Workers' Voice mailing list
April 16, 2017
RE: March for Science and the Environment on Earth Day, April 22, 2017!
(From Seattle Workers' Voice, April 15, 2017, vol. 1, #3)
March for Science -- Seattle
Saturday, April 22, 10:00 am -- 1:00 pm
at Cal Anderson Park, 1425 Broadway
Record global temperatures. Melting icecaps. Methane releases in the Arctic. Earth Day 2017 comes at a time of earth emergency. Burning fossil fuels simply must be stopped, and stopped quickly.
But the Trump Administration is proceeding full speed ahead to extract more fossil fuels; he's ordered completion of Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and revived the Keystone XL pipeline; he's promoting coal production; he's moved to open more waters to drilling; and he's trying to dismantle the EPA. In sum, it's a wholesale assault on the environment.
Can this just be explained by the fact that the Trump Administration is filled with climate deniers? No, denialism has a long history: 40 years ago Exxon funded a scientific study that proved carbon emissions would cause global warming but then went on to fund climate-change denial groups anyway. (1) The Obama Administration had its own form of denialism, i.e., in 2015 Obama said “the science is stark” and “we’re not moving fast enough” to fight climate change, but under the reactionary nationalist banner of achieving “energy independence” his administration opened more waters to oil and gas drilling, and more lands to fracking and coal mining. This was denialism in practice smoothed with hypocrisy.
Beneath this denialism lies in the fact that both parties are servants of the polluters and the Wall Street banks who finance carbon energy production. Driven to make the highest profits, the finance capitalists and their political parties fight to pump the last drop of oil despite knowing this is ecocidal.But none of this is washing with the masses of people. Everywhere in the country there are environmental struggles that are winning victories as well as suffering defeats. And through this process activists are continually learning.
They've learned that even if protests are completely peaceful the state will still resort to massive violence and arrests -- as happened at Standing Rock. But the other side of this is that by refusing to capitulate to these assaults the Standing Rock protesters gained massive support everywhere.
Another lesson is not to depend on official or self-appointed leaders. For example, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II supported the call for setting up the protest camp but then told protesters to go home when the government refused to issue the permit needed to run the DAPL under the Missouri river -- despite everyone knowing the permit denial was only temporary.
And another example is the filthy role of those labor bureaucrats who betray the environmental struggles. They don't just work to prevent and sell out workers' strikes, they faithfully serve their capitalist masters on all fronts. Thus, the leaders of the building trades unions have heaped praise on Trump, and rejoiced when he issued orders restarting construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. The oil and coal companies are driven to destroy the planet by their need to profit, and these lackey labor officials smooth their way by saying jobs will come out of it. The only conclusion is that the environmental movement must directly appeal to the rank-and-file workers by (among other things) demanding that workers laid off in the transition to renewable energy be reemployed in other industries for at least as good wages. In fact, renewable energy, energy-efficient retrofits in buildings, public transit and light rail, etc., will require millions of new workers once the capitalist government is forced to accept them.
Along with these lessons we must oppose getting diverted into chasing the false solutions offered by establishment environmentalism. These entail relying on market measures which preserve the profits of the polluters, but have have failed to adequately reduce carbon emissions. (2) The latest establishment environmentalist favorite, the carbon tax, won't meet environmental goals either, and it's a regressive tax that will tend to drive the workers and poor away from environmentalism while the worst-polluting corporations pass the tax onto their customers. (3) Climate justice activists should ask themselves why even the World Bank and International Monetary Fund -- who make life hell for the workers, small farmers and indigenous peoples of the poor countries—are now promoting the carbon tax?! (4)
But the environmental movement has real solutions. These go against the denialism and market measures of the establishment. So long as capitalism still exists, we need to fight to keep carbon fuels in the ground and convert to renewable energy sources. More, we need to fight for direct regulations, environmental and economic planning, and mass involvement in their formation and implementation. Life on this planet is just too precious to sacrifice to the profits of capital.
It is going to take a mighty movement that is boiling up everywhere to achieve this, and it can be achieved. From day one, the Trump administration has been met by protests on nearly every issue, and Trump has already had to back off on some of his plans. But we need more than that, we need to reverse this entire course. To accomplish this we must have an orientation of increasingly basing the environmental movement in the majority class in society, the working class. This means we must stand up for indigenous rights and the struggles of national-minorities and immigrants against environmental racism. And it means we must stand against Trump's moves to divide and pick off the working people one by one, i.e., immigrants, national minorities, women.
This Earth Day we call on everyone to urge their fellow workers, fellow students, neighbors and friends to:
Join in all the upcoming environmental actions;
Initiate your own movements in communities and workplaces;
Urge your compatriots to read, discuss and pass on leaflets like this one, as well environmental news more generally;
Furthermore, let us use Earth Day 2017 to make ties with fellow activists, and turn it into an important stepping stone in the struggle to end the burning of fossil fuels.
We must rely on ourselves and the tool of mass struggle.
Seattle Communist Study Group, April 15, 2017
(4): http://www.communistvoice.org/DWV-160429.html <>
(The following essay was sent in to the D/SWV list by Timothy Bearly, a writer known to the readers of the anti-establishment journal of working-class literature, Struggle magazine.)
Only in fairy tales, it seems, are the princes and princesses the heroes. The benevolent protagonists who, instead of being portrayed as parasitic scions of privilege, exhibit a selfless devotion to the needs of others. Meanwhile the nemesis is often one who is merely "jealous" of their beauty, wealth and power, never one who questions or wants to eliminate the monarchy or caste system altogether. Could our modern ruling class ask for a better propagandist than Walt Disney? Indeed, it takes just a smidgen of class consciousness to see that our reality is much different than it is portrayed in these children’s stories. But what kind of consequences, albeit unintentional, can this narrative have on our children and our future.
How is it that virtually none of the fables we read to our children ever call into question the system of exploitation which is the backdrop? Understandably, a story about a proletarian revolution wouldn’t be as appealing to a 7 year old as a damsel in distress trope, but by continuously choosing to ignore or conceal the causes and affects of class conflict we could be inadvertently teaching our kids to also ignore or the matter as well.
To further compound the issue is the pervasive myth of the meritocracy. Another fairly tale we teach to our children. The nonsensical, patently unsubstantiated claim that those whose possess vast amounts of wealth "earned it", and those who are destitute, well, lets just say they should have inherited wealth if they didn’t want to be poor. And just as capitalism replaced feudalism, the meritocracy myth replaced the old traditions and myth’s (divine rights, noble blood, etc). Landlords have replaced feudal lords, prostitutes have replaced sex slaves, chattel slaves have become wage slaves, heirs and heiresses have replaced dukes and duchesses, and so on and so forth. Names and titles will change over time, but the caste system will remain firmly in place so long as people believe that the plebeians all get what they deserve, and that those at the top have merely exhibited more sterling qualities than the rest of us. Yet another fantasy.
Fortunately, regardless of what one thinks about Karl Marx, his assertion that capitalists ultimately sow the seeds of their own destruction seems to be fairly accurate. Because, with the advent of president Richie Rich, the benefactors of nepotism also known as the Trump family, and his cabinet full of trust fund imps, it seems there is no longer even a pretense of equal opportunity anymore. And with wealth becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of the few, the mass of people seem poised to take back the farm from Mr. Jones once and for all. Yeah, its idealistic, but one can only hope. Nay, one can revolt!
By Timothy Bearly <>
Back to main
how to order CV,
Posted on May 2, 2017