It was a surreal experience to hand this candidly written activist manifesto to a few of the world’s most powerful people at the World Economic Forum in Davos. My intention in drafting this strategy briefing was to lay out in the most direct way possible what is at stake both for activists and elites in a united front for climate action. I’ve taken it to the Forum and I’m taking it to Extinction Rebellion.
Now I want to know: is this something that you could get behind?
AN ALLIANCE OF OPPOSITES
What we need
The 2020s will be defined by the collective race to drastically reduce global carbon emissions.
The scale of the reduction necessary — a 7.6 per cent decrease each year for 10 years — is unachievable without an unprecedented global social mobilization for massive climate reduction efforts, such as planting one trillion trees.
The mobilization will involve hundreds of millions of people spread across 195 countries. It will require the periodic suspension of everyday work, life, and travel.
Beginning from where we are
The global climate mobilization must start today with the governments that exist now, the activists who are alive now and the distribution of wealth and power as it is.
No entity — no government, corporation, industry, civil society organization or protest movement — can achieve this mobilization without collaborating with its adversaries and competitors.
Governments and industry need the vital mass energy released during protest movements.
Protest movements need the tacit support of law enforcement to grow to the size and intensity necessary to get hundreds of millions of people in the streets planting trees.
Activism is Essential
Protest movements cannot be created at any time, by anyone.
The emergence of a protest movement is a precious opportunity for all of society to quickly achieve great social changes. This is true regardless of the grievance that ostensibly sparked the movement.
In the last decade, activists have proved to be one of the few forces capable of sparking a global social protest.
The End of Politics
Activists, and activism, are needed for a higher purpose in the 2020s than the pursuit of political revolution.
The appropriate activist strategy for today is an alliance between opposing social forces –protest movements, governments, activists, industry, and civil society — that has the capacity to mobilize sufficient numbers of people, and equip them with the necessary resources.
Governments and industries that join an alliance with activists have a chance of surviving the climate emergency.
The United Front
The universal task of activism in the 2020s is the formation of an alliance of opposites — a united front for climate mobilization.
In the culture of activism, a united front is the strategy of working with adversaries in order to achieve a greater goal.
The united front for climate mobilization is global, temporary and outcome-oriented.
The united front is fostered through the sacrifice of something vital to gain something essential.
For industry and governments, this means giving free rein to climate protesters by enacting a global moratorium on suppressing climate protest movements, providing a universal basic income for climate activists and legislating a prohibition on climate change denial.
For activists and social movements, the united front entails a reorientation of all movements toward climate in the face of other existing injustices and a turn away from political revolution as an objective except in countries where the government is hostile to the climate mobilization.
Each of us has an Obligation
The united front aims to channel the vital energy of all movements and protests that emerge into the goal of climate mobilization.
The climate emergency is an existential threat. As such, it obligates each of us to contribute that which makes us unique.
Governments are obligated to devote their sovereign powers to foster the mobilization.
Corporations and elites are obligated to devote their financial resources to fund the mobilization.
Civil society is obligated to devote their employees, supporters, and networks to further the mobilization.
Activists are obligated to devote their activism to catalyze the mobilization.
The 2020s will be defined by the decisive struggle between those that accelerate change and those who resist it.