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Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 2]

Wrong Kind of Green

December 6, 2016

by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

Part two.

 

“In crushing detail and shining a floodlight on the history of the co-optation of Indigenous struggles since the pivotal year of 2010, Cory Morningstar has put together this series to give deep context to the events at and around Standing Rock. Most vitally, this series contrasts the tiny amounts of money spent at the grassroots against the vast sums spent at the ‘business’ end of the non-profit industrial complex where personal data helps behavior-change B-corporation executives exercise the will of corporate philanthropists, corporations, and imperialist governments.

In this “age of peak spectacle” Morningstar and Forrest Palmer present the invisiblization of crude-via-rail and the manipulations of Warren Buffett and his BNSF empire while showing that not all water is treated as precious, not all pipelines get scrutiny, and not all Indigenous land needs to be treated as sacred if it doesn’t serve the interests of the non-profit industrial complex and those brands that maximize profits through Dave Matthews concerts. You will find stunning passages of clarity in each of part of this series which includes indispensable details of political context and networked hegemony for any true fireball activist.” — Activist Michael Swifte

 

Religion Meets Extinction (“Last Chance”) Tourism 

Last Chance Green Road Sign Over Clouds and Sky.

Last Chance Green Road Sign Over Clouds and Sky

 

October 24, 2016, from the article Planning to Travel to Standing Rock? Now Is The Time published on the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale:

 “‘The entire training experience was so insightful, not just as I looked into myself, but also tried to understand things from the eyes of the oppressor,’ Lopez said… Thanks to this training, I realized that when engaging in non-violent direct action, I can go straight to prayer. This reminded me of who I am, and what I am here for. I remembered that prayer, peace, and love can take us farther than anything.”

November 25, 2016 from the article People are treating the DAPL protest like Burning Man, Standing Rock has reportedly been overrun with white demonstrators trying to soak up the ‘cultural experience’:

“The concerns have been raised by protestors in a series of tweets and Facebook posts. According to them, people have turned up to the Standing Rock demonstration to soak up the ‘cultural experience’, and are treating the camp like it is ‘Burning Man’ festival or ‘The Rainbow Gathering’….  ‘I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to festivals. Waiting with big smiles expectantly for us to give them a necklace or an ‘indian’ name while our camp leader was speaking… The situation has reportedly got so bad that an open letter detailing the camp’s ground rules has started trending on Twitter. Responding to the new influx of support, it reminds demonstrators that the camp is ‘not a vacation.'”

The Saviours: 350.org

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350.org website

“The international environmental movement soon took notice, including, 350.org, an environmentalist group that helped defeat the Keystone XL pipeline. In July, the group sent a delegation to the Sacred Stone Camp to see how they could help. In many ways, the Dakota Access pipeline drew its inspiration from the fight to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, according to organizers from 350 and other environmental groups. ‘We didn’t have to totally reinvent the wheel,’ said Josh Nelson of Credo, a progressive advocacy group.” — From prairie to the White House: Inside a Tribe’s quest to stop a pipeline, September 26, 2016

On cue, standing in the shadows until the campaign becomes so colossal it is somewhat safe from accusations of co-optation, 350 corrals Standing Rock supporters to bring the various individuals and groups back into the fold of the NPIC.  Sign the petition: Tell President Obama to stop the Dakota Access pipeline – sign the petition now. (At the time of this writing their live petition progress was: 105,336 signatures.)  Few (if any) stop and question who exactly benefits from personal information divulged to NGOs for their many campaigns. This information is shared with “allies” such as Unilever, Ceres, The B Team, Avaaz, Purpose, etc. etc.:

“We may share your name and/or email address with trusted organizations that share our mission to solve the climate crisis. These organizations include the 350.org Action Fund (350.org’s affiliate organization) and partner organizations that may be organizing climate action events in your area. We will not share your information with any individual or organization who is not engaged in furthering the success of 350.org… In an ongoing effort to accomplish our mission and understand Web Site visitors better, 350.org may conduct research on its visitor’s demographics and interests based on the Personal Information and other information provided to us. This research may be compiled and analyzed on an aggregate basis, and 350.org may share this aggregate information with its affiliates and allies. 350.org may also disclose aggregated visitor statistics in order to describe the size, scope, and demographics of its network.”

To be clear, 350.org and its partner NGOs are STRONG ALLIES of corporations that have redefined their goals to fall under the faux banner of “sustainable capitalism” and behavioural change agents such as Avaaz and Purpose. This data is of tremendous value to those whose expertise is behavioural change – the modification of whole societies to conform to the wishes and desires of the elite classes.

“We’ve been talking in a broader way about the future of consumer activism, of organizing people not as citizens but as consumers.” — Jeremy Heimans, Avaaz/Purpose, 2011

The Continued DeKlein of the Postmodern Imperial-Liberal Left

Lending credence to George Orwell’s “doublespeak”: “first they steal the words, then they steal the meaning” doublespeak today functions in tandem with ever evolving holistic linguistics crafted by 21st century Euro-American anthropocentrists amidst a thriving networked hegemony. The word “radical”, Latin meaning radix “root”, going to the origin, has been turned on its head. Radical has been made into a word equated with terrorists. Radical has been employed by McKibben to describe Exxon CEOs and their ilk.

Marketed and branded opposition to capitalism by 350’s Naomi Klein et al is not opposition to dismantle capitalism in its entirety as is required (a concept unapologetically outlined by the unwavering Stephanie MacMillan), rather, the “opposition” is limited to specific forms of capitalism identified and categorized by our 21st century thought-leaders. “Crony capitalism” , “corporate capitalism” and “the excesses of capitalism” (terms used by Avi Lewis for Klein’s NGO campaign, “The Leap Manifesto”) comprise the framework for capitalism as a whole in an attempt to make it wholly acceptable. Simultaneously, the national and global “clean energy” campaigns thrust into the public domain by these same institutions and individuals who claim to oppose “corporate capitalism” in reality guarantee the expansion of capitalism. Critical discussion on imperialism has been wholly replaced with “extractivism”. Anti-capitalist expression has become hollowed rhetoric made vogue for social media metrics dispersed by those of privilege by elite foundations via their pet NGOs.

