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Reclaiming Power in Copenhagen.

R. Power | 29.12.2009 23:54 | COP15 Climate Summit 2009 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Social Struggles | Sheffield | World

A decisive step towards a global climate justice movement.

A political analysis of where we stand post-Copenhagen.

For many of us coming back from Copenhagen full of hope and energy, it was strange to see that many people who followed the summit from afar see what happened there as catastrophic. But it has been clear for some time that « at best » they were only going to impose their false (but highlyl profitable) solutions. Clear headed political analysts, like leading scientists such as James Hansen, were already saying that No Deal would be better than a Bad Deal. Finally the deal was so bad that it was impossible to impose (the so-called Copenhagen Accord was not agreed by all parties).

Appalled by our rulers’ greed and total irresponsibility, many don’t realise that this tragic farce - and the unified action of different grassroots networks - has opened a new political space where real solutions have a chance. As I write, Evo Morales's announcement of an alternative climate summit of social movements arrives. The space is widening. As one slogan put it « Who’s summit ? Our summit ! »

Reclaiming Power in Copenhagen
A decisive step towards a global climate justice movement

The French Revolution is generally said to have began when part of the clergy and minor nobilility deserted their respective assemblies, which had been convened by the king, to join the assembly of the commoners, the Third Estate. If the word gets out, perhaps the Reclaim Power and Peoples’ Assembly action of the 16th of December, will spark something as important.

That may sound pretentious. We were only a few thousand, only a handful made it briefly onto the grounds of the Bella Center and those inside were beaten back from joining us. But in Seattle too, it was just a few thousand kids who took the decisive action, and they only delayed the summit a few hours. In Copenhagen, the cops won tactically, but their violence only underscored our amazing political victory.
While the world’s powers lost all credibility, fighting among themselves to grab as much CO2 (that is to say as much production and profits) as possible, hundreds of accredited NGO delegates (our modern equivalent to the clergy of the Old Regime), and the governmental delegations of Bolivia, Venezuela and Tuvalu decided to leave the Conference in order to join the Peoples Assembly and discuss the real solutions.

That was our best case scenario.

We never dreamed that our enemies would be so stupid as to dramatise their fear of our action : excluding hundreds of NGOs that they suspected would join us, kidnapping the demo spokespersons and « leaders », seizing the sound truck and above all using clubs to drive back the demo of official delegates who tried to force their way out to join the Assembly. After the massive police infiltration, the dozens of arrests and the trumped up charges against Ya Basta people during the police attack on the assembly in Christiania two days before, the searches and seizures of all sorts of material (even bikes and banners !), this apparently irrational level of repression probably reflects how much power felt menaced by our project.

Very clearly, from the start the police plan was to disorganise our action, provoke us, then beat us up a bit and serve us to the media as a « riot ». But they hadn’t imagined that the demo- even without the sound truck or the « leaders » - would be capable of self-organising and continuing according to plan : trying to get in, assembly with speakers and small groups, compact march back, etc.
Some of the most experienced activists were disappointed that more material didn’t get to the fence, that more concerted efforts to get over didn’t happen, that the other blocks were neutralised so fast. But, although illegality and the practical efforts to break in were an absolutely essential part of our political statement, we mustn’t stay hung up on the purely concrete, tactical level. The objective was not to break in as such, it was to affirm practically our RIGHT to break in and hold an Assembly to talk of the peoples’ solutions. To make it impossible to ignore that there IS an alternative agenda. That was why holding the Assembly – be it finally just inside or just outside the fence – was the essential goal.

