A birthday message from Louis in prison

Louis McKechnie was sent to prison to await trial on July 5th for taking part in an action in support of Just Stop Oil. His case is expected to be heard in February 2023. Today is is 22nd birthday.

Sitting in HMP Peterborough on my 22nd birthday, I’d like to reflect on the year gone by. On my last birthday I was sent to HMP Thameside for my role in the Insulate Britain campaign. A lot has changed since then: the cost of living crisis and climate crisis have gotten worse and government inaction is costing more lives by the day. More citizens than I can count have been imprisoned for resisting these “leaders” and COP27 has somehow achieved even less than COP26 last year.

Fortunately, our societal undercurrent has changed too. As more and more anger builds against this genocidal government, we have taken great strides. Masses of people from all walks of life have come around to the idea that something needs to change. If you asked each of us political prisoners a year ago if they could see themselves stepping up as they have, you would likely hear a lot of nos, including from me. But many have now realised, despite how unfair it is, that nobody else is coming to save us. And so, they have taken a leap of faith, as I have. I don’t know one of us who regrets it.

Next year it could go one of two ways: we collectively step up to protect life on this planet, or we don’t. That’s the choice we all have. Some of the most courageous actions we’ve seen recently have been from very new rebels who, until recently, never believed themselves the type. That’s what gives me faith that my generation still has a future. So thank you to all of you for the hope you give me. I can’t wait to see who and what emerges next.

I didn’t expect to spend this birthday in prison, but I’m comfortable enough. If it means inspiring those continuing business as usual to have that nagging feeling that they should be doing more to take a leap of faith, then I’d spend my next birthday in here too. What we are trying to protect is bigger than any one of us. No matter what the state takes from me I’ll be glad to have given it to increase my generation’s odds of survival.

With love and rage,