All posts by tedglick

It’s Time for Resistance Against Injustice This Memorial Day Week

The meaning of Memorial Day needs to be broadened.

We in the USA need to remember not just those who have died or risked death in one of the many wars the USA has been part of, going back to the original revolutionary war for independence from Britain. We also need to remember those who died or risked death or imprisonment in battles for the rights of workers to unionize, against Jim Crow segregation and for equal rights for all, for peace in Vietnam and against all imperialist wars, for the rights of women and lgbtq people, and against polluting industries and for the rights of nature and all its life forms.

The White House/Republican House debt ceiling bill underlines how important it is to draw strength from those before us who refused to accept unjust laws and practices, because this is a draft law which must be fought and fought right now, this week.

This legislation, if passed, would mandate the completion and operation of the destructive Mountain Valley Pipeline. It would roll back key provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act to enable a continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry. It apparently does almost nothing to advance clean renewables like wind and solar, including doing nothing to make it easier for new renewables to gain access to the electrical grid. It would weaken important social safety net provisions that help those of low income and low wealth while almost certainly increasing the nearly one trillion dollar per year military budget. And it requires student loan payments to restart for millions of young people.

There is no question that corrupt dirty-dealer Joe Manchin had a lot of do with this result. Joe Biden and his administration seem to have decided that appeasing this coal baron is the path forward when it comes to energy. They continue to disregard the statements made over the last two years by the International Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and, just recently, Pope Francis that the deepening urgency of the climate emergency requires that the world’s industrialized countries stop the expansion of new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Some progressives who get it on these and other issues nevertheless have begun to come out in favor of this latest version of the Manchin dirty deal. There is little doubt that on this one there will be a divide among those on the political Left. Those who openly support this flawed compromise will be saying, in essence, that Biden had no choice, which of course is just not true. For weeks other progressives, like Bernie Sanders and Ro Khanna, have been calling upon the Biden administration to continue to pay US debts on the basis of the 14th Amendment, but so far that rational argument has fallen on deaf ears in the White House.

At this point I have no sense as to where House and Senate members are on this latest dirty deal. What I do know is that, once again, those of us who appreciate the importance of fighting against, not weakly compromising with, the Maga Republicans and Democrats like Manchin, must flood Congress right now and every day this week, with calls and texts and faxes and tweets and visits to and actions at Congressional offices.

Let’s act in the spirit of our justice-seeking ancestors who have come before us, remembering our children and grandchildren and the seven generations coming after us. They are depending on us to take action right now.

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at

Does Manchin Own Biden on Energy Policy?

It’s understandable that, when the Senate Dems need 50 of their 51 members to vote on something for it to pass, Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema have a lot more influence than they should. But it has been maddening to see, on the one hand, corrupt coal baron Joe Manchin using that power to advance his and corporate fossil fuelers’ interests as head of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee while, on the other hand, President Joe Biden says nothing publicly to counter him.

Over a year ago Manchin effectively took over FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This happened right after a 3-2 vote by the then-Democratic majority of commissioners to strengthen FERC’s analysis of environmental justice and greenhouse gas emissions impacts when a methane/fracked gas company applies for a permit to build a new pipeline, an LNG export terminal and/or other gas infrastructure. Manchin and Republicans were able to get one of the three Democrats, Willie Phillips, to reverse his vote in support of that new policy.

When Biden renominated FERC chair Richard Glick last fall for a new term after his existing term expired, Manchin refused to even hold a hearing on the nomination, and he is now gone. Who did Biden choose to replace him, on an “Acting Chair” basis? Willie Phillips.

And an article on Tuesday in E&E News reported that: “Manchin is relaunching his quest to overhaul the nation’s permitting laws by reintroducing his proposal that capsized last year. The West Virginia Democrat’s bill largely matches the language and provisions of a negotiated measure that failed to advance in the last Congress.” A news report on the same day reported that Biden is supporting this mainly regressive legislation.

The Biden team apparently thinks that staying quiet about Manchin’s outrageous abuse of power—or worse, giving support to it–for the next year and a half is going to help him and the Democrats win on November 5, 2024.

Is this approach going to lead to the needed, massive voter turnout of young people, those seriously concerned about the climate emergency, those in low-wealth and people of color communities most directly impacted negatively by our fossil fuel economy? No, it is not. It will do the opposite.