“… the higher up the media chain where Naomi Klein speaks, the farther she detaches herself from any critique of capitalism as being the root cause of the global warming emergency. In fact, notwithstanding the subtitle — “Capitalism Vs. The Climate” — of her 2014 best-selling book, there is very little hard, anti-capitalist critique in her writings and speeches. That is also true of the many uncritical published reviews of the book and of the [Leap]manifesto itself. — Taking forward the political vision that inspires the Leap Manifesto, October 14, 2016

In similar fashion, Avi Lewis (Klein’s husband and son of pro-interventionist Stephen Lewis), submits that “the heart of the problem with capitalism is the variant he calls ‘extractivism’. Lewis considers ‘extractivism’ to be a distinct phase and element of the capitalist system, explaining that capitalism and extractivism emerged in parallel at the outset of the industrial revolution. He calls the surge of human economic pillaging emanating from Europe in the early stages of mercantile expansion ‘extractivism’ and ‘colonialism'” and explains that “these were then “turbocharged” by “industrialism.” [Source]

Black revolutionary Omali Yeshitela succinctly explains how capitalism is in fact imperialism developed to its highest stage. Yeshitela explains capitalism as a product of imperialism – not vice-versa. Both Lewis and Klein avoid making any connection between imperialism and capitalism. Consider the word imperialism receives one mention in Klein’s 505 page book about climate change and capitalism.[1]  This must be considered a creative re-framing of history by our “thought leaders” thus it is worth asking why such a glaring omission exists while the term “extractivism” is concurrently pounded into our psyche. The reality is simple. The global “clean” energy structure Klein campaigns for (at the bequest of her many funders) is dependent upon and impossible without both the expansion and acceleration of imperialism. This is indisputable. Those very Indigenous Nations Klein, et al, profess to support – are the very Indigenous nations that will be impacted in the future. The very same Indigenous nations being impacted now. Like the gross undermining of Indigenous nations at COP15 in Copenhagen. Like the gross undermining and marginalization of the Indigenous led 2010 Peoples Agreement drafted in Bolivia at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that ultimately was deliberately made invisible by NGOs who comprise the NPIC. These were ultimately replaced with Manifestos espousing western, white and empirical values such as Klein’s Leap.

no-means-no-indigenous-land-rights

In the documentary video produced by Avi Lewis for Al Jazeera English (uploaded  May 20, 2010) Lewis devotes significant film footage to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (35,000 participants from 142 countries) hosted by Bolivia. More than two thirds of the Bolivian population has Indigenous origin giving Bolivia the largest proportion of indigenous people in Latin America. The film contains great footage of commentary by both the late revolutionary Hugo Chavez and Indigenous President Evo Morales. In this footage Lewis focuses  on extraction while ignoring the global economic capitalist system and the 1% it serves who create 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. He notes that 80% of Bolivia’s extraction is exports that drive the extraction. Lewis observes “it’s no surprise that in climate negotiations Bolivia is emerging as a leader among developing countries advancing radical proposals and analysis that’s making rich countries distinctly nervous.”

“In Bolivia we like to dream. And we like to dream so much that we have the first Indigenous president. We love to dream. We love to dream so we have fifty percent of women that are ministers now. We love to dream so much that we have a new constitution now that has more rights than even the United Nations. So is it worth dreaming? It is absolutely worth dreaming.” — Angelica Navarro, Bolivian Climate Negotiator, 2010

boliviacochabambapeoplesclimatechangeconference

Bolivia’s progressive positions also made rich elites distinctly nervous. By the following year (2011), Klein had joined the board of Rockefeller’s 350.org. Providing critical discourse by way of the single most radical declaration to ever be recognized by the United Nations (thanks only to the efforts of the Bolivian state), a divestment campaign designed by both McKibben, Klein, as well as 350.org and it’s “friends on Wall Street”, would soon be global in scale in partnering with such entities as the United Nations and The Guardian. By 2015, with the Indigenous led “People’s Agreement” (which Klein and Lewis both participated/attended) now completely and utterly buried by the NPIC, Klein would introduce her own “Leap Manifesto” to the world.[2] Omali Yeshitela  sums up Klein, et al’s actions best: “Today’s white left is also locked into a worldview that places the location of Europeans in the world as the center of the universe. It always has.”  Meaning that no matter how progressive and radical the thought processes, concepts, ideologies, and proposals that Indigenous Nations or non-Anglos propose – we whites can do it better. We are smarter. We are superior.

“The climate summit that just wrapped up in Cochabamba was the polar opposite of Copenhagen, not only because it occurred literally on the other side of the world. Instead of being led by the most powerful people of the world, it was led by those at the margins: the poor countries, indigenous peoples, and social movements.” – The Cochabamba AccordAn Alternative to Copenhagen’s Failure, June 28, 2010

It is vital to watch the following video “World People’s Conference on Climate Change Part 2”  which highlights praise for the Indigenous led People’s Agreement, by climate change “leaders” from Nnimo Bassey (Friends of the Earth), Klein, and Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians)  all who possess a far reach and all of whom allowed the agreement to be buried. Here it must be noted that a mere five years later, many of these same “leaders” would flock to endorse, highlight and campaign on Klein’s Leap manifesto (including Maude Barlow).

At the end of the above video Morales is filmed speaking to the people: “Now our job is to convince, persuade and explain. And if they do not listen to us, we will have to organize and gain power through our social movements around the world, to focus the developed countries to respect the conclusions made by the worlds social movements. Homeland or death! Long live the first worlds social movement gathering for the rights of Mother Earth!”

“When Morales invited “social movements and Mother Earth’s defenders…scientists, academics, lawyers and governments” to come to Cochabamba for a new kind of climate summit, it was a revolt against this experience of helplessness, an attempt to build a base of power behind the right to survive.” – Naomi Klein, April 22, 2010

peoples-climate-march-2

But the First World’s social movement gathering for the rights of Mother Earth would not live. Bolivia’s “attempt to build a base of power behind the right to survive” would be dismantled via deliberate marginalization. Akin to Jeremy’s Hemans, co-founder of Avaaz/Purpose who concluded “progressive” capitalists would have to  “kill green” in order to save it – this radical blueprint for a global transformation of economics and superior ideologies, would also have to be killed in order to save capitalism. This would be accomplished using empire’s most potent weapon: the NGOs that comprise the NPIC. Adding salt to the wounds, tiny land-locked Bolivia, one the poorest nations in Latin America (in a monetary sense only), paid for the flights of many privileged North American NGO “activists” to attend.

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Participants sit in bleachers at the packed World People’s Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights, Photo by The City Project

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Naomi Klein (right) with Council of Canadians’ Maude Barlow at the Leap Manifesto launch.

