The Camp is Dead! Long Live the Camp!
Posted by KM on January 29, 2009
Climate Camp has been momentous – the creativity and ingenuity of its participants has led to a sum much greater than it’s parts. Theory has been manifest in our action; not as individuals or bureaucracies, but as collectives, we have played a significant role in elevating the level of public consciousness and forcing the governments hand on the climate bill. Movements are building – residents in Sipson have shifted from a cautious optimism, at best, to a full-fledged support of our shared goals. Audacious actions across the country are serving as a clarion call to people of all ages – runways are occupied, offices are blockaded and trains are brought to a halt. The results of our collective actions are tangible.
Yet there will be no dissenting voices to the proclamation that it has not gone far enough, that we have not achieved enough, that we have not even come close to achieving our goals. If we are to progress, we must not succumb to an inertia that leaves us stunted, unable to shout because we find ourselves gagged, unable to act because we are backed into a corner. Let this serve as a warning – the flight we take from here is less important than escaping the impending inertia, any flight will do, as long as we escape inertia.
The first and second camps were uncontainable – we weren’t actors in a play that had already been written, we were storming the theatre. As unknown quantities with unknown qualities, it wasn’t an image of us that was being portrayed; we were moving too fast to be traced. This is when the Camp was at its peak, when no one could speak for us, when no image would suffice to replace what we were or why we were here – it was when messages resonated as we hoped and the words to our songs were heard clearly.
Yet our methods are perilously close to being captured and turned against us; we should fear our energy and creativity being channelled into the role of the Other, we should fear being Orientalised. The third was the first clear warning shot, the stench of inertia was first sniffed when the story began to be told on our behalf – no one noticed us storm the theatre, by the third night the playwright was expecting us and had folded us into the script. Having come to terms with the initial fracas, we were found to improve the story; like ‘nature’ to modern man, we have been cast in the role of the irrational plebeian, the perfect counterweight to the rational aristocrat.
The story has been written and our role has been cast – we must move quickly!
To avoid being snared we need to disappear like the Tute Bianchi, we need to take heed from the warning shot and metamorphose with speed. The Climate Camp – but only as we have known it – has had its curtain call, yet there will be no tears in this theatre (the actors are going on to better things). If we are creative in our flight, then the warning shot will sound like a starting gun. We ought not be scared of doing new things, in fact we have no choice – the change itself will be the inauguration of a more intensive movement.
This warning does not serve to tell us what the future should be; it is it to tell us what the future is. It is up to us to change this future. We must make tactical decisions, not ideological ones. We must consider our targets, then work out how to achieve them.
G20. G8. Decennial. Copenhagen.
(And for the record: mass action is too slow, we needed masses of action!)