A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, the is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side the is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channals visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views

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Hamish Campbell
Posts: 359
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Date: 10/02/16
Richard Hering
Posts: 70
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Date: 05/12/15
Patrick Chalmers
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Date: 03/07/14
Matthew Paul Foster
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Date: 27/12/13
John Sinha
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Date: 22/10/13
Barrie Slipper
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Date: 22/10/13
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Date: 19/07/13
marc barto
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Date: 21/06/13
Glenn McMahon
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Date: 09/03/13
Posts: 3
Stars: 5
Date: 19/02/13

Fixing protest camp problems (and there back lashes)

Remember everyone is a volunteer, nobody at camps is payed to do the hard work.

At Balcome when I arrived tech was a disaster, all the power was brought in by car by taking 12v battery’s to locales houses brought back by car drained till flat then repeated each day. This both rapidly destroyed the lead acid car battery’s and meant the camp was actually running on fossil fuels.

I like a challenge so set out to fix this, it wasn’t a difficult thing to do, took me half a day to gather and assemble all the pieces, by the evening I was tired but prowed the was a solar power set-up that would permanently charge 2 phones for the length of the camp as long the sun shone. It was relative simple to carry on building this out to make the whole camp work in the same way.

In the morning the sun came up, I got out of bed to plug in some phones and what did I find, my days work had been pulled apart in the night because people “needed” components to play music in the party camp. A frustrating day gathering up the parts agen only to find that the battery had been destroyed in the night by running it flat.

It wasn’t a easy technical problem, it actually was a more complex harder to fix social problem. The was no shortage of competent people at the camp, but they weren’t involved because they had experienced variations of the problem above – that nothing could be built – everything was transitory and broken.

The social solution?

Push the few apsultute loons out of the space, this tends to be emotionally violent, we mediated by giving one loon the equipment he needed to set up his own space. The second one, when challenged, pushed him self out of the space and took his stuff with him. Short and (emotionally) violent in both cases but they did both go away and allow the space to grow and function.

The second issue was less challenging but probably created more resentment, this was that the equipment and space was held in “common” for the camp and everyone could use it as THEY thought fit. This was at the root of the destruction of battery’s and regular burning out of equipment – the was a big box full of broken stuff, each day expensive replacements were ordered and the day after it arrived most of it was in the broken box – camp spending on tech was completely out of control because of this.

To fix this we had to shift the control of the equipment from the “common” to the smaller growing tech team. How do do this was simple, sitting in the tech tent all day asking people what they wonted stuff for. This was a gentle and helpful thing to do BUT behind the sean it was building up a pile of resentment from the “crew” who were used to using and bracking tech equipment freely and it being replaced at camp expense.

After this successful transition the tech space became boring, it worked, phones were charged, laptops powered, media and legal work done, peopule could check there facebook. The wasn’t much to do but sit in there to make shore the “loon” energy did not come back to dominate.

Though it did came back to bite later. 

How to build an effective protest camp

A look at the parts that make it happen (DRAFT)

Lets look at the groupings first that balance helping/hindering a campaign. These are of course B&W images to highlight issues, on the ground things are always complex with many overlaps.

The “family” - what is most important to them is having a senses of belonging, brining safety, warmth and meaning into there lives which they do not have in the outside world. This is good in as far as it creates a warm and carrying centre to the camp. But it is eqauley bad as it creates a unfriendly shell around parts of the camp “you haven’t been here since the beginning, you cant tell us what to do”, “he is a police spy”, “the newcomers are eating all the food and not doing any work” the tends to be a growing rejection of people who arnet part of the “family”. This leads to a decline in camp/campaigning effectiveness as people who are good at campaigning tend to not be interested in the continues internal sqwobals of this fractures and dysfunctional “family”. The is a increasing tendency to push out new blood and sougheded people from core parts of the camp. The family then repeatedly shrinks and implodes often trying to take “there” camp with it.

