All posts by tedglick

Si, Se Puede on November 8

“It’s really important that the bloc of white people—and whiteness as a project—has been falling apart. White folks who have been moved—by the Movement for Black Lives, the recession, the pandemic, the  climate crisis—are looking at white people on the other side of the political divide, and saying, ‘I am less like you than I am like a Black person.’ That is a meaningful thing that our movements are accomplishing, and in my read, for the first time in the history of this country we have the cultural, social, material, and economic conditions to actually break apart whiteness as the majority-bloc. The opportunities for us to transform what’s going on in this country are really powerful.”
            -Sendolo Diaminah, of the Carolina Federation, in the book Power Concedes Nothing: How Grassroots Organizing Wins Elections

For months, as Joe Biden’s polling numbers have come down and stayed down in the low 40’s, the outlook for the Democrats maintaining a majority in the House and getting a majority in the Senate come election day November 8 has not been good. Biden’s unpopularity, due in large part to Manchin and Sinema’s killing of Build Back Better legislation in the Senate, has been a definite drag. But there are signs that things are changing.

A poll by CBS/You Gov that came out this week reported that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has motivated left of center voters. 50% of Democrats said that this decision motivates them to come out and vote, as compared to only 20% of Republicans. This is no small thing given the crucial importance of voter turnout to the winning of elections.

More significantly, an NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll also out this week reported that in just two months there has been a turnaround as far as voter party preference. Right now, “48% say they are more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate in the fall and 41% more likely to vote for a Republican. In April, Republicans led on that question in the poll 47% to 44%.”

The Roe Vs. Wade decision is not the only reason, I believe, for this shift. Also involved is the impact of the public hearings of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol. Not all but a good number of these hearings have been carried by Fox News, it should be noted. The continuing series of revelations, mainly by former Trump Administration figures, of the blatant criminality of Mafioso Trump in his efforts to take power have got to be demoralizing for more than a few Trump supporters, which in turn is likely to suppress Republican voter turnout on November 8.  

But as the saying goes, polls don’t vote, people do. And that’s why the recently published book, Power Concedes Nothing: How Grassroots Organizing Wins Elections, is such a timely, valuable source to inspire and educate those of us on the progressive side of the political divide, those of us who must rise to the occasion in the fall of 2022 as we did in 2018 and 2020. As Bill Fletcher, Jr. has written, “An effective electoral strategy and practice—one that is carried out at scale and makes our base communities stronger and more connected—is absolutely essential for building a powerful US left. By providing a detailed accounting and in-depth analysis of progressive electoral engagement in 2020, Power Concedes Nothing makes a huge contribution to getting us there.”

The book is comprehensive. There are 22 chapters grouped into five sections: Building Progressive Power in the States, Communities of Color Drive the Win, Workers on the Doors [Canvassing], Bernie, Democratic Socialism and the Primary Battles, and Mobilizing Voters Across the Country.

A major strength of the book is the first section, one third of the pages, which carries articles about the experiences and tactics used in 2020 by independent progressives in Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and California. Held in common by all of these organizing efforts is the importance of door to door, in person outreach, or, less effective, phone outreach when the pandemic required it.

Art Reyes III and Eli Day of We the People Michigan wrote of what they learned: “We learned that state power infrastructure matters in the fight to reshape our country. We also learned that multiracial organizing against authoritarian forces is possible even in one of the most segregated states—but only if we are intentional about campaign structure, deliberate about state strategy, explicit about race, diligent in preparing more than the right, and clear that we must build trust early before the stakes are high. These lessons [are] important for anyone looking to stave off future attacks on our fragile democracy, and those building movements to expand and deepen it.”

How they worked together was critical: “We had simple but clear agreements: we would approach the work with joy; we would treat core team meetings as sacred; we would have agendas for every meeting; we would engage, challenge and push each other with respect and love; we would assume best intentions but acknowledge the impact of our action; we wouldn’t let things fester; we would hold ourselves accountable to maintaining anti-racist values; we would be transparent with each other and we would trust the group.”

There is so much more in this book of immediate and long-term value. If you want fuel for the coming next few months of all-hands-on-deck organizing to defeat those who are such a threat to so many people and to life itself on this planet, get and read Power Concedes Nothing: http://powerconcedesnothing.convergencemag.com.

  Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

A Very Special Human Being

I’ve attended a lot of special ceremonies over my lifetime remembering or honoring people I know. Most memorable ones include my mom and dad’s retirement dinner in 1986 in Bangor, Maine, my son’s graduation from Rutgers University in 2005, the funerals of my (many) aunts and uncles and my parents, and two dinners in New York City in the 1980s honoring anti-racist, southern, progressive leaders Anne Braden and Victoria Gray-Adams.

Today’s special ceremony across the street from my house at the Demarest local elementary school was different. This one honored Dominick Delli Paoli, retiring after 22 years as a crossing guard at the age of 92. For all of those later years of his life, he helped to get kids between the ages of 5 and 11 safely across Broughton Avenue in Bloomfield, NJ every school morning and afternoon.

But Dominick was so much more, and that is why he was honored in the elementary school gym today by hundreds of excited, appreciative and beautiful children, as well as the school principal, teachers, other staff and a few neighbors.

Up until the last couple of years when his health declined, Dominick usually didn’t go home after the morning shift. He went inside the school, volunteering to help in any way he could. If the custodial staff needed an extra hand for something he was available. He often helped out teachers by reading to their students; he also assisted in the cafeteria. When school was dismissed, he returned to his work as a crossing guard before he returned home.

Dominick came to work early, and what he did while waiting for the kids to arrive was to walk past the homes across the street from the school. If there was a newspaper that had been thrown onto a driveway he would pick it up and put it next to the front door.

I remember a time when I saw Dominick after returning from one of my early morning bike rides. I was feeling down, feeling as I sometimes do the weight of our wounded and struggling world, wondering if the work that I and many others are doing to change it is ever going to yield significant results. I had ridden my bike into the garage where I park it, and as I came out Dominick surprised me by being right there. In his hands was our daily-delivered newspaper, and he offered it to me. I took it, mumbled a thank you and went inside.

Immediately, I started feeling different. That small act of Dominick’s, knowing it to be something he does regularly out of the goodness of his heart, really affected me. It was as if he were an angel being there to pick me up in my hour of need, my need for inspiration. I was very touched, and changed.

At today’s retirement ceremony Dominick was presented with one plaque from the school and at least 100 handmade cards and posters from the Demarest children. After the brief ceremony honoring him, Dominick didn’t speak, too overwhelmed to do so he said later. But he acted. He began walking down the aisle, shaking hands and hugging any of the children who wanted that personal contact. Many, many did.

After the kids and their teachers left the auditorium back to their rooms, a few of us who knew him and the principal talked for a few minutes. Dominick reminisced about the many things which he did as a volunteer in the school for so many years. He talked about how much he enjoyed doing so, how much he loved the children. That was why he did what he did.

Dominick is a very special person, but he’s not alone. There are people like him everywhere, in every country, every city, every town, every neighborhood. They are the salt of the earth people who give hope, who quietly and modestly hold things together by their example and their love. Long live the example of Dominick Delli Paoli!

 Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

Without a Broad People’s Alliance, It’s Hopeless

How will we transform US society in all the ways that are needed? One absolutely essential element, one we do not have right now, is a broadly-based alliance of mass movements and organizations working together, challenging corporate power, taking action, growing and generating the political energy and will necessary to overcome the tiny minority of dangerous, ultra-rich white men which currently dominates the US and most of the world.

This alliance must function as a welcoming, democratic, movement of movements: for racial and gender justice and equality; for the right to organize and unionize on the job; against militarism and for justice-based peace; for detoxification and protection of our natural environment and a rapid shift from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels and nukes to clean, renewable energy sources; for immigrant rights, reproductive rights and an end to mass incarceration; for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free public higher education and student debt cancellation; and more.

There are many issues that make up the overall program of an alliance, some of which are listed above. There is no lack of issues, and no lack of progressive coalitions and campaigns which, over many years, have put together extensive platforms on them. But as of right now, in 2022, there is no unifying, organized, movement of movements, a broad progressive united front.

We need leaders of the many movements and organizations to recognize that this is an essential, strategic objective, and we need conscious work to take place in 2022 to begin bringing it into being!

Extensive and inclusive platforms are one key to bringing together the movement of movements which can win power. There are many different focuses of organizing and action on a wide range of important issues. Those committed to working for change in their particular area(s) of interest, for whatever personal reasons, are not going to stop doing so because of the potential emergence of a politically powerful alliance, but they will be won to the alliance and increasingly get involved in building it to the extent that they see it helping to win victories on their primary issues.

