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Why We Need a New Year's Revolution Against the Corporatocracy


Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, conservation, ecosystems, Economics, globalwarming, Global Changes, habitatdestruction, humans, nature, pollution, protection, Sustainabililty, world )

Kit
- 566 days ago - alternet.org
What about the weird weather, melting polar icecaps, killer droughts and floods, raging forest fires, permanent recession, deteriorating public health, senseless violence, and those never-ending wars for oil and natural resources?



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Carrie B. (300)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 10:39 am
What we need and what we get is ultimately up to each and everyone of us.
 

Kit B. (277)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 10:39 am
(Photo Credit: © Linda Bucklin/Shutterstock.com)

This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.

As a longtime writer and activist campaigning for decades on food and farming issues, most recently Prop 37, the California Ballot Initiative to label genetically engineered foods, I am reminded daily of the allure, indeed the addictive pleasure, of single-issue organizing. Despite the constant frustration of being the underdog in a David versus Goliath battle, it's great to have an avocation, not to mention a paying job, fighting Monsanto and its minions.

It's immensely gratifying to thoroughly understand, backward and forward, an issue like genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or organic agriculture.

It's stimulating to read and share dozens of articles and emails every day in my area of expertise, to stay in touch with other foodies working in the “buy local,” “buy organic” movement across the continent. It's ego boosting to see my name, or my organization's name in print, and to see thousands of "shares" and "likes" on Facebook.

Let me tell you. There's nothing better than hanging out with the activist fish in our little pond. Nothing more satisfying than fighting the good fight, even if the bad guys always seem to win.

Or is there?

What about our collective new normal? What about the weird weather, melting polar icecaps, killer droughts and floods, raging forest fires, permanent recession, deteriorating public health, senseless violence, and those never-ending wars for oil and natural resources?

Why is it that the massive, world-changing majorities for social change, the proverbial 99%, and the campaigners like myself who are supposed to be leading the charge, are still working in relative isolation from one another? Why aren’t we talking about radical change and climate-friendly food, farming, buildings, energy, transportation, jobs, education, foreign policy, mass media, and elected officials in the same breath?

Why aren’t we united, indeed up in arms against the maniacs in the Corporatocracy and their political hirelings who are gambling not only with our hard-earned money and taxes, but also with our future?

Can we connect the dots between our primary passions and the burning issues? Can we bring together the full spectrum of the activist rainbow into a single, powerful, laser-focused movement before it’s too late? Can we reach critical mass in public consciousness and grassroots mobilization before the tipping point in greenhouse gas pollution and runaway global warming (565 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide, 450 ppm of CO2) knocks us down forever?

While we've been dutifully carrying on this year in our daily lives, in our separate domains, doing the right thing—taking care of our children and grandchildren; trying to save the whales, farm animals, and the bees; organizing the unorganized; promoting natural health; opposing the wars overseas; electing, or trying to elect, decent candidates; supporting green commerce; fighting GMOs; safeguarding organic standards—we have nonetheless been steadily losing ground.

Despite our best, often heroic efforts the New World Order of post-2012 is shaping up to be very difficult, indeed downright scary. How is it possible that tens of thousands of non-profit organizations and millions of health, environmental and justice-minded citizens have been stymied by the deadly "business-as-usual" practices of a ruthless Corporatocracy hell-bent on disaster?

It’s time for a New Year’s Revolution.

Reviewing the balance sheet of the economy and public policy where I work every day, I see that progressive change is advancing. But the pace of transformation is too little, too late. While we may pat ourselves on the back because the multi-billion dollar U.S. market share for sustainable, relatively climate-friendly organic foods and fair-trade products has moved toward the magic 5% threshold, energy-intensive industrial farming, agricultural-related deforestation and factory farms are pumping out billions of tons of greenhouse gases and laying waste to the climate and the environment.

Meanwhile, aided and abetted by indentured politicians and the mass media, out-of-control fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas pollution (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and black soot) in the energy, housing, manufacturing, military-industrial and transportation sectors are driving us inexorably toward catastrophic global warming, crop failures, resource depletion, endless war and mass starvation.

The bottom line for humans, as we review our year-end 2012 financials, is discouraging. If we cannot reduce fossil fuel consumption by 90% within the next 20 years and leave most remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground, if we cannot naturally sequester several hundred billion tons of CO2 and greenhouse gases through global reforestation, organic farming and carbon ranching practices we are doomed.

