The best camp ever
Monday 1 September 2008 by Antoine
Selforganisation was the key word when 550 young revolutionary met up in the Spanish State for a week of discussion and coordination – among many topics was the organization of precarious workers at McDonalds, Islam and feminism, sqauding and ecology and Marxism. “The best camp ever” was the message from those who had attended the camp before. And the ones who was there for the first time? They will definitely be back next year.
When Celeste got on the bus in Copenhagen, she knew that she would turn 18 before arriving at the International Socialist Youth Camp in the Spanish State. But she didn’t know that, by the end of the week she would have given her first speech ever. In front of 550 people. In English. And that’s exactly one of those things a week of selforganised camp for young revolutionaries can accomplish.
This years camp was the best camp ever, said the people that had attended before. And the ones who was there for the first time, is definitely coming back next year. But what was so amazing about it?
Well, one of the reasons must have been the inspiring political discussion about all sorts of things. From how the nuclear family is connected to patriarchy and capitalism to why the climate crisis can’t really be resolved without a complete break with the existing economical system. Or how Spanish comrades organise precarious workers at McDonalds and put enough pressure on the management to make them accept demands of better working conditions.
Another reason might be the fact that selforganisation in practise actually means that we do everything ourselves: cleaning toilets and preparing political speeches; preparing women and LGBT parties and taking political decisions about whether or not it should be allowed to swim naked in the pool or sell Nestlé products in the bar.
It may also have something to do with drinking games and singing workshops or the fact that even though many of the sixteen participants of the Danish delegation didn’t know each other when we left, many friends was made during that week – both in the delegation and with people from all over the world.
The Danish delegation contributed on many fronts to the political program of the week. We gave workshops on master suppression techniques, on Islam and feminism and the struggle for the Youth House in Copenhagen. We held speeches on the feminist struggle, on how LGBT is connected to Marxism and our experiences with building broad anti-capitalist parties. And we were active in the permanent comissions on climate changes and on young precarious workers and both in the women’s space and the LGBT-space. And somehow we managed to lift all of these tasks collectively within the delegation: Two comrades helped Celeste write her speech and everyone sat on the first row, cheering, when she delivered it with humour and persuasion. Gedved and Luna gave their workshop a test run in front of the whole delegation and our two Philippine comrades in a town nearby the camp. And the activities in the permanent workshops and in the spaces were discussed everyday at our daily delegation meetings.
One of the strengths of the International Youth Camp is that all of these discussions often turn into action after everyone has pulled down their tents and left. As an example, the permanent workshop on climate change meant that an international group is now mobilising for the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009 and the militants of LGBT-space are planning a seminar in Amsterdam in the summer of 2009. And in many workshops email addresses were exchanges along with the experiences so that people may stay in touch and coordinate and act together across boarders.
[Socialist Information –> www.socialistiskinformation.dk] will in the coming period have more articles about and inspired by this years camp. So stay tuned on the site.
Socialist Information is published by Socialistisk Arbejderparti, danish section of the Fourth International, and a current in the broad anti-capitalist party, Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) in Denmark