Author: Evan Rose

Bill McKibben Discusses A Decade-Long Activist Crusade To Shame Banks Into Stopping Investment In Fossil Fuels

When Bill McKibben sought to put the fossil fuel industry out of business, he made his case in the media. Then he took his show on the road.

Hitting roughly 27 cities in 29 days in the fall of 2012, the prominent American author, climate activist and co-founder of sold out venues across the United States, introducing thousands to the idea that by pressuring institutions — universities, faith-based groups, banks, pension funds — ordinary people could force huge sums of money away from the coal, oil and gas companies fuelling the climate crisis. By the time the roadshow wrapped up, calls for divestment were sprouting on 300 college campuses nationwide.

The movement only grew from there. Today, as lethal flooding and heat waves put climate action front and centre around the world, a global campaign to divest from fossil fuels has taken hold in boardrooms, on university campuses, among faith groups and beyond. Earlier this year, that campaign reached a milestone: more than 1,500 institutions with $40 trillion in assets under management committed to divesting from fossil fuels.

In an interview with Canada’s National Observer, McKibben unpacks the ties between fossil fuels and colonialism, the art of shifting an industry’s social licence to operate and how the movement is spawning a new generation of politically engaged citizens on college campuses around the world.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Today’s push to divest from fossil fuels was inspired in part by earlier divestment campaigns against South African apartheid. Why was this such an effective strategy?
Back in apartheid times, there were relatively few levers that people had in the west to put pressure on South Africa. This was the Reagan era, so the government wasn’t going to do anything. But pressuring South Africa’s financial backers proved very useful. So when we were thinking about this, one of the first people that I got in contact with was Desmond Tutu, who had won the Nobel in part for his work around that, and I said, “Do you mind if we borrow this tactic?” ’Cause we didn’t want to just do it without asking, and he said, “Please, please. If apartheid was the human rights issue of a generation ago, then climate change is the human rights issue of now.” And he went on to be very helpful on this work, including managing to get King’s College London, which was one of his alma maters, to divest from fossil fuels. And so that connection back to apartheid was really crucial because it taught people how to do this.

Can you talk about the other link between South Africa and North America: the shared history of oppression of Indigenous groups by a settler group. What are the similarities and differences, and how does divestment work as a strategy in that context?
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the fossil fuel industry is the perfect example of a colonial enterprise. Fossil fuel is concentrated in a few places around the world, so controlling those places is key. It’s why the fossil fuel industry hates renewable energy so much. The sun is diffuse and exists everywhere, so there is no way to monopolize its output. This has been a link all the way back to the beginning of this work on the financing of fossil fuels.

The first divestment push I heard of was the work Indigenous leaders in Canada were doing around the tarsands — going over to Europe to try and get banks to stop financing them.

That tactic, thinking about the financing of all this, has a history and much of that history is tied up with the powerful use of it by Indigenous communities.



A lot of the push for divestment is coming from college and university campuses. For many of the young activists, it’s their first time, getting involved in social movements. Does divestment then function as an on-ramp to the climate movement more generally?
Yes, and this one’s not speculative because the history is extraordinarily clear. Probably the most important part of the recent environmental movement in the States, at least politically, is the Sunrise Movement, which brought us the Green New Deal and the legislation that descended from it. They shook up things. Almost all of the leaders of the Sunrise Movement, the people who founded it, cut their teeth doing divestment work in college and wanted to keep on after graduation and moved onto politics, in a sense.

Sunrise’s founding executive director, Varshini Prakash, successfully led the fight to divest from fossil fuel when she was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts. It was an early win in the divestment campaign.

So there’s no question that by allowing this fight to go on at thousands of different places, it’s brought up thousands and thousands of able leaders.

How does the fossil fuel divestment movement fit with other tactics?
It’s always going to be a multi-pronged strategy, but all of it is aimed at, in the largest sense, weakening the power of the fossil fuel industry. Our analysis from the beginning identified this as the single biggest factor standing in the way of doing what scientists, economists and everyone else is telling us we should be doing. Without that vested interest, we’d be making way more progress. So the social licence part was our original goal, and I think it’s been highly effective in that way. Young people are no longer under any illusions about the fossil fuel industry, for instance. They understand it to be a predatory, self-interested [industry] that’s imperilling their future in obvious ways. The whole divestment movement got big enough that it began to interfere with industry’s ability to access capital. This was clearest early on, especially in the coal industry, where you begin to hear executives complain they couldn’t raise money anymore because there were so many funds that were closed to them.

