“Fracking ez hemen: ez inon,” sums up perfectly the message of the first ever international anti-fracking camp. It means ‘No fracking here: not anywhere’ in Basque.
This assertion reverberated loudly from Frackanpada organised by the Basque grassroots organisation Fracking Ez. Held in the shadows of the Pyrenees, the message was also steeped in Basque identity.
Activists from all corners of Europe gathered near Vitoria-Gasteiz for a week long camp in mid-July, joined by those fighting fracking from as far afield as Argentina, Australia, Canada and Kurdistan. The camp was located on a site where the frackers wanted to drill. But fracking was stopped locally. The site became instead an autonomous space, where the power of the people flourished.
On numerous levels, the camp demonstrated how humanity can do better than destroy the world by fracking it over. The week provided a hub to share skills, tactics and knowledge both about resisting fracking directly and creating socially just alternatives. In action, the camp also envisioned a better future. This was shown in people working for the collective; by using low-impact technologies, examples including compost toilets and varied ways to harness the sun’s power; and in ethos, for instance people paying according to their means to eat communal meals.
The anti-fracking movement has always been an internationalist movement, not least sharing across borders scientific understanding of the process and resistance tactics. Yet the camp marked a monumental moment as the first ever international gathering. It is also worth considering that this grassroots movement is about even more than resisting the dirty extractive process. It is catalysing new ideas and alliances, building momentum for a fair and sustainable future.