In his recent diary, Join the Green New Deal Coalition, Docudharma diarist daveschwab was very, very rude to me. So rude, in fact, that I am forced, more in sorrow than in anger, to respond with a diary of my own.
Dave’s diary asks us to join Green Change’s Green New Deal Coalition, endorsing and working to implement the following principles:
1) Cut military spending at least 70%;
2) Create millions of green union jobs through massive public investment in renewable energy, mass transit and conservation;
3) Set ambitious, science-based greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and enact a revenue-neutral carbon tax to meet them;
4) Establish single-payer “Medicare for all” health care;
5) Provide tuition-free public higher education;
6) Change trade agreements to improve labor, environmental, consumer, health and safety standards;
7) End counterproductive prohibition policies and legalize marijuana;
8) Enact tough limits on credit interest and lending rates, progressive tax reform and strict financial regulation;
9) Amend the U.S. Constitution to abolish corporate personhood; and
10) Pass sweeping electoral, campaign finance and anti-corruption reforms.
I signed up at once, commenting in the website:
Refuse to vote for or contribute to any candidate who does not explicitly support a majority of these principles.
Organize mass civil disobedience.
Raise class consciousness. Consciousness and coalescence are what we need now.
That’s when Dave got nasty. Really nasty. He asked me (in front of other people!!!)“Can you spread the word, or offer suggestions for how we can build the Green New Deal Coalition?”
You want me to think and act? Not nice Dave, not nice at all, especially asking in public. I’m only one person, and just a keyboard commando at that. What could I possible have to offer?
Well, for better or worse, here it is.
daveschwab response: It’s about organizing around a populist Green agenda to raise consciousness and support/recruit candidates who will work for policies that tackle our economic and ecological problems head on. In short, it’s about overgrowing the government.
We must act, and as we act, we must recognize that:
Wall Street and multi-national corporations have taken over the United States government.
Wall Street and multi-national corporations have taken over both the Republican and Democratic parties, thus they are barriers to reform rather than its instruments.
Nothing will change unless dedicated people resist corporate power.
The corporate/government/two-party alliance has barricaded nearly all avenues of resistance.
Resistance is possible only by the avenues remaining.
We must resist, or what remains of civil, democratic society will be lost, and the people irrevocably beholden to corporate power.
Violent resistance is futile and plays into the hands of corporate power, and will irrevocably harm the people it’s putatively meant to help.
We must resist corporate power implacably, but non-violently.
Recognize that decades of anti-left propaganda makes it all but impossible to present as an organization with overtly leftist, anti-capitalist intentions. While environmentalism is not universally accepted, it is one of a handful of organized efforts to change society that reaches a wide audience. People do not automatically tune out environmental discussions and commentary.
Do we need a vanguard party? Well, consider this: if there are 250,000 people in the United States as far left as Democratic Socialists, real leftists represent about 0.08%–that’s 8/100ths of 1%–of the total population. If so the work of so few gets anywhere at all, they couldn’t be anything but a vanguard!
Now, members of the Green New Deal Coalition may be recoiling in horror with my idea…
Red/green alliance, with a bright green face, uniting the only real anti-corporate forces left in the US under the banner of Saving Mother Earth. In essence, I am saying we can, and should, leverage(?) the Environmental movement to achieve both environmental and anti-capitalist goals. We must recognize that is is impossible to save the planet and save Capitalism at the same time.
Has anyone noticed a whiff of Leninism here? While not calling for a tightly organized violently revolutionary party governed by Democratic Centralism, I am effectively suggesting a vanguard party that pursues stealthily clothed radical intentions, and is tactically flexible but strategically focused, ecumenical in its outreach to all who wish to protect and serve the planet (sloganeering: Save the Planet! Serve Mother Earth!), and served by as many dedicated environmental
Reaching out to others on the left, from Fourth International Trotskyists to (?multi-tendency) socialists to Social Democrats to left-liberals at the margin of the Democratic party to the Religious Left…gathering all under the umbrella of the environment.
Never stop talking about saving Mother Earth and the unsustainability of the current economic and industrial systems.
BE INTERNATIONAL! Create networks among left political and environmental organiztions around the world.
Focus on activism where it is most likely to be joined and where it is most likely to be seen and broadcast: in the US, that the major cities on the coasts.
Uniting under a relatively non-threatening save-the-planet banner with serious leftist goals
Nothing will happen without class consciousness and anti-capitalist awareness
Only peaceful action will work to raise cons/awareness effecively for the long run
Campaigns of civil disobedience…start small, but vividly. Keep it going.
Make it cool. Be viral. Liveblog activism on big sites like DKos and rapid posting on Youtube to create publicity and bring in new blood. Publicize
For street activism, reach out especially to youth and the “lost sheep” of the left, as well as more doctrinaire leftists longing for action.
Be explicitly multi-tendency.
Hit it everywhere we can: CivDis; street theater; vivid, easily identifiable postering in working class, ethnic, hipster, arty, gay, collegiate neighborhoods;
Alliances with and activism on behalf of people who live in working class neighborhoods in environmental bad zones. Manifest in these neighborhoods and reach out to community organizations with the explicit purpose of supporting neighborhood activism that increases awareness of environmental threats, targets specific environmental threats, and explicitly targets the corporate sources of these threats.