Jay M, a Green Party member, spent a week at the Fourth International’s youth camp in Catalonia. Here’s what he made of it.
The first I heard of the Youth Camp was when I casually picked up a leaflet back in April at a film screening of #ThisIsACoup by Jubilee Debt Campaign. The film showed the story of Syriza and the appalling treatment of Greece by the bankers and the EU. It was attended by a mix of people including members of Merseyside Momentum and Liverpool Green Party.
Following up on my interest I did a quick research on Socialist Resistance as a group and my first impressions were good, as an organisation they agreed with my Remain stance on EU referendum as opposed to the other socialist ‘Lexit’ stance. They seemed to be an organisation that was inclusive and less tribal with sections on their website dedicated to both Labour and Green parties, somewhere in the region of my political views.
Travelling by coach from London Victoria station all was going well until the security delays at Dover which set us back a few hours and left us stuck in Lille. Luckily the Danish delegation was not far away in Brussels and took a slight detour to come and pick us up and take us to Catalonia. My first example of international solidarity on this trip.
Although I identify as working-class and left-wing, being active in Greens for only a year meant I come from outside the typical socialist tradition. I had many of my views and preconceptions challenged which was very beneficial to me in better understanding the wider Left movement. I now understand socialism is not dull, authoritative and academic but in the Fourth International movement “Trotsky’s” are vibrant, cooperative and have diverse opinions which can happily coexist.
One of the highlights of the camp was the debate on Brexit with the British delegation advocating Remain on the grounds of solidarity with international workers and the Danish delegation advocating Leave as a blow to the EU as a capitalist neoliberal project. Coming from months of hysteria and nasty debate in the UK this was a refreshing change we had something of an intelligent and reasoned argument and could remain friends and comrades afterwards.
It was interesting meeting Europeans to get a sense of the changes sweeping the continent and how most countries are facing a resurgent left, for example in France with Nuit Debout and the NPA and in Spain with Podemos, however the changes in Europe are polarizing and we must not underestimate the rise of the far-right also.
As for the next steps of the Left in Britain, I believe the philosophy of eco-socialism is something we should all actively endorse, the camp hosted workshops on the impossibility of Green Capitalism. I have learned from my comrades in Germany about the Greens capitulation to bourgeoise elite, and how with the likes of Die Linke and the Nordic Red-Green Alliances socialism and environmentalism must exist side by side as part of the same movement against destruction and greed.
If you fancy going to the 2017 camp email firstname.lastname@example.org.