The Camarilla came about in an attempt to hold Vampire society together against the power of the Inquisition in the 15th century. Under its iron guidance, the Traditions of the Masquerade grew from a cautious suggestion to the guiding principle of Kindred unlife. Even today, the Camarilla concerns iteself with the enforcement of the Masquerade, maintaining harmony between Kindred and kine, and battling the Sabbat, which it views as its direct opponent.
The Camarilla touts itself as the society of the Kindred, and it is partially correct. It is the largest Sect of undead on the planet. Almost any Vampire, regardless of lineage, may claim membership in the Camarilla. In truth, the Camarilla asserts that all vampires are already under its aegis, regardless of the wishes of the Vampires in question.
Over the years, the Sect has attempted to extend its influence over other areas of vampire life, and each time has had its hands roundly slapped for its insolence. Princes brook no interference in the affairs of their cities, while the ancient Methuselahs scoff at the temerity of the younglings who think they can play at Jyhad. In the end, the Camarilla's influence begins and with protecting the Masquerade and ensuring Kindred-kine coexistence.
The Camarilla claims to allow membership to any interested vampires, regardless of bloodline, but the vast majority represent the seven founding clans. It was their members who founded the sect, and only these Clans regularly make up the Camarilla's governing Inner Circle. Other vampires of different bloodlines may attend conclaves and meetings, but their voices frequently go unheard.
After the Anarch Revolt, the Camarilla placed itself squarely against the Sabbat, seeing itself as the only means to hold the war packs at bay. The Camarilla alone upheld the Masquerade and protected its own, while the Sabbat would as soon throw away the Traditions and everything sacred to sustain its paranoid dreams of Gehenna. Dissent is a luxury that cannot be afforded during times of war, and the Camarilla believes quite firmly that those who are not with the sect must be against it. However, for the frightened elders who make up the higher echelons, the Camarilla has quite a few enemies.
In these modern nights, the Camarilla is hardly the monolith that its proponents advertise it to be. Elders cling to their positions, refusing to relinquish them to those who have reached the age of consideration. Younger vampires feel left out of an organization they are expected to uphold, but which offers little to no reward for their efforts save the threat of punishment if they fail. Ancillae are trapped in the middle, unable to turn to either the younger or older vampires; taking up with the neonates means relegation to the lower strata of power, while attempting to fall in with the elders risks the appearance of overstepping boundaries and being crushed for insolence.
Many elders in the Camarilla's upper echelons find themselves in the position of relics. A good many are unwilling or unable pick up the new technology that the young ones have mastered - cellular phones, laptop computers, Kevlar, phosphorus grenaded, sun lamps, Dragonsbreath rounds - and in the modern world, barely able to use a telephone or radio leaves these elders at a distinct disadvantage. Should they relinquish their positions and find themselves outside the halls of power, they become targets as their personal might lessens without the Camarilla behind it. A few gangs of ancillae with diablerie on their minds and the latest technology in their hands, and an elder might well find himself becoming obsolete in more ways than one. Therefore, in preemptive strikes of paranoia run rampant, the elders kill the best and brightest who could some night pose a threat. The result is an organization that is cannibalizing itself, and one night it might regret the mistake.