Charging the Windmill

The climate “movement” held their great rally today. Their target? A pipeline that nobody outside their PR machine seriously believes will make any major difference in the expanding extraction and combustion of Alberta tar sands. Those sands are simply going to get burnt, barring serious alteration in the demand for petroleum — meaning serious movement to end the reign of corporate capitalism’s core commodity, the private automobile.

Meanwhile, it will certainly be interesting to see what these Obama fans — dig the naked use of Obie’s marketing logos and slogans here — do when Zero, perhaps in the midst of new blowback or some newsworthy danger stemming from yet another heightening of the ongoing U.S. war against Iran, slaps them away.

Obama Logo

The key demand in this movement is also very telling about its chances at success. You can see the core demand there on the protester’s very expensively and professionally-made placard: “clean energy.” As if there could be any such thing, without huge alterations in the infrastructure of the country, including, once again, a sharp move away from the reign of the private automobile. To call for “clean energy” without mentioning the level of energy use is like SNCC asking for “tasty lunches” while saying nothing about segregation. It is liberal practicality in all its evasive, stillborn glory.

FWIW, TCT favors approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, on the condition that it be accompanied by a huge and immediate expansion of funding for all the nation’s public transit agencies, including Amtrak, so that they might rise from their present state of near-bankruptcy and start seriously competing against car ownership.

That, of course, won’t happen without — ahem — a social movement pushing in that direction…

TCT‘s prediction? As pretty obviously signaled in this year’s State of the Union speech, Zerobama will approve the pipeline and link it to a call for more “clean energy” research and subsidy. The “movement” that met today will then face a severe crisis, and probably dissolve, having built their flimsy little tent on a hill of sand.

That, of course, may actually be less of a defeat than if Zero somehow decides to grant their wishes and block the pipeline. If he were to do so, what would the next steps of the movement be? To declare victory and start asking for “clean energy” research? At least a tasty lunch was an actual possibility in Greensboro, North Carolina…

Yep, It’s a Mess: 15 Problems with Dec99

confusionThe posers and kids running the Occupy movement have now responded to their MSM critics by promulgating a 20-point (well, 21-point, actually) Declaration.

With all due gratitude for the obvious and important success of these fine people at raising the vital issues onto the radar, this Declaration is a snarl of confusion, middle-class timidity, and unimaginative dead-ends, not a clarion call to major social change. To my eye, it reveals more about the awful weight of political disunity and discombobulation since the 1960s than it does about new roads to progress.

The problems, in order of occurrence:

Preamble:  Discusses structure of U.S. Government and democracy, but fails to mention the radical anti-democracy that is the Senate.

Preamble: Calls for election of a General Assembly to “set forth” a Petition of Grievances, then proceeds to set forth that very document prior to the election of the General Assembly!

Article 1: Includes unions on same footing as corporations, in a document that makes zero mention of either the right to organize unions or labor law reforms.

Article 5: Speaks of tax reform, but remains silent on the question of the mortgage interest deduction.

Article 6: For unspecified reasons, includes “means test” and “opt out” in proposed national, not-for-profit medical insurance, thus ensuring continued game-playing and obstructionism on the topic.

Article 7: Creates arbitrary (and unlikely to be used) power for the EPA and perpetuates the lie that “carbon neutral sources of power” can be found and dropped into the existing order at its present scale and in its present form, while making no mention of any specific programs of conservation or ecological reconstruction.

Article 8: Whole article reads like it was written by a bunch of seventh graders. Shows zero comprehension of the actual possibilities of and problems with government finance, and almost certainly conflicts with the later-stated goal of full-employment.

Article 9: Reproduces the notion that “job training” leads to job creation; socializes the (supposed) cost of “job training” for private sector jobs. Diverts attention from public enterprise/actual methods of job creation. Excuses private sector from scrutiny as an inherently defective engine of job-creation.

Article 10: Seems to (but actually does not) call for debt relief for college students, but makes no mention of credit-card debtors or poverty.  Displays zero awareness that college remains a profoundly class-stratified phenomenon.

Article 13: Reproduces the notion that the form of schooling leads to job creation; keeps education tied to “jobs” rather than democracy; misses the fact that private sector teaching pay is worse than public sector teaching pay; makes no mention of the overall education budget, despite huge, long-standing public preference for expansion thereof. Treats loss of jobs to technology as inevitable. Again excuses private sector from scrutiny as an inherently defective source of job creation.

Article 15: Promotes China-bashing and economic warfare, rather than creation of a sustainable, publicly-managed domestic economy.

Article 16: Promotes weak, old rules, rather than calling for creation of publicly-owned banks and insurers.

Article 17: Praises “President Clinton,” an arch-enemy of economic democracy!  Also appears to promise retention of the mortgage interest deduction.

Article 18: Appears to promise retention of the mortgage interest deduction.

Resolution (Article 21?): Permits the existing political duopoly to absorb and manipulate all the work of the Occupy movement.  Preserves Cold War double-talk by using “corrupt corporatocracy,” rather than “capitalism.” Threatens formation of a new political party, rather than the calling of a Second Constitutional Convention. How does forming a new party within the present money-and-corporation owned system do anything but eat itself alive?

Overall:  This document reeks of middle-class bias.  This document makes zero specific environmental proposals, and does not mention our crisis of sustainability/capitalism.  This document is anti-union.