All posts by tedglick

Be a Hero, Joe. Declare a Climate Emergency Now!

An important article just published in Inside Climate News revealed good news from a new federal government report, Short Term Energy Outlook. That study stated that: “Renewable energy is poised to reach a milestone as a new government report projects that wind, solar and other renewable sources will exceed one-fourth of the country’s electricity generation for the first time, in 2024. The report’s authors in the Energy Information Administration are expecting renewables to increase in market share, while natural gas and coal would both decrease.”

Two decades ago in the early days of my active work on the climate issue, that renewables percentage was more like 8-9%, most of it wind. For it to “exceed one-fourth” of total electricity generation next year is a definite reason to have hope for the future.

It is also of special note that it is, indeed, wind and solar, not other questionable forms of energy, like biomass or biofuels, which are overwhelmingly the renewable energy sources. As the Inside Climate News story says: “The growth in renewable energy is coming from wind and solar power, with wind responsible for about one-third of the growth and solar accounting for two-thirds, the report says. Other renewable sources, like hydropower and biomass, would be flat. In fact, the growth of wind and solar is projected to be so swift that the combination of just those two sources would be 18 percent of the U.S. total by 2024, which would exceed coal’s 17 percent.”

Despite the maddening efforts of corrupt coal baron and US Senator Joe Manchin, the Republican Party and the fossil fuel industry, coal in the US is in big trouble.

And it is reasonable to expect that since the major chunk—though not all—of the financial support for new energy in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act will benefit renewables, there is an even more positive upside in the coming years.

Unfortunately, methane gas has also rapidly increased over the past decade in its percentage share of US electricity. It’s now up to about 37%. Coal’s decline is very related to the rise of methane gas. There has been literally a fracking “gas rush” over the past decade, supported by the federal government under both Obama and Trump.

Much of the dirty work to enable the fracked gas industry has been done by the rubber stamp federal agency, FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. An investigation in 2021 by a House committee chaired by Congressman Jamie Raskin reported that over the previous 20 years, only 6 out of 1021 applications for expansion of the methane gas industry were rejected by FERC. 6 out of 1021! That is the definition of a rubber stamp agency controlled by the fossil fuel industry.

For a brief period of time, following Biden’s taking office, from January of 2021 to March of 2022, positive changes took place at FERC. The immediate reason was the chairmanship of Richard Glick, supported by two other Democratic commissioners (out of five). Glick and his allies enacted a number of policies that began to move FERC in a different direction. But the main, underlying reason for these changes was the fierce grassroots resistance to FERC’s rubber stamping ways all over the country in the 10-11 years before, grounded in the growing unpopularity of fracking as it poisoned people’s water, air and land and disrupted communities.

What happened in March of last year, and since?

In late February, by a 3-2 vote, the FERC commissioners voted to enact a new policy as far as decision-making when a company applies for a permit to build new or expand existing methane gas infrastructure. Under this new policy, the climate and environmental justice impacts would be explicitly taken more seriously.

About a week later Manchin directed all five FERC commissioners to come before his Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. For over two hours Manchin and Republican members of that committee excoriated the three Democrats, Glick, Allison Clements and Willie Phillips, who had voted for that new policy. And their attacks worked. Two weeks later, FERC put that policy on hold, and almost a year later, that’s still the case. There is no new policy.

It gets worse. The FERC commissioners, clearly intimidated by Manchin, proceeded over the remainder of 2022 to approve projects whose greenhouse gas emissions, according to research done by Beyond Extreme Energy, amount to over 280 million tons of CO2. This is as if they permitted 76 new coal plants, or six Mountain Valley Pipeline-sized gas pipelines.

And even worse: after President Biden nominated Richard Glick in late summer for a second term as FERC commissioner because his term was expiring, Manchin refused to hold a hearing of the Senate ENR committee on that nomination. Glick’s term expired at the end of 2022, and he is now gone. In Glick’s place, and while figuring out who he nominates for that empty commissioner seat, Biden has named Willie Phillips as Acting Chair.

Phillips is a Democrat but he’s a Democrat with corporate connections. An article in The American Prospect in late 2021 reported, “In his time on D.C.’s Public Service Commission and before that as a corporate lawyer, Phillips consistently sided with utilities over the public interest.” I’ve also learned that last year, after the Manchin tongue lashing, both Glick and Clements were prepared to vote in support of the new policy regarding gas industry expansion permit applications, but Phillips would not do so.

