On the 21st of March 2011, a motley group of eighteen cyclists broke away from London’s edges and headed south, through the spring sunshine and soft shadows of Kent. It was the first day of a four month bicycle caravan that was to link projects and communities fighting for social and environmental justice from the UK to Palestine. The project had been many months in the making; the result of countless late night discussions, and early morning dreams.
We were a self-organised collective, working by consensus decision-making, and powered by a desire to support grassroots social movements and make explicit the threads that draw seemingly diverse struggles together. There were three broad narratives that guided our journey:
The first was to respond to the call out from Palestinian civil society in 2005 for a programme of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against companies who profit from or are complicit in the occupation of Palestine. The second was to work with groups who are organising around community control of food systems and fighting for access to land, seed and water. The third was to link communities fighting for social and environmental justice against corporate control and corrupt governments, sharing their stories and tactics across contexts. We sought to use our journey to celebrate the arts and cultures of resistance by sharing stories, skills and strategies for radical social change along our route. By building meta-national relationships of living and breathing solidarity we hoped to mutually support and strengthen grassroots social movements through Europe and into the Middle East.
The bicycle was an obvious tool for such a journey. It allowed us to move seamlessly through the landscape and visit communities whilst interacting with the cultures that flowed between them. The other tools we carried with us were our ‘seeds of solidarity’ seedbank and our methods of democratic group organising.