Valerie is the beginning. The beginning of the end of the Regime.
The Valerie for Mayor campaign is not taking off. Well, not yet (never say never as my mother used to say). This is not surprising and to be expected. When people have been imprisoned in a mental jail of defeatism and reformism for 30 years, they don’t jump up to escape when the prison door opens up. But that is what an election is in the present context. A path to state power. To be able to actually slash carbon emissions, create assemblies, and enact the democratic revolution which is for the taking.
An election is not an election – it’s a social construction. An election is a space for direct action, an election is a chance for a carnival, an election is millions of pounds of free publicity to speak truth to power. Standing in elections is a no brainer. Everyone should stand in all future elections.
When I say this to people they go “er…”. They go “that is a bad idea”.
Let me tell you, when I die put “that is a bad idea” on my gravestone. When people tell me something is definitely a bad idea with the false certainty of the slave who can never conceive of revolt, I know I am onto something. When I created the fastest ever fossil fuel divestment campaign at King’s College by painting the central hall and going on hunger strike a seasoned activist told me that it was “a terrible idea”. When I proposed to Rising Up to create a mass nonviolence movement on the climate crisis in January 2018, which led to setting up of XR, I was told I was “delusional”.
Everything in this world that is truly exciting starts off life as being “terrible” and “delusional”.
In Burning Pink we don’t give a fuck about winning the Mayoral election. We’re having a great time. There’s all the stress and worry about money, and getting the posters and people to the right place at the right time stuff– but we’d much rather be speaking the truth and living it than being a cynical spectator on the sidelines. We’re creating the revolutionary routines for elections in the next few years. Being a candidate, and then doing half million pounds worth of criminal damage (with lawful excuse) to a pathological bank – and doing a heartfelt speech to the police (link below ), walking out of a fucked husting session (“keep your answers to one and half minutes please”), taking a morning out from campaigning to plead not guilty to planning to close down Europe’s biggest airport (I am typing this as I sit in the courtroom), and then organising an election rally on a motorway (next Wednesday). We are re enacting the great traditions of revolutionary ridicule – the Situationists of the 60’s, the German green party in the early 80’s (when they used to wear jumpers), the first year of the Pirate Party in the 2000’s
It’s like before XR, when we were doing Stop Killing Londoners. Trying to get more than 50 people to block a road for 10 minutes felt impossible – then 6 months later thousands were blocking the roads. We have to remember this: the impossible is now the inevitable. That’s what 1.5C locked in by 2030 means: the end of the regime.
It’s over, as we all know, on the climate. But there are lots of “it’s overs”. The suffering and death of millions is literally in our hands – and their death and suffering is inevitable only to the extent we waste time with reformist bureaucratic distractions. The only thing which will save what can be saved now is classical nonviolent struggle.
In the Revolution
of our lives
No nonsense. Change your mind anytime.
In mid June it looks like covid restrictions will end and we will hit the road running. Literally – being on permanent tour to speak to the good people of these islands about the treason of our rulers and the ecstasy of resistance.
To my friends in the Green Party I say this – give an open ultimatum to Caroline Lucas to lead a mass campaign of civil resistance against this ecocidal regime, and if she doesn’t then resign and join Burning Pink.
To my friends in the centre of UK XR I say this – give it an ultimatum to create an open accountable and elected central executive which can kick the movement into action and effectively mobilise to create mass arrest and imprisonment this autumn. If it doesn’t, then get the hell out of there. There are only two strategies on the table: mass arrest or sitting on zoom calls for months talking about why mass arrest might not work. Believe me, no one is going to forgive you for going for the second option in 10 year’s time.
We know how to build a resistance movement – it takes a few days to set up the social media, a few months to mass mobilise with public meetings, and two weeks to bring the regime to the table. We also know how to run the state. If we can organise 10,000 people to block 5 sites in central London for 10 days, we can run the government with citizens assemblies – it’s just more stuff, right?
There is one thing to understand about the coming Revolution – it will be radically nonlinear. Nothing will happen and then everything will happen. It will “come out of nowhere”. This was the case with every revolutionary episode, 2012, 1989, 1917, 1871, 1848, … check them out. But of course they don’t come out of nowhere – they always need a vanguard of sublimely mad people. This is what Burning Pink is. The nutters. The lunatics. Forget the 3.5% - they only turn up for the last week to go to the party. They are the logs. You need the match. Burning Pink is the match and we are striking like mad. You then need the kindling – you, the 1000 people reading this FB post, are the kindling. When we join together and strike together the fire will light and the logs will explode into flames. People in the street are ready, they have lost all faith in politicians and the system. Go and talk to people at any bus stop.
We know the numbers: to win mayoral elections you need a few hundred campaigners, to force through legislative change you need a few hundred to be imprisoned, to spark an uprising you need a few thousand arrests.
From June we will be on the road to jump the chasm and get the numbers. You can read about it or you can do it. What else have you got lined up for this summer other than sitting around at festivals trying to forget your despair? Give up that crappy job and come on the road.
Life is for Living (as my mother used to say).