President Biden sometime soon will nominate someone to fill the FERC commissioner vacancy. You can be sure that Joe Manchin is demanding and maneuvering so that this nomination is of someone he can live with. That’s not a good thing.

What Biden should do is what I have been told happened which led to Manchin agreeing to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act last summer. Biden was going to use his Presidential powers to declare a climate emergency. Biden should this time not just use that threat as a bargaining chip with Manchin. He should actually declare a climate emergency.

Biden doing so would unquestionably unleash positive political energies and increased economic investments in solar and wind to accelerate the process of shifting off of fossil fuels to renewables. It would mean the White House could do a whole variety of things to address the climate emergency in the way science and the threat to our children, grandchildren and future generations calls for. It would be, finally, action at the scale of the problem.

Be a hero, Joe. Do the right thing now.


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 Long Haul, an autobiography

“I think it’s important to understand that the quality of the process you use to get to a place determines the ends, so when you want to build a democratic society, you have to act democratically in every way. If you want love and brotherhood, you’ve got to incorporate them as you go along, because you can’t just expect them to occur in the future without experiencing them before you get there. I agree with Che Guevara: the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. If that love isn’t built in, you’ll end up with a fascist society.”    Myles Horton, The Long Haul, p. 227

I’m not sure when I began to hear the name, Myles Horton, but the longer I’ve stayed in the activist, progressive movement for social change the more I’ve come to appreciate his importance. His autobiography, The Long Haul, written with Judith and Herbert Kohl and published 25 years ago, is a book that should be read and studied by anyone who has decided that they will do all that they can to overturn injustice and create a truly new world.

Who was Myles Horton? Studs Terkel described him as “America’s most influential and inspiring educator.” Bill Moyers wrote that “for more than fifty years he went on with his special kind of teaching—helping people to discover within themselves the courage and ability to confront reality and to change it.” Judith and Herbert Kohl wrote that “Myles struggled to help people become morally and politically literate and never withheld himself from the dangers of their struggles, even at the risk of his life.”

Horton was a co-founder in 1932 of the Highlander Folk School in New Market, Tn. For years a major focus of its work was to build the progressive labor movement in the South. In the 50s and 60s it played a significant role in support of the Black-led civil rights movement. During the 70s and 80s it worked with people throughout Appalachia on issues of black lung disease, toxic rivers and landfills and similar issues.

The Long Haul describes how all of this happened, the struggles and difficulties along the way, the victories won and what Horton learned from the people he and others were teaching, the experiences they collectively had.

Throughout this book there are valuable lessons for those of us today. For example, if we want to understand why far too many white working class people were attracted to Trump, consider these wise words:

“Only people with hope will struggle. The people who are hopeless are grist for the fascist mill. Because they have no hope, they have nothing to build on. If people are in trouble, if people are suffering and exploited and want to get out from under the heel of oppression, if they have hope that it can be done, if they can see a path that leads to a solution, a path that makes sense to them and is consistent with their beliefs and their experience, then they’ll move. . . If they don’t have hope, they don’t even look for a path. They look for somebody else to do it for them.”  p. 44

Then there’s the issue of polarization, about which I recently wrote. Here’s some of what Horton wrote about that:

“A large social movement forces people to take a stand for or against it, so that there are no longer any neutrals. You’ve got to be on one side or the other. It’s true that it forces some people to be worse than they would be, more violent than they would be, but it also forces some people to get behind the cause and work for it and even die for it. People have to understand that you can’t make progress without pain, because you can’t make progress without provoking violent oppression. If enough people want change and others stand in their way, they’re going to force them out of the way. A revolution is just the last step of a social movement after it has taken a prerevolutionary form. Then it changes again—qualitatively—into something else. It’s no longer a prerevolutionary movement, it’s a movement that transforms social, political and economic structures.”   p. 114

Finally, and critically, Horton addresses the issue of principles and strategy, the way in which some activists, “especially those who act out of guilt or who are recent converts, get principle mixed up with strategy. They learn it all as a package, and they think, ‘You believe this, and you do it this way.’ They feel that they would be betraying their principles if they didn’t do something a particular way. People must be helped to understand that strategy is different from principle, that you’ve got to find a creative way to get what you’re aiming at. If you’re locked in a room and have to get out, you’re not going to just stand there and rattle the door. You’re going to try to find another way to escape from that room. Maybe you’ll manage to force the lock, or you might break a window. You won’t spend any time saying, ‘Well I’ve got to find the correct way to do it,’ because that’s impossible. You’ll have to find another way.”  p. 199

Myles Horton died in 1990, but like other people down through history and herstory who gave of their lives for others and for a hopeful future, his example and his teachings live on in the hearts and minds of many who knew him. Fortunately, because of The Long Haul, other people, myself included, are able to appreciate all that he did, gain strength for the long haul of progressive activism for societal change that more and more of us need to commit, or recommit, to at this turning point time in world history.


