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Tagged ‘Naomi Klein‘

Mammon’s Missionaries

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Above: Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein (representing 350.org/1Sky) tour America promoting the illusion of an existing and available “carbon budget” (“Do the Math”), while in reality, “there is no available carbon budget“.  This fact is made abundantly clear by both David Spratt (Climate Code Red) and David Wasdell.  [Basis for a Carbon Budget? | Link] [The real budgetary emergency and the myth of “burnable carbon” | Link ]

Image: 350.org photo stream via Flickr. Photo by Ted Cleary | Do the Math Tour | New York City | 11.16.2012

Public Good Project

July 26, 2014

By Jay Taber

 

Continuing our discussion on co-option, I should note that Naomi Klein – as a board member of the Rockefeller Foundation-funded 350.org — functions as an emissary to co-opt Indigenous activist/intellectuals like Arthur Manuel and Leanne Simpson. Having branded herself as part of the eco-avant-garde, Klein’s diplomacy is part of the mission of Wall Street NGOs to assimilate Indigenous thought leaders into the corporate fold.

Klein McKibben Healing Walk

“Tar Sands Healing Walk” | July 6, 2013 | Caption: “At the press conference before the walk formally began, there were many speakers. Among them was Naomi Klein.” Klein is under the purple flag with Clayton Thomas-Muller who is the co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands (ITS) Campaign of the Polaris Institute and organizer with Idle No More & Defenders of the Land. [July 1, 2013: Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein to join Canada’s tar sands ‘healing walk’ – Idle No More press release] Photo by “taylorandayumi” via Flickr.

 
Manuel, as a Seventh Generation Fund/Ford Foundation-sponsored activist — appointed by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to coordinate the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus — collaborated with Debra Harry in an attempt to exclude tribal governing authorities from participating in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and later joined Harry in a fraudulent attempt to cover up their mischief. Manuel, the son of one of CWIS’s founders (where I am an associate scholar), is an articulate and intelligent Indigenous advocate. He has since apparently parted company with NAIPC, but his betrayal of trust remains a black spot on his record.

Leanne seems to have more integrity than Manuel, and I hope she does not get seduced by the insidious forces of Wall Street. The NGOs corrupted by UN flattery and foundation funds are responsible for much of the turmoil taking place behind the scenes of the media spectacle in which 350.org’s Bill McKibben is a star, and promise to be a problem in the lead up to the WCIP in New York come September.

In many respects, Klein and McKibben are like the church missionaries that initially helped subdue the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the US. Instead of the religion of Christianity, however, they proselytize on behalf of the faith in corporate philanthropy, all the while posing as pious champions of the environment, colonized and downtrodden. This is psychological warfare at its most repugnant.

Public Good Project’s role, as protectors and connoisseurs of conflict, is to expose the predators in order prevent their preying on the minds of the innocent. It is a role that rarely garners gratitude, but it is a necessary role if Indigenous Peoples are to prevail in their quest for human rights and environmental sanity.

 

[As an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal, Jay Taber has assisted indigenous peoples seeking justice in such bodies as the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

Honestly, Ms. Klein, Author of NO LOGO & 350.org Board Member – You Really Don’t See This Intentional, Psychological Manipulation of Citizens?

As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, Obama is a “brand” like none other, having won the highest advertising campaign accolade and attracted unprecedented sums of money. The brand will sell for a while. He will close Guantanamo Bay, whose inmates represent less than one per cent of America’s 27,000 “ghost prisoners.” He will continue to make stirring, platitudinous speeches, but the tears will dry as people understand that President Obama is the latest manager of an ideological machine that transcends electoral power. Asked what his supporters would do when reality intruded, Stephen Walt, an Obama adviser, said: “They have nowhere else to go.” – John Pilger

“Every brand comes with a set of associations,” explains study co-author Gavan Fitzsimons, a professor of psychology and marketing at Duke University. “When we’re exposed to logos, those associations fire automatically, activating our motivational systems and leading us to behave in ways that are consistent with the brand image”—and our preexisting drives. Over the years, all the Think Different ads we’ve seen have seared a link in our brains between Apple and creativity… — Psychology Today 

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“With enough repetition, people encode the brands identity (usually not as read words but as the recognized look, shape and feel) in their brains, preferably linked to things that matter to them.” - Branding Strategy Insider

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“So the original brands were comforting logos that were often people, like Quaker Oats or Aunt Jemima, that were essentially surrogate relationships, it’s like, ok, you’re not buying it from the local shopkeeper, you’re not buying it from the local farmer, but here is this image that you can relate to – you could form a personal relationship – albeit a fake personal relationship – with this mascot, with this figure. But the message was that you can trust it as much as you would trust it if you actually had a real relationship.” – Naomi Klein

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“And this idea was the idea of lifestyle branding, the idea that if companies wanted to be truly successful and competitive in a global marketplace they had to understand that their true product was not their product, i.e. sneakers, movies, lattes, computers, it was an idea, a lifestyle. It was meaning itself. The idea of brands not products explains for me a few things at once. It explained the assault on the public sphere in the form of corporate sponsorship. It explained why we were seeing evermore new and creative forms of marketing particularly directed at young people.” – Naomi Klein [Source]

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“The point is that you don’t have the choice whether or not to turn it off because it is in the streets, it’s right in front of your face, on the subway or even in the bathroom, in a public bathroom. The point is to take choice out of the equation because choice, even when you can click with your converter, that is seen as the enemy in the world of marketing, that’s why you need to get your ad woven into the content of television shows, so choice is taken out of the equation.” – Naomi Klein [Source]

The Problem With the Big Green’s Naomi Klein Gripe

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Counterpunch Weekend Edition

September 13-15, 2013

by Macdonald Stainsby

Stockholm Syndrome in a Three Piece Suit

A few days ago a minor shizzle storm erupted on the climate-acting internet. Well-known anti-corporate author and researcher Naomi Klein gave an interview where she made some comments that, apparently, made some of the more corporate and right wing members of the environmentalist establishment elite upset. The problem with the comments, in a nutshell, is that Klein responded to questions about how people are able to go about their day-to-day business without screaming in a panic constantly about anthropogenic climate change.

The comments she uttered that caused the most anguish? Well, I’ve been swimming through this rather heated ocean of replies targeting Naomi Klein. This seems to be the lowest common denominator from the angered voices defending “Big Green.”

Well, I think there is a very deep denialism in the environmental movement among the Big Green groups. And to be very honest with you, I think it’s been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we’ve lost.1

This has been called variations of victim blaming. Leaving aside whether the very-well paid executives of corporate-partnered environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) are victims of much, it’s tossed about in several different manners. We are told that the people who are making the decisions about policy for such groups believe staunchly in the science, and are not in denial at all. Really?

Degrees of Evil: Savoring the Nuances of Co-optation

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Photo: Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein of 350.org

Intercontinental Cry

Sept 6, 2013

By Jay Taber 

 

Mind games of the non-profit industrial complex aren’t hard to decipher; the gullible simply have to decide they no longer want to be coddled by bromides, no longer treated as infantile consumers of spectacle. Once they reach the point of being skeptical, the charades of capitalist activism come clearly into view.

Spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein, while raising valid (albeit hypocritical) criticism of the complex, count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. Serving as proxies for consumer rage, yet asking nothing serious of them as citizens, makes these capitalist activists popular and profitable PR puppets. (I especially love Ms. No Logo‘s logos.)

YES LOGO | The McKibben-Klein Doctrine

Sept 6, 2013

WKOG admin: This is an excerpt from the investigative report Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part II, by Cory Morningstar. (Originally published by Counter punch, June 4, 2013.)

