Posts tagged ‘rallies’

June 3, 2011

Climate rally speech I will never give

“Say Yes” rally; Sunday June 5th, 11am – be there (Victoria Square) or be square.

Thank you for coming. It matters that you are here. I invite you to applaud the organisers of this event,
look around you – applaud yourselves and all the people around you- who have come,
and finally – and loudest of all so they can hear us – all those people who wanted to be here but – for whatever reasons – couldn’t be here. Let us nowapplaud absent friends!
(hopefully people applaud!)

I’m trying something a little bit different today. We are always asking our governments and the corporations and the institutions to act differently in the face of climate change. I think that means we have to do things a little differently too. So this is not so much a speech as a series of challenges to you. What I’m trying is to ask you a bunch of questions. I’m cheating a bit, because I think and hope I know some of your answers in advance. I want you to yell. I want everyone to be able to hear your answers.

So my first big question is why are you here?
Are you here to say “YES” to climate action?
Are you here to show you care?
Are you to display this wonderful movement’s strength?
What’s your answer?
(Hopefully a shout of “YES”)

Good. And I hope you’re here for hope, energy, passion, and ideas. Those exist in you and in the heads and hearts of everyone around you. After the rally, please stay a while and talk to others about what you are doing, what you want to do.

My second big question is this:
Is coming here to this wonderful rally enough?
Do you think that the campaigning groups you belong to only need your money and not your energy and ideas and time?
Do you trust corporations to act in our best interests?
Can we let the government take it from here?
(Hopefully shouts of “No”!)

That’s right. We are the ones we have been waiting for. Nobody else can do this. Not the state – it’s too clumsy, like an elephant tapdancing. Not our children – they won’t have time. There is no future but the one WE make. That WE make.

So my next big question is this.
Will you do more about climate change?
Will you go from this rally and today – yes, today – contact your councillors, your state and federal members of parliament and demand they say where they stand, and why they stand there, on this issue? Will you phone them? Will you write letters to them? Will you email them? Today?
(hopefully folks are yelling yes by this stage?)

OK, remember your answer to the “can we let the government take it from here” question? What was it? Remind me- can we let government take it from here?

So is that pressure you’ve promised – today – on your elected representatives enough?
(Hopefully shouts of “No”)

Then the big question is this; will you do more than that? Do you publicly commit, here and now, to doing more?
(Hopefully shouts of “Yes”)

You have the power. You have more power than them. If you will use it. We need climate groups on every street of every suburb of every town and city across this country. Groups that grow in numbers and knowledge and power. Groups that learn from both defeat and victory. Groups that organise in factories, schools, mosques, churches, and sports clubs. Groups that win small victories, and then use that momentum to win again and again, bigger and quicker, bigger and quicker.

Look around you. Look at all these other people who have come here today. They have abilities you need. You have time and energy and enthusiasm that they need. We can’t all be experts on everything. We need to learn about different pieces of the climate puzzle. Each of us needs to find something we can do, we want to do. Whether it’s about food, or energy, or transport, or simply climate justice. We each of us need to learn about that issue we choose. We need to build networks and knowledge and pressure. People here today can help you do that.

So my final question.

Do we need a bigger climate movement?
Will you encourage your friends to get involved in this adventure?
Will you get your family involved in this urgent venture?
Will you talk with people where you work, where you worship?
Do you say yes?

(sit down!)

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June 2, 2011

“Say Yes” rally, Sun June 5, 11am, Victoria Square

[5/6/2011: Well, it went pretty well; around 2000 people, I reckon. Here’s a factual report, and here’s ideas for improvements.]
Here are more details

Hmm, I am very dubious about the power of rallies to build movements and shape public debates. At least, rallies as they are currently done. I think they’re a bit like Meetings from Above.

June 1, 2011

Garnaut sparks riot (on parallel Earth)

Adelaide, 1st June 2011Climate expert left speechless at revolt by the professional classes
by Scott Templeton, staff reporter

Professor Ross Garnaut’s first public appearance after the release of his final Climate Report sparked a near riot at the Adelaide Convention Centre earlier this evening. The economist and climate expert’s presentation was received with muted applause, and he was unexpectedly harangued for the insufficient vigour of his recommendations to the Gillard Government. The lecture theatre then emptied rapidly as the audience marched on the State Parliament for an impromptu democratic forum.

