After 2011—a year of massive demonstrations and protest—people are asking: What’s next?
Facing off with this landmark year, a few voices are impatient with the rate of industrial collapse. These clarions are agitating for widespread rebellion.
Nothing short of the collapse of civilization will satisfy prolific writer and eco-warrior Derrick Jensen.
“I hope a serious resistance movement begins to form that is commensurate with the threats we face, and that works actively and seriously toward bringing down civilization before it kills the planet,” Jensen said, speaking of his hopes for 2012.
“My fear is that things will continue to get worse and worse, and not enough people will fight back,” said Jensen.
Franklin López, who runs subMedia.tv, a website featuring reports from resistance movements across the world, has expressed his own disgust with civilization in his film, end:civ.
Looking towards the next year, he said, “I’m very excited to see how the Occupy Movement ups the ante and ramps up their actions. My hope is that Occupy shuts down oil and gas infrastructure in North America and stop the flows of carbon into the atmosphere to help avert a climate catastrophe.”
He predicts that this May Day, there will be a general strike across the United States that will shut down industrial production and bring the economy to a screeching halt, reminding people of their power.
Dr. Steve Best is an anarchist-leaning, liberation-oriented public intellectual whose career in the academic world was ruined when he was denounced as the leader of the Animal Liberation Front at U.S. Senate hearings on eco-terrorism. Committed to a “total-liberation” perspective, Best went on to write a 600-page tome on academic repression and the corporatization of the university, he said.
In thinking about the role of academics in 2012, Best said, “In a world of environmental ruination, species extinction, predatory global capitalism and an ongoing animal Holocaust, academics should not have the luxury to pursue abstract issues unrelated to the urgent need for systemic change at all levels.”
“They ought, rather, to abandon petty ego obsessions and career narcissism, in order to help clarify and change the causes of social and ecological breakdown, which demands a break from the ten thousand year reign of dominator cultures,” Best said.
Some grassroots community organizers view 2012 as a year to put organizing into the hands of the people most impacted by oppression.
Stephanie Bell, Director of Prax(us), works with homeless youth and other communities vulnerable to human trafficking. Frustrated by the white, female, Christian leadership of the anti-trafficking movement, she has committed her organization to building leadership amongst drug users, sex workers and homeless people, she said.
“Constituent leadership of movements is what I hope for in 2012. I would like to see us continuing to push the movement and also lead by example in terms of showing that the communities most affected have to be the ones leading the efforts,” Bell said.
Eleanor Dewey, a youth organizer at the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, an organization working to end violence within and against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer communities is devoted to catalyzing “a-ha” moments among the youth she works with as she involves them in struggles for social justice.
“In the U.S. Social Movements, I think a lot of conversation has been had about ‘movement’ in that specific sense of the word. People have been talking about The Social Forum and these national gatherings that we have, these bigger national campaigns that we have and where we fall short,” she said.
“So 2012 is about a shift where people are excited about each other’s work in movements and it’s more about having dialogue with other movements, rather than having a competitive model,” she said.
Conversation between movements is something that interests Best as he describes his own ideological shift from an animal liberation towards total liberation perspective.
“From animal liberation, I evolved to a politics of total liberation, abandoning any incomplete single-issue approach in favor of efforts to link human, animal and earth liberation struggles in one comprehensive dialectical theory and alliance politics in the service of global anti-capitalism and social revolution along anarchist lines,” Best said.
As a youth organizer, Dewey is not just interested in looking forward but also in reflecting on the past.
“I think 2012, I hope, is about rooting into our past and our traditions: more neighborhoods, more family, having food together and looking at those kinds of structures and paths for what we need to be to organizing around,” she said.
López also stresses the importance of building strong networks: “I also hope that our movements build long lasting infrastructure and frameworks that would free us from our dependence in the state.”
In reflecting on where social movements will be this time next year, Dewey said, “Who really knows? I have no idea. Really. Honestly, I think this is the year I know the least about. I’m really excited about 2013. I’m trying to be patient and let 2012 do what it needs to do. I’m excited and really curious about what 2013 is going to be like.”