By Sam Greenwood, Hull AWL
Workers’ Liberty’s summer camp, the first we have organised, took place in Hebden Bridge, in West Yorkshire, on 19-21 August. 35 young activists, a mix of young workers, university and school students and unemployed people, took part in a weekend of political discussions, workshops and socialising.
From the opening workshop on Marxist ecology to the closing rendition of the Internationale, the event was a success. Over the three days there were eleven workshops, ranging from a socialist attitude to imperialism and what this means particularly in Iraq and Libya, to the lessons of the Russian, Chinese and German revolutions and organising in your workplace. A public speaking workshop and a night featuring a series of short films produced by during the 1984-1985 miners’ strike were also on the agenda. A discussion around the recent riots provoked lots of contributions from comrades from across the country on who were the rioters, what were the causes and was this form of class struggle. I am sure the debates in this session will continue over the coming weeks. One other excellent session was “the mechanics of exploitation”, which included a range of props such as a bottle of Dettol, a toilet roll and the “bread trick” from The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (see here for a demonstration) were used to explain how capitalism works.
On the Sunday morning there was a women’s meeting which discussed the plans for our socialist feminist student speaker tour, for our paper Women’s Fightback and for our upcoming socialist feminist conference on 19 November.
The weekend also had lots of time for further discussion and socialising including (a rain delayed) expedition to Stoodley Pike and a roaring camp fire on the Friday night. Some older comrades from Todmorden, Manchester and Leeds also visited to say hi and take part in the discussions.
During the camp there was a socialist library where books could be taken out to read during the event, or bought to take home, along with Workers' Liberty literature and merchandise. The event was fully catered and the food was excellent, communally prepared by those that attended (special thanks to Kieran for both planning the menu and assisting in cooking throughout the event!)
Three people joined the AWL during the event, with more arranging to meet up for further discussions.
The event encouraged democratic, open socialist debate and there was a great atmosphere encouraging active participation from everyone. It felt like a fantastic event to take part in and I would guess everyone who attended is eager to discuss plans for a bigger camp next year.