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When Silence Kills | The Art of Annihilation

Published November 8, 2010 | Huntington News: http://bit.ly/d0OEOd | | http://bit.ly/bVUXif

As we stand on the edge of apocalypse, we must wake up and acknowledge that what the big greens are not saying is far more important than what they are saying.

From the Non-Profit Industrial Complex with Love. Excerpts from a controversial new book to be released 2010-2011. This article – When Silence Kills | The Art of Annihilation –is thethird in a series in which we continue to discuss the connection between environmental campaigns and their corporate sponsors.

When Silence Kills | The Art of Annihilation

By Cory Morningstar

 

“The evidence that large-scale climate change is unavoidable has now become so strong that healthy illusion is becoming unhealthy delusion. Hoping that a major disruption to the Earth’s climate can be avoided is a delusion. Optimism sustained against the facts, including unfounded beliefs in the power of consumer action or in technological rescue, risks turning hopes into fantasies. Sooner or later the constant striving to control events must come up against reality. How long will it be before well-meaning people who have accepted the message of green consumerism – that we can all make a difference by changing our personal behavior – begin to say to themselves, ‘I have been doing the right things for years, but the news about global warming just keeps getting worse?’ Clinging to hopefulness becomes a means of forestalling the truth.” – Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species

Criminal Negligence

What defines criminal negligence? In Canada, the criminal code states that lack of intent to harm is no defence if the damage results from conscious acts performed in careless disregard for others: “Everyone is criminally negligent who (a) in doing anything, or (b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons” (where “duty” means a duty imposed by law). Significantly, Section 222(5)(b) states that “a person commits homicide when, directly or indirectly, by any means, he causes the death of a human being, by being negligent.”

In the United States, the definition of criminal negligence is even more compelling: “Crimes Committed Negligently (Article 33.1) A crime shall be deemed to be committed with clear intent, if the man or woman was conscious of the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility or the inevitability of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, and willed such consequences to ensue.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed with indirect intent, if the man or woman realized the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, did not wish, but consciously allowed these consequences or treated them with indifference.” “A Crime Committed by Negligence (Article 33.1): A criminal deed committed thoughtlessly or due to negligence shall be recognized as a crime committed by negligence.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed thoughtlessly, if the man or woman has foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), but expected without valid reasons that these consequences would be prevented.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed due to negligence if the man or woman has not foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), although he or she could and should have foreseen these consequences with reasonable.”

A Moral Minefield – RINGOS

Why is it that well informed international environmental NGOs who claim to represent the best interests of civil society are not accusing the climate skeptics, the big investment banks and the fossil fuel energy corporations of high crimes against humanity? Is it because they fear that their funding from wealthy friends such as the Rockefellers will decline?

Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke March 19, 2010 at Innovative Philanthropy for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing: “In this second phase of philanthropic innovation, our Rockefeller Foundation predecessors helped establish the non-governmental organization sector as the ‘missing middle’ between giving and direct impact. This included support for entities – we call them RINGOS, Rockefeller Foundation Initiated NGOs.”

The concept of philanthropy was first embraced in the days of 19th century American robber barons. As the monetary wealth of these robber barons grew to astronomical levels, so did the anger of the working classes. Philanthropy was the answer to this problem, resulting in the end of public hostility and the acceptance of obscene individual wealth. And how we have evolved. Today, the CEOs of the top ten green groups in the U.S. rake in from $308,000 to $496,000 per year. (Remember that the next time they call you for a donation, needed to push corporate hand-out suicide pacts, passed off as “win-win” legislation.)

Meanwhile, the Global Humanitarian Forum reported in 2009 that every year, climate change leaves over 300,000 people dead and exacts economic losses of US$125 billion. Four billion people are vulnerable, and 500 million people are at extreme risk. An estimated 325 million people are seriously affected by climate change every year. This estimate is derived by attributing a 40 percent proportion of the increase in the number of weather-related disasters from 1980 to current climate change and a 4 percent proportion of the total seriously affected by environmental degradation based on negative health outcomes.

Sandy Gauntlett, Oceania focal point for the Global Forest Coalition, is amazed that no one has yet charged large corporations with negligent homicide as a result of their actions in deforestation. Gauntlett states: “When we look at the amount of climate gases resulting from deforestation alone, we see enough emissions created by some countries to account for the level of unprecedented climate catastrophes occurring around the planet.” He adds: “Even worse than the actions of the corporate criminals responsible for the rise in climate emissions, at least morally, are the actions of some of the large environmental NGOs. These NGOs, who made their names and reputations as defenders of the victims of environmental abuse, now seem to be courting the corporate lobby in the belief that within these actions lies the solution to all of the problems of the world created by the corporate lobby. These are the people to whom we have given our voices, our monies and our mandate. To think that they are prepared to even consider working with the creators of this devastation is like being stabbed in the back by an old friend.”

Gauntlett continues: “Even more so we, as Pacific Indigenous Peoples, ask that when they call for your donation, you remember the small island states who, 10 years ago, asked for urgent action by the rest of the world, pointing out that their (the industrialized world’s) growth was resulting in coral bleaching, flooding, and salination of the fresh water supplies without which the islands face a grim and very uncertain future. Several years ago, when French nuclear testing in the Pacific seemed at least partially responsible for contamination and health problems on small Pacific atolls, the Rainbow Warrior sailed out and relocated people from the most threatened islands. The world cheered these environmental heroes and all of us gave monies, time and energy to support Greenpeace and other organizations who were daring to take on the might of the developed world in defense of the small islands. So impactful was the campaign by Greenpeace at the time that the French Government sent saboteurs and spies into the harbour of a political ally to sink the flagship of the organization. A photographer paid for denying the French with his life. The scuttled ship was towed to Matauri Bay at the beaches of local Maori and sunk there as a permanent memorial to those horrible days. It is an incident I remember well as I had been on the ship only the day before. I later went on to work at Greenpeace as a fundraiser and believed passionately in their mission statement and campaigns.”

Gauntlett’s final words on this subject demonstrate a growing sentiment across the globe: “Amazingly, times change and the once proud and anti-market campaigners of Greenpeace seem to (like myself really) have grown old and tired of banging heads against brick walls, and with regret, I have decided to never again give money to or support Greenpeace while I am uncertain of the level of cooperation between them and the industrial lobby. After more than 30 years of environmental action and support, it is time that I took back my mandate and gave it instead to organisations that I trust with the same amount of certainty I once did with Greenpeace. They are certainly not alone and probably far from being the worst, but this is the country where the Rainbow Warrior lies as a memorial to defiance.”