Most of the mainstream media had run off by the time the Assembly was held, but that didn’t affect the political importance of a march and an Assembly which brought together the northem activists of CJA with the most significant grassroots movements of the South . There were farmers movements of Via Campesina from all continents, Jubilee South and tmany other movements represented in the From Trade to Climate Caravan : the peoples of Oceania, the Philippine Fisherfolk, the landless of India, indigenous peoples of Mexico, Panama, Colombia and the Andes, etc. They are all menaced by climate change and totally reject a neo-neo-colonial aggression, which under the guise of « market solutions », seeks to make the South pay – more brutally than ever - for a new cycle of « green » capitalist expansion. But more importantly, they were there to offer real solutions, such as : food sovereignty, energy sovereignty, leaving the oil in the soil, re-localised production and another conception of « liviing well », which calls on the North to recognise its Climate Debt and radically question the capitalist project of infinite growth, over-production and over-consumption,

The critical point is that this Assembly was not a chance and fleeting moment. It marked a longer term convergence of different networks and political cultures : global networks of movements and progressive NGOs like Climate Justice Now and Our World Is Not For Sale, networks composed more of young northern activists like Climate Justice Action, the Climate Camps, old Peoples’ Global Action hands, etc. Political victories aren’t just about getting the better of the cops (and even less about the results of the official summit),. Victories are about coming out the battle more credible and more united than before. Credible : today, hopefully the people who imagined that it would be enough to pressure our rulers into a « good » deal, will better understand the necessity of building ourselves the solutions and imposing them through grass-roots popular power. United : since the Zapatistas called forth the anti-globalisation movement 13 years ago, there has never been such a broad alliance of organisations calling for « system change ».

Spontaneously, the same proposition came out ot the evaluations of CJA and CJN : organise People’s Assemblies everywhere, to tackle climate change issues at the local and regional level. These could organise against local sources of CO2 (in transport, for example) or false solutions (nuclear power, etc.), but also impose or construct directly real solutions (organising local food distribution systems). At the same time, by their links to the other assemblies, they would build a global movement, with a global day of assemblies next summer and a global day of action under the banner « System change not Climate change ! ».

So much for the ideas, but maybe its also important to talk of the spirit, the conviction and enthusiasm that made that demo and other moments in Copenhagen so magic for many. Objectively, we were practically kettled in by the cops, but it didn’t affect most people at all. There was no fear or powerlessness in the air. The march back, which had been rather dangerously announced as a « victory march », actually did rather feel like that. After eight hours in the cold and snow, the demo arrived in the center still compact and continuously belting out slogans. Even the last anti-repression demo was not only very large, it seemed to me to have an almost joyful feeling. For instance, the mother of an arrested spokesperson sang Janis Joplin and a song she had come to her during the Reclaim Power demo. People have to feel very sure of their ideas and very sure of each other for this kind of « moment of excess » to happen. As we marched through the night, a phrase came back to me again from Seattle : « We are winning .»

Now we all have to go home, get the word out and make it happen. Now its clear that we can only count on ourselves. The challenge is colossal, but everywhere there are people who know that we don’t have any other choice.

Olivier, from the Climate Caravan

The Reclaim Power action on the The Guardian’s video :
Video of The Peoples’ Assembly
And much more at

R. Power


Hide the following 21 comments

No more Days of Action

30.12.2009 01:37

"At the same time, by their links to the other assemblies, they would build a global movement, with a global day of assemblies next summer and a global day of action under the banner « System change not Climate change !"

Permanent assemblies seem like a great idea but Global Days of Action just push politics into building up and burning out from usually symbolic and spectacular actions. The point of permanent assemblies would be to organise in our everyday lives and this includes networking and federating so that every day is a day of assembly and action.


It's not either or.

30.12.2009 08:44

All very well Drongo but how do you get to the stage where "every day is a day of assembly and action"? The big problem we face is that another world doesn't seem possible to people even at a time when this world continuing seems pretty impossible itself.

You are right that the thing to work out is how do we get to the stage where anti-capitalism makes sense in everyday life and global days of action, while not enough on their own, will very likely play a role. They certainly have in the past.