An overriding, central demand of the alliance movement must be for a redistribution of wealth and power. This is absolutely fundamental. There is no way that all of the various issues of a popular alliance can be adequately addressed absent the serious taxing of the wealth of the greedy rich, as well as a major reduction in militarism and money for war.

It is also absolutely essential that our deepening and serious climate crisis, and related environmental crises, be a top priority of the alliance. Over the last decade, this has become a major issue for many different movements. The process of making this urgently-needed renewable energy revolution, off fossil fuels and onto a jobs-creating, clean energy path, has great potential to move us towards a very different, much more just, peaceful and egalitarian world. The broad support for a Green New Deal shows that this is widely recognized.

An important aspect of a renewable energy revolution that is not always appreciated is that it will organically lead growing numbers of people toward a more deeply-felt appreciation for and connection to our natural environment. This is something very much needed in our increasingly urbanized society. We must develop an ecological consciousness and a will to act on it on a mass scale if we are to have any hope of developing the kind of future new society which sees itself as one with nature, not its exploitative and destructive master.

Indigenous culture and wisdom has been and will continue to be a key aspect of all of this. Central to that culture, going back millennia in what is now the United States as well as in other parts of the world, is an appreciation for and connection to nature. Indigenous people for many years have been playing a leading role in the climate movement throughout the Americas.

This alliance will include those who are political independents as well as progressive Democrats, and maybe some grassroots Republicans, but it must be independent of both the Republicans and the Democratic Party.

As I am writing this we are five months away from a very important national election. Many of the groups that must be part of this alliance are/will be deeply involved in election campaigns to try to prevent the regressive Republicans from taking over the House and/or the Senate. This is important work. After November 8, however, and before the new year, would be a good time for work to begin in earnest toward the building of this absolutely essential, currently missing piece in the fight for a just, democratic and peaceful future.

(Most of the above is taken from the final chapter, “A Winning Strategy for Power, Already Underway,” of the author’s book 21st Century Revolution: Through Higher Love, Racial Justice and Democratic Cooperation.)

 Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

Memories and Memorials on the Walk for Appalachia’s Future


Without question, one of the high points of the 12-day Walk for Appalachia’s Future, now in its 8th day, was the visit a big group of us made to the site of the 932-straight-days, heroic Yellow Finch tree sit on land in Elliston, Va. where the Mountain Valley Pipeline destroyers planned to put an essential part of their more than 300 mile, fracked gas pipeline. The MVP destroyers were able to finally bring the tree sit down about 14 months ago, but soon after that time all of the other actions and organizing and lawsuits made it impossible for the MVP’ers to do any more destruction or construction at this site or any others.
 
As some of us sat in downed trees where the tree sit had been, listening to people who had taken part in it, it was impossible not to be awed by what they had accomplished through their sacrifice. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is in deep trouble.
 
Another high point of the Walk was the memorial service Sunday morning, May 29 organized by leading pipeline fighter Maury Johnson with Russell Chisholm and Donna Pitt of Preserve Giles in Newport,Va. Rev. Morris Fleischer of the local Methodist church led a service on a village green. The service commemorated the many fighters against the MVP, mountaintop coal removal and other injustices in West Virginia and Virginia who are no longer with us. Rev. Fleischer’s words connected us to Biblical history and the Hebrew prophets, and the pictures and words about each of those no longer with us made the connection to the recent past: Mirijana Beram, Judy Bonds, Diane Brady, Mary Pearl Compton, Beth Covington, Robert Dilday, Earl Echols, Warren Ellison, Lauren Forman, Tim Fullen, Larry Gibson, Clarence Givens, Chris Hale, Bill Hughes, George Jones, Sandy Miller, April Pierson-Keating, Timmy South, Fred Vest and Karen Yolton.
 
