Let Fury Have the Hour: Electoral Anger, Real Power and Making Change

By Cameron Fenton

“Let fury have the hour, anger can be power, don’t you know that we can use it?” – the Clash

Pissed off? If you voted, you probably should be.

Throughout our young lives we are taught to revere the Canadian electoral system. We are told that it is this system keeps the demons of tyranny and terror at bay. Yet earlier this week over two thirds of voters rejected the government which now holds executive power. Add to that a large proportion of people who refused to participate in this election, and you have a government that has failed to achieve the fundamental baseline of democratic rule, the consent of those they are to govern.

So what do we do?

Ghandhi once said that “as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.” That is the task we now face, we must transform our righteous anger into a force more powerful.

Our anger is the fuel for our rebel energy, but alone it cannot form our power. We must match our anger with the vision we have for a better world, dreams not built on rage but on love and hope. These are the roots of our power, a power that we must discover as a generation.

We need to recognize that true power in this world comes not from the top – governments, corporations and the like – but from the ground, from people working together to create change. The power enjoyed by those who wield it from the top is unstable, like an upside down triangle, supported only by the consent of people and institutions. Remove that consent, take away the pillars which support that power and it will collapse upon itself like a house of cards in a hurricane.

It is time for our generation to discover real power, the kind of power that Martin Luther King explains is “at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, [where] justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

So how do we do that?

I don’t have a sure fire answer, but only a humble suggestion and an invitation. We cannot sit back and wait for our land, air and water to be parceled up and sold off in totality. Instead we must demand the world we want to inherit, and create the self-empowering movement that can deliver it.

Over the past two months we have worked to craft our “Wings of Change” campaign, and in the face of today’s challenges we stand even stronger behind it, but without you we cannot build the movement we need to begin down the long road to change. So humbly we are asking you to join us to build that movement.

First, please check out both the Wings of Change campaign and Our Demands. If you agree with the five demands calling for the creation of a just and sustainable future then sign on and send them to five others, asking them to join you and sign on.

We have delivered these demands to each of the federal party leaders already, but this isn’t enough. When parliament reconvenes we will be on Parliament Hill to deliver the demands again, re-iterating our promise that we are building the movement to make the future they outline a reality. Join us in delivering these demands in Ottawa, and if you’re not in Ottawa, join us online by sending the demands to your newly elected member of Parliament or in the street by delivering them by hand to their riding office. These demands are a call for politicians to join with our movement, but they are also a line in the sand, a stand from which we will not deviate because we will not compromise our future.

The next step.

This summer we will be organizing six Power Summer Camps from coast to coast to coast. These camps are an opportunity to build our power, with trainings in popular education, non-violent direct action, strategy, climate justice, organizing skills,  and more along with spaces to discuss and strengthen this movement. We hope to train over 200 youth this summer so that when each one returns to their community they can pass on this training, educate others and continue to build our momentum.

Join us in helping to put together these camps, and keep your eyes peeled as we announce dates, locations and other details in the coming month.

Check out the Wings of Change campaign for more information about the campaign and how we plan to reclaim power.

Cameron Fenton is the National Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, he lives in Montreal.

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