Ted Glick has been a progressive organizer, activist and writer since 1968 and a climate justice organizer since 2003. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21
st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.

Do Unto Others

Three times in the last month I have quoted the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” when I have been speaking on the radio or in person about how progressive social change can come about. Soon after the third time that I did so, yesterday, I reflected on my having internalized this saying such that I have been doing so.

I’ve never in my life, until now, spoken these words to others. I’ve begun to do so after using them in my 2021 book: 21st Century Revolution: Through Higher Love, Racial Justice and Democratic Cooperation. That’s the immediate cause of this new personal development.

The context for my using them within 21st Century Revolution is my belief that there is no way, no chance that we will prevent escalating ecological/climate breakdown and build a new, justice-based world until the organizations which are working for such a world consciously create a way of work, an internal culture, in which values of love and human solidarity are practiced daily.

Here’s what I wrote along these lines at one point in that book: “Our role as human beings is not to let bad things paralyze us, or good things swell our heads, but to ‘do justice, love kindness and walk humbly’ (Micah 6:8) with The Great, Unknown, Creative Force Which Rules the Universe.”

One of the five chapters of this book is entitled, “Does God Exist? Does It Matter?” At the end of this chapter I give my personal answer to that “does it matter” question. I say, in part:

“It does not matter on an individual level whether one professes belief in God or a higher spiritual power. But human history indicates that scientific and technological processes alone just will not work. It matters very much whether human societies have organized entities whose primary purpose is to strengthen an ethical and humane consciousness and develop people striving to live by the principle, do unto others as you would have done unto you. In the words of Albert Einstein, ‘A positive aspiration and effort for an ethical-moral configuration of our common life is of overriding importance. Here no science can save us.’”

It is important to emphasize that this love-based approach is not just an approach that organizations striving to change the world for the better must work at developing and deepening. It is also essential for each of us as individuals to strive to live this way literally hour by hour as we go about our daily tasks. It is so, so easy—speaking very much from personal experience—to become so absorbed in or alienated by what we need to do at work, or in work or other pursuits we want to do at home, that we treat other people, including people we truly love, in a dismissive or disrespectful way. This is particularly true for men.

Do we like it when we’re treated in oppressive, disrespectful or condescending ways? Of course not. So let’s lead by example and do all we can in the coming year to treat and interact with other people as we want them to treat 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.

Is Political Polarization a Bad Thing?

Several months ago I heard long-time progressive activist George Lakey speak on a zoom call. One of the main issues he addressed was political polarization and how, though it may feel otherwise, it can be positive, a reflection of major changes for the better, potentially, taking place in society.

There is a very big, current macro example of this. Over the last seven years we have seen the Republican Party become dominated by extreme right-wingers, deniers of democracy and climate disruption and upholders of racism, patriarchy, heterosexism and deepening class oppression. At the same time we have experienced an increase in left-wing progressivism via the two Bernie Sanders Presidential campaigns, deep and wide climate justice activism, an upsurge of the anti-racist, women’s, labor and other movements, and the growth of both The Squad and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

This growth of strong progressivism was in large part a response to the serious threat represented by the rise of Trumpism.  And although those neo-fascist, regressive political forces were set back in the elections a month ago, it is clear that they have not been defeated. There will be on-going battles for the foreseeable future.

How can we ultimately defeat them? It won’t come about via the pro-corporate, incrementalist-at-best approach of the dominant forces in the Democratic Party. It is that approach which, via NAFTA and other “free trade” policies during the Bill Clinton Presidency, decimated an already struggling industrial working class in the US. This had something to do with the eventual rise of the rightist Tea Party movement, followed by the rise of Trumpism and the positive response to it from far too many white workers.

The political battle between system-critical progressives, system-accepting centrists and rightist authoritarians-or-worse is nothing new. It goes back centuries throughout much of the world. Is there anything different about our situation today that can give us hope that si, se puede, yes, we can win? I think there is.

