Southampton vine & fig tree planter Lizzie Jones imprisoned Tuesday, September 19, 2006 by Reading Magistrates’ Court
In August 2005, Lizzie had taken part in planting of vines and fig trees (see Micah 4:3) inside and outside of the grounds of the AWE, Aldermaston, and was subsequently ordered to pay £201 compensation to the Ministry of Defence for criminal damage to the wire fence. Lizzie has refused to pay the Ministry of Defence on principle, but had written and offered to pay “in kind”, namely by offering her artistic services by painting a mural or decorating a room at the Establishment. However, the Ministry of Defence had not replied.
The Court take time to accept changes and as a result of her courageous refusal to pay, jailed Lizzie for seven days.
Background: 29th August 2006 Reading Magistrates Court
Two Vine and Fig (Post Protest) Planters risked a rainy day at Reading Magistrates Court ton 29th August to initiate changes they wanted to occur and so avert the payment of a compensation claim at AWE Weapons Establishment Aldermaston.
In proactive resistance change is initiated by the nonviolent calm interventionist, it is not left to the state or to institutions to decide, dominant narratives are replaced by creative live giving alternatives which make for change to happen.
Planter painter Lizzie took it upon herself to be freed up, to be at Reading magistrates court to deal with the compensation claim being made by the MOD and bailiffs.
Initially they were told they had come on the wrong day, however this did not thwart the Planters who had definitely had been thinking that this was the correct day. The exchange was artistic in itself. There is actually only ever time in the NOW to make change occur.
Painter Planter Lizzie said she would not pay the compensation on matter of principle, though added that being accountable was also on her agenda and that she wanted instead to offer the Ministry of Defence/ Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston staff alternative options to the non negotiable desire they had for payment in monies. The fines officer after friendly banter agreed to write to Ministry of Defence and offer the listed alternatives for the money they were told that they would not be getting.
The very real options made were to offer AWE Aldermaston staff / MOD staff an invitation to view [as special guests] an art exhibition which contained a large painting of the 2005 Vine and Fig tree planting intervention, to complete a commission for AWE Aldermaston of fruit trees or to gift to AWE Aldermaston a cushion for their quiet room ofr contemplation / reflection.
The final option offered was to request that AWE Aldermaston accept an invitation for planters to return to AWE Aldermaston for an invited planting. Invitations are wonderful things.
Painter Planter Lizzie was told to return to court in three weeks time for further dialogue, which she welcomed. Usher Malcolm (from Newbury) was also present (having been posted to reading. He remembered us and we had friendly banter. He considered he might be able to pop into the Bargate in Southampton to see the picture himself when about.
Tuesday: 19th September 2006 – Reading Magistrates Court
Lizzie returned to court with lovely supporters to find there had been no response from the Ministry of the Fence (MOD) and Atomic Weapons Establishment to her kind art offers.
So today she restated to the court that she would not pay the compensation monies. Lizzie highlighted the alternative options she wanted to offer (see above) – the court recognising she wanted to pay in art kind this time did not take it kindly to heart and
Decided to give her a 7 day holiday break at HMP Bronzefield, Middlesex.
Painter Planter Lizzie was prepared for this and had believed that it was already hinted at earlier that morning when she had porridge for breakfast funny how breakfast is a good time as any to to face your fears. ‘FREEDOM TASTES GOOD LIKE PORRIDGE’.
There is never a good time to go to prison, when you feel that inner warmth inside that says aloud porridge time heed it.
In proactive resistance change is initiated by the nonviolent calm interventionist, it is not left to the state or to institutions to decide, dominant narratives are replaced by creative live giving alternatives which make for change to happen. Planter painter L took it upon herself to be freed up, to be at Reading magistrates court to deal with the compensation claim being made by the MOD and bailiffs – she needed holiday too.
In Peace Les Gibbons
Liz Jones collaborative art
See her recent collaborative art with the police in a prominent Southampton gallery: Liz Jones’ piece, ‘vine and fig tree planting’, comes from the planting August 2005 at Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston. The public are encouraged to kneel on the kneeling cushions and look through the police evidence albums. A prophecy was lived out in the action as it was brought into being. The art tells the story, broadens the audience and explores resonances around the action.