The Ethics Resource Center’s 2007 National Nonprofit Ethics Survey reports troubling observations. The report states that conduct that violates the law or an organization’s standards is on the rise, and nonprofit violations have reached levels comparable to business and government. It observes that financial fraud is higher in nonprofit organizations than it is in business or government and furthermore, the boards, while critical in shaping the perceptions of employees with regard to ethics, are not setting clear ethics standards for their organizations. Where boards have heavy influence, we also see high levels of misconduct. In conclusion they state: “The recent erosion of ethical behavior in this sector is very troubling, and the trend cannot be allowed to continue.”

Runaway Climate Change

Leading climate expert James Hansen (among many other scientists from several disciplines) believes that methane clathrates (or hydrates) played a crucial role in the largest mass extinction, the “end-Permian” event 251 million years ago, in which more than 90 percent of terrestrial and marine species were exterminated. Methane clathrate is frozen methane gas that lies on ocean floor sediment off the continental coasts of our planet. Since 1992 it has been recognized that the shallow Arctic methane clathrates would be subject to melting by global warming, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere (U.S. Geological Survey Marine and Coastal Geology Program, Gas (Methane) Hydrates – A New Frontier, September 1992).

The end-Permian event was accompanied by a temperature rise of as little as 6ºC. Life took 50 million years to recover the diversity that had existed prior to the mass extinction. It is considered that methane clathrates may also have played a role in other mass extinctions, such as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 55 million years ago. Hansen warns that humanity is putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere today at a rate that is 10,000 times higher than the rate during the PETM.

In Hansen’s recent book, according to the penultimate chapter, The Venus Syndrome, it might be even worse. Hansen posits a possible future Earth in which a “runaway greenhouse effect” takes over: anthropogenic global warming from greenhouse gases causes a massive increase of water vapor into the atmosphere as the heated oceans evaporate, which in turn causes further warming. Today, the Arctic methane clathrate deposits are destabilizing, and if not re-stabilized will release vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere and add more acid to our oceans. The oceans will then become more acidified by dissolution of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This scenario would end all life on Earth. Today, the rate of ocean acidification exceeds anything witnessed in the past 65 million years.

Tragically, the Arctic summer sea ice has now passed its tipping point to melt down – the Arctic has finally shifted to a new climate pattern in which “normal” has become obsolete (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 21 October 2010). A recent study (funded by the National Science Foundation, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council in Canada, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, and the European Research Council) shows that even though during the Pliocene Epoch (2.6 to 5.3 million years ago) it was about 34 degrees Fahrenheit, or 19 degrees Celsius, warmer than today, CO2 levels were only slightly higher than present. According to another study by David Lawrence, this means that the rate of permafrost thaw will likely triple. No Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPPC) climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra. Leading scientist Shakhova and colleagues estimate that roughly eight million tons of methane are now leaking into the atmosphere each year from the East Siberia Sea. As previously stated, studies suggest that the destabilization of methane clathrates likely triggered the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum that saw global temperatures rise by around 6°C (over 20,000 years as opposed to what we are experiencing / causing over 200 years) with a corresponding rise in sea level as the whole of the oceans warmed. The rate of carbon addition at that time almost equals the rate at which carbon is being released into the atmosphere today.

“My view is that the climate has already crossed at least one tipping point, about 1975-1976, and is now at a runaway state, implying that only emergency measures have a chance of making a difference…” “The costs of all of the above would require diversion of the trillions of dollars from global military expenditures to environmental mitigation.” – Andrew Glikson, Earth/Paleo-climate scientist

Drinking the Kool-Aid

The model-based projections of the rate of future global warming take no account of the loss of the Arctic summer ice, nor of the methane emissions from thawing permafrost, nor of the methane emissions from the melting Arctic gas hydrates. It has been well known for a long time that these are by far the greatest dangers, all unavoidable with enough warming. To date, the world has agreed to being led (to the gallows) by the climate modellers. Yet, the models have already been proved to be sensationally wrong. Modellers are not climate experts, nor in life sciences, nor ecologists – the climate science leaders are complex math/computer modellers. The reliance on models has given the governments and compromised NGOs an excuse to do nothing.

As it is, the IPCC relies on models that exclude approximately half of the adverse climate change impacts on food crop production (two examples being heat waves and floods). Even so, the IPCCstates that the absolute limit for agriculture is a 3ºC global average warming (from pre-1900). Beyond a 3ºC temperature increase, we had best consider that agriculture would enter into an irreversible decline headed to collapse in all regions of the world, even when we use the dangerously incomplete models that attempt to give us a sense of what is coming down the pipe.

What do the big greens have to tell us about the alarming changes to our food crop production now being witnessed? Nothing. The big greens have been deadly silent. They continue to ignore the risks and the projections of global warming and climate disruption on our food security. We have to expect disastrous impacts on northern hemisphere agriculture resulting from the loss of the summer sea ice in the Arctic. If the Arctic summer sea ice is already in irreversible melt down, as many scientists now believe, the food security situation of the northern hemisphere is no better, and perhaps even worse, than that of the southern hemisphere.

Meanwhile in Canada, the Harper regime government has the propaganda machine working overtime, selling the lie of “Climate Prosperity” to Canadian citizens while planning to slip 16 billion of our tax dollars to his friends at Lockheed Martin for F-35 stealth fighter jets. Compare this to the four-year, $1.43-billion ecoEnergy program, introduced in 2007, which provided money to corporations for the development of false solutions passed off as new clean-energy technology. This program expires in 2011. The new budget (2010) offers a token $25 million for the next four years. Military budgets have steadily increased from $15 billion in 2005-2006, to $18 billion in 2008-2009, and this year $20.6 billion – representing one-fifth of the total government direct program spending on an annual basis. The 2010 budget is 56% higher than the 1998-99 budget. But why spend money on clean, safe renewable energies that will save lives when you can spend money that results in the extermination of men, women and children in the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq? And why do anything to protect citizens from catastrophic climate change when you can unveil an outrageous greenwash campaign instead? For the Conservative government led by Stephen Bush Harper, this massive Suncor-sponsored campaign to reframe dangerous climate change as something positive for Canada’s economy and our children is just another example of the dangerous denialism that has slowly and effectively saturated the most critical issue of our time.

