Content with tag activists .

Video - Faslane Peace Camp

(DRAFT) The finished film has no people in it and long shots of organising lists and the camp infrastructure rather than the issues and characters surrounding the campaigns. This might seem strange at first but its important to realise that films don’t show the world as it is rather they all have a peurpures, a point of view, the point of view here is recruitment of new creative and competent people to use and live on the site.

The space empty of peopule is open for peopule to come in and fill it with life and creativerty. The song by seizetheday "thank you" is both a thanking the people who built the camp and thoughes who will come (the films audience) to keep the site open and perpusfull.

The use of long video lists of "rubish rules" and "todo list" is to highlight that that this is not just a place to party its a place of work and creativity/responsabilerty. The library and free shop is about showing that this is a sustainable alternative culture, not just a transentery protest. The language used throughout is conversational and inviting "pop in for a cup of tea, the is lots to do". The shot of the Anarchy caravan followed by the green garden is about that both fluffy and spiky activists are welcome.

The whole film is shot in bright sunshine, full of greenery and flowers to give a sense of buty/attractiveness - obversely in the middle of winter poring with rain the would be another view... The final shot of the nuculer base is a small part of the video - as its about protest camp cultures, rather than the issues involved in the campaign. Anybody who argues, and some will, about this is missing the point. With out a healthy camp the campaign in weekerend, this the film has a 2 step purpose, rejuvenation of the camp to then renew the campaign.

You really don’t need a big camera to make a good film. The film was shot entirely on a Samsung note II mobile phone in 720p resolution. I shoot at this reduced resolution to help with rapid file upload as with full HD it is almost imposable to upload the huge files reliably.

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Faslane Peace Camp has been here for 30 years campaigning against nuclear weapons.

People living in all weathers, a community of committed campaigners. The camp has been a base for actions, a ecological alternative, a home for some, a eduction for many
Phone to find if the is space to stay 01436 820901 or 07511793227

http://faslanepeacecamp.wordpress.com

Just down the road is a HUGE nuclear missile base that we have to do something about...

Video: http://hamishcampbell.com
Music: http://www.seizetheday.org

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ClimateCamp Media

The Ratcliffe Swoop prosecutions caused a backlash against activist media that reverberated around the Edinburgh climate camp. We were not present at the Ratcliife Swoop, and played no part in the gathering of video there. When we saw footage posted of identifiable activists doing criminal damage, we were astonished, as throughout the history of video activism this has been an absolute "no no", without the express consent of the activists pictured. We immediately took this material down from visionOntv accounts where it had been posted, and told the Ratclifffe media team why we did so. Regrettably the footage was later re-posted by the producers to accounts outside of our control.  Having said that, as of writing, we have been unable to find out any details of the prosecutions and exactly which footage was used.

But as a response I (perhaps naively) thought it might be helpful to try to do consensus/affinity group process with activist film at the Edinburgh climate camp. To kick this off, we showed a sneak preview of END:CIV on the Saturday to a crowd of around 50-70 people which sparked off a good and respectful debate about aesthetic of activist film and the old spiky/fluffy debate about effective action. People came away challenged and thoughtful.

The next day after the action on the RBS HQ we showed the rough edit of it to get feedback and make sure it was OK to put out. It was enthusiastically received but there was also a very forceful verbal attack of “you must do this” “do it now, or you are endangering activists” and a refusal to answer simple questions about “why” in exchanges with one person. Finally, after some bad feeling, I found out that she had seen an “object for causing criminal damage” being held by one person in the film. OK, that is a genuine issue, so I agreed to look at it again. I asked her to show me where it was in the film but instead she rushed off to tell everyone that climatecamptv had refused to remove the “weapon” and that we were putting out films that were endangering activists. This led later to many different groups and individuals coming along to have their say over the next day about how the film should made.

See later where this led.

I had watched the film 3 times during editing for legals, and had shown it to to a number of other trusted people. After we had packed up the screening we looked at the “object” on the video and found it to be a plastic horn not an “object to cause criminal damage” at all. Humm... a storm in a teacup you would think, but read on.

Let's briefly go through it - the film of the action had a few legal issues.

* The pushing on the bridge (possibly assault) leading to the earlier dressing-up sections (unmasked) being possibly incriminating of this possible assault.

* We had no video of the breaking of windows (criminal damage) thus this was less of an issue in the film. Nor did we have film of any identifiable possible perpetrators.

* There was one additional shot which could potentially have been "creatively" used by police to prosecute an activist.