There were many other things of note on this Walk so far:
 
-the West Virginia Rising, 30 foot long beautiful banner saying, “Manchin Stop Burning Our Future” unfurled on the steps of the West Virginia state capitol building and across the river from Sen. Joe Manchin's Charleston home;
 
-the magnificently informative presentation made by Autumn Crowe of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition in White Sulfur Springs about the multi-colored and in danger of extinction Candy Darter fish found in the area where the MVP wants to do their damage to streams, fish, insects, animals,mountains, land, air, water and people;
 
-the heartbreaking scenes of MVP-caused destruction at pipeline resister Maury Johnson’s farm near Hans Creek, WV;
 
-the unplanned direct action at an out-in-the-open, corroding pipeline site, of which there are many in the area, along the Greenbrier River, with 20 or so of us crossing the deteriorating boards on the ground to get to the pipes to show media people along with us up close how big a 42 inch in diameter really is;
 
-the presentation by Alyssa Carpenter, president of a group fighting to stop the massive, open air burning of toxic waste at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant near Roanoke, Va., a practice which is clearly the cause of significantly higher thyroid and cancer rates than the state average; and,

-the presentation by Roanoke Black community leader Jordan Bell about the decades of “Negro removal”, deliberate neglect and racism practiced by the local and state power structure, as well as his stories about those community leaders who have fought these practices and for their community to be treated justly. Following this presentation local pipeline fighter and community activist Crystal Melo led us to a demonstration at the local jail protesting the maltreatment at that institution, including 10 deaths over the last few years.
 
The Walk for Appalachia’s Future is primarily about the Mountain Valley Pipeline. We are following its projected route from central West Virginia through southwest Virginia down to north central North Carolina.We will end the Walk with actions June 3 and 4 in Virginia’s capital city, Richmond. But in addition to demanding “Cancel MVP,” we are also calling for “Jobs and Justice” and “Renewable Energy.” In the leaflet we are passing out by the thousands along the way we say it’s time to “get serious about creating good jobs for working people in Appalachia in 21st century industries like wind and solar energy!” We are trying to connect the dots between the issues, calling for “corrupt politicians to stop doing the bidding of the coal,oil and gas industries” and all the rest of the big money interests that dominate governments everywhere.
 
Our children and grandchildren need leadership for the just and sustainable future that is possible if we fight for it. Learn more, including about the June 3/4 actions, at Facebook: WalkForAppalachiasFuture.
 
 
Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy and president of 350NJ-Rockland. He is the author of Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, published in 2020 and 2021. More information can be found at , and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick (https://tedglick.com). 

Buffalo!

The shooting rampage in Buffalo, NY by the young racist/fascist that killed 10 Black people has filled me with mixed emotions. One, of course, is sadness and anger at this outrageous loss of innocent lives because of the ideology and practices of the extreme rightwing, neo-fascist movement in this country, a movement which is explicitly or implicitly supported by much of the machinery and the state and national leadership of the Republican Party.

Another feeling is deep weariness about the too-strong foothold that these violent extremists continue to have in the USA. It’s not hard to understand why they do, given Trump’s victory in 2016 and strong showing in 2020. Any country where those things happened is a country with some very big problems.

The problems, however, are more than the obvious ones of white supremacist ideology, groups organized on the basis of it, and a racist/fascist/misogynist/heterosexist subculture maintained and built via social media, Fox media and other poisonous sources.

What else is there? I’d say another very big culprit is the dominance of corporate interests over the Democratic Party. What’s the connection?

At one time the Democratic Party was generally seen by working class people of all races and nationalities as their party. This began in the 1930’s with FDR’s support of the rising labor movement led by the Congress of Industrial Unions, the CIO. It continued with the national Democratic Party’s support, begrudgingly, eventually, of the Black Freedom Movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s. But over the next couple of decades things changed with the rise of the pro-corporate Democratic Leadership Council in the ‘80s, leading to the election of Bill Clinton twice in the ‘90s.

Clinton was directly responsible for the passage of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and other initiatives to open up more of the world for the penetration of US-based, transnational corporations. This led to an acceleration of the process of millions of good-paying, US working class jobs being lost as companies picked up and moved south of the border to Mexico or Central America or overseas to China and other Asian countries. For very good reasons, large numbers of working class people of all races were turned off to both Republicans and Democrats.

Into this breach came the rightwing populists who played on both white people’s racism, a very real thing then and now, and their anger at big business, to pull lots of white working class people their way. IMHO, there’s a direct connection between those developments and the rise of the violent racist/fascist/misogynist/heterosexist movement we saw raise its ugly head, once again, in Buffalo.

So yes, we should do everything we can as far as trying to pass strong gun control legislation, outlawing violent hate speech and advocacy, pushing to prioritize domestic rightwing extremism when it comes to law enforcement, and more, but these alone aren’t going to solve this deep-seated problem. Ultimately, what will solve it is a consistently progressive movement of movements, a progressive alliance, independent of the Democrat and Republican parties. This alliance must have anti-racism at its center, and its white members must understand, and act on that understanding, that they are expected to speak out and organize among white working class people day after day as much as they can. We must counter racist ideology and help those influenced by it see that it is only by joining together across lines of race, gender, nationality, color and other differences, taking on the obscenely rich and power-mad rulers, that we can create a very different and hopeful future for all of us.


Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

The Walk for Appalachia’s Future

From May 24th to June 4th, climate justice and social justice activists will be walking and riding from Charleston, West Virginia into southwest Virginia, down to Rockingham/Alamance counties in North Carolina, ending up in Richmond, Virginia. For most of the time the Walk for Appalachia’s Future will take place along the route of the planned but deeply troubled, 303 miles long, fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline.

This action is happening first and foremost to kill the MVP, but it also calls for jobs with justice, for renewable energy, and for mobilizing the resources so that the people of Appalachia can exercise control over their lives and communities. In the words of West Virginia farmer, activist, and one of the Walk leaders Maury Johnson, “There isno reason to build new pipelines. We have far too many destructive pipelines already. We need to fully electrify our energy sector with renewable energy and build a smart, modern electrical grid. Senator Joe Manchin, MVP supporter and coal plant owner, is not only wrong, he is DEAD wrong, and the human race will be too if we continue down the path that he is pushing.”

The primary purpose of the Walk is to amplify the voices of frontline Appalachian communities and others in their fight for environmental justice and renewables. The mission statement goes on: “We will say loudly and clearly that politicians need to stop doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry and get serious about the urgent need to shift in a just way from coal, oil and gas to renewables. All along the pipeline route we will inspect damages to water, air, animals, and the Earth, and the people who depend on them; and we will every morning have ceremonies honoring the heroes in our states who have died during these fights to protect Appalachia.” 

The first, long, multi-day political walk I was ever on took place in Appalachia, in 2011, the March on Blair Mountain. Over the course of a week we walked from Charleston down into coal country in the southwest part of West Virginia. That march had four demands: preserve Blair Mountain, abolish mountaintop removal, strengthen labor rights and invest in sustainable job creation for all Appalachian communities. Blair Mountain is where 10,000 armed coal miners fought in 1921 against the coal operators and their supporters who were severely repressing them as the miners attempted to organize. The 2011 action was well attended, received much state and national media attention and was a big deal.

Organizers for this Walk 11 years later are from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and beyond. They are active members of organizations such as 7 Directions of Service, POWHR, Beyond Extreme Energy, NC Alliance to Protect the People and the Places We Live, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Th!rd Act, and others. Hopefully, this Walk will come to be seen as an important part of what put the final nails in the coffin of the MVP, as well as advancing the urgently needed, justice-grounded, community-involving transition from fossil fuels to a jobs-creating, renewable energy economy, toward thriving and prosperous Appalachian communities.

For more info, to sign up and/or to donate go to: (20+) Walk for Appalachia’s Future | Facebook

Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

Ceasefire for Ukraine Now!

As Russia pulls its forces back to concentrate them in the Dombas eastern region of Ukraine, those of us who oppose Russia’s invasion, as well as NATO’s problematic actions in the years leading up to it, must call for an immediate ceasefire and serious diplomacy for a negotiated end to this disastrous war.

When the head of the US armed forces is talking openly about this war going on for years, it’s time for those of us who believe in peace and justice to speak out in support of this ceasefire and serious diplomacy demand.

When the fossil fuel industry and the military industrial complex are looking to use this war to expand their corporate profits no matter how many millions of people’s lives are lost, disrupted or ruined, no matter the severe setback in the critical race to stabilize our disrupted climate, it’s time for us to focus on a call for an immediate end to the violence.

Does this mean that Putin, who I agree is a war criminal, will continue in power? Yes, it does. Such a result is without question much less evil than the alternative, months or years of world-shaking war that could become nuclear war.

Putin has been politically wounded by the failure of his intelligence apparatus and his army to rapidly overthrow the elected government of Ukraine. It is inevitable that war crimes proceedings will take place in one way or another. He will not emerge from this war as a respected Russian leader.

I’ve been supportive of US military and economic aid to Ukraine, in general, since Russia invaded. I’m not in favor of a complete shutoff of military aid right now. But I do believe that the best course of action by the United States would be to call for an immediate ceasefire and urge other countries to do the same and to critically assess how much military aid is provided to Ukraine based on how the call for a ceasefire is responded to. Regardless, the US should be publicly leading in a campaign to force both Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table.

