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Monbiot: “2016 might be the year that historians look back at and say wow.”

The past year can go down in history as the year that the seeds of hope were planted, according to George Monbiot.

Monbiot speaking at Cardiff Business School.

Brexit and the election of Trump might have made 2016 look gloomy, but last year also brought “reasons for hope,” according to George Monbiot.

The Guardian columnist and author, speaking in front of a Welsh audience at Cardiff University on the 9th of November, argued that the Bernie Sanders campaign and the rise of post-Brexit Labour are two very positive political developments.

“In the first half of 2016 something exciting happened. Something that historians might look back at and say wow. The nonviolent direct-action movement is changing the world at the moment,” Monbiot said.

However, political change won’t somehow happen magically on its own. It will need the creation of a participatory culture.

“The best way to do this is by working together,” he added.

“All sciences come to the conclusion that human beings are spectacularly useless compared to other animals, except one aspect, altruism.”

He argued that the media which “present only the bad things” and the neoliberal narrative distort this side of humanity.

“Our daily lives are filled with economically irrational altruism.”

After the lecture, people were invited to share their opinions on how to develop a participatory culture.

According to Monbiot, the reason that “humanity is stuck with neoliberalism” is because we haven’t produced a new pro-active narrative to replace it.

“You can’t fight narratives with facts and figures, the only thing that can displace a story is a story.”

“If we keep fighting behind the frames we’ve been given we’re like a bee banging on a window, trying to get out. We’re bound to die. We have to keep looking for a door from which to get out from.”

The former zoologist-turned writer and political activist concluded his lecture by urging the Labour party to forge a new political narrative: “One that re-frames and resets the way we think about politics, economics and ourselves. Then my friends we become unstoppable.”

Cardiffians discussing about how to promote localized politics.

Monbiot’s new book Out of the Wreckage summarizes his proposed political alternatives.