Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Granny D Talks About the Future

by Doris Haddock
Common Dreams News Center

The following remarks were made on May 27, 2006, by Doris "Granny D" Haddock during the "Heartwood" forest conference in West Virginia.

"...Strategically, I can image two possible outcomes for this battle. One is dark and one is bright.

"Here is the dark one. Global catastrophe builds upon global catastrophe. Democracies become dictatorships as the masses reach for leadership and rescue from storm, pestilence and famine. Shooting wars break out between those who follow and those who oppose. A time of violence and suffering falls upon the planet. The resources that could have been spent to repair the ecosystem are needed for police security and mass imprisonment or worse. The weakened species, as a whole, finds itself in no position to survive when agricultural systems collapse and anarchy overwhelms all authority. I cannot see much past that, though there is probably much to see.

"Here is the bright one. Global catastrophe builds upon global catastrophe. (Yes, I know it starts out badly.) More and more people opt out of the carbon economy to join a rising society of people and communities who have moved rapidly toward an ethic of responsibility and sustainability. These communities produce the best leaders, more and more of whom are elected to national positions. Many existing national leaders begin to move toward the ethic of these communities and of sustainability. More and more towns and cities, led by goal- setting organizations dominated by young people, accept sustainable goals. The first President of the United States from such a community is elected in the same year that similar leaders are chosen in Europe, India and several other regions. The Untied Nations is rapidly reorganized around its own Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a post-carbon age economic model. Multi-national corporations are outlawed, as corporations must now be overseen by the communities that grant their limited, public purpose charters...

"...Here is why the brighter scenario is the more realistic: the problems of the carbon age are not based on innate self-destructiveness, they are based on addiction, and all the enabling supports of that addiction are unsustainable and are now teetering. We who lose more environmental battles than we win are now about to win the war. We must become ready to keep that victory from turning into a new kind of hell...

"...It is interesting to be in a region where so many people escaped that corporate lemming treadmill in the 1960s and 70s to create just such communities. Some of the places survive as small communities or weekend retreats where friends may be free and happy. The parties are good, I am told. But gray heads cannot change the world alone, and, while escapism is healthy for personal renewal, it is not revolution, and revolution is what we need. It will come from people now in junior high school and younger.

"Do not despair; they are but a few years from voting, if voting will mean anything. We do not have to tell them about fairness or about the value of a healthy earth or the value of freedom. But we do have to give them ways to move their ideals into effective political action. Can we help them be more effective than we have done for ourselves? I think we can, and I will get to that.

"First, here are a few things I hope we can do to prepare the ground for a peaceful, happy revolution.

"We need to make the better world visible, so the carbon addict may be drawn to it, and may see it as a place to go as nature begins to vote more often in her harsh way-and there is no way to rig her vote.

"We must encourage and advance the positive, human-scaled and community-based systems already in place, such as community supported agriculture, edible schoolyard programs, local economy support projects and the like. We must go far beyond these ideas. We must create political support organizations in every housing project, to assist people with their immediate needs and build a new base for progressive politics. We must work closer with labor unions, so that they see a longer view, particularly in regard to environmental issues, and so that the tremendous political power of united workers begins again to shape public policy. We need more "listening projects," to hear people and connect with their higher values. Many of you are doing precisely these things. We need a greater international reach. If some local communities in this country would partner with communities in, for example, Mexico, non-exploitive agricultural cooperatives can be established that enable people to stay in the communities they love, rather than suffer the abuses of illegal immigration. Let's create the leadership for a better world, and let's make it visible and attractive and real...

"...Part of the problem of the progressive left is that we have fragmented into dozens of organizations, each of which must struggle for funds and email addresses and all the rest. We need to fold ourselves back into the Democratic Party and thoroughly invigorate it. Do not worry that we will cause the Party to marginalize itself. If the Party can base its actions on good science, effective governance, and efficient delivery of the programs the people need, it will prosper across all the left and all the middle of the American political spectrum. But by splitting ourselves off into all these good government organizations we have left the party to the selfish elites, and they don't know how to serve the people or the truth, and that means they do not know how to win...

"...it is time to know that a phase is over, and we must be ready to move into a better world or another bad one. It is time to do new things to advance new voices and new visions of the better world we want for our children..."

© Copyrighted 1997-2006 www.commondreams.org

Doris Haddock turned 96 on January 24, 2006.

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