Category Archives: Future Hope

Buffalo!

The shooting rampage in Buffalo, NY by the young racist/fascist that killed 10 Black people has filled me with mixed emotions. One, of course, is sadness and anger at this outrageous loss of innocent lives because of the ideology and practices of the extreme rightwing, neo-fascist movement in this country, a movement which is explicitly or implicitly supported by much of the machinery and the state and national leadership of the Republican Party.

Another feeling is deep weariness about the too-strong foothold that these violent extremists continue to have in the USA. It’s not hard to understand why they do, given Trump’s victory in 2016 and strong showing in 2020. Any country where those things happened is a country with some very big problems.

The problems, however, are more than the obvious ones of white supremacist ideology, groups organized on the basis of it, and a racist/fascist/misogynist/heterosexist subculture maintained and built via social media, Fox media and other poisonous sources.

What else is there? I’d say another very big culprit is the dominance of corporate interests over the Democratic Party. What’s the connection?

At one time the Democratic Party was generally seen by working class people of all races and nationalities as their party. This began in the 1930’s with FDR’s support of the rising labor movement led by the Congress of Industrial Unions, the CIO. It continued with the national Democratic Party’s support, begrudgingly, eventually, of the Black Freedom Movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s. But over the next couple of decades things changed with the rise of the pro-corporate Democratic Leadership Council in the ‘80s, leading to the election of Bill Clinton twice in the ‘90s.

Clinton was directly responsible for the passage of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and other initiatives to open up more of the world for the penetration of US-based, transnational corporations. This led to an acceleration of the process of millions of good-paying, US working class jobs being lost as companies picked up and moved south of the border to Mexico or Central America or overseas to China and other Asian countries. For very good reasons, large numbers of working class people of all races were turned off to both Republicans and Democrats.

Into this breach came the rightwing populists who played on both white people’s racism, a very real thing then and now, and their anger at big business, to pull lots of white working class people their way. IMHO, there’s a direct connection between those developments and the rise of the violent racist/fascist/misogynist/heterosexist movement we saw raise its ugly head, once again, in Buffalo.

So yes, we should do everything we can as far as trying to pass strong gun control legislation, outlawing violent hate speech and advocacy, pushing to prioritize domestic rightwing extremism when it comes to law enforcement, and more, but these alone aren’t going to solve this deep-seated problem. Ultimately, what will solve it is a consistently progressive movement of movements, a progressive alliance, independent of the Democrat and Republican parties. This alliance must have anti-racism at its center, and its white members must understand, and act on that understanding, that they are expected to speak out and organize among white working class people day after day as much as they can. We must counter racist ideology and help those influenced by it see that it is only by joining together across lines of race, gender, nationality, color and other differences, taking on the obscenely rich and power-mad rulers, that we can create a very different and hopeful future for all of us.


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

The Walk for Appalachia’s Future

From May 24th to June 4th, climate justice and social justice activists will be walking and riding from Charleston, West Virginia into southwest Virginia, down to Rockingham/Alamance counties in North Carolina, ending up in Richmond, Virginia. For most of the time the Walk for Appalachia’s Future will take place along the route of the planned but deeply troubled, 303 miles long, fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline.

This action is happening first and foremost to kill the MVP, but it also calls for jobs with justice, for renewable energy, and for mobilizing the resources so that the people of Appalachia can exercise control over their lives and communities. In the words of West Virginia farmer, activist, and one of the Walk leaders Maury Johnson, “There isno reason to build new pipelines. We have far too many destructive pipelines already. We need to fully electrify our energy sector with renewable energy and build a smart, modern electrical grid. Senator Joe Manchin, MVP supporter and coal plant owner, is not only wrong, he is DEAD wrong, and the human race will be too if we continue down the path that he is pushing.”

The primary purpose of the Walk is to amplify the voices of frontline Appalachian communities and others in their fight for environmental justice and renewables. The mission statement goes on: “We will say loudly and clearly that politicians need to stop doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry and get serious about the urgent need to shift in a just way from coal, oil and gas to renewables. All along the pipeline route we will inspect damages to water, air, animals, and the Earth, and the people who depend on them; and we will every morning have ceremonies honoring the heroes in our states who have died during these fights to protect Appalachia.” 

The first, long, multi-day political walk I was ever on took place in Appalachia, in 2011, the March on Blair Mountain. Over the course of a week we walked from Charleston down into coal country in the southwest part of West Virginia. That march had four demands: preserve Blair Mountain, abolish mountaintop removal, strengthen labor rights and invest in sustainable job creation for all Appalachian communities. Blair Mountain is where 10,000 armed coal miners fought in 1921 against the coal operators and their supporters who were severely repressing them as the miners attempted to organize. The 2011 action was well attended, received much state and national media attention and was a big deal.

Organizers for this Walk 11 years later are from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and beyond. They are active members of organizations such as 7 Directions of Service, POWHR, Beyond Extreme Energy, NC Alliance to Protect the People and the Places We Live, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Th!rd Act, and others. Hopefully, this Walk will come to be seen as an important part of what put the final nails in the coffin of the MVP, as well as advancing the urgently needed, justice-grounded, community-involving transition from fossil fuels to a jobs-creating, renewable energy economy, toward thriving and prosperous Appalachian communities.

