On Wednesday two excellent things took place. One, I bought some juggling kit at the “Oddballs” shope in the lanes in Brighton.
The second is – hopefully – more consequential. I went to Seaford (a town on the coast) to meet up with Becky and Roy, who are neck deep, with others, in organising the Seaford Climate Hub.
They showed me around the building, which was a NatWest bank until four years ago and then vacant. They’re well aware of the dangers of getting into protracted negotiations about spaces, and the age-old debates within movements about the primacy of protest or “movement building.”
It is a warm, welcoming space, with literature, books, posters, school uniforms for those who are skint (a growing number of people) and a sense of hope and possibility. Every town should have one, and cities should have dozens. That we don’t is a reflection on the priorities of our Lords and Masters, who have had thirty years to take action on climate change, but have done nothing – or rather, have made things much much worse.
After the hub we went to a nearby pub and they refused to let me buy drinks. We had the usual free-wheeling conversation about all manner of things – how they got involved (XR, against a background of being members of the Green Party etc), what difficulties they’d encountered, what they hoped to achieve.
Throughout I was urging them to write, record, share… What they are doing is difficult, prone to failure and incredibly important. Fwiw, I sent them a bunch of blog posts from back in the day (see list below).
When I got home I realised I had accidentally recorded the entire conversation. So here, below, is what I said when I was asked if there was “hope”
“Hope for what? for who? So things are going to change radically. There’s going to be a die-off as William Catton plays out. But beyond the catastrophes and they won’t be like an instant, it won’t be like an asteroid strike or a zombie apocalypse. It will be gradually – things will get seem to get better and then worse. It’s like a progressive disease, like Alzheimer’s, or motor neuron disease or even some forms of cancer where it could decline but then you might even get a bit better. And then quickly worse again….
I then invoked a scene from John Wyndham’s novel “Day of the Triffids.”
“So a group is going to go off to Norfolk and … they build this farm. And there’s about 10 of them. And there’s, like, eight adults and four kids. And it’s hard graft, because they’re trying to grow enough food for themselves to eat, but they’re also having to maintain the fences. Because if they don’t maintain the fences, triffids gonna get in. But they’re making a go with this. year on year, they’re able to build better fences to reclaim more land, and it’s looking like they’re gonna be okay. And then one day British Army turns up, and they recognise the leader of the group, as someone who’s a real bastard in London in the first days after the disaster. And what the British army guys says is “you are going to take 20 blind people.” And there’s this lovely discussion where they say, “but if we do that, we won’t have the time to educate our children, about all the things that make us human about, about science, about Mozart, about Shakespeare, or whatever, or culture, because we will just become brutal, feeding enough mouths – we will have no surplus.” And the British Army guide basically says, “I have the guns”
I won’t tell you how what happens next is very clever, very inspiring. 200 pages…
I think the job is to help individuals orient to what’s happening. So they’re less surprised at the sense of it is turning to shit. And if people aren’t oriented, they’ll explain it as it’s “it’s the homosexual, the immigrant,” rather than this has been baked in., and this is why I’m doing all this has been going on for so long. So the first thing is to help people orient. In the military it’s called situational awareness. And in the military, it’s the thing that if you have a troop that must explain to them the terrain must explain where the enemy is, and what they’re supposed to do next. Otherwise, you don’t have [a chance of survival]
The next thing that you have to do when you we have to do is build habits and skills of collaboration and cooperation. It’s actually really difficult to have functional groups…”
[For the avoidance of doubt – I was not advocating, do not advocate a Malthusian ‘let’s kill all the poor people’ line. I was trying, through the anecdote, to point to dangers ahead if we do not learn how to protect our culture, our ability to co-operate and co-ordinate, then we will be atomised, scared and stampeded into giving vent our worst potentials, given free reign by those who wish to dominate, control, divide and conquer. ]
Blog posts on
“Are meetings institutionally sexist”
“How to run a film showing”
|How I’d design a film showing and discussionI’ve been challenged to explain how you could design a film showing that involved a “facilitated small group discussion that generated ideas of what we can do in Manchester, and built connections b…manchesterclimatemonthly.net|
The pathologies of the Q&A session
|“So we bleat on….”, or Q &A/P&A; the pathological meetings of academics, activists etcThis article outlines the very familiar pathological pattern of meetings at which dialogue is lauded and then slaughtered, the usual attempts to fix the pathologies, and then describes why they usu…marchudson.net|
“Get your fucking gameface on”
“How to run a skills audit”
Peace news 2019 – a kind of back casting
|2019: How we blew it, again | Peace NewsSometimes Mother Nature gives climate change activists a boost. She tried in the summer of 1988. She tried again in August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina bullseyed New Orleans.peacenews.info|
Calum MacFarlane interview about “activist vuvuzela”
“What is to be done”
|What is to be done? Or, “Full Court (De)Press” – Marc HudsonThe “well, what’s your alternative?” question ENRAGES me. Because I have answered it so many times, and the people asking me (almost always) know that I have; they just don’t like my answers. These answers would move them out of their comfort zone, decentre them, force them to do (different) hard work.marchudson.net|