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Home > Perspective > 350.ORG disowns Paris sans-culottes, opts for boot-counting passivist shtick, figures to storm the Bastille shoeless.

350.ORG disowns Paris sans-culottes, opts for boot-counting passivist shtick, figures to storm the Bastille shoeless.


HOLY CRAP, Bill McKibben sells out the activists again, agreeing not only to cancel planned protests at the Paris Climate Conference, but distancing 350.ORG and its collaborator NGOs from real demonstrators upset at the protest ban. After leading hundreds of thousands in New York City on the World’s Largest Climate March TO NOWHERE, Bill McKibben flushes the Paris demonstrations and the climate they hoped to save with them. Nothing says silence like a streetful of shoes. Antiwar activists resorted to staging shoe die-ins at every surge of the Iraq War. The result? Crickets. We used army boots to represent mounting American war casualties. As pacifism lost popular traction, the disparing passivists cobbled larger and larger “demonstrations”. Activists came to call them exercises in BOOT-COUNTING. It’s a well-trod path, and as you might expect of shoes without wearers, they march nowhere.

WORSE BUT AS USUAL, the permit-carrying protest groups at the Paris summit immediately disowned demonstrators who threw bottles or in any manner protested the government’s edict to ban public protest in the wake of the November terrorist attacks. Activists who habitually support 350.ORG leadership were thrown under the bus as “not part of our movement”. Specifically they had violated a supposed pact which self-respecting nonprofits had signed to reject anything but impotent rule-following. While the media will continue to hand Bill McKibben a microphone, it’s time for street activists to raise their pitchforks against false grassroots leadership. There wouldn’t have been an Earth First if environmental nonprofits had put resistance before staged activism. The climate message doesn’t require their nuanced strategists. The struggle certainly doesn’t benefit from participants who think they can conscript shoes to take the streets for them.

AS TO A NONVIOLENCE PACT. Organizers of the Paris protests apparently swore an oath not to let protests escalate to resistance to police repression. It’s the same malarky nonviolence advocates demand of their adherants. AS IF Gandhi and MLK won their laurels without resorting to active resistance. Demonstrations against US national conventions have been hamstrung by simlar nonviolence pacts.

HOW ABOUT activists get a jump on the upcoming election year and propose an alternate oath for wannabe protesters, an elaboration on the St Paul Principles so to speak. At the DNC and RNC we swear to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to shut it down. Whoever can’t commit to WHATEVER IT TAKES can’t call themselves comrades. They have no business filling streets only to capitulate. They are the words of Malcolm X: “whatever it takes”. Whatever does not exclude nonviolent methods but it excludes expulsions, or you’re disowned.

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