Green Cross Purposes: corporations horn their way into the GND

Cecile Pineda
14 min readFeb 16, 2019

Arguably the most thoughtful, in-depth article yet on the subject of subversion of The Green New Deal appears as a five-part series by Cory Morningstar and Forest Palmer, on The Wrong Kind of Green blog. The article traces the manufacturing of consent needed in order to advance capitalist solutions to global warming coinciding with a time when the world economy has stagnated, and the financial markets are looking to create new kinds of profit-making enterprises. It addresses the sudden, recent phenomenon which has raised the stakes of world-wide recognition that the threat of climate change is real (let’s call it the true-blue climate movement) and exposes what forces are hidden behind another, corporate movement that has reached critical mass in a short enough time to arouse skepticism, and has co-opted Greta Thunberg as its point person, the Swedish school girl who was first photographed skipping school to hand out leaflets outside the Swedish Parliament outlining the perils of global warming to any willing takers but who became the poster girl for We Don’t Have Time, a new social media platform, which projects earnings in the billions of dollars. This by way, not of impugning Greta Thunberg or her motives, but of pointing up the danger when the youth movement behind the Green New Deal lets itself be co-opted by corporations riding its coattails, and out to make a buck.

Below we offer serious readers access to the five part-series, abbre- viating The Wrong Kind of Green headlines followed by their links:
ACT I Greta Thunberg, the…face of the youth movement to combat climate change, serves as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg — for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex Jan 17, 2019
http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/01/17/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-the-political-economy-of-the-non-profit-industrial-complex/

ACT II …How today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite…, introduc[ing] the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time, ” (and)…explor[ing] the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between well-established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF). The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg — for Consent: “The Inconvenient Truth” Behind Youth Cooptation Jan 21, 2019

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/01/21/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-the-inconvenient-truth-behind-youth-cooptation/
ACT III …How Al Gore and the planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why, (and)…the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal…. The generous media attention afforded to Thunberg…by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers. The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg — for Consent: The Most Inconvenient Truth: “Capitalism is in Danger of Falling Apart” Jan 28, 2019
http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/01/28/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-the-most-inconvenient-truth-capitalism-is-in-danger-of-falling-apart/
ACT IV …The current campaign… “leading the public into emergency mode”, summariz[ing] who and what this mode is to serve. The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg — for Consent: The House is On Fire! & the 90 Trillion Dollar Rescue Feb. 3, 2019
http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/02/03/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-the-house-is-on-fire-the-90-trillion-dollar-rescue/
ACT V …The Guardian and Extinction Rebellion (and) the Green New Deal, [all of which have] plans to go global in scale….How mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world, [and] their weak and essentially non-existent demands….And how celebrity…has become a key tool for both capital and conformity. The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg — for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature Feb. 13, 2019

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/02/13/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-the-new-green-deal-is-the-trojan-horse-for-the-financialization-of-nature/

Although the Morningstar/Palmer feature article ends there, we offer our readers a Sixth Act, an act that seeks to draw a dichotomy between those who recognize the need to subtract content — clearly a strategy antithetical to capitalism’s deeply entrenched unlimited growth Religion — and those who need to add content to guarantee profit. It is a distinction which draws the line between two schools of writing as well, the former calling on brevity to make its point.

The so-called Green New Deal is a non-binding Congressional resolution (read the text at https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5729033/Green-New-Deal-FINAL.pdf.) Before addressing alternatives, let me point out one of the critical omissions in the current Resolution now before Congress, a current omission whose inclusion appears in an earlier draft of the Green New Deal Resolution, namely, first and foremost, the dangers of nuclear energy. Is it at all possible that the nuclear lobby had something to do with this vitally important omission? (We remind our readers that nuclear energy has two problems: contrary to popular belief, it is highly carbon-intensive in the mining, milling, and uranium refining processes, as well as in the actual plant construction process; and there is no known way of safely disposing of radioactive waste which continues to pile up as a by-product of its technology.)

The Resolution shores up the continuation of the capitalist system, a system predicated on unlimited growth, which is killing the planet. Nowhere is there mention of de-growth, a phenomenon exemplified by Morningstar/Palmer by the drastically reduced carbon footprint of the homeless; but whereas no one willingly makes such a sacrifice (except perhaps Simon Weill), a life style predicated on consuming less cannot quite so easily be coopted, nor can it serve the goals of capitalism. It offers no profits, or promises of unlimited growth, but it may offer the makings of a more sustainable way of life.

