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Sunday, February 23, 2014
If we can't save whales we can't save ourselves
I always had issues with many environmental activists. Not because I am not an environmentalist, but because this movement was led, it seemed to me, primarily by middle class and relatively financially secure people. During our strike in 1985, a Humpback whale became trapped in the San Francisco Bay. It was news for weeks and he became known as Humphrey.
We were striking a public utility with seven member elected board. There was traditionally a liberal member of this board that supported the union more so than those that represented developers and contractors and others who were eager to get their snouts in the public trough. Water is gold in California. The liberals often voted our way but did nothing to help us concretely. It makes them look good to be the only vote of seven in our favor but campaigning for us was out of the question. I always fought for independent labor candidates and opposed donating money and giving endorsements to liberal Democrats environmentalists or not. Well intentioned some of them may have been but the road to hell is paved with these. During the strike the environmentalist on the board at the time refused to come on our picket lines and never spoke at our rallies or anything like that but spent considerable time out there watching the developments around Humphrey who was eventually saved.
This strengthened my disdain for them as workers benefits, wages, home mortgages or rents, in other words, our environment was less important. In fact, whenever I spoke at the board I always made the point that you won't get a single mother facing eviction by a slumlord to get involved in the movement to save a Fruit Bat in Brazil. I was being facetious of course but it wasn't that they don't care about the big picture as some middle class types think, but putting food on the table and a roof over the head trumps them all. If you can't eat, you can't fight. For the more financially secure, this is less of an issue.
However, today the environmental crisis has advanced considerably and although I do not think we are there, capitalism will destroy life on this planet as we know it if we do not rid ourselves of this bankrupt and inefficient mode of production that places profit above life, human and non human as well as the health of the natural world.
Every day some environmental crisis breaks out in to the open. The results of global warming due to unplanned human activity are there for all to see. We see the chemical spill in Virginia, the Coal Ash spill in North Carolina, fracking throughout the country and the world and the pollution of the oceans that have become the planets largest garbage dump.
The crisis has reached such levels that more and more working class communities and individuals have been drawn in to the movement and altered its class composition. Some of the most powerful and committed movements of workers throughout the world are in the indigenous communities who still have a strong attachment to the land that most of us in the industrial world have lost. I thought I would share this video as it is one small example of the need for the global human society to liberate ourselves from those who presently (mis) manage it and conduct our life activity in a rational planned way based on the needs of all life and the survival of the natural world that is vital to our continued existence.
For a democratic socialist world.