Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Saw the new Klein/Lewis film This Changes Everything last night which was followed by a discussion at the local coffee shop. The group that gathered was mostly my comrades but there were a few other "progressives" and as usual the tension rose when the subject of capitalism came up. One gal who is involved with Transition Towns tried her hardest to divert our attention to their project of small, local, incremental "real things we could do" and away from the more radical notion of struggle which the film promotes. Another gal from the faith community pointed to an oil sands worker quoted in the film as being for clean energy but also a gradual transition away from tar sands extraction. The other liberals were excited by this emphasis on slow transition and were clearly nervous about our talk of system change. They can only stretch as far as Bernie Sanders social democracy and even there they warned us to be cautious with our language, to avoid "ideology" because " for most people capitalism is a religion". But of course religion is ideology par excellence and the film we had all just viewed stressed the fact that ideology is a main field of struggle. This was so reminiscent of our Occupy Missoula experience that I feared a psychotic episode. The nations gathered in Bonn for climate talks have so far agreed to emissions cuts that leave global temperature rise at 3.5C, which means the "transition" we can plan for is a quick one and leads to eco-cide and crisis. But the fear to dream, to "go deep" as Naomi Klein puts it, is a crisis in it's own right.