A major difference in the 21st century is that we are facing the certainty that human societies and ecosystems will unravel in apocalyptic ways in the coming decades if, at a minimum, we do not break the power of the fossil fuel industry and their allies and shift rapidly as a world to conservation, energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Several days ago on CNN I saw Neil Degrasse Tyson being interviewed and he used the word “extinction” to describe what is looming in our future, absent rapid and fundamental change.

The right wingers are on the wrong side of this huge issue. As this crisis deepens and more and more people are affected by extreme weather events and other climate-related disruptions to their lives, those who fought against taking action on it will pay a political price.

Also significant in the USA is the Republican Party being openly, blatantly opposed to women having control over their bodies, as well as their blatant efforts to undercut and destroy fundamental democratic rights, like the will of the voters being what determines who wins elections. Over time, if the progressives keep building upon our successes and visible activism and electoral victories of the last six or so years, and as the Millennials and Generation Z increasingly assert and give political leadership, there are sound reasons to think that yes, we can defeat the Trumpists, reduce the extent of their support so that, though still here, their influence will be significantly lessened.

I think that what happened in the late 60s and early 70s has similarities, but one big difference, in comparison with our situation today. From 1969 to 1974 Richard Nixon was President and proceeded to undertake many policies similar to those of the Trumpublicans. But like Trump, he overplayed his hand, used illegal skullduggery to hurt the Democrats, got caught and was eventually forced to resign in August of 1974. Throughout all those years the Indochina War peace forces continued to organize and take action as did other progressive efforts, which played a role in Nixon’s eventual downfall.

The big difference between then and now is that, until Jesse Jackson ran for President in 1984, there was nothing like the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren/Squad/Congressional Progressive Caucus operating in the electoral arena. As a result, when Ronald Reagan won the Presidency in 1980, there was not much of a progressive electoral and non-electoral Left able to fight effectively against the many regressive domestic and international policies his administration enacted.

Due to our current political and organizational reality, stronger than was the case back then, we can withstand attempted rightist repression and, indeed, turn it into movement-building for us if our movement of movements keeps using three overarching tactics and methods: We must be grounded in day-to-day, community-, workplace- and issue-based organizing by millions of volunteer and paid activists and organizers utilizing popular education and dialogical approaches and techniques. We must engage in independent electoral campaigns from the most local to the highest level, doing so in a tactically flexible way as far as whether to run on a Democrat, independent, Working Families, Green or other line. And we must continually but strategically organize public marches, demonstrations, strikes, and nonviolent direct actions on key issues.

Also, and critical, the diverse and extensive mix of organizations that make up this potential popular alliance must consciously develop group-centered leadership, not individual-centered leadership, to evolve a “not me, us” democratic internal culture and to provide a welcoming and personally rewarding experience for all those involved.

As the new year approaches, let’s resolve to keep at it, build deeper roots, reach out more broadly and find ways to unify to be more effective in our struggles for survival and a new world.

Ted Glick has been a progressive organizer, activist and writer since 1968 and a climate justice organizer since 2003. He is the 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.



AOC for President?

Should Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez run for President in 2024? I say yes.

I’m not close to her or any of her inner team, so this could be no more than a voice crying in the wilderness, but it’s not too early for a draft AOC movement. As much as I wish we had a different way of electing people that didn’t require two years or so of campaigning, I think in this case that AOC deciding soon, if she hasn’t already, to go for it and start in on doing all the things needed for a successful campaign would be the right thing to do.

What do I mean by “successful campaign?”

Best would be her becoming the Democratic Party nominee and then President-elect on November 5, 2024. That would be a very big deal however it happened, by her defeating Biden in the primaries if he runs, or winning out over a likely big field of competitors if he doesn’t. But there are other successes short of that which are worth the tremendous, but exciting, effort that this would be.

A big one would be motivating tens of millions of young people, Generation Z and Millennials. These young and youngish people are the most progressive generations compared to older ones. Their coming out to the polls this year in the battleground states in bigger than expected numbers was a major reason the Republican “red wave” didn’t happen. Their active and massive involvement in politics, both electoral and non-electoral, is absolutely key to progressive change on a wide swath of issues. So whether AOC wins the DP nomination or not, her stepping out and giving leadership in this way would have huge positive impacts.

