It may seem as if I have abandoned this blog, despite my promises to post entries more regularly. I have been concentrating on survival issues, family obligations, and some other writing; I am not yet ready to make public the nature or substance of the writing, but I've been rather obsessed with it.
Today, not only do I have the time to put together this post, but also the motivation. I am profoundly moved by recent events that are superficially unrelated but, in my estimation, are connected at a very deep level.
This weekend bleeding into the work-week, the big story in Houston has been the Astroworld disaster. In Glasgow, the big story (although you'd never know it from the lack of mainstream coverage) has been the massive youth-led demonstrations outside the Blah-Blah-Blah Convention, aka COP 26.
My big-picture assessment is that both these stories represent the responses of teens and young adults to the undeniable fact that they will inherit a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to life-as-we-know-it.
Ye gods, I abhor violence!—including the various forms of violence perpetrated against the People by the Elites through their minions in government and government agencies, such as:
Pretty soon, the situation will become so desperate that the People will start fighting back. And I don't mean sternly worded letters to the local paper or impassioned testimony at City Council meetings. I mean that shit is gonna get really real, really quickly, really intensely.
It will be about survival for future generations on this planet.
It will feature Americans risking death, like the labor protests of the 19th century, because life either has become intolerable or very soon will.
It won't be organized or orderly. (Who has money or time to organize effectively when the 1% has taken it all?)
It won't have an intellectual vanguard framing it in class-conscious terms.
It won't fly a partisan banner.
This is a variation on that old proverb, "Those who make nonviolent dissent impossible, make violent dissent inevitable."
I'm not endorsing a violent revolution, let alone a violent uprising with no unified purpose other than getting back at the billionaires & bankers. I'm just saying that, once people peel off the blinders of propaganda that keep them "in line," Katy bar the proverbial door.
For several weeks now, I've been intending to post something along these lines. The wording may come out all wrong, and it may be subject to some gross misinterpretations, but...here goes nothin'.
That notion of the moral arc of the universe bending toward justice—credited to Dr. M.L. King, Jr., inspired by Theodore Parker—is one in which I truly, firmly believe. Even when there are periodic setbacks and backlashes, the momentum toward justice is re-established, like a scrambling quarterback who is chased toward his own endzone makes a rapid turn at just the right moment and ends up gaining yardage.
In using the term "justice," I mean a really big-picture, long-term connotation: justice for the disadvantaged people(s) of the human world and for the natural world, conditions that allow both to flourish.
But here's the problem: We're running out of time. The bending of that moral arc may soon come to mean nothing if the global corporatocracy continues to drive us toward an uninhabitable future. Make no mistake: The corporatocracy is at the wheel, or at least in the shotgun seat shouting navigational instructions to the leaders of nations, elected or not. We're just along for the ride. We can back-seat drive all we want to, but our directions will not be heard, much less heeded.
That's one of several reasons why, with increasing frequency these days, I'm tempted to just give up and pursue a hedonistic life, occasionally peeking out at the collapse of civilization for the sake of additional amusement. Hedonism ain't cheap, though, and I ain't exactly flush with cash.
This past Sunday, Rev. Dr. Collin Bossen, interim senior minister at First UU Houston, delivered one of a series of sermons on the topic of hope. He began his talk with reminiscences of his participation in the massive "Teamsters & Turtles" protests against the World Trade Organization's meeting in Seattle 20 years ago last week. I loved reliving the Battle of Seattle with him, although in 1999 I was watching it all via IndyMedia from 2,000 miles away.
After all the warm-fuzzy nostalgia, I became a little perturbed and more than a little perplexed.
A towering majority of my congregation identify as Democrats. It's practically assumed that UU's are Democrats by default, a great many of them on the progressive wing. Voting for Democrats and cheering on favored candidates in primaries are practically autonomic reflexes in this crowd. I noticed a few fellow-congregants in the sanctuary yesterday getting the same nostalgic feels from Rev. Bossen's recounting of anti-corporate demonstrations and the movements they sparked.
So why the perplexity and perturbation? It boils quickly and neatly down to this:
How the Olympic-size fuck does anyone who agrees with the sentiments of the WTO protesters—not to mention the Occupy Wall Street activists of 2011-12—justify continuing to vote for Democrats in our national elections? or even our state and local elections?
Well, we did the thing. In our own small-town-in-a-big-city way, we did the thing. More than a thousand of us, probably closer to two thousand, skipped school and work (which for many was closed due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda) to gather at City Hall.