R. Power

Good analysis, and positive views forward

30.12.2009 11:18

Thankyou for this post Olivier, I spent a lot of time in Copenhagen working with the caravan on the peoples assembly. It is good to hear your perspective on the outcomes, and also a call to move forward with more peoples assemblies. At the moment i'm still frustrated by what happened, but perhaps with time we will look back and see some of the significant turning points that did occur in Copenhagen.


the objective

30.12.2009 11:40

"The objective was not to break in as such, it was to affirm practically our RIGHT to break in and hold an Assembly to talk of the peoples’ solutions."

so maybe if we were clearer about our real objectives it wouldn't look like a failure to those who aren't in the know

next time let's just say 'we're going to march a bit in the cold, shout at the police a bit, get peppersprayed a bit, then sit down by a fence in the middle of nowhere and listen to speeches by poverty professionals and self-appointed representatives of "the people"'
that's how we make the revolution
just a shame the rest of the world is indeed ignoring us altogether

da peeple

How to?

30.12.2009 11:56

Local work around bread and butter issues is one of the answer to how we change the world. Such organsing is based in the very heart of problems and desires that manifest in our everyday lives. As such they are not activist campaigns for something that can seem like a cause or a symbolic pressure but something that comes from the daily experience of most people - housing, work, poverty, alienation, education, health, It's this work that creates very local groups that could network and turn into local assemblies.

Examples from the past in the UK that had some effect in getting things going could be the rent strikes, the massive workers resistance to austerity measures imposed due to recession and factory occupations of the 70s. Then there is the Miners Strike 84/85 and all the struggle to win fought by miners and their families and loads of people acting in solidarity. The Poll Tax struggle was based on massive and widespread non-payment organised locally by thousands of anti-poll tax groups. Other important histories are the massive demos in support of the NHS and also various feelings of support and solidarity shown to striking workers in the fire servives, the post and the transport sector. Also important are the various squatting campaigns of the 70s through to the 90's.

Looking back is inspiring but it also needs to be aware that times have changed. The social solidarity that was present in the 70's and 80's was in some sense based on knowing which side you were on. It wasn't about making a choice or a decision. It was just obvious. In these times, that sense of intuitive politics has been severely eroded by the huge increase in individualism and other factors (changes in laws, a sense of living in ahistorical times, massive increase in consumer lifestyle as opposed to collective and communal activity and so on).

But we face something that those who identify with the 'anti-capitalist' movement in Europe and the US have probably never faced before - severe austerity, massive cuts in public spending, wages cuts, redundancies, mass unemployment, harder state repression of communities. One response to this is for people to adopt a dog-eat-dog mentality of 'I've got mine' as we all scrabble around for work and houses. That would be accompanied by a increase in racism, xenophobia, domestic violence and further breakdown in any remaining social solidarity.

Another way is for people to organise in their local communities and at work to resist the recession and what it will bring. Some answers to this way of organising has always been to set up local free spaces - claimants centres, social centres, nurseries, free schools, social clubs, etc so that people begin to hang about with each other and talk and argue and raise the spirit to resist what is coming. This is what should be happening now (as does a little with some social centres despite some obvious problems of activ-ism). There is also a sense that looking at past times of struggle and resistance is useful - not necessarily the reference points of Seattle and Genoa and blah blah blah as in the main these events had little impact on most people's lives - but more so political history of where ever you live just to get a sense of how things happened before - who supported the miners, which streets had anti-poll tax groups, which different left and anarchist groups existed and what did they do that was good and what did they do that was crud. Which strikes have taken place etc. Producing radical history maps and holding radical history walks is a great way to meet people (better than public meetings!).

But, I stress again, these activities have to come out the lives people lead and this includes the daily lives of those setting things up. Otherwise it's just another round of those who think they know best usually preaching to themselves or the already converted.



30.12.2009 13:00

i sincerely suggest we 'find' a nice piece of land,with fresh water, possibly a river and/or lake, some fields that could hold veg, some woods to sustain and steward and land to live on, then seize the land and never leave it, developing it over the years and inviting others to join us. like christiania in jokenhagen, but over here in the uk and completely barricaded from government hassle and police repression. It would mean a massive fight with the state and the land owner, it would be the greatest struggle so far, surely, if 2000 libertarians took over some land that belonged to sir such and such,who gets millions a year for his farm land but gives the people nothing........