Denialism has proven to be almost as effective as Jonestown Kool-Aid. For many years, Western democracy has been considered and designed as governance by a process of negotiation and compromise between three partners: 1) governments 2) corporations, and 3) civil society (with the big greens at the forefront). In the case of our Earth, her inhabitants and climate, we must consider this nothing less than a three-way silent truce for global catastrophe.

“The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel.” – H. L. Mencken,Chicago Tribune, 23 May 1926

Soma and the Big Greens | A Love Story

“The service had begun. The dedicated soma tablets were placed in the centre of the table. The loving cup of strawberry ice-cream somawas passed from hand to hand and, with the formula, ‘I drink to my annihilation,’ twelve times quaffed.” – Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the soma routine was not a private addiction; it was nothing less than a political institution. Soma was the very essence of life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness – all of which were guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. However, this most valued of the slaves’ subjects’ absolute privileges was, at the same time, by far the most powerful instrument of rule in the dictator’s arsenal. The systematic drugging of citizens for the benefit of the state (and incidentally, of course, for their own pleasure and amusement) was a main vice in the policy of the world controllers. Soma was invaluable. The daily soma ration was nothing less than insurance against personal maladjustment, social unrest and the spread of subversive ideas. [www.huxley.net] Sound familiar?

Where is the line that distinguishes the bystander from the perpetrator when atrocity becomes both systemic and political? Passive messaging and symbolic campaigns creatively and successfully do nothing less than deny the existence of universal truth and scientific knowledge. Such brilliant tactics effectively and subtly refute the crisis, thus enabling further denial discourse and behavior. If we do not challenge and successfully eradicate what has evolved into the universalizing of symbolism and hegemonic ideology of the big greens, indeed, we will be crushed by them. The evidence is upon us that climate change is now incontrovertible, as is the realization that this is by far the greatest catastrophe to ever confront our species.

One Sky – But Many Puppets

Truth and Deception

“We were warned repeatedly by highly paid consultants and well-funded studies that discussion of global warming or the climate crisis was unproductive. But we reject the either/or dichotomy, and maintain, as our founding 1Sky principles above suggest, that we must be clear about the planetary emergency we are facing….” – 1Sky Board of Directors (Jessica Bailey, KC Golden, Bracken Hendricks, Bill McKibben, Billy Parish, Vicky Rateau, Gus Speth and Betsy Taylor), 6 August 2010

The above is a key statement that supports the (non)meaning behind what climate justice activists have come to call “the big greens.” Organizations whose CEOs live fat cat lifestyles thanks to exorbitant paychecks that exceed those of state senators. The faux climate movement no longer reflects the reality we must all face – now or never. This is it. Pollyanna’s cheerleading days have officially expired and it is time to send her and her fellow cheerleaders packing. On August 6, 2010 the big greens state that we must be clear about the planetary emergency we are facing, yet, immediately following this statement, they call upon citizens to celebrate and participate in a day of actions that had nothing to do with solving a planetary emergency and everything to do with perpetuating a meaningless brand.

McKibben and friends are planting daffodils in the shape of 3-5-0 as the planet advances in a crisis of such magnitude that our children will most likely not survive it. Not so surprising considering in Cochabamba Kelly Blynn, 350.org co-founder, explicitly stated that they (350.org) would NEVER change their brand (by endorsing/reflecting the 300 ppm as per the People’s Agreement) as 350 was “the most powerful brand in the world.” Her words – as spoken in Cochabamba in April 2010. McKibben now refers to the number 350 as “iconic.” They have come to believe their own hype. Pass the soma please….

We can acknowledge that 350.org has been most successful in creating global awareness in regards to the number 350 – that being the uppermost amount in parts per million of atmospheric carbon that humanity must target. However, the reality is that we are at 390 today and only accelerating. Is this considered dangerous climate interference as defined by the IPCC? The answer is yes. Did NASA’s James Hansen call upon civil society to declare a planetary emergency in 2008? The answer is yes. Yet McKibben and friends speak of neither. Hansen’s dire plea is ignored. Dead silence. Epic fail. Most critical, why do McKibben and friends not educate on the necessary emissions reductions we must achieve if we are ever to get back to 350? It has been known by scientists for years that only zero CO2 emissions can make atmospheric CO2 drop. Nothing less. Could it therefore be considered nothing less than criminal negligence for McKibben, 350.org and friends to tell us that we are on the road to hell but refuse to give directions to the only way to get off that road (a freshly paved one of eco-asphalt lined with happy daffodils and shiny new electric cars, no less)? The map to safety is M.I.A.

“No one on the corner has swag like us? – Hit me on my banner prepaid wireless? – We pack and deliver like UPS trucks? – Already in hell just pumping that gas – ??All I wanna do is (BANG BANG BANG BANG!)? – And (KKKAAAA CHING!) – ?And take your money” – Paper Planes, by M.I.A.

Message to Pollyanna – this is Cassandra. Please go away before you kill us all. We don’t want to go down on your sinking ship.

The big greens understand the global implications of runaway climate change – the implications being the elimination of humanity and all evolutionarily advanced life. They recognize the current major calamities all over the globe. Yet, they continue to deny out loud to the public the critical state of the atmosphere, confirmed by the world’s leading research organizations; NASA, NSCDC, Potsdam, Tyndall, Hadley-Met, CSIRO, BOM, the world’s academies of science and others. By depriving the public of the gravity of this emergency, big greens effectively ensure that humanity remains ineffective in the imperative, urgent task of implementing changes in our social and economic spheres – at a speed and magnitude of such force, the world has yet to ever witness an effort of such scale.

“We are unleashing hell on Australia.” – Prof. Neville Nicholls, world expert and lead author for the IPCC, Monash University

“… many, many scientists now … are frantically, hysterically worried.” – Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers, former head of the UN’s World Climate Research Program, now at Macquarie University

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the Oxford 4 Degrees and Beyond Conference that “Political reality must be grounded in physical reality or it’s completely useless.” Schellnhuber briefed U.S. officials from the Barack Obama administration who chided him that his findings were “not grounded in political reality” and that “the [U.S.] Senate will never agree to this.” Schellnhuber told them that the U.S. must reduce its emissions from its current 20 tonnes of carbon per person average to zero tonnes per person by 2020 to have even a chance of stabilizing the temperature increase at around 2ºC.

