Criticism without Critique: A Climate Camp Reader

A document collecting various critiques of the 2000s Climate Camp movement. Originally produced by Shift Magazine and Dysophia.

Submitted by R Totale on April 21, 2019


1. Editorial
2. Aims & Principles of the Camp for Climate Action
3. An open letter to neighbourhoods(autonomous anarchist campers)
4. The Climate Camp on Blackheath Common (Shift Magazine)
5. Critiquing Climate Camp (g.r.o.a.t.s.)
6. Climate Camp & Us (Anarchist Federation)
7. Hijacked by a hardcore of liberals (Jessica Charsley)
8. Too self-regarding to be effective (Peter Beaumont)
9. Where next for Climate Camp (Stuart Jordan)
10. Letter from a “liberal”& response from the editors
11. The “Where Next” minutes
12. Other relevant articles


In January & February 2010, the Camp for Climate Action will go through a period of introspection as it works out where it shall go next. While in some ways the Camp has been a success, it has also come under a barrage of criticism from some quarters within the radical movements that spawned it.

To help this debate, we have put together a set of resources and relevant articles to inform and spark discussion relating to this criticism. Our bias is obvious, though the opinions expressed are those of the authors alone. Whether you agree with them or not, we believe they are worth taking on board. We hope at least that you feel confident answering their challenges, rather than just dismissing them.
Now is the time for the Camp to examine its politics in more depth, to work out just what it stands for. This is a cross-roads in its development, to continue down a path of ever increasing liberal, reformist approach, or to be the noisy radical, pointing out all the white elephants in the climate change debate. The future of the movement around the camp is being shaped here. The decisions being made now will have profound impacts on who is and who is not involved in the future.

The Camp for Climate Action grew out of the radical anarchist and environmental movements, a synthesis of the organisational skills developed at the Anti-G8 protest camp at Stirling, and the ecological direct action movements such as Earth First! The perception that emerges from these criticisms is this has been lost along the way.

We accept that this booklet makes challenging reading and that we offer little in the way of solutions. These, we believe, must come from within the camp itself. However, it is apparent that there is a need for two things. Firstly, a greater visibility for the anarchist roots within the day to day life of the CCA process and proposals. Secondly, and just as important, a more open and explicit critique of capitalism and how it is the root cause of climate change.

If we do neither out of fear of a mainstream media backlash, then we are reduced to being another NGO. Yet, the power of the Camp has always been the promise of a genuine alternative action in the face of prevarication and obstruction from governments and corporations–now is the time to spell that critique out and use it to build real alternatives, not legitimising the system we complain of. It was the strength of the Camp's founding critiques that gave it the boldness its subsequent successes have rested on.

Ultimately, the message of the Camp is a very radical one – that radical social change is needed, especially if we are to tackleof the root causes of climate change. The answer is not to water down our actions and our messages, but to be bolder than ever. That is the excitement and power that gives the Camp its life.

- Shift & Dysophia, January 2010


cca_reader.pdf (334.32 KB)


R Totale

5 years 2 months ago

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Submitted by R Totale on April 21, 2019

If anyone has the time, it might also be worth trying to archive some of the articles listed in the "Related articles of interest" section at the end - from a quick look, I can see that the Cambridge Anarchists site that hosted one of the articles has already gone offline in the decade or so since these debates were had.