Sustainability and Green Radical movements are both worldviews that recognize the environmental issues facing us today and the fact that humans are at the center of this negative impact on nature. What is abundant in Dryzek’s study of the different worldviews is that their blueprint for protecting the environment, represents the central value structure of each discourse. For example, the sustainability world view positions the environment at the feet of humans, while the Green Radical worldview does not. Sustainability as a solution is committed to the western, capitalist principles of development at all costs, but wants to ‘sustain’ the environment by promoting a cause that can achieve it all. Green Radicalists see capitalism and its ideals of incessant consumption and production as a problem that can only be fixed by overthrowing the system itself. It becomes a question of whether we work with the system or destroy it to build our own.
The sustainability worldview is broken into sustainable development and ecological modernization. While both intentionally fit the neoliberal framework, focusing on progress and economic development, they are also attempting to change the systems of production so that we can ‘have it all’. Moreover, sustainable development revolves around the idea that we can still grow if we solve environmental issues in a multifaced approach, much like democracy, that promotes many values in a competitive and cooperative manner. The problem with this is twofold. We must first make sustainable resources desirable to corporate interests, by intitally making them economically more efficient and then finding a way to incorporate the oil and automobile industry in this transition seeing as they have an immense amount of political power. This effort was made clear by Obama where he presents the efficient models of clean energy and how they were used to reduce emissions throughout his presidency (Obama, 2017). Then, even if we can produce less, emit less, and become more sustainable, because of our consumer habits inherent in a capitalist styled economy, we will continue to harm the earth when consuming what developing countries are producing.
This multifaced attempt to promote sustainable economic growth through international and grassroots organization, while de-emphasizing national government is encouraging in that it decentralizes power, reducing the strength and validity behind realist political thought while promoting traditional liberal political theory. The fact that this discourse incorporates decentralization makes it better than ecological modernization by giving people more access and focused less on experts and elites setting up the so called sustainable economy. I believe this would be beneficial to many international issues of power facing us today by moving from a zero sum to a positive sum foreign policy. From an environmental perspective, however, sustainable development still submits to market capitalism and its relentless need for growth and therefore will not be successful.
Though this model of sustainable development promotes the notion of having it all, scientific evidence tells us this may not be possible. Scientific reports from the IPCC show that the threat of an environmental catastrophe is eminent. Continued growth means more emissions, meaning higher global temperatures, rising sea levels, increases in the number of natural disasters, huge displacements of refugees and economic ruin. Even if we were to turn to a sustainable economy, this would take time that we may not have. The transition to sustainable resources such as solar or wind would require continued reliance on emissions simply just for infrastructure development and implementation. To tackle the environmental problems facing the globe, an approach along the lines of green radicalism seems more prepared. Green radicalism is able to detach from capitalist imprisonment through a polycentric approach. While Green Radicalism as a worldview encompasses the discourse of Green Consciousness and Green Politics, together, they may be best fit to tackle the dilemma of protecting the environment while overthrowing and rebuilding the political and cultural structures that I believe are most fit for society.
Through the implementation of what Dryzek calls Eco-theology (though I will call it Eco-spirituality) and bioregionalism, a greater appreciation and connection can be made between humans and nature, molding our cultural identity to one that coincides with the environment rather than battling it. On a political front, green politics can transform institutions from the inside out, promoting a decentralized style of governance rather than government, while grassroots organizing can mobilize from the ground up through what may look like “radicalized democratic pragmatism”. (Dryzek, 229) This democratic mobilization can barrow from activist, grassroots agendas laid out by democratic pragmatists such as: alternative dispute resolution, policy dialogue, citizens’ juries, and town meetings. Furthermore, the implementation of worker cooperatives, where employees own and democratically make decisions about the company’s future would help to derail capitalism at its core through infusing corporate markets with more efficient, better run businesses for the people. These worker coops have proven to increase the happiness of workers, increase the efficiency by which they work, and increase the overall productivity of the business. This is simply because the people are given the power to take control of their destiny, because it is theirs and not a wealthy elitist CEO’s business. If you change the value structure in societal culture, then mobilize on the ground to support political action within these capitalist market economies that are headed by corporate interest, the liberal capitalist political economy can be uprooted and overthrown. From there, local initiative and community action could build a greener socialist alternative that incorporates the principles of self-governance.