* The bridge-pushing was problematic as all the activists were unmasked, with all the FIT team on the roof and 3-4 corporate media TV/photo actively filming. Many photos/images would be available so on the one hand it was clearly done in the open, and therefore accountable. On the other, if they were charged, our video would likely be used in the prosecution, both for and against the activists. It's an issue we face many times and it unless we know otherwise we have to have to err on the side of caution. Without the opportunity to ask them whether they were accountable thus OK to show it or not, we decided to blur this section – rendering the need to blur the early stuff irrelevant as we now had no incriminating video of this “crowd” action.

The other potentially incriminating shot was removed, at the request of the individual filmed.

After running it past the affinity group made up of CCTV/visionontv crew and some trusted legal support we left it to a volunteer to polish the final edit for showing that evening before putting out to the web. In my experience you can never run a film past an audience too many times before it's finished from both a legal and an aesthetic point of view.

The day of action was very busy, and we were all running around filming. While we were out and about a number of people came in to look at the earlier action video being edited and asked the editor to make changes – he responede to their requests and made a lot of changes to hide and obscure many details throughout the film.

When we saw the film in the evening just before the screening we were shocked. Editing a film by committee is always a disaster and the film was now an incoherent and sinister mess making climatecamp look like a bunch of criminals. We now had a film we couldn't put out. This wasn't our volunteer editor's fault, it was a problem with the process we had begun but were not around to control. To top this, at the end of the day the editor had found the people who were at the front of the bridge-push and they had made it clear that they were unhappy being blurred out as it was the best thing they had done in ages. They were willing to be accountable for their actions, so we didn't need to thus put any obscuring in the finished film.

We now had to re-do the film from an earlier version. It was dark and we were late for the nightly screening, we had one computer to gather all the films up and convert then to the right format and re-edit this film – we decided it wasn't possible to screen the action film and concentrated on showing the other 9 finished but less exciting films we had ready. We started the screening with non-action films to cries of "we want to see the action". So an old version of the action film was rush-encoded and was ready half-way through the screening. Unfortunately this contained the ptoentially incriminating shot we had earlier taken out, and was screened to about 40 climatecampers. NOT good. Another person had a very solid go at us...

What did we learn from this?

Should protesters never trust any video/photo on an action OR should they trust video activists as THEY know what they are doing?

For me, not trusting experienced video activists leads to the very real danger that through bureaucratisation it pushes the working affinity group structure underground and renders it ineffective – the option of bureaucratic/consensus process isn't an option with film which is at its best a skilled creative story-based process.

But now we have to deal with the rumour mill which quickly churned around the "weapon" / plastic horn issue. Rumour has more power than truth when there isn't a functioning media. I heard the misinformation that we had put out footage of window-smashing weapons three times while leaving the camp to get home. And that's why I wrote this post as this rumour could distort the very real pro/anti-media debate in activism which needs to happen in a constructive way.

On the subject of social media and underground/wannabe mainstream film-makers/photographers, there are very real dangers that is the subject of another post.

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Activist media and the Value of the URL link

The currency of the web is the link, so by linking to something you are adding to its value.

Regrettably, activists endemically link to corporate media and social networking sites thus adding value and power to these large multinational corporations they are in theory fighting against.

As a recent example (but I could pick almost any), at the CRUDE AWAKENING event on October 16th 2010, video producers put out links to alternative video sites:

http://grassroots.visionon.tv

http://youandifilms.com

And these links were re-posted for a while, but soon most re-postings and linking were direct to youtube rather than to the real producers' websites.

Why is this a problem? Just to repeat, linking is probably the strongest currency on the web, and anti-corporate activists are too often spending it in the mega-stores rather than the much better social/political experiences of their local cornershops.  We CAN build a powerful alternative to the mainstream if we spend our linking currency wisely.

LINK to alternative media whenever and wherever you can, with a valid link (includes http:// - www is no good). If you like a film, see if you like the films around it, and LINK to that flow of films, rather than a single video. There's much more value in a flow, for viewers and for producers.

You can also embed alternative media players on your blog or website (for instance http://visionon.tv/embed) and LINK to the urls of those. This is more useful than embedding a single film from youtube.

Valid LINKS and LINKING to flows help to build alternative, non-corporate infrastructure and it's free.

“create the world you won’t to see”

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We need to change our habits and try to remember to link to our activist networks. It is the only way to create an alternative to mainstream media.
Posted on 26/10/10 17:01.

