At 9.30am, as Tamsyn and I wandered the streets of Rostock with rucksacks, tents, hundreds of leaflets and 13 hours of train journey on our backs, I began to doubt our decision to forgo the comfort of a decent hotel room for the solidarity of the anti-G8 summit campsite. My doubt lasted but a moment as we rounded the corner and were confronted by the myriad coloured tents and flags of Camp Rostock.
Coming from the UK, where the media fixation with the ‘black-block’ has meant G8 protests are synonomous with violence, it’s easy to forget what resisting the G8 is really about. The camp is a great reminder of this, showing us that another world, which does not prioritise profit over people and the environment, is not only ‘possible’ but actually exists, albeit briefly, at these kind of events.
We are welcomed in by a multilingual “activist-homing” committee who efficiently direct us to a suitable pitch. This camp has it sorted, with a tent for press contacts, for action updates, for ’emotional trauma’ support, not to mention a massive kitchen and army of cooks and washer-uppers made up of the campers themselves catering for all your vegan needs. In this world, all decisions are made collectively, everyone does their share, gives what they can and profit in any form is strictly prohibited. What a lovely world it is!
But no amount of vegan goodies can keep us from our urge to hit the streets of Rostock again, checking out the Alternative Summit, a meeting of activists which we are an active part, and putting ears to the ground for news of the upcoming protests.
We soon hear that today’s priority for activists is meeting Airforce One that is delivering President Bush to the summit HQ this evening. It is quite surprising that he is bothering to come at all really, given that his announcements last week has scuppered any chance of a decent commitment on stopping climate change. Nonetheless, we set off with a dozen other activists towards Rostock-Laage airport, but soon hear that those in the “unwelcoming committee” ahead of us have been hampered by police road blocks and are stuck somewhere outside Laage.
We decide to pick our battles and head off to the opening plenary of the summit which is just underway.
Afterall, this movement has long since given up on rich country leaders realising the errors of their ways and if we are to build a coherent alternative to their profit-driven ‘development’ model then we have our work cut out for us… Besides, we can catch up with Bush tomorrow!