It has become clear to me as I have followed this war and studied about Ukraine and Ukraine/Russia relations that though Putin’s invasion and his conduct of the war all throughout is a series of criminal acts, the continuation of the war, likely concentrated in the eastern part of Ukraine, is not in anyone’s interest except the fossil fuel and war profiteers and those in power because of them.

From what I can see, eastern Ukraine is either going to be consumed by murderous war or experience a reprieve which will clearly be followed by political instability, at best, for a long time to come. The divisions within that region are very deep, deeper now I’m sure because of this war. But to be blunt, better a divided and unstable but relatively peaceful Dombas for years to come than the looming alternative.

Ukraine has the right to self-determination, as all countries do. But given the eight years of war that has been the case in that eastern region of the country already, self-determination for those people must be a key goal of any serious negotiations.

The US, the Biden administration, needs to turn away from the yawning abyss we are staring into right now. It’s time for the US to lead for a ceasefire and serious diplomacy.

Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

No War, No Warming, No White Supremacy

15 years ago, in October 2007, about 70 activists were arrested on Capitol Hill as part of a “No War, No Warming” action during the time of the Iraq war. I was one of those arrested, and on Democracy Now the next day here’s how I explained it:

“Most people understand that the Iraq war is all about oil. It’s a war for oil, has nothing to do with terrorism. We get the oil. We burn the oil. We heat up the earth. We aggravate and make worse conditions of life for people all over the world, as global warming has its impacts: droughts, floods, sea-level rise. That’s going to lead to more and more climate refugees, going to increase conflict, lead to more war. It’s a vicious cycle. We have to end these wars, get off of our war addiction and our fossil fuel addiction, be about justice, be about peace, be about clean energy. The peace movement, the climate movement, the justice movements, we need to be coming together, and we need to be stepping up our tactics, stepping up our actions, and letting our government know we are not going to accept what they are doing, whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”

Neither Republicans nor Democrats started the current war between Ukraine and Russia. Putin did, but as of now it looks likely that those in power will make a bad situation worse by ramping up the US military budget and production of oil and gas to try to replace Russia’s exports to Europe. Biden’s proposed military budget for 2023, $813 billion, is $70 billion higher than what he wanted for 2022.

Who suffers most from this tax money going to war, empire building and the polluting fossil fuel industry? It’s low-income people, predominantly people of color because of institutionalized racism. They are the ones whose health is most impacted by dirty fossil fuels being burned or toxic poisons leaked into the air or water next to where they live. They are the ones who suffer from the lack of housing, employment, health care, child care and other programs and policies because the massive military budget takes priority. They are the ones most impacted when stronger and more frequent floods, droughts, superstorms and fires ravage communities as the earth keeps overheating. They are the ones forced to leave their homes to migrate somewhere else in an effort to survive and improve their lives.

Convergence Magazine editor Max Elbaum, in a recent column, said something similar from an international perspective:

“Unfortunately, but predictably, the U.S. and most of its allies are responding with increases in the military budget combined with blatant racist hypocrisy. The current outpouring of self-righteous moral outrage about white Europeans dying at the hands of Russians is in sharp contrast to the dominant attitude when even larger numbers of Iraqi, Yemeni, Mozambican, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and other non-white civilians died at the hands of Western armies and their puppets. And why are sanctions against Russian aggression considered not just appropriate but praiseworthy while sanctions against Israel’s apartheid regime are considered illegitimate if not downright anti-Semitic?”  

Does this mean that I am opposed to the financial, including arms, support given to Ukraine to prevent Putin’s takeover of their country? No, it doesn’t. I’ve written and taken action in opposition to what the Russian government is doing and in support of Ukraine’s right to national self-determination. But it has become abundantly clear that the military-industrial complex and the fossil fuel industry are doing all that they can to take advantage of this violent conflict to advance their financial interests. They hope to be war profiteers, in a very big way.

What do we need? We need no war, no warming, no white supremacy actions in the streets. We need a 2020’s version of the kind of mass movement against war and for social justice that we saw during the Vietnam and Iraq wars, one that links the climate emergency, war and militarism, and the need for racial and economic justice. And we need that now, in 2022.

Renewable energy builds world peace and justice!