I’m sure Biden and the Dems will win more votes of young people, those climate concerned and people of color than the Republicans, but the key issue is turnout. Without a massive turnout from those and other constituencies, the MAGA Republicans could end up continuing to control at least one house of Congress, and it might be worse, maybe much worse.

Now is the time when the Biden Administration needs to feel the heat from the grassroots and those who get it on how serious the climate emergency is. Supporting Manchin’s outrages is not just very bad for environmental justice communities and the planet but a very bad re-election strategy.

Fortunately, the climate justice movement is mobilizing to keep the heat on Biden, Manchin, Republicans and the fossil fuel industry. Two weeks from now, on the morning of May 18 in Washington, DC, there will be a Stop Manchin’s FERC action organized by a number of groups. From June 8-11 there will be local distributed actions around the country to End the Era of fossil fuels. There’s a Stop Cop City week of action in Atlanta June 24-30 against deforestation and police militarization. And in September there will be a major mobilization to support UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who is organizing a global Climate Ambition Summit at the United Nations in New York City. Countries taking part will be those which have upped their climate ambition to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Albert Camus once wrote, “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” Still true, still needed, much needed, right now.

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at

Words to Live By

Several days ago I retreated from the daily struggle to spend a day at the New Jersey beach, connecting with the ocean, the birds, the sun, sand, wind and clouds, as well as the people I passed during my 3 hour, glorious walk. It was a needed and strengthening day.

While there I took the time to look through the wallet I carry with me every time I leave my house. For the first time in years, I read through a number of little pieces of paper in there with inspirational messages of guidance from a mix of people and sources that I have come across over the course of my 73 years on this planet.

Definitely moved by doing so, I thought to myself as I walked along the boardwalk, why not share these with others? Everyone needs inspiration to have the strength to live their lives, day after day, as well as possible.

So here they are, the words that I try to live by:

Do not worry about a holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role.
            from a fortune cookie

Four things to learn in life:
To think clearly without hurry or confusion;
To love everybody sincerely;
To act in everything with the highest motives;
To trust God unhesitatingly.
            Helen Keller

To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face; to greet the day with reverence for the opportunities it contains; to approach my work with a clear mind; to hold ever before me, even in the doing of little things, the Ultimate Purpose toward which I am working; to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart; to be gentle, kind, and courteous through all the hours; to approach the night with weariness that ever woos sleep and the joy that comes from work well done–this is how I desire to spend wisely my days.
            Thomas Dreier

Limit chaos and cultivate order
By singing, dancing,
And talking with each other.
Realize life is short,
Respect your elders,
And recognize that death
Is part of living.
            Creation Story, by Harry Fonseca

Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism.
            Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am firmly convinced that the passionate will for justice and truth has done more to improve (the human condition) than calculating political shrewdness which in the long run only breeds general mistrust.
            Albert Einstein

What history is calling for is nothing less than the creation of a new human being. We must literally reinvent ourselves through the alchemy of the Spirit or perish. We are being divinely summoned to climb another rung on the evolutionary ladder, to another level of human consciousness.
            Fr. Paul Mayer

At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service.
            Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)

Grandfather, look at our brokenness.
We know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred Way.
We know that we are the ones
Who are divided
And we are the ones
Who must come back together
To walk the Sacred Way.
Sacred One,
Teach us love, compassion and honor,
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.
            an Anishinabe prayer

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at

Escalating Save-the-People-and-Planet Tactics

Over the last couple of years there have been three books published, or about to be, which have dealt prominently with the question of whether violence against fossil fuel CEO’s and/or sabotage of fossil infrastructure is warranted. The case is made in all three that it might be given the absolute criminality of those CEO’s as they fight the shift away from fossil fuels and onto truly clean renewables, doing so despite certainty that unless we make that shift, and right now, the world’s ecosystems and its many life forms are in very deep trouble.

The first book was Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Ministry for the Future.” In this very important fictional  book, a massive heat wave in India that kills tens of millions of people in 2025 leads to the emergence of an organized underground group which begins executing CEO climate criminals, with drones being the primary means of doing so.

The second was Andreas Malm’s “How to Blow Up a Pipeline,” from which a movie has been produced and is about to hit the theatres. The first 2/3rds of the book is an argument in favor of property destruction:  “Damage and destroy new CO2-emitting devices. Put them out of commission, pick them apart, demolish them, burn them, blow them up. Let the capitalists who keep investing in the fire know that their properties will be trashed. If we can’t get a prohibition [of all new CO2-emitting devices], we can impose a de facto one with our bodies and any other means necessary.”

