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The Case for a Ground Party
the name of the party
The name of a proposed party is a minor matter -- but not too minor. The concept of a green party has real form in the Green Party. But environmental degradation is so rapid and widespread that stronger measures are needed.
A carbon party? The name may make sense and the ideas behind it may make sense but "Carbon Party" does not excite people and you have to appeal to people's emotions as well as their intellect. There used to be a Gold Party and a Silver Party dealing with backing the dollar but those parties are long gone. So maybe naming a party after an element on the periodic table is not a good idea.
So if you have never been to this hub before (most likely), then you are unaware that it used to be called --
The Case for a Carbon Party
Why call it Ground Party?
If you have a better name or a better idea, then I am listening. But the basic rationale for this idea for a third party is:
- carbon is a problem -- most ecologists talk about carbon sequestration. Carbon is the stuff that coats the lungs of coal miners who have black lung disease. Carbon is the soot that dirties your white lace curtains. Carbon is the black stuff when you see a big dump truck belching dense black smoke from its exhaust pipe. Carbon in crystalline form is diamond. Oil is hydro-carbons. Coal is mostly carbon. Natural gas is hydro-carbons. While carbon has its uses, floating in the air or in the water is not a good use.
- leave it in the ground -- leave carbon in the ground along with uranium, another pesky element better left in the ground
- we try to be grounded -- mentally and emotionally stable : admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious (dictionary definition)
- at least with this name, the groundhog suggests itself as a mascot (no mascot comes to mind with the name Carbon Party)
- the name also suggests what is left after the Coffee Party (with whom we have much in common) -- coffee grounds
- the word ground is used a lot in political circles -- now we can own the word
organizing the Ground Party
- the idea is to combine the strengths of environmentalism, the Coffee Party, the 99%, the anti-fossil fuel movement, economics, the effort to reverse climate change, sustainability, science, town planning, and business
- recruit to the party these people -- activists, organizers, economists, scientists, urban planners, architects,
- recruit environmentalists of all stripes -- conservationists, organic farmers, health food consumers, NPG advocates, ZPG advocates, green entrepreneurs, eco-entrepreneurs, clean energy entrepreneurs, hippies, freegans, preppers, recyclers, composters, Arbor Day tree planters, reforestation tree planters, gardeners, Green Party members, and of course members of the Big Membership environmental groups. Regard the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as future members because there is so much overlap in our agendas when you stop and think about it.
- whenever "Wise Use" people show up -- call security and have them thrown out. Also, video and document everything whenever these snakes are present. "Wise Users" are pro-pollution people who pretend to be environmentalists or conservationists but are actually shills, dupes, lackeys, and stooges of the oil industry. Sometimes they are actual employees of the oil companies or the public relations firms hired by the oil companies. ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers, and various fronts fund these phonies and fakes. Ron Arnold has been quoted as saying his goal is to "destroy the environmental movement". These thugs are not above using violence and other crimes. Keep your guard up and your wits about you.
- avoid ideologues more interested in failed philosophies than in helping to reverse climate change
- avoid conspiracy theorists who cannot function in the real world -- yes there is an oil industry conspiracy but Prison Planet and other wack jobs offer no solutions or help in reversing climate change. We need climate change reversed NOT endless debate.
- avoid trigger happy survivalists -- some survivalists are sane though, so I don't want to broad brush all of them
- avoid violent animal rightists such as the Animal Liberation Front and PETA -- the Ground Party does not need the bad publicity
- accept allies in the renewable energy industry, the energy efficiency industry, the energy storage industry, smart grid industry, agriculture, forestry, electric vehicle industry, marine & rail industries, and mass transit. This is a valuable lesson learned from The Nature Conservancy: Work with business instead of fighting all corporations because not all -- or even most -- of them are bad. Except for members of the US Chamber of Commerce, most companies want to reverse climate change.
