Tar Sands for the Week (March 6, 2015).

Well, the dog and pony show continued last week. Once Obama’s veto came through the Democrats all but assured that well funded organizations within North America will maintain a pointless loyalty to the now lame duck President– and assure that many will stay within the sphere of the structures of capital yet again. Make no mistake– the organizing, mainly on the ground members of the various coalitions throughout the US that answered some level of the call for climate action– is what saw the end of this particular bill. But it is a rather obvious ploy by an Obama administration that has marched headlong into a fossil fuelled nightmare of accelerating climate change. After a combination of other pipelines, sections of the KXL itself and railcars– along with fracking tight oil, new permits for oil shale (!!) as well as tar sands in Utah & Colorado and more, a pointless veto that shores up “progressive” non-street cred could be issued.

And when was this done? When oil has collapsed, in large part due to a combination of imperial venture and the onset of peak oil. The peak oil part may seem counter intuitive– but, in fact, the role is fairly clear. There simply isn’t the money to pay for the remaining ultra expensive and ultra dirty oil, so everything is contracting at a rapid pace on a temporary basis. For the time being, the dirty and expensive tar sands are on a slow down. Investors are buying up futures in the same industry; they realie a slow down and a pause is not a reversal or a shut down.

But does the climate movement? The victories are all as temporary as the current crash; the price is being held down, for the time being, in order to undermine three major and multiple minor energy producing states– Russia, Venezuela and Iran. Imperialism, in the long run, seeks to control even more of the energy based black blood of the global economy– and to burn it in perpetuity. A temporary price drop is just that– and what we are truly dealing with after the black goo settles may be a worse prognosis for resistance than before. Once again, the fact that climate justice is a challenge not to the climate emissions of nation states, but to the ruling, oil and blood soaked oligarchy must be centralized in our view of current events.

Perhaps more directly of concern to Canadian located resistance is the “anti-terror” bill that is sowing terror through the hearts and minds of nearly all decent people who live under the authority of Ottawa. And while it is true that Harper’s power grab is a naked, obvious lust for draconian authority– indeed, anyone who has been paying attention the last several years noticed this fascistic trait and set of instincts in the Conservatives long ago, especially Herr Harper. Yet this is not just his ideological dream come true. This is entirely rational. Why?

The current era is marked by climate change in terms of human survival, but it is marked by peak oil in terms of economic struggles. And the darkest plots are concocted to maintain power for this current crop of power barons. The economic crashes are going to come more often, and in closer proximity to the last one. Each one will strip more away from the social fabric of what has been gained over the last century plus by working class people and all who toil to survive outside of the ruling circles of power. And resistance will become more the norm, and escalate– not because it’s “sexy” but because survival is more important than obeying the law.

Resistance of all forms must be made illegal, and those who are able to be targeted will be forthwith. Harper is from the oil patch. They understand peak oil better than the rest of us. That is why they want to have such unmitigated police and snooping power. To protect oil and gas. To prevent resistance to fracking, tar sands, pipelines, refineries, tankers and more. They cannot have the power they have struggled their whole lives without the fossil fuel blood that runs the economy. These laws are to protect that. If there were no problems in the Middle East, they would be manufactured. In point of fact, they already are being so.

Israel has been attempting for much of the last decade to simply starve and destroy any form of Palestinian resistance in Gaza. It has nothing to do with “fighting terror” and never has, but the theft of offshore gas from the legal government of the Gaza Strip is kept quiet. After the most recent moves to try and illegally hi-jack Gaza’s gas and illegally hand over a tiny percentage of the revenue to the PA is now being helped by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Amman, we are now told, will be a major purchaser of gas that has effectively been expropriated from Gaza. This economic strangulation is just as clearly a dagger aimed at Palestinian self-determination as Egypt closing the tunnels to the Sinai and increasing the suffering of the outdoor prison holding multiple generations of refugees.

But, given all of these acts, what of the reprieve that has been issued to the Fuel Quality Directive? Should we not celebrate as climate activists? Yes and no. To quote from the Guardian:

“Asked by the Guardian whether that meant the FQD would continue after 2020, the EU’s vice president for energy union, Maroš Šefčovič, said: “My first reaction is yes. We just have to adjust it to all the lessons learned from biofuels, and all the [other] lessons learned from the previous time.”

It’s high time to link the whole picture together, and note that capitalism abhors a vacuum more than nature, if there is to be a profit within that nothingness. Biofuels and more from North America– whole forest areas clearcuts to create pellets, ship them to the west coast, ship them around the continent through the Panama Canal, and then up to Europe to burn in expensively retrofitted coal plants in order to keep the lights on at 3am in the clubs of Paris, Brussels and London. This is the plan that the minister is suggesting is a viable alternative. Meanwhile, the political capital of biofuels and the destruction of the atmosphere in a different manner that the dead will not quantify has risen yet again.

The global economic order is the disease; Attempts at surviving the climate catastrophe that is wrapped around a peak oil time stamp is faltering and is moving the pong ball to the other side of the screen. Until resistance takes on the scope of the problem– systemic, cross society, cross alliance and global– the continuation of the spike, collapse and societal dismantling future will hold. Our collective ability to face the scale of our struggle– beyond the borders of nation-states, and beyond the bounds of electoral politics– will set the scope of our ability to survive the continuing waves of the crisis as they crash more heavily. No dikes can be built to withstand a tidal wave of popular discontent that is self-actualized. The possible future will be made within the realm of physics– our conscious, collective choice will determine whether it is a human and humane society that emerges.