Saturday, January 11, 2020

Thoughts from John Harragin

Degan and Harragin occupying Wall Street, November 2011
I first met John Harragin about two-and-a-half years before the invention of dirt. We've been pals for damned-near fifty years and I don't suspect that status will be changing any time soon. I was pleasantly surprised this morning to pick up the local Chronicle to find this excellent piece in there by my old pal. It is a warning to humanity that we ignore to our own determent:
Humanity is approaching an environmental apocalypse. It is looking ever more likely that our survival depends on us changing our ways. It is time to declare a war on pollution.
This war must be waged like no other in history, because the enemies are the very same entities that typically rally to wage war on our behalf:
● Fossil fuel companies
● Energy production
● Chemical companies
● Industrialized agriculture
● The banking industry
● Transportation and shipping
● Surveillance state activity
● Military activity
How can we respond to this crisis when its causes lie in much of what we do as a society?
The biggest single carbon emitter and polluter on earth is the United States Military. Any reasonable response to the climate crisis will include massive changes to the way the military functions. But first one must understand the relationship between fossil fuels, the military, and the hoard of corporations and individuals that profit from the huge military budget.
The military consumes a vast amount of petroleum – but one of its major functions is to protect the flow of oil. The function of securing oil is the predominant reason why the military is so huge, with hundreds of bases installed around the world. Additionally, the manufacture and deployment of ships, aircraft and other vehicles as well as weaponry of all types consume a vast amount of fossil fuels. Much of this activity is distributed among many private military contractors. These companies don’t exist for the good of mankind, our environment, or the citizens of the United States. Their purpose is to generate profit.
Some of the industrialists behind military contracts have become extremely wealthy – now to the extent that they wield more financial power than anyone else. But like their companies, their purpose is to generate profit. With that growing wealth, these industrialists gained control of many businesses across sectors, including technology, chemical, media, agriculture, and energy production companies. Shortly after World War II, industrialists’ control of government and military activity had evolved to such an extent that Dwight Eisenhower devoted his final speech as president to warn society of this growing threat to the principles of our nation by what he referred to as the Military Industrial Complex.
The collective objective of the Military Industrial Complex is the perpetuation of its self. Of course, this is just a reflection of the individual industrialists working to secure and grow their own incomes. Nothing has been off limits toward achieving these goals. Media, individuals, politicians, and government have all been co-opted and are all regularly manipulated.
But now the world is recognizing climate destabilization as a threat that will invariably lead to humanity’s destruction if bold steps are not taken – particularly the minimization of fossil fuel usage.
But nearly all military activity relates to energy. It is totally intertwined with controlling various resources, particularly oil bearing resources and pertroleum's production. Then there is the obtaining and securing of shipping and pipeline routes, supporting sheikhs, overthrowing sheikhs...
This is why we have the huge military – to maintain and increase power of the petrodollar and world dependency on oil. Without that, the massive military presence – and thus the Military Industrial Complex, would shrink. To the industrialists – and thereby the complex – decreasing fossil fuel usage is unthinkable.
The military’s ongoing relationship with petroleum is proving to be a war on life itself. Unfortunately, it appears that the United States is going to win this one...


At 12:39 PM, Blogger Frances Ruth Harris said...

Excellent portrait of an enormous and vicious problem. Thanks, Tom!

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Just the Facts! said...

Racist liberals do not give enough money to Booker to keep him in the race. That just leaves the only person of color, Liz Warren, in the running.


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