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Dude, Where's My Coalition?

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I talked with lots of people inside and outside the green movement at Netroots Nation, and one theme arose again and again. Everyone agrees that the energy issue is more salient every day, in virtually every area of politics (economy, foreign policy, etc.). Lots of people are now being pushed to address it. They're looking around for a pre-existing coalition to hook into, and since energy thinking has been outsourced to the green movement for decades now, that's the obvious place to look.

But there is no such coalition.

There is no progressive climate/energy community with a set of shared assumptions, shared messages, and shared goals. There are lots and lots of groups pursuing their own initiatives, coming up with their own language and framing, building their own email lists, and doing their own development and fundraising. To the extent they interact it takes the form of squabbling over details and messaging. There's plenty of infighting but very little leadership and coordination.

So what is the foreign policy community supposed to do? What are progressive economists supposed to do?

What they inevitably do is come up with their own goals and their own messages, thus adding to the background white noise that's already impenetrable to the public. What cuts through that white noise is "drill here drill now pay less." It's simple, it's being echoed in 100 different places, and it looks like leadership.

The green movement's time has come. This is the moment, the historical fork in the road. And the movement is totally, woefully disorganized and unprepared. It's a bitter irony: All the things it has worked for and dreamed about for 30 years are going to happen, and it is going to be all but irrelevant to them.

Pretty disheartening.

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