Citizens’ Assemblies: Revolutionary Confrontation with the Carbon State

Citizens’ Assemblies: Revolutionary Confrontation with the Carbon State

“We have worked really hard over the past 14 years to build a reputation based on facilitating robust and independent processes using a model that has been tried and tested. We are known as an organisation that trusts citizens to draw meaningful and challenging conclusions once presented with a wide range of perspectives. For that, we must be seen as impartial and not predetermining the issues or solutions. I have spoken to my fellow directors and we feel that an organisational association with (you) may challenge our ability to do this in the future.” – From an email I received.

The periodic suicidal corruption and disintegration of elites is as old as the hills. The key characteristic is the zombification of a regime extending for years after it is dead: culturally and morally. The way it maintains itself during this endgame is a ruthless growth in the monopolisation of economic and political power.
A primary mechanism of endgame of our carbon regime is the patronage of the state-supported sectors. If you want to maintain a Western high carbon (read extractive/murderous) lifestyle then you have to get funding from the carbon state agencies and thus submit to its core ideology of supposed objectivity: “independent processes”, being “impartial”, and “not predetermining the issues” – all designed to prevent a structural challenge to the hyperobject: the permanent destruction of organised human life by continued emission of carbon over the next decade. 1.5C is now locked in but the social catastrophe which this will bring upon us cannot be spoken of.

A second mechanism is the enforcing of chronic political passivity in the face of the mafia-esque threat to public reputations by the billionaire press – what you might call the “Ed Miliband syndrome”. For organisations tied to the regime, if there is any chance of association with the rising progressive revolutionary forces aiming to save civilisation through civil resistance, then that will “challenge our ability” to maintain financial security (social privilege). Of course, the fact that empirically speaking, disobedience is now highly successful (see recent examples of Gary Lineker versus BBC, and Dale Vince raising money for JSO versus the Daily Mail) only highlights the psychic rigidity of these organisations.

In the “democracy space” a small industry has grown up during the neo-liberal era, “the last 14 years”, embedded in this insidious ideology. In actuality, it means acting as the facilitators for the public relations agenda of preventing any material challenge to the carbon states’ project of creating mass death. Central to this agenda has been the creation of citizen’s assemblies which create the pretence of “democracy”. This happens in three ways: they are given agendas that explicitly remove the raw social impacts of putting carbon into the atmosphere (no sessions on starvation and resultant cannibalism for instance), the outcomes are promised to be acted upon by politicians and then systematically ignored (with same causal contempt for democratic accountability that was shown after Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership campaign), and a sabotaging of national publicity for the assemblies so they are widely misunderstood or even not known about by the public – a far cry from the rude festivals of popular deliberation in the historical record.

The “ideal type” form of the citizens’ assembly however is objectively revolutionary. The present carbon regimes are making the classic, soon-to-collapse, elite error of thinking they can control this intrinsically subversive democratic formation, and use it for its political purposes. It is a Trojan horse. The people sense the pathway to their liberation. Pre-revolutionary periods are full of attempts by autocracies to use democratic institutions, thinking they can control them, as distractions to buy themselves a few more years or months in power. For example: the Parliaments called by Charles I before the English Civil War, the Estates General by Louis XVI before the French Revolution, and the Dumas by the Russian Czar in World War One. And now Citizens’ Assemblies by Western governments. The plan is that these institutions will do their bidding but they have a glorious tendency to backfire: “The mob learns how to reason” to quote David Graeber.

This is what is happening now in 2023. The new revolutionary objectivity (opposed to the neo-liberal “objectivity”) sees that the zombie carbon state will soon collapse as citizens’ assemblies are used by civil society to create their own alternative governmental institutions. That is, to undermine rather than prop up the regime. We do not ask the regime to organise them, we will do it ourselves without the “experts”. That changes everything!

They will publicly expose the emperor with no clothes: that the politicians can no longer maintain their promise of decent standards of living as extreme inequality and climate extremities create ever greater fiscal crises, while they “max out” emissions, leading to the destruction of billions of lives without end. The truth will come out: the carbon regime has now become the greatest evil force in human history. And yet the house slaves of this genocidal system – the Western liberal administrative classes continue to attempt to dampen down and shut out the social power of the forces of revolt. “We feel that an organisational association with you would undermine our ability to be impartial.” But the reality is they are now done. Times have moved on.

The assemblies of the resistance will expose the monstrous denial of moral truth on what is actually going on. A new post-regime controlled agenda will enable participants to confront the pervasive maddening irrationality of stopping the analysis of the non-existent break between physics and society. Yes, climate change is happening. Yes, it is creating terrible physical conditions – floods, droughts, storms…. But it does not stop there. They will question the deafening silence of sinister abstractions such as “a liveable future”. They will not be afraid of confronting the social realities: mass slaughter, rape, starvation – the prospect of piles of limp bodies stacked up against miles of barbed wire as far as the eye can see.

They will come out after their deliberations and exclaim the greatest moral message of our times: “Never Again”.

The New will finally be born and the Dead be finally put to rest.