Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here.

July 19, 2019 by Common Dreams

A new guide to activism aims to inform and inspire a new generation of global climate campaigners

by Greta ThunbergDaniel Hunter

"People always tell me and the other millions of school strikers that we should be proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished," writes Greta Thunberg in the introduction to the new Climate Resistance Handbook. "But the only thing that we need to look at is the emission curve."

“People always tell me and the other millions of school strikers that we should be proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished,” writes Greta Thunberg in the introduction to the new Climate Resistance Handbook. “But the only thing that we need to look at is the emission curve.”

Common Dreams editor’s note: The following excerpts are taken from the Foreward, by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, and the Introduction, by 350.org campaigner Daniel Hunter, of the new Climate Resistance Handbook (Or, I Was Part of a Climate Action. Now What?) recently published online. If you’re wondering how to build a powerful, strategic movement that can make big wins for climate action, this is your guide (pdf). The excerpts are published here with permission from the authors. Learn more or get your copy of the handbook here.

From the Foreward by Greta Thunberg:

I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.

Around the year 2030, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. That is unless in that time, permanent and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society have taken place, including a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 50%.

climate_resistance_handbook_greta_thunbe

Click for more information or to download/purchase the handbook.And please note that these calculations are depending on inven‐tions that have not yet been invented at scale, inventions that are supposed to clear the atmosphere of astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide.

People always tell me and the other millions of school strikers that we should be proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished. But the only thing that we need to look at is the emission curve. And I’m sorry, but it’s still rising. That curve is the only thing we should look at.

Every time we make a decision we should ask ourselves; how will this decision affect that curve? We should no longer measure our wealth and success in the graph that shows economic growth, but in the curve that shows the emissions of greenhouse gases. We should no longer only ask: “Have we got enough money to go through with this?” but also: “Have we got enough of the carbon budget to spare to go through with this?” That should and must become the centre of our new currency.

I hope you will join me in acting. I hope this book helps give you a place to start and to keep going.

We have to act, to change the politics that allows this destruction to continue. We have to act urgently, because we simply have to find a way.

From the Introduction, by Daniel Hunter:

The sense of urgency on climate has never been higher than now. We are in a serious crisis. If humans want to have a planet like the one we have lived on for millions of years, we have to adjust. We have to change. We have to do it quickly.

Thankfully, we have a wealth of elders to learn from. Regular people have changed the course of history. They have overthrown iron-fisted governments, fought for inclusion, for more democratic and fair systems. While those in power resisted, those with less power used social movements to force change.

We can learn from them that change does not happen just be‐cause an issue is important. People have to wage a struggle to fight for the Earth’s climate. This is because the climate has an array of ene‐mies: governments, corporations, media sources, and at times our own consumption and behavior.

So we need to bind together to create the strongest movement possible. Movements win because they channel the feelings of ur‐gency, anger, fear — and our sense of this being wrong — into a force for change.

If you’re with me, then this book is for you. Let’s begin!Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is a youth climate strike leader in Sweden.

Daniel Hunter is Global Trainings Manager for 350.org.

THE ‘SUMMER UPRISING’ AND THE METEORIC RISE OF EXTINCTION REBELLION

WED, 7/17/2019 – BY GABRIELLE PICKARD-WHITEHEAD (Occupy.com)

Barely a news bulletin goes by in Britain without a story about the antics of climate activists identified as Extinction Rebellion (XR). Despite having only formed in May 2018, XR has become an almost household name in the UK, while spreading its message about the urgency of tackling climate around the planet.

Hailed as heroes by those with an environmental conscience and a pointless nuisance by climate change deniers, the protestors are certainly succeeding in driving climate change to the forefront of public awareness and piercing the bubble of denial.

July is an exceptionally busy month for XR campaigners, as the socio-political group is targeting five cities across the country with civil disobedience in a bid to push the government to take greater action against climate change.

Known as the “Summer Uprising”, the month-long protests involve activists “occupying” major UK cities. Starting July 15, environmental protests are to occupy Bristol, Cardiff, London, Leeds and Glasgow, disrupting key transport routes and taking over public spaces. Each protest will be centred around a different theme related to the ecological crisis.

The theme in Bristol is rising sea levels in relation to the city’s maritime history and its risks of floods. According to NASA, flooding is likely to be more regular in Britain by 2050 if climate change isn’t “urgently addressed.”