When Peabody Coal filed for bankruptcy some years ago, they listed divestment as one of the reasons. Divestment has now extended into the oil and gas realm. Shell, in its annual report two or three years ago, said divestment had become a material risk to its business, which pleased me because Shell’s business is a material risk to life on the planet. So having taken $40 trillion off the table for these guys is no small feat, I think.

All of this has led to a profound shift in the zeitgeist and the understanding of what’s normal, natural and obvious. When we began, these oil companies were the biggest companies in the world, and their power seemed unassailable. They’re still very strong but they’re shadows of themselves in certain ways, too.

No tactic wins by itself. There are many fronts in this fight, but divestment has been an important one. It’s helped people understand straight-ahead politics is not the only way. You can make change in [other] ways. The metaphor in my mind is that there are two levers big enough to make change in the climate picture at this point. One of those levers is marked politics, the other is marked money.

Instinctively, we pull the politics lever because it seems like that’s where change comes. But I think it’s been important that we’ve been yanking on this other lever, too.

The DNC Moves To Block Debate On Dark Money, But We Won’t Quit

The stakes are too high for Democrats – and democracy – to let our party’s primaries turn into auctions won by the highest bidder.

Last week, Nevada Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer and I appeared before the party’s Resolution Committee at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting in National Harbor, Md. We were there to speak in favor of our resolution calling on the party to ban the use of “dark money” in Democratic primaries.

We made the decision to introduce our resolution because, as Democrats, we believe that our elections shouldn’t be shaped by the corrupting influence of special interests able to spend millions to silence those who oppose them.

Despite the 2020 Democratic Party platform directly calling for a ban on unregulated, non-reportable expenditures from PACs and 501c4 groups, this year alone we saw tens of millions of dark money dollars spent targeting progressive candidates across the country – including races in Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Oregon, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, and more. For example, $6 million in dark money was spent to defeat former Maryland representative Donna Edwards, more than $4 million to defeat Representative Andy Levin of Michigan, and another $4 million to defeat Jessica Cisneros in Texas. Even progressives who won – Representative Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Representative Cori Bush (Mo.), and Pennsylvania state Senator Summer Lee – had to withstand an onslaught of a combined $10 million in negative ads designed to tarnish their reputations.

Because it appeared that some of the party’s leadership was not displeased with the effort to stop the advance of progressive candidates, we knew we had an uphill fight. For several reasons, however, we felt certain that at least we would start a much-needed debate on this critical issue.

Progressive leaders in the party like Senator Bernie Sanders and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus made clear their support for our effort. Leading progressive publications like The Nation and organizations like Progressive Democrats and Our Revolution wrote about it and urged readers and members to show their support. It’s important to note, as well, that our resolution had been endorsed by over three dozen other DNC members.

Given this support from an important component wing of the party and the fact that our resolution was grounded in the party’s own platform, what happened at the meeting left me shell-shocked.

We introduced the resolution and spoke about why it was important, mentioning the damage that dark money does to our democracy and to the reputation of candidates slandered by the ads purchased by these shadowy groups. We explained the feelings of frustration and powerlessness that the massive expenditures create in voters who see elections bought and sold by the highest bidders.

In her powerful statement to the committee, Judith Whitmer noted:

Letting our primaries devolve into auctions, rather than elections, has done more than simply create an unequal and unfair playing field. In races around the nation, we’ve seen these underhanded tactics used to silence debate on critical issues, with competing views buried under an avalanche of dark money-funded messaging. This same anonymity has been used to not only defeat capable Democratic candidates but to smear their names and tear down their reputations. Faced with the prospect of an uneven playing field tilted by millions in untraceable funds, many would-be candidates have been discouraged from running at all—costing our party not just young leaders but the trust of underrepresented and marginalized communities we most need to reach. While any one of those issues alone would be cause for action, most alarming of all has been the insidious effect dark money has had on faith in our democracy.

And she concluded with:

Our elections are not for sale. Every voice in our party deserves an equal say, and every vision deserves a free and fair chance. Our democracy is only as strong as the public’s faith in it. It’s up to our party to lead by example.

