They Say They Are A Revolution

Friends of the Earth is trying to organize a YouTube “revolution” on global warming, starting with unhappy pop stars. Climate Resistance isn’t impressed:

We at Climate-Resistance have no time for celebrities lecturing us about climate change. None of the celebrities speaking on behalf of the campaign appear to have a clue what it is even about. It is the most shameful indictment of Friends of the Earth that they have to recruit pop-stars to endorse their project because it lacks the content to generate its own momentum. The constituency of this campaign are not politically-engaged individuals, but inebriated festival goers and adoring fans – the two least critically-minded groups we can think of.

And what kind of demonstration calls for more law – especially law which regulates lifestyle and consumption? Could we imagine the serfs of 18th century France, demanding ‘less cake’? Polite requests for less freedom and lower living standards hardly sound like the stuff of mass movements, yet this is what FOE imagine 200,000 video clips will make them. As previous slogans have told us, ‘la révolution est dans la rue’, and ‘The revolution will not be televised’. By televising itself, away from the streets, The Big Ask reveals a protest movement which is neither: it is vague about what it asks for – rather than clearly demands. It is not an expression of collective will, but a database of whinges from individuals whose efforts to change the world only seem to extend as far as pressing ‘record’ and ‘send’… Just as it thinks turning the TV off, rather than leaving it on standby, is a world-changing action.

Indeed. ‘Praise Marx and pass the ammunition’ seems to have been replaced by ‘Praise Gore and pass the videocam.’