Activist (media) strategy is broken

This is the state of the #stopG8 twitter account as the main convergence center is raided by hundreds of police:

Using individual Facebook accounts - who sees the content they post is decided by the advertising driven algorithms of Facebook and everything they post is sent strait to the corporate and governmental agency’s they are fighting against. 

The website they have built is not only dysfunctional (it only allows corporate embeds of video all opensource or activists embeds are blocked - only google owned youtube works) it's a control freaks love affair and a re-creation of the Soviet Union.

UPDATE: the video embed whent up in the end https://network23.org/stopg8/media/video

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Been looking at several of your posts to try to see where you are coming from when you say these things are broken. I agree they seem broken, but I think I probably mean different things by that. (No harm in that. )
I visited an open meeting prior to the anti-G8 to see the lie of the land. I decided, based on that admittedly brief, but not cursory, look at who was doing what in what manner, that I did not trust the structure, so to speak, enough to associate with them for anything other than this brief open meeting.
Posted on 19/06/13 17:29.
.....By which I don't mean to say I am incapable of trusting others. Nor that they were bad people. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say they did not inspire me with confidence that they had a plan and were capable of carrying that out. So, in terms of brokenness, activists' own projection of themselves and of their project, failed to enlist the support of someone predisposed to support. This is brokenness prior to the brokenness you refer to, no?
Posted on 19/06/13 18:46.
Yes actavist process is broken as well as tech http://hamishcampbell.com/process
Posted on 23/06/13 13:57 in reply to Diamind.

What works in Activist video?

Made 2 films with nearly a million views each on youtube, in both cases part of the reason they are "successful" is because people are hating on them.

More than thirty climate activists and local residents took mass direct action to prevent excavation work on Britain's biggest ever open-cast coal mine at Ffos-y-fran in South Wales.

Many people are learning to live sustainably, without money. In this video, they discuss their struggles, how they got to and developed kew bridge eco-village.

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Is the value in stirring up the past?

DRAFT

looking at the actavist groups I have been involved with. Its interesting to try and record your view of what happened and why it happened. Though as most people will have internalised a different view to yours  this can be painful for thoughs who lived through this history. This rises the question of is this a useful thing to do? 

"those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it"  George Santayana

The is deferentially a problem of circler behaver in media activism and wider issues:

 

* Problem of liberal views of activist history 

* Problem of activist memory hole - our web resources are transient and the backups disappear. The mentality of activists tend to be “we invented this – this is new – we are the first”

* Academics will work with authoritative sources – this is inherently biased

* ...

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Omg . there's more of this stuff!

Hamish is once again taking the extremely arrogant position that his history is the true one, and those of us who have a conflicting version are in the "activist memory hole", most insultingly that we are simply "forgetting". It's a very good point about the death of actviist sites - that's a real problem for historians - but I just hope that the history is not written by this author, who will serve up everything conservative historians need to tell a story of internal strife and failure. (btw, my first degree was in history.....)
Posted on 03/04/13 00:59.
Well, he is trying to be the Thersites....in fact, if you look at the web, stuff is disappearing all over. This is not a problem with activism per se, but the faith people are putting into a relatively transient medium generally (paper also erodes, but not as quickly/mysteriously). I must say that the idea that thought does not progress, but is simply repeated, was born on me forcefully at a recent 'feminist' debate which seemed to feel it should include the discussion of make-up - and it was distressing. But yes, the attitude which says 'you should just learn from other wiser people who have gone before you ' - and therefore excludes anyone who can't read/has no access to books/is not part of a circle - is also an extremely distasteful one.
Posted on 04/04/13 23:57.
So it is a question, or rather a series of questions, which at least this has raised, and quite interesting - to the extent that abstruse philosophising is quite interesting, but grassroots more so - handsome is as handsome does, for example.
Posted on 05/04/13 00:23.
Rich i think you misunderstand the idea of blogs... they are the thoughts of the person who writes them... the world has moved on from gatekeepers and even the idea of "truth" is a more vague thing... maybe a diversity of opinions is a good thing but in activism we generally don't even have this...
Posted on 05/04/13 23:25 in reply to Richard Hering.
Interesting to read up about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thersites

I think thought dose progress, just that in activist circles I have seen many of the same (failing) thoughts to many times repeated... and I have been around to see this (:

Activism can be very excluding and this is one of its many repeating failings - when it cross fertilizes it burns - narrowing to monoculture... hummm sad.

