Anarchist summer camp in Austria
As organising group we arrange the location, spread information about the camp internationally and take care of the initial resource and infrastructure requirements. Once the camp starts, the group will cease to exist.
Anarchist summer camp
14.07. - 23.07.2006
What is an anarchist camp?
“Holiday” as a concept originates from the separation of work and leisure time. In this sense, an anarchist camp is not a holiday: the camp is an opportunity to meet, get to know each other and be active together, in a context which is free from pressure. It gives us room to try and combine anarchist theory and praxis and to live free from authority.
We are aware of the fact that this can only ever be a “relative” freedom, firstly because we carry the mechanisms of authority around with us in our heads and bodies, and then because the anarchist camp is an island which is limited in time and place, within a society which is shaped by authority. But who knows - we may still manage to create a free space, outside of social normality and its daily pains, where we can experience what it is that we are fighting for and where it is that we want to go.
In order to make this possible, it is crucial that no forms of discrimination or repression be tolerated at the camp. Furthermore, everyone must feel it their responsibility to ensure that this is the case. This means: be aware, get involved, and if any such behaviour is observed (in others or in oneself) then make sure you bring it up. Solidarity and freedom from authority, when fully experienced, give us energy and encouragement for our daily struggle.
What the organising group does
As organising group we arrange the location, spread information about the camp internationally and take care of the initial resource and infrastructure requirements. Once the camp starts, the group will cease to exist. From this point, it is everyone’s responsibility to decide together what will be done where, when and how; to organise, procure food, cook and tidy up.
Nevertheless, discussions which have taken place within the organising group, partly resulting from experiences which were gathered on previous camps, have led to a few decisions being taken in advance:
. A tent will be reserved for women and transgender persons. This tent may function as a meeting point, a free space, or whatever else people may choose to make of it.
· We encourage parents to come with their children. The site is vast and offers plenty of opportunity to play around; furthermore a children’s tent will be set up. What use will be made of this tent will once again depend on those who wish to use it. Bring toys, bring rope so we can hang a swing from a tree, or bring whatever else comes in mind! It is not just parents who should need to think about their own children: we should all try to take care of children and their needs.
· Leave your dogs at home! A large number of dogs at a camp can seriously hinder the camp’s enjoyment for other participants, as well as hindering participation of those people who have children. Furthermore the site is not fenced and faces directly onto the woods, in which there are hunters and wild animals…
What you will find and what you could find
The site comprises various fields, with trees, wilderness, a small stream and a bonfire area. As well as enough place for tents, the camp offers a varied infrastructure. There are dry rooms and a kitchen, beds for those who may need them and sufficient sanitary facilities. Not far away there is also the possibility to go swimming. We will cook so that all camp participants may eat (including vegans, persons with allergies, breastfeeding mothers…). We also aim to provide computer facilities (to be used for example for producing a camp newspaper, workshops, internet access).
What will actually happen at the camp will depend on what the participants will want to do and what will emerge spontaneously there and then. Don’t expect to find a “ready schedule” of lectures and workshops: rather expect to get involved, stimulate and organise the workshops and discussions yourself and with others. The experience of previous anarchist camps has shown that many varied and interesting topics and activities can result from this process.
We wish the scope of subjects and possibilities not to be limited to “traditional anarchism”. We would like to discuss wide ranging topics from an antiauthoritarian perspective: from (anarchist) utopias and theories, gender relationships and the critique of romantic monogamy to action forms, practical examples of political action or alterative forms of communal life. The camp’s size and nature should allow it to be multifaceted: filled with theory and praxis, workshops, games, music, presentations and discussions, cooking, movies, dancing etc.
What it can become
The 2006 anarchist camp in Austria should contribute to knocking down the “borders within our heads”. Whilst capitalism and state institutions have long been integrating internationally, and repression has crossed over national borders (think of the Schengen treaty, or European common policies against immigration), german-speaking anarchists have tended to remain amongst themselves. With this camp, we will try to encourage networking with our (east)European friends. This is the reason why this invitation has been translated in many European languages. Our aim is a colourful camp, that overcomes barriers (of language or otherwise) and contributes to the exchange between different people and groups.
Shaping a camp together does not mean uncritically embracing some kind of “togetherness feelings”. It is important to bring disagreements to the surface and voice our mutual criticisms when appropriate, so that we can learn from each other and get used to questioning our own behaviours. In this sense, arguing can also be sometimes good. Nevertheless, our behaviour in an anarchist camp must be shaped by the principles of solidarity and mutual respect, which include the acceptance of different approaches and points of view.
With love and strength
The organisation group for the 2006 A-Camp in Austria