We republish this excerpt today in response to Klein’s article Green groups may be more damaging than climate change deniers published Sept 5, 2013 by Salon. It is a welcome criticism of “big greens,” albeit ironic, coming from a woman who sits on the Board of Directors of one of the most powerful social engineering NGOs of all, 350.org/1Sky. Klein wants us to believe in her and more importantly, to believe in 350.org/1Sky. The irony is pushed further as Klein, who endlessly jets around the planet spewing carbon high in the atmosphere, claims the “other” corporate foundation-fed “greens” (“It’s not 350.org, because it didn’t even exist yet.”) are “irrelevant” when the REAL pipeline is already completed (the focus of 350.org being the Stop the KXL campaign) and all that’s left is the unnecessary Phase 4 that Obama will cancel to bleatings of “victory” from Klein and her ilk.

“It is sad, and to be blunt, tragic, to witness a woman of Klein’s ability, pretend to be so utterly unaware of her own surroundings.”

In the meantime, the growth in oil via rail continues to skyrocket and pipeline projects are booming. One can safely assume that both Obama and Buffett are ecstatic. Working for Warren has never been so eagerly embraced by the environmental movement. As 350.org/1Sky remain silent on Obama’s fracking adventure, they are publicly, albeit quietly, endorsing biofuels via the “Flying Clean” campaign. No word yet on the root causes of climate change (the industrialized capitalist economic system), the necessity to eradicate militarism (as 350.org board members beat the drums of war), or even what must be achieved before the planet can even begin to cool – virtual zero emissions. The future will show that 350.org, with Avaaz and a handful of other key NGOs, will be in the vital, leading role of ensuring that the illusory green economy is palatable to, and ultimately embraced by, the masses. One need look no further than the 350.org Board of Directors, International Advisory Council, U.S. Advisory Council, financiers and the history of 1Sky creators to see where this is going. It’s really not rocket science.

It appears that Klein wants to have her cake and eat it, too. Klein presents herself, and her 350.org/1Sky NGO, as a new kind of brand – a radical RINGO. (Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke March 19, 2010 at Innovative Philanthropy for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing: “In this second phase of philanthropic innovation, our Rockefeller Foundation predecessors helped establish the non-governmental organization sector as the ‘missing middle’ between giving and direct impact. This included support for entities – we call them RINGOS, Rockefeller Foundation Initiated NGOs.”)

It is sad, and to be blunt, tragic, to witness a woman of Klein’s ability, pretend to be so utterly unaware of her own surroundings.

Writer/playright Donnchadh Mac an Ghoill documents how the left loves to be seduced and that “[A] seduced person, a person who is loving the thrill of being seduced, no longer has any use for truth or facts.”

As of today, Donnchadh Mac an Ghoill appears to be correct. As for the future, time will tell.

And speaking of No Logos, 350’s “forward on climate” logo is a mere retouching of Obama’s as the excerpt below elaborates on.

YES LOGO | The McKibben-Klein Doctrine

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Above: 350.org DC rally signs (far right and bottom two) clearly promote the powerful Obama brand. Above left: MoveOn.org (founder of Avaaz), front group for the Democratic Party. Image to right of MoveOn.org poster: 350.org “Forward on Climate” poster/logo. Top image: Obama 2012 campaign poster/logo.

“Together, the team has marshalled every tool in the modern marketing arsenal to create and sustain the Obama brand: the perfectly calibrated logo (sunrise over stars and stripes).” — Naomi Klein, author of No Logo (10th Anniversary Edition). Klein now sits on the board of directors of Rockefellers’ 1Sky/350.org

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“… A lot of times when he’s at a podium what you’ll see is, centered right beneath him, at the very top of the blue field that usually says something like ‘Change You Can Believe In,’ it’ll be just that little symbol, functioning in the same way the Nike swoosh does. People look at that and know what it means, even though it’s just an ‘O’ with some stripes in it…. The thing that sort of flabbergasts me as a professional graphic designer is that, somewhere along the way, they decided that all their graphics would basically be done in the same typeface…. If you look at one of his rallies, every single non-handmade sign is in that font. Every time you look, all those signs are perfect. Graphic designers like me don’t understand how it’s happening. It’s unprecedented and inconceivable to us. The people in the know are flabbergasted.” — Expertinent: Why the Obama “Brand” Is Working, Feb 27, 2008

“Attitude” branding is essentially defined by the ability to elicit/represent/instill a larger, more powerful feeling on an emotional, subconscious level. It need not be connected with the product or the consumption of the product whatsoever. At a deeper level, attitude branding drills into the consumer psychology of (“attitude”) choiceas much as the term “choice” is applicable in the 21st century of accelerating social engineering. The brand “Obama” does not represent nor sell a president, rather it embodies an emotional chimera of “hope” and “change” that we can choose to believe in. One could quite safely describe attitude branding as a very sophisticated and calculated method of indoctrination, perhaps one of the highest (and most subtle) forms of psychological manipulation/brainwashing.Corporations excelling in “attitude” branding include Apple and Nike, to name two. Branding a person is not fundamentally different from branding a product. In 2008, Obama-the-brand beat out the aforementioned Apple and Nike, capturing first place for Advertising Age’s marketer of the year.

[No Logo?] Perils of the Keystone XL Pipeline Confront Obama by Ralph Nader

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‘Forward on Climate’ images in above Obama logo montage (found on Greenpeace and 350.org websites). ForwardOnClimate.org (Feb 17, 2013 rally) was presented by 135 different organizations and their members, including 350.org, the Sierra Club, the Hip Hop Caucus, Greenpeace, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Green For All and Forecast the Facts.

Above: What ever happened to No Logo? One may wish to ask 350.org’s Naomi Klein why brand recognition is so important to corporate power. In her book No Logo, Klein described branding as a “fetish strategy”.

Iconic brands are defined as having aspects that contribute to consumer’s self-expression and personal identity. Brands whose value to consumers comes primarily from having identity value are said to be “identity brands”. Some of these brands have such a strong identity that they become more or less cultural icons which makes them “iconic brands”. Many iconic brands include almost ritual-like behaviour in purchasing or consuming the products.

There are four key elements to creating iconic brands (Holt 2004):

  1. “Necessary conditions” – The performance of the product must at least be acceptable, preferably with a reputation of having good quality.
  2. “Myth-making” – A meaningful storytelling fabricated by cultural insiders. These must be seen as legitimate and respected by consumers for stories to be accepted.
  3. “Cultural contradictions” – Some kind of mismatch between prevailing ideology and emergent undercurrents in society. In other words a difference with the way consumers are and how they wish they were.
  4. “The cultural brand management process” – Actively engaging in the myth-making process in making sure the brand maintains its position as an icon. [Source: Wikipedia]

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The Nader Page

by RALPH NADER

Feb 21, 2013

Bill McKibben, a prolific writer and organizer on global warming and climate change, has had a busy year teaching environmentalists not to despair and will soon be learning some lessons himself.

FLASHBACK | 350.org: Environmental Corporatism

The following excerpts from the article Harnessing People Power Continued – The 99% Spring and the “Professional Left” are written by Edmund Berger. The article,  in its entirety, can be read on Swans Commentary where it was published May 21, 2012.

 (Swans – May 21, 2012)   “Astroturfing” is a term that has entered the popular lexicon of the politically educated, referring to the ability of largely unseen actors to mold and direct grassroots social movement. Awareness of this phenomenon is a direct fallout from the ascendancy of the Tea Party, as it became rapidly apparent that its transition from a protest movement to a legislative powerhouse was guided with the help of the now-renowned Koch brothers. These conservative-minded billionaire philanthropists, working through their interlocking family foundations, had invested vast sums of money into intermediary organizations that helped plan, facilitate, and execute successful protests, rallies, and political campaigns. Yet those who flaunt the term “astroturfing” — namely, those on the left of the spectrum — have shown a certain reluctance to acknowledge the fact that this same method is being applied to progressive grassroots movements as well, re-concentrating disenfranchisement with the dominant institutions of power into a manageable opposition capable of acting as a voting base. This is not a recent development; it dates back to the “Progressive Era” of American political history, and it forms a central apparatus of US foreign policy abroad under the non-descript diplomacy of “democracy promotion.”

