Days 13 – 15
★ Northern Ireland ★
On Sunday 24th, the Zapatista compañeras met with activists from Save our Sperrins, a collective fighting a mining project imposed by the corporation Canadian Gold in the mountains of Northern Ireland. This type of encounter proves that solidarity against extractive mega-projects knows no boundaries.
On the next day, the delegates visited a community garden in North Belfast.
The visit was followed by a tour around Lough Neagh, where the Zapatista delegates learned more about the extractive practice of dredging. They also spoke to the lake protectors, who want to reclaim the rights of the lake – currently owned by an English aristocrat – for the water and sentient beings that thrive in the area.
On Tuesday 26th, the compañeras joined a radical tour of the streets of Belfast. The walk included an appreciation of murals about local and international revolutionaries.
In the afternoon, the delegates met at Culturelann with community groups engaged in housing, migrant and language rights.
★ Cymru ★ Wales ★
On Saturday 23rd, the Listen and Speech team visited the Ynni Ogwen hydro-scheme Bethesda, initially developed by Partneriaeth Ogwen (Ogwen Partnership) and then overtaken by Ynni Ogwen Cyf (Ogwen Energy Ltd). The system’s aim is to capture the energy from the flow of the Ogwen river to produce electric power. The profits from this scheme will be used to fund other environmental and community projects in the Ogwen Valley.
On Sunday, the Zapatistas went to Corris, Machynlleth to meet with members of several housing cooperatives and delegates from the Land Workers Alliance. They also had a meeting with staff from a critical project for young people developed by the Anne Mathews Trust at Braich Goch.
On the next day, the compañeros joined a radical history tour in Merthyr Tydfil with the Valleys Underground collective. Here, they heard the story of the Merthyr Rising in 1831, one of the most significant labour revolts in Wales. During the uprising, the workers stole debt documents from the local authority office, burnt them, and threw them into the river. That was one of the first times that the red flag was raised as a symbol of the working class power.
On Monday 26th, the Listen and Speech team joined a tour of Cardiff, Bute Town and Cardiff Bay with local historian Keith Murrell. They couldn’t visit the camp of the Northern Meadows Campaign as the police had dismantled it and charged some of the activists the night before. The delegates, however, had the opportunity to meet with the campaigners and other grassroots organisers from the capital in a different venue.