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Social Movements are gaining momentum

Williams 13
(Chris Williams, February 9, 2013, The Struggle to Save Our Planet Heats Up, is a long-time environmental activist and author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis. He is a chemistry and physics professor at Pace University and chair of the Packer Collegiate Institute science department.)

In the run-up to what is likely to be the largest U.S. demonstration to date against the fossil fuel industry and proponents of extreme energy technologies, we are at a potential turning point in the movement for ecological justice and environmental sanity. The stultifying lull of the election campaign, during which many Big Green groups set aside their
disappointment with Obama and stayed quiet about his inadequacies, is at least temporarily gone, with a large and varied coalition of groups helping to promote the February 17 demonstration. The

momentum generated from this demonstration could serve as the launching pad for a sustained campaign that begins to stitch together the myriad forces fighting locally around the country, transforming previously isolated or single-issue initiatives and groups into a broad united front for climate justice that draws in other forces, such as unions.

The only way to solve the climate crisis is structural change through social movements Williams 13
(Chris Williams, February 9, 2013, The Struggle to Save Our Planet Heats Up, is a long-time environmental activist and author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis. He is a chemistry and physics professor at Pace University and chair of the Packer Collegiate Institute science department.) In spite of the rhetoric of his inaugural address, the pivotal question remains: Is Barack Obama or any Democratic leader for that matter really on our side? Is it just a question of persuading a reluctant friend, hamstrung by a right-wing, dysfunctional Congress and stymied by powerful corporate interests, to act by demonstrating outside his house to let him know we're there for him? Or should we be surrounding his house, knowing full well that he won't give in to our demands without a social movement that acts independently of his wishes and control. To

understand the reasons for Obama's 'lack of desire' to address climate change a microcosm of the larger inability of global leaders and institutions to do likewise amid two decades of increasingly futile climate negotiations it's necessary to go beneath the surface appearance of things; to examine the structure and ideology of the system of capitalism. When their financial system was threatened by the crisis that began in 2008,
political leaders didn't sit around for 20 years arguing that they had to wait until all the facts were in and attempting to reach consensus on a solution. No, in a heartbeat, they threw trillions of dollars at the banks. But when

a far larger crisis, one that threatens the basic stability of the planetary biosphere, unfurls as a result of the same policies of reckless growth, waste and warfare, they spend their time rubbishing scientists and ignoring the unraveling weather outside their windows. Therefore, to get to the root of the issue, it becomes necessary to analyze the intertwined workings of the whole economic system of production and exchange of goods and services that is, capitalism. Only by doing this can we hope to formulate an effective strategy to combat climate change and thereby recognize that ecological and social justice are inseparably connected to each other, via an organized, grassroots and global challenge to the capitalist social order. One doesn't need to be an anti-capitalist to take part in this struggle, but one does need to recognize that unless the pendulum of social power swings back toward the working people in the U.S. and around the world, and that limits and regulations are placed on the activities on corporate power, we have no hope of saving our world. The point we must grasp is that this struggle is not really about technology, nor which renewable energy models should be deployed, nor whether this or that politician or this corporation or that CEO are more or less evil than the others. It's not about things or people at all it's about relationships. It's about democracy, which is, itself, about social power and the relationships it presumes. The power of the oceans, the power of scientific rationality, the power of
the tides and hurricane-force winds are self-evidently not enough to persuade the capitalists to act. The only force strong enough to do that is the organized force of the people. We must take the place of gravity to pull the pendulum of contending class forces wrenched rightward by 30 years of neoliberalism back toward our side.