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Sunday: Some thoughts on the Power Shift conference in DC

So, I am observing from afar the Power Shift conference in DC with hopefulness and some healthy skepticism.

I am thankful that 12,ooo or so young people cared enough about something political and environmental to show up. (So many times, among my progressive colleagues, we find ourselves saying “Where are the young people?”.) I am also thankful that someone sees the urgency of addressing global warming and climate change. I am grateful that some people and organizations are not buying “clean coal” as a solution. But…

I do not believe in the two party system much, and the focus of this conference seems mostly to  lobby the duopoly more effectively. I find it shocking that anyone who wants “change” can have Nancy Pelosi speak at their event, as Power Shift 2009 does.

I noticed with an interview of conference organizers on Democracy Now! that the solutions offered were kind of vague – they said “bold” action a lot, but not what specific action. In the video I found today, another speaker said they wanted “to pass strong climate and energy policy.” “Bold” and “strong” can mean a lot of things. I am also worried because in perusing the web-site of the group, sponsors and affiliates, they appear to be against nuclear. Though, they don’t say that loudly or clearly enough for my taste. (And, the folks doing the “civil disobedience”, which may have been downgraded to a party at the coal-burning Capitol power plant, are only advocating it to become a “Natural Gas” power plant.)

Now, if you want to see for yourself, there’s a youtube someone took at the conference, see below.

On the video, it notes that an important focal point will be to have this Congress take action, and get momentum going on climate and energy policy in preparation for the international negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009. I also found it interesting and blunt that the speaker referred to the 535 members of Congress, and said: “We need our champions to be even more bold; We need to win over those on the fence; And, we need to neutralize our opponents.” (Guess this is not a consensus model. Which may be tactically good, realistic, and even what I might do. Though, it seemed interesting to state it so simply.)

The audience reaction seemed to be some hooting and hollering, though, not so much as if it were all felt passionately. And, I especially enjoyed seeing the following audience reactions…

When the speaker said, “We were the backbone of Obama’s victory,” the crowd was quieter than at other times.

Alternatively, when the speaker said, “If you want a revolution, start acting revolutionary,” the crowd was enthusiastic.

You can see for yourself on the video:


***BONUS TRACK: an old wilderside video about global warming


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