Image Copyright 2014 by James Williamson

Climate and Social Justice  Continued...

 

 

 

 

Don't assume that these young people don't know the specifics about the multifaceted aspects of climate change politics and its related climate justice issues. (Perhaps only a well-informed portion of them are aware at this point of attempts by lobbyists and corporations to implement cap-and-trade schemes to manage carbon emissions, for example.) But in many ways, they sense and feel things more acutely than do their parents. They know something is drastically out of whack. In the big-picture sense. They may also not have a great grasp of history since the corporatization of our universities has made it virtually a ludicrous concept to pursue the humanities as a curriculum of study. But having been reared on the internet, they know that not only the weather—the tsunamis, the droughts, the floods, the hurricanes, the over-fished oceans and nuclear dead zones—but also the future of the globe as it affects the way we eat, work, travel, build communities, even make war is unacceptably broken. It is more than a crisis of the way the world is functioning; it is a crisis of values that are shared regardless of culture or nation or class. The old paradigms are dead. It's time for a reimagining of possibilities.

 

Bill McKibben of 350.org has infamously said: “the people who have done the least to cause this problem are the ones who suffer the most from it.” Conversely, the ones most responsible for having created it are the least inclined to fix it. This is not a new idea. But it's one we can no longer afford to ignore. We are all implicated now. If you don't believe it, look into the face of the young person nearest you.


Today's kids are further ahead of us in many ways. And they are not afraid to “radicalize,” as we older adults are. They know that change will come, not only through acts of non-violent civil disobedience in the streets but also through working with groups like Greenpeace, 350.org, Amazon WatchSolutionary Rail, etc. The future belongs to sustainable systems, local economies, engaged communities that offer stable employment—all the things that Wall Street's predatory form of capitalism has sought to undermine with its vicious environmental imperialism and scorched-earth business models.

 

 

 

It's also time for Americans to let go of their collective hang-up regarding the word “socialism.” A more "social" form of democracy (no doubt some unique variety of it, as the US would be bound to produce) is, perhaps, our last hope for a less self-destructive form of democratic capitalism. The cannibalizing, war-mongering form of capitalism that the United States and the rest of the world have suffered with for decades has outlived its usefulness —if it was ever useful. It sold to us nothing but the vaguest definitions of “freedom” and “equality,” all the while depleting the earth, air, and oceans, and set us viciously against one another in a hyper-competitive state, not to mention created enemies around the globe at a time when cooperation with other countries and cultures is essential to our collective survival. The Nordic model of capitalism employed in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden that combines a competitive free market with a "universalist" welfare state could clearly become a more sensible and practical objective.[1] As Rosa Luxemburg said, there's little choice: it's “barbarism” or “socialism.” We've had enough of the former, it seems, and it is entirely possible to combine our constitution and Bill of Rights with the goals of a social democratic state.   

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All Images Copyright 2014-2017 by James Williamson

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The ecological clock is ticking. It's time to end corporate welfare. Without giving in to a rabid nationalism, it's time to hold our corporate masters accountable for having raped the working people of the West (as well as those third world workers forced into slavery in foreign sweat shops) and restore to them their due.

 

Sustainable, living wages (not offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands) are what is required, along with Green jobs, decent pensions, student debt cancellation, a single-payer health care system. In other words, a future. If we manage to do this, the world might also be able to look up to us again.

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All Images Copyright 2014-2017 by James Williamson

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The “mechanistic dominance” of the market as God (what economist Joseph Stiglitz has labeled market fundamentalism), with everything, and everyone, turned into a commodity and sacrificed on the altar of profit, needs to be dismantled. Massive public projects need to be put into place before the surveillance state converts fully into a police state. A post-carbon world is possible. The fake utopian capitalist wet dream is over if we want it to be.


The 1:00 pm hushed moment of silence that was held in the middle of the protest last Sunday was followed by the all-too-human roar of the people's voice, made up of both old and young, as they marched along Central Park West and Sixth Avenue.

 

2,808 solidarity marches in 166 countries around the world were with them.

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Among the various street-theater pieces was this man dressed in a business suit, sweating profusely, dragging behind him an overturned garbage bin lid full of dry ice. You could feel the heat...

 

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_modeltle. Double click me.

 

Article and Photographs Copyright 2014-2017 by James Williamson   All rights reserved

 

 

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