In the climate movement, the talk is buzzing, the plans and visions for a new society based on the power of community are running like wildfire across cyberspace and through a thousand conversations. Under-the-radar victories are already popping up, accompanied by the excited buzz of weather-worn twenty-somethings activists who have spent the last five or more years preparing for the opportunities to come. Alliances are forming, ponderous organizations starting to pick up unheard-of speed, and teams of youth strategists are working to figure out how we invent the new New Deal. The answers are all right here – uniting climate and energy solutions with economic security, geopolitical stability, domestic equity and global justice – and its time to make it happen.
A friend of mine used a simple expression on his GChat profile to capture what I think the climate movement is feeling these days:
“bam. ok, now we push harder”
When I tell people that I’m taking a semester off of school to do organizing, I get a wide variety of responses. Sometimes it’s “really?” or “is that a smart move?”. I even heard from a friend that one of their friends reacted “Did you know that Timothy DenHerder-Thomas DROPPED OUT?”. I found that pretty funny! But probably the most common reaction is something like “so how’s the voter registration going?” or some excited comment about how young people are taking over American politics.
It often surprises folks to hear that I’m not organizing around the elections at all.
You see, why I think this election is vitally important is not because we’re going to elect Barack Obama to the White House. It’s not even the more politically savvy dream of getting Obama AND a filibuster-proof majority of progressive Senators AND an overwhelmingly progressive House AND a wave of local victories stretching all the way from city council members and Governors to referenda like the MN Vote YES initiative (please do, if you leave the option blank, it counts as a NO vote against MN conservation funding).
All of that is pretty cool, and I want to say kudos to the thousands of people across the country who are pouring their heart out to make it happen. Every time I’m up in the SORC hearing Molly Griffard scheming about how to keep renters from being disenfranchised, I think ‘Thank God there are so many amazing people getting this done”. While I don’t think elections are the defining point at which we make decisions about our society, they definitely play a big role in determining who we get to play ball with. So keep up the good work!
But the real reason I find these elections so exciting is because of The New Organizers