After our presentation, the Resolutions Committee chair asked if any member of the committee wanted to put our resolution up for a vote. There was dead silence in the room. With not one of the two dozen committee members in attendance willing to call for a vote, the resolution died.

I had been a member of the resolutions committee for over two decades and served as its chair for 10 years. During my tenure I saw how staff, under the direction of party leaders, would work to whip votes to defeat resolutions they deemed unacceptable. Because members of the committee are all appointed by the chair, many feel they need to accept direction to stay in the good graces of the party.

I had a similar experience in February of 2003 when party leaders and staff browbeat members of the committee to oppose my resolution calling on Democrats to oppose the Iraq War. Because I refused to withdraw my resolution, I was allowed to introduce it and speak on its behalf. And then, as now, I was forced to watch as the party faithful sat in silence and accepted the chair’s call to refuse that the resolution be considered for a vote.

During my time as chair, I rejected this practice. I wanted resolutions to be debated and voted on. It’s called democracy. What happened to our resolution last week was the opposite of democracy. It wasn’t just that that the party gave a pass to dark money groups to continue to despoil our elections. It was also the use of pressure by party leaders to silence debate and refuse to allow a vote in the resolutions committee on an issue of importance to the future of our party and democracy itself.

As Democrats, we are right to be concerned about the dangers posed by Republican state legislatures acting to make it more difficult to vote; false claims about voting machines; and the continued threat of violence by extremist groups. Given this, it is deeply troubling to watch our party fail to protect the integrity of our own primary contests by refusing to act to ban dark money groups from spending millions of unreported dollars raised from billionaires (including Republicans) to smear and silence progressive voices.

Because we believe that banning dark money is vital to future of our democracy and our party, we will not be defeated. We will return at the DNC winter meeting with stronger support—more endorsements from DNC members, members of Congress, and Democrats nationwide. Because we now know how the game is being played, we will work to insure a debate and a vote on this critical issue.

A Milestone In Holding People Accountable For Jan. 6

A New Mexico judge has done the country a big favor.

Judge Francis Mathew upheld a little-known provision of the U.S. Constitution and removed a public official for participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. I hope other judges have the courage to follow his lead.

The principle that no person is above the law — that powerful people have to obey the laws like everyone else — is essential to a democratic society. If this principle is not enforced, corrupt leaders will undermine the rule of law and democracy itself.

Judge Mathew ruled that a county commissioner who participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol can no longer hold public office. The ruling was based on a section of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed after the Civil War. It forbids anyone from holding public office if they had taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the country.

The judge found that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin helped lead the mob that used violence to try to prevent Congress from affirming Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election. Griffin later bragged about his role and suggested that there might be another insurrection coming.

Judge Mathew’s ruling is a milestone in the effort to hold public officials accountable for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. It should provide a road map — and some moral courage — to other judges considering legal efforts to hold state legislators and others accountable for trying to undermine democracy.

Another important effort to hold powerful people accountable for the insurrection is being conducted by the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection and the schemes that led up to it.

The committee’s public hearings this summer gave the American people a powerful dose of truth telling about the lies and deceptions of Trump, members of his legal team and his political allies. The committee’s investigation is continuing, and we can look forward to more public hearings this fall.

Members and staff of the committee have spent countless hours digging through emails and other public records, and interviewing former Trump administration officials and lawyers, members of Congress and far-right activists who promoted Trump’s lies about election fraud. They are still at it. Among the people they hope to interview this fall are former Vice President Mike Pence, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and far-right activist Ginni Thomas, wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Truth is a first step toward accountability. But it cannot be the only step.

The committee’s efforts to get a full picture of the illegal scheming to overturn the election is essential. So is punishing wrongdoers and preventing future attempts to subvert our elections.

There are plenty of wrongdoers who need to be held accountable, punished and prevented from using powerful government positions to undermine democracy and the rule of law. And that includes former President Trump, whose lies about a “stolen” election fueled the insurrectionists’ anger.

In our system of government, there are many people with roles to play in defending our democracy. Congress can use its oversight power to reveal the corruption within the White House. The Justice Department can prosecute criminals like those who attacked the Capitol Police and those who broke other laws as they tried desperately to keep the defeated Trump in power. Judges can hold public officials accountable for violating the Constitution.

And we the voters can defend democracy by electing local, state and national officials who are committed to the democratic process — and rejecting those who seek power for the purpose of interfering with our elections and our ability to hold powerful people accountable.

