What will it take?
Someone asked me this question (on Kasama, here: http://kasamaproject.org/2010/08/25/our-planet-our-people-are-not-expendable/):
“Obviously the destruction [of the planet] already occurring hasn’t been enough to bring us to the tipping point [of resistance]. What will it take for the masses to unite behind an effective solution?”
* * *
“What will it take?” is something I wonder about all the time. How far does the murder of the planet have to go? Do we really have to be starving and gasping for breath before we break through denial? We’re almost at that point now, and denial is still rampant.
Part of the problem is that most people in this culture don’t have any idea how to live without industrial production — without water from the tap, without food from grocery stores. If the only source of basic necessities is this system, and people don’t know any other way to live, then they will continue to defend the system that provides them.
It’s like the demand for jobs. In the context of this society, most of us can’t live without jobs, though they’re the arena in which our exploitation takes place. So until we understand that the whole system must be done away with, and until we can live some other way, we end up demanding that the system provide more jobs.
I saw a TV program where someone showed common vegetables (eggplant, tomato, etc) to schoolchildren, and none of them could identify them. In the last couple generations, most of us have lost the ability to grow food (even when we can still identify it). More importantly, most people have no access to land.
A lot of people argue that we should form communes, permaculture “eco-villages,” community gardens and so on to serve as examples of how we could live sustainably. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing those things, but they’re not going to be what’s needed to defeat this system.
There were many cultures who used to live sustainably on this continent, and they’ve been systematically all but wiped out. So it’s not enough to withdraw. As soon as the system wants what you have, or demands your participation, they will violently destroy anyone who doesn’t cooperate.
What will it take? The same things it’ll take to make revolution to uproot all forms of exploitation and oppression.
In the first stages:
* Broad realization that this system is killing the planet, and that to save all life, including our own, we need to defeat and dismantle the system.
* A recognition of who the enemy is.
* The sense that it is more dangerous to let things go on as they are than it is to rise up and fight back.
* A vision of a viable future.
These ideas are spreading, and we need to spread them more, to unite as many as possible in a powerful movement to take this system on. We need to connect the struggle for saving the planet with the struggles for social justice — the enemy is the same.