Friday, August 20
Monkeywrench Hope: An Interview with Jeffrey St. Clair
Countepunch.com, August 20, 2004
Joshua Frank: Jeff, thanks for agreeing to this interview. So many progressives I've talked to, who admit John Kerry offers no alternative to the Bush Administration on almost every issue -- often justify their support for the Kerry ticket by saying that there is at least a stark difference between Bush and Kerry on the environmental front. They point out such things as Bush's disregard for science, his horrible forest plan, his roll-back of Bill Clinton's roadless rule -- while they see Kerry as an environmental crusader who has received ringing endorsements from all the major environmental groups. Having covered environmental politics since the early 1990s, how do you respond to this rationale? Do you agree that indeed there are major differences between Bush and Kerry regarding the environment?
Jeffrey St. Clair: Let's get some things straight up front. The environmental movement bears very little relationship to the "major environmental groups." The big groups, aka Gang Green, function politically as little more than green front for the Democratic Party. Of course, they inflate Kerry as an environmental crusader. They would say, and indeed have said, the same thing about any Democratic nominee. That's their job. They do it very well, indeed.
They should, because the Beltway Greens aren't really environmentalists any more in the way we used to think of enviros 15 or 20 years ago.
These aren't activists, but lawyers and lobbyists, mainly from Ivy League schools, overwhelmingly white and liberal, who could (and perhaps will) just as easily be lobbying on health care, abortion rights, trade policy. They come packing with a PhD in deal making. There's no driving commitment to wilderness or burning rage about cancer alley or passionate concern about the fate of the grizzly. It's all very congenial, nicely compensated, prefabricated and totally uninspired. [... more]