until we seize land and buildings to start showing the world our viable alternatives, we're just going to end up sounding like we want reform and slight change instead of 100% freedom to live as we please and desire. and buying land to share will not do, as the system still gains from us if we do. a complete and utter from the ground up over throw of the land ownership is where we should go next..........lets take the land and live on it and steward it - thats what it is for!!!!!!!! i need a home and im not buying one or continuing to rent. why should i go without land to work and trees and water to live near? why should i, a being of this lush planet, be driven into a home of bricks and concrete with all the mod cons when at the same time my life is without any natural freedom? yes i can choose to live outside this system, but i am a animal and i wish to return, hassle free, to my natural habitat.

we say we are anti-capitalists and revolutionaries...but when are we going to start taking the land back and barricading the state out of our lives?

come on brothers and sisters....use your imaginations....lets seize the land back and start from there. I propose a section of land on The Duke of Westminsters land be expropriated by hundreds of us at the same time and then we live there, sustainably, if so, and we dont leave. this will doubtless inspire others to do the same.

am i alone on this?

responses please....


No escape

30.12.2009 13:50

"yes i can choose to live outside this system, but i am a animal and i wish to return, hassle free, to my natural habitat. "

Capitalism is everywhere. It is not possible to live outside it.

Also as an animal I quite like hot water and electricity and wish to live in an anarchist society where these things are still in production and use. Ta

No Escape

quick addition

30.12.2009 13:52

here's some stuff about the duke of westminster and his land, just in case anyone was in doubt as to whether his land is a legitimate target for seizure.....

NOTE: some of this info could be wrong, and it is a few years out of date, but still....

The Duke, who lives in Eaton Hall, Eccleston, near Chester, born 22 December 1951. The billionaire Duke of Westminster owns many thousands of hectares in Britain, including the most valuable land in London, for which he receives rent of millions of pounds a week.

The Paul-Bert and Serpette flea markets in Paris are now owned by Westminster, 54, after a £35m deal. It marks another stage of the drive to expand his Grosvenor Group to international property. He also spent £35m on land for an apartment complex in Sydney, following on from a big Hong Kong development. But the group, owned by family trusts, is not neglecting its home patch. Grosvenor will start work on Bath’s Western Riverside development by the end of 2006. Westminster has vast estates in Lancashire and Cheshire, swathes of central London, in Mayfair and Belgravia, and tracts of land in Scotland, Canada and around the world. Grosvenor Group, his main property company, has net assets of £2.284 billion. About 200 acres of Belgravia are held in separate trusts worth an estimated £4 billion. He gave about £3.75m to charity in 2004, including £1m towards the upkeep of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Taking in dividends and his art, he is worth £6.6 billion.

The Duke married Natalia Ayesha Phillips in 78. The Duchess is a direct descendant of the Russian poet Alexander S. Pushkin as well as Ibrahim Hannibal, a captive from Ethiopia who grew up at a Russian court, became a godson of Peter the Great, and married women of Greek and German origin. The Duke and Duchess have four children:

An estimated fortune of £6.6 billion ($12.23 billion) derived from property in central London, where he owns 300 acres (1.2 km²) of the most exclusive commercial and residential property in Mayfair and Belgravia (including the land on which the USA Embassy stands), as well as estates in Lancashire, Cheshire (Eaton Hall) and Scotland. In addition to managing its traditional holdings, the Duke's property company, Grosvenor Group, is an active property developer with interests around the world. It is the main developer of The Paradise Project in Liverpool.

The Duke joined the TA (Territorial Army) in 70 as a Private. After long service he became Honorary Colonel in Chief of several regiments, including The Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry, 7th Regt. Army Air Corps, and the Canadian Royal Westminster Regiment and Colonel Commandant Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps. In 2004 he was appointed to the new post of Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets) with promotion to the rank of Major-General. He is the first reservist holding such rank since the 30s. Some wonder if the job was won through his connections.

2005 Ranking 3 Worth 2005: £5,600m

2006 Ranking 3 Worth £6,600m

During the foot and mouth episode of 2001 numerous stoes brought the duke into public attention.