Could it be that 350.org does not campaign on the imperative of zero because 350 ppm, in fact, demands a zero fossil fuel economy at breakneck speed? This is a vital observation being that the money “donated” by such foundations as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is only possible because of an explosive oil economy that continues to break record profits in the billions.

Did any of the big greens ever message the critical Potsdam Institute information to their supporters? (TckTckTck, for example, claims to have over 17 million members.) Of course not – informing U.S. citizens of the reality that they must achieve zero emissions by 2020 to avoid catastrophic 2ºC could result in: 1) negative impact on the economy, and/or 2) negative impact on NGO funding, and/or 3) negative impact on the brand.

Dangerous Messaging

The dangerous symbolic messaging that the big greens churn out has done far more damage than good. Such passive messaging, in which they excel, ensures that society remains indoctrinated under the illusion of happiness only made possible by consumer capitalism. This indoctrination has been suicidal. Literally. What is even uglier is that it seems McKibben and friends have accepted, therefore believe, their marketing strategists’s advice that there is no other way to reach their audience – other than to appeal to their selfish identity. Do they believe that their supporters (Americans being their primary target) are so shallow that the only way to entice change is to market campaigns and messaging that will lure citizens by feeding into the most negative characteristics of the human species – those of selfishness, greed and apathy? Such marketing campaigns succeed not by motivating people to make any meaningful change or sacrifice, rather such marketing motivates individuals to do only the actions that people may consider when they are not motivated enough to make a real change or sacrifice.

Big greens may not have zero faith in humanity – but they certainly do appear to have zero faith in their target audience. They have identified their audience first and foremost as self-serving consumers – as opposed to recognizing and building upon the fact that these are people. Citizens. With families. A reality that encompasses characteristics to be nourished. It is true that contemporary profit-driven, capitalistic and money-worshipping wealthy societies have fallen into a death trap, losing perspective and failing to realize that the value of money is totally subjective. However, does this mean that organizations should cater to these characteristics – brought about by relentless corporate messaging that has inundated and polluted our minds – thereby reaffirming them? Do we believe that our citizens are so shallow and so past the point of human sentience, empathy, capacity for critical thinking, and the ability to love beyond themselves that we just continue to distribute soma to the masses? Because the 21-year-old marketing prodigy told us so in between texting his investment banker on his Blackberry?

We may have lost our own self worth, beaten down by unwavering, relentless indoctrination – our bare souls laid siege by unabashed propaganda hell, but should the role of those who claim to speak for civil society not be the one to help civil society reclaim our humanness?

Fittingly, in our consumer capitalism society we now find that even social conscience itself has become a hot commodity. If the markets see our social conscience as an asset to exploit – and they absolutely do – at least this means we still collectively have a conscience, even if we have to peel back a thousand brands to eventually uncover it.

“People with strong intrinsic values must cease to be embarrassed by them. We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel. In asserting our values we become the change we want to see.” – George Monbiot

Unfortunately, the multimillion dollar social structure of the non-profit industrial complex is ruled by the expediency of public relations, politics and funding – not by high moral values. Furthermore, we are all ruled by the multi-billion-dollar banks who remind us of our enslavement to the system whenever we threaten to allow our moral values to lead us.

The bizarre “party” on 10:10:10 forgot to mention in the “top ten” ideas for the day that we must use all of our democratic powers and rights – including our moral obligation to break the laws that continue to protect the corporations while sentencing people to certain death. 350.org and partner TckTckTck proclaimed on 10:10:10, “We Own the Media Today.” In reality, the media own 350.

The Consequences of Modern Day Soma

Deconstruction, reconstruction, muzzling and outright lies within the corporate-owned mainstream media (MSM) have been a long-term barrier to truth. From organizing public support for controversial issues that threaten our very well being, even when our own children will be paying the ultimate price, to ensuring that certain political “leaders” are elected, or that women start smoking and the public keeps buying the consumer products they don’t need which ensures billions in corporate profits, the role of “communication” has been and remains pivotal. Today we witness that mainstream communication and public relations have become nothing more than basic propaganda, because the underlying facts and reality have to be reconstructed and watered down to make the message easy to swallow.

The plutocracy needs us to continue to buy crap we don’t need, consume things we don’t need, waste things we never needed to begin with, and most important of all – to quit thinking. Be passive. Be complacent. Dissent is effectively framed as unpatriotic or ungrateful. Take your soma three times a day, more if necessary.

The greatest threat to the corporate power that has a complete stranglehold on our global society, including governments, is a society of people who can sustain themselves independent of the corporate institution. A zero-carbon perpetual-energy world made up of citizens who embody and value the right to critical thinking, free of mind pollution, provides the greatest threat to corporate power. No corporation can dominate every drop of sunshine. No corporation can capture every breath of wind.

“So here we are, forming an orderly queue at the slaughterhouse gate. The punishment of the poor for the errors of the rich, the abandonment of universalism, the dismantling of the shelter the state provides: apart from a few small protests, none of this has yet brought us out fighting. The acceptance of policies which counteract our interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st Century. In the United States, blue-collar workers angrily demand that they be left without healthcare, and insist that millionaires should pay less tax. In the UK we appear ready to abandon the social progress for which our ancestors risked their lives with barely a mutter of protest. What has happened to us?” – George Monbiot

2100|Tomatoes and Flat Screens for the Bourgeois

In a “good news scenario” posted on 4 October 2010, titled Policy Reform to 350, McKibben envisions the future. A scenario whereby global society reverses levels of CO2 in the atmosphere to 350ppm by 2100 – this made possible by the consequences suffered by way of devastation that finally resulted in the imperialist governments waking up and smelling the coffee – thus acting. McKibben assumes in this scenario that governments are simply unaware, which is not at all true. Governments are absolutely aware of the consequences that we will face – and they have chosen not to act. They have all been briefed, in no uncertain terms, by the world’s foremost scientists and military experts.

