Climate Camp has traditionally offered three things – it showcases sustainable living, it offers a programme of radical education and throughout there is a commitment to undertaking effective non-violent direct action.
Climate Camp Lewes certainly did this well. A local camp with a local focus, the response has been positive to the point of an embedded, local-driven occupation being a realistic legacy.
A criticism of previous camps has been that a hit-and-run approach empowers few people from the local community and presents the powers-that-be with a noticeable, but nonetheless limited, source of irritation.
Here in Lewes there is an opportunity for a Grow Heathrow-style community-activist squat-project which could truly get under the skin of both the County Council and the destructive companies who will line their pockets when flattening the lot and ordering the concrete to be poured.
But words are useless. We are in a seriously affluent town, and regardless of the generally agreeable sentiment, without feet on the ground and a willingness to go nose-to-nose with the bailiffs, cops and nay-sayers, we are looking at a pipe-dream…
But I’m sick of ritualistic activism… I’m sick of meeting once a week and going through the motions… to locking on to this or that… we need embedded sites with staying power… and we need them everywhere…
Whether the threatened site in Lewes has the ingredients to hold fast is irrelevant. It’s the principle that matters. We need a shift change in both how we think about our activism and how we think the largest impact can be made.
It can no longer be about using direct action to chase column-inches in the hope of influencing some suits… The change and inspiration has to come from us… direct action as a show of our collective-power, unity and anger.
If we are to be anything more than ‘weekend warriors’ flitting between smart-phones and black masks, we need to dig-in… to lead by example and put our full-weight behind projects which don’t only reach those who already know what ‘consensus decision making’ looks like, but those who have never had an opportunity to imagine – let alone experience – a genuine alternative.
Words of a climate camper taken from Brighton Climate Action.