Is it possible to wean an entire culture away from entrenched Capitalist Religion? José Mujica-Cordano (an actual atheist in real life) served five years as President of Uruguay, from 2010 to 2015. Born of a Basque father, and an Italian immigrant mother, his father died of hardship when José was only five; in his youth, his toughness allowed him to become a Tupamaro guerilla fighter until he was captured and served some 12 years in prison, two of them confined to the bottom of a cattle trough. But freed in a political amnesty when democracy was restored to Uruguay, and because of his resilience and his personal charisma, he eventually rose to be elected president with a stated salary of $12,000 dollars a month, 90% of which he preferred to give away to the poor and to encourage small business enterprises. He disdained the presidential palace, preferring to live simply on his wife’s chrysanthemum farm instead, where his sole declared wealth was a 1958 Beetle Volkswagen, and a three legged dog named Manuela (after Simon Bolivar’s fiery mistress). As a politician he legalized marijuana in Uruguay to foil the drug cartels and governed as a pragmatist, sidestepping dogma wherever possible.

Uruguay President Mujica-Cordano with Manuela

He voiced his principles in a 2013 speech to the UN General Assembly citing the necessity of efforts to preserve the planet for future generations and decrying the power of the capitalist financial system and its fallout on ordinary people. Above all, he stressed the need to return to simplicity, to lives built on human relationships, love, friendship, adventure, solidarity and family instead of being governed by striving for economic advantage.

Shackled to Capitalist Religion, it is a challenge to imagine another way, one that allows personal dignity and self respect, and that bypasses corporate and governmental solutions. Regardless of whether or not “we have no time left,” a way that frees us to make do with much less, and from the need to acquire more, more comfort, more convenience, and more children; ways that encourage us to do what is right for the planet, and for all life on Earth, and to imagine the creation of a genuinely non-profit social media platform, one not linked to profit, to help us organize this new way of being.

The possibilities of such a platform are hallucinatory. Starting with the first building block of any society (agriculture) here is just this morning’s layout:

  1. urban farmer (eating local)
  2. a) seed exchange

b) produce exchange

c) fertilizer and soil exchange

d) surplus food exchange

2. neighborhood-centered categories designed to reduce transportation

3. barter exchange (bypassing the need for money)

a) surplus goods

b) services

c) token scrip valorizing goods and services and facilitating transfer

4. volunteer exchange

a) children

b) the aged

c) the sick

5. generosity platform

6. cultural exchange

a) books, learning tools, art supplies

b) classes

c) workshops: poetry, writing, journalism, music

d) mentors

7. lists by

a) resources

b) affinity groups

c) organizations

d) meetings

e) locations

8. initiatives

guaranteed minimum wage

healthcare for all

housing for all

9. cooperatives

worker coop opportunities

local

regional

financing

transitioning workshops

organizations

meetings

10. Rethinking radical means of conserving energy:

(such as tying gyms and exercise facilities to the grid)

Evergreen worker-owned cooperative

Such a template begins to suggest it is possible to live with much less, but only if the power of money is defeated. Change is possible, and much of it is already taking place, albeit in a disorganized way.

To quote from The Wrong Kind of Green:

The crux of the corporate strategy document, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement, is that citizens must first face, then accept that there is a life-threatening emergency in order to go into the necessary emergency mode. Once triggered, this enables the deployment of “a huge amount of resources toward solving the crisis” which would quickly become the clear, top priority for society. [p. 4 & p. 5] The more the climate movement provides “structures for people’s engagement — clear directions and support for people who are ready to tackle the climate emergency — the more people will go into emergency mode.”[p. 7] but “the collective energy of the west stemming from a growing societal discontent, is being captured and utilized [by corporations]…into a new weapon of choice that will aid the further colonization of the Global South. A climate revolution in name only, this…[corporate-backed] emergency, has nothing to do with the protection of our Earth — or climate — and never will. Rather, it has everything to do with saving, protecting and expanding the capitalist economy — at the expense of our already decimated planet.”

Find a protest near you: Turn up! This is real at

https://www.crisisresponse.us/event/crisis-response/search/?source=drd&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=c90493d0-ecb8-4ef6-b91b-f5b4c519896d

Under a state of emergency, (as previous presidents have done) #45 can:

order the military to round up immigrants or stop protests in American cities;

order the killing or indefinite detention of anyone designated an ‘enemy;’

freeze assets and block financial transactions of anyone hiring legal representation to asylum seekers.

block access to websites and social media tools or disrupt e-mail communication.

