There’s nothing like a good disaster to teach us about who our friends are in life. Think on your own life a little bit– there are moments where things were moving along very well, and you were surrounded by people who appeared to want to walk the road of life with you. Then you had a giant tragedy, a challenge, some major crossroads hit. Perhaps it was an illness, or a sick relative, loss of employment or another trying, similar situation.
The people in your life scattered themselves into two separate groups: Those who could not handle or chose not to be around during the immense struggles you and/or your family were facing, and those who stood with you more than ever. The first group of people are perhaps more common, but it is the second group of people that we cannot live without. They are the ones who have truly embraced friendship and do not put a price nor conditions upon their love– and their solidarity.
2 Percent. It’s not the milk, but a percentage of the Canadian economy reliant upon tar sands production. For the Harper Government it’s a much larger number, because the Harperites– a Frankenstein’s monster emerging from years of the Ontario-centric Federal Liberal Party and major subsidies of the tar sands production– are a financially oil and gas grouping from southern Alberta.
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.
There are so very many reasons to go “Beyond Keystone” in thinking about resistance to climate change or even just tar sands alone. Several of the “not so famous” pipelines have received mention here or there: Flanagan South, for example, has nearly the same ability to facilitate tar sands growth as does KXL. The Gulf Coast Pipeline, now operational, works in conjunction with the original Keystone pipeline and the southern leg of KXL to take bitumen to the Gulf Coast. The question is no longer if bitumen will flow to the Gulf Coast through Keystone XL, it is only a question of volume.
The story of Neil Young and his advocacy on behalf of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s challenge to tar sands supremacy has garnered a lot of attention, and in itself this must be seen as a good thing. To have an entertainer of his caliber take on the Gigaproject can only bring an overall rise in attention to the suffering caused by tar sands. As but one of a myriad of people who have enjoyed his music, this deserves thanks. I just hope that this part of what Young is saying does not get going as a regular part of tar sands resistance:
“It’s all marketing. It’s all big money. This oil is all going to China. It’s not for Canada. It’s not for the United States.” Yikes. Well… then Young goes on to say: “It’s not ours – it belongs to the oil companies, and Canada’s government is behind making this happen. It’s truly a disaster.” And it seems clear to me that his focus is on the tyranny of tar sands development and the decimation of self-determination at the hands of the oil companies. But I still think it needed to point out that the oil is not going heavily to China, there is no yellow peril threat to Canada, and that the US already gets the bulk of Canadian oil.
May 07, 2013
A Qualitative Jump Down a Black Hole
Just the Beginning of Canada’s Filthy Tar Sands
The breakneck pace of tar sands development in Canada is well known; it is the sheer size of the multiple mines, in-situ plants, upgraders, pipelines, rail lines, refineries and more across all of North America that earned the nickname “the Gigaproject.” Now, what if we took the most destructive aspects of tar sands mining, combined that with the worst parts of in-situ, and put them together into a project that was even worse than any tar sands development for the climate?