All posts by tedglick

A Huge Defeat for Joe Manchin, Hooray!

It was a hard-fought and, as a result, very sweet victory yesterday over Joe Manchin, coal baron, fossil fuel profiteer and sick, unapologetic corporatist. It was a huge victory against powerful enemies of the planet and its people.

The fact that it was ultimately sunk by the Republicans after about 85 House and Senate Democrats, under strong grassroots pressure from hundreds and hundreds of groups, came out publicly against it is a sign of how isolated and defeated Manchin is, right now. He’ll make every effort to make a comeback, and he can’t be counted out, but right now he’s down on the mat.

Our job is to make it very difficult for him and the fossil fuel industry he represents to recover from this defeat. He’s already made it clear in his defeat statement that he intends to keep at it. Of course he’d say that, what else is he going to say? On his deathbed he’ll probably say, I am so proud of my efforts to keep the fossil fuel industry alive. He is exhibit number one of what the term “climate criminal” means.

How do we keep the fossil fuelers as down as we can keep them? Most immediately, those of us who fought this two-month fight against the Manchin dirty side deal should be doing as much as we can to defeat Republicans running for the Senate. If the Dems have at least 52 Senators, Manchin’s (and Sinema’s) power will be lessened big-time.

And we should do the same as far as the House. Our consciously multi-racial people’s movement is in a better position to defend democracy and advance climate justice, racial and economic and gender justice, the rights of workers and more, when the Democrats control Congress. You can be a dedicated revolutionary who supports the need for a progressive alternative to both parties and appreciate this truth.

At the same time, I think we need to seriously look at the issue of electrical transmission. That is the argument used by Biden, Schumer, and many Democrats as to why they supported the Manchin dirty deal, that it’s OK to accept that deal because if passed it would have made it easier for the federal government to build long distance and other power lines to get electricity from solar and wind farms to homes and businesses.

I’m not clear in my own mind about this issue. My preference would be for the primary focus to be massive government support for locally-based and -controlled, distributed energy and battery storage, rather than massive, industrial scale wind and solar farms. Such an approach would, over time, decrease the need for long-distance transmission. It would also mean a much more resilient, secure and people powered electricity system. But I am not opposed to the big projects in general, given the urgency of the climate emergency.

I know I’m going to be personally researching and talking with others about this transmission issue. Strategically, this has to be on our agenda right now.

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

A Very Important Lesson Learned

This morning, going through old email from way back, I found something from six years ago that I had saved, written by the late veteran organizer Hunter Gray. Re-reading it, I’m glad I did. In the email was a story he had written that everyone who is an activist for progressive social change should read and seriously consider. Here it is:

 A VERY IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED LONG AGO BY ME — AND NEVER FORGOTTEN

I learned a very important lesson in 1964 in a hot and crowded church one night at Enfield, in Northeastern North Carolina. Our Movement was indeed moving quite well indeed.  But it was a very tough struggle against great odds and crises were many. Feelings in that church were high and strong, and when I, the organizer/speaker rose to the podium, I was fired up.  Somewhere in my call-to-arms, I began to talk about the County Attorney, Rom [Romeus] Parker, a key foe and, although not one of the thick-as-sand-fleas Klansmen, a very committed segregationist. He was a man of average build, seemed to wear the same dark business suit and tie, and his not-that-old a face was rather heavy and worn.

And one of his legs was badly crippled.

In that church, my focus on Rom Parker and his sins sharpened.  The eyes of people glistened.  I noted signs of movement, angry tension. Full agreement with my every hot-eyed word.

And then, I began to mimic Rom Parker’s crippled gait.  I jerked back and forth in front of the crowd — noting the considerable resonance this pantomime evoked.

The tempo of angry feeling in the church rose higher, and higher.

And then, suddenly, I stopped my act.  Cold turkey.

There was sudden silence.

I am not known for apologies — whether sparingly delivered or profuse.  But, in my own way, in that hot, tense church, I did just that.