This mental accounting, according to a number of astute psychologists, is so terrifying that it has plunged millions of us into denial or depression. No wonder it's such a relief to take out our frustrations on Monsanto, Karl Rove, or Big Pharma, to work on single-issue problems or solutions. So please just pass me a stiff drink, or a joint, or at least a Millions Against Monsanto leaflet that I can hand out in front of Whole Foods.

As climate activist leader Bill McKibben pointed out in July 2012, the mathematics of human survival, of staying below the tipping point of 2 degrees Celsius—the temperature that the world's scientists warn us will trigger runaway global warming—are terrifying, yet quite simple:

"Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons (billion tons) of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by mid-century and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees (Celsius) . . . .”

Between May 2011 and May 2012, business as usual on the planet pumped 31.6 gigatons of CO2 and other greenhouse gas pollutants into the already-saturated atmosphere, up 3.2% from the year before. Do the math. Twenty more years of the Corporatocracy’s New World Order, 20 more years of single-issue activism, of failing to connect the dots between our fragmented movements and communities, and we’re doomed.

Our life-giving but delicately balanced atmosphere has now been pushed into the flashing red-light danger zone of 391 parts per million of CO2 —41 ppm higher than the level required to maintain civilization as humans have known it. We are fast approaching the catastrophic tipping point of two degrees Celsius, and 450 ppm of CO2, in greenhouse gas pollution that will melt the polar icecaps and the frozen tundra, burn up the world’s forests, kill the oceans, and set off massive crop failures and other “natural” disasters.

Our now terminal dilemma is that single-issue, activism-as-usual organizing, and a fragmented activist rainbow, will never be able to overthrow the Corporatocracy and resolve the most serious threat that humans have ever faced in our 100,000-200,000 year evolution: runaway global warming and climate meltdown.

In other words, you and I and a billion others need to jot down more than just a New Year’s resolution. We need a New Year’s Revolution. We need a Main Street-to-the-Middle East Global Declaration of Interdependence. We need a 21st Century Green Manifesto to overthrow the Corporatocracy and dismantle the suicide economy, before it’s too late.

And, of course, I don’t need to tell you the hour is late. We need to jump-start this revolution in consciousness, coalition building, and action now. This doesn’t mean we have to give up on all of our daily responsibilities and our primary passions. But it does mean that we must all, or at least a critical mass of us, immediately connect the dots between climate-friendly food, energy, transportation, media, public education, public policy, and politics. We must harmonize our discourse, broaden our alliances, and bring together the myriad currents of a U.S. and global movement for survival and revival into an unstoppable force.

Starting today, not next year, we all have to become climate hawks and democracy activists, breaking corporate control over the marketplace and over our elections, media, and public policy. Starting today we must move together to save our climate, our civilization, and Mother Earth.
*****

By: Ronnie Cummins | aletnet |


Ronnie Cummins is founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association. Cummins is author of numerous articles and books, including "Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers" (Second Revised Edition Marlowe & Company 2004).
 

. (0)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 10:56 am
Thank you and Happy New Year, Kit. Your articles are always the best!
 

Jae A. (323)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 3:38 pm
WIsh that were true Carrie but in to world in the U.S. as in many nations now..that just doesn't appear to be the case Loop holes and hoops is about all that goes on between us and 'them'....again and again. Dubya split the nation ...and set it in stone...and there lies the problem with that thought I think. Now the Corporates only need to keep us at each other..side against side..like some sports event while they take the funds and run after making a bigger mess of things than they or anyone at this point can resolve. Their greed went too long and the crooks got away to put the screws on our actions it seems. One day the red states will awake and find they were suckers to the max but by then...it will not matter in my opinion. So now we will keep up the fight and be given a win here and there for ...show...and to keep the ring side sets filled for the next coming Corporate event having fullfilled their corporate coup.

That being said : Happy New Year ! Dance while ye may. It's your party too !
 

Jelica R. (157)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 7:58 pm
Naomi Klein spoke about this need to unite, since the major problems have a common denominator. Judy submitted two very interesting articles covering Klein's engagement with Bill McKibben on "Do the Math Tour":

Interview: Naomi Klein on Motherhood, Climate Justice, and the Failures of the Environmental Movement.

'I'd Rather Fight Like Hell': Naomi Klein's Fierce New Resolve to Fight for Climate Justice

It is great to see that the idea of uniting separate issues under one banner is spreading. The gravity of social, climate and economic situation demands to be addressed now. Time for analysis and debates is over, it is time to act. NOW.

