Covid-19: A Message From Denham

This is our first communication. This is our intro. Written in the context of the current pandemic this message has the fundamentals of our ideas about HS2, in time these may develop and change but now this is what we stand for. This message was written about a week before it was published around the first signs that the corona virus was a serious reality on these islands. Now as the country goes into official lockdown HS2 continues work.

Tonight we sit around a fire by a river on the outskirts of London. The land is squatted, the structures we built ourselves and the food donated. We realise that this peace is not a common one at this time. Much of the day was spent discussing the current situation of the Corona virus pandemic that is currently setting in hard on these islands. With friends working for the NHS we have been hearing first hand the severity of this situation. We write this now, as living here in occupation against the building of the HS2 high speed railway has become highly magnified in relation to this pandemic. HS2 is projected to cost far over £100 billion and this number increases daily. It is paid for with public money.

We can’t forget that the most vulnerable in this uncertainty are not just those with compromised immune systems. It’s the people who are already under the most stress in this society. It’s those whose benefits are already so limited that it is difficult to maintain stocked cupboards at the best of times let alone stock up in advance. Those who bravely live precariously already are being pushed even further in these times. We do not fear a virus. We fear a government that imposes economic and social structures that make viruses like Covid-19 so deadly. A government that puts the greatest risk and burden upon those already most vulnerable by fostering a society that allows for such vulnerability in the first place. A government that does not seek to serve the people and provide for their needs but rather to serve business and profit. 

This current crisis shows the failure of our current structures and incompetence of our government who claim to maintain them in our name, whether we like it or not. Our hospitals are stretched well beyond breaking point, our methods of accessing, processing and distributing resources are completely unfit to meet the needs of the people. This is well known by working class people on the sharp end of austerity and by people in the global south where these crises are common experience of day to day life. Only now it is clear to be seen by all. But we must remember that it is not this way by some natural process. This is a product of calculated decisions by politicians and business people to funnel the maximum amount of wealth from the land and the people into private pockets. We are left to feed on the scraps they throw to keep us dependant and then leave us to starve in times a like these. Hs2, a government project, is a perfect example of this kind of decision making. What our difficulties in this time should make clear is that a £100 billion plus mega project like Hs2 has no place in a society that cares about people. This is why we fight against Hs2. We don’t just fight against it because we want to protect invaluable ecosystems, woodlands, animals and fauna, we don’t just fight against it because it causes completely unwanted and undemocratic disruption and displacement to local people and communities. We fight against it because it is a direct expression of a government and a system seeking to divert public money into the pockets of private contractors through infrastructure projects that are completely alien to our needs as people. We fight against HS2, this project, because in doing so we fight against the government. In taking on this project we are taking on a system that oppresses us and in doing so live a life in struggle that liberates us. When they take land, we take land, when they dig trenches we plant vegetables, when they evict people from homes we create new ones, when they put up fences we pull them down, when they bring trucks we block them, when they use diggers we immobilise them. I speak literally, this is direct action. Direct action stop a project and, as we live in occupation as community, direct action to create the new world we wish to live in right on the door step of destruction. 

As doctors and nurses fight and struggle to contain and combat Covid-19, we must also struggle and fight the same against the virus that infects and kills everyday all over the world, that of capitalism, and the government and state violence that enforces it. We must fight the causes. The alienation and division, which make us dependant on the state which repeatedly fails us. We fight this with mutual aid, by building community and empathy and care in a system that forces individualism and apathy. We must fight the symptoms, expressions of capitalism, mega projects such as HS2 and increasing privatisation and loss of rights with direct action and organised resistance. This compassion and understanding that is being created in this time of crisis cannot be lost when this pandemic is over. The struggles we are dealing with now, for so many, existed before and will continue long after and so too must our solidarity.