350.org: Environmental Corporatism

Inscrutable Icons of Liberaldom by Cindy Sheehan

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”- Glinda the Good to Dorothy Gale, Wizard of Oz

June 16, 2012

Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox

“In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” – Bertrand Russell

I am always happy to get feedback about my radio show, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, even if it’s bad—because I am happy that someone is listening—we work really hard to produce a relevant show.

Recently, I featured a young author/activist named, Edmund Berger, who has written two thought-provoking pieces that featured something that I am very interested in: the co-option, or “astro-turfing” of movements and I received some very hostile comments from readers/listeners who were offended that Berger could criticize some icons of “Liberaldom” (my word, not theirs).

First of all, the thought that anyone is above analysis and criticism is wrong, especially people who make a living from notoriety. For example, it’s one thing to attack a person for perceived character or physical flaws, but when one points out iffy connections to foundations with known and deep ties to the establishment, that is, in my opinion, fair game.

Everyone makes mistakes…everyone, with no exception. However, a line is crossed when that person, or organization, leads others astray by not being totally honest about from where the money comes or where partisan political loyalties lie. I will quote examples for some of the seemingly inscrutable ones that I got in trouble for allowing to be criticized. (Apparently, and thankfully, I am highly “scrutable.)

Again, why is the messenger being crucified instead of the information being read and analyzed with some balance instead of some people “pedestalizing” others with knee-jerk adoration?

If we want to have any success as movements and people, we need to realize that there are forces loyal to the Democratic Party that glom on to people and movements to steer what could be actually affective towards electoral politics, usually in favor of the Democrats on the Liberal side of the political spectrum.

There were especially two Inscrutable Icons of Liberaldom that my listeners were offended about being analyzed by my guest, Edmund Berger: Naomi Klein and 350.org. We’ll start with 350.org because Ms. Klein is now on the national board of that NGO.

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The below is from my friend and radical environmentalist (integrity of vision and not co-opted by foundation money), Gregory Vickrey, of Wrong Kind of Green, about the establishment environmental groups:

President Obama has a bevy of support from environmental groups, many of whom (like the Sierra Club) have already endorsed him for a second round of degradation and destruction. This fawning for a Democratic President is certainly not without precedent, but it is particularly egregious when one looks at Obama’s environmental record.
Unlike his over-arching abilities to pre-emptively criminalize the common protester, this President has neither the wherewithal nor the spine to hold BP to account in the ongoing Gulf of Mexico tragedy. Rather, he continues to exacerbate the destruction, fast-tracking oil and gas leases in Alaska and additional deep water drilling in the Gulf.
Notwithstanding the rhetoric over a temporary suspension of the final phase of the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama gave an enthusiastic pass to a significant portion of the tar sands pipeline (already operational) in 2009, shortly after being inaugurated.
And he (Obama) is more effective than a denier when it comes to climate change, avoiding or stalling mandatory mitigation and adaptation practices that should have been deployed years ago.
His inaction-with-a-purpose preserves the status quo for his corporate, corrupt base of financial support, thus making him the greatest enabler of environmental destruction on the planet, and no resonant speech from on high changes that reality.
And here I must correct myself – stating above that the President has an “environmental record” is almost as recidivist as the man himself.Not to be outdone by the Sierra Club and other corporate-environmental organizations who have endorsed President Obama and his despicable policies, faux “grass-roots” organizations such as the Rockefeller (think oil) funded 350.org likewise lift President Obama up whenever he tosses a rhetorical bone their way. 350 and its corporate marketing arm were quick to praise the President with the Keystone XL delay (“We won! What a brave man you are, Mr. President!” author’s note: there’s a far more complex story behind this), but never utter a word about the realities on the ground of, say, fracking in New York; Or mountaintop removal in West Virginia; Or $2 Billion in coal subsidies to the President’s home state of Illinois; Or those fast-tracked wells in the Gulf; Or those leases in Alaska. Like their partners at Sierra Club and elsewhere, at the end of the day, 350 are nothing more than a faux-roots front for the President and his party, insane environmental policies be damned.

And as Edmund Berger points out in his article published in Swan’s Commentary called: Harnessing People Power Continued: the 99% Spring and the Professional Left:

The first organization to be looked at is 350.org, a climate change awareness advocacy organization launched in 2007 by the author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. McKibben’s approach to environmentalism is positioned firmly in the ideology of “green capitalism,” advocating a return to localized market economies while eschewing the notions of collectivization or wealth redistribution. Halting catastrophic climate change, he argues, “will not mean abandoning Adam Smith” and “doesn’t require that you join a commune or become a socialist.” Espousing this moderate viewpoint has led 350.org’s subsidization by large liberal philanthropies, primarily, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF). This is an important connection, as RBF’s current president, Stephen Heintz, is the founding executive director of Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action, a “non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization committed to building an America that achieves its highest democratic ideals.” Deepening the ties, Demos, funded by the RBF and Ford Foundation, hosts 99% Spring material on their website and also counts Rebuild the Dream founder Van Jones on its advisory board. Furthermore, in 2011 350.org merged with another environmental coalition, 1Sky, where Jones can be found yet again on its director board.

350.org is what it is, but, please, let’s stop pretending that it is on the side of revolutionary change.

 Naomi Klein

I know Naomi personally and I think she is a sweet person and she has contributed a lot to the world’s understanding of neo-liberalism. There’s no doubt about it, she’s brilliant, but when it comes to being on the board of 350.org and Obama, in my opinion, she is off the track.

In a speech Naomi gave at Loyola University in February of 2009, she was advocating for “collectivism” and “nationalization,” but, as pointed out above her alliance with 350.org is at odds with those goals.

Here is Berger’s analysis of Klein’s connection to 350.org:

However, a close reading of The Shock Doctrine reveals her glaring refusal to attack capitalism’s production modes; instead, she prefers to refer to her “emergent Keynesianism” and waxes poetically about the days when “young men from Ivy League schools sat around commanding table… having heated debates about the interest rate and the price of wheat.” This vision of a benevolent technocracy is at odds, certainly, with the desires for true democracy that she expresses elsewhere in the text, and her longing for Ivy League-directed economics should be contrasted with the sociological analyses of the liberal contingencies of the elite establishment as presented by C. Wright Mills and G. William Domhoff. While Klein’s critique is undoubtedly vital to helping undermine the grand narrative of neoliberalism, it is ultimately deflective in nature — did imperial ambitions (the Vietnam War, for example) not exist during the “heyday of Keynesianism,” and was this economic system not wrought with its own internal tensions and structural flaws? Regardless, her discourse is completely compatible with viewpoint of the moderate American left.

In an article called, Criticism of Shock Doctrine from the Left, the author points out:

Most critics of the war believe the notion of exporting democracy to a hostile Arab country was doomed in its conception. Some war supporters counter that the occupation could have succeeded, but bungling and incompetence caused it to fail. Klein is staking out a third, esoteric, highly original position. She says that the occupation could have succeeded, but the Bush administration did not want it to succeed. She is explicit about this:

“Had the Bush administration kept its promise to hand over power quickly to an elected Iraqi government, there is every chance that the resistance would have remained small and containable, rather than becoming a countrywide rebellion. But keeping that promise would have meant sacrificing the economic agenda behind the war, something that was never going to happen.”

My question is “small and containable” to whom? In the beginning of the US plague on Iraq called, Shock(ing) and Awe(ful), tens of thousands of Iraqi were killed—war is never “containable.”