Then, two-thirds into the book, he seems to have serious second thoughts.

He writes that “strict selectivity would need to be observed. . . It will be states that ram through the transition or no one will. . . [With] a Green New Deal or some similar policy package, property destruction would appear superfluous to many.” In addition, sabotage carries political risks. “In the eyes of the public, in the early twentieth-first century and particularly in the global North, property destruction does tend to come off as violent. . . Because of the magnitude of the stakes in the climate crisis, negative effects could be unusually ruinous here.”

Which brings us to the third book: Altar to an Erupting Sun, a novel by Chuck Collins, to be published next month. The shero in this book, 69 year old, longtime activist and organizer Rae Kalliher, suffering from terminal cancer with not long to live, is introduced at the beginning of the book arriving early one Easter morning at a compound with a mansion set back from the road behind an eight foot high wall. Clearly having done some scouting, she stops a Humvee as it drives out from behind the walls. When she recognizes her target—“the Oil Baron”–inside the car, she pushes a button on her vest, killing her, him and two members of his family.

The book then shifts back 50 years to 1973 and the awakening of a young Rae to issues of oppression and injustice. Much of the book is a recounting of the life experiences of a young person who becomes a dedicated progressive activist and organizer in the New England region of the USA and how, through those experiences and a commitment to helping to create a better world, she ends up doing what she did. Those experiences included:

-active involvement in the 70s with the movement against nuclear power, including the toppling by Sam Lovejoy of a huge tower part of plans to build a nuke plant in Franklin County, Massachusetts, and the Clamshell Alliance campaign which fought against plans for a nuke plant in southern New Hampshire;

-involvement in the 80s with Vietnam war veteran Brian Willson and the movement in support of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the FSLN in El Salvador in their efforts to overthrow military dictatorships and build more just societies;

-involvement in the 90s with Fr. Roy Bourgeois and the campaign to close the School of the Americas in Georgia, as well as groups in Boston working in support of the rights of tenants and against unjust evictions, into the 2000s;

-and in the latter years of the 2000s into the 2010s, helping to develop Mutual Aid groups, taking up permaculture in Vermont, followed by a growing understanding into the pandemic years of this decade of the seriousness of the climate crisis, learning about FERC and pipelines and taking action accordingly.

At one point author Collins has Rae exclaiming, “Get this: around 1978 Exxon’s own internal scientists studied climate change to analyze the risks to their business. They knew! Fifty years ago. . . The fuckers. This is the face of evil. There is a special ring in Hell for those who knowingly profit from the destruction of a habitable Earth.”

In 2022, after learning that she has terminal cancer, she tells Reggie, her lover/husband, one night, “I want to go out in an action. I want to make a statement about climate disruption, taking one of those fossil fuel CEOs with me. One of the guys who knew for decades about the harms of their business, but covered it up so they could grab more money.”

The closing chapter of the book is about a celebration in the community on what would have been Rae’s 76th birthday in 2030. Reggie, speaking about Rae, makes clear that seven years later, as deeply as he loved and respected her to the end, “what she did was wrong.”

In his book Collins raises up the issue of elders in their final years taking risks or even deliberately giving their lives for Mother Earth and future generations. He does not write about Rae’s action being repeated by others. Instead he “reports” on a group of six grandmothers “calling themselves Good Ancestors immolating themselves in the lobby of ExxonMobil, capturing the attention of the world with their sacrificial witness. In the last year, there has been a steady stream of individual actions, most additional self-sacrifices.”

What Collins did not “report” on was massive, sustained, essentially nonviolent mass actions involving hundreds and sometimes thousands of people, for days and weeks on end, disrupting the operations of the fossil fuel industry or the banks which finance them.

These were the kinds of actions that took place in the repressive, racist USA South in the 50s and 60s. These actions broke the back of deeply-rooted Jim Crow segregation. Martin Luther King, Jr., a primary leader from the beginning of these actions, has written persuasively in Stride Toward Freedom, Why We Can’t Wait and Where Do We Go From Here, Chaos or Community?, about this tactic as THE tactic which, he learned from experience, has the power to bring about substantive and transformative change.