Between 2010 and 2015, Bolivia, under the Morales government, went from an emerging global climate leader (2009-2010) to being cast as a demonized as “extractivist” state. Throngs of articles regarding “extractivisim” (written by the 1% creating 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions being anyone who can afford to get on a plane) would paint Morales as a hypocrite. Bolivia as a model for climate change was thrown in the trash bin. Mission accomplished. [Further reading on how anti-imperial governments of vulnerable states must work within the confines of existing structures/systems inherited from capitalists or western puppets: FUNDACIÓN PACHAMAMA IS DEAD – LONG LIVE ALBA | PART III]

Land-locked Bolivia stands on the front lines with Indigenous Nations as those that feel the deepest impacts of climate change and ecological collapse as the world turns a blind eye. Bolivia’s Chacaltaya glacier (home to the highest ski lift in the world at 5,421m)retreated and disappeared in 2009, six years earlier than predicted by scientists. In 2009, the World Bank warned of the disappearance of many glaciers in the tropical Andes within the next 20 years. These glaciers provide fresh water for nearly 80 million people in the region. Lake Poopó, once Bolivia’s second-largest lake, was officially declared evaporated in December 2015. With it, biologists report the disappearance of 75 species of birds and the displacement of hundreds of locals. [Source] This month, Bolivia has issued a state of emergency due to drought. Like vultures, imperial forces have seized this opportunity in an attempt to create civil panic and strife (for possible and continually sought destabilization).

In summary, Indigenous president Evo Morales would be demonized for extractivism by the very people attending the climate conferences, individuals possessing first world privilege, and those entitities that drove (and continue to drive) extractivism.  Bolivia would present alternate proposals to REDD/UN-REDD (The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) and lead the fight by Indigenous nations worldwide, while simultaneously, the NGOs and the NPIC establishment ensured it would not succeed.

NGOs are accomplices of the elite power structures. The postmodern NPIC today serves as the key instrument for the furthering of both colonization and imperialism in the 21st century.  The non-profit industrial complex cannot be reformed – it must be abolished.

Further dystopian framing is in full display – to an audience blinded by rose-tinted glasses. Guerrilla rebel/freedom fighter revolutionary Jose Mujica must be considered perhaps the single best example of selflessness and environmental stewardship (in exchange for the pursuit of knowledge) for aspiration by all global citizens. Yet, empire has instead manufactured actor Leo Dicaprio – one of the planets most self-indulgent egoists to ever walk the earth – to serve as the hero for climate change and environment (and incidentally divestment). In an age of peak spectacle combined with savoir-faire social engineering – the masses applaud.

In Klein’s April 22, 2010 article “A New Climate Movement in Bolivia” (written while participating in the conference) she writes: “In Copenhagen, leaders of endangered nations like Bolivia and Tuvalu argued passionately for the kind of deep emissions cuts that could avert catastrophe. They were politely told that the political will in the North just wasn’t there. More than that, the United States made clear that it didn’t need small countries like Bolivia to be part of a climate solution. Yet Bolivia’s enthusiastic commitment to participatory democracy may well prove the summit’s most important contribution.”

Yet the following year, in 2011, Klein would join the board of 350.org. This was a major reversal on her part since 350.org is one of the key NGOs that undermined Bolivia’s and the G77’s proposed deep emissions and radical targets. This was accomplished via the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA ) umbrella it founded (with 19 other NGOs – most famous for the TckTckTck campaign) that dominated both the Copenhagen climate conference and the collective Euro-American psyche. To further illustrate Klein’s support of empire even outside the realm of environmentalism, additional irony arises by her support of Canadian MP Nathan Cullen, who voted in support of NATO’s intervention in the sovereign nation of Libya also in 2011. This regime-change invasion would destroy a prosperous Libya – a country were the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya upheld a national direct democracy movement. This slaughter resulted in over 500,000 dead, 30,000 in terrorist-run prisons, 2.5 million exiled, tens of thousands of refugees and horrific ethnic cleansing and lynching of black Libyans and migrant workers.

“But you won’t find Naomi Klein writing the Libyan chapter of the ‘shock doctrine’ (Gulf News, 26/10/2011)–Naomi Klein was too busy throwing her support behind a Canadian politician, Nathan Cullen, who voted in support of NATO’s intervention in Libya, with little regret.” – Author Maximilian Forte, February 19, 2013,  Counterpunch

Further, when 4 simple questions were put forward to Klein (via twitter) challenging her silence on 350.org partner Avaaz campaigning for No Fly Zones on Libya (followed by Syria), and 350.org’s undermining of Indigenous Nations in both Copenhagen and Bolivia, Klein’s only response was to immediately block.

This clearly demonstrates a terrifying observation that has became more and more apparent over the past few years following the Bolivian conference held in the tiny town of Cochabamba. No has acknowledged it, let alone discussed it. The observation is clear: the NPIC has full control of the “grass roots movements’. When those who comprise the NPIC (including designated/appointed thought leaders deemed acceptable by the establishment) stopped momentum for the Indigenous led People’s Agreement – it all stopped. The whole world went silent.

Indeed while the NPIC continues to shove the illusion of a third industrial revolution that intends to be global in scale, into the collective consciousness, Indigenous Nations around the world are already fighting industrial solar and wind projects, land acquisition disputes and a host of other clashes (mining conflicts, eco-tourism, REDD, etc. etc.) that come with the “new economy”. Yet, the NGOs continue, un-phased, unabated. They do not bat a proverbial eyelash. Here and there, multi-million dollar certification schemes are introduced to ensure business as usual – the worst of humanity, the unfathomable, made a little more friendly/bearable with a green rubber stamp to mollify guilt. With the postmodern imperial liberal left, solidarity is not a given. Solidarity is extended only when and if it is of benefit to the NGOs (branding) or their benefactors (strategy). NGOs are not allies. NGOs are tentacles of power under the guise of friendship. NGOs are friendly fire.

Stephen Lewis (father of Avi Lewis) has suggested that the Canadian New Democrat Party (NDP) could gain support (votes) by using The Leap Manifesto as a means of embedding itself and utilizing momentum created by popular movements (which time and again have become quickly co-opted): “And when you consider the social movements in this country … Idle No More, Occupy, Black Lives Matter … there is a ground swell with which we can amalgamate to make our presence dramatically felt in the next campaign.” [Source]

Perhaps the best example of “Indigenous solidarity” demonstrated by NGOs is a very recent Canadian “victory” on a tar sands deal spearheaded by Leap author and initial signatory, Tzeporah Berman. Due to her machinations and scheming, the Alberta tar sands industry will be allowed to further emit up to 100 megatonnes (from the current 70 megatonnes) of GHG emissions under the guise of victory. Berman, who works hand in hand with We Mean Business (350.org divestment partner Ceres, The B Team, Carbon Tracker, etc.), Suncor and other corporate entities will continue to enjoy luxurious lifestyles (on stolen native land) while the Indigenous nations downstream will continue to suffer the worst impacts.

 

Any vestiges of a legitimate movement belonging wholly to citizens – completely outside and independent in all forms from the NPIC, are gone. There is absolutely no hope for legitimate revolution rising from the liberal class. This class is now wholly indoctrinated.

The only hope that remains lies with the working class and Indigenous nations. Thus, it should be of no surprise that we now witness a new level of co-optation, in essence a national pacification experiment, being carried out via the Standing Rock campaign in North Dakota.