Tell your Senators: No Nukes in the GND at

https://www.senate.gov/

Contact your Senator to stand against #45’s power grab at

https://www.southernborder.org/contact-your-legislator?utm_campaign=02152019_borderlines&utm_medium=email&utm_source=alliancesd

Please sign the PGE buy-out and public utility formation at

https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/state-of-california-buyout-not-a-bailout-of-pg-e

Please join the February 23 national mobilization to stop war in Venezuela at

https://www.nowaronvenezuela.org/23feb/

or by joining the rally at Oscar Grant, 14th at Bway, Oakland at noon the 23rd.

Support the Green New Deal at

https://share.credoaction.com/4/193830?action_id=340347348&akid=31569.6821551.v6kZGR&ar=1&rd=1&source=auto_kicker&taf=1

Urge Congress to save TPS and create roadmap to citizenship for all immigrants at

https://www.afsc.org/action/tell-congress-save-tps-and-pass-legislation-to-create-roadmap-to-citizenship-all-immigrants?emci=cda2dcb2-cf2e-e911-b8b3-281878392e89&emdi=ac3046af-e72e-e911-b8b3-281878392e89&ceid=247898&ms=2019AA0212

Stop ICE from Force feeding refugee hunger strikers (a form of torture) at

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/protect-immigrant-hunger-strikers?t=4&akid=31571%2E216994%2EVSaUgm

Read UNAC blog about what’s really happening in Venezuela at

https://www.unacpeace.org/blog.html

Advocate for poor people to continue receiving food assistance at

https://addup.sierraclub.org/campaigns/prevent-trumps-usda-from-kicking-755000-off-food-assistance/petition/prevent-trumps-usda-from-kicking-755000-off-food-assistance

Sustainability

Navajo First Nation produces energy powering 13,000 homes through solar.

Dutch company unveils world’s first pre-fab house made entirely of cannabis.

MacDonald’s agrees to reduce use of antibiotics to raise beef.

New report emphasizes climate change is urgent and calls for international treaty to address the problem.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline delayed to 2020 with Dominion adding $1 billion to cost estimate.

House committees hold hearing on climate change for first time in years while work of Russian scientists about Arctic methane is supressed.

Australian Judge strikes down coal mine in part because of carbon emissions.

Congressman Mike Levin kicks off task force to examine nuclear waste at California’s San Onofre (until now stored in Holtec thin-walled canisters with significant percentage of failure).

AOC and Markey unveil Green New Deal Resolution with strong support from progressives and backing from presidential candidates Sanders, Gillibrand, Warren and Bloomberg.

New legislation aims to avert Arctic giveaway to corporate polluters sneaked into GOP tax scam.

US sues Lockheed for alleged kickbacks at Nuclear cleanup site.

Energy Transfer Pipeline on hold after string of violations.

Energy Transfer’s $900 million lawsuit against Greenpeace and other water protectors thrown out of court.

Court rejects oil industry’s retaliatory lawsuit again LA youth groups.

Share of renewables in EU up 17.5% in 2017 with eleven member states already achieving the 2020 targets. (US lags way behind and needs serious nudging.)

LA Mayor Garcetti puts stop to rebuilding 3 LA gas-fired power plants, moving LA closer to 100% renewables.

Ontario’s Independent Electricity SO asks Hydro One to upgrade transmission system to Ontario can buy low-cost water power from Canada.

PA Governor Wolf announces his administration to stop issuing construction permits to Energy Transfer Pipeline, including dangerous Mariner East project.

N. Mexico Bureau of Land Management calls for delay on sale of 1500 Chaco acres for oil and gas development after Food and Water Watch delivers 27,000 opposition signatures.

TVA board of directors votes to close last remaining unit as Paradise coal-fired power plant in Western Kentucky, ignoring #45’s pleas to keep it running.

Resistance

Citing no border emergency, both governors of California and New Mexico order National Guard away from border.

After not striking for 25 years, after three-day strike Denver teachers in nations-wide #RedForEd Movement win concessions.

In effort to fight climate change and malnutrition, influential investors add voices to chorus of health professionals calling for radical changes to agriculture.

In New York’s Guggenheim Museum, chanting ‘Lock ’em up,’ demonstra- tors drop thousands of white slips designed to mimic OxyContin prescriptions, highlighting the Sackler family’s role in fueling the opioid epidemic.

Black Lives Matter-Louisville and other organizations in KY, buy homes for single mom homemakers.

Anticipating shut down, airport workers plan mass protests in 80 major cities.

Dr. Mubarak Awad, founder of Nonviolence International speaks at DC protest against incarceration of both immigrant youth at the border and in Florida and Palestinian youth by Israel.