The scenario McKibben writes of is neither factual, nor is it scientific. Indeed, he omits the most critical aspect of failing to deal with this crisis at breakneck speed – that of the amplifying feedbacks, many of which are now operational. Climate change has a full spectrum of dangerous consequences spread over many centuries into the future, however McKibben makes no mention of this reality. The reality that this scenario excludes is this: If we do not stabilize the climate by achieving virtual zero carbon emissions within a decade (Annex 1, or developed, countries), positive feedback mechanisms will continue to amplify, and become irreversible. This would result in runaway climate change. Humans will not survive this. The positive feedbacks will not simply retreat when Nature sees that we have finally learned our lesson and repented, as McKibben fantasizes within the article. He makes zero mention of tipping points and the point of no return. In fact, his scenario is survivable, including plug-in cars, tomatoes and even flat screen televisions. There is no mention of the billions who will have perished south of the equator nor is there mention that Africa will now be a furnace – void of all life. In McKibben’s “good news scenario,” exceeding 2ºC does not lead to uncontrollable temperatures of 4ºC, 6ºC, 8ºC and higher. This fantasy demonstrates the ultimate in denialism. If the “leader” of 350.org is believing in such delusional fantasy while packaging it as possible and rational, we are in terminally serious trouble. NGOs should be opposing this nonsense head on – but they won’t. Because in the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, when it comes to the critical issues of climate change, mum is the word.

350.org would like you to believe that 350 ppm is the most important number in the world. Not true. 350 ppm is recognized by climatologist James Hansen as the highest tolerable carbon level allowing survival of life on Earth. In reality, we need to get back down to levels below 300 ppm in order to re-freeze the Arctic sea ice. Then return to pre-industrial levels, which we know were safe. Until then, the Arctic sea ice will continue to accelerate in its death spiral, accelerating feedbacks. As we lose the albedo effect (reflection of sun off the ice), the solar energy, rather than being reflected, is then absorbed into the ocean. Such warming amplifies further feedbacks such as ocean acidification and melting of permafrost, which has led to the current situation of destabilized methane hydrates that are now leaking methane into the atmosphere. There is double the amount of carbon in the methane hydrates than in the entire atmosphere. We’re talking big numbers here.

These are all tipping points, beyond which catastrophic runaway feedback loops become irreversible. At this point, no amount of human ingenuity will save us. No amount of monetary wealth will save us. The term runaway greenhouse effect is best described as the conditions that led to the current greenhouse state of Venus. Terrifying? Yes. Yet this is the path we are currently on. For anyone who wishes to see what is happening to our ice – as you read this – watch the unbelievable time lapse footage that has only recently been witnessed by scientists. It is nothing less than incredible. You will understand the enormity of our situation once you see these images: http://bit.ly/bbH8mV

Thawing frozen soils could unleash a carbon bomb – massive volumes of carbon dioxide and methane frozen in the earth’s soils are a “time-bomb ticking under our feet.” – World Congress of Soil Science, 4 August 2010

Watch for the next article – fourth in the series, in which we continue to discuss the connection between environmental campaigns and their corporate sponsors. Article number one in the series ‘10:10:10 – Marketing, Manipulation, and the Status Quo’ and article number two in the series ‘Explosive Climate Report Text Revealed’ can be read at: http://bit.ly/cUYCrn

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on ‘Canadians for Action on Climate Change’ and ‘The Art of Annihilation’ site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on twitter:@elleprovocateur

Monthly Undermining Task, August 2010: Crash The Mainstream Environmentalists’ Party | 350.org

They (350.org) refuse to countenance the idea that industrial civilization is the problem – every action leads to the Senate, even requests to non-US “members” lead to the Senate. They are like a stuck record – a really dated record, like Alice Cooper trying to down with the kids when he spends most of his time playing golf. Bill McKibben may once have bitten the heads off proverbial bats, but now he’s just trying to get a clean shot down the fairway with all his mainstream buddies waiting in the clubhouse.

Not a day goes by when the words of the representative of some Environmental Group or other isn’t contacted by a newspaper or television station asking for comment on the story of the day, whatever will happen to sell the most papers or garner the most viewers. Without fail the comments offered are words of the most ineffectual sort, gently admonishing this or that company or politician, and offering the kind of advice that would sit comfortably in the pages of any corporate enviro-speak manual. Only today, a representative of Greenpeace Netherlands referred to the export of thousands of tonnes of electronic waste using the execrable phrase: “The fundamental problem with electronics is that it’s designed in a very bad way.”

Not, “The fundamental problem with electronics is that it is a symbol of an ecocidal consumer culture”, perhaps adding, “and the tide of toxic waste won’t end until that consumer culture comes to an end.” You won’t hear that from Greenpeace, or any other mainstream environmental group.

Not a week goes by without some campaign or other being launched to prevent environmental destruction, or make efforts to put right that destruction. The vast, vast majority of these campaigns are based upon the same “logic” as the vast, vast majority of people who make comments to newspapers or television stations: this is the system we have, so we have no choice but to make it behave itself as best it can. That, of course, is bullshit.

As I have written time and time again, it is an utterly pointless task trying to make Industrial Civilization sustainable or “environmentally friendly”, because the nature of civilization is to destroy, to take what it wants to achieve its aims and only stop when it runs out of energy, people or space. It only stops when it collapses – it never stops of its own accord.

The mainstream environmental movement has never got this, and never will, because its very existence depends on the support of a large number of people both for income and staffing. It also depends on the good will of the system itself, that permits it to protest peacefully, speak freely and generally operate within the Law of the Land. There is an invisible line that separates the words and deeds of the mainstream from the words and deeds of the “extremist”; that same line separates that which is pointless, ineffective action from that which will actually achieve the kind of change humanity requires in order to survive.

This line is never crossed.

If you want to see this entire movement in microcosm, look no further than 350.org and the work they do which has come, in recent months, to define environmental symbolism. I have written about them before, but was moved to write again by the following email that purports to originate from the desk of Will Bates, one of their key campaigners:

Dear Friends,

On the morning of April 21, 2009, as people rallied in thousands in the city of Cochabamba, a young woman walked to the center of the conference, took a deep breath, and improvised a 350 banner, joining a new worldwide call for climate action.

She had worked the previous day to try and convince her friends at 350 to join her, but in the mainstream NGO community, taking REAL action on climate change is a risk that few larger NGOs are willing to take. This was one the smallest actions that day, but one of the most powerful.

