Do or Die

An article from Do or Die Issue 5. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 5-6.

An Open Letter to the Minister for Transport

"I do not want to encourage day-dreaming, we are in a world of practical realities..."
- Brian Mawhinney, Minister for Transport [1]

"My people shall never work. Those who work cannot dream, and wisdom comes to us in dreams..."
- Smohalla, Native American, 1887.

"Be Realistic - Demand the Impossible!"
- Graffiti, Paris May '68

Mr. Mawhinney - Welcome to the Nightmare.

After three years of sustained direct action against road building you wish us to sit down at the negotiation table, to be civil and polite to the very same people who have sent riot police, security guards, spies and infiltrators to destroy us. You called for a “ceasefire in the sterile feuding over transport issues”, a “fresh start... [a] move back to properly informed, rational argument, with respect for opposing views, in a manner more fitting to the democratic traditions of our country.”[2] You issued this call on the 7th of December, exactly one year after the eviction and destruction of the Chestnut Tree at the M11. It took the DoT over 400 cops and 200 security to take the land and that wasn't the end of it, things for the government only got worse. Daily site invasions, numerous acts of sabotage; no wonder you want us to sit down and talk - when we're talking we 're not fighting.

Let's pretend for a moment that we could suppress our feelings of nausea and rage and sit down to negotiate; what in fact could you offer us? The end of the industrial system - can you offer us that? An end to the assault against the life support systems of the earth, a society within nature, a life where only our passions and desires rule, an earth alive; can you offer us that? Of course not!

What CAN you offer us? - A “rational reasoned debate on transport.” Why should we debate, we know what you are going to say, you've said it countless times before, we are bored of listening. The modem ecology movement is over 30 years old; in the bowels of your office there is a whole forest of reports on the ecological stupidity of what you are doing.

You know the situation. Capitalism and its petrochemical/car-making economy must keep moving. The need for infrastructural development is the need of the multinational corporations. The economy, (both nationally and internationally), must expand or die. We have consistently argued that to build more infrastructure simply creates more traffic, that as greater capacity is produced it is filled. More roads = more cars = more roads = more cars, a disastrous spiral down into ecological collapse. You must maintain the demand for cars and petrochemical by-products as an end in itself You must preside over the ever-increasing centralisation of production and consumption - with the lorry on the motorway as the rolling warehouse - making it progressively more difficult to get by in this society without a car. None of this worries you of course, what we call a disastrous spiral you call economic growth. What worries you is the short term survival of the economy. Congestion is what worries you.

What is congestion? On the whole simply the process of earth destruction slowed down by its own mass. Every morning hundreds of commuters arrive late for work, contracts are broken and goods delivered late - all because of the jam. The CBI estimated it costs the economy around £15 billion a year. Are we meant to feel distressed about this? Do you really expect us to sit down and work out solutions for YOUR problems? We want no more roads but we also know that the need for most journeys is the need of those we oppose. We are not about to start doing your research for you, we are not going to let YOUR needs monopolise OUR imaginations. We have better things to do, defending the earth, building communities, growing our carrots and dancing!

You illustrate your ignorance of natural processes very well with your request for a ceasefire and debate. This nation state owes a massive carbon debt to nature, and apparently is committed to adding to this crisis through its pathetic 'reduction of emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000' programme. On the basis of your efforts so far it appears you will not even meet this dismal target! You can try to negotiate with us but how do you plan to 'negotiate' with nature? With the nature that is going to flood your petty Parliament and destroy your fragile economy as global warming - or any number of impending environmental catastrophes - come home to roost. You have nothing to offer nature - as an ecological cretin you don't even know what to say. The earth's carbon cycle now demands the elimination of fossil fuel use and the massive reforestation of the British Isles and the earth - in other words, the extinction of your civilisation and the resurgence of our culture. That is the ecological reality - your 'political realities', your 'reasoned debate', is an ABSOLUTE irrelevance.

In short, in return for us climbing off our barricades, destroying our emerging communities and halting REAL resistance, you are willing to hold a debate we have already had and make a decision that we are already forcing you into making. If that were not bad enough we would resign ourselves forever to be in effect a capitalist think tank whose aim would be the smooth running of this genocidal, ecocidal system. Well thanks, but no thanks! We will never join you. To negotiate is to already accept the death of nature. The society which you represent is a constant war against the earth. A ceasefire is the putting down of weapons on both sides. You are not about to put down the weapons with which you fight, not the truncheons, not the factories. There will only be a ceasefire, there will only be REAL peace when the earth is purged of institutions like that of which you are presently a part.

Brian, why not dance the forbidden dance, rediscover your humanity, rediscover your wildness, throw all your files out of the window, burn down your office, smash up your TV, break free and join us, for we will never join you!

Yours with love,

- Some @nonymous digger diving agitators.

"Our dreams are becoming reality - we grow stronger!"
- Graffiti at Fillebrook Road, M11.


  1. D.O.T. Press Notice No. 471, 7/12/‘94
  2. D.O.T. Press Notice No. 54, 27/2/‘95

We received a copy of this letter anonymously - it was, we are told, sent to Brian Mawhinney's private fax number. Just as we were going to print he was elevated (maybe the wrong word to use) to the post of Chairman of the Tory party. During his stay as Minister for Transport some activists took his 'great transport debate' to mean that it was time for us to stop saying no all the time and put forward practical solutions to his society's problems - this was often called ironically, 'setting our own agenda'. In the last couple of hours of his post at the DoT nice Mr. Mawhinney announced that the Newbury bypass would go ahead. He may think that he had the last laugh but Brian, we know where you live! It matters little who the minister is, an individual in these cases is merely the role he plays out, therefore this letter equally applies to the new minister. - Eds (allegedly)

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