What an AMAZING week at Reclaim the Power action camp.
An action camp is where people come together for several days to learn from each other and to take action on an issue. Reclaim the Power is about taking action against climate change and extreme energy (such as fracking). The group organises horizontally meaning that they are anti-hierarchy and work to increase equality, using techniques such as consensus decision making. Hundreds of people not only attend but work to create the camp, it’s workshops and it’s actions with people encouraged to learn and take on responsibility.
During the camp I was co-ordinating the toilets. Many of the people organising parts of the camp were completely new to the group at last years camp. By having several people shadowing a role and continually bringing new people in to roles you can very quickly grow the capacity of the movement.
As well as a march in Blackpool there were 13 different ‘affinity groups’ who undertook direct actions and protest against fracking. An affinity group is a group of people with similar aims who come together to take action on something. Direct action is where rather than ask for someone else (e.g. a politician) to do something for you, you do it yourself. So if you think something is harmful and should shut down, you don’t just ask, but you go and try to shut them down. Protesting is very similar and can even involve the same activities but is designed to get a third party to take action. One group blockaded DEFRA because of a redacted government report to demand the full version be released. Others put themselves in the way of fracking companies.