In Scotland, XR protests are focused on justice for climate change refugees. In June, the activists glued themselves to the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, demanding the Scottish government change its policy on climate change.

As well as fleeing war, political persecution and intolerance, people flee their country because of environmental disasters, including droughts, floods and famine. XR protestors and other environmental campaign groups are urging the UK to do more to help people being displaced by climate change.

As Friends of the Earth notes: “The UK is a stable, tolerant and compassionate country, and we should take a lead in welcoming our fair share of these people in need. But we must also tackle the bigger issues – including global warming effects on environmental refugees.”

Extinction Rebellion, XR, climate protests, global climate demonstrations, London protests, UK climate movement, climate deniers

July’s mass Extinction Rebellion protests follow similar action by the group in April, which brought parts of London and other cities to a standstill.

The campaigners’ bold exertions are certainly being noticed and acted upon. In April, a Labour motion calling the UK Parliament to declare an environment and climate emergency was unanimously passed. And in June, the government signed a target to bring the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 into law.

The climate emergency motion was a key demand of the XR protests in April. Noting the outcome of their actions, the campaigners called the UK Parliament’s climate emergency declaration “historic.”

However, despite the positive upshots deriving from XR’s actions, the organisation says government action is weak, and more seriousness and urgency is required at both a local and national level. “They are making weak commitments, encouraging ecologically damaging projects and taxing sustainable alternatives,” said the group. By focusing on profits and economic growth, XR warned that political leaders are “failing in their duty to act on our behalf.”

Promising a bolder course of action on climate change, shadow chancellor John McDonnell praised the exploits of XR, noting how the disruption caused by the demonstrators has “definitely been worth it” to raise awareness of the climate emergency.

Following the arrest of more than 1,000 XR members during April’s ‘direct action’ protests in London, McDonnell invited representatives of XR to brief shadow ministers on their assessment of the potential solutions to the crisis.

Labour says it will make overcoming the threat of the climate emergency the “key priority” of the Treasury in the next Labour government. As well as taking measures to encourage green investment, Labour says it will deter financial institutions from pumping money into polluting assets. Tories are not getting behind the issue with even remotely the same seriousness.

Extinction Rebellion, XR, climate protests, global climate demonstrations, London protests, UK climate movement, climate deniers

In stark contrast to McDonnell’s readiness to listen and take advice from XR campaigners, Boris Johnson, former foreign secretary, London mayor and frontrunner for the next Tory leadership, hit out at Extinction Rebellion protestors.

Adopting an economic-prioritising stance typical of his party, Johnson condemned XR for “paralysing public transport in the greatest city of earth and stopping people from getting to work.” Johnson mockingly urged its participants to “lecture” China instead.

An even more high-profile and controversial case of intolerance toward environmental protestors involved a female Greenpeace demonstrator who was grabbed by the neck by Conservative MP Mark Field, after several climate protestors disrupted the annual black-tie Mansion House dinner for top city executives and industry leaders in the City of London.

The protestor was shoved out of the room by Field, who told her: “This is what happens when people disturb our dinner.” The incident led to Field being suspended as a foreign office minister. But the suspension hasn’t deterred Field’s aggressive hostility toward environmental and social actions; only weeks later, the Tory MP controversially referred to a homeless charity as a “magnet for undesirables.”

Whether people are united with or opposed to Extinction Rebellion and its hard-hitting, no-nonsense methods of demonstration, the young, fresh, radical climate change group is succeeding in ruffling the feathers of protest-snubbing, climate change deniers and making inroads in the quest to bring the environment to the forefront of modern politics.

Extinction Rebellion, XR, climate protests, global climate demonstrations, London protests, UK climate movement, climate deniers

HONG KONG PROTESTS EXPAND IN GEOGRAPHY AND GOALS

TUE, 7/16/2019 – BY SHIBANI MAHTANI THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE WASHINGTON POST (Occupy.com)

Demonstrators protesting an extradition bill march in the Sha Tin area of Hong Kong on Sunday. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Protests in Hong Kong expanded in terms of geographical reach and demands Sunday as thousands of people marched in the streets of a populous suburb, calling not just for the complete withdrawal of a bill allowing extradition to China but also the right to vote for their leaders.

As the march wound down, violent clashes broke out between riot police and a small group of protesters. After using pepper spray and batons to push people back, officers forcibly cleared protesters from a suburban shopping mall in an escalation of chaotic scenes that have become commonplace here. Videos showed officers being attacked with metal sticks and other makeshift weapons by a small mob.

