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(en) Britain, Anarchist journal, Resistance #88 - Drax, lies and videotape

Date Sat, 21 Oct 2006 10:01:28 +0200

Late August saw the establishment of a Climate Camp in the Yorkshire countryside.
The Camp consisted of workshops for people involved in environmental issues
and culminated in the blockading of the coal-fired power station, Drax, and a
nuclear power station in Hartlepool. The message was clear: we have to find
alternative, renewable and clean fuel sources now, but the nuclear option is
not acceptable. A wide-variety of different types of people attended, from
those who wanted to share ideas to angry activists eager to make a stand
against big business and government wrecking both the planet and people's lives.
Bolting for cover!
The Camp received a fair amount of media attention, including a smear campaign
on the part of the news agency Reuters.
The agency circulated a photograph of a
violent looking `protester' being arrested.
In fact, it was a farmer who had driven his
tractor at a group of activists! In another
Reuters story, dozens of people were ar-
rested for carrying concealed and offen-
sive weapons, when in fact these were tools
to be used on the actions: bolt croppers
are for taking down fences, Reuters, not
for attacking people, and the arrests were
mostly only for tresspass anyway.

Doing it our way
One reason why the camp was considered
so threatening, aside from its targeting of
the power stations, is perhaps that it dem-
onstrated that 600 people can establish a
sustainable living space and organise them-
selves in effective action on non-hierarchi-
cal lines. The camp consisted of
`neighbourhoods' as centres for decision
making. Each day issues affecting the whole
camp would be discussed (for example,
should cops be let on site and under what
circumstances, which occupied rather more
of the business of the meetings than some
would have liked). Two delegates were then
chosen by each neighbourhood to take its
opinion to a larger meeting of delegates,
who would discuss the matter further and
decide what to do.
The open nature of the decision making
made it easy to feel involved in the camp.
Although much advance planning had ob-
viously taken place (the site squatted and
made habitable, and the possible focus of
demonstrations explored, for example)
new-comers were not excluded from con-
tributing. The decision making suited the
nature of the camp. Large numbers of
people needed to make rapid decisions but
over a relatively short period of time. As
such it avoided unnecessary bureaucratic
inertia. It demonstrates one of the ways
forward in organising non-hierarchically in
campaigning and in action on other issues
relevant to working class people.
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