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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation - Hereford: The black apple #3 - WHERE WE TOOK A WRONG TURN

Date Wed, 25 Jul 2007 12:49:04 +0300


Construction has finally started on one of the most environmentally damaging projects Herefordshire has seen in decades, despite efforts from campaigners to stop it. So why, despite efforts from local environmentalists and anarchists, has the Rotherwas Access Road (RAR) gone ahead? The biggest factor was support from the majority of Hereford's people, those who recognise the city has a traffic problem and see the road as a `bypass' that will be the solution. This is despite Herefordshire Council's own traffic survey that found that the RAR will lead to a 22% induced traffic growth by 2022 compared to 14% growth under the `do nothing' alternative. Another road isn't the solution to our traffic problems. The campaign failed for not trying to reach out to the local, non-environmental, community, those who support the road. The approach by
Herefordshire Green Party seemed to be one of
letter-writing to the press and councillors and
maintaining a website. It was only after approval
for the project had been given by Herefordshire
Council that the Greens took any action (9th
February: Green Party activists disrupt council
meeting in relation to another connected
campaign to stop a housing development near
Rotherwas). A case of too little, too late.
Another campaign taken up by the `green
movement' in Hereford appears to have learned
from this. The fight against present plans for
flood defences on the Bishop's Meadows (and
one for more suitable defences also) has been
high profile and more forceful. It has organised
`rapid-response teams' that will physically
prevent the meadow's trees being felled, when
that time comes. It is also a campaign that
has brought together many groups in the city
and has involved community associations from
Redhill, Putson and St. James & Bartonsham.
The `campaign' against the road was insular
and involved nobody except those in the green
movement.

The fight to stop the Rotherwas Access Road
wasn't won; it didn't even commence. A
successful campaign takes action, it is proactive
and it involves as many people as it can. The
local Green Party seemed happy with their
non-interactive, isolating action of writing their
letters to the Hereford Journal. Where were the
people on the street leafleting and explaining
the problems and solutions to Jo Public?
Where were the public meetings? Where was
the community organisation? Where were the
inconvenient protests that the council couldn't
ignore?
Perhaps the Greens forget: our strength isn't
in individually writing letters, politely asking
councillors and MPs not to be so nasty. Our
strength is in unity, when communities and
workers unite in uncompromising solidarity.

Picture legend:
Now is the time for... We think leadership got us into the
mess that we face today!
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