Future Hope column, June 16, 2007
By Ted Glick
shows that history, like nature, does not move in a linear way, in a
straight line. It is characterized by long periods of time when, on the
surface, little seems to be changing. Then, all of a sudden, big
changes can happen, much more quickly than anyone thought possible.
are facing this reality in a negative sense with the transcendent issue
of climate change. The hard truth of the matter is that we are in great
danger of experiencing soon, within years, not decades, a climate
snap, a shift from the general climate reality the world has been
experiencing for the past 10,000 years, to one characterized by
freakish, violent and persistent major storms, spreading drought and
wildfires, extensive plant and animal species extinction, water
scarcity and crop failures on a massive scale, and accelerated sea
is what the world scientific community is telling us. The rapid heating
up of our atmosphere, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels,
is the evidence which leaves no room for doubt.
is one thing and one thing only which will give us a chance of avoiding
this climate hell: the emergence of a massive, grassroots popular
movement the likes of which the world has never seen, one which forces
the U.S. government and the governments of the world to enact a
justice-based, clean energy revolution.
There are many signs that such a movement is being born. The most recent and most significant was what happened on April 14th
when Step It Up day saw 150,000 or so people take part in actions in
all 50 states, in over 1,400 localities, demanding that Congress move
to legislate an 80% cut in carbon emissions.
sign is the coming together of 40 organizations so far behind a call
for No War, No Warming actions this fall. From October 21-23, in
Washington, D.C., thousands if not tens of thousands of people will
converge. On Tuesday the 23rd, we will take nonviolent
direct action in our nations capital in a grassroots intervention to
break our governments addiction to war and fossil fuels. A solid
cross-section of experienced and younger activists has come together
and is working hard to make this needed action a reality.
And then there is the U.S. Social Forum (USSF), beginning in a week and a half in Atlanta, Ga. on June 27th.
The slogan of the USSF sums up the vision: Another World Is Possible. Another U.S. Is Necessary. 10,000 or more people will come together at the Atlanta Civic Center
for many hundreds of workshops on a wide range of topics. There will be
evening plenaries, a film festival, information tents and tables,
cultural performances, art exhibits, poetry slams, rallies and actions,
a soccer tournament, an all night carabet, parties and more.
It is truly an event not to be missed.
credit must be given to the heroic work of those who have labored so
long and so hard to put this event together. There is much that we all
have to learn from them about how they did so.
A document posted at the USSF website, www.ussf2007.org, The Road to Atlanta,
by Michael Leon Guerrero, Tammy Bang Luu and Cindy Wiesner, explains
the process which has made possible a successful social forum.
process prioritized three key approaches: basing the organizing upon
grassroots groups rooted in communities of color; insuring that the
forum consciously helped to build a popular movement and not just an
event; and integrating an internationalist approach into the organizing.
and organizing has taken place around the country: the Southeast and
the Southwest in particular, both of which held regional social forums
last year, as well as the Midwest,
the Northeast, the West, Northwest and the Rocky Mountains/Plains
region. A successful D.C. Metro social forum was held this spring.
has also led to the inclusion of the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees
International Union on the USSF National Planning Committee, and
outreach has been taking place to faith-based organizations, to womens
organizations, the peace movement, lgbt organizations and environmental
key aspect of how the USSF has drawn in such a wide range of
constituencies is by allowing space for those who want to participate
in the forum to self-organize. The heart of the event is the daytime
workshops, 900 of them, and these are being put together by those
groups which are attending and which want to conduct workshops.
groups have organized themselves to provide a space for like-minded
people to meet and network. One example is the Democracy Track (www.democracytrack.org). Forty
organizations have joined this initiative, groups working on
independent politics, electoral reform, grassroots democracy, corporate
power, the schools, the media, water rights and more.
And it all begins in 11 days.
need for this event is profound. It is clear that the world needs what
can only be called revolutionary change, not in a pejorative, narrow
sense but in a very real sense. We need a revolutionary change in where
we get our energy and how we use it. We need a revolutionary change in
how we relate to our Mother, the Earth. We need a revolutionary change
away from the imperialistic and militaristic methods of the U.S.
government and to relations between peoples and nations characterized
by justice, truth-telling and respect. We need fundamental changes in
the way we do democracy so as to expand peoples choices at the
ballot box. We need to redistribute power and wealth to low-income and
working class people, especially people of color, those who have
historically had little of either one.
Another World Is Possible. Another U.S. Is Necessary. Lets make it so, and soon.
Ted Glick is the coordinator of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council (www.climateemergency.org)
and works with the Climate Crisis Coalition and the Independent
Progressive Politics Network. His past Future Hope columns are archived
at www.ippn.org, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.