For more info, to sign up and/or to donate go to: (20+) Walk for Appalachia’s Future | Facebook

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.

Ceasefire for Ukraine Now!

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.

Does this mean that Putin, who I agree is a war criminal, will continue in power? Yes, it does. Such a result is without question much less evil than the alternative, months or years of world-shaking war that could become nuclear war.

Putin has been politically wounded by the failure of his intelligence apparatus and his army to rapidly overthrow the elected government of Ukraine. It is inevitable that war crimes proceedings will take place in one way or another. He will not emerge from this war as a respected Russian leader.

I’ve been supportive of US military and economic aid to Ukraine, in general, since Russia invaded. I’m not in favor of a complete shutoff of military aid right now. But I do believe that the best course of action by the United States would be to call for an immediate ceasefire and urge other countries to do the same and to critically assess how much military aid is provided to Ukraine based on how the call for a ceasefire is responded to. Regardless, the US should be publicly leading in a campaign to force both Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table.

It has become clear to me as I have followed this war and studied about Ukraine and Ukraine/Russia relations that though Putin’s invasion and his conduct of the war all throughout is a series of criminal acts, the continuation of the war, likely concentrated in the eastern part of Ukraine, is not in anyone’s interest except the fossil fuel and war profiteers and those in power because of them.

From what I can see, eastern Ukraine is either going to be consumed by murderous war or experience a reprieve which will clearly be followed by political instability, at best, for a long time to come. The divisions within that region are very deep, deeper now I’m sure because of this war. But to be blunt, better a divided and unstable but relatively peaceful Dombas for years to come than the looming alternative.

Ukraine has the right to self-determination, as all countries do. But given the eight years of war that has been the case in that eastern region of the country already, self-determination for those people must be a key goal of any serious negotiations.

The US, the Biden administration, needs to turn away from the yawning abyss we are staring into right now. It’s time for the US to lead for a ceasefire and serious diplomacy.

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.

No War, No Warming, No White Supremacy

15 years ago, in October 2007, about 70 activists were arrested on Capitol Hill as part of a “No War, No Warming” action during the time of the Iraq war. I was one of those arrested, and on Democracy Now the next day here’s how I explained it:

“Most people understand that the Iraq war is all about oil. It’s a war for oil, has nothing to do with terrorism. We get the oil. We burn the oil. We heat up the earth. We aggravate and make worse conditions of life for people all over the world, as global warming has its impacts: droughts, floods, sea-level rise. That’s going to lead to more and more climate refugees, going to increase conflict, lead to more war. It’s a vicious cycle. We have to end these wars, get off of our war addiction and our fossil fuel addiction, be about justice, be about peace, be about clean energy. The peace movement, the climate movement, the justice movements, we need to be coming together, and we need to be stepping up our tactics, stepping up our actions, and letting our government know we are not going to accept what they are doing, whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”

Neither Republicans nor Democrats started the current war between Ukraine and Russia. Putin did, but as of now it looks likely that those in power will make a bad situation worse by ramping up the US military budget and production of oil and gas to try to replace Russia’s exports to Europe. Biden’s proposed military budget for 2023, $813 billion, is $70 billion higher than what he wanted for 2022.

Who suffers most from this tax money going to war, empire building and the polluting fossil fuel industry? It’s low-income people, predominantly people of color because of institutionalized racism. They are the ones whose health is most impacted by dirty fossil fuels being burned or toxic poisons leaked into the air or water next to where they live. They are the ones who suffer from the lack of housing, employment, health care, child care and other programs and policies because the massive military budget takes priority. They are the ones most impacted when stronger and more frequent floods, droughts, superstorms and fires ravage communities as the earth keeps overheating. They are the ones forced to leave their homes to migrate somewhere else in an effort to survive and improve their lives.

Convergence Magazine editor Max Elbaum, in a recent column, said something similar from an international perspective:

“Unfortunately, but predictably, the U.S. and most of its allies are responding with increases in the military budget combined with blatant racist hypocrisy. The current outpouring of self-righteous moral outrage about white Europeans dying at the hands of Russians is in sharp contrast to the dominant attitude when even larger numbers of Iraqi, Yemeni, Mozambican, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and other non-white civilians died at the hands of Western armies and their puppets. And why are sanctions against Russian aggression considered not just appropriate but praiseworthy while sanctions against Israel’s apartheid regime are considered illegitimate if not downright anti-Semitic?”  

Does this mean that I am opposed to the financial, including arms, support given to Ukraine to prevent Putin’s takeover of their country? No, it doesn’t. I’ve written and taken action in opposition to what the Russian government is doing and in support of Ukraine’s right to national self-determination. But it has become abundantly clear that the military-industrial complex and the fossil fuel industry are doing all that they can to take advantage of this violent conflict to advance their financial interests. They hope to be war profiteers, in a very big way.