When activism catches fire its exciting stuff. How do we learn now that is an interesting Q. for a film maker, will write more on this.
Posted on 06/04/13 00:05 in reply to t.
NB The wiki entry on Thersites is not helpful - Thersites in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, for example, is a complex and not unsympathetic character who represents the saying of things that other people do not want to hear. Sometimes they do not want to hear them because Thersites is right; sometimes, however, he is plainly wrong.
Posted on 07/04/13 16:37.

A brief history of activism

This is a DRAFT

#Occupy has become bureaucratised and continues as e-mail lists and side projects, not very active.

#ukuncut has become institutionalised. Still active - presser protests in conjunction with NGO's

#climatecamp The anarcho' s left and most of the rest got jobs in NGO's a few continue in other campaigns. It has run its course, the influx of liberals had watered it down till its DNA failed. The healthy ones went onto Ukuncut. Fuckup, not conspiracy sadly. A spattering of global projects remain.

(google trends not accurate)

#submedia still banging the radical drum

#Indymedia failed from the opposite resion the activists excluded other groups in till the weren't a healthy mix left. Then the group dwindled by exclusion and inbreeding till its DNA was two narrow to evolve when it needed to change with the growth of personal publishing. It was replaced by blogs then corporate social networks. Still exists.

The are still some active IMC's would be intresting to look at why some are still working?

#undercurrents burned out of funding then failed to re-new with the fund-raising charity side not feeding into the active political production side. The charity/NGO side then shrank and dispersed. Still exists

(google trends not accurate)

#schnews had some lean times but seem to have survived in the radical project Though clearly fading on this graph of web searches

 

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The first thing to say is that, as a director of visionOntv, I can reassure people who work with us that these are NOT in any sense the views of visionOntv collectively, and that I personally have serious issues with them.

Let's go through the article. The fact that is called a draft is irrelevant for taking it seriously, as it is in the public domain, and already has several people riled up.

1. "#Occupy has become bureaucratised" - Evidence? You simply cannot make a judgement like that without evidence. "not very active"?. There's a limit to the amount of time you can camp in a public square, The "side projects" dismissed by this author were a positive move after the big occupations, to take the struggle home, into the community and workplace. The BBC feature the London squatted social centre movement last week, much more positively than here. For my part, I featured a programme by the Occupy News Network o our globalviews channel only last week.

2. "#UKUncut has become institutionalised". Laughably, the "evidence" referenced here is to another article by Hamish Campbell, with a similar lack of evidence inside it. Really, these are serious accusations, and need backing up to be made at all.

3. "#climatecamp The anarcho' s left and most of the rest got jobs in NGO's a few continue in other campaigns. It has run its course, the influx of liberals had watered it down till its DNA failed. The healthy ones went onto Ukuncut. Fuckup, not conspiracy sadly." Again this is a highly subjective opiion, with a lot of pure conjecture ("the rest got jobs in NGOs"?) and no evidence. By a more reasonable assessment, the specific mode of protest of climate camp had run its course after 5 years, but similar types of direct action and squatter camps continue to have a big impact today.

4. #indymedia "dwindled by exclusion and inbreeding" - an unnecessarily abusive and very one-sided description. As a founder of oxford imc I can testify to the very wide range of politics within the group. Imcs such as Nottingham were very postiive in their outreach to non-activist parts of the community. My personal preference was for more of an aggregator site (the Open Media Network anyone?), and in fact members of uk imc set up bethemedia.org to be precisely that. The environmental change wrought by corporate social media has negatively impacted on many parts of the open web, not just indymedia. But in its day, indymedia was a beacon project for open media, and should not be described as a "fuck up".

5. Re Undercurrents, Paul from there has aswered this "critique" in detail, and I agree with everything he says. According to the author of this absurd blogpost, Undercurrents has failed to do the "political production side" - successfully and uniquely filming inside an Israeli prison anyone?

6. #Schnews - fortunately for Hamish the Schnews guys are some of the loveliest people you could ever meet. If I were them I would clock him for describing them as "clearly fading".

Projects and people transfrom and move on, often in positive and creative ways. Let's hope that the exciting and ever-changing history of these movements is written by someone with more understanding and accuracy.
Posted on 02/04/13 16:44.
Some clarifications:

#Occupy
Just to keep you in the loop - I was on the first demo that created the UK occupy movement and made 3 video reports about it. I am and have been reading the organising e-mail list for occupy - very insightful of the health and scale of the UK occupy movement. I originally joined and engaged with the occupy mumble (talk network) though I ended up wished I hadn't - think you might have been in on that meeting with the lynching?