And she didn’t stop there. Determined to make a difference, she overcame even more challenges at Cochabamba by calling for no NGO to undermine 300ppm in the plenary sessions and calling for action on behalf of millions of people in Bolivia and around the world.

Unfortunately, not all representatives of 350.org shared her bravery and failed to fight for a fair, ambitious and binding international people’s agreement steering us towards safety below 300ppm.

So she, the activist, with other activists, went back to work.

I spoke to the woman on the phone last week, and she relayed the news that she’s found a group of activists who were inspired by her actions, and together they’re planning to keep calling for support of the people’s agreement out of Bolivia. Temperatures must not exceed 1C and we must get back down to 300ppm.

But we’re not waiting until October to Get To Work–we’re starting now. Ambitious climate action takes a bit of planning–that’s why we’re coordinating a week of local “Climate MeetUps” at the end of August calling for 300ppm. The meetups will be short and casual meetings we can use to make big plans for the coming year.

Think of it as a synchronized, global planning meeting. At your Climate MeetUp in August, you’ll be supporting real activists around the world in unveiling the new 300.org campaign — a Global Work Party supporting the position finalized in Bolivia:

“On a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, the submission calls for developed countries to “take the lead and strive towards returning greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to well below 300 ppm (parts per million) CO2eq with a view to returning concentrations to levels as close as possible to pre-industrial levels in the longer-term, and to limit the average global temperatures to a maximum level of 1degree Celsius with a view to returning temperatures to levels as close as possible to pre-industrial levels in the longer-term.”

The Global Work Party, supporting our new campaign for 300ppm will be a chance for all of us to show what leadership really looks like — together, we’ll get to work creating climate solutions from the ground up and demand our politicians do the same.

Thank you for making us see the light,

Will Bates on behalf of the entire 350.org/300.org team.
_____________
350.org is an international grassroots campaign funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. It aims to build and protect their brand at all costs. It mobilizes a global climate non-movement united by a common call to protect the current economic system. By not sharing the real climate science with citizens and supporters, and by protecting the status quo, we will ensure that the world’s most vulnerable will not succeed in establishing bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 350.org is what we like to call “ The most powerful brand in the world”.

What is 350? 350 is the wrong number that we tell supporters is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in “parts per million” (ppm), so 350ppm is not the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need to get back to pre-industrial levels of 278. However – 278 is a different kind of PPM- this is a number which would only be possible by embracing a new economic system based on people, not profits as we build a zero carbon society. Unfortunately, this model representative of social equality is not a model that compromised, well funded mainstream NGOs embrace.

I have no way of verifying whether Will Bates wrote this or not, but if so it would be an extraordinary turnaround by an organisation that was originally set up using a grant originating from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a bit of guilt-shedding “philanthropy” funded from a long history of global oil, construction and banking interests.

Actually, looking at the 350.org website, I see no evidence of this turnaround as yet, and am not the slightest bit surprised because any organisation that would take its seed-money from the same fund that founded the conservative free-market thinktank, the American Enterprise Institute is not likely to bite the hand (or rather system) that feeds it.

The upshot of this is that nothing 350.org – or for that matter WWF, Conservation International, The Sierra Club, Greenpeace and any other mainstream environmental group you wish to name – do, is going to upset the system from which that group gets its money and its support.

One sees occasional glimpses of light, but just as soon as something chances to suggest a genuine desire for real change from the mainstream, the heavy fist of popular support comes crashing down. No wonder all anyone is ever asked to do on behalf of these Groups (often called NGOs) is make a symbolic gesture.

When you take part in a protest that does not directly threaten the thing you are protesting against, you are simply sublimating any anger you might have into whatever symbolic acts you have been led to believe will lead to change.

This process of sublimation is repeated in all facets of Industrial Civilization, from the Government Consultation and the Parliamentary Process through to apparently useful tools as Judicial Review and industrial Whistleblowing; all chances of real change are prevented by an array of gaping holes, channelling our anger into “constructive” activities. Because we followed the recommended course of action – the peaceful alternative – we feel sated and content that right has been done, even when nothing has been achieved.

About 3 years ago, talking to a friend, I had what I thought was a pretty good idea: I would take it upon myself to show the environmental mainstream up for what it is; show to people that groups like WWF, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace are a big part of the problem, not part of the solution. It occured to me that simple exposure of these double-standards might be enough to change the public’s perception of “environmentalism”.

Of course I didn’t realise at the time that I might be falling into the same trap as everyone else in my position, and that simple exposure would not be nearly enough. True, if you tell someone something enough times then they will begin to believe it is true, but all the while these groups have big incomes (often from corporate funding) with which to publicise their work then the small voices that say, “but this won’t change things,” will be constantly drowned out by the mainstream desire to stay within the confines of the ecocidal industrial system.

I say again: it is an utterly pointless task trying to make Industrial Civilization sustainable or “environmentally friendly”. The big environmental groups don’t get this and they never will.

What is needed – if you are willing to do this with me – are a range of different tactics that will inject a hefty note of dissonance into the pitiful messages of “change” that the mainstream perpetuates. I will give you an example: let’s suppose that the email above was a fake; produced, in fact, by someone who wanted to show the truth behind the nice, civilised press releases that 350.org churn out. It would not take a huge effort to alter an existing email, then forward it on – thus masking the original email header – as a piece of “news”. How many false press releases would need to be circulating before people started asking questions of the originators of those messages?

I consider this to be low risk, for how can such an act be libellous if it contains more truth than the original message – the one that said that small reductions in carbon dioxide over decades are sufficient; the one that said that writing to or petitioning politicians would change things; the one that said we can continue having a growing economy and also protect the biosphere? That’s three lies that are commonly written, or at least implied in huge number of press releases. How can your amended version be libellous if it contains more truth than the original message?

Plus, who would want to admit that they had been lying in the first place?

As the Environmental Groups pat each other on the back – notice how they hardly ever criticise each other, that would be like criticising yourself – tell each other what a great job they are doing, and pouring another glass of celebratory fizz, they might not spot who is sneaking in the door, switching the music off and turning on the bright lights of reality.