Pro-democracy groups reported that several of their members had been arrested, and live video feeds showed officers subduing protesters. Police did not immediately provide details on arrests.

Organizers rallied demonstrators around calls for universal suffrage for Hong Kong, the latest sign of how the movement has grown to include broader demands — all squarely pointed at Beijing’s influence.

“We want total democracy in Hong Kong,” said Kelvin Wong, who declined to give his age. “We need to be autonomous.”

Sunday’s protest was held in Sha Tin, an area populated in the 1970s as the city expanded. Protesters have deliberately moved into neighborhoods beyond central Hong Kong in an effort to reach the wider population. Sha Tin is in the New Territories, a hilly region between Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor and mainland China, and is popular with mainland Chinese visitors.

“We used to not really protest in residential areas. Most of us think it’s not good to disturb the neighborhood,” said Jacky Chan, 26, who says he has been involved in most of the protests over the past five weeks. “But it is significant that these residential neighborhoods will allow us to do these events here.”

He added that the protests could help reach locals who might otherwise consume only pro-government news.

Some residents unfurled banners of support from their homes Sunday and threw umbrellas and other supplies to the crowd. The protesters use umbrellas as shields against riot police.

The citizens of the semiautonomous territory of Hong Kong do not vote directly for their leaders, who are instead chosen by a 1,200-member committee out of a pool of candidates screened by Beijing.

Protests in 2014 known as the Umbrella Movement represented a landmark moment in the city, shuttering parts of downtown over a demand for universal suffrage. Those protests were ultimately quashed and their leaders imprisoned.

“The extradition law has reminded us that what we really need above anything else is democracy,” Chan said. He and others want a government that is more accountable to the people of the city than to authorities in Beijing and is able to address their concerns about soaring living costs.

A separate protest was held Saturday in Sheung Shui, close to Hong Kong’s border with the mainland city of Shenzhen, against “parallel traders” from China who buy baby formula and other necessities tax-free and then sell them to day-trippers from the mainland at marked-up prices.

Local residents say the traders have pushed out mom-and-pop shops and depleted supplies of groceries and other goods.

During Saturday’s demonstration, ambulances were seen taking a few injured protesters from the site. A number of police officers were also injured, according to videos and local reports.

“Some protesters deliberately blocked the roads after the procession, hurled iron poles, scattered an unknown powder, charged police cordon lines and assaulted police officers,” the Hong Kong government said in a statement after the rally. “The government strongly condemns the violent acts committed.”

The government statement also spelled out measures Hong Kong has taken to “mitigate the nuisance” caused by the parallel traders.

The traders typically take advantage of multiple-entry visas into Hong Kong and sometimes hire illegal workers.

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, last week described the extradition plan as “dead” and stressed that the Hong Kong legislature would be unable to advance it after the groundswell of dissent. But she has repeatedly declined to fully withdraw the bill, which in Hong Kong requires a specific legislative procedure rather than just a statement.

The weekend demonstrations were the latest indication of a sustained wave of dissent here that has grown to include demands unlikely to be met by Beijing authorities. Many in Hong Kong say that their leader is illegitimate. Half a dozen more protests are planned for the coming week, including a march led by the elderly.

All across Hong Kong, memorial walls — known as “Lennon Walls” for a memorial in Prague filled with messages supporting global causes — have cropped up. They were first used as a protest tool during the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Colorful sticky notes bearing inspirational messages now obscure walls at subway stations and overpasses.

“We have come back even stronger” since 2014, Wong said.

Sticky notes with messages backing protesters and their demands cover a “Lennon Wall” at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Originally published on the Washington Post

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Suspended For Next 10 Rulings Following Supreme Court Bench-Clearing Brawl

Yesterday 11:26am (theonion.com)

Illustration for article titled Ruth Bader Ginsburg Suspended For Next 10 Rulings Following Supreme Court Bench-Clearing Brawl

WASHINGTON—Describing her conduct as incompatible with the values of the federal judiciary, authorities handed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a 10-case suspension Thursday for her role in the Supreme Court’s bench-clearing brawl. “Article III Section 1 of the Constitution states that members of this honorable court ‘shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour,’ and that’s certainly not what we saw out there today,” said James C. Duff, administrative director of the U.S. federal court system, issuing a decision that could have a major impact on the Supreme Court’s upcoming term, when it is expected to face a tough docket of big cases. “A review of courtroom sketches clearly shows that Ginsburg grabbed Justice Samuel Alito, put him in a headlock, and began smashing his face with a gavel. As such, she will be barred from participating in the next 10 rulings, though she will still be permitted to attend proceedings so long as she does not wear her Supreme Court robes.” Duff noted that Ginsburg had previously been suspended for showboating, having grabbed the courtroom’s American flag and waved it in the faces of the losing party as she celebrated a 5-4 victory in 2015’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case.

