Tar Sands for the week (April 22, 2014)

One of the major ways in which social control is manifested most often in today’s decaying North American society is through marketing of supposed activist campaigns. Taking on the appearance of grassroots organizing, the centralized, top down nature of the “campaign” will seek to do two main functions: Usurp the role of the grassroots organizing that had previously taken place, and create and act out a narrative.

Much has been said of the first previously, but the second is perhaps more insidious. The recent example of– I’ve written this often enough I’m thinking it’s time to cut and paste– the Keystone XL being punted down the field by the Obama administration is a case in point. Capital has done what capital is wont to do; Centralized campaigning under a public relations exercise led by middle class climate scientist Bill McKibben publicly has declared that Keystone XL is a make or break point for the climate in the US.

The team that has formed the relations around KXL have also marketed Barack Obama. There is a reason not hard to figure out that the 350.org campaigning has stalled and stuck in the mud. “Yes we can” is now “Yes we can wait, thank you.”

The campaign around tar sands has been partially centralized in a similar fashion north of the border. The biggest danger is all of this is the deliberate focus on Enbridge Gateway, to the detriment of all other work.

The newly formed narrative contains within it the continued cynical approach to the population of spectators to the grander narrative. The narrative has slowly been pushed towards a place that has already declared that the pipeline across the GBR full of tar sands would be the “hill to die on,” yet the silence on the Pacific Trails Pipeline– among many– has unforeseen consequences.

The fracked gas line would traverse the mountain ranges of Wet’suwet’en territory on the same route as Enbridge. This is not news– but the Gateway Pipeline is now created in the public mind as the means to blocking tar sands, fighting back against climate change and restoring some level of democratic accountability. But where is the democracy in shunting aside fracking, endorsing the privatization of river systems for “green energy,” including participation in the “Green energy taskforce” of the Campbell government that ultimately endorsed the creation of the “Site C” dam?

The narrative now has been not completely successful. This, however, opens up to an “all or nothing” level of campaigning, coordinated publicly by many of the listed members of the taskforce that set this in motion in many ways, including DSF’s James Hoggan who is also moonlighting as a consultant for Shell oil.

Capital has already heavily invested in the single struggle against Enbridge Gateway. This has included shunning both community and indigenous struggles that continued to resist fracking and all forms of fossil fuel development. By refusing to oppose the fracking industry as it takes over northeastern British Columbia, and this ceding of the struggle has taken place also in the site C il fait accomplis approach, the Gateway positional war is stronger for the industry that owns the current premier.

The rationale behind this is one of decimating the real public interest. Instead of an eye to multiple struggles against industrial capital and development, we have competing narratives of how to “manage” it “in the real world.” The stronger narrative is that the two opposing views are how to apply market principles to “balance” the needs of industry and the requirement of “modern society” to parcel off the land, people, air, water and food as resources, labour resources, wind resources, energy and consumption resources, and food sources. All given their bar code and “justified” within a twisted set of values that knows no real world justification.

Capital twists and distorts all that it touches. Resistance is no different. In the allotment of a narrative, when capital sets the blueprint, “we” are able to only set places within the foundation of market values. Among the big Big Green people who have set much of our current “green” talking points there is a consensus: protest the economy first, then try to save all life as we know it. They are trying to save capitalism from itself.

If there is to be survival, we must save ecological, grassroots, anti-colonial and climate justice struggle from those who wish to protect the interests of capital even within the resistance to it. First we must establish the real narrative. The alliance of those who are rendered the cost of business under industrial capitalism against those who wish to profit from oil, gas and the selling of the earth.