What do we need? We need no war, no warming, no white supremacy actions in the streets. We need a 2020’s version of the kind of mass movement against war and for social justice that we saw during the Vietnam and Iraq wars, one that links the climate emergency, war and militarism, and the need for racial and economic justice. And we need that now, in 2022.

Renewable energy builds world peace and justice!


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.

Facts, Not Blind Ideology

“In 1959, the BBC asked [Bertrand] Russell, [public intellectual, historian, social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate] what advice he would give future generations. He answered: ‘When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed, but look only and solely at the facts.’          -from Humankind, A Hopeful History, by Roger Bregman, p. 253

This advice from Bertrand Russell, one of the 20th century’s most prominent progressive intellectuals, toward the end of his long life is very sound. It resonated with me when I recently read it. I’ve been thinking for a while about how and why intelligent, well-meaning people sometimes hold onto beliefs or a particular ideology even when new information, or just the basic facts, should lead to a different view of things.

Unfortunately, my life experience has led me to realize that though most people do generally agree that an approach of facts and the truth of things, actual reality, must always come before ideology, this is too often not the way some human beings function, particularly when it comes to politics. And this very big problem transcends political ideology. It’s true on the political right, center and left and always has been.

As far as progressives, the biggest, most recent example is the Covid-19 anti-vaccination campaigns—not just individual points of view but public campaigns–of people like Robert Kennedy, Jr., Gary Null and others. Despite over a year of successful experience with vaccines dramatically reducing deaths, hospitalizations and total cases of the virus, these vaccine deniers, not just clinging to their general anti-vaccine ideology but actively campaigning against people getting vaccinated, have almost certainly increased the numbers in all three categories. It is shameful.

Then there’s the public political position of the national Green Party—which I was a part of for many years, though no longer—that there was no difference between Hillary Clinton and Trump in 2016 or between Joe Biden and Trump in 2020. Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins, the GP Presidential candidates, took that position over and over, which turned out to be very unpopular on the left. Most people on the left did the right thing and put facts over ideology: Stein got 1.1% of the vote and Hawkins got about 0.4%.

I am fully aware that on too many issues, particularly the appalling US military budget, US foreign policy and acceptance of corporate/big money domination of our society, there are similar approaches between Republicans and the usually dominant corporate wing of the Democratic Party. But if you think that overt racism, denial of women’s and lgbtq rights, denial of labor rights, poverty and neo-fascism are very big issues, the common sense approach to take when voting for President under the existing US electoral system (it needs to be changed!), particularly if you are in a swing state where the vote is usually very close, is to vote for, yes, the lesser evil. Practically, that makes sense.

We’re seeing a similar thing right now as far as the political left and the Ukraine war. Despite the plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face reality that this war is happening because Putin invaded Ukraine with 150,000 or so well-armed troops, with no provocation by Ukraine, a small percentage of those on the left who see themselves as part of the US peace movement are letting their particular brand of leftist ideology guide the positions they take on this huge issue.

The primary example is the United National Antiwar Coalition. What are their main demands, as listed on their website? No War With Russia. No to NATO. No Sanctions.

Contrast this with the demands of Code Pink, one of the leading organizations on the left organizing mass demonstrations against the war: Stop the War in Ukraine. Russian Troops Out. No to NATO Expansion.

Both agree that NATO’s expansion over the last few decades, since the Soviet Union dissolved, is an underlying reason why Putin took the action that he did. From a geo-politics standpoint, it is understandable why not just Putin but many Russians would be upset about having NATO military bases and missiles 100 miles or so from their western border, just as the United States 60 years ago was upset about having Soviet bases and missiles 90 miles away in Cuba.

Code Pink, however, in its first two demands, addresses the fact that the reason for this war is Putin/the Russian government’s unprovoked decision to invade Ukraine militarily, and Russian troops must leave  if there is to be peace and national self-determination for Ukraine.

UNAC’s “No War With Russia” demand completely obfuscates the fact of who started this war. There’s nothing about Ukraine. Indeed, if you look at their three demands in their totality, there’s nothing there that Putin disagrees with. He doesn’t want the US or European countries to get involved in this war, he wants Ukrainians and their supporters to stand down or be defeated so he can sieze their land. He’s obviously against NATO. And he obviously doesn’t want any sanctions on anybody in Russia, in general or on the oligarchs.

Ideology is not a bad thing. It’s of value, very important really. Each of us as individuals should have a fact-based and justice-seeking worldview which guides us as we go through life, day by day. But when that worldview doesn’t fit with the facts, as history and our lives develop, it’s time to make some practical and ideological adjustments, look at things more closely. Ideology grounded in facts, not blind ideology, is what we must strive for.

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.

News from Manchin land: We’re wearing the fossil fuelers out

Amidst the deep pain, fear and anger worldwide at Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, there was a ray of hope from a very unlikely source yesterday: Joe Manchin’s mouth. During an inquisition—officially a “hearing”—of Manchin’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in the heat of a back-and-forth between him/the Republicans and the three Democrats who make up a majority of the five-person FERC commissioners leadership group, Manchin said, at one point: “you are wearing people out,” in a clear reference to Manchin’s people, the coal, oil and gas CEO’s and those on their boards of directors.