- accept allies in the part of the retail industry adopting better ways such as LED and rooftop solar arrays (for example Walmart and
REC Solar, Inc.)
consciously identify with the President's Council on Physical Fitness -- The President's Council on Youth Fitness was founded on July 16, 1956, to encourage American children to be healthy and active children, after a study indicating that American youths are less physically fit than European children, by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1963, President Kennedy changed the council's name to President's Council on Physical Fitness to reflect its role to serve all Americans. The purpose of the party identifying with this council is to give the party photo opportunities, to be seen in the White House (since one day our candidate could be president), and to encourage people to walk and thereby help the low-carbon economy.
- health care -- A shift from focusing solely on cure to prevention, through the promotion of healthier, lower-carbon lifestyles, better diet, walking or cycling wherever possible,
- better town planning to encourage more outdoor lifestyles.
- learn useful lesons from the experience of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party
learn from OWS & Tea Party
- When someone else fights your wars, scrubs your toilets, drives your trucks, stocks your shelves, keeps you safe at night and pours your coffee in the morning, you can’t expect them to simply sit down and shut up when you show more concern for your pocketbook than people.
- When your neighborhood is a walled gated community and your concept of "family" only biological parents and children (paternity test to make sure), you not only lose the right to make decisions for the people, you never had it in the first place.
- I am because we are -- a civic revival
- The power of the park is for anyone who cares to go there to have a conversation about our common problems and shared future
- Not all (or even most) anarchists are into destruction. Many know how to create.
- Be for what you want not against what you don't want.
- It's not just about "Me".
- The Huffington Post has lots of links about lessons leaned from Wall Street's first political prisoner
- No leaders,
- It is a myth that the movements have no rules. They have rules. Nonviolence being first and foremost. This makes liars out of the FOX "News" that portrays them as terrorists.
- Occupy Wall Street had/has a library.
- Clean up after a rally. Leave no trash or garbage on the GROUND and allow the media to say that you are litterbug polluters. Leave no trace. Don’t give our critics and city governments ammunition to use against us. We all know that they’ll come after our encampments whether we clean them up or not; a spotless camp is more enjoyable to occupy while simultaneously deflating a common excuse for raids. Cleaning up is easy and, if we’re creating a new way of doing things, let’s make respect for the Earth a priority especially in times of stress. Since stopping solid pollution and littering is our main goal, we are literally cleaning up the Earth by not littering. Action speaks louder than words. In fact, we have long since said all the words that need be said. Therefore, the clean up IS the rally.
- While it’s good to have military veterans and clean-cut media teams talk to the press, don’t blame the freaks for how they dress if right-wing pundits want to make it their focus. Instead, emphasize and embrace the diversity of occupation.
- Individuals have their limits. Don’t let exhaustion, hunger, or stress cause you to make decisions you’ll regret later. If you feel like you’ll lose your mind if you don’t spend a night in a real bed, or take a weekend off from general assemblies, then do that. And drink water. Lots and lots of water. Dehydration leads to cranky, weakened activists.
- Settle Your Own Conflicts. At Burning Man, the Black Rock Rangers serve not as security or cops, but as mediators. They help participants work out their own disputes calmly and peacefully, and work as liaisons with law enforcement officers to reduce their interference at our festivals. When passions get heated, having trained volunteers to mediate problems will give police less excuse to get involved. Get in touch with Occupy Burners if you need conflict resolution help at your occupation, or you are an experienced Ranger or mediator that can teach others.
- Gifting is its own reward. Give freely of yourself. If you have something to share, share it with those who need without thinking of the return. When many people work together in this way, it creates a gift economy – a tapestry of generosity that meets everyone’s needs. Occupiers already give generously with everything from free meals to time and money, but they shouldn’t worry about whether the recipient of their generosity will be on the next march or attend the next general assembly. It all comes back in the end.
some items courtesy of Diatribe Media, Occupy Burners, Kit O’Connell and others
methodology learned from OWS
- general assembly with a set of unique facilitation procedures and hand signs
- field manuals
- the People's Mic http://peoplesmic.com/howto and http://occupytogether.wikispot.org/People's_Mic
- the People's Skype http://www.peoplesskype.org
- or call the number to start a new mic: 917-719-2006 and tell others the 4 digit PIN to listen in and vote on.
