Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Openness Vs. Secrecy in Nonviolent Movements

In the movie Gandhi, a group of Indians, Hindus and Muslims, meet in a crowded hall to plan their resistance against the British / South African government.  Several white constables sit in the front row, with helmets and batons.  Gandhi greets them with a smile as the meeting commences, and tells them "We have no secrets".

The climate movement is now in a position where we are taking on the fossil fuel industry and their allies to save our civilization and life on Earth as we know it.  These are huge stakes.  They have so much power, so much money.

The temptation, certainly, must be to conspire plans in dark rooms to take them down.  This is foolish, naive, and it undercuts how nonviolent struggle works.

We're the good guys!  We, like Gandhi, have nothing to hide.  We need to openly talk about them and what they are doing to the planet.  We need to frankly put forth our plans to stop them from destroying the world.

Yes, they will use this knowledge of our intentions to fight back, but they'd know our intentions anyway.  Years ago a British environmental group found out that one of their most trusted members was a spy.  Any group that becomes a threat to the fossil fuel powerhouses should expect to soon have moles on the inside, so it's best to adopt a position of openness, and let the whole world know what you're up to.

It actually serves to give your movement more power.


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