The Duke gave £ half a million to farming communities during the foot and mouth issue in the UK he commented on the BBC Frost show "I can't in all honesty and I'm not here to criticise government policy or whatever, but I cannot in all honesty look you in the eye and say that it is under control. Having been, as I say, through the '67 foot and mouth outbreak it is not under control and I know that you'll be hearing later from the Chief Vet and others but it is quite clear that it is out of control and it is not just a crisis" Some say the duke was doing this as political exercise to get the farming community on his side.
In 2001 the shut his beloved herd of prize bulls into an airtight barn along with a vet and a farmworker to avoid foot-and-mouth disease. The Holstein bulls, which are extremely valuable, are used to produce semen for breeding programmes in the UK, and for export to the US, Australia and Europe.

In 2001 Britain's richest landowner, the Duke of Westminster, withdrew his bid to buy the troubled Millennium Dome. Grosvenor Estate Holdings, a property company owned by the duke, had formed a consortium with developers Stanhope, Quintain Estates and Lend Lease to turn the empty site into a theme park. But Grosvenor and Stanhope pulled out of the Meridian Delta consortium, reportedly leaving scientific research charity the Wellcome Trust as the main bidder for the south London site.

In 2002 a sacked housekeeper was stopped from disclosing confidential information about the Duke of Westminster. A High Court injunction has been granted, preventing Frances Hewson, 51, breaching a confidentiality agreement. The housekeeper lost a claim for unfair dismissal from her post at the duke's 11,000-acre estate in Eccleston, near Chester.

The title of Duke of Westminster was created by Queen Victoria in 1874 and bestowed upon Richard Grosvenor, the 3rd Marquess of Westminster. The title is derived from Westminster.

The Grosvenor family was well known in the Middle Ages when it unsuccessfully disputed the right to the coat of arms Azure a Bend Or with the more prominent Scrope family. In 1677, Sir Thomas Grosvenor married Mary Davies who was heiress of 500 acres of rural land on the outskirts of London. As London grew, this property became the source of the family's immense wealth, as it was developed into the fashionable areas of Mayfair and Belgravia, which remains the basis of the family fortune


am i alone on this?

30.12.2009 13:52

No you are not and here is not the place to talk but look here and you think we are dreaming then you do not know us get in touch what a joy to see others have come to same thought we have had for a long long time we want Anarchy not Anarchism just another Bureaucratised Revolution.

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.

What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites.

The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal.

We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?’

1984 George Orwell


30.12.2009 18:54

I'm with you there Fran if we can build some good quality houses on the land.


@ no escape

30.12.2009 20:06

An Attempt At Freedom Smashed
An Attempt At Freedom Smashed

Only Revolutionary Tactics Will Free Us
Only Revolutionary Tactics Will Free Us

Land Owning Enemy Of The Earth, Duke Of Westminster
Land Owning Enemy Of The Earth, Duke Of Westminster

@ no escape:

it is possible to live outside the system actually, plenty of people already do it quite well. I myself have lived in relative comfort as a traveller, completely seperate from the state. So your imagination is bounded by your evident small mindedness.

I was talking about a popular uprising of revolutionary squatters to take over some land owned by an aristocrat - i said nothing of not having water and electric. im well versed in sustainable and renewable energy sources, so please dont act/comment in a way that is clearly beneath you...I like warm water, i just dont want it to LITERALLY cost me the earth. i would like to utilise non detrimental, non enviro-impacting a primitivist, I can live easily within these parameters. cheers........

@ tich:
if the houses dont impact any surroundings detrimentally, and dont use resources that we know harm the nature around us, or come from exploitation or mean unsafe conditions,then yes, houses would probably be built. And if everyone held a consensus on the houses being built in a sustainable manner, then why the hell not? If we can get enough resources, why not? I personally wouldn't want to live in a house, but other squatters might want to build one, if they can, then good luck to them. I'd prefer a nice big, warm and cosey tee pee or tree bender, with a burner, a solar panel or wind turbine hooked up...a few family. that'd be the beginning of bliss, for me. for others,they will choose what will make them happy, and if we're all together, only a bright future awaits us. or, actually, a great big fucking militant eviction resistance and then a big legal fall out and some social unrest in London thrown in for good measure, maybe on the land of the duke of westminster himself???.....


reclaim the land

30.12.2009 20:26

yeh great article - an interesting take on it. I have to say i just felt a bt crushed and dismayed after it all but your article pepped me up a bit.