 

End Notes:

[1] “Extractivism is also directly connected to the notion of sacrifice zones—places that, to their extractors, somehow don’t count and therefore can be poisoned, drained, or otherwise destroyed, for the supposed greater good of economic progress. This toxic idea has always been intimately tied to imperialism, with disposable peripheries being harnessed to feed a glittering center, and it is bound up too with notions of racial superiority, because in order to have sacrifice zones, you need to have people and cultures who count so little that they are considered deserving of sacrifice. Extractivism ran rampant under colonialism because relating to the world as a frontier of conquest—rather than as home—fosters this

particular brand of irresponsibility. The colonial mind nurtures the belief that there is always somewhere else to go to and exploit once the current site of extraction has been exhausted.”  (p. 148)

[2] The problem begins when more radical environmental thinkers and activists, including would-be Marxists, choose not to rock the Leap Manifesto consensus. They opt to limit their vision to the limited outlook of Klein, Lewis and the proposals in the Leap Manifesto. [Source]

 

Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

 

Further Reading:

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 1]

350: Agent Saboteur

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XIII of an Investigative Report] [The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

Fundacion Pachamama is Dead – Long Live ALBA [Part VII of an Investigative Report]

This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe

WATCH: Alberta’s Environment Minister Commends Leap Manifesto’s Tzeporah Berman for Helping Craft the Tar Sands Deal

 

MUST WATCH INTERVIEW (03:57)

 

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Leap Manifest Brainstorm Session

Pictured above (May, 2015) is Tzeporah Berman (first row, third from right). Berman is one of many who contributed to the text of the “Leap Manifesto”, an initiative founded by Naomi Klein’sThis Changes Everything” project. It is critical to note the almost non-existence of non-anglos in positions of power and decision making (with the exception being photo ops) within the foundation financed “movements”. This institutionalized racism has become so normalized that it goes almost unnoticed unless it is pointed out (as in this instance).

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Below: Video Published on Jul 7, 2016

“Bold New Climate Policy In Canada’s Oil Sands”

#WE MEAN BUSINESS

“How Oil Companies And Environmental Organizations Are Creating New Conversations About Decarbonization In A Resource Rich Economy”

Nigel Topping, CEO, We Mean Business, introduced the final discussion of the morning, between Steve Williams, CEO, Suncor, one of Canada’s biggest oil companies, and climate campaigner and strategy advisor Tzeporah Berman, about their innovative collaboration which led to ground-breaking new climate policies on Canada’s oil sands.” [Source]

 


 

Further reading:

The Collaborative Model Takes Root in Alberta’s Tar Sands: http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2015/12/08/the-collaborative-model-takes-root-in-albertas-tar-sands/

 

 

The Collaborative Model Takes Root in Alberta’s Tar Sands

Pictured above (May, 2015) is Tzeporah Berman (first row, third from right). Berman is one of many who contributed to the text of the “Leap Manifesto”, an initiative founded by Naomi Klein‘s “This Changes Everything” project. It is critical to note the almost non-existence of non-anglos in positions of power and decision making (with the exception being photo ops) within the foundation financed “movements”. This institutionalized racism has become so normalized that it goes almost unnoticed unless it is pointed out (as in this instance). The one exception is the only group of people that the state still fears – that of Indigenous peoples. The undermining of Indigenous people by the non-profit industrial complex (350.org, etc.) is well documented. The 2009 COP15 and the 2010 People’s Agreement in Cochabamba, Bolivia, are just two examples of Indigenous undermining, so egregious, that they could easily be considered crimes against humanity.

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A friend sent me an email note two days ago, with the intro line “The NGO’s finally did it!” which caused a moment of terrorized confusion. I didn’t realize it would relate to this, but for the first time ever last November, the province of Alberta has instituted a potential cap on tar sands development. However, this is not the achievement my colleague was referencing. It was more a statement of alarm than laudatory glee.

The cap was alongside several other notable achievements, such as a fairly rapid phasing out of coal (that currently supplies the bulk of the electrical grid across the province) and several economic measures, such as a carbon tax that scares the Ezras right out of your average Levant. All of these things and more were rushed and cobbled together in the short time since Notley took office. Timing was clearly a factor in order to take these proposals to Paris as a triumphal delegation to the UN Climate talks. In the short term, many of these things may seem very hopeful. But it has also been leaked that there was another part of how the tar sands portions of the plan were drawn up.

There were secret talks that involved some of the perhaps expected Big Green players (ForestEthics, Environmental Defense, Equiterre and the Pembina Institute) meeting with Big Oil. The reason it was leaked? Some oil companies are upset that the other oil companies negotiated without them. Small world, I guess.

Wait a minute, everybody.

Are we not noticing something far more troubling than previous backroom negotiated deals? This time around the deal was not to be public at all. Ever. It stands to good reason that since this one was not to be released specifically, perhaps there are others as well.

The corporations involved are among the biggest players in all of the tar sands: Suncor, Cenovus, CNRL and Shell Canada. Suncor is the largest Canadian energy company and has been a major backer of (among other green groups) the Pembina Institute for many years. Shell, always trying to play the greenwash game, has been targeted by Greenpeace direct actions in the past, yet collaborates with the WWF elsewhere, and hired James Hoggan as a consultant, despite (or rather, because of) his leading role with the David Suzuki Foundation.

As far as those groups and individuals who were previously embarrassed by leaks over potential tar sands “fireside chats” and politically eviscerated over concerns about the now-defunct Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement announcement, rather than learn a lesson to not engage in backroom talks they have instead learned to not tell the public at all.

The Alberta NDP, in a slight twist to the usual narrative, claimed the bulk of the credit (“the win”) at the presser– but the Orange Crush still had no fizzle and were a non-entity on the margins of Alberta’s political landscape when the bulk of these discussions took place.

The head of Shell Canada, president Lorraine Mitchelmore, sheds some serious light on how these talks happened, both in what she says and in what she clearly does not: Interviewed in Macleans (Canada) Magazine, she was asked by Jason Markusoff:

Q: It’s been reported that this work started quite a while ago, with dinners between environmentalists and energy executives. Who was there?

A: I don’t want to say who was there. I want to say that it was some members of industry, and it was some members of the environmental groups, and it was really progressive members in both camps […]

Even after the public realization that the “change in narrative” has been a backroom exercise, she dutifully plays well with others in the corporate sandbox and maintains the Greens anonymity (as best she can), but she does let us realize Big Oil and Big Green began these talks multiple years ago, as “[t]his was happening long before Keystone, so [she] wouldn’t put Keystone as the catalyst for this,” but it has the effect of reducing grassroots activist visibility– and that, too, is the point. When asked what would have happened without this deal?

“Continued conflict. It was going nowhere. What was it going to achieve for Canada, continued conflict? I think that us being on the stage was something that was symbolic for Canadians. I believe that collaboration is something that Canadians do well.”

