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Chelsea Green Blog

This camel has got one strong back

I went to the big protest in NYC back before this war was launched against Iraq. And then, like pretty much almost everyone else, I went back to my standard everyday life, grumbled a bit, but kept to the sidelines as Bush went ahead anyway. Since then I’ve wondered why the impulse to protest is so weak in this country. Sure, sure, protests don’t accomplish the same thing that they did 30 years ago — or so the conventional wisdom goes. But then, when was the last time that you saw multiple million-person protests in a single year on a single issue? One protest will almost never accomplish anything, for sure. The difference, I think, between the protests against the Vietnam War and this Iraq War is that those who think the wars suck rotten eggs got off their duffs again and again and again during Vietnam. This time, we got off our duffs… and then went and licked our wounds for three years and counting. Janet pointed me to this Will Bunch piece, asking “The madness of King George: Are you going to take this sitting down?” He’s talking about Bush’s apparent “new course” in Iraq to increase US troop levels, despite the abundant evidence that the clear majority of Americans, as well as so very many analysts and Iraq Study Group authors, strongly desire just the opposite. Bunch wants to know: when exactly will the American people get sufficiently fed up with being treated like a bunch of dumpkoff peons by their Great and Exhalted Leader and go to the streets? He’s not suggesting violent or otherwise illegal protests, just some measley legal marches in the street, some singing of kumbaya, some waving of banners, all the sorts of things that get okayed ahead of time by the powers that be. But SOMETHING that sends more of a message than posting snarky comments to blogs. Because protest DO happen sometimes, you know. And they get things done, you know. The Ukranians didn’t just accept it when their presidential elections were stolen in 2004, they staged a peaceful (though forceful) revolution. It worked. When students and workers in France didn’t like the new labor law in 2005, they didn’t hide their feelings from the government–and the government conceded to the will of the people. This year in Taiwan, high-level corruption wasn’t met with an attitude of “what do you expect, all politicians are corrupt,” it was met with mass street protests and the eventual indictment of the president’s wife (the president is constitutionally protected from indictment as long as he remains in office, but can be indicted as soon as he steps down). Also this year, Hungarians did not take kindly to their prime minister’s accidental revelation that he and his party had based their successful election on lies. And so on. Okay, I admit, I’m not prepared to take up the torch and organize a month-long street protest in Washington DC (or anywhere else, for that matter) but I’d sure like to see it happen, and I’ll be happy to bring muffins and coffee to keep the protesters’ spirits up. No more stinkin’ wars, immediate caps and reductions of carbon emissions, and universal healthcare now–I know, there’re lots of other issues too, but I’m willing to compromise and start small.


Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..

Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. “Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its […] Read More..

Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives? In What We Think About When […] Read More..