In his customary dry and technical style Professor Garnaut had outlined the contents of his report, before the capacity crowd was invited to ask questions. The first speaker, who introduced himself as John Connor [5/6/2011: I meant this one; it turns out there is also this one], outlined the recommendations that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had made for avoiding climate catastrophe, namely emissions reductions in the order of 25 to 40% on a 1990 baseline by 2020. He asked Professor Garnaut “Given that emissions are climbing faster than thought, and climate sensitivity is higher that thought, isn’t your plan – which would reduce emissions by somewhere from 5 to 10% on a 2000 baseline – entirely inadequate? Why are you advocating action that will guarantee a 4 degree rise in global average temperature, with the consequent die-off of entire ecosystems, and mass extinction for many species, including possibly human beings?”

A visibly shocked Professor Garnaut told the questioner that his views were almost certainly in an extreme minority. Before he could continue, a member of the audience stood up and shouted “Oh yeah? Let’s see! Who thinks we have to do more?” At this, more than two thirds of the audience stood and unfurled banners proclaiming “Nurses for healing the planet” “Retail workers for climate sanity” “Insurers for a safe planet” and the like. Prolonged hand-clapping then forced Professor Garnaut to take his seat. A cry rose up, echoed around the auditorium – “To the Parliament Building!” Within two minutes the room was empty, and a peaceful procession wended its way up North Terrace.

Violence
The crowd on the steps of Parliament House was exuberant, with people swapping contact details and making plans. At one point a small group of young people seemed intent on proving their radical credibility by smashing windows. They were quickly surrounded by a group of older women, told that true radicalism meant commitment and intelligence, and that they should disperse peacefully. One of the women told this reporter that she recognized one of the young men involved inciting others as a police officer, and raised the spectre of agents provocateur. In its new-found commitment to the right to protest, the Advertiser will ask the State Police to confirm or deny the presence of plainclothes or undercover officers.

Adelaide as a radical leader
Speech after speech was made from the steps. One historian, Clark Manning, pointed out that South Australia could be proud of many radical firsts – women’s suffrage, rights for Aborigines, the decriminalization of homosexuality – and that it was high time that Adelaide led the world again. This was met with immediate cheers of “shut down Playford” and “no new mines.” Speakers succinctly explained the fundamental inadequacy of existing action on climate change. Others led the good-natured crowd in a series of chants, including “Hey Hey Ho Ho Ecological Modernisation has got to go,” “2-4-6-8 We don’t want your sterile debate,” “Keep the coal in the ground. Human greed must be bound!” and -most loudly of all – “What do we want? Rapid transition to ecological sanity with justice for the poor and other species. When do we want it? Now!”

Social Media
The Advertiser reporter’s note-taking of the event was witnessed by several in the crowd, and given the Murdoch press’s commitment to spreading misinformation and fear about climate change, it’s unsurprising that the hashtag #Tisertosh trended locally on Twitter.

A swarm not a rabble
Nobody outside the Parliament building expected or even wanted any precise consensus to emerge, but the following agreements were reached
* More rallies were necessary, but not sufficient. Rallies would have to be organised to create more opportunities for useful networking rather than ego-trips for speakers
* It was vital that everyone who cared about the issue started talking to their apathetic or skeptical friends, neighbours and work colleagues, finding out their perspectives and trying to explain the science in easily digestible ways
* The Advertiser should be encouraged in all non-violent means to appoint a panel of climate scientists to give same-day rebuttals to the climate denialism letters that the letters editor seems intent on publishing. The panel should be made up almost entirely of scientists with a peer-reviewed publication background, with views on the reality of human-induced climate change in proportion to the international consensus. This would entitle Ian Plimer and his ilk to 7 days a year to wave through appalling mis-representations of the established facts.

Before peacefully dispersing at 9pm, people were twice encouraged to “mingle with intent” – firstly on the basis of where they lived, and secondly on the basis of their jobs – students, teachers, retail workers, advertising executives, health care professionals. They were encouraged to swap contact details, and to start planning local action aimed at making their City Councils and employers more responsible.