Manchin made other similar comments: “There’s a policy by some of death by a thousand cuts on the fossil fuel industry;” and “I know these people, they’re not going to invest, they’re going to walk away.” Republican Senator Mike Lee said, “It’s a radical climate agenda. Maybe we’re better off without FERC. Maybe we should eliminate it.” Republican FERC commissioner Mark Christie said, “This is the latest example of delaying and adding costs to pipeline applications. There’s a national campaign against all fossil fuel facilities. This gives that campaign an added weapon.” And then there’s Republican commissioner James Danly: “Uncertainty drives up risk premiums for companies. This destroys a village to save it. They are discussing in boardrooms what to do about these projects.”

What occasioned this hearing, this Manchin/Republican anger, this and other statements yesterday revealing that the climate/climate justice/progressive movement is having a definite impact on the fossil fuel industry?

Two weeks ago, at a regular monthly meeting of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, following over a year of publicly accepting comments, a new policy was adopted to guide decision-making when a methane gas pipeline company applies for a permit for an interstate gas pipeline and/or related infrastructure, like compressor stations, export terminals or storage terminals. For 23 years, since 1999, the FERC policy has been to interpret the “public interest,” which FERC is by law supposed to be serving, as the “corporate interest.” Whatever the pipeline and gas industry wants, they get. The statistics tell the story: over 99% of applications for permits have been granted over that time.

Note that this has happened over these 23 years regardless of which party has been in the majority at FERC. Things are different now, though, very much because of the political strength of the people’s movement demanding environmental justice and an urgent shift from fossil fuels to wind, solar and other genuinely clean renewables. That movement has had an impact on the Democratic Party such that the three Dems now in the majority, Richard Glick (no relation), Allison Clements and Willie Phillips, are doing things differently.

What is the “radical” new policy that the “gang of three,” in Manchin/the Republicans’ eyes, have adopted? It’s not really that radical. Instead of a pipeline company having a contract with a gas supplier being the basis for a positive response to their permit application, the new policy officially includes an assessment of the proposed project’s impact on local landowners and communities, particularly environmental justice/low-income/people of color communities, the environment generally and the climate crisis specifically. That’s it.

The adoption of this policy is a victory, but there’s no guarantee that it’s going to lead to the denial of most of the new gas industry permit applications, even though the International Energy Agency last year called for exactly this to be the policy starting last year on the part of the world’s advanced industrial economies: no new fossil fuel projects. Given the pressures from the fossil fuelers, the rightwing media echo chamber, Manchin/the Republicans and some other gas-friendly Democrats, and now the use of Putin’s Ukraine war as a justification for expanding the gas industry to substitute US fracked gas for Russian gas, it is entirely possible that there will still be a fair number of approvals of new gas infrastructure.

There is a continuing need for watchdogging and keeping the heat on FERC, a task which the organization Beyond Extreme Energy, working with other groups, has been doing for almost eight years. BXE and other groups will continue to advocate for a replacement of FERC with FREC, a Federal Renewable Energy Commission which does many of the things FERC does but with conscious, Congressionally-mandated policies of renewables first, shifting off fossil fuels and nukes asap, environmental justice, and support of democratic, public participation in the creation of the new, justice-based, truly clean and locally-based energy system that must be our future.

In this time of war and continued struggle for justice, let’s raise our voices and take action even louder and stronger for this urgent shift as a key part of how we defeat Putin, Trump and other petro state authoritarians and build a new world. Renewable energy builds world peace!

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.

Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize

So is it a lock that in November the Republicans are going to take back the House and Senate? Are the big things that progressives and people of good will have been fighting for since President Joe Biden was elected 15 months ago now up in fossil fuel smoke for years to come?

That’s what Mafioso Trump and his multitudinous supporters on Capitol Hill, in the right-wing media, and elsewhere are expecting. Their success in preventing the passage of Build Back Better and voting rights legislation thanks to collaborating corporatists Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have clearly emboldened them.

It’s easy for this current situation to strengthen people’s understandable cynicism about two party electoral politics in the USA. There’s no question that increased numbers of progressive and grassroots activists are thinking it’s a waste of time to be engaged in electoral politics. Honestly, I’ve been thinking about that myself in recent days and weeks. But thinking more deeply about it I’ve realized that this would be very shortsighted. It would be, quite frankly, ahistorical, as in not having learned from history.

Think of this: In the 1972 Presidential election Republican Richard Nixon defeated Democrat George McGovern in a landslide, 61-39% in the popular vote and winning all but one state and the District of Columbia. But a little more than a year and a half later, because of the Watergate Hotel break-in and what came after it, Nixon was gone — forced to resign, approval ratings at 25%, disgraced — and the Republicans, for several years, were in disarray.

There’s an obvious analogy to today. It is entirely possible that the work of the bipartisan Congressional committee investigating the January 6 neo-fascist attack on the Capitol, and the Justice Department’s continuing series of indictments for that attack, will lead to Trump and his accomplices being not just further discredited but hauled into court and convicted of treasonous criminality. That will not help the neo-fascist, vote suppressing, racist elements currently in control of the national Republican Party.

