Is 2020 a Rerun of 1939 or Something Much Darker?
Sitting here in the relative peace and safety of my Canadian home, I feel a profound sense of unease and dread. It's not just the pandemic or the increasing environmental catastrophes. It's not only the corporate takeover of all public institutions or the obscene inequality of wealth. It's not just the fact that a fascist government controls the most powerful weapons of war ever devised.
Each of these would be more than enough individually to contribute to many sleepless nights, but it's the convergence that makes all of these crises feel unbearable. As we tenuously cling to some sort of normalcy, I believe that if we are to be honest with ourselves, we must admit that normalcy as we have known it will probably never return.
In 1939, my 15 year old father was living the normal life of a farm boy in Poland. He was a good student and had dreams of becoming a veterinarian. The harvest that summer had been bountiful and the family was assured of enough to get them through the coming winter. The school year was about to begin and my father was eager to return to his studies.
Working to bring in the harvest in the warm September sun along with his father, they heard a horrendous cacophony as the skies above their little farm darkened with Nazi Stukas. In that one moment, my father's life was forever changed. In an instant, he became a homeless refugee on the run from Nazi storm troopers. Captured and placed in a concentration camp, that 15 year old boy witnessed atrocities that no human should ever be exposed to. Due to his bravery and ingenuity, he managed to escape the camp and eventually joined the British forces. His regiment was comprised of Polish refugees who were the first Allied forces to take the Nazi stronghold of Monte Cassino in Italy.
|By McConville (Sgt), No 2 Army Film; Photographic Unit
The despair that I'm feeling watching the rise of fascism around the world is deeply personal to me. To witness America falling into a fascist dictatorship is the stuff of nightmares. Yet here we are, watching history repeat itself complete with the accompanying denial by the average citizen. Seeing the impotence of the octogenarian opposition while government institutions have been methodically dismantled and replaced by Trump sycophants is more than a little disheartening. Insane conspiracy theories like Q proliferate across the internet while actual crimes against democracy are not only tolerated, but encouraged.
The chaos is deliberate. There is credible evidence that much of the arson and looting at BLM protests was instigated by right wing agitators. This plays right into the hands of a fascist dictator posing as a "law and order" savior. Are we as a planet about to descend into a dark age that dwarfs the horrors of the Second World War? All of the indicators point to yes.
I have been labeled an alarmist since I first saw a Trump rally in 2015. What has occurred in the ensuing years has done nothing to dispel my fear. It has only served to confirm them. I desperately want to be proven wrong. Without massive societal changes, we will never return to "normal" again. The best way that I can honor my father's memory is to fight fascism with every fiber of my being and to encourage others to take up the struggle. The future of humanity may well depend on it.
BIO: Vegematic is a YouTuber with an eclectic following of broad-minded people who enjoy hearing commentary on life in this century from a Canadian perspective. He's also an excellent artist. Check out his videos on his channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2vzbyWki1kWC6SAzeqw_Iw.
Why are the Democrats praying for the speedy recovery of a fascist dictator? https://theintercept.com/2020/10/04/why-are-democrats-praying-for-the-speedy-recover-of-a-fascist-dictator/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
Ohio Community Organizer
BREAKING: Court Breathes New Life into Lake Erie Bill of Rights Legal Fight
Imperiled Lake Erie must be protected. Lake Erie Bill of Rights lives to fight another day, but still faces obstacles.
TOLEDO, OH: Yesterday, an Ohio court of appeals reversed a previous trial court order, ruling residents suing to enforce the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) and hold the State of Ohio accountable for its failure to protect Lake Erie have stated a legitimate claim. The court also suggested the State of Ohio has been hypocritical and may not be fulfilling its obligations toward Lake Erie and her people. The state argues it is protecting Lake Erie—which is the people of Toledo’s drinking water supply—but instead is busy trying to slow down the people of Toledo from advancing historic Rights of Nature protections for the imperiled lake.
“The state keeps claiming it has the sole power to protect Lake Erie, then why don’t they protect it already? The people have no illusions that the courts or this ruling will save them or the lake. Lake Erie turns green and poisonous with toxic algae year after year and the state not only does nothing, it protects the polluters and fights the people who are attempting to protect the lake,” says CELDF Ohio Organizer Tish O’Dell. “This ruling at least validates the people’s instinct to keep fighting for the lake and their community any way they can. We will fight however we can, wherever we can.”
