This vision paper is a theoretical and detailed explanation of our core values and beliefs. Its language and structure reflect our predominantly academic background. In the future, we strive to write all our texts in more accessible language as well.
Climate Camp near Vienna
Climate camps as a place of vision
Climate camps are at the heart of the climate justice movement. They are a space for connecting and forming various political and social groups that are committed to ecological sustainability and social justice. In addition, they are a place where alternatives to the current capitalist and democratically eroded society can be tried out. They are a place where our protests can be given voice through direct action and civil disobedience. The goal of the climate justice movement is a good life for all within our planetary boundaries. In order to achieve this, we strive for a radical systemic change.
At the moment, climate camps are temporary oases within a broken system based on competition and exploitation on many levels. It is difficult to create an alternative in this setting, especially knowing that our efforts are actively hindered.
The vision as a guideline
This vision paper is not a report of the status quo! Rather, it outlines our visions and dreams, as well as our long-term goals and represents the values we stand for. This paper should also be the basis of our cooperation with other groups. We respect and appreciate the diversity of opinions and ideas, even within the movement. We cannot expect that we will always be 100% in agreement and yet we ask our partners to respect and accept the vision presented in this paper. Moreover, the vision paper is an acknowledgement to the fact that we are not yet where we want to be. At the same time, it takes some pressure off us and we should allow ourselves not to be perfect. Some of what is described here we are already doing this year, some we are going to do next year and some perhaps only in the distant future. We want to learn from our mistakes and trust that we have good intentions for the project Klimacamp and the common community.
The Vision as our Political Self-Conception
We see the climate crisis not as a purely scientific problem, but as a very serious part of multiple crises involving environmental, political, economic and social components. We are system-critical: We recognize solutions within this system ( through currently legitimized actors such as the state) only as possible intermediate steps on the long-term path to a restructured, socially just and ecologically sustainable world.
The climate crisis is human-made and it is therefore necessary to change the system that leads to the current exploitation of the environment, animals and people through structural violence.
In this sense, the climate crisis can also be seen as an opportunity. Great changes will come, whether we want them and plan them or not! Instead of sitting passively by and watching how our future is burned with fossil fuels, we want to take our future into our own hands.
We are striving for a good life for everyone, according to the motto: Today not on costs of tomorrow – here not on costs of elsewhere.
A climate of welcome
It is our goal that the Climate Camp is a place where everyone feels welcome. Everyone who wants to work towards a good life for everyone or who wants to learn about the movement for climate justice is welcome. This is true regardless of nationality, gender, sexual identity, body shape, religion, education, socio-economical background, age, physical and mental condition, place of residence, experience and legal status.
We recognize that we are currently a very homogeneous group that attracts people with similar socio-economical characteristics. We seek to reflect our privileges and the social power relations involved and invite everyone to participate.
Organisational process, work and money management
The Climate Camp is a project and a place that questions the handling of money and the general concept of work. The organization of the Climate Camp is an emancipatory process in which people can learn to expand their scope of action, acquire skills and transfer what they have learned into everyday life. We want to make decisions as democratic as possible and not rely on majority decisions, but act in a democratic and sociocratic way. We have no structural hierarchies, but we are aware that certain hierarchies of knowledge, experience and time can never be completely eliminated. We want to become aware of these hierarchies, make them visible and address them, question and understand them and reduce them as much as possible.
The preparation and follow-up of the camp should generate more energy than it takes and, despite the seriousness of the topic, the joy of working together and having fun should be in the foreground.
We want to redefine labour and take away the negative aftertaste of boring or exploitative wage labour. Work is everything that contributes to the community, whether through manual, intellectual or emotional work. We also want to do the unpopular and/or neglected or invisible work at the camp (from washing dishes to night duty and child care to cleaning the toilet) together, joyfully and with a lot of respect. We want to practice and demonstrate this in order to achieve a long-term change of values in society: Work should no longer be evaluated and valued in monetary terms, but according to social benefit.