In light of the recent election, it becomes abundantly clear that the election was not won by the current president-elect, but lost by the over qualified, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The reasons are many and have been the talking points for political scientists across the world. Before moving to the future of the Democratic party, it is important to address one claim made across many academic fields. That the polls were wrong. The polls operated well within the margin of error across the board, and the reason many were so surprised by the results were because of the NYT and Five Thirty Eight chance of winning predictions that were made leading up to the election. The NYT model had HRC at 85% while 538 had her around 75% chance of winning. These, however, do not show what polls do. They incorporate aspects like the current economy, approval rating of the standing president, and political experts imposing their opinion to create these predictions rather than numbers reflected by data.
In terms of the future, the Democratic party is facing an uphill battle if it plans on sticking to its establishment mindset that was successful in recent decades. Bernie said it throughout the primaries, and still to this day, that it is imperative we shift the focus of the Democratic party away from its elitist foundation. The future of politics revolves around this notion of income inequality. Whichever party is able to solve it will be the dominant party for decades to come. It will now be the job of the Democratic party to harness these votes by severing the ties to corporate wealth, wall street, billionaire interests and devoting it to Economic Populism in order to represent the masses while eroding the divisive qualities that have driven a wedge between numerous minority groups. In Sander's words, it is time for the Democratic party to represent the working class. This is not only in the best interest of the people who make up the 99% but also the interest of the Democratic party. With progressives such as Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, Harry Reid, and Robert Reich, we can move the party left. That being said, none of this will happen without the continued energy of protest and resistance to politics that are tied to money, blinded by corporate media, and divide the peoples that are in a common struggle. Progressives across the board: LGBTQ, Environmentalists, Racial Minorities, and Women must all take on each other's issues to strengthen and mend the division within the progressive left as Amol Mehra pointed out in Progressives, Unite. Lets use the Democratic party as our vehicle for justice across the board because we are inherently equal and if anyone deserves any right then we all deserve every one of our rights. Economic populism will be the uniting political shift that allows diverse groups to pull in the same direction and fight for one another.
In reading a piece in the Council of Foreign Relations and from the Boston Globe on terror today, one thing stuck out to me, the idea of mundane terrorism. This type of terrorism defined in the article as mundane is the home-grown inspired type of terror. This makes it more difficult for law enforcement to detect and prevent. When assessing mundane terrorism, it is important to understand that terrorist cells are most often social groups that attract societies social outcasts. So when looking at home-grown inspired terrorism and how to prevent it, i think we can see our immigration plans directly affecting terrorists cells around the world. In other words, the closer we are to countries in the middle east that occupy many of the terrorist groups, the closer we will be to their political leaders and their way of life. This will directly correlate to our ability to understand and prevent mundane terrorism growing in countries in the middle east. The solution then resides in creating a more interconnected and diplomatically effective world for the US to be apart of. One expedient way to create better diplomatic, political and social ties with countries is through creating a progressive immigration plan where we take more refugees and allow an easier path to citizenship.
A recent article in the Economy section of The New York Times took a look at the case for larger and smaller governments. In his argument, which is well drawn out and explains both sides, the author debunks the typical conservative argument and talks about the difference between the consumption tax and the income tax. The tax system in the US is an income tax where a certain percentage of each persons income is given to the government in order to pay for public things we all benefit form. The consumption tax is based off of what consumers buy. The consumption tax is there for applied to what a person buys, so the more you consume, the more you are taxed.
Both systems can be progressive or regressive depending on how they are set up, however, the consumption tax was inherently a conservative idea. It was originally conservative because in its rudimentary form it targets the poor and the rich equally. For example, if you put a consumption tax on all cars, then you are taking the same from low-income individuals as you would from high-income individuals. Therefore a policy is made progressive when it is FAIR. That is, taking more from the wealthy because they have more. My proposal is the implementation of a progressive consumption tax alongside our curernt income tax.
A progressive consumption tax is tricky because it would not be beneficial to tax basic needs such as food, housing, or even clothes. In order to make the consumption tax progressive it would look to target accessories that are only consumed by the welathiest of individuals. For instance, you would not add consumption taxes to the entire automobile industry, but adding heavy consumption taxes to Ferraris. If you were to include this with our current income tax system we would begin to see more means for redistrubtion to low income individuals. We would begin to see a taxation system that is able to more proportionately target the 1% in ways that are not achieved through he current income tax system in the US.