Collins’ book is an important contribution to our urgent, existential battle for the future. It is a good read, thought provoking, informative history and inspiring. Thank you Chuck Collins.

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at

Dr. King, Presente!

“The biggest job in getting any movement off the ground is to keep together the people who form it. This task requires more than a common aim: it demands a philosophy that wins and holds the people’s allegiance; and it depends upon open channels of communication between the people and their leaders. All of these elements were present in Montgomery.”  Stride Toward Freedom, p. 84

“A solution of the present crisis will not take place unless men and women work for it. Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Without persistent effort, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social destruction. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”  Stride Toward Freedom, p. 197

How piercingly relevant are these words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his first book, published in 1958! This is Dr. King’s story of the historic, victorious, Montgomery, Alabama, African American bus boycott. It is truly living history, still relevant to our conditions today.

Stride Toward Freedom is one of the six books written by Dr. King. I’ve just finished reading all of them, doing so after being challenged by Zayid Muhammad, a strong Black leader in New Jersey, at a rally in Newark on January 15th, Dr. King’s 94th birthday. During Muhammad’s speech he spoke of these six books and asked how many of us had read all of them. My recollection is that only one person, Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress, raised his hand.

I had read only one of them, King’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail, which is more of a booklet than a book. So I decided Zayid was right, that more of us should check out this historic figure’s writing, and so I did.

One thing which struck me as I read King’s books was how smart he was organizationally and strategically. I realized that my understanding of the man had been incomplete. I knew him as a brilliant orator, a prophetic religious leader, a person willing to give his life for the freedom of his people, of all people, a personal hero who, more than anyone else, inspired me to a life of activism both through his too-short life and his abrupt death on April 4th, 1968.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. that I discovered in the five books—Stride Toward Freedom, Why We Can’t Wait, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, The Trumpet of Conscience and Strength to Love—was a national and international leader who understood not just systemic racism but the issue of class. During his teen years, for example, he wrote about how “I worked two summers, against my father’s wishes, in a plant that hired both Negroes and whites. Here I saw economic injustice firsthand and realized that the poor white was exploited just as much as the Negro.”  Stride Toward Freedom, p. 90  

King was critical of “monopolistic capitalism” where there is “more concern about the economic security of the captains of industry than for the laboring men whose sweat and skills keep industry functioning.” Strength to Love, p. 23

In Stride for Freedom King writes for several pages about how, “during the Christmas holidays of 1949” he read Das Kapital, The Communist Manifesto and other “interpretative works on the thinking of Marx and Lenin.” His overall verdict was mixed. He concluded that both Marxism and capitalism represented a partial truth. “Nineteenth-century capitalism failed to see that life is social and Marxism fails to see that life is individual and personal. . . [what is needed] is a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both.” pps. 92-95

Throughout his books King wrote about the importance of Mohandus Gandhi and the theory and practice of nonviolent action. He particularly emphasized the importance of MASS civil disobedience, that there must be “a force that interrupts its [society’s] functioning at some key point. . . conducted by large masses without violence. Mass civil disobedience as a new stage of struggle can [transform rage] into a constructive and creative force.” Trumpet of Conscience, p. 15

But King was not a doctrinaire pacifist. He wrote in Where Do We Go From Here that “the right to defend one’s home and one’s person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages of common law.” p. 57

King was very clear that in order to effect transformative social change the Black community must engage in alliances with others. In Trumpet of Conscience he writes positively about “the Negro and white youth who in alliance fought bruising engagements with the status quo,” p. 47.  In Where Do We Go From Here he says that “a true alliance is based upon some self-interest of each component group and a common interest into which they merge. . . Each must have a goal from which it benefits and none must have an outlook in basic conflict with the others,” p. 159. Elsewhere in that book he writes of how a “coalition of an energized section of labor, Negroes, unemployed and welfare recipients may be the source of power that reshapes economic relationships and ushers in a breakthrough to a new level of social reform.” p. 150

King appreciated that mass nonviolence alone as a tactic was not sufficient. In Where Do We Go From Here, written in 1967, he writes: “the only answer to the delay, double-dealing, tokenism and racism that we still confront is through mass nonviolent action and the ballot,” p. 137. But he also understood the critical necessity of “permanent groups” which worked on a day to day basis on behalf of their members. “Mass nonviolent demonstrations will not be enough. They must be supplemented by a continuing job of organization. To produce change, people must be organized to work together in units of power. These units may be political, as in the case of voters’ leagues and political parties; they may be economic, as in the case of groups of tenants who join to form a union, or groups of the unemployed and underemployed who organize to get jobs and better wages. . . [This work] is necessary for meaningful results.” p. 139

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had much, much more than a dream. His overall body of work, his activism, organizing and public speaking, as well as his clear and compelling writing, is literally a gift that keeps giving to all who will take the time to listen, read and learn.

