18 October 2006
STRUGGLE TO DEFEND THE ENVIROMENT
Towards Independence and Socialism.
EUSKAL HERRIA BASQUE COUNTRY STEP BY STEP ASKAPENA's Informative Service N. 151
The ways of production that have been imposed nowadays in Euskal Herria (the Basque Country) are ferociously capitalist. In the same way, the kind of society which is being favoured - a society with a high level of consumerism - coincides with that way of production. The bourgeoisie controlling local governments are the ones administering the resources of the country according to their own class interests. Energy production, the waste management, transport infrastructures? follow this capitalist model. As a result, natural resources are sacrificed and both, natural resources and environment become second class elements. Mega projects are mobilising huge amounts of capital, some money managed by firms which are close to political power. This is another way of speculation by which they increase their huge benefits. But the imposition of this model is proving to be not that easy.
Big social sectors of the population are organised to confront this model and its projects which are so environmentally expensive. These sectors of the population have assumed themselves the defence of the environment and nowadays they are trying to stop those aggressions to the environment, some of which are irreversible.
The bourgeoisie are of course trying to neutralise this popular movement by using all the strategies they can in order to make it illegitimate; according to their words, all that people working for the environment are "terrorist groups (it could not be other way) manipulated by ETA, they do oppose to progress and development, they are nostalgic people that cling to a patriarchal society" and when rhetoric attacks are not enough they make use of police repression as another way to dissuade. Despite these strategies, civic organizations are still alive defending beyond all the difficulties another less aggressive social and productive model.
Euskal Herria has a long history in its defence of the environment. It was able to stop the construction of Lemoiz, a nuclear power station, the construction of which was very advanced. In the same way Basque institutions were forced to change the initial route of the motorway of Leitzaran in Navarre, since the original route was highly aggressive for the valley with the same name; and finally, these social organizations openly oppose themselves to the reservoir called Itoiz; in this case, works have finished but the filling up of this reservoir has not concluded yet because of the risks denounced by the coordinating committee against this artificial lake.
In this report we do include some official projects which are being bravely opposed by the people: Open fronts and popular initiatives:
-Garoña is an old nuclear power station which is still working at a distance of 30 km from Gasteiz, a city of 200.000 inhabitants. It was initially designed to be working for 25 years and yet this year is the 35th at work. In a very short period of time it has been known that there have been three unexpected stops. There are many voices asking to dismantle this power station. There was even a march up to the doors of Garoña. There is also a demonstration called on the 21st October which will happen in Gasteiz.·
-In the south of Navarre the organization called "No+Power stations" is denouncing that the Thermal power station of Castejon is having a negative influence on the level of ozone in this area of Euskal Herria.· The Thermal power station of Boroa, in the very heart of Bizkaia, is nowadays working, but even if so, it has a huge popular opposition: fourteen numerous demonstrations, a hunger strike, many mobilizations, 1.000 legal appeals, protests in Europe, 15.000 signatures against this project, a referendum in which 98% of the population expressed its open opposition to the power station? Despite this all, once again, the authorities have taken no measures.·
-The Town hall of Donosti in Gipuzkoa is planning to install a rubbish incinerator. The 22nd of June a numerous representation of the citizens tried to take part in the municipal meeting in which had to be decided the approval of the project. These citizens were denied to take part in the meeting, but some of them were able to get themselves into the meeting by overcoming police vigilance, and so they had the chance to oppose themselves to this meeting by screaming their opinion. The meeting was moved to another hall and so the placement of the problematic power station was finally approved. From that day onwards there have been several citizens' mobilizations against this all. The more concerned social sectors have very clear that the debate has not to be focused only on the location of the power station, but especially on the way to process rubbish. They firmly believe that burning the rubbish is not the best way and they propose different alternatives like composting, recycling, biomethaning, reducing the waste from origin? Incineration increases breathing, mental and digestive illnesses, it makes cancer presence higher and it does also increase birth giving problems. Batasuna, the political party has denounced that behind the incinerator there are important political interests related to the political parties backing the project.·
-The Basque Government is materialising the project of a motorway between Eibar and Gasteiz; a project which is very advanced. On the 24th of June some green groups made a demonstration asking for the end of a development policy based on concrete.
-The Town hall of Gasteiz decided, against the will of most of the citizens affected by the project, to install mechanic stairs in the historic centre of the city in order to favour tourism. Residents believe that this work is an aggression to its environment and damage for them. The neighbours organised different events to oppose themselves to this decision, but on the 22nd of June the local and Basque police attack the people present in one of the demonstrations. On the 23rd of June 200 neighbours tried another way of boycott by presenting that many formal complaints for irregularities in the development of the works. On the 29th of June there was another populous demonstration to denounce the works themselves, and the aggressive actuation of the police. On the 27th of June some neighbours got themselves into one of the Town hall meetings with the intention of protesting for this all.·
-At this very moment there is an institutional mega project which is close to being materialised; this is the route for the High Speed Train (HST)which would cross Euskal Herria. The impact of this project on the environment would be very serious, in the same way, the resources needed are scandalous. Important popular sectors are taking part in the debate contributing with alternatives for such a pharaonh's project. We will give further information about this all in another report. At the picture you can see a demonstration held last weekend in Durango against the HST.
Euskal Herria, 15th of October 2006
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