06.09.2020 / Tai Kriegeskotte
Active participation required
Is TREEEC just some “elitist club?”
I was made aware of a criticism about my post “I spoke with Eugenia yesterday…”, that I am taking up here to go back to whom TREEEC addresses and to correct some other things. I’ll first quote in full in the original and then reply to the individual points:
“I just read your post on Facebook and am somewhat disillusioned and frustrated. Your very young colleague holds the opinion that I belong to the ‘common people’. Consequently, you explain that people like me are not worthy to become a member of TREEEC. So, TREEEC is a very elitist association after all, with the elite status seemingly very much related to one’s wallet. Not everyone is born with the famous golden spoon in their mouth… With that my interest in TREEEC is done. Apparently, people like me are not at all worth dealing with in your eyes.”
The term “Common People”
The first thing to answer is that Eugenia is not my “very young colleague”, but the young face of TREEEC and an equal member of the leadership troika of TREEEC WORLD PROJECT alongside Johan Obdola and me. And Eugenia did not mean at all that the “common people” should be excluded of TREEEC; quite the opposite, she meanat that TREEEC should be presented in a way that allows absolutely everybody to understand it, even if he or she – here I am a bit hyperbolic on purpose – neither has any idea of it, nor cares.
Here, someone, who obviously counts himself to this “common people”, feels personally addressed and voices criticism. In German I have used the term “gemeines Volk” as the English translation of “common people”, which Eugenia used in our conversation in English and which was quite obviously perceived as pejorative. It is not though in light of the origin of the German term and ideology-free consideration. According to openthesaurus.de, the German term means “general public”, “the masses”, or “the many”.
But even if one considers the term a judgment, in the course of my remarks I had contrasted the “common people” with those, who do not wish to only consume passively, but to participate actively in shaping TREEEC. So, my formula is that those, who only wish to reap the advantages of TREEEC but avoid active participation, are the “common people”. Neither do we have a need to reach these people at all costs, nor should they be merely persuaded to participate. We don’t need them at TREEEC.
“Actually” this is not possible with TREEEC
In my contribution it was important for me to emphasize that, without an interest in things other than to profit from advantages, there should be no other cause to actively engage in the community and further the goals of TREEEC. TREEEC builds on solidary participation in all areas. Whoever is not interested now in what is happening to our world and has never thought about the state of money and the economy, I can explain as much as I want and in simple terms, yet this person will remain passive. How many people really take the problems of climate destruction or the consequences of our broken economic and financial system really seriously and do something about it? I maintain that the masses take note of it at best, continue as before, and even get upset when they have to do without a new car, a new cell phone regularly, meat that is far too cheap, and even cheaper clothing. With TREEEC it is not possible to pick out only the advantages and expect or even demand help in an emergency without wanting to get involved, even if it is only for a neighbor and in whatever form.
This is actually not possible with TREEEC… And here I deliberately added “actually”, because I think that the criticism is not completely unjustified. Even if I think I was rather misunderstood, I want to make that clear. Of course TREEEC fights for everyone and offers help and support to all members, whether they can offer help and support or not. If someone is still too young, such as the children of members for example, or cannot actively support because of age or illness, they too receive full – and usually even more support – than a member who is better able to help himself.
I also have to admit that in many countries people have to fight for bare survival and did not or do not have the chance to stay informed at all. In this respect, it is necessary to give them digestable explanations and to enable them to participate. However, I still believe that it can be expected of us, in Germany and countries with an education system for all and real possibilities of participating in public life, to have fundamental awareness of what is happening to our world and that something must be done. If you don’t bring this with you here to TREEEC and had no desire to inform yourself up until now, or if you follow wacky ideas and/or populist charlatans, we do not have a need for this at TREEEC; and, vice versa, TREEEC is unfit to benefit such a person anyway.
“Elitist” in the sense of outstanding community
Yes, I confirm this: TREEEC is an “elitist association” in the sense that it is an outstanding community. We have expectations of our members, which they have to fulfill. Member companies, for example, must be prepared to develop into “BlueCompanies” according to our principles and requirements. Private members have to integrate into the community of solidarity and be there for others as well as support our fight to save our future.
The claim that this “elite” status depends on “one’s wallet” does not even require a sincere rebuttal. To raise the relatively small amount of money that a private member has to pay for a lifetime membership, you don’t have to be born with a golden spoon in your mouth. Most other associations demand more and, at that, yearly. And for countries where people really have little or no money, we are preparing appropriate support programs so that they, too, can afford memberships. Therefore, not a lot of money is necessary, but an open mind and the willingness to participate. Whoever does not bring this with him or her should indeed be “done” with TREEEC. After all, we are done with them as well.
A few blunt words at the end
One last comment to to the person who has voiced the criticism in question: I know her personally and her background. This is not someone who has no idea about economics at all. In fact, they even come from the financial sector. So, that person really doesn’t need to worry about being lumped with the “common people”. I can’t imagine that this person wouldn’t support the goals of TREEEC and our solidarity community. But I’d like to respond bluntly and without ambiguity: “For whoever does not want to stand up for TREEEC and other members, TREEEC is the wrong place, and they should not become members. And whoever is so eager to sort themselves into some category where objectively he do not does not belong at all, for whatever emotional or ideological reasons, should rethink his views and his criticisms”. Actually, I should end with a question, so I do: “Why are you not yet a member of TREEEC? Members can participate practically on the inside and can contribute their opinions and constructive (!) criticisms as well as their knowledge.”