climate action cafe

A space for discussion and analysis within the global climate movement

What next for the Climate Camp?

Posted by KM on September 10, 2008

by Emilia

On one of my first mornings at this year’s climate camp, along with most of the other campers, I found myself sitting with my back to the legs of a police officer, defending the gate at 5.30 in the morning. In what was, for me, the most moving moment of the camp, on someone’s suggestion people started standing up and speaking about why they had come to the camp, what motivated them to be there. I did not speak at that time, but listened, and watched as police officers faces were softened, and they too were moved by the personal and passionate stories people told. I didn’t have anything to add to the discussion then, but now I want to tell you why I was at the camp, why I was proud to be there, and why I care about what happens next.

I came because of what unites us all – I care about climate change. I’m scared of what the future might bring if we don’t change things radically, and fast. I’m scared that it might already be too late. I want my future, my children’s future, the future of people on the other side of the world, to be one of peace and compassion, not a world of war and competition for too scarce resources. That’s what I care about, that’s why I was there, in front of the police, where I’d never been before. That’s why I want the rest of the people in this country, the 60,973,500 who were not at this camp but in whose name we struggle, to care with me, to have the will to act together, in solidarity, to face our frightening future with strength and courage.

For me, the genius and power of the camp is in its strength to unite us – we who understand what the future might bring and care enough to do all we can to stop the disaster, who care enough to use our bodies to take illegal direct action and to face the consequences with pride. Some people at the camp want to restrict its political position to explicitly anarchist, anti-capitalist, anti-globalisation doctrines. Not to consider ‘statist’ or ‘market’ solutions. We can spend years arguing about the meanings of those terms, about what they mean to the majority of people, about whether the end of capitalism would automatically lead to sustainable use of resources. But the urgency and scale of climate change is too big, too universal for political factionalism to bring us down. We can’t spend our 100 months telling people that anarchism is better than state socialism, that we must first bring down the vast edifice of global capitalism before we can do anything about greenhouse gasses. If we don’t all act together, in solidarity, to take fast and radical action on climate change, those debates will become meaningless.

I agree with George Marshall that success for the next camp would be 10,000 campers, living together sustainably and non-hierarchically, and descending on our next target by land sea and air – no one would be able to stop us then. And those people should want to be part of the camp whether or not they think confronting the police lines is fun and exciting, whether or not they want to bring down the state, simply because they want to do everything they humanly can do to stop our race to climate catastrophe, and because they want to be able to tell their grandchildren they were there.

Reference to George Marshall and Uri Gordon interview clip

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