Shaken, I told the people:  “I should never have done that — mocked another human being in such a cruel and thoughtless way.  We’re all committed to something much, much higher — vastly higher, vastly better.”

I finished, “Rom Parker is a human being.”

And heads began to nod. There were murmured “Amens.” Then there was silence for a few moments more — and then the minister led off with “Amazing Grace” and we all joined in.

I continued my talk and we continued our most successful Movement.

And I never did anything like that again.  Never.

Months later, spearheaded and pushed by our Movement, The Change began to come to that hard-core section — and others across the sweep of Dixie.  Under the eyes of Klansmen, angry white parents, state and some Federal officials, we had succeeded some time back in securing token school desegregation — Blacks and one Indian — into schools in two of the towns.  And now I and a few others were meeting at the county courthouse with school administrative officials to work out the integration / transfer of even more “minority” students.  It was a low-key meeting involving some discussion of new Federal guidelines, nothing dramatic.  Rom Parker was there as County Attorney.  Earlier, I had loaned my car to a colleague and, with the meeting adjourned, I suddenly realized as I approached the courthouse door that it was raining very hard outside.  My friend had not yet come back with my vehicle.

Most people had already left.  But, behind me, I heard someone coming down the stairway.  It was Rom Parker.  He and I looked at one another.  Then he said, “I’m heading back to Enfield.  Could you use a ride?”

I was almost tempted — but my car was coming.  “I’ve got someone bringing my car here,” I said.  “Or I would be happy to go with you.”

And then I added, “I greatly appreciate your offer.”

And we shook hands.


In my book, 21st Century Revolution, I say at one point that “It is not enough to be concerned about the problems of the world. If a person trying to change the world treats other individuals she/he/they come into contact with on a day-to-day basis with disrespect or worse, it is a very big contradiction and, over time, this contradiction will undercut the efforts for social change.”

An Anishinabe prayer I came across many years ago makes this point very, very well:

Grandfather, look at our brokenness.
We know that in all creation
Only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way,
And we know that we are the ones who must
Come back together to walk the Sacred Way.
Grandfather, Sacred One,
Teach us love, compassion and honor,
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.

Amen.

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

A Political Turning Point on Climate and Progressive Change?

The human species is on a race to see which tipping point we reach first. One would come about if there is so much destructive disruption of the earth’s ecosystems because of the overheating of the atmosphere and oceans that life on earth will be a living hell for those who survive. It would take centuries or millennia before we return to the relatively stable climate we have experienced for thousands of years.

The other tipping point is a political tipping point, a sea change in how seriously humanity as a whole, worldwide, takes the climate emergency and takes action accordingly.

What happens in the USA has a great deal to do with which of these wins out. We are the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitter when it comes to cumulative emissions since the industrial revolution began 250 or so years ago. We are also a dominant nation in the world, if not as much as in the past, politically, economically and militarily.

So are we at or approaching such a political tipping point in the USA right now? Was the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by Congress, billed by most of the mass media as primarily a climate bill, a bill which will accelerate sufficiently the urgently needed shift from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy, while opening the way for the kind of progressive changes on a range of issues that will prevent a pro-dirty energy, counter-revolution?

I think it might be, despite its disturbing provisions supporting the fossil fuel industry, particularly oil and gas in the Gulf and Alaska, limited environmental justice provisions, limited support to mass transit, and other weaknesses. There was a lot in the bill which will advance solar and wind energy, electric cars, battery storage and electric heat pumps for heating and cooling. Without question, these are all sectors of the 21st century economy which must grow as rapidly as possible if we are to avoid full out, escalating climate and societal breakdown. If the IRA becomes a down payment leading toward much stronger and much more consistent legislation at the scale of the crisis, it will have been a definite win.

It looks like the IRA’s passage has led the US mass media to be making the connections more frequently between extreme weather events and global heating. That is a big deal, if it continues, which it should if the climate justice and progressive movements keep building the visible and activist mass movements which, indeed, had much to do with the IRA becoming law.

