They say prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
Well, on Saturday October 16th there is a ‘Crude Awakening’ in London. Here are seven predictions.
A lot of people in local groups around the country will commit a lot of time, money, energy and bandwidth which they COULD have spent on local campaigning, local activism. They will schlep down to the Capital to take part in a series of set pieces or ‘running engagements’ with the police.
Most of the people observing these running engagements etc. will think “what’s going on there? Is it a film? Is it a publicity stunt? What’s going on?”
The protests/actions/awankening will either be largely ignored by the mass media (In the newsroom; “hippies protesting climate change? So 2008! Old news is no news.”) except for/until a small ruck with the forces of law and order happens. (If the Campers do not provide one, the Met will be happy to oblige…) Then the usual “violent thugs who don’t really care about the planet” line will be trotted out. That story may in fact already have been written.
Regardless of what actually happens on the day, a breathless press release/announcement will be posted on the websites of the sponsoring organisations proclaiming victory, “an important step in building a mass movement against the fossil fuel industry.” That announcement may in fact already have been written.
The blogosphere will fill with recriminations and accusations. Rather than doing productive work to educate themselves and others about local issues, the most literate and committed activists still within the movement will waste time and energy in flame wars, troll-bashing etc.
Some new activists will be put off by the cliquyness, the atmosphere of intimidation in big set piece public disorder situations, or if they get arrested and not supported. Crucially, they will not admit that they have been intimidated (who wants to publicly brand themselves a ‘coward’. That’s not what they are, but it’s what they may mistakenly think they are). They will simply not be there for the next meeting of the group.
There will be various sententious observations from hard-line Marxists chiding the participants for confusing Oil and Capitalism, pointing out that exploitation and pillage can continue with solar panels and wind-turbines. Someone will inevitably drag out the line that Capitalism is not (just) a set of institutions but a social relation. I’m de-bord already.
On October 17th, when Capitalism and the Oil Industry stagger to their feet after the near-mortal blow dealt to them, the question will remain: what should be happening in the year 2011?
Should the soi-disant NVDA movement… (Please turn over)