Friday, March 1, 2013

Gene Sharp's Nonviolent Method #1: Public Speeches

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So at some point this year the President is going to ask us to step up to support his push to do something about climate DISRUPTION.  And we gotta be ready when that happens! 

Currently this movement follows only a couple leaders, and apparently they don’t have the resources to drum up actions more than a couple times a year.  SO, we all need to use our own creativity, resources, and friends to step in and come up with our own Nonviolent Actions.   So you’re gonna need to know all the nonviolent weapons at your disposal!

In Gene Sharp’s book The Methods of Nonviolent Action, he outlines 198 different methods.  Here’s the list.  Good lord!  Those are just a bunch of words!  Just reading that list is kind of a useless exercise for nonviolent activists.

That’s why Sharp included 300 pages worth of examples, which gives you a much more tangible feel of how these things work…and a lot of them could work for the climate movement!

Today, we’ll look at Method #1: Public Speeches.

Now, lots of times public speeches are lame!  The Serbian resistance movement Otpor decided right from the get-go that their movement wasn’t gonna do speeches! 

But they can work.  It depends on who’s giving the speech and when and where. 

For instance, if you stand on a street corner and give a speech about climate change, it’s not likely to be effective.

BUT, if you’re, President Obama, and you go on at length about climate change in your 2nd inauguration speech, that would qualify as surprising and therefore effective. 

I mean, everyone was like “Holy crap, he talked more about climate change than anything else!  My God, he really means to do something about it!”

It was also big news when mayor Bloomberg endorsed Obama after Hurricane Sandy hit his city.  It depended on the moment!

One of the guys Gene Sharp talks about was a Catholic Priest in Nazi Germany named Bernard Lictenberg who told his congregation that he wished to share the fate of the Jews who were being sent off to concentration camps.  That was brave.  And the Nazis did send him off to Dachau, and he did share their fate.  But thousands and thousands of people were dying, and he did the only thing he could.

Now, no minister in America is gonna get killed if they speak to their congregations for action on climate change, but a lot of people in those congregations do NOT believe in it and do NOT want to hear about it.  So it would be a great moral stand for a member of the clergy to do that.

Also, Republican politicians would be really brave and would have an eye-opening impact if they stood up in favor of action.  You know they can’t ALL believe climate change is just a hoax. 

I mean they got kids and grandkids and they need to do the right thing for them.  They don’t want those grandkids to one day say “Yeah, grampa was a senator but I don’t want to talk about him”
“Why not?”
“He was a climate denier dirtbag!” 
“Oh, that’s horrible!  Now America is a dried up wasteland”.
“I KNOW!  Stupid grandpa!”

Seriously that’s how they’re gonna be remembered.  (Polar bears already talk about ‘em like that.  It’s brutal!)

So public speeches can work depending on who gives the speech and when and where. 

Tomorrow we’ll talk about Method Number 2: Letters of Opposition or Support.

“Oh wow!  He’s gonna talk about correspondence!  Can’t wait!”

Well tune in anyway, we all need to learn all these methods.


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