Dear America, What’s With All The Religious Labels?

Back in the 1960s, Americans were deeply divided on matters of war and race – and Christians in America were on both sides of the divide.

While Martin Luther King Jr and religious leaders associated with his Southern Christian Leadership Conference led protests and committed acts of civil disobedience demanding civil rights, they were countered by white Christian preachers in the south who warned of the dangers of violating God’s will by ignoring the punishment God had meted out to the “sons of Ham”. And while New York’s Catholic cardinal Francis Spellman travelled to Vietnam to bless US troops as they battled “godless communism”, a Jesuit priest named Daniel Berrigan led fellow clergymen and women in protests against the war, often resulting in their arrest and imprisonment (in one case, for burning the Selective Service files of young men who were to be drafted to serve in the military).

During this entire period, Christianity wasn’t described as a warlike or racist faith. Nor were King and Berrigan referred to as “Christian protesters”. There weren’t any drawn-out theological debates in an effort to determine which interpretation of Christianity was correct. Rather these individuals were defined by what they did. There were either “segregationists” or “civil rights leaders”, not “Christian segregationists” or “Christian civil rights leaders”. They were “supporters of the war” or “peace activists, not “Christian supporters of the war” or “Christian peace activists”.

What may have been understood, at least implicitly, was that just because a person or institution uses religious language to validate certain behaviours, that does not make their behaviour “religious”. Nor does this behaviour define, by itself, the religion to which the person or institution adheres. This is something that many of us in the West still understand, at least when it comes to Christianity. Despite former president George W Bush indicating that America was carrying out God’s will in the Iraq war, we knew not to refer to that conflict as a “Christian” war. This understanding, however, has not carried over to our discussion of Islam.

For reasons beyond the scope of this piece, when dealing with Islam, political leaders, media commentators and ordinary folk here in the West appear intent on using religious language to describe every aspect of life and all forms of behaviour, both good and bad, as “Muslim”. In doing so, we create confusion for ourselves and others, leading at times, to incoherence and some very strange policies.

For example, faced with the threat of individuals and groups using the religious language of Islam to validate their acts of terror, we refer to them as “Muslim terrorists”. But then because we recognise that they represent only a tiny fraction of Muslims, we maintain that they “don’t speak for Islam”. This then leads us down the tortuous path of attempting to define what is “good” Islam versus “bad” Islam – creating a kind of “state-sanctioned” interpretation of a faith – something we understood not to do when it involves Christianity.

Another example: a colleague, for whom I have the greatest respect, wrote a book in which he first correctly debunks the notion of “Muslim terrorists”, but then goes on to write a chapter about “Muslim oil” – by which he means oil coming from the Middle East and Central Asian and some African countries. If “Muslim oil” can be defined in this way, does that make US and Canadian oil “Christian” or “secular democratic” oil? Should we consider Venezuelan oil “Bolivarian” oil?

You may recall when the Obama White House sponsored a summit for “Muslim entrepreneurs” – which they described as focusing on entrepreneurs from “Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities around the world”. Aside from troubling questions about what message this sends to businesspeople from the Arab world or Indonesia or elsewhere who may not be Muslim, or what local sectarian tensions such an effort may exacerbate, what exactly is a “Muslim entrepreneur”? Or, for that matter, what is a “Christian entrepreneur” or “Hindu entrepreneur”?

We continue to hold the line on treating Christianity and the acts of its nominal adherents in a similar fashion. When former president Donald Trump had troops disperse Black Lives Matter demonstrators in front of the White House so he that could march through Lafayette Square and pose in front of St John’s Church holding up a Bible, was that a Christian action? When Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, proclaims himself to be a “Christian nationalist”, do we accept that at face value?

At the end of the day, there are xenophobic nationalists, there are terrorists, there is oil, and there are people who start up and run businesses. They are better defined by what they do and not by their faith. For government or the rest of us to insist on defining them by faith, or even how they describe themselves or how they define their actions, is at best careless. It also runs the risk of western governments treading into the murky waters of defining “good” or acceptable religion, or of applying a religious litmus test on groups which, in itself, makes a political statement that is most certainly none of our business, and can be dangerous.

Arizona Could Be Major Threat To Democracy

Red flags are flying for democracy and democratic values. We need to pay attention to the threats — and also to signs that we can work together to preserve our freedoms.

