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Canada’s Leap Manifesto is not enough

Canada’s Leap Manifesto

Anti-racist Jewish Canadian activist and writer Naomi Klein is one of my heroines because of her resolute opposition in a series of popular books to the gross human rights abuses associated with neoliberalism, corporatism, globalization, war criminality and climate criminality [1-5].

Naomi Klein deserves great praise for overcoming tribal loyalties in supporting Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid Israel [6] and opposing the gross human rights abuses of Apartheid Israel and its ongoing Palestinian Genocide (ethnic cleansing of 90% of Palestine, 7 million Palestinian exiles, denial of all human rights to 5 million Occupied Palestinians highly abusively and indefinitely confined to the Gaza Concentration Camp (2 million) or to West Bank ghettoes (3 million), and 2 million Palestinian deaths from violence, 0.1 million, and imposed deprivation, 1.9 million, since WW1) [6]. Indeed Naomi Klein famously declared:

“There is a debate among Jews - I'm a Jew by the way. The debate boils down to the question: "Never again to everyone, or never again to us? [Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free card...There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that say[s], “Never again to anyone”” [7].

Naomi Klein’s “No Logo” attacks branding-based consumerism and unethical behaviour of corporations, notable in the low-wage Developing World [1]. The same anti-globalization theme is addressed in Naomi Klein’s compendium “Fences and Windows” [2]. Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” exposes the callous but highly profitable exploitation of natural and man-made crises by governments and corporations [3]. “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein exposes the dire impact on the environment of corporate greed, mendacity and lobbying [4].

Unfortunately not quantitatively explored in these books by non-scientist Naomi Klein are the greatest of the crimes of neoliberalism against Humanity from a numerical, scientific perspective, namely the ongoing Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust (in which 17 million people, half of them children, die avoidably from deprivation each year in the Developing World minus China) [8], the ongoing disaster in which 7 million people die each year from air pollution that largely derives from burning carbon fuels [9], and a worsening climate genocide in which 10 billion may perish this century due to egregiously insufficient climate change action [10]. Our heroine Naomi Klein is on the board of the corporate-funded climate action organization 350 dot org that demands a return of the atmospheric CO2 concentration to 350 ppm CO2 from the present disastrous 405 ppm CO2, whereas numerous scientists and science-informed activists demand a return to 300 ppm CO2. Indeed the very fact that our activist heroes like Naomi Klein are visible means that the One Percenter Establishment and its corporate Mainstream media have permitted them to be so.

Naomi Klein’s latest book, “No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics” [5] is a demolition of Donald Trump’s crass neoliberalism, racism, misogyny, bigotry, bullying, war mongering, climate change denialism and primitive winding-back of hard-won rights of women, minorities, Humanity and the Biosphere. In Chapter 13, “Time to Leap because small steps won’t cut it” ([5], pages 231-256), Naomi Klein describes the genesis and significant adoption of “The Leap Manifesto. A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and one Another” – a detailed proposal for collective action for positive social change in the face of a regressive, neo-fascist Trumpism and a worsening climate emergency. The book concludes on an optimistic note: “Faced with a grave common threat, we can choose to come together and make an evolutionary leap… Let’s leap” ([5], page 266). In a postscript Naomi Klein sets out the text of “The Leap Manifesto” ([5], pages 267-271).

Unfortunately, as set out below, The Leap Manifesto is not enough. Already at a temperature rise of +1C, Island Nations in the Caribbean and the Pacific are being devastated by global warming-exacerbated hurricanes and a temperature rise of +2C – regarded by all governments except the climate change denialist Trump Administration as catastrophic – is now unavoidable. All that decent, sane people can do is to try to make the future “less bad” for their children and for future generations.

Naomi Klein deserves great praise for overcoming tribal loyalties in supporting Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid Israel and opposing the gross human rights abuses of Apartheid Israel and its ongoing Palestinian Genocide
This month over 15,000 scientists from 184 countries issued a dire warning to Humanity on catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss, stating that “We have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century” and that “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out”. They documented their case quantitatively by a Figure showing bad to disastrous trends in 9 out of 10 key areas from 1960 to 2016 [11]. Based on quasi-linear trajectories in the last decade one can extrapolate from this data to estimate the state of the world in 2040 if the current trends remain the same.