The argument for much needed reform surrounding income inequality in the US, as well as the rest of the world, is stronger than ever. With 1% of people in the world having 35.6% of all of the private wealth, it is abundantly clear that there is a growing dilemma, and many people have proposed solutions. This is all well and good in telling us what we can do to curb inequality and what works best, but solely answering the questions of what and how, does not capture the entire picture.
Why should we be concerned with battling the rise of income inequality? Why becomes ones kryptonite in an argument for the disadvantaged in the world. This is because we are often only able to fall back on the moral argument. The argument that says that its just not right. That people don't deserve to live in poverty, that people deserve enough food on the table and a house over their head.
Unfortunately, in politics, the moral or ethical argument does not always carry the weight it should. Now one can complain about this, or one can find the answer to why. Why should the rich and the poor, the well off and the disadvantaged, strive for more income equality?
On the contrary to popular thought, more equal societies tend to generate better lives. Depression rates are higher among developed countries, such as the U.S. The developed world uproots the very reality from which we came. Society was founded off of community, off of a TRIBE. The Native Americans understood that together we are stronger than any one could ever be alone. The Native Americans grasped the true nature of what it means to be vulnerable, to depend on others, and the strength that living like this creates. The developed world has created a bourgeoisie where white picket fences part the very ground we live on, isolating us from our neighbors, our community. The rich and the well off do not need other people because there is nothing too much for them to handle. In other words, when everything is laid in front of you, no collective community effort is needed to deal with adversity. The developed world does not need a tribe. In the end, this alienates them from the rest of society and raises depression rates, creates a dysfunctional society, and social exclusion. Do you think it is a coincidence that the increased gap in income inequality positively correlates to the rise in terrorist activity, and possibly the most powerful terrorist cell we have yet to see in ISIS? This increase in terrorist participation is because society continues to socially exclude people from society. Or how about the fact that cop killings look like the ones from Compton that were first televised? Cops used to patrol and protect their neighbor hoods. Now the destroy and ravage our communities. What about the inflamed racism in the U.S, deemed as backlash against the Obama administration? The division in this country due to the growing disparity in income inequality is destroying and dividing our social beings and the social structures we understand as community and society. This growing gap is negatively affecting everyone rich and poor, because it is eroding our TRIBE.
Addressing income inequality then becomes about mental health and social adhesion to create a better, happier and safer place to live in. It is not just morally right, but beneficial to everyone. The rich, the poor and everyone in between.
Hillary Clinton. A women, a mother, a wife, a politician, a fighter. So many qualities define a women who has been in the trenches fighting for equality, making grass root change from before she met Bill and is now running for president to continue her movement. Her diligent, incremental, pragmatic effects on the world, on this country haven't gone unnoticed. In fact, the Republican's incessant attacks on her only show the envy and fear have for her, women that can create so much change. Her efforts have been blindsided by what is becoming quite the uphill battle with all the attacks she is facing. So this piece is to defend her. To defend a women who's progressive acts are undeniable.
It all begins with Benghazi. We can start out here by explaining that Republican house majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, has come out and said that the republican party directly created a committee to take down Hillary by inflating Benghazi rumors and creating ongoing investigations. What began as original discontent with Obama as president and the republican's belief that he is soft when it comes to foreign policy has lead to an attack on Clinton that has been and will continue to be proven wrong.
Next, the email scandal was derived from the Benghazi attacks to pull Hillary down in the media. It is important to understand that John Kerry is actually the first Secretary of State to NOT have a private email used for political matters. So why expose all of Hillary's emails? Because they want to take her down. By they I mean the republican party and the elites that the Bernie or Bust groups seem to think she is cuddled up tight with. Yes Hillary was not as careful as she should have been, yes she has put herself in a situation where she can be attacked, but by no means is she corrupt.
Lastly, the DNC wikileaks were not her fault. She already saw to it that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was released from the convention and that she would step down heading the DNC, and there is nothing showing her looking for help in the nomination process or abusing the system.
Hillary has an unprecedented track record, standing up for children by: being a Staff attorney for Children's Defense Fund, Co-founding Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and led a task force that reformed Arkansas's education system.
