|—||Laura Gottesdiener from her alarming new article, “The Empire Strikes Back: How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich- Quick Scheme — Again” at TomDispatch|
I’m proud to have played a small role in publishing Ann Jones’ new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars. It’s an absolutely amazing piece of reporting that takes you from the front lines in Afghanistan (where Jones was a 73-year-old embed) to hospitals there and in Germany and back to the USA, where veterans struggle to remake their shattered lives.
Andrew J. Bacevich, retired Army colonel and author of the recent New York Times bestseller Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country said of it: “Read this unsparing, scathingly direct, and gut-wrenching account — the war Washington doesn’t want you to see. Then see if you still believe that Americans ‘support the troops.’”
A rave review of Ann Jones’ new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars by David Swanson. I’m proud to have had a small role in bringing this book into being and urge you pick up a copy. It’s an absolutely amazing piece of reporting that takes you from the front lines in Afghanistan (where Jones was a 73-year-old embed) to hospitals there and in Germany, to ultimately, the USA, where veterans struggle to remake their shattered lives. Swanson calls the book “devastating” and says “Know a young person considering joining the military? Give them this book.” I couldn’t agree more!
We’re struggling to replace a brittle, top-heavy energy system, where a few huge power plants provide our electricity, with a dispersed and lightweight grid, where 10 million solar arrays on 10 million rooftops are linked together. The engineers call this “distributed generation,” and it comes with a myriad of benefits. It’s not as prone to catastrophic failure, for one. And it can make use of dispersed energy, instead of relying on a few pools of concentrated fuel. The same principle, it seems to me, applies to movements.
In the last few weeks, for instance, 350.org helped support a nationwide series of rallies called Summerheat. We didn’t organize them ourselves. We knew great environmental justice groups all over the country, and we knew we could highlight their work, while making links between, say, standing up to a toxic Chevron refinery in Richmond, California, and standing up to the challenge of climate change.
From the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, where a tar-sands pipeline is proposed, to the Columbia River at Vancouver, Washington, where a big oil port is planned, from Utah’s Colorado Plateau, where the first U.S. tar-sands mine has been proposed, to the coal-fired power plant at Brayton Point on the Massachusetts coast and the fracking wells of rural Ohio — Summerheat demonstrated the local depth and global reach of this emerging fossil fuel resistance. I’ve had the pleasure of going to talk at all these places and more besides, but I wasn’t crucial to any of them. I was, at best, a pollinator, not a queen bee.
…it’s our job to rally a movement in the coming years big enough to stand up to all that money, to profits of a sort never before seen on this planet. Such a movement will need to stretch from California to Ecuador — to, in fact, every place with a thermometer; it will need to engage not just Chevron but every other fossil fuel company; it will need to prevent pipelines from being built and encourage windmills to be built in their place; it needs to remake the world in record time.
That won’t happen thanks to a paramount leader, or even dozens of them. It can only happen with a spread-out and yet thoroughly interconnected movement, a new kind of engaged citizenry. Rooftop by rooftop, we’re aiming for a different world, one that runs on the renewable power that people produce themselves in their communities in small but significant batches. The movement that will get us to such a new world must run on that kind of power too.