The party people – there garate when they organise regular fabulous party’s for the space and campaign. They are much more draining when there party is for them and involves lots of alcohol and late night music while the wider camp are trying to sleep. The mess this creates in the camp and in peoples heads drags the camp energy down.

The hippy’s, “all you need is love” this might be true BUT anyone who has live on a camp will know you need working water, a functioning kitchen, lighting and regulate wood for the fires etc. In camps these things generally/often end up being provided by angry people and at meetings you regaluly her creys of “you need to clear up after yourself” “who is bring the water” “last night some one eat all the XXX and messed the kitchen up” “can we stop playing load music after 11.00”. The hippy answer of a hug and kind words becomes thin after this has been repeated for the 3ed time with no real practical hands on help. You need love AND respect AND equality AND practical work to keep a camp functioning “all you need is love” is hippy crap in this context and if this is out of balances then no amount of “love” will save your camp or larger campaign.

The me, me , me, narcissistic Christ figger. At every camp the are young men who have father issues and messianic complexes, you can tell them by there holy clothes and obscurantist language. Not surprisingly These guys generally end up abusing young women and having fights with older men. They then drag the camp energy down by building sides to defend these actions.

The you, you, you, Christ figger are the invisible santes of camp life. At balcome the was one guy who cleaned the compost tolits for the whole time, in the morning oftern clearing the shit off the seats from the drunken party people, replacing the toilet role that the hippys dident have time to do while rushing off for important crystal harmonising and herbal tea... in the kitchen the were a group of older women who cleaned and cooked and cared, each morning clearing up the mess of the late night kitchen party crew before breakfast could be made... in both cases these people/groups were frayed and burned out as the camp came to a close.

Napoleon complex. The best that could be said for this issue was at least Napoleon was a good general, at protest camps this competency is rarely balanced with the damage done. 

NGO bods. the tendency to be lots of them visiting the camp during big days of action if the are media opportunitys, campers should be a little cynical to take care that the give and take in such situations is balanced.

Empire builders. Have there place if the empire is open and competency based, horizontalism tends to keep reasserting it self as nobody is paid to do this work.

The SWP's. the undead of activism, they always bring the plaque with them so best to dissuade them if at all possible.

Campaigners, are key to the campaign (; but their agenda often conflicts with the more direct action crew focus - this has to be mediated as both startatergys are key to a good outcome.

Grassroots media team – Individualists. God could I talk about this one....

Direct action crews. At protest camps we love the SPIKY and the FLUFFY the problem lies in how to keep the love flowing.

Mainstream media team (corporate cock suckers) have a lot of power and responsibility, they ALWASE fail in the responsibility part so real focus is needed to keep them focused.

And more to come...


Some from:

  • John Hoggett You're doing very well without me. How about, "I'm a member of an oppressed group and I deserve to be treated like a God(dess)?" Or is that too bitchy? It's a difficult one as oppression does occur but there you go.

  • John Hoggett Or, Mental Health Patient - someone who has clearly been sectioned recently and sometimes spouts bonkers nonsense but proves to be a star, reliable, not phased by the police (even if they do talk about them in weird, almost non-senseical ways) and always happy to lend a hand with cooking, cleaning etc
    • Natalie Lamb The control freaks. Who like to control but not be controlled. They want things done their way only... and when it's not they get very upset. So they find a way to control, and insist on doing it their way without remembering how it felt when they were treated that way. When they have the power, they feel right. Thus perpetuating the cycle.

Working out the flue

It's expensive and short...

Outline plan for boat

Humm were is the office and video editing station go?

Working on the boat roof

Have to angle grind off this flotation tank and build a insulted roof

Thinking of useing laminate wood flooring for the roof with basic rookwool insulation about 2-3" think.

Who is building a submersible?

Anybody won't a heavy duty belt driven water pump or compressed air system to support 60 people and a big engine for 10 minutes - perfect for those build your own submersible project. Give away to an interesting project or low cost/exchange for work on lifeboat.

Repair fibreglass boat

Work to do before painting the outside of the boat. Reparing dings, scraps and dents. Filling in the missing grounting on joins and waterprofing leeking nuts and bolts.