It also looks right now, two months before the November 8 federal elections, that there is a decent chance that the Democrats are going to retain control of the Senate and probably gain at least two seats, neutralizing Manchin and Sinema’s poisonous effects that we’ve seen during the first two years of the Biden Presidency. Since the Supreme Court’s misogynist decision overturning Roe vs. Wade, there has been a decided political shift among potential voters which makes it possible that the Dems could end up controlling not just the Senate but the House.

These extremely important developments will only happen if there is extensive and determined organizing to bring out the progressive and justice vote all over the country. This needs to be done not just by the Democratic Party and its candidates but by others not controlled by the Dems who understand the critical nature of these next two months electorally.

But there is one more immediate fight which we must also win, and do so this month: the fight to defeat the Dirty Manchin Side Deal, beginning with preventing it being included as part of a “continuing resolution” to keep the government funded which has a  September 30 deadline.

Here’s how I described what this dirty side deal, supposedly agreed to by Democratic Party leaders, would do in a column I wrote a couple of weeks ago: “grease the wheels for the destructive Mountain Valley Pipeline to be built; severely undercut the National Environmental Policy Act; speed up the federal permitting process for proposed fossil fuel projects; undercut the power of the federal courts to make decisions that slow down approvals of fossil fuel pipelines and infrastructure; and more.”

Democratic Party leaders cannot, absolutely cannot, expect people to come out in the numbers needed on November 8 if they put Joe Manchin’s twisted priorities ahead of the priorities of those in environmental justice communities suffering from air, water and land pollution, the futures of our children and grandchildren, and the health of the planet. It would be nothing less than criminal to pass the already-compromised Inflation Reduction Act and then follow it up with an overt pro-fossil fuels bill that would have negative impacts for years to come.

Fortunately the climate justice movement and its allies have been in rapid response mobilizing mode on this issue for the last month. It has been very encouraging to see how many groups have moved quickly to take this issue up, not just climate groups but other groups. There is going to be a major demonstration this Thursday, September 8, in Washington, DC at 5 pm on Capitol Hill to #StopMVP and Manchin’s Dirty Deal. All who can do so should make every effort to come, and all of us need to keep up the pressure on House and Senate members until we win.

Yes, the needed political turning point is possible. It may, indeed, be happening as I write. Let’s make it so!


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

Senator Schumer, Did Manchin Tell You Oil/Gas Was Drafting the Side Deal?

Did Joe Manchin tell Chuck Schumer that the American Petroleum Institute was going to draft “must-pass” legislation, a pro-fossil fuels side deal, to go along with the Inflation Reduction Act?

On August 3, just a few days before the Senate passed, by a 51-50 vote, that IRA legislation, Bloomberg news released a story about the pro-fossil fuels side deal which should be finally released publicly any day now. Manchin said a month ago that there was a side deal agreement between him and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

This agreement will allegedly allow a vote in September on a yet-to-be-released piece of legislation that will do many bad things: grease the wheels for the destructive Mountain Valley Pipeline to be built; severely undercut the National Environmental Policy Act; speed up the federal permitting process for proposed fossil fuel projects; undercut the power of the federal courts to make decisions that slow down approvals of fossil fuel pipelines and infrastructure; and more.

The Bloomberg article on August 3 reported that “a July 19 draft bill text circulating among lobbyists and lawmakers doesn’t cite any specific, individual project by name. Rather, it is a broad framework aimed at streamlining the permitting process for pipelines and other energy projects under the National Environmental Policy Act. . . The document carries a “Draft – API” watermark. API could stand for the American Petroleum Institute, a powerful lobbying organization for the oil and gas industry. API has had discussions with Manchin staff about the permitting overhaul, and the July 19 date of the document lines up with those discussions, Frank J. Macchiarola, the organization’s senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs, said in an interview. But API didn’t write or edit the document, Macchiarola said.”

Yeah, right. An API watermark isn’t proof of anything. There’s probably lots of people or organizations with the initials “API” who are experts on fossil fuels and are friendly with coal baron Joe Manchin. NOT!