This summer’s primary elections are making it clear that our rights and freedoms are threatened by the rising power of extremists within the Republican Party.

Consider the Aug. 2 primaries in Arizona. President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state sent many Arizona supporters of former President Donald Trump down a deep hole of lies and conspiracy theories about the election. They engineered a ridiculous “audit” that stirred up election-deniers from across the country but failed to undermine Biden’s victory.

Responsible Republicans defended the election and its outcome, but on Aug. 2, they were outvoted by Trump’s troops. Mark Finchem, who claims against all evidence the election was stolen from Trump, won the nomination to be secretary of state.

He has called for the 2020 election to be decertified. He wants to get rid of early voting and restrict voting by mail — and give legislators the power to override voters. Finchem, who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, is a member of the Oath Keepers, the far-right group whose members were involved in planning and leading the assault. A state Republican consultant told The Atlantic, “I would absolutely expect Finchem to both bend the meaning of laws and throw up roadblocks to the normal election procedures.”

Arizona Republicans have also nominated Blake Masters for the U.S. Senate. Masters’ campaign was backed and funded by far-right billionaire Peter Thiel, who has openly said he no longer believes in democracy. Masters has blamed gun violence on “Black people.” His campaign has generated excitement among the white nationalist crowd that was energized by Trump.

In the Arizona governor’s primary, Trump endorsee Kari Lake won the Republican nomination and will face Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs.

Lake, an election conspiracy advocate, calls President Biden “illegitimate” and has said if she wins, she will instruct the attorney general to seize all voting equipment in the state.

Arizona is also home to politicians who openly embrace white nationalists, including U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar and state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who both won their primaries.

Other extremists have picked up Republican nominations this summer, including election conspiracy theorist Doug Mastriano, who has campaigned with QAnon activists in his bid for governor of Pennsylvania; Trumpist election denier Dan Cox for governor of Maryland; Confederate sympathizer Michael Peroutka for attorney general of Maryland, who has said laws passed by the state legislature are illegitimate because in his eyes, legislators broke God’s law by embracing marriage equality; and Big Lie promoter Kristina Karamo for secretary of state in Michigan.

The list goes on — too many to name in a single column.

This is bad news. In a political system dominated by two political parties, it is dangerous to have one party taken over by the kind of truth-rejecting, voter-suppressing, authoritarianism-embracing people who are still driven by the same lies and rage that fueled the Jan. 6 attack on our country.

But Trumpists aren’t winning all their races. We have seen examples of courageous Republicans standing up to the Trump mob.

And voters in Kansas gave us another big bright spot on Aug. 2, when they rejected an anti-choice referendum by more than 20 percentage points.

After the Supreme Court’s hard-right majority overturned Roe v. Wade, anti-choice legislators have rushed to pass more extreme anti-abortion bills targeting health care workers and even friends and family who help someone needing abortion care. Those bills represent the wishes of powerful religious right groups that have a lot of influence in the Republican Party, but they don’t represent the public, which overwhelmingly supports access to abortion.

Given a choice about whether to strip abortion rights protections out of the state constitution and give legislators a green light to pass a ban, Kansas voters overwhelmingly voted no.

That victory for privacy, freedom and bodily autonomy was driven by huge voter turnout and the organizers who worked to achieve it. It is a promising sign that many Americans can be motivated to vote this year by the Supreme Court’s harmful embrace of a restrictive and regressive social agenda.

Let’s make it so.

The Ukraine War Is Going Nowhere – End It Now

Only naive souls or blind ideologues could have thought that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would end well. It will not. And the longer it continues, the worse the situation will be for everyone.

Did Moscow actually believe that the West would roll over and accept its annexation of more Ukrainian territory, giving its leadership an easy victory? Did it really think that Ukrainians would overthrow their own leadership, replacing it with a more pro-Russian government in Kyiv? Did the West, after appearing to dismiss US President Joe Biden’s early warnings about Moscow’s intentions, believe that their belated outrage and displays of resolve would mobilise the world community forcing the Kremlin to give up?

At this point, Moscow has invested too much of its prestige and resources to withdraw. And for the Ukrainians, their national pride is at stake, as is their justifiable fear of Russian intentions. They will not just surrender and accept defeat.

