I attended Climate Camp at Blackheath in summer of 2009. I was attracted to attend because I wanted to find out about alternative political movements, and to find out what sort of grassroots political actions were happening in response to the financial crisis, the environment, and the apparent national democratic deficit.
I felt that discussions and activities were open to everyone and I felt comfortable attending. I learned some new things from the workshops that took place. I was sceptical about some of the anarchist principles behind the organisation of the camp, such as the way meetings were organised. This was supposed to be inclusive and democratic and to allow everyone to express their views, but I don’t feel it achieved this as the more outgoing people obviously took command of discussions and events.
I was disappointed with the lack of cohesive vision or strategy behind the actions that took place as part of the event. Many of them were stunts (such as people gluing themselves naked to buildings) which were designed to attract media attention, and although they did this, the attention was fleeting and the action did not seem to communicate any obvious political message. It seemed to me to reinforce the view that the activists were a load of young people messing about.
I would not attend further climate camps mainly for this reason. A more coherent political vision and organisational structure, with more clearly political actions such as marches, would make me more likely to attend. I would like the political left to organise around a vision that integrates issues such as class, workers rights, identity, and the environment, rather than the fragmented movement that climate camp appeared to be.