General Ned Ludd  
Celebrating the 200th anniversary

Huddersfield Festival and Poetry Competition
General Ludd Fights the Cuts
Rio+20 Event/Luddites protest against climate technofixes
Luddites200 Gathering: Save the Date!
Forthcoming Technology Politics Events
Other Luddite Events

Huddersfield Festival April 27th-29th

Huddersfield pic

The Huddersfield Luddites200 Festival on April 27th-29th promises to be an exciting and unmissable event.

There will be two plays, films screenings, choir performances and a folk music session, a poetry slam (see below), exhibitions, speakers including Alice Mahon and Dave Douglas, history talks, a guided walk in the Spen Valley, plus debates on current technology issues, such as digital technology, genetic engineering and how we can make the transition to a sustainable and economically just society. There will also be a frame breaking re-enactment, hands-on demonstrations of weaving and spinning, stalls and childrens events, plus a chance to have your picture taken with our Enoch Hammer. The programme will be finalised shortly, visit our Facebook group for ongoing updates.  We are still open to suggestions and offers to speak/perform, and we need as much help as we can get publicising the event, especially in West Yorkshire, so please forward this info or the attached poster to friends, colleagues, groups etc.

As part of the festival we have launched a poetry competition, the details of which can be found here. The competition is open to under 16s as well as adults and the deadline for submission is April 14th. We will be publishing poems on the Luddites200 website, so it’s your chance for literary immortality, don’t miss it!

Ludd fights the cuts

There are many amongst us who have believed that, like King Arthur and Joe Hill, 1812 reports of the demise of General Ludd were premature, and that he would rise again when the time is right. At last, it seems our hopes have been rewarded, for the General, complete with hammer, was recently spotted at an anti-cuts demo in his ancestral stamping ground of Huddersfield.
Kirklees Council, which administers the area that was the heartland of Yorkshire Luddism in 1812, has announced £16m in budget cuts.  One proposal was to close the Red House Museum at Gomersal, a part of the local heritage which has strong connections with Charlotte Bronte and part of the setting for her novel 'Shirley' , based on the Luddite attack on Rawfolds Mill.
General Ludd decided to make an appearance at the rally outside the council budget meeting in Huddersfield Town Hall on 22 February.  This date had added significance in that it coincided with the first Luddite attack in the Huddersfield area in 1812.  To find out what the General said, visit our blog.

RIO+20 Event/Luddites protest against climate technofixes


 Rio + 20
Last weekend Luddites 200 and a group of environmental and social justice organisations organised a teach-in in London on the RIO+20 summit, which is coming up in June. The summit is 20 years on from the 1992 Earth Summit, which gave us the UN convention of Biodiversity and Agenda 21, and was regarded by many as a high point for the global environmental movement. This time round, there seems to be nothing by way of binding international agreements on offer: instead there will be a general political declaration and some attempts to beef up the UN environmental organisations. More alarmingly the summit seems set to endorse plans for the ‘green economy’, plus technological ‘fixes’ for climate change, including synthetic biology and geoengineering.
Many environmental and social justice organisations, both in Britain and the global south have criticised the ‘green economy’ as yet another attempt to enclose and then commodify nature. The basic idea is that conservation of bio-diversity cannot happen until a financial value is put on eco-systems such as forests, wetlands etc. Once these are properly valued they can be included in economic calculations and in financial derivatives, thereby creating a market in them as has already happened for carbon emissions. Groups such as Via Campesina have denounced these plans as yet another attempt by northern corporations to get their hands on bio-diversity that forms the common heritage of humanity.
Meanwhile, highly dangerous technologies such as synthetic biology (also known as ‘extreme genetic engineering’) and geoengineering are being re branded as ‘green’ technologies that are essential to combat climate change. At our event speakers from ETC Group, Econexus and Bio Fuels Watch explained the dangers of these technologies and how such techno fixes actually undermine the crucial task of cutting carbon emissions. In the closing plenary a speaker from the One Million Climate Jobs Campaign explained how switching to renewable energy technologies, and boosting efforts to redesign and insulate buildings can not only help solve the climate crisis but also address the economic crisis. The overall message was that a sustainable society cannot be achieved without economic justice. We are hoping to add audio and video recordings of the day’s events to the website.
The event was timed to coincide with a London scientific/corporate conference called Planet Under Pressure at the Excel centre in London, the organisers of which are advocating the use of synthetic biology and geoengineering as key solutions for climate change. General Ludd decided to send two representatives to make his feelings about the conference known (see photo) whilst climate justice group Rising Tide invaded the conference stage during a speech by a Shell executive, and were warmly applauded by large sections of the audience. For General Ludd’s comments on the conference, see here.
Luddites200 Gathering on Technology: save the date
In September Luddites200 are planning a major event, which aims to create a new Luddite movement for the 21st Century, which aims to bring together technology politics activists working on the widest possible range of technology politics issues, plus trade unionists, academics and others interested in Luddism. The purpose of the event is to strengthen the politics of technology by learning from each others experiences, so that more attention is given to the importance of technology in radical movements.
The event will be held either from 13th – 16th September or 20th – 23rd September, so please put these dates in your diary. We will be aiming to make the event as cheap as possible to attend, so it will probably be held at a youth hostel or similar venue where camping will be available.
Forthcoming Technology Politics Events
This year there are active campaigns against nuclear power and GM foods which Luddites200 supports, and we encourage people to support the following events:
11th April 5:30pm             Protest against biomass industry conference, Marriott Hotel, 147 Cromwell Road, London, SW5 0TH, organised by Biofuelwatch & Campaign Against Climate Change.
20th – 22nd April            Sizewell protest camp
3rd May                       Climate Justice Action, Biofuelwatch & Campaign Against Climate Change.
27th May                     Stop GM protest against GM wheat trial

Other Luddite Events

There have been some changes to the calendar of Luddite celebration events over the next few months, as well as some new events added, so please take a look at the attached PDF for the latest and most accurate details.

Calendar of Events March Update