The change from 2016 to 2040 is estimated to be – 96.8% (annual increase in Ozone depletors – a good result showing that effective global action can happen), - 42.4% (freshwater resources per capita), - 23.0% (reconstructed marine catch), + 60.4% (number of hypoxic ocean dead zones), - 1.8% (total forest area), - 63.6% (vertebrate species abundance as a percentage of that in 1970), annual CO2 emissions up from 26.0 Gt CO2 to 51.1 Gt CO2, human population up from 7.2 billion to 10.3 billion, methanogenic ruminant livestock population up from 3.8 billion to 4.7 billion, and global warming up from +1C to + 2.2C [12], noting that all governments are agreed than a +2C rise would be catastrophic and the Paris Agreement aims at no more than +1.5C to +2C. Even at the present +1C Island Nations and mega-delta countries are being devastated by global warming-exacerbated storms and sea surges i.e. catastrophe is being experience by many people already around the world.

Urgently needed in addressing this present and worsening existential crisis for Humanity and the Biosphere in Canada and the World are the following:

(1) a peaceful Climate Revolution and negative greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, with reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm CO2 involving re-afforestation, biochar and other processes (e.g. Accelerated Weathering of Limestone) coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of GHG pollution, fossil fuel burning, fossil fuel subsidies, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production, and population growth;

(2) a rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options) and to waste avoidance, energy efficiency, public transport, sufficiency and needs-based production;

(3) rigorous address of Carbon Debt via a Carbon Tax involving a fully-applied, damage-related Carbon Price ($200 per tonne CO2-equivalent), divestment from fossil fuels, and intra-national and international judicial processes to severely punish environmental vandals and climate criminals by dispossession and custodial punishment;

(4) replacement of neoliberalism with sustainable social humanism (socialism, eco-socialism, welfare state) for the common good coupled with zero tolerance for lying, Indigenous Rights, Indigenous People-informed love of nature, preventive medicine, minimizing preventable deaths, enhanced socially beneficial employment (e.g. feeding, housing, protecting, moving, needs-based manufacturing, enabling, caring, teaching, health and culture);

(5) an annual wealth tax, life-long universal free education (pre-school, primary, secondary, tertiary and life-long education), universal free health and a universal basic income to abolish anti-democracy wealth inequity and the global avoidable mortality holocaust (17 million avoidable deaths from deprivation annually);

(6) science-informed risk management with an end to racism, discrimination, corporate-driven Mainstream media lying, obscene military expenditure (at the expense of health, education), war, genocide, avoidable mass mortality, air pollution deaths (7 million annually), global warming, intergenerational injustice, intergenerational inequity, climate genocide (direst projection: 10 billion deaths this century from climate inaction), speciescide, ecocide, omnicide and terracide variously due to population increase and homicidally greedy and mendacious neoliberalism.

The proposals of The Leap Manifesto fall far short of the above list of what is urgently needed as set out below in (A) Things supported by the Leap Manifesto, (B) Things equivocally supported by The Leap Manifesto as subjects for debate, and (C) Things not even mentioned by The Leap Manifesto (comments are given in brackets with Manifesto quotes given in inverted commas):

 (A) Things supported by the Leap Manifesto. 

(1) Renewable energy-powered public transport (“accessible public transport” and “High-speed rail powered by renewables and affordable public transport”).

(2) Eliminate racism and discrimination (“systematically eliminate racial and gender inequality”).

(3) Low environmental impact but high social value jobs (“caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors” and “expanding the sectors of our economy that are already low carbon: caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts, and public-interest media”, although health is not mentioned; “”We want training and other resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs , ensuring they are fully able to take part in the clean energy economy”).

(4) Indigenous Rights (“fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; these were initially rejected by the genocide-based colonial countries of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US; this also carries the vital accession to the Indigenous Peoples’ philosophy of sustainability).

(5) Energy efficiency (“we want a universal program to build energy-efficient homes…”).

(6) End fossil fuel subsidies (“An end to fossil fuel subsidies” although no mention is made of the damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-eqivalent that in the absence of a proper Carbon Tax means an annual global fossil fuel subsidy of $13 trillion each year [15]).

(7) Cut obscene military spending occurring at the expense of health, education etc. (“Cuts to military spending”; huge military expenditure domestically and in war is obscene, economy-perverting, and dirty GHG-wise with this official perversion being linked to huge preventable deaths in rich, war-making countries – thus annual preventable deaths from all kinds of preventable causes from smoking to suicide in the rich, war-making countries of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are 1.7 million, 150,000, 100,000, 85,000 and 17,000, respectively, or since 9-11 totalling 27.2 million, 2.4 million, 1.6 million, 1.4 million, and 0.3 million, respectively, as compared to 32 million Muslims killed by violence, 5 million, or imposed deprivation, 27 million, in 20 countries invaded by the US Alliance in the US War on Terror since the US Government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity) [16]).

