Introduction: What's Really at Stake When We Talk about Climate Justice
This article hopes to connect some crucial dots its author has never seen connected. Namely, to identify the Russiagate narrative as a monstrous sneak attack, conducted chiefly by Democrats, on the very concept of climate justice.
Since no author I've read has connected that particular set of dots--by no means difficult to connect--this piece, by pinpointing the Russiagate narrative as the climate justice narrative's most dangerous enemy, is already performing a simple but crucial public service. But when we consider the real meaning of climate justice--too little understood by "woke" activists, let alone the comparatively stuporous U.S. public--the value of that public service is exponentially amplified. For when we speak about climate justice, we're really talking about global justice pure and simple--and about saving the whole of human civilization by means of it. A fact underscored by Naomi Klein, probably the preeminent promoter of climate justice, in titling her pivotal book This Changes Everything. It doesn't get bigger than everything.
Still, readers may find "everything" too abstract to be motivating, and they may suspect alarmist hyperbole in writers claiming "the whole of human civilization" is at stake. However, when we consider that climate crisis is, from here on, a much more accurate description than climate change, and that climate is the central formative feature of humanity's (and every other species') habitat, claiming the whole of civilization is now at stake seems hardly overblown. But "everything" remains too big and abstract to wrap one's mind around. And "mainstream" media ( better called "corporate, state-capitalist, or imperialist media") has so grievously abdicated its responsibility of informing U.S. citizens about humanity's impending climate peril that no brief summary of current science, no matter how impeccably documented, is likely to shake most Americans from their cozy, if dangerous, climate complacency. If climate change were really such an emergency, they must think, wouldn't our politicians and media be screaming about it daily?
The fact that they aren't screaming about it daily underscores not the absence of a climate crisis, but the presence of systemic injustice, which daily worsens that crisis. And while most people may not be "woke" enough to know or care about the systemic injustice crippling climate action, they care--in ever-growing numbers--about the various forms of injustice, say racial and economic, encompassed in the overall injustice of our corrupt political system. So the key task for climate justice activists who know our business is one of translation for U.S. audiences: perhaps abandoning the term climate justice altogether and simply identifying the climate movement as one partner in a hyperpotent "movement of movements" fighting the systemic injustice harming us all.
The same systemic injustice--I hope to prove--perniciously reinforced by the Russiagate narrative.
Reframing the Needed Struggle: RPEC Justice vs. Russiagate
If my title pointed to "climate justice" as the designated (and previously unnamed) target of the giant middle finger thrust by Russiagate, that was only to use the most familiar term available for the composite victim I'm alluding to. But as just noted, "climate justice"--too strongly suggesting the grossly undervalued climate issue (undervalued because "orphaned" by corrupt politicians and media)--is probably the wrong rallying banner for assembling a U.S. "movement of movements" capable of fighting such deeply entrenched injustice. If my title failed to supply an adequate synonym, it's because no such synonym as yet exists. Inventing it is our task here.
Now, in a sense, humanity itself is the real target for the contemptuous middle finger of the Russiagate narrative. So, in a sense, humanity (considered solely as victim of Russiagate) makes an appropriate synonym for climate justice: if the climate justice movement (which seeks to defend humanity against climate destruction) gets the shaft, then humanity gets screwed too. But while calling the Russiagate narrative a de facto attack on humanity is (for reasons soon to be explained) certainly fair game, defending all humanity is not--and perhaps, from sheer scope, can never be--the organizing principle of any on-the-ground activist movement. We need a rallying banner for a powerful coalition of actual activist movements.
The modest proposal here is simply to identify the chief coalition partners by the acronym RPEC (pronounced AR-pec), which stands for Race, Peace, Economics, and Climate. The proposed "movement of movements" (to some extent already in existence, based on ever-growing awareness of intersectionality) would be called the RPEC Justice Movement. What the RPEC acronym lacks in verbal elegance, it makes up for in clearly designating the major movement partners--almost completely orphaned from "mainstream" political discourse--who have a compelling stake in uniting to fight the systemic injustice that so orphans them.
And nothing is a more unjust, Satanic tool for orphaning race, peace, economic, and climate issues from "mainstream" political discourse than the nonstop, wildly overblown blather demonizing Russia for its purported serious attacks on U.S. "democracy." As if the proposed RPEC Justice Movement partners weren't keenly aware how little U.S. democracy actually exists --and how incredibly much U.S. democracy's foremost enemies are domestic corporate oligarchs rather than Russians. My article aims chiefly 1) to deepen their existing awareness of their need to struggle side-by-side against the systemic injustice that makes talk of "U.S. democracy" a cynical joke and 2) to stress their urgent need to join forces to overthrow the lying Russiagate narrative and replace it with a truthful RPEC justice one. (Which is essentially the climate justice narrative adapted for climate-awareness-challenged U.S. audiences.)
Preliminaries: Needed Context for "Grokking" Russiagate
Given this article's title, readers may feel impatient that I've beaten around the bush--in having not yet discussed how Democrats' Russiagate narrative thrusts a giant middle finger at climate justice. And indeed, I've not yet discussed Democrats at all, while discussing the climate justice movement only to pooh-pooh the term, suggesting the inelegant "RPEC Justice Movement" as a more comprehensible rallying flag for U.S. audiences.
While I've largely renounced the term climate justice, I haven't renounced the underlying concept at all; I've simply substituted language better calculated to identify the main movement stakeholders in climate justice. Important stakeholders, who might not realize they were stakeholders at all had I simply continued to speak of climate justice. Russiagate is such a dangerous, deeply entrenched, and relentlessly promoted narrative that only a broad coalition movement of justifiably outraged activists can defeat it. To win the current narrative game--really a propaganda war for minds and hearts--it's crucial to identify all potential warriors who have skin in this "game." In other words, all the race, peace, economic, and climate activists (as well as the non-activists and potential activists they're defending) being royally screwed by Russiagate.
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