“When the word is mad, only the mad are sane.” Akira Kurosawa
This thought came to mind as I watched ‘The Reluctant Radical’ with the Fourth Friday audience April 27. When Ken Ward, a former mainstream environmentalist realizes that business-as-usual actions aren’t waking the powers that be up to the severity of the climate threat, he starts steps in up with creative and often quixotic acts of civil disobedience. These culminated in a major action with other activists that temporarily shut down all the major oil pipelines entering the US from Canada in 2016.
The film encouraged participants to think about who is sane and who is crazy in our mad world, what kinds of actions might make a difference, and the personal and moral choices that we all face. The film also illustrated the power of social connections and mutual support among activists, as Ken evolved from a lone crusader to part of the larger group that together planned and executed the major pipeline action.
Filmmaker Ralph King introduced a second short film, ‘Arrestable’, which profiles a group of 350.org activists preparing to engage in civil disobedience to encourage banks in Seattle to divest from fossil fuels. Arrestable brings the planning and decisions about engaging in civil disobedience closer to what some of us might actually do. In the film, activists are trained on what to do and what to expect, and each decides whether to risk arrest or remain in a supporting role.
Much food for thought and action!