Yesterday’s ruling is “vindication of what we have been saying, and what has been obvious to anyone who lives near the lake: The state has abandoned its duty to defend the public good in favor of selling out to agricultural lobbyists and factory farms, with predictably disastrous results,” says Bryan Twitchell, one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs.
LEBOR joins other local Rights of Nature laws in the United States, including in Grant Township, Pennsylvania and Lincoln County, Oregon that have made inroads into the legal system. The court said yesterday that the state’s argument “appears opposite” to one it argued in a federal case against LEBOR.
"While it helps to claim a victory in court, that is not the only way we build a movement,” says Markie Miller, a petitioner for LEBOR and organizer with Toledoans for Safe Water. “Laws should reflect our ethics, not guide them. We can't throw these debates to the courts.”
The ruling follows August oral arguments about the Rights of Nature lawsuit. “A century from now, if our species survives, people will undoubtedly wonder how we could possibly have defined Lake Erie, a necessity for survival, as mere property to be exploited instead of a living and life-giving body with an inherent right to be healthy,” said plaintiff Mike Ferner at that hearing.
CELDF celebrates the people of Toledo. Their fight to protect Lake Erie, their lifeblood, has been an uphill battle from the start. They were the underdogs to get on the ballot, during the campaign to pass the law, and now in the courts. They keep showing others what it takes to protect what you love.
About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is building a movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights – building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international level.
###From Green Peace:
Earlier in the month, I woke up to my Facebook account blocked. I couldn’t access anything and, as a result, I couldn’t do my job to amplify your important calls for a more just and green world! In fact, all of Greenpeace USA’s online staff couldn’t access their Facebook accounts, along with frontline Wet’suwet’en Indigenous leaders, grassroots land defenders, and hundreds more climate activists organizing against the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Facebook claimed that a #ShutDownKKR online day of action we co-hosted back in May — targeting KKR & Co., a major funder of the Coastal GasLink pipeline — violated their terms of service. The accounts have been unblocked and the social media giant apologized, but they still haven’t sent the specific details about what happened.
Wet’suwet’en leaders who oppose the pipeline continually face repressive tactics from multi-national bullies like Facebook. With construction looming, we need to be as loud as ever to make sure the Coastal GasLink pipeline never gets built by pushing its biggest investor — KKR & Co. — to pull out of their agreement.
The Coastal GasLink pipeline is TC Energy's latest pipeline project. It would pump fracked gas over 420 miles from northern Canada to the west coast of Canada where it would cross Wet’suwet’en territory without consent from the hereditary chiefs, before being exported to Asia.
Now is not the time to slow down — we need to ramp up.
Pipeline workers and militarized police officers are flooding into Wet’suwet’en territories, putting communities at even more risk for COVID-19. These “man camps” house hundreds of workers in tight quarters, and many members of the community are terrified that they will become breeding grounds for violence against Indigenous women and two-spirit people.
The Coastal GasLink pipeline is putting Indigenous communities at severe risk, and KKR & Co. is set to make a lot of money.
KKR & Co. must be held accountable for ignoring the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs demands to stop construction, putting the Wet’suwet’en land and water at risk, endangering Indigenous women and two spirit people by building man camps along the route, and fueling the climate crisis.
Not only are we taking our action online all week, grassroots activists from the Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Team, Seeding Sovereignty, and Rising Tide North America projected images onto the KKR building in NYC and sent a plane over the whole city with this message — Defund Coastal GasLink #ShutDownKKR!
Will you join the #ShutDownKKR online week of action right now?
Facebook’s banning of the Wet’suwet’en solidarity movement was absurd, and they’ve been largely unaccountable when it comes to telling us why it happened. The tech giant already has a massive disinformation crisis where climate deniers run rampant. It really begs the question of what’s next.
We need to flex our power and stop billionaire oil CEOs, industry lobbyists, tech giants, and private equity firms who want to push through projects and platforms that deeply affect real people no matter the cost.
There is no climate justice without Indigenous sovereignty,
Vanessa Butterworth, Greenpeace USA
A settler originally from Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation territory in Canada1
PS: Want to directly support the Wet’suwet’en? Here’s the #WetsuwetenStrong 2020 supporter toolkit straight from the hereditary chiefs.
 Read about the importance of using land acknowledgements here: https://native-land.ca