Tuesday, September 13, 2016


The climate movement has now focused its energies around this NO DAPL campaign, calling for nationwide gatherings in solidarity with the folks in Standing Rock. For us here in Missoula that means standing on a bridge together holding signs. Folks driving by can then "honk" in solidarity or give puzzled looks or perhaps flip us off.

I have long argued that this movement needs to be escalating in terms of critique and resistance in order to become a system challenging force, to become revolutionary beyond the Bernie sense. A movement that lurches from action camp to action camp, reacting to each new fossil fuel proposal, is not building momentum. It is becoming a cliche, like Burning Man. And it unwittingly reproduces the social relations and division of labor that keep capitalism humming along. The leaders (in this case Native Americans), the dangerous bulldozer confronting activists, the sign wavers, the academic intellectuals and theorists, the progressive "indie media" etc.

I thought the Break Free action last spring was a step in the right direction, with a concerted effort to replicate tactics and critique and messaging world-wide. Though the key tactical component of mass civil disobedience failed to materialize, at least it was an escalation and well coordinated. I fear NO DAPL is a step backwards towards localized NIMBY actions with mixed messaging and no mention of systemic change. Instead we get liberal pablum like this watered down "manifesto" from Oil Change International:

"Like the cod fishery in Newfoundland, what’s needed for the fossil fuel industry is a managed decline and just transition for those currently dependent on the industry. Instead of politicians giving stump speeches about bringing back jobs they can’t possibly deliver on, they should be offering plans to diversify the economy, fund training programs, and provide support to communities currently dependent on dead-end industries".

Trying so desperately to save capitalism from itself, they offer nothing but endless dreck.

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