Update from Tina
I’ll (Tina) be in Blackpool Law Courts at 10am on 24 June 2016 - Chapel Street, FY1 5RJ (though some are meeting outside from 9am)
This is of course rather worrying and not something I know how to prepare for... but as it has turned out, I couldn’t be in a better position to cope. Since sharing the news that the court wants me to pay £55,342.37 in court costs for an ‘eviction’ (that wasn’t as we’d already gone) in Summer 2014 of a 3-week camp in a field earmarked for fracking by Cuadrilla... the support, warmth, concern and pure humanity in messages, posts and hugs – has quite taken my breath away.
Campaigners here in Lancashire with Frack Free Lancashire - The Campaign, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Plane Stupid, Occupy London, Reclaim The Power, Greenpeace UK and countless individuals and anti-fracking groups across the country have made clear their shared outrage and support – each recognised exactly what this is – an attack on our right to defend our communities and exercise peaceful protest. In other countries, honourable activists can be killed for what we do and often are – while we do have a semblance of democracy – I think we are beholden to make it work for us and to not allow this bullying that would sacrifice our rights and make us vulnerable in future to the whims of corporations seeking profit at risk to us.
So the court wants me to explain why no money has been paid (I actually really can’t as I am very poor and without assets)... but I find the question is pointless. What point my bringing in financial excuses when my real problem is that I WILL NOT pay criminals, or contribute in any way to harm. What that means for my case is I believe that I will be in 'contempt of court' - I though believe that the corporate abuse of our legal system is ‘contempt of justice’.
Lovely people have offered to crowd-fund but I truly think this is the wrong way to go – it sets a precedent and means that we will face this situation time and again as they break us financially and eat up our valuable time in courts and prisons. I am really fortunate to have been a travelling activist in this fight to keep the UK frack-free... so my network is broad and I know, kind and supportive. But I know many who work harder... on front lines at camps, slowing trucks, writing endless Freedom of Information requests, arranging events, sorting transport and function rooms, digesting thousands of pages of reports and researching in every spare moment – not all activists though could get the support I know is there because they aren’t as visible... so what for them if this cost is paid?
We should NOT contribute in any way – directly or indirectly by submitting to their ‘authority’ and ability to use our laws to their advantage. Why is the law not working to our advantage? Why can’t we get it to move quickly on behalf of our movement? What recourse and access realistically do any of us have? We can’t win if the law and ‘justice’ is based on ability to pay for lawyers – they will always have more.
A dear friend and fellow activist - George Brown - has kindly set up an event for any who can make it on the day... to make clear - WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED. The event is 'I am Tina Rothey' - rather like 'I am Spartacus'... a bit uncomfortable to have my name as a focus but I understand the purpose and see it more as ‘I am you’ rather than you are me if you see what I mean. They bankrupted Ian Rowland Crane, hit young activists with fines they can’t hope to raise with ease and are ruining future prospects for activists younger than myself who may one day want a mortgage or the freedom to travel and be employed without having to mention time spent in jail. I realy don’t have much to lose... and have already gained so much in warm friendship and solidarity ♥
If you can make it for what will likely be a quite short court appearance, that would be great... if not, then perhaps if you could share online to expose this abuse of OUR laws to support an industry that has to bully its way into our lives, that would be lovely. Thank you.