Low Risk

Ok, there’s a small chance you might get lynched, but what about starting at a real party, like the one Greenpeace is holding near to Heathrow Airport on Saturday 28th August. Here, you can have my personal invitation if you want. There are all sorts of events like this, celebrating pyrrhic victories, such as the cancellation of a third runway west of London (is this really a “local” party, considering WWF, Greenpeace and RSPB are involved?), at the same time as as airport expansion pushes ahead in Edinburgh, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester and to the east of London. Plus what about campaign launches, updates and anniversaries – there are so many to choose from all over the world.

Perhaps the most subversive thing you can do at these events is to ask questions of as many people as you can; questions like, “What will/did this achieve?” “Why are you doing this?” “Why do you think it will work?” “What’s the point if the system stays the same?” and so on. Creating uncertainty is the key here for, certainly at every meeting I’ve ever been to, the attendees are in search of answers, but rarely ever question the ones they are given. For instance, events to organise marches – as though marches ever achieve anything – are always framed in such a way that the march will happen anyway, and it is just the detail that is being discussed. Ask the questions – challenge the received “wisdom” that marches change anything: create uncertainty. Then leave.

I want to make it clear, I have plenty of time for the research work and dissemination of information that many groups do, even WWF produce some excellent papers. What I have a problem with is what happens when we know this: what do we do? We do what we are told, because we have been led to believe change will happen…and it never does.

Local and national radio stations are ripe areas for undermining the mainstream message of inaction. Care is, of course, necessary here because you don’t want to be undermining the fact that environmental destruction is taking place; but right from the off, the message that a representative of Greenpeace or Sierra Club will give is that humans are causing the damage – not civilization, not the industrial system, but humans. In many cases a news story based phone-in will welcome a representative of an environmental group, and you can be that representative. As the show starts, call the station, let them know that you represent whichever Group is relevant to the story (all the better if the story is about the group itself!), give a false name if you like, and then go on the show.

Remember, what you are getting across is essentially what the group is afraid of saying: that there is no point appealing to politicians and businesses, there is no point marching, signing petitions, holding candlelit vigils; all of this is just grist to the mill. No, your Group is going to change its tactics and denounce the entire industrial system because the industrial system is the problem. You will refuse to work with politicians and business, and embrace communities; give the say back to the people, not tell them what actions to take from some head office. In short, you are telling the world that you have failed and something entirely different is needed.

(On a specific note, and one that really rankles with me, if you can go on as a spokesperson for PETA, then mention that you are no longer going to use sexist, misogynist campaigns that focus on bare female bodies – that ought to stir a few pots.)

Even lower risk, there is always the option of sending a letter to a newspaper, magazine or journal playing the “representative” card. Most publications don’t follow up on letters, so you can use the published addresses of the mainstream group you are choosing to (I was about to use the word “defame”, but in the circumstances I reckon you are simply showing them the light, as it were) undermine. Friends of the Earth have conveniently produced a guide to getting your letter printed – just remember the salient points that civilization is what is destroying the planet, and no amount of pandering to the system is going to change things; and away you go!

Medium Risk

This article cannot hope to cover more than a tiny number of the possible actions, so please take some time to read this list for more ideas – and send me some more if you have them. But now it is time to move on to a few higher-risk actions, that aren’t for the faint-hearted, but which could really undermine the mainstream message.

One such type of action – a logical step on from pretending to to work for mainstream groups – is actually working for them, then turning the cards. It’s dead easy to volunteer to work at a Group and get involved in small scale public-facing activities like street stalls and leafleting – in my experience, though, because such activities are so ineffective, it is likely that simply telling the public the truth about campaigns (i.e. they are just making people think the Groups are on the case, when they are not) will be even more ineffective. The real undermining as a volunteer is to be done in group meetings or at conferences – which you will need to work at to get invited to – when you will have the opportunity to strike at the heart of the “activist” community, and lead a few people to a better place. The risk comes if you get a chance to speak on behalf of a local branch – and will therefore make quite a few people upset – and then tell the truth about the way the group is operating. If you want to really speak on behalf of the Group itself at conferences etc., with bona fide credentials, then you will almost certainly need to already be working for that group: trust takes a long time to build up. Once in a position of trust, though, the opportunities for telling both the people inside the Group and the public in general the truth about mainstream “activism” are considerable. If you want to hang around for a while, then you might be best concentrating on subtle messages or “accidental” slip-ups in press releases and speeches; but if you are already sick and tired of working for the Man, in the guise of an NGO, then you can be as blatant as you like.

You may only have one shot at this before being unceremoniously dumped, and be unlikely to ever work for such a Group in the future; but then why would you want to work in the environmental mainstream if you consider them to be acting hypocritically? Then again, your bona fide newpaper article, or radio / television interview could completely change how the environmental mainstream is viewed by both the corporate and political world (“One of us”) and those people who really want a future for humanity (“Not one of us”).

Many mainstream Groups work with, and get money from, corporations. The largest groups like WWF, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy take money from large companies as a matter of course, and there is no doubt at all that such a relationship has a deeply adverse effect on the modus operandi of the groups themselves. Johann Hari puts it like this:

The green groups defend their behavior by saying they are improving the behavior of the corporations. But…the pressure often flows the other way: the addiction to corporate cash has changed the green groups at their core. As MacDonald says, “Not only do the largest conservation groups take money from companies deeply implicated in environmental crimes; they have become something like satellite PR offices for the corporations that support them.”

It has taken two decades for this corrupting relationship to become the norm among the big green organizations. Imagine this happening in any other sphere, and it becomes clear how surreal it is. It is as though Amnesty International’s human rights reports came sponsored by a coalition of the Burmese junta, Dick Cheney and Robert Mugabe. For environmental groups to take funding from the very people who are destroying the environment is preposterous – yet it is now taken for granted.

I went through a period of masquerading as corporations in order to find out what steps NGOs would be prepared to take in order to get finances with which to continue their operations. What I found was often revealing and disturbing. Up to now I have not linked directly to a phone call that I made to The Woodland Trust, but feel it is time to demonstrate how easy it is – by nature of the cosy relationship with corporations – to get such information from hypocritical NGOs. The recording can be found here:

http://www.archive.org/details/WoodlandTrustAcceptDubiousCorporateSponsorship

There is something exhilarating about getting such blatant admissions from what is apparently a “green” group; and if you are able to carry out such subterfuge from the comfort of your telephone (the techniques are described here) then I can assure you, you will remain hooked. If you are not willing to publish your findings to the wider world, then you can always send the recordings to me and I will publish them on your behalf, with as much negative publicity for the Group as I can muster.