We did some good work inside the movement but that was all by personal connection - the needs to be a good right up on activist "process". Yes the are some spin off and legacy - but I think the google trends is a pretty good view of the health of this ones all powerful movement.

Did you not see UK occupy rip itself apart?

#ukcuncut am being a bit sharp on them, but read my original post from 5/31/11 http://hamishcampbell.com/home/-/blogs/the-ecology-of-hash-tag-organising-draft I stand by this as a prediction of what happened after this was posted. They are one of the few groups that are still relevant - am curious to see how they change and mutate. I think, my statement presser groups for NGO's will likely be seen to be true - but open for good surprises as they are a creative lot.

#climatecamp NGO side I could name names on this one but I don't think that would be helpful (: Anarchist side... many burned out at Heathrow and the role declined - the is some write ups about this but no idea where to find it - could name names here too but not helpful. I think the is a very useful thing to learn about the balancing of liberals and anarchist here - so will write more on this.

#indymedia - rich I think you forget that I was at the meetings so I think this isn't an abusive view because it was like that at the time. The 5 year too late bethemedia aggregate was ripped apart by the taking of the indymedia domain? Am sorry but indymedia outcome was well abusive and needs to be written up warts and all. The public email list archives should still be available if you want to check this. Fuckup bit is answer to a question on infiltrators and agent provocateurs - conspiracy or fuckup - I came down on the fuckup side though would be interesting to have a proper history here. Am still on the global, UK and Oxford organising lists – have a look at the archives to judge the health of the project.

#undercurrents http://hamishcampbell.com/home/-/blogs/undercurrents-and-the-birth-of-%E2%80%9Cv­ideo-activism

#Schnews I changed that a bit to clarified what I mean that this is what the graph shows as it clearly dose. It was a surprise for me to see this but after going over in my head my communication with some of the schnews crew over the last 5 years I feel the graph is probably accurate. If you don’t think this is so you could ask them?

On the subject see this post http://hamishcampbell.com/home/-/blogs/is-the-value-in-stirring-up-the-past-
Posted on 02/04/13 19:27 in reply to Richard Hering.
On #Occupy, my point was that its activists have disappeared into other related, often local, struggles, which would not necessarily appear on the #Occupy mailing list, which was specific to the Occupation time and place. My point was that you have nowhere proved, or even introduced any evidence of, "bureaucratisation". This term has a very specific meaning, and is a heavy charge to levy. If it used loosely to generally abuse people, then one person's bureaucracy might well be another person's "being organised" or "administering". Yes, I was in the meeting you refer to, as an active participant, and it was i no sensee evidence of bureaucracy. I enjoyed the meeting, which was about the crediting of Occupy events, ad how Occupy relates to other groups, an issue for which both sides have fair points. I liked very much the way it was held in the open, not at all as bureaucrats like to behave.

"Did you not see UK occupy rip itself apart?" No, nor did anyone else I know. Remarkable, bearig in mind how much that kind of activism puts people under strain.

#UKUncut "They are one of the few groups that are still relevant - am curious to see how they change and mutate. I think, my statement presser groups for NGO's will likely be seen to be true - but open for good surprises as they are a creative lot."

This really is the most extraordinary arrogance. Well, Hamish, I will advise all my activist friends to earnestly seek your lofty advice on whether they are relevant or not!

#climatecamp did not stop because of the balance of anarchists and liberals, but because you can't go pouring resources into the same national event every year without it growing smaller and stultifying. There are other contextual reasons like a double dip recession. Nor was it a failure, but did a huge amount to put global warming issues up front, and prove that non-hierarchical structures can work on a larger scale, and made people feel that direct action could be done by them.

#indymedia I have a very thorough knowledge of the history of indymedia, and no one is happy about the way that UK indymedia fell apart, But when I say I would have preferred an aggregated site of partnerships, I'm also aware that indymedia was maybe what it was, had its very glorious time, and by the time people were fighting, had had its day. So it may have been time to build something else. Facebook would still have existed.

#Schnews "I feel the graph is probably accurate. If you don’t think this is so you could ask them?" No, I won't, and I don't dispute the graph (in this case). The reason I won't ask them is that I have no interest in dissing other peoples' projects. I would say that, after twenty years, it's remarkable they still exist at all, and I take my hat off to them (I really have one!) for being so active for so long, and so funny with it.

In general, what is it exactly that you hope to gain from these highly partial and dubious histories? On second thoughts, maybe I don't want to know the answer to that!
Posted on 03/04/13 00:48.