On November 11, 2011, despite Obama’s delaying tactic (until 2013, after the 2012 elections, conveniently) Naomi Klein touted a “victory” on the show of another Inscrutable Icon of Liberaldom, Amy Goodman:

Environmental activists are claiming victory after the Obama administration announced Thursday it will postpone any decision on the proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline until 2013. The announcement was made just days after more than 10,000 people encircled the White House calling on President Obama to reject the project, the second major action against the project organized by Bill McKibben’s 350.org and Tar Sands Action. In late August and early September, some 1,200 people were arrested in Washington, D.C., in a two-week campaign of civil disobedience. “We believe that this delay will kill the pipeline,” says the Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein. “If it doesn’t, if this pipeline re-emerges after the election, people have signed pledges saying they will put their bodies on the line to stop it.” Klein notes that, “I don’t think we would have won without Occupy Wall Street… This is what it means to change the conversation.”

But guess what? This from a news article on March 12, 2012:

Barack Obama will speed up approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline during his “all of the above” energy road trip, White House officials said.

The president will use a stop in Cushing, Oklahoma on Thursday morning to announce an executive order directing government agencies to speed up permits for the southern US-only segment of the pipeline, running from the town to Port Arthur, Texas…

The article also claims the environmental groups were “angry,” but in searching the internet, I see that there was no angry response from Klein, McKibben, or 350.org to the speech Obama gave in Cushing, Oklahoma. Parts of the pipeline were in construction long before the “protests” in front of the White House last year, anyway. Apparently Obama is more afraid of his puppet-pay masters and the Republican Party than a group of activists who make light demands on him with no consequences attached to Obama’s non-compliance.

There are many other “Inscrutable Icons” of Liberaldom who range from being nearly perfect, in my view (ie, Noam Chomsky), to almost always being an astro-turfer for the establishment (ie, Van Jones)…and I would like my readers to put on their Critical Thinking Caps and research anything that anyone says. That’s not being “divisive,” it’s being responsible.

Must Read Interview with Tom Goldtooth – Climate Change, the Big Corrupt Business?

Admin: By far the best interview out of Durban – If only everyone spoke the truth like Tom Goldtooth in this interview … we would be winning the battle instead of losing.

The Africa Report

By Khadija Sharife in Durban

05 December 2011

Tom Goldtooth, head of the Indigenous Environmental Network talks to The Africa Report about the manipulation of carbon trading data and the double standards assumed by richer countries.

“The carbon certificate, that says one corporation somewhere in the world now controls and owns what in our culture cannot be owned – land, air, the trees”- Tom Goldtooth/Photo/Reuters

Goldtooth expresses his misgivings about agriculture being included as part of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). Arguing that “REDD is going to be the largest legal land grab the world has ever seen”, the indigenous North American warns of colonialism and forced privatisation. And according to him “those with the most money and power can – by remote control, lock up the largest land areas in developing countries”. “They are happiest to work with the most corrupt because it is easiest that way,” he says.

Interview.

The Africa Report: How do indigenous peoples, such as yourself, perceive REDD?

Tom Goldtooth: There are a number of reasons for profiling REDD as a false solution. For indigenous peoples, and as an indigenous organisation that specialises in environmental issues, and which has consulted with many indigenous peoples from the North of the world to the South, from the East to the West, one of the biggest issues is escalation of global warming. In Alaska, melting ice has forced entire villages to relocate, there is coastal land erosion. It is not an easy situation to pull up your entire life – as a community – and move, especially with the other issues involved like settlers with private land rights. So the biggest issue we feel, is putting a stop to climate change by shutting the valve of GHG. It is a matter of life and death.

So we are very concerned that the second round of the Kyoto Protocol is being held back by the powerful governments of the world, including my own government, the US. Any real mitigation is welcome with open arms because we are the people who are most vulnerable and desperate for a solution. But is REDD a real solution? Already, there has been manipulation of the data, displacement of peoples, narratives driven by industry-funded scientists. We are concerned that the same people who caused the problem are now shaping the solution to fit with their agendas – which is making a profit using the same principles that caused the problem. Look at how it is being implemented as well – corporations know that it is easy to exploit the peoples of the South given the state of their governments, the lack of land rights, the violation of human rights, through that piece of paper – the carbon certificate, that says one corporation somewhere in the world now controls and owns what in our culture cannot be owned – land, air, the trees. How can this belong to a one financier when it belongs – and has a right to belong, to the earth?

Give us your perspective on the US government’s position in the climate talks?

In our country, there has been the expansion of fossil fuel development, so even while they are talking a green policy view, they are expanding dirty industry right in our backyards, which is also the homeland of indigenous peoples. Look at the tar sands in Northern Alberta, Canada – this is within the traditional homelands of the Dine’ people – I’m a Southern Dine’. Another group, the Namate, live downstream and with the immediate zone. They are about 22 corporations – many of them state-funded, including Statoil from Norway, and Total from France. The companies involved are not only polluting the atmosphere and the earth, but they’re depleting water, and the same companies are involved with clearing away the boreal forest. It is a viable option now that the price of fuel is going up. Yet Canada, which has not come close to meeting their commitments and is a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, has gone ahead with tar sands. These are the governments that are supposed to provide the solution?

Has there been any co-option of the indigenous leadership through corporatising policies such as Alaska’s ‘native corporations’?

Yes – there are many shams, precisely like the native corporation. At the top, our allies in the UN tell us they are still wondering whether it can even scientifically work or not – offsetting biotic carbon in trees for the carbon mine from the earth and burnt through combustion. In the long term, we pay the price. The indigenous peoples in Alaska are very concerned about the destruction of their leadership through the native corporations that was a mechanism by the US government and politicians to gain title to buy them out with money through forming these corporations, which also locates negotiating tactics within these capitalist structures. We work with the Alaskan organisation Redoil – some have resisted becoming part of it and still call themselves traditional governments, they are not part of the regional corporation structures. Some have sold their shares. Others still participate to try and make a difference. These corporations are lobbied and collaborate with the business-as-usual fossil fuel leaders. It has taken us away from our traditional principles and values which is the opposite of commodifying, privatisation resources that are destructive and spell a death sentence. The native corporation heads – we see them in meetings, wearing designer suits, and talking designer talk. We don’t talk because their agenda is the same lethal talk that has caused a global crisis.

If we look at the way in which the UN is structured, is there legitimacy to this UNFCCC event – should it be delegitimised or engaged with?

It is a two-way street for us. Certainly, the UN is what you say. But look – we tried to use it as a way of lifting up issue of human rights, social and environment justice, and bring that to the framework. We know that the first Kyoto Protocol had many problems including that the emissions target that Annex 1 (developed) nations were signatories too, was the bare minimum. It was very hard for us to accept the compromise. Some of the bigger organisations said, ‘Tom Goldtooth – this is the first step, we can strengthen it later.’ But here, it is ‘later’ and the issue of relevant binding agreements holding industrialised countries accountable has to happen. But as indigenous peoples, we cannot wait for another international agreement to be negotiated – another wasted decade. You have petroleum companies now that are investing millions to offset their pollution by owning the environment. Our people end up as renters. But what happens when the carbon market falls apart or collapses? Who is liable? Who pays the price? We are told to safeguard and trust the process, but the advisors in the UN and World Bank, have even admitted that it is going to be very weak.

There is a lot of risk. We fear that at the end of the day, with agriculture now being included as part of REDD, REDD is going to be the largest legal land grab the world has ever seen. Back to colonialism, back to forced privatisation, especially for forest communities. Those with the most money and power can – by remote control, lock up the largest land areas in developing countries. And they are happiest to work with the most corrupt because it is easiest that way.

Do you have representation through large green political muscles – and if so, how, if not, why not?

