I got back late last night from the Sierra Student Coalition’s national leadership gathering (Shindig). I had an absolute blast, and have been doing some very good thinking all week.
Most of what I’ve been focused on has been my role in this big, new activism thing. I’m relatively new to activism – the past year has definitely been a crash course in that. I know that I definitely don’t like the model of activism that MPIRG promotes (it burns the activists out too quickly and irritates everyone they talk to), and I love the model of activism that Summer of Solutions/the SSC promotes.
Many things were reaffirmed for me.
The first being that I’m much more of a local activist than a national activist. I feel like I get more done on a local level, and that I’m able to make more genuine friendships and relationships with the people who would be directly affected by changes implemented to prevent climate change. I also feel like things on the national level aren’t going to move until we provide our national congresspeople with specific, concrete examples of what can be done, how effective/liberating/good that is for people in communities. I don’t think that good climate legislation will be passed until we show our congresspeople that this is something that a lot of people are invested in.
The second being that I really, REALLY don’t want to work in the political realm. One of the campaigns that were proposed to the SSC was a voter registration campaign, specifically targeted to get good climate champions in office. I’m skeptical of this. It’s something I reacted very negatively to, and my instincts are saying this is a good idea, but we need to make voter registration something that isn’t just the same old voter campaign. I think a big part of my reaction to this was the voter stuff I did in 08. I did registration with MPIRG (bad plan – too in your face), and I did Power Vote, which everyone on my campus, including myself, was irritated with. I don’t have a lot of good experiences with this kind of thing.
But if someone else did it, and did a kick ass job, and made it different from every other voting campaign out there, then I’d say go for it.
The third, and most important, thing I realized about myself as an activist was that my focus is very much on how to liberate the collective of humanity, specifically by using anti-oppression tactics to work toward a new vision of the future.
Yes, I’m working in the realm of the environmental activist, but everything is connected. I want to learn more about deep ecology. Everything is connected, therefore, if one group of people is oppressed, that is bad for every group of people, INCLUDING the oppressors. Everyone is in a relationship with everyone else, and if parts of that relationship are damaged, there are aspects of an individual identity that will be held back. For example, as a white woman, I am oppressed by the male hierarchy, but men are also oppressed because they will be taught to reject “feminine” aspects of their being.
This is all very raggedy, but I’m feeling a need to get it out. And this is still being developed. How to get these feelings and thoughts into actions is a different story.
Lately I’ve been feeling a change in my life, like I’m starting a new phase of it, and this feels like a part of it.
I’ll update these thoughts more later. Just a little insight into what I’m thinking, post-Shindig. I love everyone! BIG LOVE, BIG HUGS!