Thursday, January 23, 2020

Climate Justice Means Extremism

George Monbiot writes that, if you're going to stand for climate justice, the powers that be will label you an extremist:

The police have always protected established power against those who challenge it, regardless of the nature of that challenge. And they have long sought to criminalise peaceful dissent. Part of the reason is ideological: illiberal and undemocratic attitudes infest policing in this country. Part of it is empire-building: if police units can convince the government and the media of imminent threats that only they can contain, they can argue for more funding.
But there’s another reason, which is arguably even more dangerous: the nexus of state and corporate power. All over the world, corporate lobbyists seek to brand opponents of their industries as extremists and terrorists, and some governments and police forces are prepared to listen. A recent article in the Intercept seeks to discover why the US Justice Department and the FBI had put much more effort into chasing mythical “ecoterrorists” than pursuing real, far-right terrorism. A former official explained, “You don’t have a bunch of companies coming forward saying ‘I wish you’d do something about these rightwing extremists’.” By contrast, there is constant corporate pressure to “do something” about environmental campaigners and animal rights activists.

Those who are in power have identified their enemy. And they have employed the power of the state to fight them:

Our government is helping propel us towards a catastrophe on a scale humankind has never encountered before: the collapse of our life-support systems. It does so in support of certain ideologies – consumerism, neoliberalism, capitalism – and on behalf of powerful industries. This, apparently, meets the definition of moderation. Seeking to prevent this catastrophe is extremism. If you care about other people, you go on the list. If you couldn’t give a damn about humankind and the rest of life on Earth, the police and the government will leave you alone. You might even be appointed to high office.

I read that Steve Mnuchin -- the American Secretary of the Treasury -- told Greta Tuunberg in Davos to study economics. The problem is not extremism. As Martin Luther King wrote in his Letter From A Birmingham Jail: “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?”

Image: The Evening Standard


zoombats said...

I can remember when they introduced the idea of needing a permit to demonstrate. I never got over that one. It is amusing to me that countries that brag and celebrate the history of populous revolution are all dead set against having another one to condemn their particular type of totalitarianism

Owen Gray said...

It's strange how countries which revel in their revolutionary beginnings have a habit of electing despots, zoombats.

the salamander said...

.. We have our very own working model of the phenomena in Canada eh..
Its quite astonishing to read such foresight, prescience and vision via Monbiot.. and simply turn to Mainstream and Indy media to duly note it has aleady happened in Canada, Our Home & Native Land ..

Where ? One may ask ..

As I've suggested here and there, for quite a little while.. just follow the money aka the corruption.. or just follow the trail of the destruction of Environmental Protection which is the evil twin of 'Growing The Economy'

All of North America has now had its Navigable Waters Protection stripped, repealed, ignored, trashed. First, Harper eliminated it in Canada, recently Trump eliminated it in the USA.. That folks, is a double tap magnum head shot that looks after North America. Look to South America now for the hemispheric coup de gras.. goodbye Amazon.. and the lungs of the planet

Now can anyone solve this brain teaser.. Where can one find a working model of Monbiot's premise ? Here are your clues.

- an elected government, using taxpayer dollars to create a 'War Room' to attack anyone who defies or questions the supremacy of said government. A war room purpose planned to be 100% unaccountable to the taxpayer, 100% immune to Freedom of Information laws in Canada. This same government has launched an Inquiry, with sole sourced legal retainers and advisors, all to identify and vilify any opposition to unimpeded and/or irresponsible destruction of environment.. environment being Canadian waters, land, air, species, habitat.

The fever pitch of such behavior is discovering that the national police force, the RCMP - as currently employed & empowered to protect unimpeded 'Nation Building' such as energy pipelines - gas, diluted Bitumen, conventional oil bearing pipelines - may utilize snipers to kill peaceful protesters defending their unceded First Nation tribal lands. RCMP officers may use 'any level of violence required'.

Chew on that for just a little while. Remember too that another even more 'senior' or powerful government entity in Canada actually suggested such ecological extremism as peaceful protesters could be swiftly dealt with by the Canadian Armed Forces. Keep in mind that another previous version of government, now failed.. announced that Arms and Weaponry manufacturing would become a key driver of the nation's economy.

It is no longer that the citizens elect a political candidate to represent their dreams, needs and wishes in government. Elected candidates are 'whipped' to vote en mass, specifically to the elected leader's wishes, the advice of 'Charitable status Think Tanks and the elected Party leader's small group of unelected tax payer paid appointees to Privy Councils or Offices.. or to just 'hang around' with no particular title as such, just to be the leader's friend and confidant. An American example would be elected Party leader Donald Trump paying Steve Bannon or Trump's son in law and daughter to hang around and enjoy Top Secret clearance. So look for the Canadian equivalent.. you won't have to look too hard.

The Disaffected Lib said...

The climate crisis, the gravest threat ever faced by humanity, is simply beyond the capacity of our governments to resolve. They can't make it go away. I'm pretty sure the "net zero by 2050" pledge is nonsense. That would entail slashing GHG emissions by somewhere between three and five per cent per year, every year, and what nations are on track to do that? A few, perhaps, just not on our side of the Atlantic and, overall, the world is looking at increasing emissions for at least the next 20 years.

In another decade this squabble could be moot. A report delivered yesterday found that our species has increased consumption of the planet's resources, both renewable and non, by a factor of four since 1970. The 1970s were when mankind first began consuming more resources than the ecology can provide. That is when we entered "overshoot" and began cannibalizing our own biosphere, ravaging its resource reserves, eating our seed corn. The public does not comprehend what we're doing, the trap they're being led into or that they're electing Judas goats. Just imagine the scapegoating that awaits us.

The world we're heading into is bound to lead to a clash between environmental activists and the forces of status quo. Environmentalists may be branded extremists and, from there, it's a small leap before they're branded terrorists or insurgents.

Two decades ago some historians were predicting that the 21st would become a "century of revolution." That seems to be our new reality.

Owen Gray said...

The disease has affected us, just as it has other countries, sal. We cannot claim that we are holier than others.

Owen Gray said...

Given the people in the streets around the world, Mound, that prediction appears to be true.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, trust Greta's grasp of economics over Steve "Human Typo" Mnuchin's.


Anonymous said...

Steve Mnuchin advising Greta to study economics...

A great plot line if you were writing a script for an episode of "The Twilight Zone".

- J.

Toby said...

In his post above Mound said, "The public does not comprehend what we're doing, the trap they're being led into or that they're electing Judas goats." He's right. That's not an accident. Radical conservative think tanks have spent a lifetime designing and implementing weapons of mass distraction. Public education has been downgraded to reduce or even eliminate critical thinking. How strange it is that the "adult in the room" is a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome.

Owen Gray said...

Indeed, Toby. a child with Asperger's knows much more than the "smartest persons in the room."

Owen Gray said...

Your trust is well placed, Cap. Mr. Mnuchin -- like the man he works for -- is a fool.

Owen Gray said...

It's not just Mnuchin who lives in the Twilight Zone, J. Half the country lives there with him.