“When indigenous peoples started to call into question the false solutions, we were attacked by large environmental organisations, saying that we were not looking at the bigger picture, at the benefit of REDD. We saw a campaign mounted to disrupt us, and to marginalise what we’re saying. But indigenous people no longer are able to stand back and let the ‘good intentioned’ voices speak on our behalf. In 1999, it used to be five or six people, at most, holding the line. Only when REDD became part of the picture, did indigenous peoples begin to stand up and actively resist. Corporations that fund some of the green organisations know how to play the game, and the organisations play back, to stay in business. The corporations know there is money to be made from investing in privatised trees, and that it looks good in paper. If you look at the NGOs, these are European ‘white’ NGOs, and there is tremendous racism and classism woven into that. When an ethnic person speaks up, they get offended they don’t want a solution from the marginalised. They want to devise the solution they feel is best for the whole system – and we have to ask ourselves what the system they actually represent, entails.

Many have proposed ‘eco-socialism’ and other similar models as the solution. Renowned Marxist David Harvey says it may be necessary to separate indigenous-type peoples living in the commons, like the Amazon, from the ‘natural’ commons – what is he advocating and from what standpoint?

“The white-is-right dogma – where they don’t care to understand what the reality is and the culture and beliefs, of indigenous peoples, all over the world, especially the most marginalised, the forest peoples. We are the ones most anxious to protect, our cultures are principles on the belief that we cannot own and abuse the earth for our short-term benefit.”

Youth from all over the world have flown in – yet many lack understanding of the political economy of pollution, both problem and solution. Why is this?

“Look at the role of the WWF-type organisations. These are educators. Al Gore – pushing for the carbon market, he is an educator on the environment and climate. They are slumming it out in Durban, it is fashionable for a young white kid from the US or UK to be concerned about a global poverty issue, not the reality in their own backyards, but somewhere where they can be special, become heroes. We challenged the big organisations with environmental racism – the top ten movements, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, to bring our voices to the board, to the way in these campaigns are shaped. They resisted us. Even when they do appoint a person of colour, it is usually from within the mentality of surburbia, so that they are never questioned or taken out of the comfort zone where ‘white is right.’ And these organisations and their narratives are so popular – you have young kids coming, getting their hands dirty. They leave, feeling vindicated, slumming around – as if they have done their share. But this is our life, and that parachuting in and out of communities, the ruckus society, is destructive and presents the distorted reality. We have challenged, and become very unpopular, for raising the issue of classism which is source of the problem and requires an economic analysis if the environmental and climate narrative is to be truthful…. Look at 350.org – we had to challenge them to bring us to stand with them on the pipeline issue. Bill McKibben, the ivory tower white academic, didn’t even want to take the time to bring people of colour to the organising. We managed a negotiation that allowed for both groups to unite.

Concerning celebrated activist voices like Naomi Klein – they appear to come from a specific formula – What are your thoughts?

“Well, it is always the case with the media that ‘white is right’ or that global issues affecting people of color on the frontline should be represented by the type of voices that don’t engage, in a threatening way, the realities of capitalism. There are also many fashionable voices that become part of the establishment in the sense that while they do espouse the truth, it is not pose a threat for change, for ending the system, because someone has adopted a cause that they were not born into. The communities that live in the cancer hotspots, in the immediate environment, their voices are too real, too threatening. Meanwhile, infiltration continues – how the corporations lend their money to the media – how the media shapes the tones and get the right voices to provide just the right amount of dissent. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg donated millions to the Occupy Wall Street. We need a systems change, not an isolated trendy environmental change. The organisations that speak need to have a real constituency – they need to be accountable to the people they represent. There is no time for egos and games anymore.

As Navaho people, as Dakota people, we are struggling to understand how the problem that created the problem becomes the solution? In our language, we have no translation of ownership for the air – or carbon. One of my elders told me, if you ever have a hard time translating something into your language, beware that it may lack the truth.

http://www.theafricareport.com/index.php/news-analysis/climate-change-the-big-corrupt-business-50176874.html

Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement | Part I

Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement

Part one of an eight part series.

Published September 15, 2011by Political Context: http://bit.ly/oxDG33 and Canadians for Action on Climate Change: http://bit.ly/nyA0kB

by Cory Morningstar

Only Death Will Save Us

“Only death will save us. Mediocrity begets mediocrity. It is tragic that the conditioning of civil society is so deep – that most everything relevant beating them on the head is received as nothing more than a cool breeze.” — Harold One Feather

What are the underlying motivations and loyalties of the social and political forces involved in the Tar Sands Action campaign, and, indeed, the bourgeois environmental movement as a whole? In our inability to avert an oncoming ecological collapse, coupled with what appears to be an insurmountable climate genocide, we must understand how the forces we seek to resist constantly absorb opposition, through compromised NGOs and other means. Never underestimate the strategies and mechanisms of the global elites for retaining their power, control, and domination of Earth and her inhabitants.

Cognitive dissonance compromises environmental activism. We must open our eyes, even if the ugliness is difficult to accept. Many seemingly credible activists who are paid to “lead” environmental organizations cannot admit to themselves that they have caved into the very systems they purport to oppose; there is no acceptable excuse for such lack of judgement and foresight – for if it is ignorance, it is willful. It is no longer singular individuals who create and shape our systems. Instead, the plutocrats construct and mould the systems and sustain illusory movements. As the majority of environmentalists and citizens who support such movements are not fully conscious of the role they play in propping up the industrial machine, this article attempts to inspire the courage to break free, re-organize, and move forward.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” — Elwyn Brooks White

Remix version 2011:

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to enjoy the world and a desire to tear down the systemic structure that is destroying the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

Prologue — Lambs to the Slaughter

“As with any pathologically-based manifestation, hegemonic pacifism in advanced capitalist contexts proves itself supremely resistant – indeed, virtually impervious – to mere logic and moral suasion.” — Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology, 1984

Holding hands, singing songs, and forming circles has little effect beyond making individuals feel good about themselves. Of course, this is the main objective of the mainstream NGO: to appeal to one of our ugliest human traits – that of individualism, which our toxic culture celebrates. Such niceties also serve as fine fodder for media and for rounding up donations.

To have falsely promoted what was at best an educational campaign (which did not speak to the root causes of climate change) as “civil disobedience” was disingenuous, if not fraudulent. Yet, the NGOs continue to promote their publicity stunt under this guise. And it worked. Branding agencies and marketing executives will take note of this latest “success.” In truth, this (in)action merely succeeded in having seduced the public into a false belief that this system, into which violence is inherently built, can be overcome with moral suasion. At the eleventh hour, campaigning to build upon such a notion is not only incredibly deceiving – it is incredibly dangerous.

Organizations both within and outside of the nonprofit-industrial complex continue to unabashedly further the idea that passiveness, obedience and submissiveness to the corporatized state – which has made the conscious decision to allow billions to suffer and die – is the only moral choice. They insist that we must dismiss reality (that the Earth and her inhabitants are being killed all around us) while they dismiss the fact that moral suasion cannot stop this. They insist that we embrace their delusion at any cost. Tragically, such a suicidal position only serves to further weaken our own position as it strengthens the position of the corporate state tenfold. Like lambs, we are being led to the slaughter with stops all along the way for refreshments and photo ops. It’s the final step in the art of annihilation that the NGOs have adherently become so skilled at. The puppet masters are shaking in their boots, not with fear but with derisive laughter.

Those who know better, who choose to lend legitimacy to such organizations by way of supporting or promoting such grand spectacles of illusion, are in fact biting their own foot. Some of the statements heard echoing off the walls of delusion are “But where would we go?” and “Yes, I know, I agree, but it’s better than nothing.” Yet subduing and disempowering citizens is not better than nothing. And silence is complicity.

A “better than nothing” approach for a campaign such as Tar Sands Action is deeply flawed. By supporting / promoting compromised organizations and/or leaders of such compromised organizations, one provides a tract of general legitimacy for those who continue to prop up the malignant, capitalistic system and guarantee planetary demise while undermining the grassroots. Right or wrong, when we vocalize support or otherwise endorse such sanitized “actions” and the players behind them, we are seen as sanctioning them on the whole, and it makes walking the fine line of organizing an effective movement much more difficult.