Francesca - yeh you're right we need to reclaim the land. I've been thinking about it a lot funnily enough since I came back from cop and reached the same conclusion - its the best way of demonstrating the alternatives and turning your back on this system. If we could get enough people it ewouldbe really powerful...

Anyone know of 2,000 likeminded people?


mail e-mail:

Birth of a movement

30.12.2009 22:58

Thanks for your positive write-up of the 16th. Whilst it might not have gone the way we had wanted it to, the way we'd hoped it would after hearing the rallying cries from Michael Hardt, Naomi Klein and Tadzio Mueller on the Monday in Christiania, our action wasn't that far off from succeeding either: and in the process the bike block have learned that they can easily get round a slow and heavy police blockade, and a lot of peaceful protestors are now more experienced for the next one. For me it really felt as if the Cop 15 Protest in Copenhagen was the birth of a new social movement.Looking forward to helping it mature.

Matthew Travers
mail e-mail:
- Homepage: http://philosophe sans oeuvre


31.12.2009 02:08

I really like your ideas francesca and know for a fact they are shared by many people, even if i just count me and my friends! Something like that, if executed with committment, strong numbers and good tactics, would be amazing and much needed right now.
If you really want to do this, why not start it yourself or with a community? Get together with people you know are passionate too and start from there, build a campaign/action group from where u are right now. So many of these big and wonderful ideas get lost because we're waiting for enough people, waiting for the masses to assemble before charging for freedom. Someone always has to be first, every idea, every beautiful seed of revolt starts somewhere, each is capable of amazing things but few make it to fruition. I am sure that if something like this started happening and was not shut down too fast then activists and free-thinkers would flock to get involved but it won't happen by itself.
Keep going...x x

mz reclaiming land/community building

31.12.2009 02:33

I also think its really important not to disengage from the issues here i.e capitalism, climate change etc because while building new sustainable communities is a HUGELY positive thing to do, we can't just find a nice little corner of the world and pretend the shit isn't hitting the fan. It would be selfish to think that building sustainable/alternative communities for ourselves is enough when what is really needed is revolution and system change (regardless of how huge that challenge is). While capitalism still reigns 'supreme' you can't truly exist outside of the system without isolating your existence and wellbeing from the rest of's still happening, even if you do life a right-on idyllic zero-carbon teepee life. If you're not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
When such movements and actions are part of a wider strategy then I think it's a good base for change but the fight has to continue on the front-line even if you and your community have reached a positive solution.


State, Capitalism, Revolution etc

31.12.2009 11:13

There's a big difference between living 'outside of the state' and living outside of capitalism although the former is usually just as impossible as the latter even for people who live a traveller lifestyle. Most travellers rely on money at some point in their existence. It's unavoidable.

As for setting up free land sites, all of the resources needed to function from turbines, solar panels, bricks, piping, plates, shoes etc are all produced somewhere by someone. That's the capitalist social relation that you can't live outside of. There is no escape unless a revolution takes all the resources and production into it's own hands.

But this isn't to suggest that we have to wait for some mythical revolution to descend from the heavens to save us. Land occupations are a great idea if a bit doomed in the UK unless 1000's of people occupy land all over at the same time and there is some form of popular defense from within and without.

I'm sure that most people will not want to live in benders in the countryside but will want to stay in the cities so any revolutionary activities has to bare this mind and have a relevance to most people.

Myself I'm not a primitivist and quite like to think that a revolution that expropriates everything and gets rid of private property will then begin the task of collectivising the cities that most people live in. This would be in terms of land, production, housing, transport and a million other ways of actually living together that would be joyous and life-affirming and sustainable.

Also the initial debate on 'where now after COP15' has kind of been lost here. I thought it was a good post with a lot to chew on regarding how some people thought the People's Assembly heralded a whole new more joined-up anti-capitalism and others though it was a piece of shit and Reclaim Power was a disaster.


