In July of last year I decided to join and take part in the organisation of a new activist group in Amsterdam. Generation Alpha.
A former classmate of mine became an admin of the Generation Alpha facebook webpage (find and like us here). This page was created by our comrades in Australia and now has followers from around the world. The facebook page is a space for news stories and articles on environmental and justice issues. And as the About section so nicely states Generation Alpha is dismantling the ego-system and embracing the eco-system.
Outside of this digital forum there are two action groups in Australia who have created the Zombie-A-Frack and Over Our Dead Bodies campaigns. Zombie-A-Frack is an anti-fracking campaign (video of direct action below) and Over Our Dead Bodies is a campaign focusing on the possible development of the world’s largest coal mining complex in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, Australia which threatens the Great Barrier Reef and runaway climate change.
Generation Alpha Amsterdam has taken a modest start with roughly 10 members. A handful of us are devoted, while others participate when they can. For the first few months we liked to talk about ourselves … that is … who and what the hell are we? A difficult question. We have made progress, but we’re still finding our way.
Many of us felt we wanted the group to have not only the typical destructive and outspokenness against the system aspect, but also include and focus on constructive action, lightheartedness and fun surrounding these otherwise serious issues. The Zombie-A-Frack action embodies this very well. We also felt that the typical approach to action tends not to feel inclusive of those less “for the cause” which is why we try to emphasize and allow for various levels of participation in actions and events.
Since we are small in numbers, thus far we have chosen to join the actions organised by other groups. However, we have conducted three successful events that aim to strengthen the fabric of the environmental/social movement. The event is a People’s Kitchen and Rebel Cinema.
We collect food from vendors that otherwise would be thrown away (courtesy of Taste Before You Waste), and spend the day preparing food for dinner. All are welcome to join in preparing food or can just turn up for dinner and the film screening.
Each month we choose a different topic. We started with Urban Agriculture (screening Edible City: Grow the Revolution), and our last event was the climate change activism edition (screening Do the Math). At each event we reach out to local initiatives that are involved with the topic in some way in order to bring them into contact with one another. The events have been successful in terms of numbers of people showing up, but it remains to be seen whether or not the events will be successful in sustaining connections. We hope that these events will draw new people in, connect those already involved, and in the future, to get those in attendance to participate in direct action in a way they feel comfortable with. Power in numbers … particularly when you don’t have the power money seems to buy.
I myself am just experimenting with activism and it definitely challenges my comfort zones. It is interesting to see the support and understanding of those who put themselves at risk for their (and your own) beliefs. For now, especially as a Canadian in another country, I keep my role quite tame and like to focus on the more constructive actions.