20th International Youth Camp Against Fascism and Imperialism

Malem Ningthouja

The 20th International Youth Camp against fascism and imperialism, organised under the initiative of Denmark’s Communist Youth League, was held from July 28 to August 4 2006. It was aimed at exchanging experiences, ideas and culture with young people involved in struggle from several countries and continents and to strengthen the unity against oppression across borders and nations. It was attended by more than 300 delegates from 16 countries of the world: Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Palestine, Spain and Turkey.

The entire organisational activity of holding the camp was entrusted to a Camp Office that was responsible for providing the international delegates with free transport from the Copenhagen airport to the camp site and back. The Camp Office made all the necessary arrangements to provide: 24 hours free internet access at the Internet Café; currency exchange; beverages, merchandise, candy, etc at reasonable prices at the kiosk and two cafes at the main tent and outside; political and progressive literature at a specially organised bookstall; and a medical facility, other facilities for games, sports and amusement. Delegates were accommodated in boarding rooms and those who brought tents lived in a temporary settlement formed by a cluster of tents. Whereas the Message from the Grassroots and International Café displayed cultural exhibition, there were exhibitions of photo, paintings, cartoons and sculptures during the camp.

The delegates, apart from attending seminars, discussions, debates, party feats and games and amusements, voluntarily signed up for practical work such as making banners and posters, cleaning up the compound, utensils and other voluntary works, etc. A daily camp newspaper, CAMP’S VOICE, that carried wide-ranging issues related to camp activities such as presentations, interviews, opinions and international news, was published and circulated under the initiative of the Turkish delegates. Party feats every evening during the camp were organised by Burm (DK), Anubia (DK), Riffelsyndikatet (DK), David Rovics (US), The Breakers (DK), Pailin (DK), Carbird (DK), Organiserer Riminalitest (DK), Microphone Mafia (D/TC), Delgationernes Indslag and Turkish delegates. There were crowd-drawing events where delegates got a respite from the day-long political discussions.

As for the main agenda of the camp, except on August 1, the main political activity was organising seminars, reports, discussions and debates technically categorised into two groups: (a) Main presentations and (b) Workshops.

(a) The Main presentations were held in the main tent under the themes: The Middle East and Imperialist Strategy; Palestine – Solidarity and Resistance; Neo-liberalism and Resistance; Another World is Necessary – Socialism; and The Struggle of the Youth is Global.

(b) Workshops were organised after lunch in the cinema and stalls were erected or rooms allocated for that purpose. The workshops organised by different delegates either focused on main presentations or on specific issues concerning their respective country or party, but along the particular theme of the day. In the cinema documentary movies were shown, followed by discussion. In short the delegates ran workshops, discussions and debates in which they shared experiences of organisation and struggle against war, neo-liberalism and imperialism.

An open demonstration of international solidarity in the Camp, which was also the main agenda of the revolutionary movements across the globe, was the August 1 demonstration in which, besides the camp delegates, activists of the Message from the Grassroots, Rebellion, Peaceguard, and Defend Christiania also took part. The August 1 programme was organised under the theme ‘International youth camp invades Copenhagen’ and was characterised by an excursion to a semi-autonomous island adjacent to Copenhagen called Christiania and a demonstration in front of the Danish parliament. Delegates who took part in the demonstration held high banners with anti-imperialist slogans written in their mother tongues, stopped near the Foreign Office to deliver a speech that condemned the imperialist war in Iraq and marched on towards the parliament. According to the Camp Voice ‘The demonstration against the continuing wars and the government’s ban on the Peacewatch protest in front of the Danish Parliament began in Christiania after some lovely music. Over 600 people marched toward the parliament chanting strong slogans against the imperialist attacks. The demonstration continued in front of the parliament with speeches against imperialism including friends from Turkey, the Spanish-speaking contingent and France. The demonstration came to an end after some exceptional songs by Annisette Ny who mesmerised the crowd with her great voice including songs based on the struggle of Palestine’.

The camp made a formal declaration on the last day. In brief the camp declared that the world under the impositions of imperialism was in crisis; which was expressed in the orientation toward fascism through wars, invasions and aggressions against the peoples seeking their liberation on one hand, and on the other hand, through the implantation of neo-liberal policies that force the people of the world to live in poverty, that negate any possibility of access to work, health and qualified education. The camp also believed that alongside the intensification of the imperialist and neo-liberal attacks, the resistance of the peoples, the workers and especially of the youth was on the rise. The camp, therefore, supported the fight and resistance of the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, invaded by the USA and NATO, and of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples against the Zionist aggression by Israel. The camp realised that unity was the guarantee for victory against imperialism, which was the common enemy. It called upon the youth of the world to combatively and fearlessly work toward fulfilling the objective to work for the unity of the youth and the peoples against imperialism and fascism.

From what I experienced in the camp I feel that the delegates, although they are bound by a common ideological stand and revolutionary commitment, are separated not only by national borders but also by a relative ignorance of the revolutionary situations prevalent in the other countries. This is particularly true of the intercontinental information lapse among the comrades such as between the European and the Asian comrades, between the Asian and Latin American comrades, etc. While every party is responsible for educating its member youth with correct revolutionary ideology, such rare occasions of international contact or interaction as the international youth camp was should also have had a programme where one or two days would be devoted to theoretical reading and lectures by enlightened leaders. I at the same time feel that the number of countries participating in the next camp should be expanded. Except for these few reservations about the camp, overall the camp was well organised and revolutionary.

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