- cheap low power FM radios (under 1 watt) http://www.7dayshop.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=110314&r=GOOG one is hooked up to mic and broadcasts.
- human microphone
- relaying the speaker's words via walkie-talkies or cell phones
- a quiet meditation circle, where people sit in peaceful contemplation
- friendly relations with cops (at least until mayors of New York or Oakland order them to bust heads)
- cheerful rapport between protesters and Wall Streeters at work ("join us")
- well-organized free food for squatters
- informal information stations where tourists could ask questions
- an open performance spot, where a young girl sang a song and a poet read a poem
- a small group earnestly discussing techniques of non-violence (super important because it gives us the moral high ground)
- emphasis on being leaderless with the intent to set the lowest possible entry barrier for everyone to get involved
- code of conduct
meditations from Occupy Wall Street
- right Intention
- full attention
- beginners' mind
- unconditional friendliness
- commitment to the truth
the true cost of carbon
conventional green politics is not enough
We are fighting for our lives against a death industry determined to take carbon out of the ground and frack up our water, air, soil and food. We need to leave carbon in the ground and sequester that which has been released in the form of pollution.
We need to make the death industry pay the true costs of extraction by removing their tax breaks, depletion allowances, and corporate welfare. Companies like ExxonMobil are the most profitable companies in the world and charge usurial prices for their products. We need to boycott the products and services of the carbon industry starting with the oil and coal companies. We need to switch to non-carbon energy sources and vehicles. We need to start companies that provide these alternatives. We need to dump the stock of the carbon companies. We need to have nothing good to say about them since they are literally killing us. We need to hold the executives of these companies accountable for mass murder since pollution causes cancer and other diseases (and sometimes quick death in industrial disasters). We need to insist not only upon arrest but capital punishment in order to drive managerial talent out of the carbon industry. Likewise we need to drive engineering and scientific talent out of the oil industry.
Even in the case of the deceptively beautiful diamond, we need to remember that blood diamonds cost lives.
Carbon politics will never be the same.
blood diamonds, another form of carbon
You cannot make this stuff up.
Take the oldest national park, Yellowstone, considered sacred ground by the First Americans as well as all Americans, throw filth on it (because the richest corporation in the world, ExxonMobil, can't spare the money to be extra careful around a national treasure), do this sacrilege on America's birthday the Fourth of July Independence Day, get your lobbyists to get the Money Party (the Republicans) to cut the budget for the national parks during peak visiting season (a holiday during summer vacation), spend more money on TV commercials to say how great the oil industry is as if it were an energy alternative and you have the perfect storm of evil.
Since when is oil an alternative? Energy alternatives are alternatives to oil and coal. There is no such thing as clean oil or clean coal.
oil industry abuses
- Gas flaring
- Crude oil itself is deadly for people, wildlife, and ecosystem
- Oil spills in other countries are never cleaned up
- Abandonment of open, unlined oil sludge pits. These continue to seep into groundwater and overflow their banks during heavy rains, and remain a lethal hazard for unsuspecting livestock and curious children.
- Rainforest devastation when roads are cut into jungle for oil wells
- Indigenous populations experience higher-than-expected rates of cancer and miscarriage (one oil drilling area is called "Chernobyl West")
- Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian journalist and novelist who spearheaded a massive campaign against oil corporations and the Nigerian government, accusing both of waging an ecological war against the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta. In 1994, Saro-Wiwa was arrested and accused of incitement to murder. Eighteen months later, following a show trial condemned by human rights organisations, he and eight other leaders of the Movement For the Survival of the Ogoni People were executed by hanging. Oil industry abuses in Nigeria included land grabs and physical violence by petroleum companies against the native Ogoni people.
- The oil industry abuses the court system to infringe the 1st Amendment via SLAPP lawsuits. SLAPP is Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
- oil spills in the Amazon region, as well as toxic dumping, manipulation by existing oil companies and a see-no-evil position from all levels of the Peruvian government
- Umuechem was a 10,000-strong community near which Shell built an oil flow station. In 1990, after a quarter of a century of oil production, Umuechem still had no running water, electricity or secondary schools. When local people staged a peaceful protest under Nigeria’s brutal military dictatorship, Shell managers requested protection from the protestors and the notorious mobile police responded by killing more than 80 people, including some dragged from hospital beds. They burned Umuechem to the ground, destroying 495 homes. Thirteen years after the massacre, things were worse and they have continued to get worse.