In my view, this political impact would be almost as important as an actual victory on November 5. Our situation in the USA and the world is very dire, with the triple, severe crises of climate, democracy and deepening racial/economic inequality, existential threats that call for actions, organizing and risk-taking at a qualitatively higher level.

AOC making this move would be a way to keep building upon the progressive, massive movement-building generated by the Bernie Sanders campaigns in 2016 and 2020, and the Elizabeth Warren 2020 campaign. It would be to the left of a Joe Biden campaign, much more consistently progressive on the issues, while, I would expect, making clear that whomever the Democratic nominee is, if not her, she will support her/him given the certainty of Trump/Desantis/another right-winger as the Republican nominee.

Would AOC and those supporting her be attacked by corporate Democrats? Probably, though given the Democratic need for progressive votes, I’d expect there to be some reluctance to do so among more than a few of the politicians and media figures who toe that line. If Biden announces that he plans to run for reelection before an AOC announcement, there’d likely be much more public criticism than if he decides not to do so.

Think for a minute about what things will be like if Biden announces he intends to run again and neither AOC nor any other leading progressive steps forward. Without the political power and impact of an active campaigner traveling the country, speaking to hundreds and thousands of people at mass rallies, utilizing social media and appearing on mass media, it’ll be as if what Bernie (and Elizabeth) did was an aberration, in the past, no longer needed.

There is a need, a deep, deep need. The USA and world needs the AOC risk-taker of 2018, coming from seemingly out of nowhere to take on the number four Democratic Party leader in the House, winning despite overwhelming odds, and continuing to inspire and stand up ever since, winning two more times in 2020 and 2022.

Yes, it’s time for AOC for President!

Ted Glick has been a progressive organizer, activist and writer since 1968 and a climate justice organizer since 2003. He is the 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.

Post-Election, Post COP 27, What Now?

A major article by climate writer David Wallace-Wells in the New York Times in late October, published just before the start of the United Nations COP 27 climate conference in Egypt, made the case that, in reference to efforts to solve the climate crisis and as summarized at the end of the article by Canadian atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, “We’ve come a long way, and we’ve still got a long way to go. We’re halfway there. So take a breather, pat yourself on the back, but then look up—that’s where we have to go. So let’s keep on going.”

In all honesty, this was not the viewpoint of a number of the people Wallace-Wells interviewed for this article. Others, and Wallace-Wells himself sometimes, said things like:

-“We have squandered the opportunity to limit warming to ‘safe’ levels.” (Wallace-Wells)

-“Each time you get an IPCC report, it’s still worse than you thought, even though you thought it was very bad.” (Nicholas Stern)

“The danger is that you have a world that runs on sun and wind but is still an essentially broken planet.” (Bill McKibben)

“What we are witnessing at the present level of warming is already challenging the limits of adaptation for humans.” (Fahad Saeed)

Why do Kayhoe, others quoted by Wallace-Wells and WW himself have this “glass half full” point of view?

Some of it could be tactical. As long as I’ve been in the climate movement there has been discussion about the need to give people some hope that we can change our very desperate situation, not be all doom and gloom. Most people on a personal level want to operate from a place of hope and not despair. But there are valid reasons for believing that we could be turning the corner on this existential battle for the future.

A lot of it has to do with the unexpected acceleration of the shift away from coal, combined with the rapid growth, and rapidly decreased cost, of wind and solar energy. “A report by Carbon Tracker found that 90% of the global population lives in places where new renewable power would be cheaper than new dirty power.”

Another big reason is that, this year, “investment in green energy surpassed that in fossil fuels, despite the scramble for gas and the ‘return to coal’ prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” Without a doubt, the still-growing, international, fossil fuel divestment movement had something to do with this.

Less significant, if of note, is that “90% of the world’s GDP is governed by net-zero pledges of various kinds, each promising thorough decarbonization,” although “at this point, they are mostly paper pledges.” (Wallace-Wells)

Along these lines, a few days ago writer Hunter Cutting reported: “A conservative summary of all the new data finds that total methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas operations are at least twice the U.S. EPA count and twice what the U.S. reports to the UNFCCC under the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement. This under count has been affirmed by the U.S. National Academies. A recent U.S. Congressional investigation into the under count found that the EPA counts are even lower than the estimates found in the internal records of the oil and gas industry.”

