Episode 33: Priscilla Grim
Priscilla Grim is one of Occupy Wall Street’s organizers, co-founder of the website We Are the 99 Percent, and co-editor of The Occupied Wall Street Journal.
We talk about her politicization, the current economic system, and the tension between class and environmental concerns. There are predictably strong contrasts with the libertarian philosophies of David Miller and Max More but, in one of the more unexpected connections in the project, Grim takes an attitude towards natural resources that is close to Robert Zubrin and far from Jan Lundberg and Wes Jackson.
Artwork by Eleanor Davis.
Do you guys think that Priscilla and Cameron, as our two occupiers thus far, lie outside of that “research bias” that you guys worried about earlier? Or is the research bias still present even if occupiers don’t fit the common bill of media
Hmm… maybe? I certainly hope so. Both are very visible online, but neither of them were people I had targeted in my research. Micah accidentally discovered Cameron while researching urban planning and Priscilla was recommended to me by David Korten’s assistant after we’d been talking about something similar to my research bias.
What do you think?
What do I think? Hrm… While it sounds like they aren’t entirely removed from the sphere of research, they did strike me as different. Unlike a researcher, historian, or economist, the occupiers seem to have one foot planted firmly in the ground of “reality” and “lived experience,” instead of the theoretical, statistical, or economic model or simulation. At the same time, occupiers can still be ideologically informed, so there is always that particular discount.
But most importantly, they’re not in any ivory tower or air conditioned think tank. If there is a such thing as the “real,” they are probably the first to know what it is. This is good, right? If we’re talking about the future, we need to include ordinary people in the conversation. After all, when the future comes, they’re the ones who are going to have to live in it, even if they chose that particular future or not.
Surely others lie outside of that research bias, like John Fife, or even Peter Warren – it seems to me they were men who cared about something, worked towards solving it, and are just further down the road, but still firmly rooted in their lived experience and application of their values. They seem to me very ordinary, but wiser from real age, experience, and effort, rather than theoretical research.
I also had a question based on the A&S’s response to this conversation – why can’t wind-power support the creation of wind-power? Speaking historically, wooden tools didn’t create gasoline engines, and neither did eternally existing gasoline engines replicate themselves. New energy technology and infrastructure may require new tech and initial investment, but eventually new tech supports it’s own proliferation, just as poorer areas don’t still have to enter a steam era to get gas-powered machines. History tells us that one way or another electricity will have the ability to reproduce itself. The question of whether wind-power is off-setting its’ own production expenses (both financially and environmentally) is moot if you’re only looking at today, and not the next 100 years of gas power without tech advancement but with the same population increase and tech use increases occurring in less developed places.
yes I’ve wondered about this “embodied energy” idea too. So what if the wind mills (what you call em) are made of iron that had to mined? I’m sure it was not mined specifically to generate/collect/distribute solar or wind power. It was unlikely the components were even manufactured for these purposes. Standardized sheets and iron posts and beams are always being made anyway for many purposes later. Best case scenario: there’s lots of ‘stuff’ lying round. We could it use to make solar, wind, tidal energy collection and generation machinary and the means of connection and delivery. Who could object to that on some (dubious/spurious) ‘high moral ground’ grounds? Someone wanting to persuade people against alt energy and it’d be sensible to enquire where they are coming from. Even a worst case scenario is not that bad. Over time the savings would become more apparent, and this is why for some time now people have been putting solar panels all over their roofs! As DS describes above more thoroughly..