A new summer camp for children in grades four through eight, based out of Portland, has been the center of quite a bit of attention for claiming to create a horde of young anarchists with a desire to overthrow society.
The camp in question, Budding Roses, says that it will “provide a free, safe and empowering space for East Portland youth to learn, express themselves, and engage critically with the social justice issues that impact them.” They are able to do this through a string of social justice-focused activities sprinkled over a summer camp setting. It is still entirely unclear just how many kids have been sent to the camp or just how many have actually completed the workshops created for it in the past.
The website stated that mainstream education “often reproduces structural oppression and disempowers youth, particularly low income and youth of color.” The creators are quite interested in “activating young leaders to see themselves as agents of change.”
Due to the pandemic, Budding Roses has only been able to offer the camp in an online setting for the past two years.
The resources they have available online seem to include the “Budding Roses Protest and Chant Book,” which sports songs such as “Solidarity Forever,” the labor rights song from the International Workers of the World, along with “All You Fascists Bound to Lose” by Woody Guthrie.
Various materials for camp attendees also seemed to include an instructional titled “Tear Gas for Portlanders,” which instructs children on how to deal with being sprayed with tear gas and donate to funds for bail.
There is also a coloring book about Black Lives Matter, an Indigenous land map, a primer on police abolition, a walking tour of the radicalized Portland that highlights an “amazing history of radical organizing,” and a reflection series about white supremacy that makes the promise of exploring topics such as privilege, systemic racism, and intersectionality.
The more printer-friendly versions of the coloring book pages also include such themes as “Restorative Justice,” “Collective value,” “Globalism,” “Queer Affirming,” and “Transgender affirming.”
Budding Roses was originally set up by the Black Rose Anarchist Federation, which states that its main mission is to “overthrow the state and capitalism and build a new world from the bottom up.”
This particular youth camp was marked for and subsequently awarded a Spirit of Portland Award in 2018 as the Nonprofit Initiative of the Year.