Ted Glick works with Beyond Extreme Energy and is president of 350NJ-Rockland. Past writings and other information, including about Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, two books published by him in 2020 and 2021, can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

Facts, Not Blind Ideology

“In 1959, the BBC asked [Bertrand] Russell, [public intellectual, historian, social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate] what advice he would give future generations. He answered: ‘When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed, but look only and solely at the facts.’          -from Humankind, A Hopeful History, by Roger Bregman, p. 253

This advice from Bertrand Russell, one of the 20th century’s most prominent progressive intellectuals, toward the end of his long life is very sound. It resonated with me when I recently read it. I’ve been thinking for a while about how and why intelligent, well-meaning people sometimes hold onto beliefs or a particular ideology even when new information, or just the basic facts, should lead to a different view of things.

Unfortunately, my life experience has led me to realize that though most people do generally agree that an approach of facts and the truth of things, actual reality, must always come before ideology, this is too often not the way some human beings function, particularly when it comes to politics. And this very big problem transcends political ideology. It’s true on the political right, center and left and always has been.

As far as progressives, the biggest, most recent example is the Covid-19 anti-vaccination campaigns—not just individual points of view but public campaigns–of people like Robert Kennedy, Jr., Gary Null and others. Despite over a year of successful experience with vaccines dramatically reducing deaths, hospitalizations and total cases of the virus, these vaccine deniers, not just clinging to their general anti-vaccine ideology but actively campaigning against people getting vaccinated, have almost certainly increased the numbers in all three categories. It is shameful.

Then there’s the public political position of the national Green Party—which I was a part of for many years, though no longer—that there was no difference between Hillary Clinton and Trump in 2016 or between Joe Biden and Trump in 2020. Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins, the GP Presidential candidates, took that position over and over, which turned out to be very unpopular on the left. Most people on the left did the right thing and put facts over ideology: Stein got 1.1% of the vote and Hawkins got about 0.4%.

I am fully aware that on too many issues, particularly the appalling US military budget, US foreign policy and acceptance of corporate/big money domination of our society, there are similar approaches between Republicans and the usually dominant corporate wing of the Democratic Party. But if you think that overt racism, denial of women’s and lgbtq rights, denial of labor rights, poverty and neo-fascism are very big issues, the common sense approach to take when voting for President under the existing US electoral system (it needs to be changed!), particularly if you are in a swing state where the vote is usually very close, is to vote for, yes, the lesser evil. Practically, that makes sense.

We’re seeing a similar thing right now as far as the political left and the Ukraine war. Despite the plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face reality that this war is happening because Putin invaded Ukraine with 150,000 or so well-armed troops, with no provocation by Ukraine, a small percentage of those on the left who see themselves as part of the US peace movement are letting their particular brand of leftist ideology guide the positions they take on this huge issue.

The primary example is the United National Antiwar Coalition. What are their main demands, as listed on their website? No War With Russia. No to NATO. No Sanctions.

Contrast this with the demands of Code Pink, one of the leading organizations on the left organizing mass demonstrations against the war: Stop the War in Ukraine. Russian Troops Out. No to NATO Expansion.

Both agree that NATO’s expansion over the last few decades, since the Soviet Union dissolved, is an underlying reason why Putin took the action that he did. From a geo-politics standpoint, it is understandable why not just Putin but many Russians would be upset about having NATO military bases and missiles 100 miles or so from their western border, just as the United States 60 years ago was upset about having Soviet bases and missiles 90 miles away in Cuba.

Code Pink, however, in its first two demands, addresses the fact that the reason for this war is Putin/the Russian government’s unprovoked decision to invade Ukraine militarily, and Russian troops must leave  if there is to be peace and national self-determination for Ukraine.

UNAC’s “No War With Russia” demand completely obfuscates the fact of who started this war. There’s nothing about Ukraine. Indeed, if you look at their three demands in their totality, there’s nothing there that Putin disagrees with. He doesn’t want the US or European countries to get involved in this war, he wants Ukrainians and their supporters to stand down or be defeated so he can sieze their land. He’s obviously against NATO. And he obviously doesn’t want any sanctions on anybody in Russia, in general or on the oligarchs.

Ideology is not a bad thing. It’s of value, very important really. Each of us as individuals should have a fact-based and justice-seeking worldview which guides us as we go through life, day by day. But when that worldview doesn’t fit with the facts, as history and our lives develop, it’s time to make some practical and ideological adjustments, look at things more closely. Ideology grounded in facts, not blind ideology, is what we must strive for.