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist and organizer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at

Ukraine, Self-Determination and Peace

Almost a year ago, a couple months after Putin’s government invaded Ukraine, I wrote this in a Future Hope column:

“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.”

Since then, and up to now, I have also publicly supported Ukraine’s military efforts to prevent the takeover of Ukraine by Russia, including their right to get arms and ammunition from other countries, including the US. I’ve supported their right to self-determination, as I’ve done for decades supporting people and groups in countries all over the world—Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Chile, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere–where the United States has engaged militarily or provided armaments to deny just that and many other human rights.

For months now the Ukraine/Russia war has been stalemated. Neither country is making significant military gains, while huge numbers of people are being killed, injured or forced to live in atrocious conditions. Within that context, China is playing a major role to try to bring about a ceasefire and negotiations toward a peace settlement. Putin has said he supports those efforts, which he has to do given the importance of China economically to Russia. US government spokespeople, like Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, are openly dismissing them, while making no efforts to advance any kind of a peace process. From all outwards appearances that I have seen, it looks like the Biden Administration would have no problem with a protracted war on the territory of Ukraine that goes on another year, or two, or more. This is madness!

Here’s what I think the US government should do:

-Stop dismissing China’s efforts and put forward its own proposal for an immediate ceasefire and the opening up of negotiations.

-Call for Russia’s withdrawal to where it was in Ukraine before their full-scale military invasion 13 months ago.

-Call for democratic and transparent elections under the auspices of the United Nations in Crimea and those parts of eastern Ukraine where Russia troops were before February 24th of last year. Those elections would be a form of self-determination in what are clearly the most contested areas between Russia and Ukraine. The issue to be determined by those elections is whether those regions continue to be Ukrainian or become part of Russia.

-Call for reparations from Russia for the massive damage it has inflicted on the Ukrainian people and economy. This is important first of all because of Russia’s imperialistic devastation. It is also important to send a signal to other countries that they will face a similar fate if they do anything similar.

More of us need to speak up and publicly call for a ceasefire and the opening up of negotiations. End this war now!

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist and organizer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at

Defending the Weelaunee Forest

“My creed of nonviolence is an extremely active force. It has no room for cowardice or even weakness. There is hope for a violent man to be some day non-violent, but there is none for a coward. I have, therefore, said more than once….that, if we do not know how to defend ourselves, our women and our places of worship by the force of suffering, i.e., nonviolence, we must, if we are men, be at least able to defend all these by fighting.

“Though violence is not lawful, when it is offered in self-defence or for the defence of the defenceless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission.

“We do want to drive out the beast in the man, but we do not want on that account to emasculate him. And in the process of finding his own status, the beast in him is bound now and again to put up his ugly appearance.

“The world is not entirely governed by logic. Life itself involves some kind of violence and we have to choose the path of least violence.”

Mohandus K. Gandhi, Between Cowardice and Violence,

Earlier this week I participated in several actions in Atlanta during a Week of Action in defense of the South River Forest, also known as the Weelaunee Forest “in honor of the Muscogee Creek people who lived there until they were departed in the Trail of Tears.” (1) The primary action which I helped to organize and participated in took place on March 6 when a group of mainly elders went to the Atlanta corporate headquarters and then five active construction worksites in Atlanta of the corporation Brasfield & Gorrie.

B & G is the company which, any day now, could begin construction of a $90 million, 85-or-more-acre concrete training complex for police in the Weelaunee Forest, which is adjacent to Black and brown residential neighborhoods. The intention is that it would become a major institution where police from around the country would come to be trained, leading to significant destruction of the several hundred acre forest and thousands of trees.

While at the Brasfield & Gorrie corporate headquarters where our group was demonstrating, a Cobb County police officer came by. As the designated police liaison I spoke to him. He initiated a conversation about Cop City and why it was so needed because, he said, the existing training police facility was so rundown, “with leaks and mold.” I responded, “Why seriously damage an important forest? Why not renovate or tear down the existing building and build a new one on the existing police site?” He didn’t have much of an answer to either question.

