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To: Leslie Cagan

Hi Leslie,
It's silly to write: "We're not going to take this lying down."
Oh yea? What are we going to do about it, chant at buildings? That'll show'm!
Monty Python's Life of Brian, anyone?

More important: What's so great about the Paris Climate Accord, anyway? You don't say anything of substance about it in your email.

Hopefully, you could send out an email saying WHY the U.S. should not pull out of it, and also what a REAL Climate Accord would look like.
But the Democrats are not into a real agreement, with enforcement, any more than the Republicans. It's all a shell game, ever since Bill Clinton dispatched Al Gore to Kyoto to SCUTTLE the mediocre treaty in the 90s and install a market-driven (i.e. capitalist) approach to commoditizing the environment.

And, what do you mean when you write that we will "call on Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Stringer to take the immediate and bold action we need to fight the climate crisis." Such as what immediate and bold action? Give me a break. Here are some relevant thoughts I've written on the subject:

THE CLINTON-GORE-KYOTO CONNECTION

Once Upon a Time, Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet. He also laid claim, along with the rest of the Clinton administration, to having “reinvented government.” A few years ago he re-invented himself as a modern-day Paul Revere galloping across the country on his white horse crying, “To arms, to arms, the Climate is Changing.” Yet back in the 1990s while the rest of the world was negotiating a mandatory reduction in industrial emissions that were punching holes in the Ozone layer, it was none other than Al Gore, Vice President of the United States, who traveled to Kyoto, Japan to take those negotiations hostage and prevent a ban on targeted emissions.4

Gore commandeered the Kyoto conference. The U.S. government, he said, would not sign the Accord – as limited as it was – if it imposed emissions reductions on industrial countries. Instead, he demanded that the rest of the world adopt his proposal that would allow industrial nations like the U.S. to continue polluting by establishing an international trade in carbon pollution credits. Gore’s “solution” – like Obama’s – was to turn pollution into a commodity and buy and sell it in the form of “pollution rights”. The free market trade in “pollution credits” would simply shift around pollution and spread it out more evenly without reducing the total amount of ozone-depleting greenhouse gases. It would allow the United States and other industrial countries to continue polluting the rest of the world.

In proposing (and imposing) that mechanism, Gore and Clinton were enacting a policy – trade in pollution credits – that had first been put into effect in a more limited way by President George H.W. Bush under the 1990 extension to the Nixon administration’s “Clean Air Act.”5 The mechanisms were developed by the World Bank (under Lawrence Summers’ tutelage) and International Monetary Fund, and this quintessential capitalist policy was actually endorsed by several well-known environmental groups.   

The global trade in industrial waste emissions credits, as I wrote above, were a new kind of commodity and would require new regulations and agencies to administer their authorization and trade. Clinton and Gore constructed an elaborate set of structures such as the World Trade Organization, and treaties such as NAFTA, GATT, and the FTAA to do just that. Under the new trade bureaucracy, countries would not be allowed to exempt themselves from trade – not even from imports of toxic wastes or trade in pollution credits – regardless of environmental or social justice considerations. The entire edifice institutionalized the complex mechanisms designed to save capitalism from the demands of the growing grassroots environmental and global justice movements.

In his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance – much praised (foolishly but to be expected, in my estimation) by the large environmental not-for-profit corporations vested in the current economic system – Al Gore laid out the ideological basis for his flawed pro-capitalist solution to environmental destruction and climate change: Rely on voluntary self-regulation by corporations and the governments they control. Forget that industrial corporations (including enormous slaughterhouses of factory-farmed animals) have been the primary source of toxic pollution. To remain competitive within the existing system and to maximize profits, corporations cannot voluntarily end pollution if it is cheaper for them to pollute. That is a fundamental capitalist dynamic. It propels corporations to basically use the earth as their ashtray in reckless disregard of the consequences to human and planetary health. Governmental action is required to regulate pollution and even the playing field for all.

Gore ignored that reality and built the rationale for his framework upon the fiction that corporations could and would on their own stop their emissions of greenhouse gases and pollution, and play the necessary role in cleaning up the environment.6 Despite the literally world-shaking consequences of global climate change that Gore graphically documents in his film “An Inconvenient Truth,” he refuses to challenge or even regulate the system that has driven the planet to the brink of destruction.