Why is this happening at the EPA? It’s because the fossil fuel industry dominates US political and regulatory institutions. That’s why, in the face of all we’ve known for decades about the climate crisis, dirty methane gas, not renewables (yet), has replaced coal as the main energy source for electricity in the US

Indeed, it’s really all about the power of the 1% vs. the rest of us and the world’s disrupted ecosystems. When the richest 1% worldwide hold more than 70% of the world’s wealth, as reported by Oxfam, and the fossil fuelers are all over that 1%, that’s the major impediment to progress on climate as well as a whole range of issues. People who get it on the seriousness of the crisis but who are in positions of power and influence within government and media consciously or semi-consciously pull their punches, don’t speak or write the whole truth, because of the damage the powers-that-be could do to their careers.

Unfortunately, Wallace-Well’s piece makes no mention of these basics facts about who has wielded the ultimate decision-making power, and who still does, as evidenced by the fact that the number of delegates from the fossil fuel industry was larger at COP 27 than any of the previous 26 of them. Shame on the organizers for allowing that to happen!.

An important new book on the climate crisis, Nomad Century, by scientist and writer Gaia Vince, reflects a similar weakness, if somewhat mitigated.

Nomad Century is a valuable book. Bill McKibben calls it “an important and provocative start to a crucial conversation.” In it Vince forthrightly looks at how the world is likely to change if there is no major and immediate course correction by the world’s governments. For her, that means a possible increase of 3-4 degrees Centigrade compared to pre-Industrial Revolution levels. Right now the UN goals are between 1.5 and 2 degrees, but what has been pledged so far would get us closer to 3 degrees, and pledges are just that, by no means certain.

As the title of her book indicates, Vince sees massive migration as central to what the evolution of the climate emergency will mean for the world: “When looking at the future the baseline shouldn’t be thought of as your current life as lived today—the comparison rather is between your future city embroiled in climate-adaptive infrastructure changes, a hotter environment with flash floods, more violent storms, poor food availability, a shrunken workforce with little elderly care, a social environment of fear with increased conflict, terrorism, famine and death broadcast to your screens from the global south. . . or far less of the misery, but many more foreign people living in denser cities.” (p. 94)

She projects that the countries in the northern latitudes— Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, also Alaska—as where many migrants will move to over the course of the century because the climate in or near those latitudes will become the most hospitable to human habitation. There will be the emergence of mega cities that dwarf what exists today because there will be less land available to grow food. Migration within countries and across borders will become much more common for many more people, and there will have to be internationally-connected efforts to enable it to happen in a less destructive, more organized way.

There is much more in her book as far as ways that the world will have to change, much of it of value, some of it definitely provocative. Climate author Kim Stanley Robinson describes it as “cognitive mapping to understand the situation and see a way forward.”

However, in a way similar to Wallace-Wells, there is an essential acceptance of the dominance of the “wealthy elite,” as she herself names them. This is the case even though occasionally her writing indicates that she understands the deeply unjust nature of the world order: “It’s clear that there is tremendous inequality within and between countries, with nearly 3,000 billionaires at the same time as the majority of the world’s people live on very low incomes without access to even basic products. . . This pathological accumulation of wealth could be far better used by society.” (pps. 181-182)

The closest she comes to calling for the system change that is essential if we are to have a chance of forestalling a much worse future than the present is when she writes toward the end of the book, “Everything we need and more can be made from the body of the earth and its biology. It is through our invented human socioeconomic system [Glick paraphrase: corporate capitalism] that we limit ourselves. We can innovate ourselves out of that limitation too, if we choose, but it is far harder to do. We may find we have no choice.” (p. 187)

Another weakness common to both authors is an almost total absence of even the words, much less analysis, of the climate tipping points the world is facing. I couldn’t find those two words anywhere in “Nomad,” and it was in Wallace-Wells’ piece only once, in a paragraph about British economist Nicholas Stern’s views on the crisis: “He worries about the future of the Amazon, the melting of carbon-rich permafrost in the northern latitudes and the instability of the ice sheets—each a tipping point that ‘could start running away from us.’”

So of what importance are the US election results to all of this?

Without question, a Republican “red wave” would have been disastrous, not just because of what would happen on Capitol Hill but because it would have demoralized those who oppose and energized those who support Trump and the extreme right. Because the election was essentially an unexpected draw between the Dems and Reps, there is hope for the future, on climate and many other issues.

It is a very big deal that the Democrats have retained control of the Senate and that the climate denying Republicans will have a much smaller majority in the House of Representatives than the media pundits were predicting.