We have now entered the sixth month of this war and despite frequent reports that the Russian military is nearing exhaustion or that the Ukrainian resistance is flagging, there is no end in sight as the killing of innocent Ukrainians and widespread devastation of the country continues. The reality is that no one can or will win this war. While the Russians will be ground down in a long conflict that will cost them dearly, the Ukrainians will pay the greatest price in lives, treasure, homes and infrastructure, and security.

There are additional costs to this war, some of which will only become apparent in the years to come. First and foremost is the fate of the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have been forced to flee their country or who have been internally displaced by the fighting. As is the case in every war of these proportions, only the naive assume that when the hostilities end, the refugees will simply return. In the first place, we have no idea when, how, or if this war will end. What should be certain, however, is that the longer it continues, and the more damage done, the greater the number of refugees who will either be unable or will choose not to go back. In that case, we must ask whether the countries who were initially welcoming of refugees will remain so?

Then there are the unanticipated geopolitical transformations that are slowly beginning to take shape in response to this war. In the immediate aftermath of the invasion, Mr Biden, taking a rhetorical page from the likes of Winston Churchill, spoke of the world coming together to oppose Moscow. Weapons and aid were sent to Ukraine and Nato countries enacted ever-expanding sanctions on Russia. In speeches we were told that these crippling economic measures would isolate Russia, devastate its economy, and help bring an end to this war.

Some of these measures were necessary and others were justifiable. But just as the invasion will have consequences, both intended and unintended, the far-reaching economic measures and efforts to impose isolation will as well.

On the one hand, the loss of Russian oil and gas and Ukrainian wheat, blockaded until a UN-led deal was struck last week, are having a devastating impact on the economies and peoples of both East and West. While not able to immediately transition, Russia has, with some difficulty, been able to recoup some of its losses by selling its vital resources in Asian markets. Because restrictions have been placed on Russia’s ability to trade in dollars, it has demanded payment in roubles, giving its currency a needed boost. Meanwhile, the rising costs of fuel and flour are destabilising countries, both rich and poor. And the scramble to find new sources of oil and gas is putting critically important climate goals dangerously on hold for the foreseeable future.

Partly because of continued lack of trust in the consistency in US leadership (given the dizzying shifts in US policies over the past two decades) many nations have hesitated or outright refused to join a united front in opposition to Russia. As US and other western diplomats have continued to apply pressure on Latin American and Asian countries to join the West’s campaign to isolate Russia, their efforts have been politely rebuffed. These countries have reminded their western interlocutors that just as various western nations have placed their national interests first, even though they do not support the Russian actions in Ukraine, they must now place their own economic and geopolitical interests first. This has led one analyst to cynically describe the emerging US/Nato coalition as “the West against the rest”.

The longer this conflict continues, the more locked in place some of these emerging economic and political realities become, and the greater the danger that the world will become more deeply divided in a new Cold War. Relations will fray, economies will suffer, antagonisms will fester, and new conflicts will emerge.

It was precisely for situations of this sort that the UN was created, and international law and conventions were written. If they had been functioning, the aggrieved parties could have demanded negotiations or arbitration. Because all the world powers have degraded the world body and ignored the rules of law and warfare, we lack the mechanisms to resolve conflict and protect rights.

What we are now left with are the same choices we faced five months ago – either pouring more petrol on the fire or mobilising international pressure to forge a negotiated solution. It won’t be easy or even palatable to find a way forward. Sacrifices will most likely be required and neither side will get what they want. But it’s either that or a continued downward spiral.

The Most Dangerous Looming Supreme Court Decision You Never Heard Of

On June 30, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case called Moore v. Harper. With all the controversial decisions handed down by the Court this term, its decision to take up this case slid under most radar detectors. But it could be the most dangerous case on the Court’s upcoming docket. You need to know about it.

Here’s the background: Last February, the North Carolina Supreme Court blocked the state’s Republican controlled general assembly from instituting a newly drawn congressional district map, holding that the map violated the state constitutional ban on partisan gerrymandering. The Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, advancing what’s called the “independent state legislature” theory. It’s a theory that’s been circulating for years in right-wing circles. It holds that the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures alone the power to regulate federal elections in their states.

We’ve already had a preview of what this theory could mean. It underpins a major legal strategy in Trump’s attempted coup: the argument that state legislatures can substitute their own judgment of who should be president in place of the person chosen by a majority of voters. This was the core of the so-called “Eastman memo” that Trump relied on (and continues to rely on) in seeking to decertify Biden’s election.