Leaving aside how “Canadian” it is, collaboration agreements are an expanding, growing industry that is learning from past mistakes. Without collaborative models, there would indeed be far more resistance (“conflict”), more visible community led actions, and a primacy placed on grassroots organizing.

So we now know the lessons learned for energy corporations and for Big Green are essentially the same when it comes to pointed questions about said discussions, fireside beer chats and long table dinners between well-paid foundation-directed environmentalists and oil company executives.

Tired of the backlash from anti-democratic deals being announced? Stop announcing them, but simply cut them in a way that makes the funders happy and let someone else announce an entirely separate result.

Then, allies from other eNGO’s (often people who have worked for ostensibly conflicting organizations) can celebrate what was negotiated secretly without even truly allowing the public to know that negotiations happened in the first place. Big Oil is very good already at guarding market secrets, discussions with Big Green can simply fall under the trade secrets mentality.

There is a history to this new approach, a minor victory of sorts in fact. In April of 2010, Dru Oja Jay was the first to report on attempts to hold private talks with tar sands producers in the Dominion:

Ten representatives each from tar sands operators and high-profile environmental groups were invited to the “informal, beer in hand” gathering. The David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence Canada, Forest Ethics, Pollution Probe and Tides Canada were among the invited environmental groups.

Merran Smith of ForestEthics was listed without affiliation, as was Tzeporah Berman, who worked to privatize BC’s rivers as director of PowerUp Canada, and who is slated to start work this month as Greenpeace International’s Climate Campaigner. Among invited oil companies were Shell, ConocoPhilips, Total and Statoil. Leading tar sands investor Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was also on the guestlist.

The event would be, the invitation explained, “an opportunity for a few ENGOs and a few companies to share their thoughts on the current state of relations and explore ideas on how a deeper dialogue might occur.”

Three days later, Raynolds sent a second email, cancelling the gathering, owing to “the level of tension” between “a subset of companies and a subset of ENGOs.” The follow-up email specified a legal dispute. Sources in Albertan environmental circles suggested pressure to cancel came from threats to expose the meeting publicly. (emphasis added–MS)

“I personally believe we all need to find a way to create the space and conditions necessary for deeper and meaningful conversations to find some solutions,” wrote Raynolds, explaining the cancellation. “I do hope that in the coming months, we can work to create those conditions.”

…and create those conditions they did. In light of that prior result of such talks, it goes to further reason that these discussions have shown in part the expanding of the relationship in 2015 that began in 2010. Faced with the rejection and unpopularity of anti-democratic secret negotiations when announced, further secrecy was layered upon secret talks by these organizations. Sources from environmental struggles today allege a role played directly by Greenpeace in assessing these deals, to get a “victory” in Alberta.

We essentially now have reason to believe that modern capital-driven organizations will make concessions on issues as large as pipelines and caps and more without even telling the public that there was a process they were not involved in. ENGO’s acting with a distrust of the public that rivals the Harper administration.

ForestEthics itself began almost entirely as a vehicle to carve out such a collaborative agreement and lay the framework for this model in the Great Bear Rainforest of BC (accepting far less protection than grassroots groups and independent scientists wanted, shunting aside indigenous nations in the process and eliminating democratic oversight all in one fell swoop). One of the other signatories to the GBR deal and also apparently a non-signatory observer to the new tar sands deal was Greenpeace. The organization still has an official position calling for the “phasing out” of the tar sands and as such cannot publicly be seen to pledge no resistance to export (or any) pipelines, but in the days following the Alberta climate plan?

Mike Hudema of Greenpeace was talking up the plan thusly:

This announcement is a major victory for people and communities that have long raised concerns about growing tar sands emissions. With the announced cap the government has finally set a limit on tar sands extraction. The days of the infinite growth of the tar sands are over and investors should take note.

So what part of the deal are investors told to take note of, exactly? Well, we do know some of the points. Total tar sands development can add more than another one million barrels per day of tar sands gunk to the grid. Put in perspective, tar sands were pumping at around 1.2 million barrels a day before Greenpeace parachuted into Alberta in mid 2007.

Slightly less than 2 million barrels are extracted from the various deposits of bitumen in Alberta today, meaning that in the last 8 years– 8 years of development with:

*Massive economic backing, some of the largest investments in human history all pulled together

*Federal and Provincial governments that facilitated every single project that came forward

*Record high global prices of crude, alongside one of the strongest Canadian dollars in history

*The global attention of nearly every major energy company from China to the Middle East to the UK

*In these 8 years Tar sands projects– mining and in-situ– added some 3/4 of a million barrels (roughly the equivalent of three of the giant mines at full operating capacity) to the global grid.

Since that time of the tar sands gold rush we have seen:

Peak in oil prices brought down by financial collapse spreading around the globe and Saudi Arabian oil reserve dumps

Massive development of other technologies such as fracking to take alternative investment dollars,

The removal of the most outwardly pro-oil governments at all major levels in North America,

The gutting of the loonie.

At the current rate of expansion, and the current level of resistance to further sprawl based on tar sands, the idea of getting to 3 million barrels a day would need major subsidization to make it even partially practical. It is not, and in a reminiscence of the Protected Areas Strategy in the Arctic North, what is announced to be a limit is actually a promise to investors to make things economical and operate business as usual for possibly another pair of decades.

While it is certainly of the best news that the Notley plan also includes the removal of coal fired electrical generation across Alberta, this combined with further de facto unbridled expansion of the tar sands themselves will mean two giant changes to the physical landscape are set to come about:

One: There will now be a massive introduction planned of nuclear energy. Even with the reports of the ongoing melting of Japan into the sea (Fukushima is still destroying the largest ocean on earth, we just stopped paying attention to it as it is happening) multiple nuclear reactors discussed during the first tar sands boom times of 2002-2008 will be revisited and pushed. Just ask James Hansen, a brilliant scientist who is being asked to be a sociologist when it comes to solving the climate crisis. His take is the same as Big Green: Never mention powering down or reducing consumption, that is a non-starter for “modern” capitalist Canada.

Two: this is a spectacular means to allow BC to expand the growing fracking footprint that is in the Northeast of the province, for shipment to Alberta as a “cleaner” source of the power needed to build up tar sands operations. And to produce the fracking gas means that the giant Site C dam on BC’s Peace River will provide the energy to frack to provide the energy to mine for tar sands.

Perhaps the key point is that this will mean a better situation for the investors than exists currently. Their DNA is still made up of seeing any regulation as a restriction on profit, but they have been granted at least another decade of developments at the rate of acceleration we have been accustomed to over the last several years. The Athabasca river and the forested areas of all four major tar sands regions in Alberta will continue to get poisoned or disappeared outright.

