Last night I was able to attend another Sunrise Leadership Orientation meeting online. The Zoom application was again used, that allowed everyone (who had a computer camera) to see and hear each other, and to view the slideshow of topics as we discussed them. When you are in a Zoom meeting there is a Chat window that you can use to ask questions or make comments the meeting host and participants can read. The meeting host can also split up small groups into Breakout groups to allow discussions among those in the group. The Basic Plan is free, and has all of these features, for a meeting with up to 100 participants.
I continue to be impressed with both the organizing knowledge, passion and positive attitude of the Sunrise Movement leaders and participants.
Last week’s meeting was a history of the Sunrise Movement and its work to get support for the Green New Deal. Following are the steps the fossil fuel industry used to deceive the public and gain political power:
- From the late 1970’s the fossil fuel industry knew about the problems that would be occurring from burning fossil fuels, but worked very hard to keep that from the public.
- Next the Koch brothers and others spent millions of dollars to help elect fossil fuel friendly legislators.
- The third step was the consolidation of political power, for example Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator.
To counter that, the Sunrise Movement and Green New Deal’s plan is
- A just transition to 100% renewable energy that leaves no one behind. One way to do that is to make sure the new ‘green’ jobs are distributed fairly.
- Immediately halt any new fossil fuel projects.
- Break up large energy monopolies and move to local, democratic control of energy production.
Last night’s training was about strategies to get support for the Green New Deal. We learned about and discussed a lot of ideas. One of those was the spectrum of support/allies tool:
The idea is to determine the relative numbers of people in the categories above, and who those people are. That can help you see who you need to target in order to gain supporters.
Good news: in most social-change campaigns it is not necessary to win over the opponent to your point of view. It is only necessary to move the central pie wedges one step in your direction.
This is important. If we shift each wedge one step, we are likely to win, even if the hardliners on the other side never move. That means our goal is not to convince the fossil fuel industry to end themselves. Instead, it is moving the rest of the society to shut them down.
Often activists have the mistaken idea that they need to win everyone to their side (which invites despair), or that we need to change the fossil fuel industry or other people actively fighting against the campaign (again inviting despair). When organizers bring an optimistic attitude, instead of one of despair, to the task of mobilization, it is a lot easier to get people on board. https://trainings.350.org/resource/spectrum-of-allies/
Polling is a way to approximate how many people fall into each of the categories in the spectrum tool. For example
- 90% of millennials support a just transition to clean energy.
- 1 in 8 people say they would risk arrest for nonviolent civil disobedience in actions to support efforts like the Green New Deal. That is 38 million people!
More information on the Spectrum of Allies can be found on the 350.org website: https://trainings.350.org/resource/spectrum-of-allies/
Next we talked about strategies to get the groups in the Spectrum to move towards our support of the Green New Deal, that I’ll cover later.