The Eco-Village is not just a place to organise blockades against the G8. it's also a the place to have a great time, and a memorable experience.
The gates of the camp are now open as thousands of Britons and Internationals begin to arrive at the site just a few miles from Stirling.
These distinct communities have names: Kiwi, Samba, and Sheffield are just a few. They should have their own kitchens, camping/sleeping and social spaces. However, they should communicate and co-operate so that the village is run collectively.
Activists were busily making preparations for the arrival of several thousands British and international visitors due to arrive at the weekend, who should present themselves at the welcoming–gate tent, where will be briefed and asked for a contribution towards costs.
The site itself is about 40 minutes from Stirling rail and bus stations. It is located within the large sweeping U-bend of the river at fourth next to the football/sports at Fourthbank . The Eco-village is rapidly taking form by the labour and ingenuity of about 60 activists and helpers. By midmorning today Thursday the number present had risen to about 250.
Day visitors should be welcome too, be they locals or tourists. The locals seem to be warming to the presence of the camp in their vicinity after very negative propaganda from the authorities. A local couple who was taking a look at the camp said they felt very comfortable now they had seen what was going up and met some of those that had already arrived, and the message was getting through to others too.
One of the organisers said that up to 5,000 could be catered for, although they didn’t know how exactly many would be coming. This potentially very large number of visitors can look forward to a friendly welcome, and the prospect of good wholesome vegetarian and vegan food at relatively low cost, as well as all the excitement that is part of such a large scale international mobilisation..
The site has a rugged beauty – typical of the natural landscape that makes up a large part of Scotland. It that should provide a memorable experience in other ways too: in co-operative and ecologically living. The intention is to provide a space for positive learning experiences, and the sharing of knowledge and culture between people from all around the world.
However, the rural convergence is being set up as a base for direct actions and activities to oppose and, if not stop the G8 process in its tracks this year, at least interfere with its running, and influence its outcome.
For detailed information refer to www.dissent.org.uk where the ideas behind this autonomous camp are explained in more detail; links to sustainable ecologically living are given; and details of the planned actions to blockade the G8 are outlined. This is the Dissent network web-site, which is providing the Eco-camp and facilitating the Horizontal zone of “collective communities”.
Additionally to the Horizontal-zone is a specifically marked out area for People and Planet, whose kitchen is being provided by the Anarchist Tea-pot and further support for their young members by a group called Prayer-I58 (prayer- I58.org.uk) – who are actually going to be located in the horizontal zone.
They are a group of radical Christians who are going to erect a tent that anyone on the camp can use for prayer and meditation. This is a new thing at international mobilisation convergence spaces and was not realised without controversy.
Graham, who was an instigator of “I58” is more comfortable being known as a facilitator. He told me, whilst drying out around the builder’s kitchen camp fire, that they have “rejected the state as the solution” [to things like debt related poverty], and they are searching for other solutions - feeling that discussions and workshops at the H-Zone may help lead them to these solutions.
When I arrived – and was received at the welcoming gate – advice was proffered. Three of those tips are worth noting here; three nasty things to be avoided. Don’t touch the Hogweed - a densely growing wild weed around the camp, it stings. And take advice on how to avoid midges, they bite.
Thirdly, a very firm warning was given on arrival to “ KEEP AWAY THE RIVER!” - drowning is the likely consequences of going in– it being tidal river near an estuary. And there nearly was a fatality a few days before when high drama descended on the camp in the form of an over adventurous male. Apparently he was an anti-G8 campaigner.
According to the Stirling Observer, a fatal tragedy was averted after a team of about 30 people, including 14 police officers, 6 coastguards, a two-man underwater diving team, a rescue boat and a helicopter were called out. Following talks with a Royal Navy winch-man
The man, who had only arrived at the camp earlier that day, agreed to come ashore. He spent the night under observation n the Royal Stirling Infirmary. The authorities would probably have closed the camp down if there were to be a death, one if the camp facilitators told me.
For several of the activist there, the major reasons for the camp existing is to provide a base or those who want to travel G8 related protests and actions. And, more specifically, how to deal with confrontation from the police, and how to take direct action including blockading when the G8 begins its meetings next Wednesday July 6.
So the camp could be a place to form affinity groups with which to organise blockading actions when the G8 begins. The mainstream media has reported that blockading is expected too. It is also very likely that the police will have a presence in the camp, mainly gathering intelligence about what might be planned, and relaying back to HQ so police can be sent in numbers to locations.
This can be inferred from statements made by police to the media at press conferences and on BBC Radio Scotland Today. Simple personal security measure can be taken to avoid helping the police in their repression of legitimate protest – “Excess paranoia can be destructive” is what one activist told me. “Because the state would like to disrupt actions in anyway whatsoever.”
But nevertheless an important, productive and enjoyable experience is to be had at the Eco-village during the week of the G8, by most accounts. And there’s lots of entertainment and healthy activities to enjoy too, like, Hill-Walking on Tuesday and Wednesday. So check out the info pints at the camp, or refer to the DISSENT and Indymedia web sites for guidance. [ www.dissent.org.uk ]
There should be a shuttle bus provided by the camp at peak times.
There is a large Morrison’s supermarket 3 minutes walk from the camp, but the camp will be providing cheap very health vegan and vegetarian food
Camp Telephone: 07919840697.