Category Archives: Future Hope

AOC for President?

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

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

What do I mean by “successful campaign?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, it’s time for AOC for President!

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

Post-Election, Post COP 27, What Now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Now, US Democracy is Alive and Well

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Turnout, Turnout, Turnout!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Por Los Ninos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I love you so much.

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

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

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

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

Let’s Bring It Home

It’s easy to forget that, as of several months ago, political pundits and prognosticators were sure that the Democrats were going to be wiped out in the Congressional elections happening in 25 days. Biden’s poll numbers were down in the high 30’s, Congressional Democrats were demoralized, and all the talk was about a wave election leading to Republican control, and by significant numbers at least in the House, of both houses of Congress.

Then came the Supreme Court’s Roe Vs. Wade decision, followed a month later by the introduction and then passage in the Senate and House of the Inflation Reduction Act. And the conventional political wisdom and the polls began to change. Today, Biden’s approval rating is in the mid-40’s, it is a definite possibility that the Democrats will retain control of the Senate, and the professional political analysts say the House will likely be won by Republicans but with a much narrower margin.

Or to put it another way: it is possible that November 8, election day, will turn out much better than anyone was expecting just four months ago.

It is so easy to get turned off and distracted by all of the election horse race sound and fury coming at us in our email and text inboxes, our tv’s, radios and elsewhere. But we can’t let that happen. All of us need to keep it up, step it up as we approach the end point of this historic election.

For me that has meant doing something I had to think hard about: making phone calls for a Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania who has supported the destructive fracking industry, John Fetterman. Why did I make those calls? Because it could well be that, if he wins, he could be the difference between the Trump Republicans winning control of the Senate and the Democrats holding onto it, or between the Democrats increasing their numbers such that Manchin and Sinema are neutralized, or not.

Those were the reasons why I determined that I should be willing to engage in a tactic that I’d prefer not to but which I determined was OK to do, important to do, given the particular political realities we are facing right now in the USA.

Principles, program, strategy and tactics: I wrote about all of these this summer right around the time that the Inflation Reduction Act was announced. In that column I said: “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.”

I concluded that column saying this: “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.”

Now there are 25 days left. Now, Biden is not so unpopular, which is helpful in terms of the key issue of voter turnout. Now, hopefully, all of us who appreciate the huge danger we face from the neo-fascist Trump Republicans will figure out how we can each do our part leading up to November 8.


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 Ex- (and Future?) President from Hell

Last evening I watched the October 1, “Save America,” Trump/Republican campaign rally, 108 minutes of it, in Warren, Michigan. I did so hoping to see the effect of the internal divisions within the Republican Party, some sign that Trump has been weakened by all that has been exposed about him since he was forced to leave the White House in disgrace.

If anything, Trump is worse than before. He’s not just a neo-fascist; he’s like a raving, rabid mad dog out for revenge on anyone who doesn’t fall in line to kiss his ring.

For the first 50 minutes of his Hitlerian performance, it was striking that he literally had only one good thing to say about his four years in the White House. About minute 41, after claiming that his was “the most successful administration in the history of the country,” he used as his only example that he took over an old post office building in DC and “made it into a work of art,” which he then sold for a nice profit.

I’m not exaggerating. This was the only example for the first 50 minutes, something that had nothing to do with the running of the country but that he had made a “nice profit” on.

Instead, he attacked and attacked and attacked, with zero regard for being truthful:

– “The radical left Democrats lie and steal.”
-“They have flooded the country with tens of millions more criminal, illegal aliens, giving them more than what people in the military get.”
-If the Republicans don’t win back power, “we will never have fair elections again.”
-“Dozens and dozens of political prisoners are locked up in horrible, dirty conditions” because of their participation in “peaceful protest” on January 6.
-There were “one million people on January 6.”
“The cities have become killing fields.”
“Each drug dealer kills an average of 500 American citizens.” His solution: “execute drug dealers.”

Throughout he equated the many and various investigations and indictments against him as attacks not just on him but on those who supported him, that he was suffering for them, fighting back against the radical left Democrats, the FBI, the drug dealers, all for them.

A hatefest, that’s what it was. Hatred, fear, constant lying and division on full display, with Mafioso Trump as the only person in the country who could make things right.

His conclusion, with music to accompany it, was: “We will never give in, never back down, the tyrants we’re fighting don’t stand a chance. The silent majority is back. There will be greatness for our country again. We are one people, one family, one glorious nation. We will make American powerful, make America wealthy, make America strong, make America safe, make America proud, make America great again.”

Were there any silver lining signs of hope at this disturbingly dystopian rally? Perhaps. A Newsweek story quoted Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan who suggested that “the event did not draw a capacity crowd, and that Trump’s speech at the rally may have driven some attendees away.  . . There’s been a steady stream of attendees heading for the exits since about the 15-minute mark of this now hour-long and ongoing speech.”

It is also possible, or likely, that the constant negativism and fear and hate that radiates from this nut case is turning off some of those who are with him on many of the issues.

Trump wasn’t like this the last time I watched him speak in June of 2020 for an hour and a half. Back then, I wrote about how he spent a quarter or more of his speech adlibbing about a speech he had made at West Point a week before “which he claimed went over spectacularly with the troops, of course, but instead, amazingly, astoundingly, a presentation about all that he had to endure up there with the West Point generals:  the sun in his eyes, the heat, having to salute ‘600 times,’ but most of all, the way in which the ‘fake news media’ fixated on how weak he looked walking down a short ramp from the stage to the ground. Trump went on and on about how, because he had ‘leather shoes,’ and because the ramp was like ‘an ice skating rink,’ he had to be very careful, with little steps, telling the general next to him who had the right kind of shoes that he should be ready in case Trump slipped.

“If Trump was a stand-up comic instead of a President, this trivial, self-pitying story might become known as one of the best, long, stand-up comic routines of the year.”

There was no sign of this side of Trump last night. None, zero.

Right now, polling indicates that there is a good possibility that the Trump-dominated Republican Party is going to take over control of the House. That looks less likely for the Senate, but it is not out of the question that they could win there too.

The thought of Trump enablers and fanatics like Kevin McCarthy and Margaret Taylor Greene leading the House for the next two years is not a happy one.

There is one month left until election day, November 8. There is no more important work over that month than work to mobilize all of the radical and progressive and liberal and decent-minded people of our country to come out and vote, send the strongest possible message that the USA, for all its faults, will not become a fascist nation, not now, not ever.


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 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.