Originally published on TruthOut on September 10, 2015.
With President Obama’s announcement of the Clean Power Plan, almost 50 new fronts are going to open up in the battle for energy democracy. It’s time for an all-out mobilization with potentially far-reaching consequences.
Following the landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2014 affirming the Environmental Protection Agency’s right to reduce carbon pollution, President Obama has introduced a major program in the lead-up to the Paris climate talks at the end of this year that seeks to significantly reduce carbon emissions from US power plants, targeting a 32 percent drop from 2005 levels by 2030. This is a substantial executive action in a hostile legislative context, although many climate activists rightly demand far more ambitious targets.
What few have noticed is that the implementation phase of the Clean Power Plan is where things could start to get very interesting as there are almost certainly going to be very important opportunities for powerful local organizing. Read More
isitors to the National Air and Space Museum—America’s shrine to the technological leading edge of the military industrial complex—hear a familiar narrative from the tour guides in front of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped an atomic weapon on the civilians of Hiroshima 70 years ago today. The bomb was dropped, they say, to save the lives of thousands of Americans who would otherwise have been killed in an invasion of the Home Islands. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were largely destroyed and the lives of between 135,000 and 300,000 mostly Japanese women, children, and old people were sacrificed—most young men were away at war—as the result of a terrible but morally just calculus aimed at bringing an intractable war to a close. V
This story may assuage the conscience of the air museum visitor, but it is largely myth, fashioned to buttress our memories of the “good” war. By and large, the top generals and admirals who managed World War II knew better. Consider the small and little-noticed plaque hanging in the National Museum of the US Navy that accompanies the replica of “Little Boy,” the weapon used against the people of Hiroshima: In its one paragraph, it makes clear that Truman’s “political advisors” overruled the military in determining the way in which the end of the war in Japan would be approached. Furthermore, contrary to the popular myths around the atomic bomb’s nearly magical power to end the war, the Navy Museum’s explication of the history clearly indicates that “the vast destruction wreaked by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the loss of 135,000 people made little impact on the Japanese military.” Read More
Originally published in the New York Times on July 23, 2015.
THE great 20th-century conservative economist Joseph Schumpeter thought the left had overlooked a major selling point in pressing the case for public — i.e., government — control over productive capital. “One of the most significant titles to superiority,” he suggested, was that public ownership produced profits, which means not having to depend on taxes to raise money.
The bulk of the left never took up Schumpeter’s argument. But in an oddly fitting twist, these days the mantra of public control in exchange for lower taxes has been embraced by a surprising quarter of the American political leadership: conservatives.
The most well-known case is Alaska. The Alaska Permanent Fund, established by a Republican governor in 1976, combines not one, but two socialist principles: public ownership and the provision of a basic income for all residents. The fund collects and invests proceeds from the extraction of oil and minerals in the state. Dividends are paid out annually to all state residents. Read More
Originally posted in Internet Archive on June 13, 2015.
Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report
Produced by Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg
Getting Serious About the Next Economic System
Gar Alperovitz, author, What Then Must We Do? and The Next
American Revolution: Beyond Corporate Capitalism and State
Socialism Read More