She improved healthcare in here years by: being Instrumental in the passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, Promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses, Successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health, and Worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War (now recognized as Gulf War Syndrome)
Furthermore, she built a political resume: Served on five Senate committees:
-Committee on Budget (2001–2002)
-Committee on Armed Services (2003–2009)
-Committee on Environment and Public Works (2001–2009)
-Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (2001–2009)
-Special Committee on Aging.
It is clear that Hillary has been a grass roots activists. So it comes down to the resume behind a lifetime dedicated towards bettering the world, and the task forces generated by the republican party to halt her efforts. What will you choose?
Make sure you take part in the poll below!
In a text message on Friday afternoon, Hillary announced Tim Kaine as VP for the White House. Looks like those who voted in the latest poles were wrong!
1. What should we look for in a VP pick?
2. What does this VP pick reflect in Hillary and her Campaign?
3. What will happen next with Warren and Sanders?
1. Vice Presidents are often inconsequential when it comes to having an actual impact. It wasn't until Joe Biden that the VP actually had much of an impact on the president and his decision making. Typically, VPs are used for the votes they would generates in swing states or in other ways. So, in assessing a VP choice we should assess where they are from, their race, and their views. Overall determining what these contribute to the nominee.
2. This is a safe VP pick for Hillary Clinton. In other words, Tim Kaine reflects Clintons desire for a solid running mate with extensive experience in both domestic and foreign affairs, as well as a successful political career after serving as mayor and governor of Virginia, which most importantly, is a key state in coming election that will help Clinton's chances. On paper, Kaine is great! However, he doesn't generate any specific buzz, exciting progressive democrats or bring in more minority votes like picking Tom Perez or Julian Castro might. That being said, this is a smart and calculated move by Hillary for two reasons: She wants to add security and trust to her ticket (something that has hurt her along the road to the white house), and she wants to use the powerful capabilities of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in other ways.
3. Sanders and Warren's political drive, popularity, and progressive intentions will be better served in other ways. Warren will remain in the Senate so that she can work up to the Senate committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs where she has more control over legislation being passed, while Sanders will be appointed secretary of labor.
What do you think? Leave a comment below or to the right and make sure to vote in the most recent poll on the VP pick.
Above is an article looking at a discussion with Robert Greenstein and his thoughts on poverty in the US. Though the entire article is beneficial, i took a couple things away that i believe are tremendously important.
Income inequality is a disease that plagues the US. Proven, immediate remedies include raising the minimum wage and progressive taxation of the wealthy, while long term solutions includes restructuring education (Peterson, 2016). I further explanations and literature backing these arguments in my paper attached below. That being said, the article above reaches new depths, providing solutions to poverty and the growing gap in inequality within the US.
First, Universal Child Allowances. This would give money to parents who have children below the poverty threshold. I am proud to say, as a Colorado Native, that Michael Bennett (D-CO) has proposed a bill that would give many families with children close to $1,000. This acts as a sort of subsidy for families in need.
Second, something discussed by Robert Greenstein is addressing housing unaffordability. This was brought to my attention by my Grandpa after reading my inequality paper, Richard Peterson (an individual who has fought poverty and discrimination in the housing industry through real estate and currently addressing similar issues through encouraging and creating more employee owned companies). This is an important idea that is often overlooked, after-all, the way to riches is through the ownership of property. Greensteins solution for unafordable housing includes a system that adds more section 8 rental vouchers, and expands the low-income housing tax credit. While these are proposals for the future that are important, he also mentions current steps being taken by progressive leaders today, including President Obama's proposal to put $11 billion dollars towards programs to end family homelessness by 2020.
What becomes clear in this piece is that we are taking measures to close the gap between the rich and the poor, to bring back the middle class, and to end poverty. But we must, we can, and we will do more.
Whether you still #FeelTheBern or find yourself #WithHer, yesterday the healing process began between the two candidates as they take their progressive platforms to Philly in a final push for the White house. There is no doubting the importance of Sanders and his endorsement of Hillary, however, it is equally important that supporters of the two sides begin to reconcile as well. Understand that we can be united by blue and that even though Trump and other republicans will look to pit us against each other, we must be diligent in mending bridges so we can create progressive policies that represent those in need. We are in a phenomenal place as liberals. With 7 senate seats up for grabs we could see one of the biggest liberal movements we have seen in a long time after finding back to back democratic leaderships in the White House as well.