Conclusion Of Green Movement

The rise of ecological direct action appears to be linked to the perception of governments' weakness in the face of globalisation. The adoption of EDA by groups of young people is also an effort to compensate for weaknesses in other parts of the green movement. The EMOs are unwilling to risk their relationships with government and business or their mass support by pursuing a more challenging agenda. Green parties are at best minority parties often pushed into decisions that seem to promise only minor change in the distant future. Local environmental campaigns provide useful allies but even when most radical they do not challenge power on a global level. EDA activists see themselves as pursuing the radical agenda that is necessary if progress towards the goals of green ideology is to be made. However, they are all too aware of their weakness. As one British activist put it:

The way I look at it is, political movements grow in two directions, vertically and horizontally. And vertically, that means, generally your politics becomes more radical and oppositional and more coherent outside the mainstream, but equally your methods of taking action become more effective, you learn what works so your basic tactical and strategic armoury gets more effective ... but the thing is as you progress vertically, as your politics becomes more radical and more distant from the mainstream . you run a real risk of being marginalised from, you know, everyone else. And you become this tiny bunch of wackos that no one wants to deal with. Political movements I think are doomed to failure if they only grow vertically and if they don't combine that with a simultaneous horizontal growth, and horizontal growth means that you firstly get bigger in terms of numbers of bodies but you also draw from more different backgrounds, you basically embed yourself in a greater chunk of civil society. And Earth First!, as I say, has done the vertical growth very effectively and the horizontal growth extremely ineffectively

(Anon. in interview with author 2000)

Most activists are well aware that EDA cannot become a mass movement. Direct action is demanding and it is noticeable that activists rarely have children and most are under 35. Second, one of the strengths of EDA is the alternative culture which creates emotional bonds and solidarity between activists. However, this also poses barriers to 'straight' people, who feel that they cannot become involved and maintain their existing responsibilities to work, home and family Thus, it seems likely that the movement will remain a tiny, if creative and powerful, minority, which may go through cycles in different countries. However, just as it is unlikely to become a mass movement, it is also unlikely to disappear.

The common source of continuity in each of the three countries examined here, is a wider green and alternative milieu, in which the repertoires of EDA have now become well established. Moreover, these milieux seem more extensive and stronger than before, not least because of the range of groups with which EDA has been able to form alliances. The growth of a diverse international movement of protest against neo-liberalism has provided an opportunity for the small number of EDAers to link with other groups and a space in which their specialised direct action and anarchism can play an avant-garde role. Like other parts of the green movement, EDA cannot achieve a transformation alone. But the diffusion of protest and the new space for opposition to neo-liberalism has opened up new, if uncertain, possibilities for further diffusion of protest and green ideology. The local action of grassroots environmental campaigns, examined in the next chapter does not generally have the international or counter-cultural character of EDA, but its roots in non-green communities make it important for green activists of all kinds.

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