Ted Glick works with Beyond Extreme Energy and is president of 350NJ-Rockland. Past writings and other information, including about Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, two books published by him in 2020 and 2021, can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

News from Manchin land: We’re wearing the fossil fuelers out

Amidst the deep pain, fear and anger worldwide at Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, there was a ray of hope from a very unlikely source yesterday: Joe Manchin’s mouth. During an inquisition—officially a “hearing”—of Manchin’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in the heat of a back-and-forth between him/the Republicans and the three Democrats who make up a majority of the five-person FERC commissioners leadership group, Manchin said, at one point: “you are wearing people out,” in a clear reference to Manchin’s people, the coal, oil and gas CEO’s and those on their boards of directors.

Manchin made other similar comments: “There’s a policy by some of death by a thousand cuts on the fossil fuel industry;” and “I know these people, they’re not going to invest, they’re going to walk away.” Republican Senator Mike Lee said, “It’s a radical climate agenda. Maybe we’re better off without FERC. Maybe we should eliminate it.” Republican FERC commissioner Mark Christie said, “This is the latest example of delaying and adding costs to pipeline applications. There’s a national campaign against all fossil fuel facilities. This gives that campaign an added weapon.” And then there’s Republican commissioner James Danly: “Uncertainty drives up risk premiums for companies. This destroys a village to save it. They are discussing in boardrooms what to do about these projects.”

What occasioned this hearing, this Manchin/Republican anger, this and other statements yesterday revealing that the climate/climate justice/progressive movement is having a definite impact on the fossil fuel industry?

Two weeks ago, at a regular monthly meeting of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, following over a year of publicly accepting comments, a new policy was adopted to guide decision-making when a methane gas pipeline company applies for a permit for an interstate gas pipeline and/or related infrastructure, like compressor stations, export terminals or storage terminals. For 23 years, since 1999, the FERC policy has been to interpret the “public interest,” which FERC is by law supposed to be serving, as the “corporate interest.” Whatever the pipeline and gas industry wants, they get. The statistics tell the story: over 99% of applications for permits have been granted over that time.

Note that this has happened over these 23 years regardless of which party has been in the majority at FERC. Things are different now, though, very much because of the political strength of the people’s movement demanding environmental justice and an urgent shift from fossil fuels to wind, solar and other genuinely clean renewables. That movement has had an impact on the Democratic Party such that the three Dems now in the majority, Richard Glick (no relation), Allison Clements and Willie Phillips, are doing things differently.

What is the “radical” new policy that the “gang of three,” in Manchin/the Republicans’ eyes, have adopted? It’s not really that radical. Instead of a pipeline company having a contract with a gas supplier being the basis for a positive response to their permit application, the new policy officially includes an assessment of the proposed project’s impact on local landowners and communities, particularly environmental justice/low-income/people of color communities, the environment generally and the climate crisis specifically. That’s it.

The adoption of this policy is a victory, but there’s no guarantee that it’s going to lead to the denial of most of the new gas industry permit applications, even though the International Energy Agency last year called for exactly this to be the policy starting last year on the part of the world’s advanced industrial economies: no new fossil fuel projects. Given the pressures from the fossil fuelers, the rightwing media echo chamber, Manchin/the Republicans and some other gas-friendly Democrats, and now the use of Putin’s Ukraine war as a justification for expanding the gas industry to substitute US fracked gas for Russian gas, it is entirely possible that there will still be a fair number of approvals of new gas infrastructure.

There is a continuing need for watchdogging and keeping the heat on FERC, a task which the organization Beyond Extreme Energy, working with other groups, has been doing for almost eight years. BXE and other groups will continue to advocate for a replacement of FERC with FREC, a Federal Renewable Energy Commission which does many of the things FERC does but with conscious, Congressionally-mandated policies of renewables first, shifting off fossil fuels and nukes asap, environmental justice, and support of democratic, public participation in the creation of the new, justice-based, truly clean and locally-based energy system that must be our future.

In this time of war and continued struggle for justice, let’s raise our voices and take action even louder and stronger for this urgent shift as a key part of how we defeat Putin, Trump and other petro state authoritarians and build a new world. Renewable energy builds world peace!

Ted Glick works with Beyond Extreme Energy and is president of 350NJ-Rockland. Past writings and other information, including about Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, two books published by him in 2020 and 2021, can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.