 

Kit B. (277)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 8:22 pm

I have often complained about this problem of many separate organizations and not banding all under one banner to unite the people for the various causes as one cause. Call it Occupy or a freedom alliance. I don't care what name is used but it is not accomplishing much to have dozens of groups with supposedly one goal. In fact, lately I begin to suspect some of these groups as being foul.
 

Marie W. (64)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 8:47 pm
People must recognize problems...
 

JL A. (272)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 9:42 pm
This may be why all the various law enforcement agencies came down so hard on OWS--because they weren't single issue and were creating what could be an incredible umbrella..and why media black out and as an added benefit--creating criminal records for some of the leaders from the young adults to block them from future responsible careers in government where accountability would be expected, etc.....
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 10:09 pm
I think the reason why a lot of issues are handled separately by modern progressivists, in one-issue advocacy, is because while they all stem from the same underlying philosophy, in practical terms they work against each other. A dirty economy creates more jobs. Income inequality leaves more income in the hands of those taxed at higher rates, funding many programs desired by advocates for other causes more effectively. Organic foods cost more to produce, so really switching to them would cause a flat increase in the cost of living, disproportionately affecting the poor. It would also decrease overall production, so those who support food-aid to countries of hungry people might not be pleased either. Those who advocate military cuts and non-intervention tend to get along quite well with those who advocate global protection of human rights, until any specific case comes up. Try putting peace activists in the same room as those who don't want any Afghan women to fall back under Taliban rule. Then there is the general problem of a limited budget and questions of funding-priorities among the different advocacy-groups: Do we subsidize education more or emission-scrubbing? There is no grand alliance between advocates of all these different causes because although they may be very friendly with each other, in practical terms, they are opponents.

On the other hand, a lot of these separate groups really do have one overarching organization, at least in the U.S. It is very politically active and unquestionably successful. It is called the Democrat Party, and its positions are a compromise of those of these advocates, mixed with some practical ones required for political success under the current system. There are many similar umbrella-groups in many other countries as well.
 

Trish K. (93)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 10:22 pm
I will do everything in my power to unseat all of the John Birchers and American Taliban in Congress. This has to start state by state with a library group or political group asking themselves what they've done and start recalling these asses and get them out of government before they wreck the country completely. I will sign your petitions and just like the Presidential election we get the job done one Vote at a time. 1 . . .2 . . .3 . . . GO !
 

Judy C. (106)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 2:28 am
The challenge we are talking about is really overwhelming. I have been thinking about these issues for a long time, as many of us at Care2 probably have. As J. L. points out, the big umbrella of Occupy really tripped the alarm of the "establishment" as we used to say. Occupy is perhaps the closest to a silver bullet as we can get at this time.

In a way, we may be naive if we think there is a singular solution, although it would be good if there was. As the author, Ronnie Cummins puts it: "Can we bring together the full spectrum of the activist rainbow into a single, powerful, laser-focused movement before it’s too late?"

First, it is necessary for individuals to wake up to what's going on. We're well aware here, but the majority of the public seem to be sleepwalking, consumed with trying to survive in a globalized, corporation-dominated world with an inevitably shrinking piece of the world pie. The criminals in banking and finance have made the citizens pick up the tab for ripping us off in the first place. That's why I post lots of articles on the banksters and such. We know how dramatic the shift is toward an economy of haves and have-nots. We are being disempowered, and social and economic injustice lies at the roots of our dilemma. I have never cared a fig for economics, but starting with the financial meltdown of 2008, I have studied up on economic issues.

In analyzing the problems we are faced with, I think it may be useful to look at the frames of reference and possible solutions as micro or macro. We all have our areas of interest and expertise, and spheres of influence, public and/or private. We have many excellent thinkers and leaders to refer to and learn from, such as Vendana Shiva, Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibbon, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Bill Moyers, and the list could definitely go on.

We have useful guiding principles, such as The Common Good, sustainability, and taking a long view of our impact on the world. Communicating values and a sense of responsibility to our children and grandchildren is very important. Many spiritual seeds are being planted at this time.

I'm hoping that fossil fuels will move toward obsolescence, and that change will start to snowball and pick up momentum in the next few years. That change will affect every aspect of life on this planet.
 

Jaime A. (32)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 2:57 am
noted.
 

Craig Pittman (45)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:33 am
Thank you for this Kit. There is all sorts of innovative and positive energy for change out there. We just need to get it together literally and figuratively.
2013 might just be the year of big change.
 

