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Mayday Weekend in The Woods, Ecotopia, Co. Clare.

category national | summit mobilisations | feature author Wednesday May 05, 2004 21:57author by spear Report this post to the editors

Report on CELT training from a participant.

ecotopia 2002 Co.Clare boat in lake reeds

From the newswire (with minor editing) While protesters were gathering in Dublin amid the clouds of fake media hysteria, 80-100 people were in the woods in Co. Clare participating in 14 different courses in environmental and ecological trades run by CELT (Centre for Environmental Living and Training).

Saturday and Sunday last, May first and second, saw this year's first Weekend In The Woods, in Bealkeally, Scarrif, County Clare. The Weekend in The Woods.

Many of same people I had seen before in various actions and protests. Here though they were to be seen learning about river ecology, native woodlands, herbal lore, wood carving, blacksmithing, coppersmithing; building yurts, wattle and daub walls; making tipis rustic furniture, baskets, long bows, dry stone walls….. Others were there just to float about and soak up the beauty and energy of the birds, plants and animals of the woods and lake.

Image: from photoalbum documenting Ecotopia2002 in Co.Clare

I had forgotten the beauty of the place. Such a richness and diversity of life pouring out its healing to all there. One person told me she was happy to be there, that Mayday in Dublin wasn't a priority for her that day but June 25 in Shannon was. Another said she'd been a bit burned out by activism in the last 2 years, that she was currently growing a garden and getting involved locally in Clare.

I was there to make a tipi, following a tip from someone I'd met on The Tree Walk early April. It is going to be for my nieces to play in. I was also curious to see just what the WITW was about and eager to visit again the site of Ecotopia, after almost 3 years. A group of 7 of us made 7 tipis over 2 days. Some of us were making children's tipis for family, others were hoping to create something bigger to live in. We spend the weekend sewing canvas with those hand-operated singer sewing machines, like a work group, everyone helping eachother out.

The at night we had the quiet of the night, the stars, and the fire for company and warmth. We even had the odd song to soothe hearts: a man called Stuart sang a song by George Winstanley about the Diggers, and how they opposed the enclosures of common land, squatted on St. Georges Hill only to be burned out of it by Cromwell's Army.

Weekend In The Woods started over 2 years ago in the wake of the Ecotopia Gathering on the same site. (Remember the Ecotopia Gathering? W.O.W. It's happening in the Netherlands this year http://www.eyfa.org/ecotopia2004intro.htm)
The Ecotopia event was an international gathering of activists held for 2 weeks in Bealkeally, Scarrif, Co Clare by a group of environmentally and politically conscious young people mostly from the limerick clare tipp area. The Gluaiseacht people. The event was held on the land of a friendly local Irish English man.

The camp was run on consensus, non-hierarchical principles. The work in maintaining a sustainable, semi-self sufficient camp was shared and every day workshops were held on everything from non-violent direct action techniques, independent media, mediation, yoga, tai chi, herbal medicine, ecology, permaculture etc etc.

Everyone was amazed at the interest and diversity of peoples attending. Finally a serious political event in Ireland that wasn't being hijacked by the Socialist Workers Ideologues. The event took on a life of its own as prejudices and barriers between people faded away. From hard core punks to fluffy tree huggers, from university lecturers to anarchists, from middle class hurlers on the ditch to committed activists.

Each day brought new faces. Over the course of the last week, many of the English brigade in Ireland started to arrive. You know the ones, or at least the stereo type: the english 'travellers', 'hippies' 'drop outs', 'blow-ins'. The people from Coole Mountain in West Cork, and other places.

Having come to Ireland to flee Thatcher's privatised market-driven Nightmare of the 80s, what can have been their horror to have to lived through hectic, money-fenzied 'CelticTiger' Ireland, to see slow-paced rural un-developed Ireland becoming a thing of the past.

Yet here in Scarrif County Clare were these Irish-English people finally meeting up with young Irish sharing many of their beliefs and willing to put their necks on the line.

The success of the Workshops at Ecotopia ( gave inspiration among many/many other things:eg Shannon Peace Camp)to the people at CELT (Centre for Environmental Living and Training) to stage their 'Weekend in The Woods'.

If the people on the Streets of Dublin are Reclaiming The Streets, the people down in Scarrif are reclaiming crafts, lore and folk knowledge from the poison of TV/media fakeimage-distraction irreality.
Fight the privatisation of the Concrete.
Fight the privatisation of the Imagination.

Its good to have positive news stories of what people are doing for themselves and their communities. Not just what we are opposing and how.

Well I should have written about The Tree Walk for Indymedia (so should you Anthony you naughty boy)……

But I didn’t. So now I've written about The Weekend In The Woods, in Bealkeally County Clare, last weekend.