NY State Indivisible talks up state campaign finance reform; Indivisible Oregon joins clean energy jobs lobby day; Indivisible Maryland plans to expand voting access by mail; and Indivisible AZ packs statehouse and protests package of voter suppression bills.

Colombia Red Cross refuses distribution of any US aid, insisting that US action in Venezuela is not ‘Humanitarian Aid.’

15 activists make hole in perimeter fence, chain themselves all night to UK plane about to deport people to West Africa.

With 3 killed, Haiti protests swell against inflation and demand that President Moise resign.

Protests force Amazon to look outside Queens for location of satellite spot.

Black Alliance for Peace vows never to abandon Venezuela where many Afro-Venezuelans reside.

Anchor Steam workers sign union cards.

UK headteachers union backs student #ClimateStrike.

AMLO’s election raises hope of millions of Mexican workers, supporting their strikes.

Mountain Valley Pipeline tree sitters save forest with tree sit of over 156 days.

Baltimore City Council unanimously passes bill forcing city’s Wheelbrator trash incinerator dramatically to reduce pollution emissions or shut down entirely.

West Virginia teachers and school staff overwhelmingly authorize work ‘action.’

Johns Hopkins latest plan for police force prompts student-faculty protest.

“Resist Rockwool’ holds sit-in at Sen Manchin’s office.

Domestic Affairs

US sues Lockheed for alleged kickbacks at Hanford nuclear cleanup site.

AOC and Markey unveil Green New Deal Resolution with backing from presidential candidates Sanders, Gillibrand, Warren and Bloomberg and strong progressive support.

TVA board of directors votes to close last remaining unit of Paradise coal-fired power plant in Western Kentucky, ignoring #45’s pleas to keep it running.

New legislation aims to avert Arctic giveaway to corporate polluters sneaked into GOP tax scam.

Sanders introduces bill expanding Social Security to ensure dignity for the most vulnerabe, the aged and disabled.

Five incumbent GOP legislators resign seats in Congress including Marino (R-PA) and Woodall (R-GA).

Sen. Patty Murphy introduces National Classified School District of the Year award.

Sens. Espallat, Serrano, Bonamici, Beyer, Jayapal, and Garcia introduce Protecting Sensitive Locations Act.

Sen. Schatz (D-HI) introduces Census IDEA Act.

Reps Rochester, Castor, Kildea, and McBath introduce MORE Health Education Act.

Democrats in Montana legislature introduce bill increasing penalty for assaulting a journalist from $500 to $5000 plus year in jail.

House committees hold hearing on climate change for first time in years, while Russian Arctic methane reseasrch is suppressed.

2019 NAACP Chairman’s Award to be presented to Maxine Waters.

Rep. Huffman introduces Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act restoring protections to Arctic Refuge.

Appeals court overturns FCC’s attempt to throw 70% low income people off broadband.

Baltimore state’s attorney declares her office will no longer prosecute marijuana possession.

Rep. Ilhan Omar applauded for grilling war terrorist psychopath and wanna-be Kissinger, Elliot Abrams over role in US-backed genocide, massacres, and death squads in Central and Latin America.

Four dozen millionaires demand law makers pass a “multi-millionaires tax to benefit education.

Bill reforming Michigan’s asset forfeiture laws receives broad bipartisan support.

Senate votes 98–2 to extend key funding mechanism for national and local parks, totalling one million acres with the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Contra Costa rules in favor of releasing police records, now part of established California law.

Educators endorse safety measures: not arming teachers.

For fifth time, Colorado lawmakers try banning conversation therapy for minors.

Virginia cop suspended after anti-fascists expose his white supremacy group affinity.

House Democrat majority joined by handful of Republicans, passes resolution directing #45 to halt military assistance to Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthis in Yemen; approves War Powers Resolution to end US complicity in Yemen in historic vote.

Controversy over Venezuela regime change forces even right-wing chair of Committee, Eliot Engel to pronounce opposition to U.S. military ‘action’ (invasion) in Venezuela.

Illinois House passes bill and sends to governor for signature making $15 minimum wage law.

By 3–2 vote, Portland breaks with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force

And Foreign

European Parliament adopts legislation supporting transparency in their dealings with lobbyists.

Debate over U.S. nuclear weapons stored in Germany flares up for first time since 80s.

AMLO’s election raises hope of millions of Mexican workers, supporting their strikes.

In view of U.S-Russian nuclear arsenals restraints being under threat, global leaders head to Munich Security Conference to put nuclear arms control front and center.

International Court of Justice rules Iran has legal claim to $2 billion in assets frozen by U.S. (U.S. similarly holds sanctions against Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and other entities it doesn’t like.)

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