15 January 2020

Michael Bones argues the secular left should look to churches as a model for building solidarity: “I support the freedom to associate, and the right to protest. But I worry that the climate movement is too heavily reliant on street protests when there are other, less eye-catching but incredibly powerful ways to organise for social change. … The progressive movement could benefit from broadening our definition of what it means to protest. We think it looks like flooding the streets with signs and chants. But we’re fighting slogans with slogans. We’re excluding everyone who doesn’t like big crowds, can’t take time off work, or lives too far away. And street protests are inherently unsustainable — as the Occupy movement showed, you can’t protest forever. … What if we directed the big burst of energy from protests into smaller, more frequent gatherings? What if a life lived in protest involved taking time out every weekend to gather and serve your local community? To join together under a more unified story, young and old, to sing songs, read ancient wisdom literature, mediate, serve the poor, and develop dense networks with people beyond our immediate interest groups? … Let’s learn from how [churches] build spiritual community, and start doing it. Because it’s good for wellbeing, and it works.”