In the leaflet which we distributed throughout the day on March 6 we explained what is wrong with Cop City:

-It would increase the use of militarized policing.
-It would destroy thousands of trees which are needed to reduce flooding that already occurs in nearby neighborhoods, help clean the already over-polluted air and reduce the urban heat island effect.
-It would worsen climate change and increase noise and particulate pollution.
-It would violate Nature’s right to exist, which provides beauty and tranquility for humans and other living things.
-There are much better uses for the Atlanta city money planned for this project, like funding non-police responses to improve security and improve health care for at-risk residents.

On my first full day in Atlanta a week ago I went to the forest to learn more about it and the resistance to its destruction, as well as to enjoy a music festival being held there. After a couple of hours I left to attend a planning meeting for our Brasfield & Gorrie action the next day. Later that day, in the words of a press release put out at, “A separate protest group with hundreds of people marched to the site leased to the Atlanta Police Foundation for Cop City. The march was in response to the murder of activist Tortuguita and a move to reclaim the Weelaunee Forest as a public commons. There are reports of construction vehicles and surveillance equipment being set on fire. Sometime after this action, police retaliated viciously by raiding the entire forest, arresting at least 35 people at the nearby music festival, including people with no connection to or awareness of the action on the other side of the nearly 600 acre forest.”

This militant action of property destruction was not the first action of this kind in the two years that the fight against Cop City has been raging. While at the music festival I picked up a 60-page pamphlet, The Forest In The City, a report and analysis of those two years. If you want to have a deeper understanding of the resistance movement, it is an essential document.

What “The Forest In The City” makes clear is that there are a broad range of groups with a broad range of tactics who are fighting to save the forest and oppose police militarization.

As someone who believes that nonviolent tactics are ultimately the most effective tactics in the building of the kind of mass movements needed to effect the kind of social change the world desperately needs, what is described in this “Forest” pamphlet has challenged me. It appears from the outside of this battle that the mix of tactics, including property destruction, have had an impact. Without question all of the activist opposition, combined with the repressive and violent tactics of the police and prosecutors in Georgia, has brought major media attention to the issue of forest destruction and police militarization.

50-plus years ago I was part of a sector of the Vietnam war peace movement, the Catholic Left, which engaged in property destruction, primarily pieces of paper: 1-A draft files. These were the files used by the Selective Service System to send hundreds of thousands of young men, predominantly working class young men, to Indochina to kill over a million Vietnamese in an effort by the US government to replace French colonialism with US colonialism. In addition, in one action I helped to make happen, about 200 bomb casings for “seeing eye” bombs in a railroad car that would have gone to Vietnam were sabotaged by using a large bolt cutter to gash the metal threads on the top of the casing where an electronic camera was to have been installed.

Some in the broader peace movement, particularly at the beginnings of the Catholic Left movement, were critical of these kinds of actions, seeing them as “violence.” We didn’t think so. Our main response was to say that the careful destruction (we didn’t use bombs) of these pieces of paper, or bomb casings, used to prosecute an unjust, murderous and imperialist war, was not violence.

Gandhi’s views on the question of violence above seem relevant to our situation today, and to the Cop City struggle.

Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. are probably the most well-known practitioners of nonviolence. But it is clear from what Gandhi wrote that he was not an absolutist who condemned any and all violence no matter who engaged in it. Indeed, he supported the involvement of Indians in the British Army to fight Hitler and fascism. And King, as far as I know, was never critical of groups like the Deacons for Defense, organized and armed Black people in the deep South who played a behind the scenes but very real role in the ultimate successes of the Black Freedom Movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Again, I continue to believe that nonviolent resistance when it comes to tactics is, definitely in the long run, the tactics which have been and will be most effective when it comes to transformative and revolutionary change. I also believe very strongly that it is essential that we develop a movement culture which opposes all the societal forms of violence like white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism and personal practices of domination.

I am glad that I took part in a small way this past week in the righteous battle to defeat Cop City and Defend the Forest in Atlanta.

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist and organizer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at, and he can be followed on Twitter at

Ukraine, Russia, War and Imperialisms

125 years ago the USA’s imperialist/militarist interventions outside the borders of the continental United States began in earnest with the Spanish American War, in 1898. During this war the US replaced Spain as the colonizing power over Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines.

