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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/16/19

Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal

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If Naomi Klein so ardently supports a Green New Deal, it's pretty surely because she sees it as brilliant, US-market-adapted packaging of the climate justice agenda in her book This Changes Everything (cited earlier). In a very recent article, she continues to emphasize that a Green New Deal is about virtually everything: that it spells the end of confining issues to political "silos."

Sadly, the Klein of the Intercept article only implies what the Klein of This Changes Everything said more explicitly: that the world of climate justice needs to be a world of reduced military budgets and resistance to dominance by classes, communities, or nations. (See pages 113 and 114 of the 2014 Simon & Schuster edition, along with the numerous pages touting a communitarian vs. a dominance worldview.) I don't know whether Klein has succumbed to coddling Sunrise--just as their own ally Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coddles her indefensible House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (see here, here, and here)--but the time for crystalline clarity is now: Trump's coup in Venezuela spits in Naomi Klein's face. Or makes some other, vastly obscener gesture Trump's more juvenile supporters would gleefully make toward Klein--assuming they knew of her existence.

But even by implication alone, Klein's recent Intercept piece (without, unfortunately, specifically mentioning Venezuela) forcefully makes my case. In that piece, Klein asserts that Trump has "wildly underestimated the public appetite for transformative action on the triple crises of our time: imminent ecological unraveling, gaping economic inequality (including the racial and gender wealth divide), and surging white supremacy." Now, adopting Klein's "three-crisis" packaging of the Green New Deal, we simply can't "silo" her comprehensive, PR-savvy approach to climate action from Trump's Democrat-supported coup, which flies (or spits) in the face of all three crises Klein stresses.

In fact, in terms of Klein's "triple crises," Trump's Democrat-supported Venezuelan coup is the ultimate perversity: an "ecological unraveling" (attempt to maximize pumping of oil) that robs Venezuela's darker-skinned poor of the profits from their petrostate's predominant source of income. Famed investigative journalist Greg Palast has already tellingly emphasized the racist, classist nature of Trump's Venezuelan coup. But what I wish to emphasize is its sheer perversity in terms of the delicate "just transition" problem of petrostates: How do we wean petrostates away from oil economies (as climate action demands) without inflicting massive economic harm on their average citizens, who bear little responsibility for their nations' monolithic "fossil" economies?

As neither just--nor a transition away from fossil fuels but the polar opposite--Trump's Democrat-supported coup slaps the face of climate justice as forcefully as one could imagine. And therefore should be anathema to all sincere supporters of a Green New Deal.

Finally, the Poor People's Campaign's website banner page, in its expression of moral values, is a stellar tribute to the spirit of Martin Luther King; if only its actual practice could come remotely close to its aspirations! Given King's almost infallible knack for seeing "the big picture," the Poor People's Campaign has surely honored his spirit by updating King's original "triple evils" of racism, poverty, and militarism to include "ecological devastation." Failing to resist a Venezuelan coup that embodies all four evils the PPC is pledged to fight is simply a betrayal of King, a standing by with hanging arms while moral barbarians desecrate his grave. And King's own condemnation of half-hearted white moderates should say all that needs to be said about fear of offending unprincipled Democrat allies.

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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