Directing thousands of well-intentioned citizens to follow a false god with the last name of McKibben – whose organization (350.org/1Sky) is funded, overseen and partnered with the planet’s most powerful corporations and families – only ensures that society will be led to believe in the false illusion of “green capitalism” – what the corporate enviros have termed “climate wealth.” In McKibben’s own words: “Greed Has Helped Destroy the Planet – Maybe Now It Can Help Save It.” A vision based on rejecting ethics while further nurturing one of the worst human traits is one that any sane person working towards a just world must automatically reject. A vision based on the very same system that has now brought us to the precipice is a fool’s game, a deadly game that flies in the face of logic.

Many of the corporate greens can demonstrate strong points in regard to many issues – this is of little surprise as it is imperative for them to retain a level of credibility. Furthermore, they have millions of dollars available for specialized reports, which makes it easy. Of course, rarely will they campaign on such reports when they are released (quietly in most cases) to the public. We have to accept the fact that much of the environmental movement is now funded primarily with Rockefeller Family money (McKibben himself now states this proudly after a somewhat embarrassing incident on Climate Challenge TV) and corporate funnelled foundation money, which defines (dilutes) success in increments that, in the grand scheme of things, mean little. We can’t tolerate another 6,000 mW of coal active in FL, for example, but that is a victory to the Beyond Coal campaign because they managed to stop another 13K mW. In the next cycle, industry will again ask for 20K mW, and will get 5-8k mW. And that will be labeled another victory. At which point are these victories pyrrhic?

Eyes Wide Shut – Death by Denial

April 2011 Statement by the Indigenous Women of the Movement:

We felt that this was not an issue of semantics, that this was deliberately being taught to our peoples, our youth and our communities by the interests of government and corporations, who we began finding out more and more, were actually helping to fund well-paid activists who ran well-funded workshops, training and retreats on “non-violence” and “civil disobedience.” Some of this was traced back to funding which came from “ethical oil” strategies, and that’s when we started realizing the sickening accuracy of our premonitions…. We believe in honouring the dreams of women, in freeing ourselves from judgement and bias, decolonizing our minds and our hearts. We believe in being action-oriented, not paper-oriented. We don’t need Canada’s approval or consent, and we don’t need government or corporate funding. We have always had what we will always need: the Kaianerenkowa, the Medicine Wheel, our teachings, our clan systems, our languages, our ceremonies…. We can empower ourselves, we don’t need to wait for an NGO or a suit to tell us how to feel empowered. We aren’t the ones who need “non violence training”; the ones who need to stop using violence are the ones in power: police, government and corporations.

In the article “A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?” social justice activist and journalist Macdonald Stainsby writes: “Many other foundations – most but not all American – now play the same game of social manipulation in the environmental field. Foundations such as Rockefeller Brothers, Ford and Hewlett have not only entered into the fray in a major way, in the case of the tar sands campaigns, they have collaborated with the Pew to take social manipulation to a new level.”

What the manipulated public does not understand, is the fact that, while these environmental groups have had years to unite behind a sane, comprehensive, unified energy policy that would have included opposition to tar sands and oil shale, and other false solutions, they have done nothing to this effect.

The money powers (who fund our “movement”) have decided that clean, zero-carbon, everlasting energy will not take over from fossil fuel energy or even increase its market share (see International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2010). The money powers do this consciously, in the face of evidence that the failure to make such a transition spells the end of the world. The insane logic behind such policy is that, as fossil fuel resources run out, corporations will increase profits. The devastating consequences for the biosphere are ignored.

We are hence warned once again that the campaigns dominating our movement are nothing more than impromptu, “whatever is popular at the moment,” laissez-faire, feel-good public relations escapades. This is not a movement that has any chance of staving off guaranteed climate genocide on top of multiple global crises, all happening simultaneously.

Corporate environmentalism is merely a movement designed to make us feel good today – much like capitalism – while killing us slowly.

From climate change, to the BP oil spill, then onto the tar sands bandwagon, these symbolic campaigns are orchestrated and echoed throughout the faux environmental movement.

Is the Left Suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?

 

Hooray for Change!

“Somehow we need to get back the President we thought we elected in 2008. We are just now finishing up the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century. We won’t attack the President. We will only hold him to the standard he set in 2008. We have been arrested for two weeks straight, but without bitterness or hate. Only joy and resolve.” — Bill McKibben

To believe Obama or the state will be moved by moral suasion as bombs are dropped on occupied countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya while covert U.S. wars are underway in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia – murdering untold numbers of men, women and children – all in the name of resource exploitation (under the egregious auspices of democracy and liberation) is nothing more than delusion bordering on insanity.

Let’s break this down.

“Somehow we need to get back the President we thought we elected in 2008.”

First of all, the president that the people “thought” they elected in 2008 has proven himself (beyond a doubt) a mere voicebox for the plutocracy and a bona fide war criminal.

“We are just now finishing up the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century.”

Secondly, the Tar Sands Action must not be considered true civil disobedience when it was sanctioned by the state, while demonstrating to the state absolute compliance. It is only a massive withdrawal of compliance that actually has any possibility of even slight effect. Civil disobedience draws its strength from open confrontation and noncooperation – not from evasion or subterfuge. History has proven this time and time again. Demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of citizens have failed in a world of corporate-dominated government. Case in point would be the protests against the illegal invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and Britain. This was the largest global civil disobedience in our history. Citizens numbered in the millions. Yet the occupation continues to this day. As citizens, we can only retain as much power as we refuse to relinquish to the state. If one insists on calling the Tar Sands Action in Washington, D.C. a true civil disobedience, it is a sad reflection on what the meaning and intent of true civil disobedience has been reduced to.

Third, to call 1253 trained protesters (with the exception of the first day, all who were arrested over the course of the two weeks were released within an hour or two – approximately 90 people per day including the elite “leaders” and staff of a slew of mainstream NGOs) “the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century” is delusional. There have been protests against globalization in the U.S. in which citizens numbered in the thousands.

“We won’t attack the President. We will only hold him to the standard he set in 2008.”

Fourth point – citizens are extremely fortunate to have John Pilger and others who will attack the president openly, as the public needs and deserves to hear the truth. Why would any rational person hold Obama to a fantasy standard, when we know, based on his actions to date and our knowledge of corporate dominance, that Obama will never meet any standard that could stop the ongoing ecocide?

“We have been arrested for two weeks straight, but without bitterness or hate. Only joy and resolve.”

Fifth point – We should be bitter, pissed off, furious and sickened that our planet is being killed and that our children are going to not live long enough to reach old age. The myth that emotions such as bitterness, hate and anger are destructive prevents us from trusting our own intuition based on our life experiences. As we stand on the precipice, bitterness, hate and anger are all normal feelings upon coming to the full realization that the corporate state has chosen economic growth over life itself. Those who protect it are deserving of our bitterness and hatred. And if you’re not angry that our planet is being raped before our eyes – then perhaps you have forgotten what love is.

“In the run-up to the UN climate change conference in December 09, an advertising industry initiative, ‘Hopenhagen,’ was supported by Coca-Cola, DuPont and BMW, among others. Clearly, some organisations do not grasp the concept of irony. Nevertheless, more than six million people from around the world signed up. Hamilton wonders when such well-meaning individuals will begin to think ‘I have been doing the right thing for years, but the news about global warming just keeps getting worse.’ In other words, when will the dreadful reality hit home?

 

“…Clinging to hopefulness becomes a means of forestalling the truth. Sooner or later we must respond, and that means allowing ourselves to enter a phase of desolation and hopelessness, in short to grieve.