The tar sands free for all will continue but with the caveat that many will think it is now regulated. But the earth knows no law but natural law and climate markers know no future endeavour announcements. There is no savings account for the climate.

The collaborative model of developers (corporations), “stakeholders” (in particular First Nations governments subject to the Indian Act), “environmentalists” (NGO’s who receive foundation-directed money to achieve funder-driven objectives) and governments (provincial and federal) has been in place in Canada for a couple of decades now. In point of historical fact the birth of ForestEthics essentially took place to create a situation that has since become almost a template for social control and political license given to developments that prior to the agreements were unpalatable and unpopular in the extreme.

While sidelining indigenous representation either in whole or in part, such collaborative models gain little and surrender the kitchen sink. More importantly than their horrible ecological impacts, however, are the wholesale anti-democratic means of coming into being, and their quite conscious role in subverting, blunting and silencing resistance that exists. The President of Shell just announced that was why she was involved– like a linesman at a hockey game, just trying to contain conflict.

There have been many watershed moments on the advancement of the collaborative model in the past, starting in the 1980’s in the US (heavily funded by the Pew Foundation and later, Pew Charitable Trusts, et al) and advancing to cover not only BC, Alberta and many Canadian provinces, but the Arctic as well setting up similar collaborative models to effectively give away the mostly undeveloped giant lands of what get called the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.

Perhaps most disastrously, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement was celebrated by 9 pro-development eNGO’s alongside multiple forestry companies, but was denounced as anti-democratic and an attack on sovereignty by most indigenous voices. It ultimately failed under its own weight.

At this late day when environmental discourse should be prominently louder and more uncompromising than ever, now collaboration is moving in to save capitalism from itself. And using silence to do so.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta.

“I’m hopeful that these policies, taken overall, will lead to a new collaborative conversation about Canada’s energy infrastructure on its merits, and to a significant de-escalation of conflict worldwide about the Alberta oilsands…”

Various tar sands pipelines, from Line 9 in Ontario to Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion in greater Vancouver, have seen large grassroots opposition. With either fly-by-night, media grabbing appearances from Big Green with little to no support provided or the most deafening silence possible, people have gone to prison in many cases without seeing any help emerge from Big Green.

The NDP, once elected in Alberta, made achieving their climate deal one of the most important immediate goals. In order to go to Paris for UN COP discussions happening now– standing alongside the Federal Liberals saying “Canada is no longer obstructionist,” having a deal between greens and government as well as energy corporations in international venues is extremely important. For that, even with no tangible difference on the ground, Environmental Defence executive director Tim Gray (based in Toronto) explained their willingness to help: “We were more than happy to help them track toward something that could get support from elements of the environmental community as well as the business community, and that is what happened.”

But what else has happened? Tar sands operations elsewhere around the world must still be prevented from ever getting off of (or out of) the ground as well.

Operations of other tar sands projects around the planet will once again have the great example of “responsible tar sands developments” apparently requested by Notley. Some of the international projects have stalled and been shelved but nowhere have they yet been killed.

The shroud of secrecy around Ottawa has changed, even if that is mostly a public relations exercise that will lose the shine very quickly. Falsely or not, people hold a belief that far less secrecy is the order of the day. But in terms of the unaccountable results of foundation-directed eNGO’s, they have moved into new territory of deception, no longer telling after what used to only be hidden before.

And in this, a perfect refinement of the current administrations of progressiveness, done in time for Paris with Suncor hanging out with Environmental Defense to forge forward a brave new path—in France now are the signs of just what kind of administrations people living north of the 49th parallel on Turtle Island can expect: Of social control through farce, and democratic participation as a mass marketed phenomenon. With all the bells and whistles, but please turn off the lights on your way out.

[Macdonald Stainsby is an anti-tar sands and social justice activist, freelance writer and professional hitchhiker looking for a ride to the better world, currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He can be reached at mstainsby@resist.ca]

Caravan of Doom

SONY DSC

Intercontinental Cry

October 25, 2013

By Jay Taber

 

As Cory Morningstar writes at Wrong Kind of Green, the evil empire Buffett, Gates and Rockefeller built in the private sector is mirrored in the evil networks of NGOs they — along with Clinton — have constructed to provide cover for widespread environmental devastation, ethnic cleansing and Indigenous genocide committed by their corporate investments. Using bagmen like Tides Foundation in cahoots with magicians like Bill McKibben at 350 dot org, and sleight-of-hand artists like Tzeporah Berman at Tar Sands Solutions Network, Buffett, Gates, Rockefeller and Clinton have become thick as thieves in producing political theatre to distract us from the parade of refugees in their caravan of doom.

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as director of Public Good Project. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

Fracking Indigenous Country

new-brunswick-oct-7-rally

Photo: Mi’kmaq – True resistance

Big Green, Sun Media and Elsipogtog

Counterpunch

October 22, 2013

By Macdonald Stainsby

 

If anyone doubted that it’s a good thing that Sun News in Canada has been both going broke and also denied the ability to force their way onto Canada’s basic cable system (vastly expanding their audience and getting themselves included in most homes with television subscriptions by default), the racist rantings of Ezra Levant in response to the recent RCMP attack on the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog ought to clear it up.

How Tides Canada Controls the Secret North American Tar Sands Coalition

Tzep

[photo] Ms. Berman presenting a “Green” Award to former Liberal Party of B.C. premier, Gordon Campbell … the man who privatized British Columbia, sold it to General Electric and other international corporations, who built highways across farmland and called it “green;” who reversed dioxin effluent safeguards that we fought for and instituted in B.C. to protect our water; who sold off the public and natural heritage of British Columbia and opened the doors to General Electric to occupy hundreds of watersheds, devastate riparian ecosystems, and destroy forests for transmission lines to carry expensive power to mines in the north and to sprawling cities in the U.S. – Photo source: BC government.

Repeat This Aloud

Counterpunch

October 16, 2013

By Macdonald Stainsby

Before Tzeporah Berman began her current position as head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition, Tides Canada had already established these structures to create near-total control over budgets– and therefore, most decisions– for staggering numbers of organizations. Berman was around at the time, working for PowerUp pushing forward offsets garnered by river destruction. Some of the participant organizations already had working partnerships with multiple tar sands producers. The over-whelming majority were already greased by primarily high donors and foundations. Thus, joining the NATSC meant, essentially, double dipping.

The Tides Foundation began the NATSC as a project with earmarked funding coming from other large philanthropic foundations. This unelected and unseen structure was created to stand as a vehicle to help forge a similar backroom strategy for and likely negotiation of a “final agreement” to end campaigns against either certain segments or corporations involved in tar sands, likely borrowing from concepts involved in crafting similar deals with forestry corporations.

