There’s a bunch of people on climate twitter knocking lumps off each other. (What’s new).
The two lump-knocking I have seen over the last few days amount to this.
a) “I am no longer supporting XR because self-identified XR folks keep telling me I am a denialist for believing that optimism is good/valuable and that we can/will fix these problems.” To which the reply tends to come “YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!!!”
b) “Look at all these renewables advocates ignoring growth. Pah, I’m going to psychoanalyse them and say that they are in the bargaining phase, not like me, a real grown up.” To which comes the reply “take your Freud and shove it up your ASS.,”
So much anger and pain. And I think we are all lashing out and beating up on each other and doing the ‘narcissism of medium/large-ish differences” thing because we feel pretty defeated. This year has been tough for the optimists and tough – whether they can admit it to themselves or not – for the doomers (*). The disasters and consequences – long-foretold – beginning to pile up, like the wreckage in that painting.
And so we lash out at those who are not singing from exactly the same sing-sheet in exactly the same key as us. It’s easier than confronting the Big Trouble.
But for me, everyone is also not talking about the really difficult thing. To quote myself
The debate between climate optimism and climate doomerism is too simplistic. Climate change is a fact that we have to acknowledge, address and deal with, it will be the work of many decades. Neither pretending it’s all over or that it will all be fine is helpful at present.
And it is SO MUCH abt what is going on in given individuals’ heads! There’s NOTHING about the things that actually matter – are social movement organisations forming, sustaining themselves for the long-haul, avoiding co-optation/exhaustion. (Spoiler, “mostly no.”)
Amidst all the “we” need to do this, nobody seems to be asking ‘who is this ‘we’? What is it made up of (individuals and social movement organisations). What have ‘we’ historically done badly? What is the likelihood that ‘we’ will continue to do it badly? So, you get all the hopey-changey stuff with “Enough is Enough” – more rallies, sages on the stages, rousing the ‘rabble’. etc etc.
And also, who is this “we” who is getting shafted? ‘We’ in the West have always tolerated the immiseration and impoverisation of large chunks of humanity (not to speak of other species, to whom we are even more dreadful). What’s new is that the imperial boomerang (Cesaire, Foucault, Arendt etc) is now back home, and the kind of cruelty dished out to the usual victims is now being waved under the noses of ‘ordinary/decent/hard-working families’. That’s not to say they deserve this. NOBODY deserves this. Nobody did, when it was dished out to them. Nobody else deserves it now, though some are more culpable for its arrival than others. But that is another blog post.
Final thing – if you’re banging on about what someone else’s attitudes/ideas/stances are, without asking if they have any ideas about how social movement organisations do things differently in future, and learn from past mistakes, maybe take a pause and try to answer that kinda crucial question? #JustSaying.
Right, better get back to actual Day Job.
(*) Most days I tend to the doomer view, but I like to tell myself that I am alive to what that allows/disallows, and some of the privileges in it.