Category Archives: Future Hope

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

The Long Haul, an autobiography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Unto Others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Political Polarization a Bad Thing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AOC for President?

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

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

What do I mean by “successful campaign?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, it’s time for AOC for President!

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

Post-Election, Post COP 27, What Now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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