[guest post by JVW]
This is just sad:
The Auckland, New Zealand, chapter of a climate organization inspired by activist Greta Thunberg disbanded itself on Saturday because it was a “racist,” “white-dominated space,” the group announced in a Facebook post on Saturday.
School Strike 4 Climate, a movement of student protests against global warming, began in the wake of Thunberg’s activism and ballooned into widespread student strikes in 2019. Around 20,000 New Zealand students went on strike in March 2019, organized by School Strike New Zealand, which describes itself as “the New Zealand movement of Greta Thunberg’s strikes in Europe.”
The Auckland branch of the group said on Saturday that it had agreed to dissolve.
“BIPOC communities are disproportionately affected by climate change, so the fight for climate justice should be led by their voices and needs, not Pākehā [white New Zealander] ones,” the group wrote on Facebook. “We are disbanding because, since 2019, SS4C AKL (as well as the wider national group, though we can’t speak on their behalf) has been a racist, white-dominated space.”
Hey, if climate activism turned out to be something of a drag when there are more fun things for teenagers to do while skipping school, then just come out and admit it. No need to abase yourself with Maoist confessions of wrong-doing. It’s hard to read a statement like this one and not instantly think of the sort of psychological manipulation commonly found in cults. And this level of white racial posturing doesn’t sit well with one of the group’s founders:
Sophie Handford, one of the founders of School Strike New Zealand, expressed skepticism of the move in a statement to The Guardian. Hanford coordinated the group in 2019.
“There is a real need to cede space to Indigenous-led kaupapa [policy] and to transform the movement so that it can properly uphold the collective aspiration of climate justice,” Hanford said. However, “I’m a little concerned that this sends a message of division or that not everyone is needed.”
The bad news and the good news is that these are teenagers. The bad part being that the teen years are already often fraught with emotional peril, so forcing these kids to confess their alleged racism strikes me as a particularly ugly form of bullying. The good part is there is a chance that as these kids mature they will see just how silly all of this racial posturing is and will regret that they so readily fell for all of this garbage. But it’s past time that sane adults step in and put a stop to the nonsense.