We had been planning a significant presence at the Big Green Gathering and had even organised a public bike ride from Bath Spa train station for people who wanted to cycle there. Unfortunately the gathering was cancelled at short notice as a result of political pressure from the police, which left us at a loose end. We discussed various alternatives and came up with a plan to take the sound system down to the Isle of Wight to support workers occupying the Vestas factory. I didn’t go myself but five other Bicycologists set off from London by train on the morning of July 30th and stayed for the weekend. One of them wrote the following report:
The occupying workers were about 300 metres away from a security fence, they had access to a large balcony. When we arrived they were deprived of food by Vestas, surviving on one small evening meal, and whatever they could get from tennis balls, which were cut open and stuffed with food or whatever else they needed and could be thrown at them with varying success as to whether the balls actually reached the balcony. One of the workers who left the occupation was sent to hospital with dangerously low blood sugar levels.
The support crew on the roundabout consisted of us, the climate camp & climate rush folks, seize the day, rmt union workers and SWP people. There was a kitchen and nice meals, locals are well behind the campaign and kept turning up with loads of food. The atmosphere was mostly good, and improved during the time we were there.
It was great that our kit, especially pedals, was really appreciated by everyone. Pedals enabled people to speak movingly to the occupiers about why they had come to support them, amplify a seize the day song written about the occupation with the relatives & locals, a band to play a kayleigh, and a comedy inuendo-filled late night question and answer session to take place between the occupiers and us, which hopefully elliviated the boredom for a while, and had the added bonus of informing us that there was a crass fan amongst them. The cinema screen was great, but unfortunately the street lights prevented people from being able to see the projection well enough, which was a shame.
Shortly after we arrived there were various attempts to get food to them, and the Vestas management then said it would allow food in, which they did, only to withdraw their offer later on. So people defied the security and fencing to get food to them including a granny from a local catholic church with a holdall of chips!
It was really nice to be involved in something that it felt like the whole of the island was supporting. To see people taking direct action and be really respected for it almost universally.