Since I got back from 7 weeks and 10 tonnes of climate criminality, the same conversation – if you can call it that – has been had several times.
Here’s the dynamic of it (not obviously direct quotes, for various reasons, and a certain l’esprit d’escalier, but this is my website, so suck it up).
Me: Protest groups have come and gone – not at this scale on this particular issue, granted – and have a dynamic I call the emotacycle. Tl:dr – it doesn’t last, and what is left behind is anomie, despair and unkept promises. If we want a different result, we should probably do things differently.
Person 1: Yes, but at least we’re doing something. You are saying we shouldn’t do anything.
Me: Really? Really? When did I say that?
Person 1:Look, a squirrel (scuttles off).
Person 2: Well, okay, then what’s your big idea about doing things differently? You haven’t proposed anything.
Me: Really? You know me. You know that I have been writing about – and doing where possible – how to hold meetings differently, how to design events so they are not alienating to new folks, that I have been designing and holding skill-shares, talking about how we could change activist culture and expectations etc etc etc for literally over a decade. And you say I haven’t proposed anything. And you expect me not to get angry at that? Well, luckily for both of us I am not going to get angry. Not because I’ve been on anger management training (though perhaps I should) but because I am not even exasperated. I can’t take you seriously. You know – and you know I know you know – that I do in fact have a series of implementable proposals. And you know that those threaten the status quo, and force today’s ‘we are winning’ crew to think differently, and they won’t – can’t?- do it. And that all scares and frustrates you, but rather than deal with that, you simply say that I haven’t proposed anything. A convenient falsehood, instead of an inconvenient truth.
So, um, nice talking, but maybe I should be walking, ‘kay?