Until recently in the UK Climate Camp could, with some justification, have been called the most dynamic force in activism. Now that baton has passed to the anti-cuts movement, and specifically the Occupy movement.
There are lots of similarities between Climate Camp and Occupy.
- Both have strong anti-capitalist leanings (it’s not true to say that to a (wo)man they’re all anti-capitalist)
- Both have their primary tactic in the title
- That tactic usually involves taking and holding a symbolic location and creating an autonomous and sustainable zone, however temporary
- Those autonomous zones are one element of practicing alternative social structures. Other aspects often include using consensus decision-making and non-hierarchical organising, or at least attempting to
- Both use direct action
- They believe themselves to be useful entry points for newcomers to their particular form of activism
- Their core support is the mainstream of activist culture in the UK – white, middle class and educated, although both might consider themselves at the radical end of that culture
- They’re proactive with the media and have caught the attention of the mass media
Given the similarities it seems appropriate to have a conversation about lessons that Occupy groups could usefully learn from Climate Camp. Climate Camp had some undoubted successes, but slowly and inexorably self-destructed (or at least ground to a halt). So we’re going to have that conversation, and who better to have it with than you and Dwight Towers, a fierce critic of some of Climate Camp’s choices and culture, and an equally fierce proponent of effective movement building.
So lets start nice and broad and see where it gets us…. We’ll use the comments function to keep the conversation going over the next week or so, so bookmark the page, and more importantly join in. Over to you and Dwight.
QUESTION: What are the most important lessons that Occupy Groups can draw from the Climate Camp (here in the UK, or the many international Camps) or indeed similar movements?