Freedom News

Radical summer gatherings get underway

Kicking off with the Fast Forward Festival, people hoping to get involved with different politics, build up alternative ways of living and fight for the climate with direct action have a full two months of political festivals ahead.

Fast Forward

organised by Plan C
July 19th-21st
Thornbridge Estate, Derbyshire

With just a couple of days to go the festival of political thinking is pretty full and booking has officially ended, but there’s still the possibility of day tickets and you might get lucky if you send in with a particularly charming ask.

The big get-together for Plan C, an autonomist-inspired group with “clusters” in several major cities, Fast Forward is a family-friendly camp over three days with dozens of workshops, arts and space for kids.

Red feminism has a particular place at this year’s get-together, covering topics from reproductive justice and bodily autonomy, through a look at Women’s Strike 2019, far-right hatred of women’s bodies and decriminalising sex work.

Ecology, collectivity and how/when/if to engage with State structures are also on the slate for talks, and in the evenings there will be music and partying galore.

Power Beyond Borders

organised by Reclaim The Power
July 26th-31st
South-East England

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This direct action-oriented gathering is standing up against new gas powered power stations and for migrants against the Hostile Environment. The family-friendly space will have plenty of kids’ activities, workshops, trainings and entertainment. It’s more of a pitch-in philosophy, and everyone is encouraged to help with things like putting up tents, cleaning and general site maintenance. Entry is by donation and various buses are heading up from London, Brighton, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Norwich, Edinburgh …

A full programme for the five days has recently gone up at their website, starting with an evening plenary on fossil fuel monster Drax and featuring some great sessions on running effective direct actions. The focus of this festival tends to be on ground floor non-violent direct action for the environment, but also has a wider remit which sees workshops taking place about a broad range of topics from prison abolition to Rojava solidarity.

RR Summer Gathering

Organised by Radical Routes
August 9th-11th
Wild Peak Housing Co-op near Belper, Derbyshire

The long-running network’s summer meet is the most focused of the summer gatherings, as it aims primarily at helping people and groups to set up their own radical housing co-operatives.

The three-day event can be quite intensive for newcomers, as it involves a lot of catching up on the events of the last six months, organising of the network itself, strategising and in some cases, working through the nitty gritty of home loans.

That being so, it’s generally recommended that if you’re going, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to get out of the event, and ideally talk to some of the many existing housing co-op people about what it can offer (the answer is a lot, as there’s a huge amount of expertise and support available, but only if you’re serious).

As with Reclaim The Power, Radical Routes runs a pitch-in mentality, so tidying up after yourself and generally mucking in is strongly encouraged.

EF! Summer Gathering

Earth First!
August 14th-20th
North-East England

While it was only established in Britain in 1990, the first ever iteration of this direct-action green network was in 1979, making this the 40th anniversary of its founding.

Across six days, the Summer Gathering (one of two events alongside the Winter Moot) will involve “six days of skill-sharing for grassroots ecological direct action and animal rights – make links, share ideas, and get involved in the struggles against fracking, coal, nuclear, new roads and more. This year’s gathering will take place in solidarity with anti-coal resistance in the north-east – with some fun stuff happpening after the weekend.”

More than 100 workshops will be taking place throughout the week, and it will be camping at a rural site with the classic “everyone is crew” ethos so like the Woodcraft Folk (as opposed to the less progressively-minded scouts), be prepared.

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