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The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals
Posted on Aug 31, 2014
By Chris Hedges
The corporate state’s response to climate change has been to pass a series of draconian laws and set up a vast security and surveillance apparatus that obliterates our privacy, allows us to be snatched off the streets by the military and held without due process in indefinite detention, and criminalizes dissent. The corporate state holds in its hands the legal and physical tools to shut us down. Its response to climate change is not to alter course, but to silence any who resist.
Joe Sacco and I spent two years writing “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” We wrote the book out of the nation’s most impoverished sacrifice zones, places such as Indian reservations, abandoned manufacturing centers, the coalfields of southern West Virginia and the nation’s produce fields. Corporate capitalism holds total, unchallenged power in these sacrifice zones. The politicians, the judges, the press, even the boards of education bow before the dictates of corporate power. And in these sacrifice zones activists have learned something many Americans have yet to understand—corporations are willing to poison Earth and all of its inhabitants for profit. There are no limits.
The collapse of the ecosystem in sacrifice zones brings with it despair, joblessness, high cancer rates, the loss of hope and increased state repression. Those trapped in these sacrifice zones often retreat into drugs and alcohol, the only way for many to blunt the pain. They believe they have no agency. And this misery and despair serve the ends of corporate power. As the environment devolves, the planet becomes one vast sacrifice zone. Joe and I wrote the book as a warning.
The New York Times published a story last week based on a draft of a new report from the U.N. ’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that speaks of climate change with uncharacteristic bluntness and alarm. The article reads in part:
We have known about the deleterious effects of carbon emissions for decades. The first IPCC report was published in 1990. Yet since the beginning of the Kyoto Protocol Era in the late 1980s, we have emitted as much carbon dioxide as was emitted in the prior 236 years. The rising carbon emissions and the extraction of tar sands—and since the industry has figured out how to transport tar sands without building the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, this delivery seems assured—will continue no matter how many police-approved marches are held. Play by the rules and we lose.
Resistance will come from those willing to breach police barricades. Resistance will mean jail time and direct confrontation. Resistance will mean physically disrupting the corporate machinery. Resistance will mean severing ourselves from the dominant culture to build small, self-sustaining communities. This resistance will be effective only when we refuse to do what we are told, when we turn from a liberal agenda of reform to embrace a radical agenda of revolt.
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