Heating the boat

Looking at stoves for boat



How to fit a stove http://www.stovesonline.co.uk/stove-chimney-documentation/Installing-stoves-on-boats.pdf


Replaceing the boat fuel hose for BSS

UPDATE5 this is all done, the new hose is much lower quality than the existing one, you can press it with your fingers and it stretches - no double layer of steel mesh and no abrasion resistant cover.

UPDATE4 this back from the fuel hose supplier


"Slightly tricky in that ISO 7840 is a marine fuel hose specification and relates to low pressure hoses. You obviously need a high pressure hose based on what is in place at present. Aeroquip GH793 has most of the high pressure marine specs – DNV / ABS / MED / LR / USCG etc….and these are covered by the standard flame tests for the cover so I would choose this one but get your centre to confirm suitability"

My reply

"This is not replacing like with like, the replacement fuel hoses has to be ISO 7840.  This standard is need for all UK pleasure boats. I need this to get insurance and a canal licence. The hoses must have ISO 7840 printed on them They need 874-14-04 and 899 14-04 fittings on each end"

UPDATE3 no luck with the standards body’s, nobody seams to know the answer, have taken the hose off the engine and are taking them into Pirtek, Kings cross to make up BS ISO 7840 hoses tommorow.

UPDATE2 talked to BSI here is the direct number 02089967004 for technical questions, they put me onto the appropriate trade associations.

UPDATE turned the hose over to get ready to remove it and found this TCH 2SN 06 DIN. Looking up online it matches this CR2SN-06 with the 2SN meaning High Temp, Abrasion Cover - certified "Meets or exceeds the performance requirements of: SAE 100R2AT; EN 853 2SN; DIN 20022 2SN." with a double layer steel construction it seams to me to be likely much high quality than the one I will replace it with? Now are these higher than the BSS speck?

Looking like I need to replace the fuel hose to pass the BSS, have spent a few days looking through the safty cert of the life boat but cant find the information i need. I now need a fuel hose with the right connectors, here are the photos, I need 2xhoses that pass the BSS (BS ISO 7840, SAE J 1527, Din4798) at 300cm each.

The dangerous boat certificate (BSS)

Am making a documentary about moving off the traditional grid and alternative lifestyles in the face of climate change. This is a brief story about how bureaucratic processes can make the world more dangerous rather than, as some people imagine, more safe.

I have bought a very solid, German built, lifeboat fresh off a north sea oil-rig to convert to a live aboard video production studio. The boat had been installed on the rig for 12 years, and has just being started up and tested for safety every 6 months. The north sea oil safety certification is one of the highest standards in the world for boat safety and the boat has passed this. The boat is built throughout like a tank and every component is top of its class.

I bought the boat and 3 months later I put it into the British canal and river network. For this I have to get a licence, insurance and a boat safety certificate (BSS). The first stage is the BSS this is a basic test of mechanical safety of the boat fuel, electrics, and fire safety, it is obviously much less rigorous than that needed for a boat operating in the North Sea, The tickbox safety test is designed for British boats yet the lifeboat has high standard sea going components source from Germany and Scandinavia which do not tick these simplistic boxes.

The boat failed the basic BSS because it has fuel hoses that are not marked with the appropriate British ISO standard. These are the original high quality hoses with brass screw on connectors, they have passed 12 years of safety checks for boat operating in the north sea but fail the tick box of the BSS. It seems that I have to now replace these excellent German made hoses, with cheap Chinese fuel hoses bought off Ebay, the the screw on brass connectors have to be hacksawed off and replaced with cheap strap on jubilee clips. This tick box “bureaucracy” will make the boat less safe and durable, not more so, hence the BSS becomes the “Dangerous boat certificate”.

I hope to get some common sense from the BSS engineer to resolve this before I start hacking at the boat. If this doesn’t happen it will make a entertaining and DAMNING indictment of the BSS process in the finished 1 hour documentary “The man who bought a lifeboat” out in 2015.

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