It was a hard-fought and, as a result, very sweet victory Tuesday over Joe Manchin, coal baron, fossil fuel profiteer and sick, unapologetic corporatist. It was a huge victory against powerful enemies of the planet and its people.
The fact that it was ultimately sunk by the Republicans after about 85 House and Senate Democrats, under strong grassroots pressure from hundreds and hundreds of groups, came out publicly against it is a sign of how isolated and defeated Manchin is, right now. He’ll make every effort to make a comeback, and he can’t be counted out, but right now he’s down on the mat.
Our job is to make it very difficult for him and the fossil fuel industry he represents to recover from this defeat. He’s already made it clear in his defeat statement that he intends to keep at it. Of course he’d say that, what else is he going to say? On his deathbed he’ll probably say, I am so proud of my efforts to keep the fossil fuel industry alive. He is exhibit number one of what the term “climate criminal” means.
How do we keep the fossil fuelers as down as we can keep them? Most immediately, those of us who fought this two-month fight against the Manchin dirty side deal should be doing as much as we can to defeat Republicans running for the Senate. If the Dems have at least 52 Senators, Manchin’s (and Sinema’s) power will be lessened big-time.
And we should do the same as far as the House. Our consciously multi-racial people’s movement is in a better position to defend democracy and advance climate justice, racial and economic and gender justice, the rights of workers and more, when the Democrats control Congress. You can be a dedicated revolutionary who supports the need for a progressive alternative to both parties and appreciate this truth.
At the same time, I think we need to seriously look at the issue of electrical transmission. That is the argument used by Biden, Schumer, and many Democrats as to why they supported the Manchin dirty deal, that it’s OK to accept that deal because if passed it would have made it easier for the federal government to build long distance and other power lines to get electricity from solar and wind farms to homes and businesses.
I’m not clear in my own mind about this issue. My preference would be for the primary focus to be massive government support for locally-based and -controlled, distributed energy and battery storage, rather than massive, industrial scale wind and solar farms. Such an approach would, over time, decrease the need for long-distance transmission. It would also mean a much more resilient, secure and people powered electricity system. But I am not opposed to the big projects in general, given the urgency of the climate emergency.
I know I’m going to be personally researching and talking with others about this transmission issue. Strategically, this has to be on our agenda right now.
Ted Glick works with Beyond Extreme Energy and is president of 350NJ-Rockland. Past writings and other information, including about Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, two books published by him in 2020 and 2021, can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.