5G and the Myth of a Green Transition

rethinking security

Far from absurd conspiracy theories about spreading coronavirus, Jo Baker argues that the rapid and seemingly unstoppable spread of 5G is happening without consultation or due consideration of the economic, environmental and climatic impact of such technologies.

5G infrastructure is currently being rolled out in many of our towns and cities. In Bristol, where I live, there has been a spate of planning applications from telecom companies for 20-metre-high monopoles in just a few weeks. A local campaign has resulted in hundreds of objections and Bristol City Council has so far refused sixteen applications on grounds of unsuitable siting and dominant appearance. There is a sense that something is being imposed from above without consultation or consent.

Bristol is well-known for its status as a ‘green’ and ‘smart’ city. It was the European Green Capital in 2015; in 2017 it overtook London as the leading smart city in the Huawei Smart City index; and it was one of the 100 Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Cities. Bristol was the first city in the UK to declare a climate emergency, followed, earlier this year, by an ecological emergency. And herein lies the conundrum. Can a city be both green and smart? Will wireless technology deliver a green transition or will it push us further towards ecological disaster?

A Fourth Industrial Revolution

According to the World Economic Forum, 5G is a necessary expansion of wireless technologies which will underpin the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It goes far beyond telecommunications – enabling the digitalisation of the global economy, energy systems, manufacturing, health, education, security, food production, and so on. It is expected to add £13.2 trillion to the global economy by 2025. It will pave the way for autonomous vehicles, remote surgery, 3D printing and military applications such as hypersonic weapons and drone targeting.

Although this digital high-tech future is sold to us as a means to a socially just and sustainable world (smart cities, energy efficiency), it is essentially about economic growth and is already having a devastating environmental impact. The fact is that digital technologies demand unprecedented amounts of mineral extraction, create large amounts of toxic waste, and

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Red and Black Telly roundup



Kick over the statues….Colston is going…going…gone By Randell Brantley

Bristol Radical History Group

Over the last few years in arguments over the commemoration, celebration and memorialisation of slaver-traders we  have been told many times that the so-called ‘traditions’ of Bristol must must be protected. That is code for not changing anything; names of buildings, schools and statues, which are all part of the memorial landscape of Bristol created over the last couple of centuries largely by the merchant and business elite.

Well, there is another great historical tradition in Bristol, that is Bristolians acting together to destroy statues of their oppressors and institutions that oppress them. From the ‘mob’ who put out the eyes of a  prominent slave trader in 1090, the crowds who pulled down the statue of George III in 1813 to those who added the cap of liberty to William III’s statue as fires raged in the Mansion House in Queen Square and the prisons in the 1831 uprising; Bristolians have a long history of sorting these things out, quickly, decisively (and whilst partying at the same time).

Today was no different. It was a surreal, euphoric and peaceful experience which will echo around the world. An eye-witness from BRHG said:

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Red and Black Telly roundup






Mike Baker – an Easton legend. By Roger

Bristol Radical History Group

Mike with the Eastville Workhouse plaque

It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Mike Baker on 12th March 2020 at the BRI.

I first met Mike Baker around twenty years ago when he was leading a local history walk around Easton with fellow historian Jim McNeil. Mike and Jim were leading members of the excellent local history group Living Easton and they had been asked to host a group of young German trade unionists who were visiting the Easton Cowboys and Girls Sports Club. Afterwards in The Plough, the Cowboys HQ, Mike explained that one of Living Easton‘s projects was the Time Signs Trail, a series of colourful, contoured aluminium plaques that highlighted ‘famous’ people from Easton. Though, as Mike said, this was ‘history from below’, a history of local people “who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths”. The Time Signs Trail plaques dotted around Easton, included John Wall the founder of the cooperative movement in Bristol, the Trade Union leader Ben Tillett and the opera singer Ruby Helder. Mike Baker was the researcher, designer and creator of all of these amazing plaques and many more, which in my and many other people’s opinions were far more eye-catching and interesting than the somewhat bland and limited ‘official’ blue plaques.

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Bristol Radical History Festival Saturday 16th May, 2020

10.00 am to 4.30 pm

Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG) have organised a full programme of events for our 2020 Radical History Festival, in collaboration with our hosts at M Shed.

Themes

The 2020 Festival has two main Themes, where once again we will reveal hidden histories, debate and agitate for a future of better pasts:

State and private surveillance of labour and social movements (1792 to now)

Hidden histories of post-war mainland Britain (1945-51)

Programme of events

Request for support from Bristol Defendant Solidarity

Hello friends and comrades.

Please circulate and share this with anyone who may be interested to get involved with anti repression and solidarity work in the new year.

Thanks and see you on the streets!

Bristol Defendant Solidarity has been working since 2011 to support defendants facing charges from demonstrations and actions in Bristol and beyond. We provide active solidarity and unconditional support to anyone going through the courts as a result of involvement in social movements and struggle.

This support includes help with case and court preparation, finding witnesses, help with travel costs and fines and organising solidarity demos. We organise know your rights sessions and skillshares to prepare for demos and actions as well as providing police station support for arrestees.

We understand that if people feel supported they are more likely to stay involved despite the hassle from the authorities and their punitive processes designed to keep us off the streets. BDS maintains a radical perspective and is opposed to the state “justice” system and its enforcers.

We need more people to be involved and share the vital work of standing together in the face of repression. Antirepression and solidarity work is everyone’s responsibility. There are lots of tasks and roles. Anyone interested can contact us; we’ll arrange to meet and chat about our work in more detail. Get in touch and get involved! Contact us at:

bristoldefendantsolidarity@riseup.net

In solidarity,
BDS.

Bristol Fundraiser and pamphlet launch 14th December 2019

We are very pleased to announce a BAF fundraiser DJ night and a pamphlet launch of the Bristol Radical History Group’s “Facing the Fascists”, a history of the Anti Nazi League in Bristol.

Pamphlet launch and intro to Bristol Antifascists from 8pm and first DJ from 8.30pm. DJs playing a liberated mix of punk, ska, 80s/90s classics and jungle!

14th December at the Plough, 223 Easton Road, Easton, BS5 0EG.

facebook event

Unquiet Graves Uncovering Britain’s Secret War in Ireland

Bristol Radical History Group

Unquiet Graves Poster

Between 1972 and 1978 more than 120 innocent civilians in Northern Ireland were murdered. Documentary director Sean Murray set out to investigate and found disturbing evidence of collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Ulster Defence Regiment and loyalist death squads. Sean Murray will present the documentary.

“…outstanding documentary film-making combining in-depth research and personal testimony to expose the undeniable truth of state collusion and its fatal consequences.” Phil Scraton, author “Hillsborough: The Truth”.

More information:

Tickets here:

Bridport 1919: conflict and tensions in a small industrial town in West Dorset

Event from: Bristol Radical History Festival 2019 (Level 1, Studio 1)

At the start of World War One Bridport was essentially a one industry town: rope and net making. The war brought opportunities to the town but also challenged paternalist employers with a revival of trade unionism and state pressure to improve low wages. With the Armistice, the sense of a collective national interest on the home front began to ebb away revealing long-standing as well as new tensions in the town. This talk explores the origins of these tensions in the war years and the range of ways in which they were expressed in the town in 1919, including soldiers’ protests and industrial strikes as well as a range of new political organisations in the town. Bridport was hardly a ‘red’ town and even with the new electorate of 1918 continued to return a Tory to Parliament as it still does. Yet the winding down of the WW1 home front revealed fracture lines which would mark the community as it struggled to build the Peace in unpredictable and challenging times.