A Few Considerations.
One of the aspects of any political analysis, social, or world view, which always needs to be considered, is just how it may match up with what goes on in the real world.
Things change over the decades, our individual situations change, and that it something we always need to be aware about.
Many of the campaigning manuals make sets of assumptions about how activists are able to see each other on a very regular basis, or have very close friends, a partner, or family members living in the immediate area. All of whom can give them support if things go wrong.
That’s nice in theory, but excludes a lot of would be activists whose homes are spread over a very wide geographical area.
It also takes no account of the fact that many campaigning groups come together for a short while before the individuals in it move on to other towns, cities, villages, or countries.
Something which I’ve realised over this last decade, is that if I tried to meet up with everyone I’ve campaigned with over the years, then it would mean going on a 6 month world tour.
I jest not.
So – – –
So we all need to spend time refining &/or questioning our world view.
While always spending a lot more time talking with, and getting to better know, all those activists we work with.
This especially goes for those individuals who do not have a good support network around them, or who are fresh to many of our radical ideas.
Long Term – Short Term
Many of the major issues we face seem to take a long while to solve, but here’s the key question: –
Will they take a few years, or a few decades to solve?
Some issues come down to changing peoples attitudes, such as racism, gay rights, sex discrimination, or ageism.
While some campaigning centres around stopping specific wars.
All of which is achievable.
What will take much longer is countering just what has and is being done to our environment.
Be it burning fossil fuels, allowing plastics to land up in the middle of our oceans, or pollute the earth with radioactive waste, there is going to be no quick fix.
All we can do is work to stop these problems growing, and then put our finances in to various measures to clean up all of this mess.
So What To Do, or What Options Do We Have ?
The follow up question is:-
Just how many of us are capable of very long term thinking?
The answer is Not Many.
That’s why we find so many people who are able to think in terms of campaigning for achievable immediate objectives, but are not able to do this in conjunction with working to achieve longer term aims.
This might be summed up with a mind set which goes:-
It feels ever so, ever so, ever so – ever so in to the future.
Thus we are for ever mounting short term campaigns after short term campaigns, which are not conducive to any sort long term or longer term thinking, as opposed to building campaigns that have a decades or centuries long vision.
It really does make it very difficult to do any long term planning if we have to constantly keep focusing upon short term campaigns and short term campaign fund raising.
Thus in any campaign we need to work upon both our short term and long term aims.
For example: –
In the short term stopping specific arms exports.
While in the long term illuminating all the causes of war.
Much of the major ecological damage to the global has been done over the last couple of hundred years, but we have as a species been able to reverse some of it.
For example by banning the use of those gases which damaged the ozone layer, and by Species reintroduction projects.
While we are currently campaigning to curtail the use of the plastics which are killing so many creatures in our oceans.
Such projects take decades to get results and a lot of dedicated hard work to make them happen.
While in many coastal areas community groups are going out to the shore line to clear them of plastics.
Radioactivity makes for a set of long term issues.
What we can’t clean up or easily reverse are the effects of radioactive matter in our environment, which will effect us for hundreds of centuries.
Thus the urgent need to stop more being produced in the first place, which will then have to be followed my many decades of campaigning to make sure this waste does no more harm by getting in to the environment.
That the kind of campaigning which is both very urgently needed to be done, and which will need continually worked upon for many centuries to come.
Rethinking the time scales
There are no campaigning handbooks which I have ever seen which take in to account just how many generations of activists will be needed to campaign about these same ecological problems.
When the nukiller power industry developed in the 1940s and 50s nobody thought about the long term effects of what they were doing.
They just developed the reactors and dumped the waste where they could. That’s why we have so such of what is refereed to by the industry as ‘legacy waste’.
There are no short term fixes to many of our various social, political, and ecological problems.
That’s why we need to think about actions which look towards long term solutions, as opposed to a lots of short term protests.