The API crowd are Joe’s people. At an infamous hearing of the Manchin-chaired Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 4th of this year, Manchin said, in the heat of a back-and-forth between him/the Republicans and the three Democrats who make up a majority of the five-person leadership group of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “you are wearing people out,” in a clear reference to Manchin’s people, the coal, oil and gas CEO’s and those on their boards of directors. “There’s a policy by some of death by a thousand cuts on the fossil fuel industry;” and “I know these people, they’re not going to invest, they’re going to walk away.”

Manchin and the Republicans were upset because a couple of weeks before, by a 3-2 vote, FERC decided to change its decision-making policy when a methane gas pipeline company applies for a permit for an interstate gas pipeline and/or related infrastructure, like compressor stations, export terminals or storage terminals. Instead of a rubber stamp policy, which is literally what it has been for over 20 years at FERC, the Democrats in the majority voted for something different, like specifically taking environmental justice and climate change seriously into account.

The Manchin/Republicans gambit worked. A couple weeks after the March 4 hearing the FERC Democrats reversed course, and this new policy was put on hold, which is still the case five months later.

Will Manchin be successful in this latest effort to keep “these people” in the oil and gas industry happy, with Chuck Schumer using his power in the Senate to make it happen? You don’t need to do it Senator Schumer! You owe nothing to scheming Joe Manchin. Just say, “No Joe, I am not going to allow a vote on a bill drafted by the oil and gas industry, the American Petroleum Institute.”

Chuck Schumer and other Democrats in the Senate and House need to be bombarded for the next month by the people’s movement for climate and environmental justice movement and all people who get it on the urgent need to shift from fossil fuels to clean, jobs-creating, renewable energy. Just say no, Chuck!


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

Victory in Senate a Turning Point? No, Not Yet!

10 days ago, when the Manchin/Schumer deal was made public, I had major concerns. It requires leases to be sold by the feds to oil/gas companies for drilling on public lands and waters in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska before wind or solar can be built on public lands. It supports carbon capture and sequestration and new nuclear power plants. The specific environmental justice aspects are limited, not enough.

Perhaps most significant, passage of the Inflation Reduction Act was paired with future passage of a separate piece of legislation that would specifically attempt to ensure that the destructive and unneeded Mountain Valley Pipeline is completed and put into operation, while making it easier for new gas/oil pipeline and export projects to get their permits and be built.

The fact that this second piece of legislation, Manchin’s evil monstrosity, has not been officially introduced yet and that the IRA was passed prior to that happening is a good thing. It could mean that, if all of those progressives and liberals who supported the IRA join with the environmental justice and other climate activists who were either skeptical of or opposed to it, we could defeat Manchin’s monstrosity, which will need 60 votes in the Senate to pass. The “no” votes of a lot of Senate Democrats could sink it even if there are a lot of Republican votes in favor, which is likely.

If this is what ends up happening, I would say that, overall, the good provisions of the IRA on climate, health care and taxing the rich will end up making what happens in Congress this August and September on these issues a win, a positive thing. Several reputable analyses of the relative good vs. bad things in terms of action on climate in the IRA have reported that the good far outweigh the bad. It is a positive thing that prescription drug prices are going to be reduced, that Obamacare was extended for three years, and that some limited progressive tax reforms will be enacted.

But if Manchin’s monstrosity if passed, the positives are much less, especially on climate.

Let’s use what remains of the month of August to get it together on a national campaign to defeat the MVP and fast-tracking of fossil fuel infrastructure, to defeat Manchin and the Republicans, to make the months of August and September, 2022, truly a turning point period for the planet, its people and all its life forms.

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 Climate Emergency and Congressional Compromising

There are two big national initiatives right now, as of two days ago, to address the climate crisis:

-the call for and organizing to press Biden to declare a climate emergency and then use his Presidential powers unlocked by that to take a series of badly-needed actions, and

-the Biden/Manchin/Schumer/Pelosi “Inflation Reduction Act,” and, announced the same day, the commitment by Biden/Pelosi/Schumer to pass companion legislation by September 30th. Here’s how that projected companion legislation was described by Manchin in a public statement: “President Biden, Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have committed to advancing a suite of commonsense permitting reforms this fall that will ensure all energy infrastructure, from transmission to pipelines and export facilities, can be efficiently and responsibly built to deliver energy safely around the country and to our allies.”

