- Pullathomas, Mayo, 10.00am Saturday 24th of May 2014 -
To: Former participants/members of the Rossport Solidarity Camp, potential future volunteers, all who wish to work in solidarity for social, environmental and economic justice in the struggle against the Shell Corrib Gas Project.
We invite you to a meeting to review the current status of the solidarity movement and discuss how we can best continue our work into the future.
Brief background information:
The Rossport Solidarity Camp was set up in 2005 at the invitation of the local community opposing Shell's Corrib Gas Project. Over the years the Rossport Solidarity Camp grew into an organisation in its own right with its own aims, guidelines, website, bank account, you-tube presence, email account, facebook and twitter, with hundreds if not thousands of people involved operating at many levels and areas in the fight against Shell & the state. It also owns a lot of useful materials and infrastructure that has been used to run camps over the last 9 years.
The group was important locally, national and even internationally. People from all over the country and people fighting Shell in other parts of the world have looked to the camp as a model and a symbol of resistance and hope in the fight for social and environmental justice.
The unit of operation was the permanent and temporary volunteers present at the camp or house. At the moment however, there is no permanent physical presence – no permanent camp, campaign house nor the permanent volunteers that kept it going.
There are individuals however - some living in Mayo and some who return frequently - who remain locally involved in the campaign against Shell's project.
We are calling this meeting to resolve the following question:
Is there a cohesive group who can and want to continue/reform/transform the Rossport Solidarity Camp organisation, including managing its assets and outstanding obligations?
If the answer to the above question is yes, we would need to come up with and agree a workable plan to continue/transform the RSC organisation.
If the answer is no, then we need to any meet any outstanding obligations we have to the local community such as restoring loaned property and come up with a mechanism to handle the camp assets.
Neither outcome would stop anyone from engaging in solidarity work individually or collectively under different auspices (eg new groups).
It would be positive if a group came together to continue and transform the camp organisation into something useful now in the struggle against Shell. But, if needs be, winding it up would make it clear that new individuals and groups are needed not only in the struggle in Mayo but also in the wider environmental & social justice movement.
Future solidarity ideas, initiatives, groups:
Regardless of whether the the RSC organisation is the appropriate vehicle to work through now, there are people engaged in solidarity work in Mayo who want to meet and share ideas with other people interested in working against the Corrib gas project and linking with those involved in similar campaigns in Ireland and abroad.
Either through a continued/reformed RSC or through new initiatives or groups, we would like to explore the following in the context of continuing support for the fight against the Corrib Gas Project:
What actions, activities and strategies do we want to engage in? How can we continue to support the local community in their fight against Shell's project in the current circumstances? Do we want to broaden our field of activity to look at actions outside the Kilcommon area? Should we work towards creating more links with other communities, opposing unsustainable and dangerous developments?
Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending and note any related items/ideas you would like to share/discuss at the meeting.
We will organise a provisional agenda on this basis and send it out to all respondents before the meeting takes place.
If you are unable to attend but have input to give, please send us your feedback and we will incorporate it as best we can at the meeting.
Paul, Erris, Eoin & Eamon
More Background Information:
Rossport Solidarity Camp guidelines, from 2005 reviewed and revised occasionally:
To keep the camp running smoothly we have the following guidelines:
*We make all our decision collectively and operate on non-hierarchical principles (no leaders). Work is shared evenly amongst us.
* The camp has a no illegal drugs policy and no alcohol except after dinner on Fridays & Saturdays.
*Sexual harassment is not tolerated. The camp has a ‘safer spaces’ policy meaning everyone has the right to feel comfortable and safe on camp. Sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, classism or any other kind of discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated and all of us should feel empowered to challenge this type of behaviour.
*We are pursuing our goal through direct action. We encourage each other to work in affinity groups, however we are accountable for our actions and do not carry out individualistic actions without considering the effect for the local community.
* We try to be as sustainable as possible in terms of our impact on the environment and limiting our use of fossil fuels, and also in terms of personal sustainability, looking out for each other and taking care of ourselves and each other.
The solidarity camp relies on donations and suggests 5 euro per day /25 euro per week / whatever you can afford.
No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
Rossport Solidarity Camp explicit aims, conceived and incorporated circa 2010:
We aim to:
- to support the community in its struggle against Shell’s Corrib gas project
- to provide a base for people to visit, learn and support the struggle through a number of ways including direct action
- to work as part of the national Shell to Sea campaign
- to link with other communities under threat from the fossil fuel industry and international campaigns against Shell & other oil companies
- to try and become a model of sustainability
Previous meetings & discussion on the future of the camp:
Since the camp stopped existing as a permanent fixture as either a house or camp in a field in 2013, camp organising meetings have been held every few months in Pullathomas, timed close to other relevant events (eg court appearances). The major question is what to do now with the camp organisation.
The question of what should happen the camp is not new - over a weekend in September 2012 there was a well organised "future of the camp" meeting held in Glenamoy, with high participation from people past and present involved in the camp.This included a survey completed by those who wished to participate but could not be present that weekend. The outcome of that though was essentially to continue as we were - which we had the option to do as there were still some people committing to try to keep the camp house open, and the majority local input was to keep it open.
We clearly no longer have the "wait and see" option to fall back on, as there is no ongoing physical camp/ house to keep going, and the uncertain existence of the organisation has already soaked up too much solidarity and local energy that should be put to better use.
It is also questionable whether there is a cohesive group that can or want to take responsibility to continue the camp organisation as it is.
At a Rossport Solidarity camp organising meeting in December 2013 the following decision was agreed:
Decision: to put together a call out for a ‘future of the camp meeting’ again - one that we can’t walk away from without either:
A critical & cohesive mass of people committing to continuing/reform/transform the camp organisation and begin putting in place a workable plan to do so.
Completely wind up the camp as an organisation and put in place a plan to put its assets to uses that fall within the Camp aims.
NB: Neither outcome would stop anyone from engaging in solidarity work individually or collectively under different auspices (eg new groups.)