- Corruption and bribery
Gulf Coast and dispersants in seafood
oil company crimes
- they propped up the military dictatorship in Burma that stole the election from Aung San Suu Kyi
- government and oil company crimes against humanity and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico
- The evil way to find oil: Go to some remote and breathtakingly beautiful natural sanctuary, say Alaska or the Amazon, find some natives, then drill oil wells on their land. If the indigenous people complain, scare them away using bulldozers, bullets, crooked politicians and fake land sales.
- oil is spilled deliberately by ships at sea when regularly emptying bilges
- The Gulf War
- The Iraq War
- The Afghanistan War
- In the 1980s, Charles Koch was found to have stolen about three dollars worth of crude from Stanlee Ann Mattingly's oil tank in Oklahoma. Koch was already one of the wealthiest men on Earth. Stanlee Ann was a dirt-poor Osage Indian.
- Billionaire Charles Koch demanded that oil tanker drivers secretly siphon a few bucks worth of oil from every tank attached to a stripper well on the Osage Reservation where Koch Industries had a contract to retrieve crude. Koch would "giggle" with joy over the records of the theft. This theft added up to over three-quarter of a billion dollars from the Native lands. Despite FBI hidden camera film of the siphoning, criminal charges were quashed by objections from GOP senators.
- Valdez is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate because it is the only earthquake-safe and ice-free port in Alaska that can load oil from the North Slope field. In 1969, ExxonMobil and BP seized the land from The Chugach, who had lived there for three millennia, and paid them one dollar. No oil company would drill on Former Governor Hickel's family property without paying royalties. No drilling could occur in Beverly Hills without protecting the environment – and wells exist in Beverly Hills. When indigenous people are in the way though, capitalists turn into communists and they use you the reader as justification. You need gasoline. [This is reason alone to buy an electric car]
- Chief Emergildo Criollo told investigative journalist Greg Palast how oil company executives helicoptered into his remote village and, speaking in Spanish (which he didn't understand) "purchased" drilling rights with trinkets and cheese. The Cofan tribe had never seen cheese. "The cheese smelled funny, so we threw it in the jungle." After drilling began, Criollo's son went swimming in his usual watering hole, came up vomiting blood, and died.
- Like other oil companies, Chevron-Texaco will customarily abandon waste pits and leave behind waves of poisonings and deaths. According to one independent report, 1401 deaths, mostly of children, mostly from cancers, can be traced to Chevron's toxic dumping. Chevron's lawyer told Palast, "And it's the only case of cancer in the world? How many cases of children with cancer do you have in the States? ... They have to prove that it is our crude," which, he noted with glee, "is absolutely impossible." Remember that if you forget everything else. Petrochemical companies all pollute and they depend upon that to get away with poisoning your air, your water, your soil, and therefore your food. The medical profession enables these criminals by not saying that pollution causes cancer. Polluting chemicals are carcinogens.
- Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), filed charges of bribery and conspiracy against individuals and international oil companies (including Royal Dutch Shell, Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root) but with little success. The list of ongoing high-profile cases is impressive but, along the way, charges are also being dropped in exchange for payments of negotiated fines, often settled outside of Nigeria. In early December 2010, Nigeria filed charges against former US vice-president Dick Cheney in a Halliburton bribery scheme. Before the month was over, the EFCC announced that charges against Dick Cheney and Halliburton/KBR were being dropped in exchange for payment of $250 million in fines to the Nigerian government. Just weeks earlier,
The Times of Nigeria reported that other firms, associated with the
scandal, had also agreed to pay fines (in the U.S.), including
Panalpina, Royal Dutch Shell and five oil-service companies, totaling
$236.5 million for money laundering, bribery, terrorism finance and sanctions.
Only prison will stop oil company crimes.
some items courtesy: Culture Change