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Taking a step forward with strength and organisation – YS Summer Camp Report

From 07 to 14 August, this year’s summer camp took place in Northern Germany, near Kiel. With about 130 young people from Germany, France, the Netherlands, England and Switzerland, we spent a week of collective time, educating ourselves and making new contacts.

The programme of the camp consisted of daily education sessions on topics such as war, women’s revolution and LGBTI+ liberation, the emergence of crises, the need to organise, being a revolutionary or handling feelings in a revolutionary way. Half of the trainings were led by Young Struggle activists, the other half by comrades with years of experience from political struggles and work in Europe and Turkey/Kurdistan. Apart from the educational programme, there were also daily workshops, including chess, folklore, rap, agitation, layout, choir, graffiti and DJ workshops.

But at the camp we didn’t only educate ourselves ideologically and politically, besides the educational programme there was also a lot of free time. We often spent this time on the beach, which was only a few minutes away from the camp site. We danced halay together, there was a Volleyball and a chess tournament and often we just used the time to exchange ideas or spend time together. Whether it was over a delicious meal, on the beach or in our common free time, there were always political discussions. It didn’t matter if the people only spoke German, English, Turkish, French or another language, despite the language barriers we understood each other, could learn more about international struggles and new ways of doing politics and make new friends and comrades. Every evening, an programme was organised where we got to know each other better and had fun together. Whether it was through games in which we got to know each other, singing and dancing together around the campfire or at the talent show on the last evening of the camp, our evenings were filled with collective experiences. On the second day of the camp, we received the news that Suruc survivor and MLCP fighter Ulaş Alankuş had died in Northern Kurdistan fighting against Turkish fascism. On the evening of the news, we organised a commemoration ceremony for him and all the comrades who became immortal in the struggle against fascism. He organised himself as youth like we did, went to camps like we did and dreamed of revolution like we did. The commemoration ceremony at the beginning of the camp influenced us and our discussions during the following days of the camp. We carry the fighting spirit of comrade Ulaş within us!

In addition to the fixed programme, larger discussion groups on various topics were formed again and again. On the beach, for example, on one day the LGBTI+ people present met with comrades from the LGBTI+ organisation Pride Rebellion and exchanged their experiences at the camp, the importance of an organisation and the value of a revolutionary LGBTI+ struggle. On another day, there was a joint women’s meeting with the young women’s organisation ZORA and comrades from SKB ( Union of Socialist Women) to discuss revolutionary womanhood and what being a woman means at our camp. We also talked with ZORA comrades from Leipzig and a comrade who is involved in the solidarity work around the Antifa Ost trial in Germany against Lina E. and three other defendants about the trial, the statements of the traitor Johannes Domhöver and our political responses to repression, discussing the trial and the betrayal also from the perspective of women’s liberation. Organisationally, we strengthened ourselves at the camp by exchanging perspectives on building new local groups and strengthening our European cooperation.

Ende Gelände action days also took place in Hamburg on the weekend. This year, the main aim was to paralyse the gas power in the port of Hamburg, which is presented as being sustainable. A delegation travelled to Hamburg on Friday evening to take part in the blockades the following day. As part of the Golden Finger, after a demonstration march through Hamburg, we managed to block one of the main access routes for goods trains to the port of Hamburg, where capital handles their goods with which they generate profits and exploit countries of the global south. The blockade lasted from around 12am until late in the evening. 

Again and again, positive links were made to the dock strike a few weeks ago, and the connection between climate and class struggles was made: “One struggle, one fight – Ende Gelände, dock strike!” During the clearing of the tracks there was also repeated police violence. People who did not resist the measures were beaten off the tracks with painful grips and blows, during the handling participants were addressed in a sexist way and insulted. Some of our members were also taken to the police station and threatened with imprisonment, but when it became clear that the police’s accusations were fabricated, they were released the same evening and we were able to leave together after a successful weekend and blockade.

All in all, this year’s summer camp and the collective life as comrades, as friends and as an organisation has allowed us to take another step forward. Strengthened and eager for action, we will use the energy gained in the camp to push forward our practice, especially the conclusion of our campaign “Youth against war and crisis”, to make it even more successful.

With new strength and new experience, we will push forward the organised class struggle!