The Triumph of Climate Politics

Got hope and change?

Supply-sider David Stockman was full of it in 1981 when the Reagan Revolution swept the country. Stockman, a rising star in GOP politics, became Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget and quickly began looking for ways to curtail the dreaded “welfare state.” And while I don’t agree with his pro-business slash and burn economic philosophies, Stockman found very quickly was that beltway politics (both Democrat and Republican) undercut any attempt to change business as usual. You can get the details in his memoir “The Triumph of Politics.”

Similarly, the reality of D.C.’s climate politics have triumphed over any sort of legislative action to curtail climate change. Last summer, the climate bill died an irrelevant death in the halls of a legislative body bought and sold to a new Gilded Age of Corporate America. And remember, the end product had loopholes for corporate giveaways large enough drive a heavy haul through.

Still to hedge their bets, the Sith Lords spent $121 million in 2009-2010 to flood D.C. with lobbyists to kill the climate legislation. And to keep things interesting in the 2010 election cycles, the oil side of the business spent $19,588,091 on the U.S. political process. And the coal side of things spent $10,423,347.

Do we really think we can outspend or out lobby these amounts of money?

Now, the big greens are telling us that an embattled Lisa Jackson and Environmental Protection Agency are our best hope (there’s that word again) for saving the planet from King Coal and Big Oil’s doomsday economy.

Does anyone really believe this bullshit anymore?

If we follow what Obama does and NOT what he says things make a lot more sense. A couple of recent examples exposing the administrations real energy politics include:

It’s time to build power and work for solutions beyond what Obama, Al Gore or Lisa Jackson can do for us. Any sort of dramatic shift on the fossil fuel doomsday economy (i.e. a real revolution) is not going to be led by those sitting comfortable (coal powered) air conditioned offices in Washington D.C. It’s going to be led by those of us in towns, cities and communities all over North America. And not necessarily in liberal bastions like San Francisco or Seattle, but in red states and conservative rural areas where the real damage is being done.

A global movement of climate justice organizers and direct actionistas has been building People Power against the root causes of climate change for quite some time. In North America, our fight to stop climate change and fossil fuel extraction is happening right now all over the country:

  • Appalachia- Activists have risked life, limb and liberty for years to stop mountaintop removal, and are doing it again at the historic site of the Battle of Blair Mountain in early June.
  • Utah- Tim DeChristopher is most likely going to prison for stopping an illegal land auction that would have drilled for oil and gas in pristine wilderness. Since his initial action, he co-founded Peaceful Uprising which has built a multi-generational multi-issue group to organize direct action on climate and extraction in the reddest of the red states. Look for more from them.
  • Montana and Idaho- Concerned people are putting their bodies on the line to stop tar sands heavy haul shipments to Alberta. A long history of environmental resistance has existed in this region. Now Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and other mountain regions are becoming active again.

Right now the path is very clear. The world is in upheaval and people power has taken a lead. Dictatorships have been toppled in Egypt and Tunisia. Popular uprisings are still happening in Yemen, Libya and Syria. European anti-austerity movements have emerged in Greece, Iceland, France, the UK and more. The U.S. labor movement’s rank and file has begun to challenge corporate power in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan and beyond.

At this point, we’re on our own. The political establishment manifesting as the Democratic Party and big green non-profit industrial complex won’t show any spine until we’re in the streets mobilizing them. We need to throw down with big, brash, sustained and completely anti-establishment action campaigns.

2 Responses to “The Triumph of Climate Politics”

  1. 1 jperrykelly Mar 29th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    This article presents a clear and tragic truth I put myself in a wheelchair (for life) to discover. Please consider not only its factual details but also its implications concerning human nature as it impacts virtually every aspect of modern culture. Becoming paralyzed did not cause me to grasp the warning this piece conveys: My subsequent ‘pro-cures’ activism did…by exposing me daily to high-level politics used as a tool by both parties to defraud and manipulate public opinion.

    Thank you to IGHIH for telling the truth: We ARE on our own! Our system is so corrupt–so honed to exploit human psychology to perpetuate the power and profits of those who confuse self-interest with the welfare of Man–our prognosis and plight recalls to my mind those of the French before their revolution.

  1. 1 Exploiting bias to entrench the fossil fuel status quo « Quantum Fires Trackback on Mar 29th, 2011 at 8:36 pm
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Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

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