It also looks as if the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House will gain additional members. That is a good thing. This is the broadly-based entity—about 100 members– which has been giving leadership for action much more at the scale of the problem when it comes to climate and other issues. The CPC “advocates for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, calling for bold and sweeping solutions to the urgent crises facing this nation [including] taking swift action to stop the warming of our planet.”

The turnout percentages overall for women, people of color and young people were decisive in beating back the “red wave.” These are the constituencies, in addition to some segments of organized labor, which are most consistently in support of action on climate as well as on a range of other survival, justice and care issues. It was the broad support of the Green New Deal by these constituencies that led to the Inflation Reduction Act, much weaker than it would have been if Manchin and Sinema were not Senators but still an important step in the right direction on climate, tax reform and health care.

Finally, it is very significant that there were a number of somewhat connected organizations doing critical, on the ground, voter education and turnout work, groups which operated independent of the Democratic Party. This was a major factor in Trump’s defeat in 2020, and in 2022 it was probably even more decisive. In non-election times these groups do the essential day-after-day organizing and demonstrative actions around the issues of working people of all genders, cultures, ages, and nationalities. They break down white and male supremacy and heterosexism as they organize around issues of importance to many, like racial justice, health care, the schools, abortion rights and environmental protection. That kind of work will continue and needs to be broadened and strengthened.

The conscious recognition of the reality of this multi-tactical, multi-issue “third force”—not a “third party”—and its increased interconnection and coherence going into 2024 and beyond is an absolute essential if we are to break the current 50/50 national split between the center/left forces and the right/extreme rightist forces. We need a unified, organized, mass people’s movement which can impact the US body politic in ways that will never come to pass via the Democratic Party as presently constituted.

We’re still here, we’re still standing, we’re still fighting, and there’s still realistic hope that we can defeat the Trumpists and make this the decade of major social and political transformation that it can be, that it has to be.

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.

For Now, US Democracy is Alive and Well

It’s early on the morning after the Big Election of 2022. All of the results and projections by mainstream mass media are in agreement that the pre-election expected—by both Republican and Democratic, mainstream mass media pundits—“red wave” did not and will not be materializing. On CBS radio this am it was being described as more like a “red puddle,” and it could end up more like “much ado about nothing.”

Given the repeated, alarmist, liberal news stories about what they said was likely to happen yesterday, there is no way to describe what happened, whatever the final specifics as far as control of the House—potentially Democratic, if unlikely, still!—and Senate, as anything other than a victory for the Democrats.

US democracy has survived to fight future battles, including the battle for it to become more democratic, less dominated by white supremacist, oligarch money, and that is a reason for relieved hope.

It is very hopeful that young people, apparently, came out in significant numbers. If deeper analysis shows this to be true across the country, it is probably the most important political development of this historic night. Large numbers of young people acting together for positive social change has been absolutely decisive in the past when it comes to important social movements for progressive change. It can be, it has to be, that way in the immediate future if this country and the world are going to positively change in this time of climate/democracy/increasing-inequality emergency.

It is also hopeful that there was significant voter turnout by Black and Latino voters, probably also Indigenous and Asian/Pacific Islander voters. It is inconceivable that the Democrats could have done as well as they did without this being the case.

How did the “red wave” not happen? In addition to and in connection with the youth and people of color turnout, a decisive component was the voter education and turnout work done by many organizations which operated independent of the Democratic Party while supporting in the vast majority of cases Democratic candidates. This was a major factor in Trump’s defeat in 2020, and in 2022 it might have been even more decisive.

The conscious recognition of the reality of this “third force”—not a “third party”—and its increased interconnection and coherence going into 2024 and beyond is an absolute essential if we are to break the generally 50/50 national split between the center/left forces and the right/extreme rightist forces. We need a unified, organized, mass people’s movement which can impact the US body politic in ways that will never come to pass via the Democratic Party as presently constituted.

We’re still here, we’re still standing, we’re still fighting, and there’s still realistic hope that we can defeat the Trumpists and make this the decade of major social and political transformation that it can be, that it has to be.

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.

It’s Turnout, Turnout, Turnout!

Many years ago I discovered the website https://realclearpolitics.com It’s a website that every day reports on the latest electoral polls that have come out from a wide range of polling companies. It’s a good way to keep up with the shifting tides of political fortune for candidates running for President, Senate, House and Governor.

