climate action cafe

A space for discussion and analysis within the global climate movement

An Open Letter to the Climate Camp Neighbourhoods

Posted by KM on September 10, 2008

People who were at the UK 2008 Camp for Climate Action may remember this letter – it was written at the camp, as a response to some of the workshops and discussions that were happening, and it was read out at neighbourhood meetings.

We are a large group of anti-authoritarian participants in the climate camp. Many of us have put a great deal of time and energy into preparing and setting up the camp this year.

We are writing to express our deep concern with the direction that the debates at the camp have taken in the past days. In more than one workshop we have heard calls from the podium for command-and-control and market orientated measures to address climate change. The responses to these proposals have been far too polite.

While we recognise the importance of creating a welcoming and non-sectarian space, we feel that the camp risks loosing contact with its anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian roots and appearing as a gathering that lends its support to top-down, state-centred responses to the crisis that climate change and energy depletion pose for capitalism. As a result, even the mass action is now likely to be interpreted as a gesture of support for tightened social control and austerity measures visited upon the population, rather than expressing resistance to the exploitative obsession with economic growth that has precipitated the present crisis.

In order to re-establish the crucial place of a radical perspective married to action at the core of the climate process, we therefore propose that the camp adopt the following principles as a statement of unity that will guide current discussions and future convergences:

1. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalization.

2. We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious fundamentalism of all creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.

3. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organisations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker.

4. A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements’ struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples’ rights, as well as the construction of local alternatives to global capitalism.

5. An organisational philosophy based on decentralisation and autonomy.

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