 (B) Things equivocally supported by The Leap Manifesto as subjects for debate or for relatively slow introduction.

(1) 100% renewable energy but slowly (“it is feasible for Canada to get 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources within 2 decades” - but many states will achieve this by 2020 [13].

(2) Cessation of greenhouse gas pollution (“by 2050 we could have a 100 percent clean economy” - but some plan to “cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020”).

(3) Green agriculture (“Moving to a far more localized and ecologically based agricultural system” – but no mention of the disaster of methanogenic livestock and attendant land clearing that contributes over 50% of annual GHG pollution).

(4) Higher taxes on the rich but no annual wealth tax (“Higher … taxes on corporations and wealthy people” - but no annual wealth tax that would radically address the huge and anti-democratic accumulated wealth disparity that is at the heart of the terracidal neoliberal agenda [17, 18]).

(5) Carbon tax (“A progressive carbon tax … based on a “polluter pays” principle”; progressive” implies that the cost of pollution would not initially be “fully borne” by the polluter as explicitly demanded by Nicholas Stern and by science-trained Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato si’”, although The Leap Manifesto does advocate actions “based on a simple “polluter pays” principle”).

(6) A universal basic income (“a universal basic income” - but this is to involve a “vigorous debate”).

(7) Economy for the common good (“We declare that “austerity”… is a fossilized from of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth” and “Deepening poverty and inequality are a scar on the country’s present. And Canada’s record on climate change is a crime against humanity’s future”- but there is no systemic plan for social justice apart from taxing the rich incomes and fiscal spending re-allocation).

 (C) Things extraordinarily not even mentioned by The Leap Manifesto.

(1) Climate Revolution, Negative Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, Atmospheric CO2 (Atmospheric carbon dioxide) , 300 ppm CO2, re-afforestation, biochar , Accelerated Weathering of Limestone (AWL), cessation of GHG pollution, fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production, population, population growth (astonishing omissions) .

(2) Non-carbon energy, geothermal energy, solar energy, wind energy, wave energy, tide energy, hydro energy, waste avoidance, energy efficiency, sufficiency, needs-based production (more astonishing omissions).

(3) Carbon Tax is mentioned but not Carbon Debt, Carbon Price, damage-related Carbon Price, dollars per tonne CO2-equivalent, divestment from fossil fuels, intra-national justice, international justice, judicial processes, punish environmental vandals, punish climate criminals, dispossession, custodial punishment (in short, the Historical Carbon Debt (aka Historical Climate Debt) of a country can be measured by the amount of global warming greenhouse gas (GHG) it has introduced into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century.

Thus the total Carbon Debt of the world from 1751-2016 is about 1,850 billion tonnes CO2. Assuming a damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent, this corresponds to a Carbon Debt of $370 trillion, similar to the total wealth of the world and 4.5 times the world’s total annual GDP. Using estimates from Professor James Hansen of national contributions to Historical Carbon Debt and assuming a damage-related Carbon Price in USD of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent, the World has a Carbon Debt of $370 trillion that is increasing at $13 trillion per year. By way of example, Canada’s sister country Australia has a Carbon Debt of $7.5 trillion that is increasing at $400 billion per year and at $40,000 per head per year for under-30 year old Australians [15]).

(4) Neoliberalism, sustainability, social humanism, socialism, eco-socialism, welfare state, common good, zero tolerance for lying, Indigenous People-informed love of nature, needs-based manufacturing, health, preventive medicine, minimizing preventable deaths (A radical economic systemic change is needed to save the planet, but utterly absent from the soft, bourgeois, PC, Left-lite Leap Manifesto are the key terms in this regard. Neoliberalism – extreme Capitalism and Corporatism – involves maximizing the freedom of the smart and advantaged One Percent to exploit human and natural resources for private profit, with an asserted “trickle down” to the 99 Percenters.

In contrast, social humanism (socialism, democratic socialism, eco-socialism, the welfare state) involves maximizing happiness, opportunity and dignity for everybody via evolving intra-national and international social contracts [19]. However The Leap Manifesto does attack One Percenter-driven “austerity” and describes the Universal Basic Income as “a sturdy safety net [that] could help ensure that no one is forced to take work that threatens their children’s tomorrow, just to feed those children today”).

