a) I have COVID
b) I have had enough of climate “activists” and their gormless miss-the-point-“debates” about individual versus “top-down” action.
The love-and-light brigade tell us our individual footprints matter, that we need to “be the change we want to see”. They ignore the corporates (indeed, blah blah BP invented carbon footprints blah blah) and the role of inertia, institutions, denial campaigns etc.
“If enough monkeys do it a new way, there’s a magical mystical Switch over to a better way.”
The “system change not individual change” brigade deride the individualists, with stern stentorian witterings about the importance of policy settings, policy mixes, techno-fixes, IAM [what I AMs] (that’s a poor joke about/allusion to ‘Integrated Assessment Models’).
“If we press this button, pull this lever, send this market signal,, throw this much cash at that technology to get it through the valley of death, then a magical mystical Switch over to a better way will occur.”
They talk past each other and BOTH miss a crucial ingredient in their “theory” of change (being generous to even put the word theory in quote marks tbh).
Individual change, to be sustained, needs social movements. Without it, most individuals give up, can’t cope with exclusion, derision, despair, or curdle into sterile irrelevant virtue-signalling performativity.
Policy change, institutional change, market change etc, needs social movements. Without it, policies are watered down, regulatory bodies instantly captured, free-riders and greenwashers empty all state-based impulses of any significance.
So, whatever your deluded take on change, whether you can even see it or not, you’re gonna need a bigger… set of social movements.
Social movements, to have legs and spine and brains, need social movement organisations with legs, spine, brains, that are not kamikaze mayflies, that have more memory than a fricking goldfish.
But in all the verbiage – much of it sincere, earnest, footnoted, cited etc – I just don’t see ANYONE talking about the conditions under which such social movement organisations can grow, learn, organise, win, how they can avoid burning out, being co-opted, crushed, how they can link up with other social movement organisations with different agendas and priorities (and some points of real difference) and do MORE than just lowest common denominator marches or petitions.
Am I looking in the wrong place? Does such a literature actually exist? If so, please point me at it. Please, for the love of gaia.
Right now, my criteria for listening to anyone for any length of time is getting tighter and tighter.
- Have you been involved in a sustained effort to get the local/state government where you live to make promises/keep promises on climate? If so, how, what did you learn? If not, I can’t be bothered to listen to you. Which is a pity, because you probably have some nice and poetic things to say.
- Have you been involved in two or more sustained group efforts to either apply pressure on policy makers or “build the alternative”? If so, how, what did you learn? If not, I can’t be bothered to listen to you. Which is a pity, because you probably have some nice and poetic things to say.
- Have you thought/written about the Groundhog Day nature of climate protests and mobilisations (as distinct from movement-building)? If so, what did you learn? Please provide links. If not, I can’t be bothered to listen to you. Which is a pity, because you probably have some nice and poetic things to say.
I can’t be bothered with ‘scraped knee’ “activism”. If you don’t have a set of insights about what social movement organisations have done WRONG and need to do DIFFERENTLY, then feel free to keep yapping – it’s a nominally-free country after all – but I really cannot be bothered to pretend to pay any attention whatsoever.
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