Beyond the tweeting – No war on Iran!

While I greatly appreciate the time and effort going into countering the vile statements steadily spewing forth from the Trump White House, in the end I believe that its actions will speak louder than its words – and curse America’s future more profoundly. For that reason, I have lately been introducing a resolution opposing any efforts toward waging war against Iran before several of the city’s political clubs (San Francisco Berniecrats and Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club thus far – more to follow; it has passed unanimously in both clubs). I have introduced similar resolutions in past years in regard to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Venezuela because in this era of drone warfare, it has become all too easy for us Americans to remain oblivious to the destruction wrought by our government, in our name, with our tax dollars.

RESOLUTION AGAINST WAR ON IRAN:

WHEREAS, the series of military actions formerly known as the War on Terror have included a war in Afghanistan now in its eighteenth year, a war in Iraq entered into on the basis of fraudulent allegations on the part of the U.S. Government, and the additional bombing of Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; and

WHEREAS, this continual state of war has cost nearly $6 trillion; caused the loss of life of nearly 15,000 American military personnel and contract soldiers, the wounding of an additional 50,000, and the death of an estimated 244,000 civilians; and has also involved the emission of greenhouse gases equal to the annual emission of 257 million cars, while in the process destabilizing governments and adding to the global refugee crisis; and

WHEREAS, the net result of these policies has been a global increase in hostility toward the United States, while cities such as San Francisco lack adequate funds for dealing with concurrent crises of homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the (San Francisco Berniecrats, Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club) oppose(s) the extension of military action to Iran as well as any provocative actions directed by our government toward that nation for the purpose of provoking war; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the (San Francisco Berniecrats, Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club) urge(s) the San Francisco congressional delegation to oppose such actions, as well as to deny any funding for such purposes.  

I run for Congress against Nancy Pelosi because I believe that San Franciscans have every right and reason to expect a Representative in Congress who will lead the fight against all such interventions as these – before they start. If you agree, please consider helping and/or contributing: $3 or $200 – it all helps.

Thanks, Tom Gallagher

Info about a Progressive Primary:  http://occupysf.net/?s=progressive+primary

Wall Street Beware: The Public Banking Movement Is Coming for You

Members of the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition rally at San Francisco City Hall to demand the creation of a public bank.

BY Robert R. RaymondTruthout.org July 5, 2019

A white lower-case t on a black background

It may not come as a surprise to hear that the majority of Americans don’t trust the banking system in this country. Only 27 percent of those surveyed in a 2016 Gallup poll said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the institution — less than half of the record high set in 1979. And the lack of trust is spread relatively evenly across the political spectrum — it’s not just liberals or those on the left: Almost everyone is fed up with the banks.

And if banking institutions don’t exactly spark joy, their lead characters — morally bankrupt investment bankers whose greed and arrogance almost singlehandedly collapsed the entire country’s economy — certainly don’t spark joy either. It’s an old story: Bankers made obscene amounts of money destroying the economy, we bailed them out, they walked away from it all without a shred of accountability and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. But that’s not where the story has to end. Spurred by the need for an alternative to the for-profit, extractive model of finance exemplified by Wall Street, there is a budding movement in the United States that is working to reimagine banking as an institution that truly serves the public.

Public banking is an old idea, but it has never been very common in the United States. The first and only public bank in the country was founded exactly 100 years ago in North Dakota, and it wasn’t until relatively recently that the idea has begun to find new life in cities and states across the country. Growing largely out of the need for more democratic ownership over capital, the aim of this budding movement is to create a robust public banking infrastructure across the nation that is rooted in the principles of economic, environmental, racial and social justice.

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The renewed interest in public banking really took off right after the financial collapse in 2008 as people began exploring the option of moving their money into alternative banking institutions, such as local credit unions and community banks. But despite being useful for small-scale, personal banking, these institutions do not operate on a scale where they are able to handle a city or state’s financial assets — they’re just too small. What was needed was a much larger institution with a clearly defined charter that could take in the municipal deposits of a state — or even a city like San Francisco, whose budget topped $10 billion in 2018.

As public banking advocates began exploring larger-scale solutions, the Bank of North Dakota quickly became a potentially replicable option. Founded by the Nonpartisan League in 1919 during the Midwest’s agrarian populist period, the Bank of North Dakota is the only public bank in the mainland U.S. (American Samoa also has a public bank.) Intended to free the state’s farmers from predatory lenders, the Bank of North Dakota survived a Wall Street boycott and has since become institutionalized within the state’s banking ecosystem.

The Bank of North Dakota has many functions: By law, all state deposits and revenue must go through the bank, which then works with community banks and credit unions throughout the state to provide a number of services, from liquidity and loan guarantees to low-cost student lending to disaster-relief lending and more. It’s proven to be a very successful model.It’s not just liberals or those on the left: Almost everyone is fed up with the banks.

“The state of North Dakota experienced the financial crisis very differently from any other state,” Thomas Hanna of The Democracy Collaborative, a national research institute dedicated to developing new strategies for a more democratic economy, told Truthout. “It had a low rate of foreclosures, it was the only state in the country that didn’t have a single bank collapse, it had a lower unemployment than many other states and had a better fiscal outlook for state government.”

Of course, the statewide public bank was not able to completely mitigate the effects of the financial crisis in North Dakota. The state’s unemployment rate did rise in 2009, for example. And yet — and this is key to public banking advocates like Hanna — it still remained significantly lower than the national average at that time. Hanna and many others believe that the state bank’s model was responsible for many of the less severe outcomes experienced in North Dakota, and it was around this time that the public banking movement began to explore bringing a similar model to states and municipalities around the country.

“The movement has really taken off like wildfire since then,” Hanna told Truthout. “Many cities in California, cities in Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York and various other places all across the country are making real advances.”

What makes public banks different from traditional banks is that they are actually accountable to the public — they’re democratic. So the public can not only decide what services the bank provides and where their taxpayer dollars are invested, but they also have a say in what kinds of investments are off limits.North Dakota experienced the financial crisis very differently from any other state. Many believe that the state bank’s model was responsible for the less severe outcomes.

“It was during the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance when many people began to focus on the role that Wall Street plays in financing pipelines and climate change,” Hanna told Truthout. “People started realizing that their money, their local tax dollars were being used to invest in destroying their communities and destroying the planet. So instead of having our money going to purposes that are antithetical to our values, public banking is a way to move toward a more equitable and sustainable economic system.”

Despite gaining traction on both the national and state levels, the push for public banking has really taken off on a municipal level, with cities like San Francisco leading the way.

“We see the need for public banking all over the country right now, but there’s no better example of it anywhere else than in San Francisco, which is one of the wealthiest cities in the world but also one of the most unequal in terms of income,” Kurtis Wu, an organizer with the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition, told Truthout. “We have 7,000 unhoused residents on the streets of San Francisco. Rent is now approaching $4,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. Our infrastructure is crumbling, our public transit system is embarrassing. We see public banking as a mechanism that can really start to redirect capital toward these things.”

Members of the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition march to San Francisco City Hall to demand the city divest from Wall Street and create a public bank.

The push for a municipal public bank in San Francisco originally came out of the Occupy movement, but really gained momentum during the Standing Rock resistance efforts that targeted the financial institutions responsible for funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. This effort was led by the organization SF Defund DAPL, whose efforts eventually persuaded the city’s Board of Supervisors to pass numerous resolutions calling for a public bank and which compelled the Office of the Treasurer to explore its feasibility.

But the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition isn’t planning to just wait around while the policy seeds for a public bank slowly make their way through City Hall — the group has taken the lead in building a grassroots movement around the initiative. They’ve assembled a broad coalition of groups — including the San Francisco chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, the northern chapter of the California Nurses Association, the San Francisco Tenants Union and many more — to build public support.We need to do something about the big Wall Street banks, because they’re going to be a massive impediment to anything that we want to do in terms of economic democracy.

But there are still major roadblocks on the state level that would have to be lifted in order to allow California cities like San Francisco to create municipal banks. At the moment, the only banking licenses available in the state are for commercial banks or credit unions — there are actually no licenses for public banking.

This might change very soon, however, as a bill that would pave the way for municipalities to create their own public banks makes its way through the state legislature. Designed by the California Public Banking Alliance and authored by Assembly members David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), AB 857 passed in the Democrat-dominated state assembly in May and is now making its way through a number of committees before it comes to a final floor vote in the state senate.

“If the state bill successfully passes, we will likely push for the creation of a public bank through a ballot initiative,” Wu told Truthout. “So, putting this issue directly to the voters — so it’s ultimately decided by the people. There’s a fierce urgency to this, and we want to make sure that the timeline keeps up with that. I think that it’s possible for a fully-fledged and operating public bank to be created in five years.”

The movement toward municipal banking is an important part of the push toward a more democratic and accountable banking sector in the United States, but it’s just one component of what advocates see as a broader set of reforms that must be made.

“On the one hand, we should have this robust, local movement for public banking — we should build, from the ground up, small, local banks at the city-county level, at the state level,” Hanna told Truthout. “But I also think that we need to do something about the big Wall Street banks, because they’re going to be a massive impediment to anything that we want to do in terms of economic democracy more broadly.”

This top-down approach is also something that’s being discussed across the country as well, and has gained quite a bit of momentum thanks to high-profile contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who have made breaking up the big banks key components of their economic policies. And along the same lines, Senator Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) just recently announced legislation that would build and expand post office banking services while imposing a 15 percent federal cap on interest rates.Public banking can never be a success unless it is underpinned by economic, social, racial and environmental justice.

“If this movement is going to be successful, we’re going to have to see political action on public banking from the top down as well,” Hanna said. “We’re going to need politicians like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to be on board so that if and when we’re able to get into positions of power nationally, we have candidates who are committed and who understand what needs to be done to enable public banking at the federal level.”

Of course, any public bank is only going to be as progressive as the government under which it operates. For example, the fact that the Bank of North Dakota provided a $7 million loan to fund the state’s brutal treatment of Water Protectors during the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance is not lost on organizers like Wu and Hanna. They understand that public banking can never be a success unless it is underpinned by a diverse grassroots movement that puts economic, social, racial and environmental justice front and center.

“Public engagement and community input in this process are critical because there’s no guarantee that a public bank will fund issues like environmental, racial and economic justice,” Wu said. “So we need to create levers for accountability, transparency and self-determination. That’s the only way we’re really going to be able to address these things.”

There are a number of ways to ensure that accountability and transparency are embedded into a public bank from the start, including creating a charter that clearly details what the bank can and cannot invest in, or ensuring that there is community representation on the bank’s board of directors.

Of course, transforming the banking system into one that puts people and planet before profit is a lofty ambition. And as it continues to grow, the public banking movement will likely come into direct conflict with those who are currently profiting from the predatory and extractive banking system. So far, organizers have been focusing much more on the municipal level because they can operate more freely there, somewhat under the radar of the powerful banks whose interests public banking is in direct conflict with.

But at some point, it seems inevitable that the two opposing interests will confront each other in a real and direct way. Will a mobilized, grassroots movement be able to stage a successful insurgency against the forces of concentrated wealth and influence? It’s still very much an open question — one that has come to define much of the 21st century.

Robert Raymond is the co-producer and creative director of the “Upstream Podcast,” and senior producer, designer and creative director of “The Response.” He is passionate about exploring the intersections of sound design, storytelling and eco-socialist principles to help ease our way out of these tumultuous times.

Ellen Brown discusses the latest developments in public banking

The Public Bank Solution, 1.19 from Princeton Community Television on Vimeo.

What’s Happening in Public Banking? 

Host Walt McRee talks with best-selling author and PBI Chair Ellen Brown about her new book Banking on the People and about recent national developments that are propelling the public banking movement forward around the country. In California, legislators in both the Assembly and Senate are poised to pass the first bill to enable cities and regions to create publicly-owned municipal banks. In the process, California is leading the way for other states now considering similar steps.

Will Even One Disgusted Republican Mount a Serious Primary Challenge to Trump?

July 18, 2019 by Common Dreams

Is their moral courage totally AWOL?

by Ralph Nader

Republicans must think “crooked Donald” is invincible. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republicans must think “crooked Donald” is invincible. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In 1956, then Senator John F. Kennedy authored a best-selling book titled Profiles in Courage, in which he told the stories of Senators in American history who, on principle, bucked the tides of power. Today, some Republican writer or conservative syndicated columnist – George Will or Max Boot – should write a book called Profiles in Cowardliness. It should cover Republican leadership’s near total cowardliness in the face of Donald Trump, whom they despise on many fronts. Many in Republican leadership believe he has hijacked their Grand Old Party (GOP).

Clearly the Republicans – except for Rep. Justin Amash, who recently quit the Party after accusing Trump of impeachable crimes – are intimidated by this foul-mouthed president. Republican politicians are cowed by Trump’s bellicose personal rhetoric. We have seen this cycle repeat itself countless times, with the media boosting their ratings by recklessly repeating Trump’s insults.

Republicans remember what Trump did to Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio during the 2016 Republican primary. They observe how loud-mouthed Donald spews toxic falsehoods at Democrats and gets away with it. Why, Republicans ask themselves, should they take any chances provoking this unstable Twitter Emperor and his ditto-heads on social media whom he deliberately incites? The answer: because patriotismdemands action.

Donald Trump acts as if he is above the law – coming off his career as a corporate criminal, he has become a government outlaw. He has always cheated justice. Trump flouts the Constitution, refuses to faithfully execute the laws preventing corporate crimes, and obstructs justice.  Just as bad are Trump’s ethical and personal failings; he has brought disgraceful personal behavior, serious daily lies, expensive nepotism, denials of grave realities facing the country, bigotry, violent incitement, and disrepute to the White House. All of these failings are why the Founding Fathers gave impeachment authority to the House of Representatives and the authority of open trial to the Senate.

There are many more indictable and impeachable offenses, but the focus here is on why the entire GOP has completely fallen in line.  Only former Republican Governor of Massachusetts William Weld has dared to officially challenge Trump in the upcoming Republican primary.  This week, former Republican Congressman and Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford announced he is testing the waters for a run against President Trump, emphasizing Trump’s huge expanding deficits. It is shocking that so few opponents have emerged considering Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 and remains more consistently unfavorable in the polls than any president in modern times.

Republicans must think “crooked Donald” is invincible. So why try? Plenty of Republican politicians consider Trump to be a clear and present danger to Party and country. They include Former Senators Flake and Corker; current Senator Mitt Romney; former Governor of Ohio John Kasich; former New Jersey Governor and EPA head, under Reagan, Christine Todd Whitman; and former House Speaker Paul Ryan. All have spoken out about Trump’s dangerous ignorance and loutishness. All believe him to be unqualified and fear his reckless actions. On trade, immigration, climate crisis, and his open admiration of brutal dictators, they find him appalling.

Yet there are few signs of a serious challenge. In the 1990s, John Kasich was the Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. At the time he was critical of the wasteful, unauditable Pentagon budget then (imagine now). Asked about 2020, Kasich told The Washington Post that he’s “never gotten involved in a race that [he] didn’t think [he] could win,” adding, “things are very volatile in this business and you just cannot predict what might change.” Such words hardly signal anything beyond extreme caution.

One would think, these persons and others who could take on Trump (for example, the very popular former Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean) would want to stand up for traditional Republican principles and positions (think about Senator Robert Taft, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, and of course, Abraham Lincoln). In sharp contrast, current Republican leaders almost never criticize Trump publically apart from a mild op-ed (Romney) or the occasional public comments (Whitman).

It gets worse. Apart from William Kristol, Trump’s arch-critic, there doesn’t seem to be any activity among Republican kingmakers to find a challenger or even consider mounting a third party accountability challenge from the political right.

There is someone, were he younger, who would take on Trump. He is former Republican Senator from Connecticut, Lowell Weicker. He was known in the Senate as a ferocious defender of the Constitution and was prominent during the Watergate hearings that exposed Richard Nixon.

Apart from elected officials, what about those cabinet secretaries and White House chief of staff, whom Trump praised to the skies, before he drove them out with a frenzy of ruthless epithets (“dumb as a rock,” etc.)? They know the insides of mad Trump’s White House, which would receive media attention.

At the least, Republicans who challenged Trump in the primaries would put Trump on the defensive and hold him more accountable.

Time is passing on the road to November 2020. There are countless Republicans who deeply believe that Trump is a disgrace to his office and a threat to the Republic, as well as to the future of the Republican Party. Who amongst them will stand up and be counted?

Is their moral courage totally AWOL?Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest books include: To the Ramparts: How Bush and Obama Paved the Way for the Trump Presidency, and Why It Isn’t Too Late to Reverse CourseHow the Rats Re-Formed the CongressBreaking Through Power: It’s easier than we think, and Animal Envy: A Fable