A number of key environmental organizations accepted Gore’s delusion that corporations, working with government and consumers, would or could save the environment while maintaining the same set of economic relationships and expansion of capitalist trade. Seven of the largest environmental groups – National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, and Defenders of Wildlife – joined the charade; they came out in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),7 trouncing opposition by smaller, more radical grassroots ecology groups and trade unions. At a time when a united environmental movement could have made a huge difference, these organizations provided Gore and Clinton with carte blanche for pursuing neoliberal policies that have so devastated the planet.

Gore and the pro-NAFTA environmental groups created a partnership that established “free market” trade in pollution credits, basically asking corporations to deliver the world from the ravages that they themselves had created. Utter nonsense, but its ideological underpinnings were based on an outrageous document justifying the dumping of toxic wastes in poor countries. That document was written by an economist and policy-maker working at the World Bank at the time: Lawrence Summers.

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4 Mitchel Cohen, Listen Gore: Some Inconvenient Truths About the Poltics of Environmental Crisis, Red Balloon pamphlets, 2007.

5 The market approach to pollution credits was proposed by Havard Prof. Robert Stavins, who was part of George H.W. Bush’s transition team and who collaborated in this approach with the Environmental Defense Fund. Also, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was an early proponent of tradable permits as an alternative to pollution regulation.

6 Brian Tokar, Earth For Sale: Reclaiming Ecology in the Age of Corporate Greenwash, South End Press, Boston MA: 1997. p. 66, quoting from Gore, Earth in the Balance, p. 337, 297. For a more complete analysis of Gore’s book, see Brian Tokar, “An Environmental Presidency,” Z Magazine, April 1993, pp. 23-28; and “Environmental Doublespeak,” The Ecologist, vol. 23, no. 4, July/August 1993, pp. 157-58.

7 Brian Tokar, ibid.

For more on this, please click HERE.

ALSO:

Barack Obama, like Al Gore and other Democrats supposedly concerned with saving the environment, propose false solutions for what they call the “energy crisis” we’re facing. They want to:
    1) Build new nuclear power plants and centralized (so that they could meter it) “sustainable energy” projects;
    2) Utilize coal gassification, liquification technologies (“clean” coal), and carbon sequestration;
    3) Expand the use of agro-fuels, which in the U.S. means ethanol from genetically engineered corn;
    4) Block emission agreements unless they are based on free-market trade in pollution credits (carbon-trading);
    5) Promote “green” capitalism and consumption;

    6) Extract dirty oil from tar sands and natural gas by hydro-fracturing, at the expense of the water supply and the likely generation of earthquakes;
    7) engage in endless wars for oil and empire (using “fighting terrorism“ as a pretext).

Together, these projects are built upon false “solutions” for saving the environment by the same forces that are destroying it. They have brought complex life on the planet to the point of no return. We can and must stop them.

Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth,“ raises the issue of global warming in a way that scares the bejeezus out of viewers, as it should since the consequences of global climate change are truly earth-shaking. The former Vice-President does a good job of presenting the graphic evidence, along with exquisite and terrifying pictures that document the melting of the polar ice caps and the effects on other species, new diseases and rising ocean levels.

But, typically, the solutions Gore offers are standard Democratic Party fare. You’d never know by watching this film that Gore and Clinton ran this country for 8 years and that their policies – as much as those of the Bush regime ­ helped pave the way for the crisis we face today.

Gore never critiques the system causing the global ecological crisis that may well lead to the endgame for all higher life on this planet. At one point in the film, he even mourns the negative impact of global warming on the U.S.’s deteriorating oil pipelines. Oh, the horror! What is needed, says Gore and the Democrats, are technological fixes that would enable us to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and tweak existing consumption patterns.

Even there, Gore equivocates. He and Clinton did nothing to improve fuel efficiency in the U.S. – a “solution” Gore proposes in the movie without any hint that he’d once actually been in a position to do something about it. Gore asks us who can best manage the relatively minor solutions he recommends, the Democrats or Republicans. For Gore, it’s sort of “trust US, not THEM, because they are liars and we’re not.“

Well, should we trust him? 

Neither Al Gore – as point man for the Clinton administration on environmental issues – nor Clinton-Gore’s Energy Secretary Bill Richardson (with major ties to Occidental Petroleum), nor the Democratic Party in general offered anything more than putting a tiny BandAid on the earth’s gaping wounds, which they themselves helped to gash open.

Clearly, the vast destruction of the global ecology is a consequence not just of poor governmental policies but of the capitalist system’s fundamental drive towards Growth and what passes for Development – Grow or Die. Environmental activists won’t find in Gore the kind of systemic analysis that is needed to stop global warming. Instead, we need to look elsewhere for that sort of deep systemic critique.