In 2009, as a part of producing Offsetting Resistance, a full strategy paper document was leaked to myself and Dru Oja Jay. It was an internal paper from a few months prior that outlined the secret nature of the coalition, the internal structures, the over-all short, middle and long term goals of a foundation funded, and foundation directed entity that was earmarked as a project of Tides Canada, and not as a separate NGO.

The pressure applied and leveraged would be out of the hard work of other people. The people who had worked at a community or first nations grassroots level were not only to not be consulted, if deal negotiations were to happen it was without anyone but a select few ever knowing anything about it. Until the press conference.

The documents make this point specifically: “This document is confidential” reads the front page of the strategy paper for the single most important climate campaign of their multi-million dollar philanthropy. But the real kicker is the breakdown of the structures. Under the heading “Enroll key decision makers while isolating opponents” : We will not make the decisions to slow and clean up the tar sands – those in positions of authority will.”

Though there are many problematic proposed solutions contained within the program (carbon offsets, for example), this was written by Michael Marx, then head of Tides’ Tar Sands Coalition in 2008. Specific demands, strategy and more may well have moved on, especially in the face of new coalition partner, Bill McKibben, and the PR group that has brought the world 350.org. Pipeline struggles, in years past, were not as heavily focused upon as now. Keystone (both of them) gets only a whiff in the paper by name; Enbridge Gateway is described but not named. Indeed, how times have changed.

Instead of predictions about the terms of a sell-out, the focus here should be on the structures as they are described. We know automatically the terms will be detrimental to the needs of the climate or of community, simply because the Canadian Boreal Initiative, Environmental Defense, WWF, CPAWS and other organizations who do more than negotiate backroom deals– but publicly embrace and partner with corporations like Suncor, Nexen, Dow Chemical and more– are leading members. The coalition groups are now under the twin auspices of Tides and Pew funding, as well Tides and Pew membership as further “partners.”

This further blurring of foundations who are increasingly “activist” in their own right, speaking and campaigning as “just another green group” is accelerating. In the past few years, new brazen language has come from Tides Canada, previously unthinkable: “At Tides Canada we are working to bridge these two polarized camps (environmentalists and tar sands corporations– MS). As a convener of diverse interests, we’ve played this role before, most notably in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest.1”

The quote above was a letter penned by President and CEO of Tides Canada, Ross McMillan. When the Great Bear Rainforest backroom deal was announced, it was publicized as a triumph of “Rainforest Solutions Project,” then comprising ForestEthics, Sierra Club BC, Greenpeace Canada and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN has since withdrawn support for the agreement). Tides was then, to use their jargon, “invisible to the outside,” but now speaks publicly as both a “stakeholder” and financial lifeblood. Now they advertise prior secretive involvement.

When looking at the real structures of the “North American Tar Sands Coalition” remember that it “shall remain invisible to the outside and to the extent possible, staff will be “purchased” from engaged organizations.”

“Purchasing” staff means that a person who is acting in the capacity of the directives of the paymaster coalition is never to public refer to the actual job, or even the organization. As such, even though someone took a leave from, say, the Pembina Institute to become a coordinator within the Tar Sands Coalition steering committee, and cashed paycheques from Tides referencing this work, they would publicly identify with their former employing organization, the Pembina Institute.

In fact, the above perfectly described the Canadian tar sands coordinator for Tides previously, Dan Woynillowicz. Google his name and he appears only as Pembina. The fact that demands, media, talking points, statements and interviews and paydays all then came from Tides direction was to “remain invisible to the outside.” He stepped aside for Jennifer Lash, who appears publicly as Executive Director of Living Oceans BC. She is, in fact, coordinator of Tides Canadian section.

Michael Marx is the former “lead coordinator” from the tar sands steering committee, above the American and Canadian coordinators. These three, in collaboration with media coordinators, form the power nucleus. Other foundations centralize campaign contributions to the Tides Coalition, and will re-direct appeals for tar sands funding to the national coordinators from this one group. This has effectively narrowed the overwhelming portion of all tar sands funding from foundation sources, leaving astronomical power in the hands of an unseen entity.

How does the final say evolve? According to Marx while he was still coordinator: “While NGOs generally prefer a network structure that allows for maximum communication, and minimal centralized control, foundations investing most heavily in the campaign have a vested interest in exercising some control over the process”(emphasis mine).

Michael Marx has moved on as mentioned, for Tzeporah Berman to become head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition. Marx himself is officially a campaigner once again with the Sierra Club in the United States.

The “Tar Sands Solutions Network” appears to be the vehicle for a public face to negotiate a “win-win” deal. A couple of years ago, the Mediacoop.ca and later on the Globe and Mail reported a leak of an attempted “fireside chat” that was to happen with no fanfare, media or record of its existence. This chat was to involve some of the largest players in energy corporations operating in the tar sands, “with beer in hand” alongside some of the more compromised and right wing environmental organizations.

That particular meeting was aborted after the leak.

There are other secret meetings as well, ones where you have to sign before hand not to release any information about what is discussed. There– without the input of the multiple indigenous communities and other active community resistance movements that target tar sands on both sides of the colonial border– strategy for the short, middle and long terms are drawn up.

Foundations spring for the event, foundations also “influence” talking points, strategy is laid out and so on. Recently, for example, there was such a meeting held off the coast of British Columbia. People who organize in other areas would likely know many of those who attended. Attendees are all sworn overtly not to speak out about its mere existence.

The coalition is the same invisible Trojan Horse that so many “collaborative model” agreements have come from in the past. Berman is simply the public face of capitalism’s last ditch attempt to save itself. The system needs reinvention as it collapses under strain, and the new class of would be green capitalists seek to emerge out of this crisis like Henry Ford did from the Depression. Exploitation of the working class, continued indigenous colonialism at home, war mongering imperialism, permanently expanding growth economics– all with climate effects being transferred onto the over-exploited majority world– this is all “just the way things are,” because “we don’t have time to try and transform the system,” and so on are invoked in defending a strategy of accommodation to capital.

The reality is it results in defeat; the tar sands are a cornerstone– as is all oil– to a growth economy. Fracking, tar sands, offshore, coal to liquids, mountain top removal and the prize of Utah and Colorado’s oil shale, every last bit of it and more must be opposed. Growth is the problem. Green capitalism is a false promise to unite a growth economy with a healthy atmosphere. It is a lie.

If the economic framework of assigning value to land to be converted to resources for dollars is not challenged, oil will continue. It is not a renegade or rogue industry. It is a perfectly normal, capitalist industry.

Big Energy’s power is a reflection of the centrality of energy, leading to influence. It is a logic completely at peace with accumulation of profit and the dominance of capital. More than “not a rogue industry,” it is the flagship, the pinnacle of industries under late industrial capitalism.

