We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Crude Awakening

Click here to access article from Public Good Project.
Now that the U.S. crude oil export ban has been lifted, and ‘bomb trains’ are already rolling into the four Pacific Northwest refineries, the three-year-old conflict between Indian tribes and fossil fuel exporters opens up vast opportunities for Anti-Indian Movement organizing, with some really deep pockets behind it. By comparison, White Power on the Salish Sea — promoted by coal exporters — could seem like a mere warm-up for organizations like Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), “the Ku Klux Klan of Indian country”.
Because I've focusing most of my attention on the many imperial adventures of the neoliberal Empire abroad, I seem to have neglected their activities to exploit opportunities for profit and power in my local area. I was jarred into awakening by a scientist who under contract is working for tribal organizations to defend their fish stock which, like everything else in nature, is under attack by the addicts of profit and power. When I encountered him on some other matter, he was exhibiting signs of extreme frustration over a non-profit, Wild Fish Conservancy, that was launching some kind of legal suit against him, and if he loses will cost the local tribes dearly. What appeared to be driving him crazy was the irrationality of this non-profit's case against fish hatcheries. 

After leaving him I was puzzled by his behavior and decided to do a little online sleuthing. I have subsequently become convinced that he is up against powerful economic interests that are using various non-profit front groups (see this, this, and this) to attack tribal legal rights which are standing in the way of a coal terminal that these interests want to be built to ship coal to China. These sources reveal the powerful interests behind the coal terminal: Goldman-Sachs, and BNSF Railway which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and owned in substantial part by one of America's richest (Warren Buffet) billionaires. 

It suddenly struck me that this is precisely how powerful capitalist actors use NGOs (non-profits in foreign countries) abroad to destabilize various countries (think Ukraine) in the various "color revolutions". It appears to me that these non-profit organizations are being used in a similar fashion domestically (in my backyard!) by these corporate addicts to secure their drugs of profit and power.