Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What is to be done?

John Sauven is right encourage climate campaigners, now released, not to be intimidated.

And so long as there is no significant risk that interrupting operations at coal-fired power stations will jeopardise electricity supplies to vital institutions such as hospitals, peaceful protests should continue.

Such actions could be a little like a strictly non-violent version of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. They are needed to shake others into awareness and action. And we need shaking. [1] As Andrew Simms recently put it:

Imagine that every day of your life you have taken a walk in the woods and the worse thing to happen was an acorn or twig falling on your head.

Then, one day, you stroll out, look up and there is a threat approaching so large, unexpected and outside your experience that can't quite believe it, like a massive gothic cathedral falling from the sky.


[1] By the way, I agree with the part of this comment which holds that peak oil is a red herring.

[2] Unlike many of his contemporaries, Thoreau did not hesitate to meet with John Brown. One hundred and sixty years ago he wrote:
There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them...They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for other to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they give up only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them.
In conversation with Rana Mitter, Slavoj Zizek recently got close. (My faulty transcription):
Terror is for me another name for ethics. The most noble of terror that's how I think of it. Let’s say you’re in a situation where you have a nice life and so on, but you know that you have to do something, you simply must. If you don't do it you will betray yourself. That’s terror for me. Terror for me in the most noble sense. Ethical acting doesn't come easy.

No comments: