The Climate Movement Needs the Ferguson Revolution

10698589_10152320183020974_4418978345319682358_n.jpgThe Goldman Sachs-friendly “cap and trade” scam. How does that look now? The phantasmagoria of benign billionaires. Where is Richard Branson’s veggie-powered jet? Then there are green jobs, green shopping, green malls, green war…. years of this... the Big Green Stall. And then came the Peoples’ Climate March last month. 

I’m typing this on the F Train coming into Manhattan from Brooklyn, and I remember a sign from the PCM that graced these blurring walls. It said “What puts bankers and hipsters in the same march?” Bankers and hipsters? It is language like this –- denying that there is any opposition at all –- which makes me afraid that the march was part of the Big Green Stall. (I hope not! We sure had a good time! It was like carnavale with honey bees!)

I read some of Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything” in The Nation. I felt like she could title it: “The Climate Revolution for Dummies.” She left me feeling that I’ve been avoiding the great fact of the Earth’s crisis. There is something huge that we all know but can’t say out loud. 

Here it is: An elite that holds economic power must have its money and power taken from it. Period. That is what leaving oil reserves underground means. That is what cutting emissions means. The Climate cannot be stabilized without seizing the assets of the fossil fuel industrial complex, which will send waves of disinvestment out through Wall Street and beyond.

And that is what is happening in Ferguson. I’m writing this on the 76th day after Michael Brown was murdered in cold blood by a Ferguson cop. The struggle in Ferguson is for power. White governments and white police forces are having power taken from them. They cannot institute a three year phase-in of “Diversity” and “Community Sensitivity Training.” The city must relinquish power to the community now. Economic, legal, political power has killed their youth, and the demand is not just to stop the killing, but for the mayor and sheriff to step down, the local college to stop, traffic to stop when it gets in the way, the churches to open their doors to people…

Over 76 days the black youth of St. Louis have kept this issue alive before the world: the killing must stop. The power that creates these murders as a part of its idea of governing is now turning that power over. Meanwhile, while as the clock ticks down, a parallel and competing society insists on governing itself.

I’m not doing Ferguson justice, because I came to know something visceral about taking power when I was in Ferguson and saw a second government created before my eyes in a torrential downpour surrounded by day-glow militarized riot-ready police smacking their night sticks on their shields. The new government was made by dances, speeches, prayers, silence, and the rhythmic recitation of names of the dead with the numbers of their young ages. 

A reader migt think that this is not a real government. Incantations, public confessions, sobbing in the rain and raising a fist in not governing. Let me say “You had to be there.” Or no, “You ARE there.” You are there if you are ending the power of the oppressor that seeks to control you. Imagine what this sergeant is going through, embraced by Dragonfly from our church. He may feel that the power is shifting in a basic way, from unconditional and implacably political love. His life is turning in a new direction. 

The Climate Revolution won't be a parade with permits. Bankers and hipsters alike will by hugged by visionaries with that mix forgiveness with demands are not negotiable.