In political groups that are committed to achieving change, stress, overload and burnout are unfortunately a common reality. We are people driven by horror and sorrow over injustice and the belief in a better future. Together we want to make sure that we don’t work too much. We want a world, a camp and an organization in which the psychological well-being of the individual is automatically protected. However, as long as we live in a system that demands performance and that internalizes the pressure to perform to such an extent that we demand too much of ourselves and impose too much on ourselves even when we are free to decide, we need structures to absorb overwork.
We have a care team that is available for the team and participants in the organization process, in the construction and deconstruction of the camp as well as at the climate camp. The care team actively looks after the psychological well-being of the people at the camp and is the contact for everyone in case of conflicts, emotional situations or general discomfort.
The climate crisis and global injustices are a global problem. We can only move towards a good life for all if we work together and in a coordinated way attack our common counterparts in different forms and places. That is why networking is a very special concern for us. The climate sees itself as a place of local, international and intersectional networking. We actively seek support for solidarity projects and offer a platform and infrastructure that can be used by system-critical movements and various groups – be it for networking meetings, workshops, retreats or strategy meetings.
We understand education as a lively and self-determined learning process in which people experience space to better understand themselves, the world and their position in it. This also means that learning takes place not only mentally, but also in our hearts and in concrete actions and experiments. This holistic approach to the critical reflection of ourselves and the world should be reflected in our program and the chosen formats. We pay attention to the diversity of topics, approaches, target groups and speakers. For example, we want to break down the roles of children and adults by conveying content in playful and/or simple language and offering games for ” older children “. There should also be places, e.g. in the form of open space, in which the people on the camp set and design their own ideas.
That’s why we offer theoretical as well as practical workshops that deal with the existing structures and how we can escape from them. On the other hand, we show alternatives and make them tangible.
Life in the future we are working for is radically different from what we are living today. Simply adhering to planetary boundaries will profoundly change the way we produce, act and consume. We also want to change the way we interact with each other. However, the old system is still so strong and so holistic that it is difficult for a single person to escape. At the camp, alternative models of life, organization and consumption are to be exemplified, which are to serve as inspiration for people and thus bring about a long-term change in values away from competition towards cooperation.
We try to live alternatives on several levels.
Direct Action – When injustice becomes justice, resistance becomes an imperative!
The climate crisis, coupled with institutionalized violence against humans and nature, is a very pressing problem. We see the climate camp and the direct actions as part of our strategy towards a post-capitalist, socio-ecological transformation.
We confront this institutionalized and structural violence with creative forms of resistance. Historically, most of the profound social changes have been caused by social movements, which have in part transcended the rules of the ruling system if those rules have stabilized the injustice. Today, too, the traditional possibilities of political participation are not sufficient to bring about the radical systemic change we need. Within the capitalist system, existing political structures and legal systems both consciously and unconsciously block change as soon as it profoundly questions the injustices of inequity and climate catastrophe and attacks the roots. Therefore, we cannot rely on politicians and the economy, but must take responsibility for our planet into our own hands. Direct action and civil disobedience are part of our political opportunities for participation that go beyond electing parties and brands. While existing power structures block change and the media obscures our view with one-sided and biased reporting, we show publicly and collectively where change needs to happen. If legal action is not enough, we deliberately break the law and use our bodies to do so. We reject violence against other living beings, we do not use physical aggression and we do not endanger humans and other living beings with our actions.
The concrete design is based on a previously announced action guideline. We make sure that our actions are strategically effective, strengthen movement and are connectable, do not reproduce discriminatory conditions and are not an end for themselves, but pursue the goals of climate justice and the necessary system change.
Despite – or precisely because of – the all-encompassing radicalism of the climate camp, it is a respected part of civil society. This is reflected in the awareness and coverage of it. People of all population groups know about the camp, come to the camp to learn, to network, to carry out actions and to live alternatives. Short: The Climate Camp is a docking point for all those who are and want to become part of the climate justice movement.