In response, a US Anti-Imperialist League was formed. Among its more well-known members were Mark Twain, Samuel Gompers, Jane Addams, Felix Adler and Grover Cleveland.

Maybe what we need today is something similar, something which explicitly names “imperialism” as a continuing evil which must be fought. But the last year of devastating war following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine argues for it being very clearly not just an anti-US imperialist entity but one which opposes all forms of imperialism.

The Ukraine/Russia war continues to be, at root, a battle for national self-determination by Ukraine against an imperialist power, Russia. Disturbingly, there continue to be leftist groups and individuals in the US who deny this fact. To them, the only imperialism that matters is US imperialism.

There’s no question that the dominant imperialist power in the world today is the United States. The US military budget is now $858 billion dollars a year, and there are 700 US military bases in over 80 countries. Russia has 35, and China has 5. That $858 billion is 40% of what the world’s countries combined spend on their militaries, and it is greater than the military budgets of the next 12 countries combined. China, the second highest, with over three times the number of people as the US, is about 1/3 the US budget. Indeed, the $69.8 billion increase in the US military budget from 2022 to 2023 is greater than the total military budget of all other countries in the world, except for China.

The US government’s support for Ukraine’s legitimate military resistance to the Russian invasion, theoretically, could be happening for other than imperialist reasons. Unfortunately, the language used by the Biden Administration over the past year accompanying the massive weapons transfers to Ukraine indicates otherwise. There are many indications that, as of right now, they are hoping that a prolonged and extremely destructive war will weaken Putin and the Russian government such that Russia is fundamentally transformed, tamed, Westernized. This obvious approach has been used by Putin to solidify political support in Russia while leading him, in desperation at his invasion’s failures, to threaten the use of nuclear weapons.

On top of these dangerous developments, the US is ratcheting up its rhetoric and actions directed against China. In a front page story in yesterday’s New York Times, reporting on Putin’s meeting with “the top Chinese diplomat, Wang Yi,” the authors wrote that “the world is retreating into two blocs that bear similarities to those of the Cold War.”

This is not what should be happening in a world in desperate need of international cooperation to shift rapidly from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources. This must happen if we are to prevent escalating ecosystem and societal breakdowns over coming years.

Growing numbers of people and organizations in the US are speaking out and taking action to call for the US to change course. Instead of overt rhetoric to put Putin into a corner, the Biden Administration needs to go on a diplomatic offensive toward a ceasefire and negotiations to end the war. It is time to move towards a peaceful resolution of this deepening conflict in which Ukraine’s right to self-determination and independence is central. With a shift of this kind, there are reasons to believe that countries like China and India would come on board to help end this war.

Given the ratcheted up rhetoric coming from both Putin and Biden, this will not be easy. But those of us who appreciate the seriousness of the current situation must speak out now and keep building the political pressure from below. Members of the Progressive Caucus in Congress need to speak out. Religious leaders, union leaders, other elected officials need to do so. We need a people’s peace offensive, not endless war, not in Ukraine nor anywhere else.

One year of devastating war is enough. War is not the answer.

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist and organizer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at, and he can be followed on Twitter at

Camus’ Plague, and Our Own

(Almost three years ago, in March of 2020, in response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus to the United States, I re-read Albert Camus’ masterful book, The Plague. With the Covid plague by no means over but currently in relative remission, hopefully for good—though new viruses could very well emerge at any time, especially among low-wealth people and elders—I am resending this column now. There’s definitely value to reflecting on Camus’ insights.)

“The truth is that nothing is less sensational than pestilence, and by reason of their very duration great misfortunes are monotonous. In the memories of those who lived through them, the grim days of plague do not stand out like vivid flames, ravenous and inextinguishable, beaconing a troubled sky, but rather like the slow, deliberate progress of some monstrous thing crushing all upon its path.”
-Albert Camus, The Plague, p. 179

I’ve read Camus’ classic novel, The Plague, three times, the third time just a couple of days ago, and each time the experience deepened my commitment to taking action for a better world. The main characters in the fictional book, all men, some from the beginning and some later, all throw themselves into the desperate, difficult and emotionally draining fight to prevent a hideous and deadly plague that erupts in the town of Oran, population 200,000 in North Africa, from overwhelming it. As they do so, Camus explores how, through their thoughts, their journal entries and their conversations, they try to handle the existential immensity and uncertainty of what they are experiencing.

