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select bibliography on new social movements, urban commons, and anti-globalisation protest
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East London primary sources

environmental protest and county identity

I’m interested in the overtly ‘county’ identity displayed by the anti-fracking campaigns.

Lancashire has been at the forefront, and the campaign there uses the ceremonial county flag (i.e pre-1974) of a red rose on a yellow background. The photos in this recent Guardian article also show the Yorkshire campaign using the old flag of white rose on blue background too:

Usually site-specific protests retain a distinctly local identity, a defence of local communities, though often with connections to a wider (sometimes) global campaign. In this case, although the fracking sites are in places that could be defended at a local level, the county is the dominant identity. I also recall the ‘save the forest’ campaign in 2010-11 against the government’s plan to sell off publicly-owned forests, notably the protests at Grizedale in the Lake District. Then I don’t think the county served that unifying identity, but I would need to look more into this.

I’m sure cultural geographers of resistance have already studied the campaign and its tactics, and the Guardian claims that the protests are starting to make a real impact on the progress of the industry. What I’ve witnessed is how the anti-fracking campaign has already been integrated firmly in the canon of people’s protest in Lancashire – I’ve not made it to the annual Blackstone Edge Chartist gathering this last couple of years, but in 2017, anti-fracking lyrics were put to traditional protest song tunes, alongside songs celebrating the NHS, and the older song book of labour, socialist and Chartist songs.

The late Alun Howkins always lauded the working-class tradition of environmental protest, including in a survey article in History Workshop Journal, ‘From Diggas to Dongas’, and Briony McDonagh and Carl Griffin’s revisiting of that tradition in their work on a neo-Diggers community similarly show how direct action goes alongside other tactics in a long and perhaps under-appreciated thread of plebeian environmentalism.

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