And what if the pandemic lightens up, as it is currently doing, the winter ends, the spring arrives, people can open their windows, and the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths goes way down? All of that is possible based on what public health and medical people are saying. A number of them believe that we will have Covid with us for some time to come, past 2022 almost certainly, but eventually in a much reduced and more manageable form. 

If this is our reality by this summer, that will have political impacts on the body politic.

And there could be other developments that as of now are unforeseeable or uncertain. There’s 270 days to go until national Election Day, and that’s a long, long time.

But those of us who supported Bernie or Elizabeth in 2020, or who may not have done so but who understand that we need to fight for big deal, Green New Deal, health care for all, for-the-many-and-not-the-few legislation that passes as soon as possible — our thinking needs to go beyond the 2022 election cycle. We need to keep our eyes on the prize of fundamental social transformation, systemic change, government of the people, by the people and for the people, not the 1%.

A key, an absolute essential, if we are to do so is the strengthening of the already-developing, broadly-based, multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-issue, multi-gender popular alliance, uniting people of color, women, youth, LGBTQ people, trade unionists, farmers, small business people, people with disabilities, professionals and others. 

The billionaire class — overwhelmingly white, heterosexual men — that we are up against has extremely deep pockets and many guns to fire, both figuratively and literally, to hinder the social and economic transformation process, which they have done too many times to count down through history. But history also teaches that when masses of people, in the millions or tens of millions, are in political motion for revolutionary change, whether it be talking with family, neighbors and friends or risking life and limb in direct confrontation with police or military forces which ordinarily protect corporate power — then, and only then, is it possible for the change in who is in control of government to take place. In the words of a popular slogan I first heard in the global justice movement of the late 1990s, “there ain’t no power like the power of the people,” united and organized.

We have seen in the United States the power of this kind of alliance in recent decades. From 1984–1989 we saw it in the form of the independent National Rainbow Coalition, the two Jesse Jackson campaigns for President, the multi-issue, multi-racial, Democrats-and-independents alliance which had such a powerful political impact before that burgeoning initiative was consciously derailed in 1989 by the powers-that-be within the Democratic Party. In 2015 and 2016, and again in 2019 and 2020, we saw it in the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaigns and the growth in between them of the organization Our Revolution. The 2019–2020 Elizabeth Warren Presidential campaign was also important. We have seen it in mass mobilizations and mass movements around issues that have linked a broad cross-section of people: the massive Women’s March on January 21, 2017, an intersectional breadth of support and activism for the rights of immigrants, and several national mobilizations on the issue of the climate crisis over the decade of the 2010s, including the exciting, historic uprising of young people around the world in 2018 and 2019 in response to the actions taken and the press coverage received by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden.

The persistent and growing organizing and activism around the urgent issue of the climate crisis is both a hopeful development and one which must be sustained and expanded. All life forms on earth are facing an historically imminent, existential threat to our future survival. In response, virtually all sectors listed above are speaking up and taking action. Without a doubt this issue is not just in urgent need of solutionary action; it is also helping to unite the social movements and constituencies that must be together to solve all of the crises created and aggravated by late-stage, transnational corporate capitalism via its replacement by a different system.

Immanuel Wallerstein, in an important essay, Antisystemic Movements: History and Dilemmas, has written about essential aspects of how a popular alliance built to last and to win must be evolved: “It means first of all a conscious effort at empathetic understanding of the other movements, their histories, their priorities, their social bases, their current concerns. Correspondingly, increased empathy needs to be accompanied by restraint in rhetoric. It does not mean that movements should not be frank with each other, even in public. It means that the discussion needs to be self-consciously comradely, based on the recognition of a unifying objective, a relatively democratic, relatively egalitarian world.

“’Consequently, this means that the movements will have to devote considerably more energy than has historically been the case to inter-movement diplomacy. To the extent that the movements come to internalize the sense that the social transformation they are seeking will not occur in a single apocalyptic moment, but as a continuous process, one continually hard-fought, they may learn to concentrate their energies somewhat less exclusively on the immediate tactics of change and somewhat more on constructing middle-run stepping stones. In such a context, inter-movement diplomacy becomes a very useful expenditure of energy. It will make possible the combination of daring leaps and structural consolidation which could make plausible a progressive transformation of the world-system.” 

This transformation will not take place through electoral activity alone. That is one leg of a three-legged stool of tactics that we must be and already are about. A second leg is conscious, on the ground, dialogical organizing. 

The alliance movement 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, dialogical approaches, and techniques as much as possible. 

Such people, these organizers, are the connective tissue which holds the popular alliance, movement of movements, together. History has shown how organizations bringing together and supporting such organizers can, over time, generate the broad, mass support and mass action essential once the alliance grows to the point where it can seriously contest for power.

The third leg is street heat and direct action campaigns.

The alliance must continually but strategically organize public marches, demonstrations, strikes, and nonviolent direct actions on key issues, as part of ongoing campaigns and in support of the overall alliance program.

