Blast from the past
Posted by Ian M on September 9, 2022, 6:29 pm, in reply to "Not to worry. Climate has stopped changing as a mark of respect. NM"
When yours truly got rapped on the knuckles for comparing the royal baby to a parasite in the XR newsletter. Should have known the way things were going to go... |
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World is ‘on notice’ as major UN report shows one million species face extinction
‘On at-risk fauna and flora, the study asserts that human activities “threaten more species now than ever before” – a finding based on the fact that around 25 percent of species in plant and animal groups are vulnerable.’
Taking microbes and fungi into account the figure could well be much higher. Meanwhile the mass media prefers to direct our attention to one particular species of parasite that appears to be bucking the overall trend:
I was heartened to read of all the incredible recent action being taken by extinction rebellion. Having participated in the marches and occupations last month with my wife and newborn, it’s great to see that politicians are now taking more notice of this critical issue.
In particular, I believe that one of the strengths of the movement has been its clear eyed focus on the threat facing us: climate change. Unlike other movements, concrete policies have been adopted to limit the influence of other political agendas on the movement, such as the advice to tear off the corner of SWP flyers when they are handed out during ER events. As a result, climate-concious individuals have been able to come together from across political divides to unite in order to combat climate change.
I was therefore very disappointed to read the passage in the newsletter referring to the royal baby as a ‘parasite’. Adoption of climate-irrelevant political agendas like this will risk alienating large numbers of members like me who have been drawn to the movement in part because of its political neutrality. Two thirds of Britons support the monarchy. Please do not risk fracturing the wide base of support you have gathered through nasty and pointless comments such as this.
[Outraged of Tunbridge Wells]
[internal email] [...] I though one of our principles dealt with things like this naming and shaming x
[exchange between me & the newsletter editor]
NE: Hey! Nothing serious here (I mean, they totally are parasites, and some might say the guy's being a little over-sensitive), but the feedback has a point insofar as we generally tend to avoid going for individuals.
IM: Lol, I wondered if that would ruffle some feathers! Sorry, the quip felt too juicy to resist and I was annoyed at the way that story got foregrounded over the UN report. In my defense I did refer to a 'species of parasite' - ie: royalty in general - rather than the individual child. Also that's part of the problem: this guy automatically assumed it was just a snarky comment, displaying the typical attitude towards parasites. Yes it was, but it's also true that they too are a part of the web of life and the biodiversity being threatened, often as a result of the loss of their host species. There's plenty of evidence showing how parasites benefit their hosts in unexpected ways, and one theory even has it that multi-cellular life +began+ as a parastic relationship. Though personally I struggle to see what we get from this particular relationship...
Anyway, as you say it's probably not worth getting all worked up over. I'll try not to alienate the readership unnecessarily (I doubt that 2/3 of XR supporters favour the monarchy somehow!) but then I think some ideas ought to be challenged even if it makes you unpopular. As one commenter [Brooks?] on Lifeboat News put it recently in response to Paul Kingsnorth's preference for an environmentalism moving beyond the left/right divide:
'Politics and economics are at the heart of whether any green movement will achieve anything beyond mild - and ultimately meaningless - reforms. You can't "move beyond" something that is a prerequisite for moving forward at all. Any commitment to "protecting the natural world as a whole", if it's honest, means a radical critique of the economic system, which puts one on the left of the political spectrum. As Howard Zinn said, you can't be neutral on a moving train.' - http://members5.boardhost.com/xxxxx/msg/1558390138.html [...]
NE: Hah yeah all noted; fwiw I think a lot of what I see our mission as is reformulating 'left wing' ideas in a way that the right('') can accept without losing face. Agreed we're probably on pretty safe ground re: supposed royalists in XR, but I guess we have to pick our battles. [...]
IM: Interesting 'mission', though I don't know how well it'll work in the end. I suppose it makes sense tactically, if XR is still trying to be as broad-based a movement as possible in appealing to the general public, to try and keep small-c conservatives on board. There is a right wing tradition of environmentalism (I seem to remember reading a piece about it in The Land mag a while back) and ideas about conservation, especially of 'traditional' habitats resonate with conservative philosophy in ways that shouldn't be dismissed. But over all I tend to side with Naomi Klein's analysis that the kind of changes society will have to make to address climate breakdown just aren't compatible with right wing thought, especially not free market economics. Is it going to be a waste of time & effort in the end trying to placate these people when they're going to ditch us anyway at the first serious threat to their worldview? Some might be persuaded, I suppose...
Anyway yes, picking battles - fine by me. Surprised nobody's written in to complain about my bashing renewable [sic] tech! Maybe it's only right wingers who get indignant enough to write snotty emails, whereas lefties are so used to taking it on the chin that they just steam away in silence?? [...]
NE: I guess my thinking is that it'll only work if we can convince a majority of the population that e.g. we need to at the very least drastically rein in the free market. Which convincing will hopefully get a lot easier once we get the BBC on side as per Demand 1; but if we don't manage to win this ideological argument (which I like to believe won't be all that hard, since it's pretty obvious and will become more so), our Citizens' Assembly metasolution won't look so clever. So broad support is less an option than a necessity imo.
Hah yeah, haven't seen anything on that. Though ironically the only concerns I saw about the royal stuff were coming from solid left wingers, concerned about alienating the right. So perhaps we should be expecting some right wingers to write in on behalf of the lefterly comrades?
FFS: just be honest and let people draw their own conclusions without trying to manage perceptions and manipulate all the time. They won't thank you for it anyway.
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