This afternoon, with 2300 other punters, I watched a Get Up (1) webinar/discussion between Tim “The Weathermakers” Flannery and Malcolm “I will not lead a party that is not as committed to climate change as I am” Turnbull.
Below are some random thoughts/not rising to the level of theses (though I will say that these guys interpreted the world and the point is to save it).
Flannery is clearly shit-scared. Several times (I lost count, but it was more than five) he talked about impending catastrophe/catastrophic impacts. He still hedged it with “last chance to save” but this is the guy who has been saying “last chance” and “critical decade” for more than ten years (in fact, there was even a report, ten years ago, called “The Critical Decade.” Well, that went well… )
Shit-scared is good – as St Greta says “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic…” But surely you should/could mobilise your fear to demand (of ourselves) that we do things differently, that we structure our meetings/events etc differently, that we demand MORE of hosting organisations, that we don’t just make the same exhortations….
Malcolm, well, I’ve seen Malcolm a bunch of times of late (the ABC has him on speed-dial) and he’s in full score-settling mode. I’ve seen him talking about the idiocy of gas-led recoveries and the danger of frontier carbon taxes. I’ve seen him baiting Paul Kelly (the fossilised hack, not the singer). I’ve seen him mostly in his forensic Malcolm lawyer mode.
I’ve yet to see him do more than trotting out the lines (repeated today) about the states being ahead (he likes boosting Matt Keane, the NSW Environment Minister – I think he knows it sends his old foes apoplectic), about the speed of the renewables transition (generation, storage) and what other countries are doing. I’ve seen him saying there is a troika of Liberals/Nationals and media (i.e. Murdoch’s gang) and the “vested interests”.
Fine. BUT WE KNOW THAT. WE KNOW THAT HAS BEEN THE STATE OF PLAY.
Malcolm you’re a smart guy, by all accounts. Tim, you’re defo a smart guy.
Let’s take the stuff you say as given. It’s part of the landscape. It has been for 30 years, give or take.
No need to take up everyone’s bandwidth. Start by answering the question
If you don’t have answers to that, if you don’t have new answers beyond exhortations for more of the same with some added listening, that actually talks about the mistakes groups have made and how to be less likely to repeat them in future (maybe starting with Get Up), maybe step back until you do?
(1) Yeah. Get Up! Mmmm. That top-down clicktivism-y style of endless mobilising that never actually adds up to movement-building, and failed spectacularly last year. I went to one of their events in Adelaide that was explicitly supposed to be about building connections etc and it was pitifully bad and worse than useless. Haven’t really been able to take them any more seriously than Avaaz or 38 Degrees since then. It’s basically a neoliberal model of citizen “engagement” and the chickens have come home to roost. So it goes.