What We Do Now – II

This is the second post to share quotes from a new anthology of short essays on how to live post-election called What We Do Now, edited by Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians (Melville House, Jan. 2017). The first post is here.

The essay by cognitive linguist George Lakoff contains a valuable observation. When Republicans talk of getting rid of “regulations,” it is important for the Left to say that they are trying to get rid of “protections,” and to mention the actual harms that will be caused by the removal of particular protections.

Arts activist Nato Thompson’s essay talks about Daniel Tucker’s 2016 multi-city and multi-artist project “Organize Your Own,” which asks artists, activists, and organizers to react to Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael’s idea that whites should be organizing their own communities against racism rather than trying to tell people what to do in other communities: “Let them go to the suburbs and open up freedom schools for whites,” Carmichael said. Thompson suggests that whites “instigate projects that dig deep into the emotional and political terrain that constructs ‘whiteness.'”

The essay by Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, contains an important quote about clean energy:  “We in the environmental community owe it to [citizens who have been left behind by the rush to create a global economy] to show how a future based on clean energy will make their lives better. We have to make sure that the opportunities of that renewable energy economy are shared widely.” Brune also notes that a focus on the state and local level has led to 20 cities committing themselves to 100% clean energy, a number that will hopefully grow over the next few years (for more about these pledges, see the Go 100% website; also check out Benjamin Barber’s upcoming book, Cool Cities: Urban Sovereignty and the Fix for Global Warming (Yale UP, April 24, 2017)).


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