At the end of July, 9 activists from the British state – four from Scotland and five living in England – travelled for many hours by bus across the long miles from London to the heel of Italy to be part of the 34th International Youth Camp organised by the Fourth International. Christopher Adam from Paisley writes about some of the highlights of the week for him.
I have only recently become politically aware, so I was apprehensive of how much more knowledgeable the other participants would be compared to myself. I was expecting to feel intimidated. However, all my qualms were put swiftly to bed as every single attendee of the camp, all 350-ish comrades, proved to be incredibly kind, patient and passionate.
Everyone was enthused by everyone else, the atmosphere was charged with learning and discussion and I was made to feel utterly at home.
The opportunity to meet with likeminded people on an international scale is a rare and vital thing. Daily inter-delegation meetings were essential to this end. The delegation(s) of Scotland and the British State sat down with another delegation every day to discuss the political landscapes in our respective countries and the ways in which organise. We met with Brazil, Germany, Ensemble of France, Denmark and lastly Belgium, who requested a meeting with Scotland alone, which made me and my fellow delegates feel awfully special.
The camp was the diametric opposite of boring. There was a themed disco every night, and a ball was had by all. The spirit of the week was encapsulated when my fellow Scottish delegates and I decided to introduce some of Scotland’s renowned heritage to our fellow comrades late on the first night after dinner. We decided to have a ceilidh. For anyone who’s wondering, there isn’t a more difficult task than trying to teach Scottish Country dancing to those who have never experienced it. Coupled with the educators having an unapologetically strong Scottish accent and the pupils being fluent in English as a second language – not to mention the fact that Scottish Country dancing is bloody difficult! – the task seemed insurmountable.
So when it worked a treat, my comrades and I felt we had achieved a great success; simultaneously we felt patriotic of our wee nation and gregariously international. There we were: a handful of burbling, peely-wally teenagers introducing our national traditions to our fellow comrades (equally burbling) from Denmark, Belgium, Greece, France, Italy – the list goes on.
We were in a parched olive-grove in the middle of nowhere, haphazardly translating the steps of the Gay Gordons to lifelong friends the world over, met only days previous, and it was brilliant.
I was wondering whether or not I wanted to change the world, and after the 34th international Revolutionary youth Camp I am completely certain. For if we cannot Strip the Willow, it is not our revolution.