The Climate Justice Action meeting was taking place over three days at the start of the climate camp which was taking place in Bonn during the UN climate talk there. On arriving, we helped set up the camp which was small and friendly. The CJA posse had the camp much to themselves for those first few days and then other groups arrived and also held their own meetings. The camp was very different from those I have known in the UK, and devoid of the usual symbolic trappings of sustainability which are a familiar at UK climate camps, ie. solar panels, wind turbines, rocket stoves etc. The camp contained just enough infrastructure for the various groups meeting there to have productive meetings, eat, wash etc. As well as workshops (which I did not attend), the camp was used as a base for people making banners and props for the big march etc.
Among the people attending were people involved in future climate camps including the French camp and the Nordic camp. Also present were people coming to the UK for the start of the Ecotopia bike ride. Good contacts were made and it was useful to be able to share experiences.
THE CJA MEETING
As well as about four of us from the UK, the meeting was attended by activists from Germany, Netherlands, France, Ireland, Paraguay, Brazil, Turkey, Canada, and Denmark. Full notes and minutes from the CJA meeting can be found elsewhere (eg. the http://climatejusticeaction.wordpress.com site which I blog notes to and the CJA website http://climate-justice-action.org) so I'll not repeat it all here. Key decisions, as I understood them, included the following:
On the issue of the call out for actions on October 12, there was discussion about whether actions should occur over the course of a week, or on October 12 as other people have planned events around the same time in October. It was decided to continue to focus on the 12th while keeping in mind that the Global Minga callout spans the 12th to the 16th. Talk about potential allies was deferred and a working groups set up to work on networking and mobilising.
On COP16 mobilising, the group decided to write an open letter supporting La Via Campesina’s call for 1000 Cancuns. However, after long discussion about capacity within the group along with unknown levels of support or capacity from the network, it was decided that the CJA was not in a position to promise actions would take place. Efforts would be made to promote the call out among existing contacts and see what commitment and capacity might emerge.
There was a lot of talk about the structure of the CJA and the status of the working groups, many of which are none functioning. It was widely considered that the CJA was in need of restructuring since the COP15 mobilisations as it's working conditions have changed drastically. The group decided to abandon the dysfunctional Climate09-int mailing list and create a new mailing list for specifically for CJA network purposes. Additionally there was a commitment to try to move as much organising as possible onto new CJA crabgrass groups. A process was also created to help urgent decisions get made between meetings.
The final day of the meeting focused on a discussion around ‘What does Climate Justice mean in Europe’. This led to agreement to set up thematic discussion forums on crabgrass to continue fleshing out the ideas. The plan is to invite other groups and movement to help expand the discussion.
A date for the next CJA meeting was set for August 28/29 at the EF! summer gathering in Netherlands.
I attended a small stunt by the German Young Friend of the Earth group (note: friends of the earth groups outside of the UK seem to be considerable less useless). The stunt consisted of a blockade style sit down protest on the track which delegate walked down to reach the conference centre. However this was not a blockade but more of an interactive intervention in which delegate were left with a choice to walk either one side or the other of the blockade and those choices were either 'the copenhagen accord' or 'the cochabamba protocol'. It was intended to add to pressure to include the texts from Cochabamba into the negotiation texts. The vast majority of delegate took the cochabamba route, but it must be said that it was the more direct route and that the other route was partially blocked by attending police vans. (There are photos on http://climatejustice.posterous.com and video on http://qik.com/wpccc)
The big demo took place on a really hot day. I don't know what the attendance figures were like, I'd guess ten or twenty thousand tops. There was a system change not climate change block with lots of red and black flags, but just to confuse people there was another large system change not climate change banner in another block. There's not much to say about the march really. No cops. No conflict. It walked around the city and back to where it began. There was a massive samba presence, about 170 people from Rhythms of Resistance bands around Europe, and they sounded pretty good.
When the demo arrived back where it started, there were a couple more speeches, including one by climate justice action [ https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/media/2010/06//454119.wav]. Then four coloured flags appeared in the corners of the square and people were told to that four 'fingers' would snake through the city by different routes and converge at a reclaim the streets style action at a secret location. I joined the yellow group but since I was filming I switched groups when I saw two others converging on a parallel street and so managed to arrive at the site take ahead of the crowd. The target was a petrol station (Total) and it was quickly shut down with banners hanging from the pumps and from the multi-storey car park above it. The street wa taken by perhaps a thousand people, including the huge samba band and it was a good few minutes before the police arrived. There were no lockons or tripods etc, and proved unnecessary. Food not Bombs provided food and the donations from there went to help fund the Klimacamp. The street occupation continued for a good couple of hours and then left on it's own accord. (Again, photos can be found on http://climatejustice.posterous.com and video on http://qik.com/wpccc)