Call me a crank. Call me an egalitarian ideologue. Hell, call me Ishmael if you’d like, but is this what democracy looks like to you? Do hand-picked celebrity protests help or hurt the eco-movement, especially if they’re staged a few days in advance of ones for everyday people? You be the judge.
On Wednesday I read at Censored News about the 48 people arrested in front of the White House protesting the XL Tarsands Pipeline (including Michael Brune of the Sierra Club), my first reaction was: what the hell? The long-planned protest was scheduled for Sunday!
I clicked over to tarsandsaction.org and read about the protest, then scrolled down to find the Wednesday 8:17 a.m. announcement of the Select Event. I checked into some of the tabs, comments, the early group photo, hand-picked participants* list with brief bios…and growled a little. It was hard not imagine that the organizers didn’t want to give too much advance notice or some well-meaning hippies might want to join them. Brrrrr; would they have been frozen out? Then I read the schedule: meet with police (gone now; might be usual), ‘media availability, and speeches in the park, and location: ‘…just east of the picture-postcard zone. Oy. Yep; it was hard not to further imagine that these folks’ll be orderin’ a mess o’ these photos for their holiday gifting.
Yes, yes; we all were so pleased that the Sierra Club had at last decided to suspend their crazy rule that forbids their officers or employees from engaging in acts of ‘civil disobedience’. Parenthetically, I’d read a Feb. 11 piece by Mike Roselle, Campaign Director of Climate Ground Zero earlier in the week that said that the rule was suspended for one day, although he seemed to believe that the discussion about that would go on. In the piece, he parses what civil disobedience is, what it is not, and reckons that if photo-ops don’t work, Brune, et.al. will have to make some big decisions soon in regard to further actions. While mentioning few concerns, he’s jazzed that Micheal Brune will ‘go toe to toe’ with the President.