We're all going on a summer holiday: Peace News Summer Camp 2012

IssueJune 2012
Feature by Milan Rai , Emily Johns

ImageWhen we look around the world, when we look around this island that we live on, it’s clear there is an urgent need for a total transformation of society and the economy: a radical democratisation, a drastic carbon cut-back, justice for the oppressed, and thorough-going demilitarisation in every area. Peace News has been committed to ‘nonviolent revolution’ for 40 years. How are we going to make progress towards this goal?

What do we mean by ‘nonviolent revolution’ and is it feasible or desirable?

These are some of the questions we’re going to be exploring at the fourth and most ambitious Peace News Summer Camp (26-30 July). Over 120 people are expected to camp with us next to the lovely Crabapple Community near Shrewsbury for five days of insight, inspiration, active listening, participatory democracy, collective childcare, compost-toilet-making, tripod-climbing, singing, solar-shower-making, and campfire-gazing.


Listed below are some of the sessions that we’re having at Summer Camp, organised into three strands. We will also be having film screenings and other entertainments (including an interactive play). 

One thing we’ve never tried before is a whole-camp, whole-day workshop. We’re doing it this year! ‘Making Nonviolent Revolution’, on Saturday 28 July, will be co-facilitated by long-time US activist George Lakey (see PN 2544 and 2545) and Kathryn Tulip of the Seeds for Change training collective. This session will be legendary.

When and where?

Peace News Summer Camp is being held in a lovely field near Shrewsbury, postcode SY5 6HA. Camp will be open from Wednesday 25 July and will start on the morning of Thursday 26 July. It will end on Monday 30 July in the afternoon.

If you can help with set-up (from 24 July) – please call 07901 822 694. Note: we have to vacate the site on 30 July and there is no tat-down as Earth First! Summer Gathering is using all the same structures two days later. There is no camping overnight on 30 or 31 July, except for recognised EF! set-up crew.

Family-friendly & accessible

We aim to make the camp as accessible as possible. If you have any special needs we should cater for, please do contact us before you come: 020 7278 3344. Please see our website for more info. We will have a step-free (compost) toilet on site.

There will be a family camping area for those with children, a kids’ activities tent and loads of great outdoors things for them to do. We will also be providing child-friendly food.

How much?

Entrance to the camp costs £20-£70 depending on income. (For under-14-year-olds the camp is free.) Please give as generously as you can afford, as this camp has received much less in grants than in previous years. Please book before 19 July.

Delicious vegan food from Veggies of Nottingham costs £6-£11 a day (depending on income). Please also book your food by 19 July.

Children’s food will be sorted out on-site: you can either contribute each day towards separate meals cooked by the Kids’ Group or buy reduced-price Veggies food tickets at the camp.

You can pay online at the Peace News webshop; or by ringing Claire on 020 7278 3344 ; or you can send a cheque (payable to ‘Peace News Summer Camp’) to: Peace News, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DY, explaining how many entry and food tickets you’re purchasing, for which days, and at what rates. If you’re sending a cheque, please post by 17 July.

You can, of course, self-cater, but there is only one open fire allowed on-site (the campfire).

How to get there

The 436 bus goes from just by Shrewsbury train station to Cross Houses, less than a mile from the camp. Press the stop button when you see the sign for Cross Houses. Some buses are low-floor accessible buses (contact Arriva for details).
Please come by public transport if at all possible.
There is a (six-mile) cycle route on the Summer Camp website – please call Claire if you’d like a copy by post.


If you would like a slot in the car parking space (no parking by tents), please contact 020 7278 3344 or email (below). Priority will be given to people with mobility needs and small children.


Accommodation on site is camping only. Please contact Shrewsbury tourist information if you’d like to stay in a B&B: 01743 281 200;

What to bring

A tent, roll mat and sleeping bag, and any other equipment you may need. Warm, waterproof clothes and boots. A torch. Money for the gate and for food from Veggies. Literature and things to share. Musical instruments!

NB Dogs (except guide dogs) are not allowed on site – sorry.


Making Nonviolent Revolution strand
Making Nonviolent Revolution (whole-camp, whole-day) / Occupy and the Limits of Consensus / Take the Toys from the Boys: Militarism & Gender / Diversity of Tactics: Are Street Violence and Property Destruction Revolutionary - or Counter-Revolutionary? / Contrasting Revolutions: Russia, China, Spain & Iran / The Limits of Ethical Lifestyle Politics / Expanding the Floor of the Cage: Reform and/or Revolution / Disobey! Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience / Building at the Grassroots: Radical Community Organising

Sharing experiences and skills strand
Don’t Do the Crime If You Can’t Do the Time: Being in Prison / How to Create a Protest Camp / Right on Our Doorstep: Local Campaigning against the Military-Industrial Complex / Make Cake, Not Wars /
Singing / Practical Solidarity / Effective Affinity Groups

Other workshops
Eyewitness Afghanistan / What’s NOT Being Cut: Military Projects in the Age of Austerity / Chomsky’s Politics / Parking the Car... For Good / Swords into Turbines: Campaigning against Climate Change 

What they said about last year’s camp

‘People were very friendly and helpful to a new person.’ ‘This was a wonderful holiday for me and a chance to really be myself and to work out what things are valuable in my own life.’ ‘Peace News walks the talk. Thoroughly enjoyed it.’ ‘Possibly changed my life on so many levels, can’t wait till next year.’ ‘A chance to take risks in a “safe” environment.’ ‘Quiet, calm, respectful, trusting.’ ‘Camp well organised without too many rules – just essentials.’