Transmission is one thing, pipelines and export facilities another completely. We don’t need more pipelines and export facilities! The International Energy Agency said last year that there should be no more expansion of the fossil fuel industry, as did the Pope about a week ago!

So what should those of us do who get it both on the urgency of the climate crisis and on the need for climate action now which consciously incorporates an environmental justice, race and class lens?

I have not read the 750 page Inflation Reduction Act legislation. I have read several analyses of it by people who have. On that basis it is clear that there are good things and bad things in it. Without question it is a compromise that benefits Manchin and the fossil fuel industry while also doing good things as far as the needed shift from fossil fuels to renewables. It is, truly, “all of the above” legislation, which, frankly, is not what we need right now.

So what should people like Sanders and Warren and AOC and Bush and others who have been champions of climate action at the scale of the problem do when it comes up for a vote? I’d say that, right now, one key thing to do is find out more about this “suite of commonsense permitting reforms,” in Manchin’s words.

If Manchin is going to use his very unfortunate power in the existing Senate—which, by the way, six months from now could be a different reality if the Democrats have 52 or more Senators, a definite possibility–to prevent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act until those “commonsense permitting reforms” are passed—September 30 is a date I saw in the news—that’s a big problem, a very big problem. It means what is now going on is almost certainly just the latest maddening maneuvering by Manchin which, if those “reforms” are not as strong as he wants them to be, then he will end up, once again, after stringing Biden, Congress, climate and progressive activists and the country along, vote no on the “all of the above” compromise. That will not be a good thing for efforts to defeat the Republicans on November 8.

So where I come out right now on all of this is for everyone who gets it on climate to rally behind the call by the 1200 organization strong network, People Vs. Fossils Fuels, for actions on August 2, next week, demanding that Biden declare a Climate Emergency.

The last thing needed right now is for us all to get bogged down in back-and-forth debate for days and weeks over this Manchin/Biden/Pelosi/Schumer initiative. We need to press hard and publicly and right now for what is actually needed, and that is a Climate Emergency declaration. We need actions all over the country now and a continuing drumbeat for action at the scale of the problem: President Biden, Declare a Climate Emergency!

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.

Principles, Program, Strategy, Tactics

Political movements that are successful over the long-term are those which have clear principles, an understandable and increasingly popular program, a strategy appropriate to time and place, and tactics which embody and advance that strategy and program. Although these four things are interrelated, they are not the same.

Take principles. Without strong principles an organizing effort for social change will not accomplish much. Yet, if it becomes a political force that those in power need to take into account, if not fear, they will try to use the carrot and the stick to weaken the movement by undercutting or coopting leadership. Leaders will say that in order to be effective the movement needs to settle for much less than it is demanding. Over time, or maybe quickly, this will demoralize grassroots members and weaken the movement.

But there’s also the problem of principles being substituted for strategy and tactics. When this happens, the organizing effort becomes so concerned about making compromises, about working with people not so principled, that it becomes a purist organization increasingly isolated from the broad mass movement which history shows is always necessary for major political, social, cultural or economic change.

If our objective is a fundamentally different kind of society, one that is truly democratic and just, which preserves the environment and provides the basic necessities of life to all, which dramatically reverses destructive militarism and obscene disparities in wealth and power, then our strategy must, above all else, flow from the understanding that, in the final analysis, history is made by many millions of people acting in different ways but for the same general purposes, and our tactics must move us toward that objective.

This doesn’t mean that every tactic, every action, must involve hundreds or thousands of people. Sometimes relatively small groups taking dramatic action, taking risks, or being creative and smart about the nature of the action, can have impacts far beyond their numbers. This will happen if they’ve organized and undertaken the action in a way which masses of people can relate to, are interested in, or can understand.