There are a number of essentially surface differences between Camus’ plague and the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. His is concentrated in one town; it is more deadly than, so far at least, it appears COVID-19 will be; his takes place right after World War II, over 70 years ago; and, as mentioned above, all of the main characters are men.

From everything I’ve observed via the news, there are an awful lot of women—nurses, doctors, epidemiologists, media spokespeople, some political leaders—who are major characters in the real-life plague the world is contending with now. I’m glad that’s the case. Women playing hands-on and leadership roles in just about anything improves the chances for better outcomes.

It was not a major theme of Camus, but he did address the issue of price gouging, something which has begun to make the news today in relationship to the exorbitant raising of prices for essential health equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer, and even toilet paper. In the fictional Oran, “Profiteers were purveying at enormous prices essential foodstuffs not available in the shops. The result was that poor families were in great straits, while the rich went short of practically nothing. Thus, whereas plague by its impartial ministrations should have promoted equality among our townsfolk, it now had the opposite effect.”   p. 237

It has been striking that those part of the world’s power elite or famous people have come down with COVID-19. Without a doubt, that explains why those like Trump, who tried to wish it away until it became ridiculous to keep doing so, finally had to take it seriously. But it is also true that the lowest-income people, those whose health is not as good, who live in crowded apartment buildings, who have lost their jobs or who have little in savings to fall back on, or those incarcerated, will certainly end up disproportionately impacted by the virus. [And definitely elders!]

It’s like climate disruption. Those hurt the most are those with the least resources to survive storms or droughts or floods, but everyone, of whatever class, race or gender, are at risk of major personal impacts sooner or later.

The narrator of the book is Doctor Bernard Rieux, who is portrayed as the primary medical person doing all he can at great sacrifice to help the victims of plague, rarely with positive results until the very end. At the end, as the town is finally reopened for travel to and from it after nine months of isolation, the townspeople are portrayed as wildly and exuberantly celebrating. Camus doesn’t allow his main protagonist to do the same but, instead, to make a social observation based on experience: “he wished to behave like all those others around him, who believed, or made believe, that plague can come and go without changing anything in men’s hearts.”  p. 295

What will come of today’s pandemic? Camus’ implication is that an experience as searing and socially disturbing as a plague has very real impacts, some negative, as in a hardening of hearts due to loss of loved ones or fear of the future, and some positive, as we have seen with this pandemic as far as heroes stepping forward, particularly health care workers, modeling a willingness to risk serious illness or death for others.

But as I have seen numerous such workers say when interviewed, they are also just doing their job. Camus references this. At a point in the Oran plague where the growth of the number of plague victims was straining the town government’s ability to keep up with all that had to be done, several men voluntarily stepped forward:

“Those who enrolled in the ‘sanitary squads,’ as they were called, had, indeed, no such great merit in doing as they did, since they knew it was the only thing to do, and the unthinkable thing would then have been not to have brought themselves to do it. These groups enabled our townsfolk to come to grips with the disease and convinced them that, now that plague was among us, it was up to them to do whatever could be done to fight it. Since plague became in this way some men’s duty, it revealed itself as what it really was, that is, the concern of all.”  p. 132

Organizing to change something that is wrong or unjust is like this. At first, a small number of people, maybe even just one, need to step forward and publicly say, “This is wrong, and it must be changed,” and begin taking action. If those actions are carried out in a clear and welcoming way, others also will come forward, and over time, sometimes very quickly, a movement big enough to make change will emerge. This is what happened in Oran due to the initiative of a handful at a needed time. It’s a life lesson.

What’s the big takeaway from The Plague? It’s this: “What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves.”  p. 125   And again, on the final page: “what we learn in times of pestilence is that there are more things to admire in people than to despise.”    p. 308

Beginning with clueless Trump, there are certainly plenty of people whose actions during this pandemic have been despicable. But they are vastly outnumbered by those who, during this difficult time, are performing admirably, some heroically.

In the meantime, let us all do what we can to help as many as possible survive this pandemic, this plague, and then let’s just keep going afterwards to bring into being a world where plagues of environmental devastation, hunger, war, and systemic injustice are finally defeated.

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, and he can be followed on Twitter at

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, and he can be followed on Twitter at