Oppressed people need to see that there are others who feel the same way and are willing to take action to change things. Elected officials, even those who are supportive, need to appreciate the strength of people’s feelings via seeing it in action. And clearly, the targets of the public demonstrations need to see both sizable numbers of people involved and the urgency of their feelings. 

Albert Camus, writing in 1951 in The Rebel, said: “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” In 2022, in the United States of America, these are words to take to heart.

This article contains numerous excerpts from Ted Glick’s recently published book, 21st Century Revolution: Through Higher Love, Racial Justice and Democratic Cooperation. More information and other writings can be found at https://tedglick.com.

The Most Important Climate Book Ever Written

“It was sort of like New Year’s Eve, except it was agreed it should be a simultaneous moment all over the Earth. Having it be the same very moment for all seemed right, it was important to feel the connection with everyone and everything. So the time came and we listened to the voices on our phones. We are the children of the planet, we are going to sing its praises all together, all at once, now is the time to express our love, to take the responsibilities that come with being stewards of the earth, devotees of this sacred space, one planet, one planet, on and on it went. . .”
            Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry of the Future, pps. 537-538

As I read through prolific science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson’s most recent novel, The Ministry of the Future, first published in October of 2020, I began thinking: why didn’t I learn about this before now, the beginning of 2022? Because if you are a person who gets it on the seriousness of the climate emergency we are in, this is nothing less than an absolute must-read.

After you read this book you’ll appreciate that, no, it’s not too late. Yes, there is hope that we can slow, stop and reverse global overheating and in the process truly change our world for the better. There is hope that our children and grandchildren and the seven generations coming after us will have lives better than the ones we are experiencing today. Yes, there is hope for the human race and all life forms on earth.

Hope, hope grounded in an objective and scientific assessment of reality, is a powerful thing. No progressive revolutions have ever been made by hopeless people.

Robinson’s 564 page masterpiece begins in the middle of the current ‘20s decade with a world-changing extreme weather event, a deadly heat wave in India which causes 20 million deaths, which in turn leads to a political revolution within India and a new progressive national government which, for the first time in the history of nation states, takes action to address the climate emergency at the scale needed. This was the turning point for the world.

25 years later, the earth’s physical reality had reversed course, first by the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere plateauing, and then, over a five year period, going down each year for a total of 27 parts per million, from 478 to 451 ppm. And with that huge accomplishment—or because of what made that accomplishment possible—the lives of people and all life forms on the planet had taken a definite turn for the better.

What, more specifically, happened that led to this huge result?

Some of it was not surprising: “increasingly stringent standards for carbon emissions among the six biggest emitting sectors: industry, transport, land use, buildings, transportation, and cross-sector” (p. 251)–a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy as the primary energy source—widespread socialization of energy, ending it being a commodity for private profit—the substitution of energy efficient ships, planes and land vehicles for transportation, like mainly wind-powered “clipper ships” for ocean and river transport—and more:

“Regenerative ag, landscape restoration, wildlife stewardship, Mondragon-style co-ops, garden cities, universal basic income and services, job guarantees, refugee release and repatriation, climate justice and equity actions, first people support, all these tended to be regional or localized, but they were happening everywhere, and more than ever before.” (p. 455)

And there was much more, many positive environmental, social, economic and cultural changes.

How did it happen?

Absolutely key was the building and maintaining of broad coalitions of sectors of society who, in their massive numbers, made it increasingly difficult for the powers that be to not change.

One key tactic was massive occupations: “Despite this sense that the world was falling apart, or maybe because of it, demonstrations in the capitals of the world intensified. Actually these seemed to be occupations rather than demonstrations, because they didn’t end but rather persisted as disruptions of the ordinary business of the capitals. Within the occupied spaces, people were setting up and performing alternative lifeways with gift supplies of food and impromptu shelter and toilet facilities, all provided or enacted by the participants as if in some kind of game or theater piece, designed mainly to allow unceasing discourse demanding the official governments respond to the needs of their people rather than to the needs of global capital; and the governments involved had to face either siccing their police and militaries on their own people, or waiting out the occupations for what could be months, or actually changing in the way demanded. Time to dismiss the people and elect another one! as Brecht had so trenchantly phrased it.” (pps. 286-287)

It happened via geoengineering, not a popular thing among more than a few climate activists. What were the specifics? It began after the 20 million heat wave deaths in India when, in response to popular outrage and pressure, the Indian government sprayed sulfur dioxide above and over the country to reflect sunlight away from the earth’s surface. It worked; and in the book it had little negative impact. A second, less controversial tactic was to spend tens of billions of dollars to drain water from the base of the great ice masses in Antarctica and Greenland. Doing so stabilized them and dramatically reduced sea level rise.

