That time of the year grassroots movements get caught up in politics — A Fossil Free student’s perspective
How much longer can we continue to campaign for something that we can’t tangibly see? How many divestment wins does it take to break the stronghold of fossil fuel companies over our institutions? How much more effective would we be if people stopped questioning our food choices (because if you’re not vegan, how can you say you’re protecting the environment)? These are all questions that we’re confronted with on a daily basis.
However, there is that one time of the year that really makes me question if what I’m doing is really all that effective. That time of the year always coincides with an election. After the City Council Elections, and now the Federal Election, I just keep finding myself asking, how much more effective would we be if we didn’t keep referring to party platforms and instead focused on common ground and the purpose of the campaigns we were fighting for pre-election. Yep, that’s right. I’m talking about the nasty division between Labour-Left and the Greens that trickle down into grassroots campaigns.
If the tedious conversations with boys parading around in linen bed sheets fashioned into togas (Who wants to have the cultural appropriation chat with EPIC?) wasn’t enough, then we also have to navigate our way through the Australian political battlefield. Whilst everyone proceeds with the best intentions, too many times have I witnessed people wasting time quibbling over issues based on the face of an electorate. I love listening to people talk about politics and I think it’s important that we all try and engage more with our leaders and politicians. However, I believe the most effective way to do that is not to create unnecessary divisions in your group of overly-passionate organisers but keep the pressure on all politicians and all political parties about the issues that matter to you the most.
So to all of those activists out there whether you’re calling for reform or a revolution. Hold onto your passion. Keep doorknocking. Keep supporting party platforms but don’t let it dismantle a campaign which has the power to change ANY politician’s mind. Take a breath. In the next week, remember where the real fight lies.