What I’ve learned through using RCP for over 10 years is that the most accurate way to understand what is happening as far as voter preferences, generally, is to average the latest polls, of which there are many during times like right now when there’s a major national election happening. There can be a wide disparity between polls based upon their having either a Republican or a Democratic lean, or just the methodology that is used. That’s why it is important to look at not one individual poll but at an average over the preceding week or the last several days.

Concerned about the current media coverage, and actual indications, that the Democrats are in definite trouble, I just looked at what the RCP polls are saying right now about the state of play when it comes to the US Senate, a battle where the Dems have a better chance of winning than the House. Here’s what the RCP average of polls is currently saying for what they consider to be the dozen “top Senate races:”

Five of them, in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Ohio, are toss-ups. No one is ahead by more than 2.1%, within the polling “margin of error.” So those are all races that the Democrats could win, dependent upon voter turnout between now and election day November 8.

In seven of them, in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Washington, Colorado and Connecticut, the leading candidate has at least a 3.3% advantage. The two closest are in New Hampshire and Wisconsin, where the leads are 3.3% and 3.4%. In the remaining five the leads are between 5% and 11%.

So in seven states, there is a distinct possibility the Trump-dominated Republican party could lose if enough people who get it as far as the danger it represents come out to vote.

The election is eight days away as I write. There’s still time for people to join up with the many organized phone calling and other get out the vote efforts being done by many groups. And there is still time for any of us in those seven states to personally reach out to friends, neighbors, co-workers, anyone we know to urge them to come out and vote on November 8.

History is made not by great leaders but by large numbers of people taking action together at a time of crisis. Now is such a time. Si, se puede!


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.

Seeing Rio on My 73rd Birthday

Soon, very soon,
A couple of hours more,
At the airport,
Baggage claim,
As you and your parents
and me,
Your grandpa,
Reconnect,
In person,
Not for some minutes,
Electronically,
As Important as that is,
But touching,
and holding,
and loving face to face.

Days together
Before returning home
To keep at the work–
even more important to me now–
of helping,
Working with others,
Working day after day,
Hour by hour,
As much as my body allows
For a New World
For you and all children.

I will do all I can, Rio,
I promise you.

And I love you so much.

Por Los Ninos

Why do some of us stick with it, continue to organize and take action for a better world? The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve come to believe that for many of us, children are, at root, the primary reason.

Long-time peace and justice activist Daniel Berrigan concluded one of his most well-known poems, “Some,” with these words:

Why do you stand?” they were asked, and
“Why do you walk?”

“Because of the children,” they said, and
“Because of the heart, and
“Because of the bread,”

“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”

I remember how, about 15 years ago, the thought of my two nieces, at the time ages 1 and 4, Abby and Ellie, was what allowed me to overcome my fear of heights and to scale a ladder 25 feet up from the ground and sit on a narrow ledge for four hours as part of a 2006 climate protest. The last words of the poem I wrote after that action were: ”Abby and Ellie, children everywhere, future generations, need us now.”

And I remember reading, somewhere some time ago, about an African American young person asking a grandparent who had been active in the deep South fighting brutal Jim Crow segregation how they were able to take the risks which came with doing so. The grandparent’s answer: I kept thinking of you and the world you would be living in.

Last week, flying on a plane to California to baby-sit my grandson Rio for my son and daughter in law, independent filmmakers who needed me to do so while they did interviews for a future film, I wrote this poem:

Soon, very soon,
A couple of hours more,
At the airport,
Baggage claim,
As you and your parents
And me,
Your grandpa,
Reconnect,
In person,
Not for some minutes
Electronically,
As important as that is,
But touching,
And holding,
And loving face to face.

Days together
Before returning home
To keep at the work–
Even more important to me now–
Of helping,
Working with others,
Day after day,
Hour by hour,
As much as my body allows
For a New World
For you and all children.

I will do all I can, Rio,
I promise you.

And I love you so much.

There’s a song that has been around in the climate justice movement for many years that I’ve often sung and always liked. Sometimes while singing it with others as part of street actions I’ve choked up while doing so:

People gonna rise like the waters,
Gonna calm this crisis down.
I hear the voice of my great granddaughter saying
Keep it in the ground.

How can our people’s movement for justice, peace, democracy and a stable climate not lose our way as we work for those societal objectives? Putting children, grandchildren, the seventh generation at the center as we figure it all out is without a doubt an essential component.

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.