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January 6, 2010

Reflections on what happens after Copenhagen

Despite the best efforts of our politicians to put a positive spin on the “meaningful agreement” reached in Copenhagen, noone believes it was anything but failure. While some now turn their attention towards the next ‘last chance’ in Mexico later this year, for LPL supporter Justin Kendrik, Copenhagen was an unmitigated disaster. In part 2 of his blog he puts forward some radical thoughts on what needs to happen next

Justin Kenrik

That was an even more miserable result than expected for those of us who at least thought the politicians would agree on unfair, unambitious, inadequate but at least legally binding emission cutting targets. For those who expected nothing of them, their expectations are fulfilled.

For us all, after a miserable Copenhagen: What next?

The suggestion here is that we have to be unrealistic. The abolitionists were told it was completely unrealistic to expect an end to slavery, the economic system was built on it, the powerful would never agree, it was in human nature, etc – the abolitionists didn’t play those games, slavery was wrong.

If being realistic means abiding by the corporate power controlling  governments, controlling the media and our sense of what is humanly possible, then we need to be completely, imaginatively, insistently unrealistic – in a way that can bring about a completely different reality.

Societies have always changed, change is who we are – the only certainty about human nature is our ability to create (whether we create heaven, hell or something entirely different is up to us), the only certainty we can hold onto in life is uncertainty itself – and that is good news!

People know the bankers have taken our money and run, they sense governing politicians refusal to face up to this, to act fairly, with imagination and in a way which creates a fair local, national and global society out of the abundance around us.

This is a moment to seize (because there will not be a better one).

So, 4 initial suggestions:

this is Eve Morales call for “an international climate court of justice to prosecute countries for climate “crimes.” in effect, a judiciary;  my suggestion would be to focus this on corporations not countries, and to focus boycotts on corporations – governing politicians are shooed in and out by corporations

drawing on Stellan Vinthagen’s proposal to establish a Panel on Climate Justice – in effect, a legislature: my suggestion would be to transform this from an academic panel into an activists’ parliament – ‘activist’ in the widest sense.

drawing on Lillemore Thyberg and Eva Schonveld’s proposal that the next Climate Summit is surrounded and ‘leaders’ are not allowed to leave until they reach an agreement that saves the climate and humans, which necessarily would involve corporations and most politicians being made to relinquish their power.  My suggestion: this is in effect a gathering of the peoples parliament first in Bonn in June 2010,  then in Mexico in November 2010 – in effect, a people’s refusal to let corporations get away with controlling their political puppets

drawing on Kevin Mason’s ideas we need not just to deal with the so-called ‘leaders’ (as above) but build local  alternatives to defuse the power of the corporations driving climate change, and return power to people. These actions take different forms depending on where you are located: so for some it may focus more on building boycott campaigns, for others more on building alliances between the global north and south, between those people being crushed by this economic system and those desperate to stop the destruction of eco-systems, for others building Transition initiatives, eco-villages, and more – in effect, recognising ourselves as a people.  My suggestion: as the intensifying economic meltdown and energy crisis takes hold, this will become an issue of creating safety and survival in the face of corporations destructive practices, not only for those suffering them now but for the rapidly expanding circle of those marginalised by the supposedly trickle-down but actually dragging-wealth-up-to-the-top model.  

Ok, those are a few suggestions. I’m not attached to any of them, but I am furious, angry, full of grief (which means I must have been full of hope) and know this is a moment we need to seize .

Be unrealistic, and seek to transform the human world. Or be realistic, and watch as we drag the non-human world down with us.

In solidarity, in despair, and in gratitude for all those who insist on acting NOW.