Oil exploitation has existed in every industrial society of the last few centuries; however, like the arms industry, the power nexus of its placement in the over-all economic structure of the West makes it absolutely impossible to decouple a dismantling of the power structure with any hope of weakening some falsely labelled “rogue” industry. We need at minimum to declare no right of any backroom negotiation around tar sands. Nothing can green them, nothing can legitimize discussions. Public or private.

Growth is the elephant in the living room we must confront. We must reject a “green shift” that panders to “have your cake and eat it too” eco-populism, the lefty-green rhetoric of a new green bourgeoisie trying to burst forth.

By making capital sacrosanct (“[F]oundations investing most heavily in the campaign have a vested interest in exercising some control over the process.”), the negotiation process cannot do anything about the situation of capital dominance.

Capital is most dominant in the North American political party system. The pro-Obama language of the “Tar Sands Solutions Network” likely indicates a nod to board member Bill McKibben, whose own Rockefeller funded, pro-Obama organizing in 350.org has become stuck on a hamster wheel chasing the Keystone XL. Simply put, the same PR professional thinking below the border that designed the Democrats’ Moveon.org are now more than likely having influence on crafting part of the over-all trajectory of tar sands big money organizing. Brand Obama sells, but the products are made of oil.

Let us ask: Can choreography win the day? In the excellent article “The Climate Movement’s Pipeline Preoccupation” from last week, four Rising Tide community organizers pointed out:

“[T]he mainstream Keystone XL and Northern Gateway campaigns operate on a flawed assumption that the climate movement can compel our elected leaders to respond to the climate crisis with nothing more than an effective communications strategy.”

The people who would negotiate away the work done in other diverse communities are unseen, unelected, unaccountable and have friendly relations with large corporations for a reason. They are not even a large minority of those organizing in opposition to tar sands and the energy industries, however. Those whose resistance have done the most to create this situation?

Some have warm relations with certain facets of Big Green, but all have organized independent of Big Green structures, built separate movements of their own, evolving community directed demands. Through a process of building, what it is that cannot be negotiated has evolved for every different movement in their own manner. There is not just one movement, and there are just as many different sets of principles.

Impacted indigenous communities are building opposition to Line 9 expansion with allies of theirs from outlying communities; People in Utah & Texas are engaged in creative responses of resistance to proposed tar sands mining or pipeline construction; indigenous territory has been reclaimed and rebuilt blocking all energy pipeline construction: Tar sands oil, fracked gas, none of it is being allowed across Unist’ot’en Territory near the Pacific Ocean coastline. There are other paths being walked.

People can now raise a clear voice in opposition to further moves to negotiate a final agreement that no one has any mandate to work on. We must reject the collaborative model succinctly for the tar sands, whether expressed by pipeline deals or in Alberta and Saskatchewan at the source of developments. The impacts globally from setting a North American tar sands collaborative process in motion could irreparably damage resistance to tar sands in places where it is now just getting off the ground around the world.

The current Big Green structures are undemocratic and cloak and dagger in appearance. The participants are organizations and certain individuals with a history of bad democratic practice and serious pro-corporate sympathies.

There comes a time, as has been said, when silence is betrayal. Let this be known as just such a time. Let us celebrate the existing diversity of the movements in opposition to tar sands and fossil fuels, and that have targeted the immediate, essential need to make clear the impossibility of parceling the land as a solution.

We must make certain solidarity is a true bottom line for those who are seen as allies in the battles over tar sands and climate. Solidarity cannot come from secret conversations with the enemy. Let us speak too, of this reality: Big energy is the enemy. Not bad practices within it, but the energy and growth economy itself.

The equivalent of the Canadian Tea Party crowd has filled newspaper columns with stories to frighten you and I about the power of American money. Much of the foundation-led anti-tar sands cash has been coming from the United States, and as such we are supposed to cringe at the origin. Yet it would not matter if the paper trail led one to the moon– resources in and of themselves are not the issue. Were spending resources to be the issue, big energy companies and the federal government within Canada itself have vastly outspent the foundations on both sides of the 49th parallel, promoting unfettered tar sands. The problem is the distortion of active resistance, and the hi-jacking of a public process.

These are battles that determine whether or not we can make a grim situation survivable. Capital has caused this near calamity, we surely need to stop trying to save it from itself any longer. Capital has also polluted our own thinking– and actions– from within. We must reinvigorate a democratic environmental movement through a refutation of back room deals– and organize active resistance to those who would try and negotiate one.

 

[Macdonald Stainsby is an anti-tar sands and social justice activist, freelance writer and professional hitchhiker looking for a ride to the better world, currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He can be reached at mstainsby@resist.ca]

 

Dropping Science: Tzeporah Berman URL-bombed at Vancouver Rally

Vancouver Media Co-op

[Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research]

September 17, 2013

by Crying Wolf

Doing all Greenpeace is good for anymore (guy on the right wasn't *really* in on it)

Doing all Greenpeace is good for anymore (guy on the right wasn’t *really* in on it)

The Tzep The Tzep

 

At the Stand Up for Science Rally in Vancouver yesterday I had to wonder why Tzeporah Berman was speaking. Unless shilling for Campbell’s Lieberal Party and the Stolen Land Olympics is a science, she’s not a scientist. Unless selling out rainforests and their Indigenous and settler defenders alike is a science, she’s not a scientist.

And even though I still have some lingering respect for Dr. Suzuki, and am occasionally cheered by some of the things he has to say about the lunacy of allowing corporations to lead the charge to save the planet they’ve nearly destroyed, I have to wonder how he can allow the foundation that bears his name to take money from “defense” contractors / drone manufacturers, Honeywell and its chair to double dip as a consultant for Royal Dutch Shell (really).

The Problem With the Big Green’s Naomi Klein Gripe

1Sky350.orgKlein

Counterpunch Weekend Edition

September 13-15, 2013

by Macdonald Stainsby

Stockholm Syndrome in a Three Piece Suit

A few days ago a minor shizzle storm erupted on the climate-acting internet. Well-known anti-corporate author and researcher Naomi Klein gave an interview where she made some comments that, apparently, made some of the more corporate and right wing members of the environmentalist establishment elite upset. The problem with the comments, in a nutshell, is that Klein responded to questions about how people are able to go about their day-to-day business without screaming in a panic constantly about anthropogenic climate change.

The comments she uttered that caused the most anguish? Well, I’ve been swimming through this rather heated ocean of replies targeting Naomi Klein. This seems to be the lowest common denominator from the angered voices defending “Big Green.”

Well, I think there is a very deep denialism in the environmental movement among the Big Green groups. And to be very honest with you, I think it’s been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we’ve lost.1

This has been called variations of victim blaming. Leaving aside whether the very-well paid executives of corporate-partnered environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) are victims of much, it’s tossed about in several different manners. We are told that the people who are making the decisions about policy for such groups believe staunchly in the science, and are not in denial at all. Really?