I have just joined. What will it entail? But before I go to prison I have a request. Please, Extinction Rebellion, read my weblog.
I don’t think I am prominent enough for any sacrifice by me to impress the powers that be, but if more high profile individuals do go to prison, it will I believe further our cause if they are at least aware of my contribution.
Because what became the Green Party was originally formed to address just this problem.
It was flagged up in 1972 by the MIT report Limits to Growth. I joined then and I remain an active member. My strategy in the early 1970s was to knock on doors Jehovah’s Witness style with the slogan:
The end of the World need not be at Hand.
Even then, long before CO2 was a concern (Limits missed it – they expected oil and rare metals running out to cause a serious economic recession first), 10% of those who answered their doors had heard of Limits, and were concerned enough to be interested in action to avoid the trouble it predicted. I thought numbers would grow as environmental events unfolded. That was not as naïve as it sounds. In October 1973 oil prices suddenly quadrupled. Supplies were not as secure as had been assumed.
However, the Green Party soon discovered that the End of the World as we know it was never at, or even near the top of most people’s preoccupations. Wiser, or at least tactically more astute heads than mine said the Party must first build up locally.
Fine, the Green Party did slowly build up a base, and has continued to do so ever since – locally. But it meant that addiction to growth as the main problem to be solved was quietly dropped. (I was naive in underestimating the forces driving growth.)
In 1994, Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party, and led it to victory in 1997. A minority were not happy about ‘New Labour’. They cast around and found that the Green Party was more congenial. In due course Corbyn’s sudden emergence led to the Green vote (and membership) collapse in 2017.
The Green Party has begun to put out statements drawing attention to climate related problems, but it will take rather more than that to put it where it could have been: poised to come centre stage with policies to deal with what it saw coming 40 years ago.
I fear violence, not just imprisonment will happen. Not by Extinction Rebellion of course, they will stick to NVDA. Caroline Lucas has already been arrested (then released without charge) for just that. But if the action is to be worth while, two other developments need to happen:
Growth must be recognized as the root problem, and
A positive plan must be visible. Just ‘Stop Climate Change’ will not overcome the growth imperative. This blog has become rather jumbled. If I thought it would sell, a book would be better.
But it’s all there somewhere. I recommend you start with the blog ‘Page’ Résumé as a Springboard.