This Land is ours..

31.12.2009 11:26

Now one is over the fuck up of Matilda (the failed social centre in Sheffield) I have awoken with the same thought as when Matilda gave birth to the nightmare she become, of course taking land is one way to do this, but all so would be to simply buy the fucking land, friends in Sheffield have done just this, watch this space there are some serious thoughts for a big land take over here in The North and we begin in earnest to make this happen in 2010 lessons learned from the past we come back stronger this is no repeat of Matilda other failed projects I agree with some of the comments here and following Matilda have been in a part squat with four people but this is not enough this land is ours lets take it back with whatever means we have.

the fallacy of escape

01.01.2010 15:37

When squatters or travellers insist they live out side of the system, it makes me cringe. Both lives styles are dependant and parasitic on 'the system', they are not free or independent of it.

Travellers need two things (among others), roads and fuel - both of which are supplied by the system. All those aggregate mines, oil wars, the pollution, the taxation etc. those are just parts of the system which make those roads and fuel available.

Squatters (in the developed world at least) depend on the crazy economic inequalities which result in buildings being deliberately left empty by their owners, and (in the UK at least) depend on the law to prevent those owner from simply smashing in the doors and kicking squatters heads in. Those laws which enable squatting are part of the system, those empty properties have been built and left empty by the system. All that skipped food and other street treasures, they too are only available because of the capitalist system.

So what of claiming some land and escaping the system? Well, yes, possibly, assuming the state didn't crush you, then assuming the land is large and diverse enough to support all your needs and that you say goodbye to anything requiring money (or yes, remember, no state benefits), all external medical treatments (no NHS or BUPA), all external drugs and alcohol, all electronic communications be it phone or internet (you can have radio assuming you made all the components yourself and don't listen to the BBC ;-), all external products (shoes, clothes, bikes etc) except those traded with other 'free' spaces. The perhaps you might be able to say you've broken free of the system.

But even if you managed it, breaking free doesn't suddenly make you immune to the illness of the system such as runaway climate change...

reality check


03.01.2010 00:19

Thats right. And the very system that they complain so bitterly about is what actually allows and enables them to protest about things.

It would make a great TV programme. Put a load of them on an Island and see what happens over the duration of a year.I bet common sense and necessity would prevail


for those that know

03.01.2010 01:37

for those that understand what ive commented on, in relation to how we feel after joke-15, id like to say this to the nay-sayers and deniers and reactionary "types":

taking the land in a spectacular manner, say a chunk of land owned by a toff, would be an advertisement, if you will, a tool of the system, used to say" hey, rest of the world, lets take back the land and change this whole shitty system...lets start here, lets start now"

either you get it, or you dont.

i wasn't saying lets live on one little band of land forever, all holding hands and living off hippy wishes and childs thoughts for fuel whilst harvesting fairies and elves to do all the work for us...for fucks sake. we need to over throw the "system" and have to start seriously confronting the state and elitists at the top. that means expropriation of what they have and hold so, housing, means of production, energy, health care and schooling.

lets start with the land.


have you taken it yet?

05.01.2010 19:53

When are you going to do it?


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24th October, London: 2015 London Anarchist Bookfair
2nd - 8th November: Wrexham, Wales, UK & Everywhere: Week of Action Against the North Wales Prison & the Prison Industrial Complex. Cymraeg: Wythnos o Weithredu yn Erbyn Carchar Gogledd Cymru

Ongoing UK
Every Tuesday 6pm-8pm, Yorkshire: Demo/vigil at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill US Spy Base More info: CAAB.

Every Tuesday, UK & worldwide: Counter Terror Tuesdays. Call the US Embassy nearest to you to protest Obama's Terror Tuesdays. More info here

Every day, London: Vigil for Julian Assange outside Ecuadorian Embassy

Parliament Sq Protest: see topic page
Ongoing Global
Rossport, Ireland: see topic page
Israel-Palestine: Israel Indymedia | Palestine Indymedia
Oaxaca: Chiapas Indymedia
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