Reams are already being written on what the election of Donald Trump means. We don’t intend to add to those reams with yet another hot take. But this extraordinary moment demands that we ask – what now?
The Green Institute has set our goal as “changing what is possible”. For many years, those of us working towards deep, systemic change have been driven by twin over-arching strategic goals – disrupt the status quo and build the best possible alternative. As of yesterday, it is no longer possible to ignore the conclusion that the status quo is disrupted. In fact, to all intents and purposes, it is over. Classic liberalism, the old political consensus, the third way. Over.
And we have been building the best alternatives! The seeds of a better future are all around us – from community renewable energy cooperatives to local tool libraries; from integrated multicultural communities welcoming refugees to commons food forests; from a growing push for shorter working hours to a serious cross-institutional drive for a Just Transition out of fossil fuels (I’m writing to you today from an ACTU conference on the subject attended by unionists, environmentalists, social justice organisations, academics and more).
Today, however, despite all this, it is easy to feel like the power of hate is winning. And, right now, it is.
We mustn’t flinch from the fact that Trump’s election will bring misery to many. It is a disaster for the climate and our environment. It is a horrifying prospect for women and girls, and for LGBTIQ people. It is terrifying for people of colour, in the USA and beyond. It legitimises hate and division, violence and abuse.
We must face this. We must recognise it. And then we must fight it, harder than ever before.
The Green Institute is ready. The strategic plan we spent the bulk of this year developing factored in a real chance of the election of Trump. Or, if not, the need, regardless, to address the rise of the far right in Australia and our region, in Europe and in America. Our analysis, as I wrote recently in The Guardian, is that to fight racism we need to craft a better ‘we’. I’d encourage you to read that article and send us your thoughts and feedback.
We are moving to implement a number of the ideas presented in that article. A report on shorter working week and universal basic income will be out within the month, examining in particular the need to reprioritise family, community and civic engagement. Fascinating conversations on “commoning” are underway, leading towards both written papers and roundtable meetings early in the new year. And, of course, we will very soon be launching Food for Thought, our discussion groups program. This is all about actively building connection between people in communities, coming together to discuss important, big ideas.
If you’re looking for something to grab onto today, something to take part in in the months ahead, I encourage you to get in touch with us about Food for Thought. We’d love your engagement and support as we put together the first trials that we hope will lead to an amazing program.
In addition, Green Agenda has recently relaunched with a What Now series, explicitly engaging with these big questions. Do visit the site, read some of the articles there, and send us a proposal if you have thoughts you’d like to contribute.
There is every reason to be scared today. There is every reason to mourn.
But then we need to channel our fear and mourning into action. I invite you to join us in doing that.