Yesterday (23/10/19) an event entitled “Climate change and the strategies from below” took place in Athens (Greece), at the self-managed theater Empros. It was intended as promotional for the upcoming TRISE conference, which will take place at the end of this week (25-27 October) in the city of Athens. It also raised important questions, which to be discussed further at the sessions of the conference. Speakers were Brian Tokar, Tanya Valiente, Dimitris Roussopoulos and Yavor Tarinski.
The night opened Tarinski as TRISE administrative board member and conference coordinator. He presented the upcoming conference and its main focus: examining theories and practices of resistance, which bear the potential of creating the foundations of a democratic and ecological future. Tarinski underlined the inability of “quick-fix” reforms or “greener” lifestyles to essentially challenge the unfolding climate crisis: instead what is needed is grassroots projects, which to challenge domination and exploitation in all spheres of human life.
Tanya Valiente from Ya Basta Germany followed. As an activist, she has spent much time in Chiapas, where she worked for the establishment of an educational exchange program, which to bring Europeans to the Zapatista communities and get in touch with their alternative ways. She spoke of the Zapatista view on climate change and its roots in capitalism and statecraft. What they propose in response is the expansion of democratic practices and thought through the confederation of local assemblies and councils.
Then Brian Tokar followed. A long-term activist and student/collaborator of Murray Bookchin, he had much to tell regarding the developmen of the ecological movement from its anti-nuclear stage back in the 1970s right until the contemporary climate strikes. He spoke of the need of collaboration between climate justice movements and social justice ones, as the root causes of the problems they are fighting are interrelated.
The last panelist was Dimitris Roussopoulos, co-founder of both TRISE and the legendary North American radical publishing house Black Rose Books. He spoke of the democratic traits of contemporary social environmental movements. From the student strikes to Extinction Rebellion, he traces a new generation of activists who see an indistinguishable link between politics and ecology. Roussopoulos also spoke about his city Montreal, where social movements have managed to win many municipal battles and have thus influenced the future of their city.
After all panelists were done, a long and interesting discussion followed. In it participants from the audience commented on the democratic links between popular mobilisations from the Arab spring until the contemporary climate strikes, as well as the notion of revolution and the need of radical paradigm-shift regarding our energy sources. At the end of the night all participants expressed their willingness to continue the dialogue during the days of the upcoming conference.