Time to Discard Illusory Hope: A Report from the Climate Justice Rally

by Elizabeth Cook  |  February 18, 2013

With Rockefeller funded, along with other major corporate funding, big "green" NGOs in control of the climate justice movement, the rally in D.C. yesterday is about as good as it gets when it comes to mass action on the environment right now. From the staged arrest of carefully selected individuals, with prior notice to the park service in D.C., to the carefully selection of those on the stage and speaking that included also the Rockefeller funded Sierra Club and NRDC, we get our climate "justice" served up a la carte: besides the big green NGOs, Idle No More, Gulf activists and perhaps a smattering of other grass roots driven efforts were there.

Concurrent actions across the country, I counted 18 officially on the 350.org web site, there was at least some show of solidarity, although some rumblings from folks in at least one city indicated disenchantment with Bill McKibbens top down driven movement. What many activists don't realize, or perhaps it doesn't matter, is that essentially when 350.org, the Sierra Club and NRDC more or less delivered endorsements for Obama for re-election, they served to undermine the very efforts they are able to encourage out of concerned individuals. Ralph Nader was invited to speak at a 350.org driven climate justice rally, and documented his being dis-invited to speak, and then the pro-Obama tenor and tone of the "rally" in a Counterpunch article I've linked to below. As long as the climate justice movement is steered by these big green NGOs, who essentially serve up dissent that is carefully tailored to preserve global capitalism, folks are being duped into joining this movement that is undemocratic, authoritarian and top heavy, rather than focusing on essential, grass roots driven efforts locally. 

The messaging itself is extremely problematic: tar sands are already coming into this country via other pipeline routes, and by rail and soon by barge. The southern portion of the Keystone pipeline is already being built, with Obama's stamp of approval, although there is a brave and small group of activists that have been engaging in civil disobedience on that southern leg of the pipeline connected with the Tar Sands Blockade Coalition. That coalition is apparently completely independent of the Tar Sands Action, which officially joined 350.org recently, although that marriage was already apparent. Remember that 350.org merged with One Sky a few years back that was a Rockefeller seed organization, designed to propose climate action that did not threaten the major wealth holders and controllers of global capitalism. 

It is obvious that folks are looking for guidance, inspiration and encouragement, hope...if you will, on these critical environmental issues, and so are looking to these well funded NGOs for what, quite simply, and to paraphrase Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, they should be finding in their own backyards. Without a truly grass roots community driven  environmental movement challenging the chemical pollution, energy production pollution...GMO crop production in their own backyards, this top down driven movement in my opinion is destined to become a purely PR campaign: the big green NGOs can shift from here to there and say whatever they want to say as far as their efforts, but until independent efforts to change the current polluting paradigm comes home to each community, driven by the folks who live in these communities, independent of the two party political system, nothing much will change...and in fact, chemical pollution is growing worse by the day, not improving with the existence of these well funded green NGOs.

Also see:

Ralph Nader on 350.org rally

The 350 ppm figure that 350.org basis it's name on is problematic, and very well discussed in this article.

Sierra Club endorsement of Obama

NRDC on the choice between Romney and Obama