Gloria picchetti (287)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 6:32 am
Excellent article.
 

Dave C. (211)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 8:21 am
agreed......
 

Arielle S. (316)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 9:51 am
There is indeed strength in numbers and how much fun it is to be in a group that insists - INSISTS - on changing a few things. We have our work cut out for us but I think we are not much if not stubborn - er, ah, I mean determined.
 

Suzanne L. (151)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 10:41 am
TY Kit. Layers and layers to push through.
 

Robert B. (57)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 11:43 am
Sadly, base on my personal observations, most people are totally oblivious to the problems facing us. Everyone ought to read this article. The major media outlets need to be addressing this issue. This is probably a good place to start, by insisting the media outlets give this the attention it deserves.
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 1:07 pm
Occupy something..Support the youth movement.
 

Kit B. (277)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 1:31 pm

By having many movements and most of them all for the same ultimate purpose we still have so much diversity that we do not have one cohesive movement. Put all of this together, banking, the corporate corruption and ownership of governments including the US, the Green movement - label that as regeneration of the planet, the abuse of unions, with that the abuse of all workers, roll it all into one large world-wide movement and it will gain massive traction. We all know what is wrong, and we certainly issue our complaints but currently those desires are not issued with ONE loud voice.
 

. (0)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 1:31 pm
Thanks for the article. Sometimes we need a reminder and a rallying point.
 

Robert Tomlinson (64)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 3:36 pm
Maybe having a cohesive movement will work. Of course, we need to recognize that many republicans will be deaf to anything that sounds sane. In addition to the cohesive movement we will have to have big pushes by Obama. My fear is that with all the battles, he will have in the coming months, the process will leave him with less clout and energy. As for me.....I would love to have a combined effort to pass new gun control laws.
There are so many issues that need IMMEDIATE ATTENTION!!
 

Tammy Taylor (11)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 3:55 pm
This was a very interesting article, thanks ...
 

Jane Mckenzie (20)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 4:21 pm
interesting
 

Tal H. (8)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 4:25 pm
Thanks for the share!
 

Angelika R. (146)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:03 pm
I wish I knew the trick or had a solution at hand but I don't. I am just getting really depressed when reading these facts over and again.
While it is certainly true that all the various advocate groups are competitors -perhaps ultimately opponents as Stephen B suggests- it is also true that any cohesive movement could still do very little in a fight against the global finance empire that rules governments and the world. Those who want to change the world for the better to save it don't have the money to do so. And those with the money want nothing changed.
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:13 pm
90% of the global wealth and resources controlled and managed by the 6 multinationals and their myriad subsidiaries owned by the 200 privileged Elite families. All pay obeisance to the royal reptiles if you want to survive. Is it any wonder that change in America will not happen without another revolution?
 

Winn Adams (190)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:58 pm
Thanks
 

Nimue P. (220)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 1:01 am
Noted.
 

Past Member (0)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 2:10 pm
The vast majority of us willingly support corruption whenever we choose unwisely while shopping. Remove support from Big Ag, animal cruelty, land and forest destruction, water pollution, extinction by never giving up our money in exchange for animal products, GMOs (labelled as being "Natural"!), leather, fur, harmful chemicals...Billions of human beings making organic, pure, clean and green purchases can reverse the horrific damage and harm already caused, although, it is too late for billions of species that are gone.
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 3:29 pm
Well, we did have one big group with a big umbrella recently get mainstream attention--the Occupy Movement. Although some local groups eventually scattered, many are still making their marks and Occupy does continue to live online with their newsletters calling people to action throughout the country for protests...or to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy, or help pay off medical debts, or keep a house from foreclosure. Our local group still thrives. There is much networking going on with Occupy and various environmental protection groups, civil liberty protection groups....that were "born" from people meeting at various occupations.
Although I can see the point that there are too many, and would work better if they consolidated; I think the variety also means that more people are aware and educated about the facts, and willing to act. Whether that action is signing an online petition, sending a letter to POTUS or Congress, phoning gov't officials, or Facebooking or Tweeting, or showing up for a protest....we are in the process of gathering People Power, and that's never a bad thing. We have much work ahead of us....the more the merrier.
 

Ro H. (0)
Friday January 4, 2013, 7:31 am
ty
 

Sergio Padilla (62)
Friday January 4, 2013, 3:11 pm
Thanks
 
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