It happened through carbon taxes and through directly taking on the immense power of the world’s largest private banks. Some were nationalized. But the most effective way was through their being forced by massive, widespread political pressure, violent pro-earth terrorism (see below) and leadership by some within the system to bring them around to acceptance of a new, worldwide form of currency to replace, over time, dollars and marks and francs and pesos and all the others: a currency valued and accepted because it was based on investments in carbon drawdowns. A carbon currency. Carbon coins. “The new carbon coin had stimulated many short-term investments in carbon sequestration projects, and many longer-term investments in the coin itself. It had caused some of the biggest carbon owners to cash out and keep fossil carbon in the ground. . . They had created and paid out trillions of carbon coins, and yet had seen no signs of inflation, or deflation, for those who held that theory; no noticeable price change.” (pps. 420-421)

And then there was the tactic of selective but violent terrorism, eco-terrorism, begun in India after the great heat wave die off. “It was a question of identifying the guilty [overwhelmingly the fossil fuel CEO types] and then finding them and getting to them. Methods were worked up over many iterations. Drones were best. Much of the job becomes intelligence; finding the guilty, finding their moments of exposure. Not easy, but once accomplished, boom. The drones keep getting faster and faster. The guilty often have defenses, but these can often be overwhelmed by numbers. The guilty died by the dozens in those years. Eventually, a decade into the campaign, they knew they were in trouble. The only thing we worried about was what the guilty ones always call ‘collateral damage.’ In other words, the accidental killing of innocents to kill your target. [We] were very fair and very meticulous. If to kill a hundred guilty you had to kill one innocent, no. It’s against the law.” (pps. 135-136)

As someone not a pacifist but who believes that nonviolent tactics are generally the most effective and quickest way to build strong movements, this was the part of the book that I had the most trouble with. Relatedly, I was also troubled that there was nothing in it about the increasingly effective and continuing movements in the USA and elsewhere in the world to prevent the expansion of new fossil fuel infrastructure, like the Indigenous-led resistance to the KXL and Dakota Access and Line 3 and Line 5 tar sands oil pipelines, or the movement to stop expansion of the vast array of methane gas pipelines and infrastructure—gas is 86 times as powerful as CO2 over a 20 year time period–all over the US and elsewhere, the expansion of coastal terminals to ship out and ship in gas. There is a strong movement in the US against all of that, winning victories, preventing more and more of these from being built or putting up major, public battles to do so. Without question, the success of this movement can and will limit the power of the fossil fuel CEO’s and their financial backers to keep expanding. It will accelerate the needed shift away from fossil fuels to renewables, battery storage, energy efficiency and more.

Nonviolent tactics have been used to go after, to shame, to publicly embarrass and expose individual heads of corporations and heads of energy regulatory agencies. They have been visited at their homes. People have slept out overnight in front of their homes. Neighbors have been leafletted about the crimes committed by their neighbor. In years past powerful people have been “pied,” had a cream pie pushed into their face while in public. And I am sure there are similar nonviolent tactics along these lines that exist or that could be evolved if they increasingly became seen as an important component of building the bottom-up movement which is an essential if Robinson’s vision, our collective vision, our rising demand for a new world is to come to be.

Hopefully, 25 years on, when the history of how the world changed over these years is written, Robinson’s book will be one of the things historians reference as to what helped to change it. Thank you, Kim Stanley Robinson.


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.

Basics of Grassroots Organization

People working together can stop bad things and make good things happen. That’s a lesson of history. Organized people don’t always win, but individuals trying to change things by themselves almost always lose.

What are some basic organizing tips to help people facing unjust or oppressive conditions, or planned imposition of destructive projects, to get themselves organized?

A group can be as few as two people, if both are committed to meet regularly, do work in between, and reach out to involve others. You need a core group that consistently meets to figure out what needs to be done, and which communicates that to a larger network of active supporters. The more the better, as long as people are committed, work collaboratively and do work in between meetings.

When the core group meets, discussion should be conducted in such a way that everyone is encouraged to speak up and participate, and everyone is expected to do things after the meeting is over. Although there are always individuals who are more motivated, or have more experience or skills or energy, they will be poor leaders if they don’t work in a collaborative way with others.

Meetings should be as often as people feel is necessary and do-able. Generally, if there’s a big issue that has urgency and immediacy, groups should meet once a week. They may sometimes need to meet on an emergency basis or even more often than a week. If conducting a big campaign, group leaders meeting daily by phone or via internet may be necessary at some point.

It is a good idea at the first meeting, and possibly at the next meeting or two, to come up with a group mission statement, a short, 2-3 sentence (usually) statement about why the group exists and its vision. For example, a group fighting a proposed new gas or oil pipeline in their community might agree on something like this:  “People Before Pipelines exists to stop the building of the (name) pipeline in our community. We will work with anyone who agrees with that objective. We want to prevent the pollution and safety risks that always come with fossil fuel pipelines.”

Every meeting should have an agenda agreed upon by everyone in the meeting as the first order of business. The most important issues should be put first to ensure adequate time is given to them. Sometimes the less important issues have to be postponed to a future meeting because there’s not enough time to cover everything on the agenda.

Time should be built in for personal sharing, checking in on how people are doing, building a sense of community and mutual support. And having leadership with a sense of humor is a definite plus.