Imelda showed up too, about 45 minutes into the rally. By 1 pm, quite a few of us were soaked through, as if we had all cannonballed into the reflecting pool at Hermann Square without stripping down first.
The young climate-strikers gave some speeches, ranging in quality from pretty good to excellent, on a barely adequate public address system. There were clever signs and lots of sincerity. After about an hour and a half, some young'ns started a slippery game of tag on the lawn. A few elected officials and candidates showed up, but they wisely did not try to hijack the proceedings from the young leaders.
Through the downpour, there were chants of "We're Still Here!" As, indeed, we were.
PDiddie's comment on the most recent entry alerted me to Marina Kormbaki's article in the Chronicle's online edition. (UPDATE: GPTX comrade Don Cook has informed us that the story is also in the print edition, on page A-3.) I had thought that the author would send me a message when it went to digital press; perhaps Janis Richards, Laura Palmer, and I will hear from her today.
As coverage of the Green Party in mainstream papers goes, Kormbaki's piece is above average. It contains no obvious factual errors and treats the Party as a legitimate political movement, not just a one-off human-interest story. It certainly doesn't hurt that Kormbaki works for a German news outlet aligned with the Social Democrats, a party whose role as leaders of the left is gradually shifting to the Greens, as is happening elsewhere in Europe.
The photo selected to accompany the article features some Greenfolk I love and admire, such as the late Ashely "Flashe" Gordon (on the right end, partially obscured by a camera). This photo helps bust the persistent myth that the Green Party is just for old white recovering hippies. It is a microcosm of the convention delegates and the Party as a whole: diverse in ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and other dimensions.
See the Activist Calendar for additional information, included street addresses.
In case you'd like to join in the fun:
It's no longer a secret that Extinction Rebellion now has a presence in Houston. What kind of presence, we won't know for a bit, at least not until 20 September. Even if I knew, I would not say.
I can tell you that some people who showed up at last night's XR HTX organization meeting will appear at the Climate Strike rally outside Houston's City Hall on that Friday afternoon, but I can't tell you who will show up or what (if anything) they will do there.
The Democratic Party's leadership has now officially become an obstacle to sound climate policy. This Buzzfeed story has the important facts—maybe not all the facts, but it tells the story more clearly than any other I have seen thus far. Prog Twitter is articulately making its collective displeasure known as well.
Considering that I haven't considered myself a Democrat in nearly a quarter-century, and considering that I was expecting the resolution to be voted down, I'm probably more miffed about this than I should be. It's less about the vote itself than the fact that millions of self-identified Progressives (and even Radicals) will still cling to the Democrats because the Republicans are so much worse.
I would like to dedicate this entry to the late David Koch, capitalist royalty from my wife's hometown of Wichita, the Libertarian Party's 1980 nominee for vice president, and funder of multiple conservative-to-libertarian think tanks that churn out reams of climate-denier propaganda. The news of his death—from natural causes, not by guillotine—certainly doesn't sadden me, but I'm not exactly celebrating. His dying will not bring an end to the international neoliberal nightmare in which he and brother Charles have played a starring role.
A glance at Koch's wiki entry reminds us that, odious as he may have been on far too many issues, he continued to hold some libertarian positions that even Greens could appreciate.
Will the circumstances of the disbursement of his billions will be announced? Stay tuned.
Last night I was one of dozens of Angry Tweeters after seeing the news about the Democratic National Committee's resolution to conduct a presidential debate dedicated to climate disruption. Here is my bit from last week concerning this matter. The Resolutions Committee voted 17-8 against the measure. I am less angry this morning, as the full picture emerges, but still ready & rarin' to rag on the chicken-shit Democratic leadership.
The Sunrise Movement reports that the resolution may still face a vote of the entire DNC, where it has a chance of passing. Sunrise remains cautiously optimistic, given that the Resolutions Committee did pass an amendment to the resolution which would allow two or more candidates to appear together in events that the DNC does not directly sanction—e.g., outside of the televised debates. The amendment was then voted down along with the resolution itself, so nothing has changed on that front.
As Sunrise's statement implies, the optimism stems from seeing people-power in action, from Sunrisers themselves exerting real and sustained pressure on policy-makers. You and I may believe that the Sunrisers are barking up a hearing-impaired tree, but I love that these teens and 20-somethings are learning first hand where the ropes are and how to pull them. So I remain optimistic about their dedication to this issue and, by extension, to every issue connected to it.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.