On Wednesday, hundreds of activists executed a mass land squat and set up this year’s Climate Camp, or Camp for Climate Action. You should be there!
The Camp is something pretty special, a massive community of people set up on a patch of parkland in South-East London complete with kitchens, toilets and a cinema. The aim of the camp is to take action to fight climate change and environmental destruction.
Previously these camps, gatherings of up to 2,000 people, have targeted sites of polluting industries. The first camp in 2006 was next to Drax, Britain’s’ biggest coal fired power plant. In 2007, the target was the site of the proposed new runway at Heathrow airport. In 2008 it was the Kingsnorth coal plant which the government intends to rebuild as part of a whole new generation of coal-fired power stations – the dirtiest kind.
London was chosen as a sight this year because this has been the year in which to argue that the global ecological crisis is rooted in ‘the economic system’, with the City of London at its centre.
The idea that the trashing of our planet is based on an economic system that means the whole of society is based only in the interests of a tiny minority, the bosses’ class, should come as no surprise to us. The crisis this system has gone through this year, the job losses, the wage cuts and cuts in public services have demonstrated the willingness of those who run society to wreck human life. This is the same logic that drives the recklessness with which human economic activity is treating the planet. These people would throw millions on the scrapheap, launch wars and turn farmland into desert to protect their power and wealth.
It is becoming increasingly clear that climate change if not stopped will have a catastrophic impact on our lives and the lives of millions across the world. Food, water, land and almost every other resource will start to experience more and more shortages. People will be forced to migrate and conflicts over what is left will become more and more intense.
Who will bear the brunt of the consequences of greater environmental crisis in this society that has placed the weight of the crisis of the banks so clearly on the shoulders of working-class people?
The question almost answers itself. We need to organise around every front on which we are under attack, with the basic message that we won’t pay for their crisis.
Workers’ Climate Action, came from a group of activists involved in the climate camp who saw working-class struggle as the key to fighting the destruction of our planet. We are a network of anarchists, socialists, trade unionists and other activists who organise together.
We think that the fightback of workers against bosses’ attacks can lead to workers’ raising the question of ‘who runs the workplace?’ and eventually fighting to gain control of their industries, running them according to human need, and re-shaping society for the better.
As many people as possible should come to the Climate Camp. Talk to people, share stories, get experience, be inspired to organise and fight back. We do not accept the bosses’ and politicians’ future!
The Four aims of the camp.
There is a programme of over 100 workshops at the camp. This includes discussions, film showings and meetings on different campaigns and struggles in Britain and around the world, both as a way of sharing information, ideas and support as well as organising. Topics range from ‘climate science for beginners’ to ‘DIY wind power’. There are also a number of practical workshops on a load of general skills for political organising – how to run meetings, use the media, the internet, make banners and write leaflets.
The camp aims to be a model of how it is possible to build ways of living that do not wreck the planet or exhaust its resources. This means cooking, washing, using electricity and all those kinds of things are done using ingenious and often DIY low-impact technologies, which makes it a great place to get skills in that kind of thing – 12V electricity, bike fixing etc. But the way people actually live at the camp is just as much a part of demonstrating a better way of living; people make decisions, eat, and work together, everyone contributes. It gives you an idea of what a society based on the idea of real democracy, cooperation and solidarity rather than bosses’ profit might look like.
In the coming period, further cuts in jobs and services and the fightbacks against them, further anger at wars and environmental destruction, mean that our movement needs to get itself ready and prepared to go beyond protesting with placards and signing petitions. We are faced with increased police violence and more aggressive tactics by bosses against workers.
The examples of where people have fought back and won are often where they have adopted more imaginative and militant tactics. Workers’ facing redundancy at the Visteon plant in Enfield occupied their factory and won a massive increase in redundancy. The closure of Lewisham Bridge School was stopped by parents occupying its roof. Students in dozens of Universities went into occupation in protest at the war in Gaza.
The environmental movement has skills and experience in the tactics of direct action. The camp itself was set up by hundreds of people using their numbers in a coordinated organised way to seize a piece of land. We will need to know how to do such things. We need to get ourselves ready for the fights ahead.
People come to climate camp to link up and make solidarity. If you are part of a dispute, campaign or struggle, use the camp as a space to spread information, build support, get organised, get new people involved. Use it as an opportunity to link up with others.