(for more of this essay, "Listen Gore" click HERE)


Mitchel


From: Leslie Cagan via ActionNetwork.org


At 3 pm today Donald Trump is expected to make his announcement about whether he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. The consequences of the U.S. pulling out will be devastating and a serious blow to any progress in the global fight to stem climate change.

Join us in a resounding outcry!
We're not going to take this lying down. As we say no Trump we call on our City and State elected officials to step up and put into place serious and effective policies.

People from around NYC will gather at Foley Square/Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan and then march to City Hall. We will protest Trump’s outrageous action and call on Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Stringer to take the immediate and bold action we need to fight the climate crisis. This is a crisis and they should act like it!

Help spread the word: Join us at 6:00pm today, Thursday, to rally at Foley Square/Federal Plaza and then march to City Hall.

Bring your signs and banners and raise your voice!
 
 
Leslie Cagan
Peoples Climate Movement NY
Action Network
 

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PROFILES OF PROTEST #11
Mitchel Cohen interviews participants at a student-driven Black Lives Matter protest in Manatee County Florida, near Sarasota against the government's allowing of Trump supporting high school students to bring Confederate flags into an area high school in the days leading up to the U.S. presidential election. Especially, interviews with Greg Cruz and Omega Velez, whose son was, murdered by the Manatee County police.

PROFILES OF PROTEST #10
Report from the Immigrant Workers' Rights march on MayDay 2017 in New York City. (12 minutes) 
WBAI/Pacifica radio's Mitchel Cohen interviews Diana Marino from Brandworkers, who has been unionizing the mostly immigrant workforce in the baking industry at Amy's Bread. Mitchel Cohen also caught up with David L. Wilson and Jane Guskin during the march, whose newly revised book, "The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers," will be published by Monthly Review later this month.

PROFILES OF PROTEST #9
Report on April 24, 2017 from the Philadelphia courtroom where political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal's attorneys argue a new appeal of his case. This first report consists of an interview with former political prisoner Tarik Haskins, who'd been in prison for 17 years, and who was present among Mumia's supporters outside the court. It is as poignant as it is powerful. Click HERE .

PROFILES OF PROTEST #8
Mitchel Cohen interviews former U.S. Army medic in Somalia Sarah Mess, about her current peace activism and the effects of anti-Malaria drug Lariam on her and many other veterans.

President George H.W. Bush deployed U.S. military troops to Somalia in 1992. President Bill Clinton maintained their presence, and even used the offices of an oil corporation in Mogudishu to headquarter U.S. troops in Africa.

One of those solidiers was Sarah Mess.

Here, Sarah describes the effects of being forced to take an anti-malaria pill, Lariam. A number of male soldiers returning from U.S. wars in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan ended up murdering their wives. Many others suffer from the harrowing psychological effects of the drug.

Listen to hear Sarah tell her riveting story, in her own words.

PROFILES OF PROTEST #7
Rally at Brooklyn Boro Hall culminating general strike of Yemeni bodega owners, which shut down many small stores in the Atlantic Avenue area of Brooklyn on February 2, 2017.

PROFILES OF PROTEST #6
14 minutes. Mitchel Cohen reports from a protest of more than 1,000 people who marched on Senator Charles Schumer's apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Tuesday night, condemning Schumer's votes in favor of 3 of Trump's cabinet appointments, and demanding that Sen. Schumer and other Democrats "join the resistance" and stop placating the Trump administration and Wall Street.

PROFILES OF PROTEST #5
12 minutes - Participants in the "No Hate, No Fear, Refugees are Welcome Here!" rally and march of 18,000 people in New York City Sunday, January 29, 2017, beginning in Battery Park.

PROFILES OF PROTEST #1
3:24 minutes - A wonderful 3 minute piece interviewing a couple of 90-year-olds at the women's march in NYC.

PROFILES OF PROTEST #2
This one sketches 3 women at the gigantic Women's march on January 21, 2017. Just 1:24 minutes ....

PROFILES OF PROTEST #3
From the streets of NYC's inauguration night protest, as thousands marched from Foley Square down to Trump's building on Wall Street.

PROFILES OF PROTEST #4
Immigrant Rights Rally in Washington Square Park Jan. 25, 2017, with 3,000 people participating.

www.MitchelCohen.com


Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in. 
~ Leonard Cohen


Settle your quarrels, come together,
understand the reality of our situation,
understand that fascism is already here,
that people are dying who could be saved,
that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives
if you fail to act. Do what must be done,
discover your humanity and your love in revolution.
~ George Jackson  (1941-1971)