It has been impossible lately to think of anything else but the looming disaster of climate change. It feels irresponsible to think about anything else, to let marches and organizing work go by because of ‘normal life’. Each one of us is, in their own way, insignificant. But together we can demand, in the 11th hour, that this system that stubbornly continues to burn fossil fuels, that threatens everything, stops. We must demand it.
I wrote this open letter as a condensation of what I think must happen. There are already many people around the world working in the same direction. More people need to get on board. I hope that this call does its little bit to help with that effort. Feel free to appropriate, translate, disseminate, as widely as you’d like.
At this point in human history, all politicians, no matter their color, need to also be environmentalists. It is obligatory. Anything short of a war effort to stave off mass extinction and curb the worst of climate change is not enough. Any and every political faction needs to get on board and enact the radical changes needed: zero carbon emissions within 20 years (at most), a redrawn mobility network, less consumption-based lifestyles. Until this happens, we have to disrupt the normal functioning of a system that is intent on self-immolation.
There is always a deeper hole to fall into, until the pit becomes bottomless. Arguably, we are already in a big hole. We are determined to stop digging further, remaking our common life such that we can live well in the whole we’re in. The politics of the future only exists inasmuch as the politics of today enters the environmental crisis mode that it should be in. In only five years-time, to say ecological politics should be an oxymoron.
There are many solutions for the politics of the future. But to contemplate those now, when the politics of today is the most irresponsible in human history, is almost a betrayal. Those thinking about the politics of the future should be able to count on the politics of today entering the crisis mode. They cannot. It has not. The time is now, we need to force the crisis today, so we can go back to thinking about a good tomorrow.
Every day, major cities around the world need to be severely disrupted in their normal functioning. We need to understand that many people simply desire to go about their lives, not fully realizing, or not having the possibilities to realize, just how dangerous our way of life has become. We need to be their brothers and sisters and understand that our actions can be annoying to many. We need to hold our arms open and explain, tirelessly, that we need everyone, that everyone is welcome, that every single body counts. We need to disrupt the system, not the lives that inevitably make it up. That is our enemy, not people, no matter how they live.
Politics is always about the future. In this moment in history, in order to continue being about the future, it needs to become radically focused on the present. It is today that emissions must stop, that radical solutions must be implemented, that industries bent on wrecking our world must be defeated. We are under no illusion that environmental or other problems will disappear in this process. When all cars will be electric, recycling batteries, mining for minerals, and habitat fragmentation will still be problems. We are simply concerned with ensuring the luxury of dealing with those problems later. Without a world-wide movement, perhaps the first truly global one, we have no say in a better future, no right to complain of a toxic world, no basis for a future politics.
Sisters and brothers, we need a grass-roots global movement. It is simple, we have no use for demands from on high. What we need is clear, and has been for decades. Now is the time – the only time – to demand radical change and be ready to live it. Now is the time to organize, in neighborhoods, workplaces, associations, schools, universities, local councils, non-governmental organizations, and wherever else people come together for a common purpose. Now is the time to organize and demand and disrupt, repeating the same injunction over and over again, until the governing classes feel the fear of disobedience: zero emissions today, a liveable world for all! There is no shortage of solutions, and there need not be one solution only, as long as there is one urgent demand.
It has never been easier to link our organizing up in a global network. We can achieve the unimaginable if we subvert the networks of communication that are increasingly used to control us. The hope of the early internet was of a better world. That hope is still written in the network, it has not disappeared despite the efforts of many. Let us use the network to stop the folly of the status quo today, let us coordinate to radically alter the political moment. Let us cut through the fearmongering and the various so-called populisms by showing what the people is: organization for the preservation of dignified life.
We must be ready for the violence of the status quo. The powerful are too drunk to realize that they are powerless too in a tomorrow of wrath. They will resist and fight and lock us up in great numbers if necessary. The sooner we will be victorious, the sooner we will celebrate the political prisoners upon their release, the sooner we can get back to the normal life of a community, debating incremental changes and tinkering with solutions. Be ready, for the fight is hard, but it shall not be long.
The violence of the status quo needs to be opposed with our firmness of belief, with our refusal to look away from the facts, with our courage. We are many, and we will be always more, because facts are stubborn. We need to start the movement in solidarity with those that have already started, towards converting those that are yet to understand their own interest. Debate and presence are our greatest weapons. No matter the spin, being right endures and has a gravitational pull of its own.
I want to create a future in which the past is something to celebrate, not to be ashamed of. I want a past that inspires and creates new generations of people with the spark of dignity in their eyes. History calls upon us now. Where will you have been? Let it begin, and let our courage and resolve be commensurate to the task of shouldering the world.
Dank om dit op deze manier te schrijven. Ik nagel het aan iedere paal ik zie, steek het onder iedere neus die lezen wil. Maar vooral, het doet me realiseren dat ik zelf niet radicaal genoeg ben. Dat ik vooralsnog deel ben van de status quo..
Ik hoop nog steeds dat het binnenkort eens lukt samen te eten. Nu ik ook druk in de weer ben met half-houten, slis, pen-en-gat en zwalustaartverbindingen lijkt er nog meer om over te praten.
Alle goeds, Reinier
Goed om van je te horen! Bedankt voor het lezen. Ik ben zelf ook verre van radicaal genoeg. Dat is de bedoeling en de taak: samen radicaler worden. Ik zou graag het gesprek met een glas voortzetten. Ik kom terug in februari, ik hoop dat je dan in de buurt bent. Tot dan!