the high speed train line that will cut through the countryside, and which offers no benefit to local people, has been going since the early 1990s and is still a major focus of resistance.
Recently the Basque Country has been mobilised in one of the largest disobedience initiatives ever undertaken in Europe in solidarity with young people who have been jailed for six years for their political dissent on the issue of Basque independence. As police came to arrest the young people, the population turned out in force and formed human walls around them in protection.
If I can’t dance it’s not my revolution, and the Frackanpada offers an opportunity for a holiday and solidarity action all rolled into one.
The Frackanpada will take place on common land owned by the local village of Subijana de Alava near the capital Gasteiz. The village has welcomed the camp onto their land, which is also on the site of an old conventional gas well and sits around the Subijana aquifer, a major resource for the entire region and massively at risk of contamination if fracking commences.
As you might expect, there will be updates on the anti-fracking campaigns across Europe and further afield, workshops linking this issue to broader struggles against climate change and fossil fuel extraction, in defence of the land, and the search for alternatives to energy and economic systems. But aware that we are more than these struggles, the camp’s programme includes walks up the nearby mountains and along the waterways we are seeking to protect, a march in the capital and the creation of land art to warn off the fracking industry, concerts featuring some of the best Basque music and a fair of local produce and alternatives and traditional dances. The whole experience will be an adventure of resistance, solidarity and movement-building. Go to this page to buddy up for transport.