blog

COP21 & the Climate Movement Gatekeepers: It’s time to Deep Six 350.org

subMedia TV

December 2, 2015

by “Comrade Kitten”

 

[SubMedia tv: Editors’ Note: Comrade Kitten is a longtime ally of subMedia.tv. Today she could not help herself and sent us this.]

 

Occupy_Design_z2No matter how good I’ve gotten at ignoring mainstream environmental movement posturing, it’s kind of in our faces these days, what with the COP-21 Summit in Paris and all.

All the usuals, from heads of states to World Bank and IMF and regional banks (ADB, IDB), as well as the big corporate players, are in France this week. Then there is so called “civil society”, essentially the informal diplomatic class of the left, and yes, there are even some grassroots people and insurrectionaries who did some smashy smash at the opening march. Democracy Now! is in Paris for an unbelievable two weeks (priorities!), so listeners like myself are inundated with coverage, an in particular, with the analysis of members of the key climate movement gatekeeper in the US: 350.org.

Now, I’m a busy person and I’m sure you all are too, so I’m gonna keep this short, and point to three reasons why 350’s role as a gatekeeper in the enviro and climate movements is a big fuckin’ problem.

No demos, bad smashy smash

350 and many other big civil society groups bent to President Hollande’s post November 13 no-demos rule, calling instead for a human chain. The attempt by these groups to police the movement is shameful, and was of course broken by local activists and others. Some of these folks fought not only movement police like 350, but they fought actual police. Hats off.

Not to be outdone in their righteousness, 350 released a statement claiming that protesters who fought police are “unaffiliated with the climate movement.”  Since when do 350 get to decide who is part of the movement and who isn’t? Is there really any need to further marginalize and criminalize our brothers and sisters who fuck shit up at demos? Honestly, guys, we’ve been over this a thousand times: the media and the state do a good enough job fucking with our comrades on their own. Lay off.

Anyways, if 350 were so serious about how fucked up the impacts of climate change are, you’d think they’d applaud, or at very least not denounce, militant action at major sham summits like the COP-21.

The call for “climate security”

In an interview on Democracy Now! on Monday, 350.org board member Naomi Klein, who has a deep intellectual grasp on the consequences of climate change had this to say:

So, it was interesting because François Hollande talked about we’re not choosing between fighting terrorism and acting on climate change, we are going to do both. But we actually have to do more than that, we have to expand our definition of security to put climate action at the very center of that, because there is no possibility for human security in a world that is headed towards three degrees Celsius warming, and that is with these governments are bringing to the table.

We need to do more than that!? What is the war on terror other than a war of state terror against people and communities, primarily in the Middle East? And expanding our definition of security to include climate? Isn’t the US Army doing that already?

Security means war on the people. Security is state discourse for maintaining what Mark Neocleous calls “the most fundamental war in human history: the social war of capital.” More security means more pigs and more soldiers. It means nice gated communities and first class vacations for the wealthy. For the rest of us, it means death, misery and displacement: it means war.

I’m obviously not gonna vouch for 350, but Naomi should know better. The issue of security language in peoples’ movements is not a new debate: grassroots activists have long rejected the reformist, corporate language of “food security.” Although I will say, this comment of hers brings back memories of her public call  at the G-20 in Toronto for police to “do their goddamn job.” Back then, she appeared to lack a basic awareness of the role of police in society (or maybe she was nervous and misspoke, whatever).

Fossil fuels, not capitalism, as the problem

We’re only on day three of this Paris thing, and honestly I’m already sick of hearing about it. When I heard 350’s executive director May Boeve today on divestment from fossil fuels, it made my stomach heave.

Here’s part of what Boeve said:

Now, I also want to say that because there are varying degrees of level of disclosure with these commitments, we don’t have the exact total of amount divested, but do know that standard portfolios contain around 3.7% of fossil fuels. But the point here has never been exactly how much is pulled out in that way. That is why we measure the total amount of assets. That’s for simple reason. A growing number of investors representing a growing amount of capital do not want to be associated with this industry any longer. It is a rogue industry. And that is what these commitments represent. It demonstrates that investors are taking climate risk extremely seriously.

Okay, real quick: go divestment. Nice idea, good practical campaigns, great way to get folks involved in movements. But this is bullshit.

First off, on a straight factual level, fossil fuels is hardly a “rogue industry.” How about that good old Volkswagon emissions scandal and the auto industry? Or the notoriously destructive and toxic mining industry? Or the heavy contamination of the manufacturing and chemical industries? Which leads me to my second point…

THE PROBLEM IS CAPITALISM PEOPLE. Fuck this notion that “investors are taking climate risk seriously” as a solution. C’mon now.

Make total destroy.

xo,

comrade kitten

+++

Further reading:

TckTckTck: The Bitch is Back: http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2015/11/28/tcktcktck-the-bitch-is-back/

From TckTckTck, to Air France, to “Earth To Paris”, Havas Worldwide Continues to Hypnotize:

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2015/12/01/from-tcktcktck-to-air-france-to-earth-to-paris-havas-worldwide-continues-to-hypnotize/

 

subMedia flashback from COP15, 2009 | Coverage on NGO obstruction at COP15 starts at 6:55 in:

 

 

subMedia tv, Nov 28, 2015: “The Ferguson Effect: In our featured interview, climate change journalist Dahr Jamail, tells us just how fucked we are and what we need to do to unfuck ourselves.”