Climate Change Strategies
i love Beatrice, especially when we disagree. She recently went to Larry Kramer’s Facebook Page and read the speech he gave that sparked the AIDS group ACT UP.
“Kramer said:** “If my speech tonight doesn’t scare the shit out of you, we’re in real trouble. If what you’re hearing doesn’t rouse you to anger, fury, rage, and action, gay men will have no future here on earth. How long does it take before you get angry and fight back?”**
And Beatrice asks “Where is our Larry Kramer? to fight to save our Biosphere, to take on big oil.”
She found Kramer’s anger and passion compelling and believes that climate change needs a similar enraged and dedicated hero.
i am less convinced. i certainly dont want to stop such a person from stepping forward, and i will get arrested and a non-violent climate change action faster than most people will (and already have). But the issues are so different and the forces which need to shift are not at all the same.
In climate change we are fighting big oil, big coal and to a lesser extend nuclear. These are rich, powerful entrenched interests which are willing to do lots of legal and illegal things to stop us. With AIDS we were fighting a priorities battle. Would medical resources be spent on dealing with this epidemic? For the first many years the entrenched bureaucracy said “no”. And Kramer gang was extremely effective in changing this, they were relentless, they got arrested repeatedly, they dogged political candidates and bureaucracies until they finally caved.
Big oil wont cave. They have extremely effectively used a similar type of disinformation campaign that the 1% have used to convince working class people that poor people are the problem. Rush Limbaugh is pitching the idea that the heat index is a government conspiracy to convince us of the existence of climate change. Climate change was not mentioned once in the presidential debates, this is the first time it was left out since it first showed up on the political scene in 1984. But the very longevity of the issue works against the sense of immediacies that many of us activists feel about it.
In the long Facebook thread/debate on where is the Climate Change Kramer and do these tactics work there was the commonly heard call for the need for big actions. People love to call for big actions. There issue is important, lets get a million people who agree in Washington to protest for it and that will change things. Organizing big actions is extremely difficult and expensive. I am not at all saying it should not be done, i am just saying it is not easy and we need to look at what it takes to make it work. I wrote this about it:
Let’s talk about what it takes to create big actions, who has done it successfully in the last decade. We had big actions around the Bush II war in Iraq, which had an immediacy that i dont see a parallel to with climate change (which we have been talking about as a serious problem since before 1992 and the Rio Summit). We have had some big demonstrations for women’s reproductive rights – this again feels very immediate to many of the women and men involved. Perhaps the model is the pre-9/11 anti-globalization movement. Starting in Seattle in 1999 and the subsequent World Bank/IMF demonstrations and the Quebec City FTAA demo – we got tens to hundreds of thousands of people out for a very abstract issue, not very immediate at all. What made globalization protests work? Until they were destroyed by the “you are with the terrorists or you are with the US” rhetoric of the Bush administration post 9/11. For me this a more compelling organizing parallel than ACT UP which was incredibly immediate to a pretty small group of people.
Part of the argument in this thread was about does political change happen via “throwing the better party” or “harnessing peoples rage”. And while the ACT UP folks definitely harnessed rage, it is clear from some of the reading i have done that the cohesion of the group was that the meetings has a better party aspect to them.
This is one of the most vexing issues of our time. It is time to be brilliant about it. What ar eyour thoughts?
An excellent link on how there is not science to support the denires.
About paxusa funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.
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