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

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

 

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Entries with tag camp .

Importing goods from China

 

Am thinking about seting up an import and installation business for small wind turbines from China to put onto boats and power protest camps. At the moment the majority of small scale power generation is from fossil fuels, this is both unpleasant and needless. Solar power in the summer being very viable, this leaves 3-4 month of the year with limited power - thus diversifying into solar/wind set-ups.

To buy small wind turbines in the UK the expense is to high so am trying importing them directly from China - the minimum order when shipping is taken into account is 3 so have sent over $1K to a pretty random paypal account to buy them.

For some background on how to go about importing http://importcrashcourse.com/pay-importing-china/

To get an idea if a company is relabel its good to do as much searching as possible - from the pretty random paypal gmail account they sent me I found out this information https://whoisology.com/archive_6/chinaalps.com that they actually own 4 company’s and are the registry email of the Domain of the company I am buying the goods from. This is a good start.

Then the is the issue of VAT/duty to be paid http://www.dutycalculator.com/

Update: the goods arrived and seem to be of good quality, the issue of installing a tower is the subject of my next post.

Pink Castle - GM action report

This is an archive report from a creative action against GM crops in the UK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNWrNRxIhkk Is an early video report you can tell from the too long text and to short time to read it and the use of copyright music limiting its distribution.

Activisttech.org at work at Daneshill protection camp

#daneshill #fracking Alt-power at protest camps, we have a hour long intro in front of the main gate on solar power then Q&A. Followed by a practical workshop on setting up solar LED lighting in the kitchen. From http://activisttech.org

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking dinner at daneshill‬ protection camp

#Daneshill protection camp. Come and have some tasty food and help stop #fracking

Balcombe Protection Camp has a working solar power station

While summer lasts we aspire to camp electrics being completely powered by solar power. Currently the kitchen, massage/meeting tent and the media/tech tent are working. We have LED lighting and can power 3 laptops and charge around 30-40 phones each day. Other structures have LED lighting running from fixed battery’s.

Hamish looking tired in the Balcombe  tech tent at the end of the day (photo Dik Ng)

Today’s observation is the tech tent has become quite boring last few days – the issue is that it simply works, the are no blown fuses, sparking wires or smocking components. The is just working laptops, phone charging and mostly working internet. This is a good thing of course, but I still have to spend my time in the space to stop people dismantling this working set-up. Here are some example bad energy's that make this necessary:

* I would do this better, rip appart and plug to gather in a way which is likely not better and then leave everything broken and burned out

* I need this now for this very important – screening – music event – personal project – ripaprt and leave key parts missing/broken.

* Pilfering, I wont this component, its an open space, I will take it, lots of adapters and cables go missing every week.

* External saboteurs, its well documented now that most successful radical campaigns have had paid corporate spy’s, agent provocaturs and undercover police/police informers and that these roles often ambiguously overlap.

* Internal Sabotage, I hate you because you told me in public not to do something I wonted to do so, I will make something you are doing fail. Some people think these overlap with the external saboteurs...

This last one is more prevalent than you would imagine and I don’t think many people doing it actually understand that they are.

Back to a positive note, we have a working tech tent, YEHA!!! and a good crew (would like to name them here but have to ask first), Sean Peatfield

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...

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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.

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. 

Frackoff Protest Camp Balcombe

Fracking - 85% local opposition to Cuadrilla’s plans.

Frackoff Protest Camp meeting Balcombe

Singing blockade

Come in for tea

Slowing the trucks.

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