Movements that are going to succeed need tactics that “push the envelope.” They go beyond petitioning, letters to the editor, letters to elected officials, public speaking, conferences, legal demonstrations, support for mainstream/corporate Democrats, etc. Hunger strikes and nonviolent direct action, in particular, both communicate urgency, the need for action to be taken and taken soon by those being targeted or appealed to. Electoral campaigns by strong progressives independent of the two dominant parties, mainly these days using the tactic of running in Democratic primaries, send a message that the time is now to break with the usual political orthodoxy and create something new.

Right now, principles and strategy come into play when considering whether, in good faith, one can use the tactic of supporting opportunistic Congressional Democrats who have achieved political office and some power in part because of their too-often willingness to compromise. The need to defeat the Trumpist Republican alternative because of the danger of so many bad things coming about if there is a Republican takeover of the House and/or Senate on November 8 calls for all of us on the progressive Left to take this question seriously.

There continue to be polls and other indications that, despite Biden’s real political weakness and unpopularity, growing numbers of progressives, liberals and decent people see the importance of a massive turnout to the polls on November 8 as an essential, absolutely necessary, tactic for us over the next 100-plus days.

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

A New Cold War in Climate Emergency Times?

I have long believed that a silver lining to the very ominous cloud of global overheating is that, hopefully, the nations of the world would unite to turn things around and, in doing so, lay the basis for grassroots and governmental global cooperation on many other urgent issues leading to the kind of system change needed. To some extent this has begun to happen through the annual United Nations climate conferences and the adoption of agreements that are too weak, but are of some value, to jointly take action to shift away from fossil fuels.

This world political process has been one factor in the growth worldwide of wind and solar energy. However, because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the disastrous war since, these political and economic processes are definitely in jeopardy. One huge example is the vote taken by the European Parliament a week ago labeling methane gas and nuclear as “renewable energy” because Russian oil and gas is now verboten. European countries are now turning to the US and other countries to urge them to ramp up their oil and gas production and export it to Europe to replace what they’ve been getting for years from Russia.

Putin’s invasion and attempted military overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government is the primary reason for this war, but the rhetoric and pronouncements of Biden and others in his administration has not been helpful to ending it—just the opposite. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin saying, several months ago, that this war would go on for years was particularly problematic.

The US and European governments have not just provided support, including major military support, to Ukraine. Most have gone out of their way to make it more difficult for a ceasefire to go into effect. It’s like we’re being wrenched back decades to the Cold War between the US and the USSR.

It is not too late, and not too early, for the US and Europe to make a course correction. Now that the war has bogged down in the Donbas region, an area that has been one of the most Russian-friendly of anywhere in Ukraine, the United States should call for an immediate ceasefire and urge other countries to do the same. The relative stalemate in the Donbas and the suffering by both civilians and troops on both sides provides very strong reasons why an initiative for a ceasefire in place now could generate significant support from many nations, including some who have been giving support to Russia.

Another reason why a political campaign for a ceasefire in place makes sense is the mounting cost of the Russian destruction in Ukraine. President Zelensky has called for the world to come up with $750 billion for Ukrainian reconstruction. That’s an awful lot of money for one relatively small country. Think of what could be done with that much money when it comes to worldwide hunger, renewable energy, healthcare, education, pandemic vaccines and more.

Throwing the world off in its essential task of shifting off of fossil fuels as rapidly as possible—causing immense suffering for millions of Ukrainians and a huge problem of how to rebuild what has been destroyed—risking a many-years-long cold war between the US/Europe and Russia/China, including the heightened risk of nuclear war: these are immense negatives.

The Biden Administration has cast this as an historic struggle between good (the US and Europe) and evil (Russia and China). Although Putin stands out in the evil rankings right now, the US and Europe have a long history of colonialism, imperialism, racism, war and domination of the Global South. It’s time to see the big picture and the futility of this war as it is now being fought. It’s time for a diplomatic offensive for a ceasefire in place in Ukraine.

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.

Si, Se Puede on November 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Very Special Human Being

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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