 

“…Painful though it is to do so, we come to terms with grief and loss. We mourn, we feel periods of shock and anger; slowly, we adjust. Adjustments may be unhealthy – denial, as we have seen, or apathy or nihilism. A healthy adjustment involves accepting the loss, making it part of who we are and what we will become.” — Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change

Of course McKibben (and his disciples, whom he apparently believes he speaks for) have no bitterness or hate, only joy and resolve as their greatest sacrifice (by only a handful) was 48 hours in jail while the rest paid a hundred bucks and were home in time to watch themselves on the 4 o’clock news. One can appreciate the good intentions of citizens who are no doubt desperate to somehow make a difference. Yet at the same time it must be acknowledged that we are becoming completely out of touch with reality if we choose to lend the words “sacrifice” and “courage” to educational outreach media blitz campaigns.

One must wonder if McKibben would feel such “hope” for the president if his family was murdered in one of the occupied countries Obama continues to pummel with bombs. One must wonder if McKibben would be such a kind and kindred spirit to Obama if he was on the other end of the stick of industrialized capitalism – working in a mine developing lung cancer in order to feed his children one meal a day. If the Left is buying into this charade – and it appears they are – we must the conclude that the emasculated Left is indeed suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. (Source: Wikipedia)

Video: Obama celebrates Earth Day. (Running time: 0:44)

The Choice

“In concrete terms, this means … civil disobedience; and life and death confrontations with the powers that be. Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle.” — Cornel West, Dr. King Weeps From His Grave, New York Times, 26 August 2011

It’s time we remove our comfortable cocoons of self-righteousness and moral superiority and fully recognize / acknowledge that we are all participating in a culture where violence is now inherently built into the system. Thus we all have blood on our hands and there can be no denying this fact.

The movement must choose for what type of future we wish to fight. A future of the people, by the people, for the people? Or a future of the corporations (i.e. corporations via foundations), by the corporations, for the corporations (i.e., commodification of the last remaining elements of nature; continued violence until the remaining elements of nature are destroyed, or mass extinction by way of climate genocide a.k.a. green capitalism)?

We must choose one. We cannot have both.

Choosing the first provides a future for all life our Earth graciously sustains. It will not be given. It must be taken.

Further, the future we resolve to claim must be articulated.

Meanwhile in the real world of activism (being eclipsed by the state-sanctioned Tar Sands Action and its negotiated arrests), more Amazon Rainforest activists receive death threats as assassinations escalate. Closer to home, in Messina, New York, on 11 August 2011, Larry Thompson, a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) man was arrested. Thompson, “sick of waiting for a General Motors Superfund site cleanup that will never happen,” took a backhoe to a toxic landfill site. “Thompson drove onto the notoriously polluted mound, scooped up contaminated soil and loaded it into railroad cars that were waiting to cart away debris from the GM building that is being torn down in the wake of bankruptcy proceedings…. Larry was given this order by the Clan Mother. She directed him to do this. So he had to do it. No matter what, she is the supreme law of the land.” Of course, the criminals that poisoned the land (i.e. those responsible for the violence) continue to walk free.

A Very Civil Civil Disobedience

“I believe it’s a crime for anyone being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself.” — Malcolm X

“When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions.” — Emma Goldman

20 August 2011: The article “A Very Civil Civil Disobedience” said it all. Anything other than submissive obedience to the police state is not to be considered “civil.” The word “civil” is loaded. How “civilized” is a society whose very existence is dependent upon the violent and relentless assault on the planet, while simultaneously exploiting the struggling classes?

Organizing citizens to get themselves peacefully arrested in order to “appeal to the better nature of Obama” are based on a delusional strategy. Appeals to Obama and other members of the ruling class serve to distract us from the unwillingness of states to change their practices without being forced to do so. Mainstream environmentalists’ calls for “rolling sit-ins” (10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. daily) and other passive tactics would be considered by many to be an insult to activists throughout the world who have fought against state and police repression with their very lives.

Who knew you would have to RSVP to the “revolution,” agree to the conditions, be trained by God himself, and that a dress code would be in effect? On 28 August 2011, a participant to the Tar Sands Action sent out a mass email to her lists. Within the communiqué she states, “The action was relatively simple, to be honest, and I don’t feel super brave for ‘risking arrest’ when it was a simple procedure and a $100 fine. (A ‘post and forfeit’ thing, similar to a traffic violation, not a misdemeanor or anything that would be likely to taint a record). It was fun to ride in the paddy wagon with 15 other awesome activists, kinda like a sauna. The cops were nice to us and some of us helped educate them on why we were there. (The organizers are encouraging everyone to cooperate and pay the fine, to seem dignified in the media, and to keep the story on the pipeline rather than on ‘us vs. them’ with the parks police. Yet they did say that, if we’re not listened to here, perhaps for a future action the strategy may be different.)”

And although the McKibben show pumps out headlines loaded with words such as “terrified”, “scared out of my mind”, “risk arrest”, and on and on, Darryl Hannah (the ultimate triumph for any campaign in today’s celebrity-obsessed culture) topped them all off, proclaiming “Sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice your freedom for a greater freedom.”?These words/descriptions are so over-the-top (to be kind), they are ludicrous. Let’s be honest – most of us cannot even begin to comprehend what real sacrifice means. Here is another much more honest commentary posted on September 1, 2011:

“Getting arrested in the Tar Sands Action was fun and it felt like the right and responsible thing to do. The scariest part of it was navigating the D.C. Metro. No, that’s not exactly true. It was the anticipation of navigating the D.C. Metro that terrified me, not the actual navigation. … The female officer took my ID but stuffed my money back in my bra. Then they took my mug shot, handed me my ID and squeezed me into the paddy wagon with Kidder. It was very hot and close in there but we joked around with the cute police officers, told stories and had a pretty good time…. I was released at 12:46 p.m.” (The author notes she was arrested at 11:33 a.m.)

From the Tar Sands Action website:

Question: Does this demonstration have a permit, or are we by attending breaking a regulation?

Answer: As long as you are on the sidewalk in front of the White House and keep moving you aren’t breaking any regulations. The action organizers have applied for permits to be on the sidewalk in front of the White House for the entirety of the action.

Question: What should we do if there are opponents trying to disrupt the action or people who start to act outside of the agreed Action Guidelines?

Answer: Dealing with inappropriate escalation (or confrontation from our opponents) is going to be a main duty of the support team that will be on site for every action. They’ll be ready to talk with folks who seem to be getting out of hand and to help direct energy to the more strategic, productive parts of the action.

Did Rosa Parks obtain a permit from the state before she decided she would sit at the front of the bus? Why do citizens choose to submit to an authority who that tells us / convinces us that we must seek approval to stand on a public sidewalk, a sidewalk that has been paid for by the people themselves?

State Sanctioned “Civil Disobedience” & Propaganda Wars

20 August 2011: The article “Tar-sands protesters in jail longer than expected” states:

In negotiations with the police prior to the action that began on Saturday, the police were very clear that what would happen after people were arrested was the vast majority would get what’s called “post and forfeit,” where you put up $100, get released from jail after several hours, and you don’t have to come back again. It’s basically like a traffic ticket.

The article continues:

But this is not what they did. Instead, after arresting the first day’s 70 people, they decided to hold most of them, all those not from within a 25-mile radius of Washington, D.C., in jail until a Monday afternoon arraignment. This works out to 48 or more hours in jail before being released. [Emphasis added]

We can sense that the author is appalled the police did not honor their pre-arranged deal. He appears to be outraged that middle class citizens were inconvenienced for 48 hours or more. The author continues that another “action” earlier this year ran into a similar situation where “despite many weeks of communication between the protest organizers and various state, county and local government officials, agreements to camp overnight were revoked.” Such comments reveal how state-sanctioned “civil disobedience” has become normalized. But no worries, the author plans to hope and pray that the tar sands “action” will “rise to the occasion” – whatever that means in real life.

In a true act of civil disobedience, one adopts a position of absolute non-cooperation with the state, the perpetrator of both violence and oppression. No prior negotiations. No obedience.