Finally, you might have noticed that a number of activities listed in “100 ways” go beyond what most of the Mainstream Groups are willing to do; but that doesn’t mean these actions cannot be carried out “on behalf of” such Groups. We are talking about the kind of things they would not condone themselves, such as barracading shopping malls, or send out radio or TV blocking signals during advertising breaks – to undermine the consumer society. If you can leave a relevant “signature” in the course of your action, then two advantages come into play: first, you are less likely to be found out (it won’t incriminate the group as there won’t be sufficient evidence) and, second, it will force the group to admit they wouldn’t do such a thing, thus undermining their own credentials as activists*. The risk of this area of activism depends on the action being carried out, and is only limited by your own imagination.

I suppose it is fortunate that there are no truly high risk undermining actions that can be taken against mainstream environmental groups – assuming that you are not dealing with psychopathic supporters – but in the event that the combined efforts of Underminers does lead to the downfall of such organisations as wish to see the burgeoning power of corporations and their political puppets continue; to anyone still in awe of the Sierra Clubs and WWFs of the world this is a hugely risky strategy. As far as I’m concerned, it’s about bloody time millions of genuinely caring people stopped being relentlessly asked to carry out pointless tasks on behalf of these groups: it’s about time we decided for ourselves what real change looks like.

*Make sure the action is effective, not just symbolic: hard-core activism that does not have a useful outcome is no better than softly-softly symbolic action.

http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/2010/08/09/monthly-undermining-task-august-2010-crash-the-mainstream-environmentalists-party/

Clicktivism is Ruining Leftist Activism

Published on Thursday, August 12, 2010 by the Guardian/UK

Reducing activism to online petitions, this breed of marketeering technocrats damage every political movement they touch

by Micah White

A battle is raging for the soul of activism. It is a struggle between digital activists, who have adopted the logic of the marketplace, and those organizers who vehemently oppose the marketization of social change. At stake is the possibility of an emancipatory revolution in our lifetimes.

The conflict can be traced back to 1997 when a quirky Berkeley, California-based software company known for its iconic flying toaster screensaver was purchased for $13.8m (£8.8m). The sale financially liberated the founders, a left-leaning husband-and-wife team. He was a computer programmer, she a vice-president of marketing. And a year later they founded an online political organization known as MoveOn. Novel for its combination of the ideology of marketing with the skills of computer programming, MoveOn is a major center-leftist pro-Democrat force in the US. It has since been heralded as the model for 21st-century activism.

The trouble is that this model of activism uncritically embraces the ideology of marketing. It accepts that the tactics of advertising and market research used to sell toilet paper can also build social movements. This manifests itself in an inordinate faith in the power of metrics to quantify success. Thus, everything digital activists do is meticulously monitored and analyzed. The obsession with tracking clicks turns digital activism into clicktivism.

Clicktivists utilize sophisticated email marketing software that brags of its "extensive tracking" including "opens, clicks, actions, sign-ups, unsubscribes, bounces and referrals, in total and by source". And clicktivists equate political power with raising these "open-rate" and "click-rate" percentages, which are so dismally low that they are kept secret. The exclusive emphasis on metrics results in a race to the bottom of political engagement.

Gone is faith in the power of ideas, or the poetry of deeds, to enact social change. Instead, subject lines are A/B tested and messages vetted for widest appeal. Most tragically of all, to inflate participation rates, these organizations increasingly ask less and less of their members. The end result is the degradation of activism into a series of petition drives that capitalize on current events. Political engagement becomes a matter of clicking a few links. In promoting the illusion that surfing the web can change the world, clicktivism is to activism as McDonalds is to a slow-cooked meal. It may look like food, but the life-giving nutrients are long gone.

Exchanging the substance of activism for reformist platitudes that do well in market tests, clicktivists damage every genuine political movement they touch. In expanding their tactics into formerly untrammeled political scenes and niche identities, they unfairly compete with legitimate local organizations who represent an authentic voice of their communities. They are the Wal-Mart of activism: leveraging economies of scale, they colonize emergent political identities and silence underfunded radical voices.

Digital activists hide behind gloried stories of viral campaigns and inflated figures of how many millions signed their petition in 24 hours. Masters of branding, their beautiful websites paint a dazzling self-portrait. But, it is largely a marketing deception. While these organizations are staffed by well-meaning individuals who sincerely believe they are doing good, a bit of self-criticism is sorely needed from their leaders.

The truth is that as the novelty of online activism wears off, millions of formerly socially engaged individuals who trusted digital organizations are coming away believing in the impotence of all forms of activism. Even leading Bay Area clicktivist organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to motivate their members to any action whatsoever. The insider truth is that the vast majority, between 80% to 90%, of so-called members rarely even open campaign emails. Clicktivists are to blame for alienating a generation of would-be activists with their ineffectual campaigns that resemble marketing.

The collapsing distinction between marketing and activism is revealed in the cautionary tale of TckTckTck, a purported climate change organization with 17 million members. Widely hailed as an innovator of digital activism, TckTckTck is a project of Havas Worldwide, the world’s sixth-largest advertising company. A corporation that uses advertising to foment ecologically unsustainable overconsumption, Havas bears significant responsibility for the climate change TckTckTck decries.

As the folly of digital activism becomes widely acknowledged, innovators will attempt to recast the same mix of marketing and technology in new forms. They will offer phone-based, alternate reality and augmented reality alternatives. However, any activism that uncritically accepts the marketization of social change must be rejected. Digital activism is a danger to the left. Its ineffectual marketing campaigns spread political cynicism and draw attention away from genuinely radical movements. Political passivity is the end result of replacing salient political critique with the logic of advertising.

Against the progressive technocracy of clicktivism, a new breed of activists will arise. In place of measurements and focus groups will be a return to the very thing that marketers most fear: the passionate, ideological and total critique of consumer society. Resuscitating the emancipatory project the left was once known for, these activists will attack the deadening commercialization of life. And, uniting a global population against the megacorporations who unduly influence our democracies, they will jettison the consumerist ideology of marketing that has for too long constrained the possibility of social revolution.

© 2010 Guardian/UK

Micah White is a contributing editor at Adbusters and an award-winning activist. He lives in Berkeley and is writing a book about the future of activism. His website is here

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