"To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing." - Raymond Williams

Is activism therapy?

by Shaun Chamberlin on June 15th, 2011

Just Do It film

Last night I went to the première screening of an excellent new film called Just Do It. It’s a record of the direct action climate movement – Climate Camp, Plane Stupid et al. – made with the full cooperation of the activists, and it’s worth checking out, especially if you’ve never been directly involved yourself.

It is a story of people responding to the threat to their future with courage, determination, humour and camaraderie. It’s also a film that I remember existing only as a flyer, asking whether we would like to see a truly independent film developed outside mainstream production models and distributed for free. Hundreds of us donated, and I was keen to see the result.

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My respect for the ‘Drax 29’

by Shaun Chamberlin on July 3rd, 2009

Sign my pledge at PledgeBank

A week after NASA’s leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, actress Darryl Hannah and others crossed the line into illegal direct action in a desperate attempt to prevent coal mining and burning from ending our hopes of retaining a hospitable climate, twenty-nine protesters are standing trial here in England for a similar action last year.

The ‘Drax 29’ admit stopping (safely) a coal train two miles outside the Drax power station in an attempt to prevent the deaths already being caused by climate change. Nonetheless they have entered a “Not Guilty” plea against the charge of ‘Obstructing the Railway’ (which carries a maximum two year prison sentence). They are defending themselves in court, and after reading their inspiring closing statement justifying this position to the jury, I felt moved to create the pledge above. You can read their defence yourself in The Guardian here, or it is reproduced in full below: Read more »

Climate Camp 2009 needs you

by Shaun Chamberlin on June 29th, 2009

Dark Optimism Police

This year’s Climate Camp will run from Thurs 27th August to Weds 2nd Sept, at an as yet undeclared location in or around London (inside the M25).

This year the camp will not be culminating in a ‘direct action’, but will instead be focusing on movement-building and skill-sharing. I’m helping to organise the workshop programme, and would encourage all Dark Optimism readers to consider offering a talk/workshop/debate, by following this link. The deadline has now been extended, but if you’re interested then the sooner you can submit details the better. Read more »

Social anarchism and non-violent direct action

by Shaun Chamberlin on August 10th, 2008

Collective bridge building

(pic – yesterday’s non-violent direct action at Kingsnorth, courtesy of Indymedia)

I’m back from this year’s Climate Camp, and was deeply impressed with what I found there, both in terms of the organisation of the site (carried out largely by social anarchists) and the attitude and behaviour of the protesters.

The Camp is still running as I write, and I know large numbers of people are remaining to clear the site of all traces of our presence (in line with the request of the landowner), but for me it has been the most enjoyable, inspiring and re-energising of weeks. Judging by the media response I wasn’t alone in this. Read more »