It’s easy to underestimate the significance of what’s been happening this year. That’s just the way mainstream media pundits and politicians want it.
Thousands of children in Europe and Great Britain walked out of school to protest climate change inaction. In rallies and interviews with contentious and cynical reporters, they articulated the science, economics, and political ineptitude responsible for the climate catastrophe in progress. They made a clear, urgent demand that the adults currently responsible for business and government policies accept short-term inconveniences so that today’s young people will be permitted to live out the rest of their natural life spans. British Prime Minister Theresa May and other members of government in Europe implied that the kids were simply playing hooky and that their time would better be spent in school.
The very same day, Amazon succumbed to local activists from Queens, New York, and canceled its plans for a headquarters in Long Island City. Although the company had secured the blessings of New York’s Democratic mayor and governor, it was unable to convince a vocal minority of people on the ground who feared Amazon would be as extractive and gentrifying to Queens as it has been to Seattle. (Just last year, Amazon successfully shot down a proposed tax for affordable housing in areas where it has forced out local residents.) Yet this startlingly unlikely victory is derided by establishment Democrats and business experts as the naive, self-defeating foolishness of inexperienced, fringe activists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
It’s easy to be dismayed by such naysaying, particularly when it comes from people and institutions who are purportedly friendly to progressive causes. We mustn’t. On the contrary, I’ve come to believe that real change — dare we call it revolution? — will inevitably be ignored, denigrated, and ridiculed right up to the moment it happens. And maybe, just maybe, it is happening.
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