Adding further Orwellian bizarreness, it was announced in a media advisory issued 1st September 2011, by the Indigenous Environmental Network what would occur on the following day: “Native Americans and First Nations to be arrested at White House protesting TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline.”

Recognizing that this protest involved several hundred well-intentioned individuals looking for direction and a way to make a difference, the Washington, D.C. “civil disobedience” cannot truly be considered disobedient when it has been organized with the very state they are supposedly resisting. Prior to the action, the organizers fully engaged / conversed with police in order to find out exactly what risk they would be susceptible to in undertaking such a protest in Washington, D.C. en masse. We see this over and over again. It is only once it is established that the “approved” action will be most benevolent with trivial consequences (no real risk) that the privileged classes then build upon such campaigns. The ruling class does not fear such campaigns in the least.

Yes … the state will undoubtedly be so moved by our arguments and our good behaviour that it will voluntarily, someday soon, overthrow itself and join us in a circle of sing-songs.

States only fear acts of civil disobedience and direct actions when they threaten to disrupt the system through a demonstration of overwhelming strength. They do not respond to appeals to morality or guilt. When a protest is controlled, sanctioned and supported by the state, the action will not be feared, because the state will never fear what it can control. Planting seeds of love is a beautiful thing, yet on their own, in the absence of struggle and true sacrifice, such seeds of love have never won any revolutions.

Tar Sands Action Civil Obedience Campaign

Naomi Klein under state sanctioned arrest.

Naomi Klein should be mortified at promoting and participating in such a staged event – as she knows better. In her book “No Logo: Taking Aim at Brand Bullies” (2000), Klein remarks: “Since the days when Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies infused self-conscious absurdity to their ‘happenings,’ political protest had lapsed into a ritualized affair, following a fairly unimaginative grid of repetitive chants and scripted police confrontation.”

Nine Nobel Peace Laureates including “Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama” have written to President Obama, urging him to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. A media release states that “the opposition to the pipeline has surged in recent weeks as more than 1,250 people were arrested in 14 days of sit-ins at the White House – perhaps the largest wave of civil disobedience ever for an environmental cause in the U.S…. In asking you to make this decision we recognize the thousands of Americans who risked arrest to protest in front of the White House between August 20th and September 3rd. These brave individuals have spoken movingly about experiencing the power of nonviolence in that time.”

And there is the language, the sound bites, highlighted yet again to further pacify our public as our multiple crises escalate: references to religion and the “power of non-violence” when speaking to civil disobedience and arrests. McKibben and friends had to have recognized and taken solace in the fact that the public is severely naïve to have even attempted to pass off the state-sanctioned orchestrated event as true civil disobedience.

What kind of civil disobedience is it where the police themselves carefully fold up protesters’ banners (with weapons completely exposed) and collect the protest signs prior to the arrests? It is telling that the “Park Police” were placed in charge of the daily 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. rolling sit-ins. It appears that the only exception was the initial week-end, commencing Saturday, August 20th, the first day of arrests (which included McKibben) when the D.C. police arrested the protesters and held the non-resident arrestees until Monday.

It also appears that no one other than McKibben and participants from his group ever went to jail. (A media bonanza that legitimized McKibben). All other trained arrestees for the remaining 2 weeks were police-escorted (motorcycle escorts with sirens wailing) to the Anacostia station of the Park Police where they simply paid a $100 fine. During training, the organizers instructed the participants to pay the fine rather than opt to go to jail – stating that otherwise, the police would get angry and treat subsequent arrestees less courteously. The multiple references comparing this “civil disobedience” to the sacrifice and bravery demonstrated during the civil rights movement, as well as references to Martin Luther King throughout this campaign, are abominable. In reality, in direct contrast to civil disobedience, this “action” must be considered an act of passive civil obedience.

How is it that North America has become so completely removed from reality? How is it that such weak and cowardly leadership – so out of touch with what is happening all over the world – can be considered noble, rather than what it really is – an embarrassment?

The photos below from the Tar Sands Actions Flickr account tell a story far more revealing than anything anyone can attempt to reveal in a piece of writing. The intention was to include photos of people smiling and laughing when placed under arrest. Unfortunately it is not possible, simply because there are too many that fall under this description. In fact, this action may be the happiest and most enjoyable “civil disobedience” to have ever been presented to the public. Let’s have a look:

Organized! Police set up a convenient processing station on the site.

Protesters were trained to march up to the front of the fence. The protesters lined up and were then adjusted by the organizers. Citizens were permitted to walk into the front area, however, they were not permitted to remain in this area as it was reserved for tourists and media to take photographs. The police gave three warnings for the protesters to leave or be arrested. Citizens who did not wish to be arrested left the area. It was at this point the police assisted in carefully gathering up the signs and banners and placed barricades at all sides of the arrestees (the back is a fence). Processing was done on site (see above). Then the arrestees were driven for approximately ten minutes to the Anacostia station of the Park Police where they finalized paperwork, paid a $100 fine and were released (with the exception of August 20th). The yellow tape reads ‘Police Scene – Do Not Cross’.

Confronting the state.

A policeman taking photos.

Policeman folds banner with much care.The officer, apparently under extreme duress and fear, has forgotten he has a gun on his side belt in reach of the “resistance.”

A 350 supporter is arrested by the Park Police. The first people arrested, including McKibben, were turned over to the D.C. police who unexpectedly kept them 48 hours (as this is not what the organizers had negotiated in advance). Following this initial arrest it was then managed by the Park Police who were apparently very nice. They handcuffed and took the trained protesters to a tent where they were frisked. The arrestees were then brought inside the tent where their photo was taken. They were then given a number and placed on a bus or wagon. (The buses were air conditioned and the wagons were hot). Arrestees were then police escorted to a station where the Park Police removed the plastic zip handcuffs, checked ID once more, took the money, and then sent the released protestors off towards the Metro. We can only hope the approx. $130,000 raised by the police, goes to the park to assist with the trees dying from polluting ozone. We can only assume the police escort was necessary in order to prevent any real protesters from trying to beat some sense into them.

Image of Park Police.

Everyone is in great spirits including the Park Police.

Compare the Tar Sands Action to civil disobedience in other countries who are being brutally oppressed and exploited by the violent system we participate in on a daily basis. Apathy in the face of injustice is also a form of violence.

Photo above: An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state police who were expelling the woman and some 200 other members of the Landless Movement from a privately-owned tract of land on the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, March 11, 2008. The landless peasants tried in vain to resist the eviction with bows and arrows against police using tear gas and trained dogs, and were evicted from the land. (REUTERS/Luiz Vasconcelos-A Critica/AE)

Another real act of confronting and resisting the state is the G2O protests.

 

Two leaders of civil disobedience in North America: Betty Krawczyk and the late Pacheedaht warrior Harriet Nahanee/Tsibeotl (above).

Indoctrination

The Tar Sands Action organization, initiated and led by 350/1 Sky spokesperson Bill McKibben, actually has no plan in place for when the Keystone pipeline is approved by Obama. What escalating tactics will be pursued? What does the state have to fear?

Intoxicated by the idea that Obama can be won over with moral persuasion and reject a pipeline which promises billions in projected profits, and which will enable his crumbling empire to control North America’s oil this action is merely an educational campaign to draw attention to the appalling tar sands. And this is where the problem lies. Citizens are being led to believe that pre-negotiated civil disobedience – one that assures no sacrifice or risk will be endured by citizens as long as they abide by the rules of the state – can stop the violence being waged upon our shared Earth. Not so. We know it will not. It never has, and never will. (See Pacifism and Pathology, by Ward Churchill, 2007 Version.)

We cling to our deep belief of business-as-usual. The inertia makes this easy. The gradual systemic violence upon us is a gentle, slow kill. This month feels no different than last month, therefore everything must be okay. Our intense desire for non-disruption in a life we perceive as non-violent traps us into a false belief system.