((((((In case anybody hasn't heard of The Tree Walk for Peace, it involves people walking around Ireland in the springtime planting trees in National Schools, talking with kids about trees and Nature, camping out, cooking and drinking from local wells! It's been going the last few years after being started in 1998 (I think) by John Crossan from Leitrim (I think). I know a couple of people who had been on it so I decided to do it this year, the last week in March. It is a great idea, is an brilliant practical action, but need people to come with fresh ideas of how to carry it forward.))))))

bye now,
nar laige Dia sibh,

The Diggers' Song 
The World Turned Upside Down 
In 1649, to Saint George's Hill 
A ragged band they called The Diggers came to show the people's will 
They defied the landlords, they defied the law 
They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs 

'We come in peace' they said, 'to dig and sow 
We come to work the land in common and to make the waste-land grow 
This earth divided, we will make whole 
So it can be a common treasury for all' 

'The sin of property, we do disdain 
No man has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain 
By theft and murder, they took the land 
Now everywhere the walls spring up at their command' 

'They make the laws, to chain us well 
The clergy dazzle us with heaven or they damn us into hell 
We will not worship the god they serve 
The god of greed who feeds the rich while poor men starve 

We work, we eat together, we need no swords 
We will not bow to the masters nor pay rent to the lords 
We are free men, though we are poor 
You diggers all stand up for glory, stand up now 

From the men of property 
The orders came 
They sent the hired men and troopers 
To wipe out the Diggers claim 
Tear down their cottages 
Destroy their corn 
They were dispersed - 
But still the vision lingers on 

'You poor take courage 
You rich take care 
The earth was made a common treasury 
For everyone to share 
All things in common 
All people one 
We come in peace' - 
The order came to cut them down 

'We come in peace' -
The order came to cut them down.

Lets report whats happening. Lets tell eachother what's going on.

Related Link: http://www.eyfa.org/ecotopia2004intro.htm
author by Eoinpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 11:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yea, I saw the leaflets for this alright and would have loved to have gone but it's a pity it was clashing with the Mayday. It sounded class.

author by Sweeneypublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well it may be happening again next JUne or OCtober check the ORganiser CELTs website


author by chamanpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 02:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In her workshop in dublin last thursday , starhawk talked about the importance of building the societies that we want while also being activists on the front line. Last weekend was a good example of that.

While the guardians of the peace sprayed high pressure water with sand and salt in it, I took solace from the fact that friends were building the future down in the woods.

- unity in diversity -

(from Calgary G8 protest written by Starhawk and sung last weekend in Dublin)

We are the rising of the moon
We are the shifting of the ground
We are the seed that takes root
When we bring the fortress down

Related Link: http://www.starhawk.org
author by anti-Starhawkpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 21:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Starhawk says this, Starhawk says that... self-appointed leader of the "anti-globalisation" movement, give me a fucking break!

No Gods, no MASTERS.

Echo the comments from the above poster. Disheartening to hear of people sitting around in the woods during a four-day weekend of libertarian actions (and stuff like the Mosney trip or Critical Mass were hardly mad crazy confrontations, and both were building towards alternatives for a better world). The Ecotopia/Ecology/Hippie crowd need to engage in better dialogue with anarchists (and vice versa) so we can support each other with events like these.

author by bluebobpublication date Fri May 07, 2004 16:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Saying the "ecotopia/ecology/hippie crowd" or whatever, need to engage in better dialogue with the anarchists? What do you mean - there were anarachists at ecotopia and ecotopia people in Dublin for May day. What else are you suggesting?

There were also plenty of the eco crowd at Grassroots gatherings - that is, mostly the ones held outside of Dublin.

author by as do many other weekenderspublication date Sat May 08, 2004 00:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hey build their own schools, roads, economic cooperatives, hospitals, and clinics in the five caracoles. In La Realidad, for instance, many houses now have running water and electricity, thanks to a water turbine in a nearby river. Their houses are generally made wood with aluminum roofs, and nearby one can usually firewood, some farm animals and crops.

The Zapatista towns are generally orderly and clean. There are signs everywhere advising people to preserve the local ecology and environment.

'The Tojolabal, Tzotzil, Tzetzal, Chol, Mochó, Jacalteca, Kanjobal and other indigenous groups that live in the EZLN’s caracoles don’t aspire to any more than to live with dignity, liberty, equality, and true democracy.

Comandante Bernal, in an interview with Narco News, told us that the Zapatistas are dreamers who want to build a model of a new society. In other countries as well, he said, people are rising up to reclaim the rights of those who have no voice.

Here, in La Realidad and other Zapatista towns of the Lacondon jungle, those words said by countless people in different countries around the world – “another nation is possible” – become more of a reality each day.'

Related Link: http://www.narconews.com/Issue33/article970.html
author by dunkpublication date Sat May 08, 2004 15:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

convergence was on
loads of great stuff
how much reports can you read here of them

i went in and asked them and left details in sign in book
still waiting

post ecotopia
not much developed
improved communication is needed

ive been trying to get ecotopia to happen in balkans, bosnia 2005
and trying to get them to bike tour thgrough lille this summer
http://easa.antville.org/stories/434374/ is more

author by Wozpublication date Thu May 13, 2004 12:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear "anti-starhawk" and others

Fair play to you all for flying the flag in Dublin but quit knocking the weekend in the woods. You seem to imply that we were dodging our civic duty. Bullshit, as previous posters have argued, but so what if we were? I don't feel any obligation to attend every single action that happens, at the expense of my quality of life. I'm allowed a holiday for feck's sake.

author by PHILIP FAHEY - CATHOLIC WORKER LONDONpublication date Thu May 27, 2004 23:22author address 38a st charles sq london w14 6eeauthor phone 00442089601405Report this post to the editors

Please note many vunerable are being progressevely isolated....lonely ...ergo more psi ill.....note there are 250000 irish people here in london min 200000 sadly have acute ch3cooh5 psychoses . Step 2 AA programme we are powerless over alcohol.Go Mbeannai DHIA AGUS A MHIC MUID.anne doyle is giving over hand tic tac on tv news

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