(5) Annual wealth tax, life-long universal free education, universal free health, pre-school education, primary education, secondary education, tertiary education (college education, university education), life-long education, health, anti-democracy wealth inequity, avoidable mortality, global avoidable mortality holocaust (the present gross wealth inequity, in which the One Percenters have 50% of the world’s wealth, is bad for the economy because the poor cannot buy the goods and services they produce, and bad for democracy because Big Money purchases people, politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality, votes, more political power and hence more private profit – gross wealth inequity has converted Western democracies into kleptocracies, plutocracies, Murdochracies, lobbyocracies, , corporatocracies and dollarocracies entrenched through mendacious corporate Mainstream media).

(6) Science, science-informed risk management, corporate-driven Mainstream media lying, Mainstream media lying, lying, obscene military expenditure, war, genocide, avoidable mass mortality, air pollution, air pollution deaths, global warming, intergenerational injustice, intergenerational inequity, climate genocide, speciescide, ecocide, omnicide, terracide, population, population increase, homicidal greed, mendacious neoliberalism (a veritable Herd of Elephants in the Room ignored by the “sensible centre” Leap Manifesto). . 

Final comments

The Green Left and the Greens in general are often described by their opponents as Watermelons (“Green on the outside but red on the inside”). The Leap Manifesto is indignant, ostensible reddish on the outside but is actually on close examination a wishy-washy and naïve lower case green on the inside. The most notorious One Percenters could not be happier to provide effective free expression and hence “visibility” to The Leap Manifesto via corporate Mainstream media, and are laughing all the way to the bank. Indeed a Google Search today for “Leap Manifesto” (that compromises planetary salvation) yields 157,000 results whereas a Google Search for “social humanism” (that is crucial for planetary salvation) yields a mere 36,000.

Activism for Humanity and the Biosphere is severely compromised by many activists who are insufficiently activist (activism lite) by variously being climate lite, socialism lite, anti-Apartheid lite, anti-war lite etc. The Canadian Leap Manifesto has good intentions but has astonishingly avoided key, massive realities - fear of frightening the horses, fear of being rendered “invisible” like “hard-core activists” by mendacious corporate Mainstream media, or both?

Our heroine Naomi Klein entitled her latest book “No is not enough” but this insufficiency also applies to The Leap Manifesto she espouses - Canada’s Leap Manifesto is not enough by far. As demonstrated in the recent dire warning to Humanity by over 15,000 scientists [11, 12], we are badly running out of time to save the Planet. Science-informed people – and especially the young who are most threatened by climate change, climate injustice and intergenerational inequity - must (a) inform everyone they can of the need to urgently reverse man-made climate change by radical systemic change and a return to a safe and sustainable 300 ppm CO2, (b) urge support for the pro-equity, social humanist and Terraphile Greens and Socialists, and (c) expose the continuing deadly war crimes, deadly climate crimes and deadly economic crimes, and demand judicial punishment of war criminals, climate criminals and homicidally greedy neoliberal One Percenters.

 References

  1. Naomi Klein, “No Logo”, Random House, 1999.
  2. Naomi Klein, “Fences and Windows”, Random House, 2002.
  3. Naomi Klein, “The Shock Doctrine”, Random House, 2007.
  4. Naomi Klein, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
  5. Naomi Klein, “No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics”, Allen Lane, 2017.
  6. “Palestinian Genocide”.
  7. “Jews Against Racist Zionism”.
  8. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, including an avoidable mortality-related history of every country from Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal on the web.
  9. “Stop air pollution deaths”.
  10. “Climate Genocide”.
  11. William J. Ripple et al., 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, “World scientists’ warning to Humanity: a second notice”, Bioscience, 13 November 2017.
  12. Gideon Polya, “Over 15,000 Scientists Issue Dire Warning To Humanity On Catastrophic Climate Change And Biodiversity Loss”, Countercurrents, 20 November 2017: http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/11/20/over-15000-scientists-issue-dire-warning-to-humanity-on-catastrophic-climate-change-and-biodiversity-loss/ .
  13. 100% renewable energy by 2020”.
  14. “Cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020”.
  15. “Carbon Debt Carbon Credit”.
  16. Gideon Polya, “Planetary Salvation Compromised By Activism Lite, Climate Lite, Anti-Apartheid Lite & Anti-War Lite Weakness”, Countercurrents, 15 November 2017: http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/11/15/planetary-salvation-compromised-by-activism-lite-climate-lite-anti-apartheid-lite-anti-war-lite-weakness/ .
  17. Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-first Century”, Harvard, 2014.
  18. “1% ON 1%: annual one percent tax on One Percenter wealth”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/1-on-1 .
  19. Brian Ellis, “Social Humanism”, Routledge, 2012.

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