It should be understood by all in the group that the purpose of discussing an agenda item is to come to a decision about what should be done about it and who will follow through after the meeting. Decisions can be made either by majority wins or by consensus. Seeking for consensus is the best way for the group to function, but if there’s strong feelings on an issue, it may be necessary to vote.

“Consensus-seeking upholds the value of trying to make decisions which are agreed upon by all, which is without question a worthy goal. But the reality of decision-making within an organization is that, sooner or later, an issue will arise on which there are strong differences. When that is the case, when total consensus is not possible, a group can take a vote. There is usually a super-majority percentage that needs to vote affirmatively, from 60% if the tolerance for prolonged discussion is low to as high as 90% if the opposite.” (p. 70 of 21st Century Revolution)

Groups need someone to facilitate, or chair, the meeting, someone to take notes, and someone to deal with money raised to help carry out the group’s activities. Usually there are also people who take responsibility for leading work in a particular, on-going major area, or areas, of focus. An outreach coordinator, someone to reach out to local press, and someone to do internet/social media work are also usual areas where leadership is needed. Some people can do more than one of these tasks.

Whether one person always does each of these tasks, or there is a rotation of some or all of these tasks, should be decisions made by the group.

With this group structure and an agreement to work in a collaborative, respectful way, your group is ready to go to work!


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.

Marching to Biden’s House on New Year’s Day

At the rally preceding our “Occupy Biden,” New Year’s Day march in Wilmington to the house of the President, I read this poem, created the day before specifically for this event:

“We are here because our planet is burning–
flooding—wind-ravaged—droughted—sickened
by global overheating caused by burning coal, oil and gas.

“For 7 days, 7 nights, 168 hours,
we held this outdoor space for all of the life forms,
all of the ecosystems, all of the children
and grandchildren and the 7 generations to come.

“We experienced cold, snow and sleet, lots of rain,
wind, the sun, the elements which make this world,
this beautiful, anguished world, the miracle that it is.

“Throughout, saying, Biden Be Bold–
declare climate emergency–
no new fossil fuel projects–
do the right thing, and do it now!

“All the while, some of us connecting to
the Higher Powers, Higher Love, what some call God,
praying, as in the words of an Anishinabe prayer:

“’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,
So we may heal the earth
and heal each other.’”

We were very pleased the day following this march to see this story in Wilmington’s major daily newspaper/website: Dozens march to Biden’s home seeking climate emergency declaration (delawareonline.com). It’s an accurate portrayal of what happened.

The week-long encampment was the idea of local Wilmington climate justice activists, with Karen Igou of Extinction Rebellion playing a central role. A number of other groups got actively involved over the little more than a month that Occupy Biden went from an idea to an actuality, beginning on Christmas Day.

Our camp was literally right by the side of a six lane highway, Delaware Route 141. With the exception of the very late night and early morning hours, there was always significant traffic. I’d estimate 50,000 or more vehicles came by us, and we were very visible. There were honks in support, and a much lesser number of anti-Biden shout-outs.

Some of those driving by, or from the local area, stopped to talk to us. Each day there were people who came by with whom we had worthwhile discussions.

Some of those who stopped seemed to think we were anti-Biden, but we explained that we weren’t. We explained that we were there to press him to exert much stronger leadership on the climate emergency, as well as on a number of other justice and survival issues.

There’s no question that some Biden supporters were not pleased with what we were doing. Their view was that we should go after Manchin and Sinema. We said, yes, they need to be pressured, for sure, but the fact is that Biden is the President, he has powers neither of them do, and he should be using them now to lead on this rapidly deepening existential crisis.

We undertook this action thinking, hoping, that the Bidens would be in their home ¾ of a mile from our encampment at some point during this winter holiday week, and they were! Wednesday evening they came from their Rehobeth Beach, De. house to this one, apparently via a helicopter which went overhead about the 7 pm time we had been told by friendly press they were supposed to arrive. By the next morning we had set up people with signs at either end of the long road they lived on. And then on Friday, a 15 car, black-SUV’s-prominent Biden motorcade, came right past us at our checkpoint on Route 141 and then right by our camp. We all chanted, “Biden Be Bold,” as loud as we could. It was a definite highpoint.

It is a good thing that the idea of Biden using his powers to issue Executive Orders on climate and other issues is a growing thing. It was first put forward at the People Vs. Fossil Fuels, Indigenous-led actions at the White House on October 11-15 where 655 people were arrested. Pramilla Jayapal, chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives, is now publicly calling for its use given the Manchin/Sinema problem. The Guardian newspaper has called for its use.

It is outrageous that the heavily compromised, $1.75 trillion Build Back Better act was not passed last year. But even if it had been, more is needed. And that more is only going to happen because of a massive political mobilization this year, in the streets and to the polls. Biden and Congressional Democrats need to keep feeling the heat from our people’s movement to use every means at their disposal to deliver results for our struggling peoples. If they do, then we will be strengthened in our efforts to generate a massive turnout of youth, people of color, women and working class people on November 8th to defeat the neo-fascist Republicans in their voter suppression efforts.

People and the planet need action now, and working class people of all colors and cultures need to be given reasons to come out and vote!

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