My name is Katie Murphy and I am a full-time volunteer mobilizer based in New York City. I graduated from college last May and am now volunteering 30 hours a week with TCM to save civilization from its downward spiral into irreversible climate tragedy.
This was a tall enough order before America elected Donald Trump as our next president. In the two months since the election I have cycled through feeling furious, distraught, confused, and paralyzed. I want to band together with the people I love and fight back, but I feel as though the world has changed under my feet. I want to understand what exactly is going on so I can fight smart. I don’t want to waste the precious time left blindly flailing around in the chaos.
Is America collapsing? Is Donald Trump a fascist? Is rising authoritarianism connected to the climate emergency? How can we organize a massive social movement that actually wins? These seem like basic questions that must be confronted head-on right now, and I know I can’t answer them alone, sitting in front of my ever-more-alarming Facebook feed.
That’s why TCM is launching a new effort to start in-person crisis reading groups across the country devoted to tackling these questions. In particular, these autonomous groups will confront the monumental issues of:
1. Ecological crisis
3. Theories of power
4. History and theory of social movements
I am holding the first meeting of a crisis reading group with several of my friends this weekend. We are reading the following essays in order to understand the big picture context of our ecological, economic, political and social predicament:
1. “The Great Disruption Letter,” by Paul Gilding
2. “Creating Moments of the Whirlwind: Why Effective Movement Building Demands Both Structure and Momentum,” by Paul Engler and Kai Newkirk
3. “The Class Domination Theory of Power,” by William G. Domhoff
4. “Donald Trump is the First Demagogue of the Anthropocene,” by Robinson Meyer
In addition to discussing the readings, we will also share our feelings about what is happening to our world, and exchange announcements about relevant political initiatives.
In times like these, community is indispensable--not only for emotional wellbeing, but also because within communities we can build and defend understanding in a time when knowledge is under attack. And we can remind each other not to normalize the immoral.
Please sign up below if you would like to pilot a crisis reading group in your area. You can get started right away by sending this page to a group of people who you respect and who live near you, scheduling a time to meet, and assigning the first batch of readings.
Please fill out this form if you have recommendations for readings for future discussions.
Our hope is that these groups will, in the near term, lay the groundwork for effective political action that successfully saves our civilization. In the very short term, we expect these reading groups will provide emotional catharsis, active hope, and a revitalized sense of community as we come to terms with our new reality together.
Please email me right away if you need help getting started.