The U.S. Constitution does grant state legislatures the authority to prescribe “the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections.” But it does not give state legislatures total power over our democracy. In fact, for the last century, the Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected the independent state legislature theory.

Yet if we know anything about the conservative majority now controlling the Supreme Court, it’s that they will rule on just about anything that suits the far-right’s agenda.

Conservatives on the Court have already paved the way for this bonkers idea. Then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist was an early proponent. In his concurring opinion in Bush v. Gore, the 2000 case that halted the recount in Florida in the presidential election, Rehnquist (in an opinion joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) asserted that because the state court’s recount conflicted with deadlines set by the state legislature for the election, the court’s recount could not stand.

The issue returned to the Supreme Court in 2020, when the justices turned down a request by Pennsylvania Republicans to fast-track their challenge to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that required state election officials to count mail-in ballots received within three days of Election Day. In an opinion that accompanied the court’s order, Justice Alito (joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch) suggested that the state supreme court’s decision to extend the deadline for counting ballots likely violated the U.S. Constitution because it intruded on the state legislature’s decision making.

Make no mistake. The independent state legislature theory would make it easier for state legislatures to pull all sorts of additional election chicanery, without any oversight from state courts: ever more voter suppression laws, gerrymandered maps, and laws eliminating the power of election commissions and secretaries of state to protect elections.

If the Supreme Court adopts the independent state legislature theory, it wouldn’t just be throwing out a century of its own precedent. It would be rejecting the lessons that inspired the Framers to write the Constitution in the first place: that it’s dangerous to give state legislatures unchecked power, as they had under the Articles of Confederation.

The Republican Party and the conservative majority on the Supreme Court call themselves “originalists” who find the meaning of the Constitution in the intent of the Farmers. But they really don’t give a damn what the Framers thought. They care only about imposing their own retrograde and anti-democracy ideology on the United States.

But we can fight back.

First, Congress must expand the Supreme Court to add balance to a branch of government that has been stolen by radicalized Republicans. This is not a far-fetched idea. The Constitution doesn’t specify how many justices there should be – and we’ve already changed the size of the Court seven times in American history.

Second, Congress must impose term limits on Supreme Court justices, and have them rotate with judges on the U.S. courts of appeals.

Third, Congress must restore federal voting rights protections and expand access to the ballot box. We need national minimum standards for voting in our democracy.

Obviously, these reforms can happen only if Democrats retain control of the House in the midterm elections and add at least two more Democratic senators—willing to reform or abolish the filibuster.

So your vote is critical, and not just in federal elections. Make sure you also vote for state legislators who understand what’s at stake to preserve our democracy. Because, as this Supreme Court shows, the future of our democracy is not guaranteed.

Putin’s War Shows Autocracies And Fossil Fuels Go Hand In Hand

Democracies are making more progress than autocracies when it comes to climate action. But divestment campaigns can put pressure on the most recalcitrant of political leaders

At first glance, last autumn’s Glasgow climate summit looked a lot like its 25 predecessors. It had:

  • A conference hall the size of an aircraft carrier stuffed with displays from problematic parties (the Saudis, for example, with a giant pavilion saluting their efforts at promoting a “circular carbon economy agenda”).
  • Squadrons of delegates rushing constantly to mysterious sessions (“Showcasing achievements of TBTTP and Protected Areas Initiative of GoP”) while actual negotiations took place in a few back rooms.
  • Earnest protesters with excellent signs (“The wrong Amazon is burning”).

But as I wandered the halls and the streets outside, it struck me again and again that a good deal had changed since the last big climate confab in Paris in 2015 – and not just because carbon levels and the temperature had risen ever higher.

The biggest shift was in the political climate. Over those few years the world seemed to have swerved sharply away from democracy and toward autocracy – and in the process dramatically limited our ability to fight the climate crisis. Oligarchs of many kinds had grabbed power and were using it to uphold the status quo; there was a Potemkin quality to the whole gathering, as if everyone was reciting a script that no longer reflected the actual politics of the planet.

Now that we’ve watched Russia launch an oil-fired invasion of Ukraine, it’s a little easier to see this trend in high relief – but Putin is far from the only case. Consider the examples.

Brazil, in 2015 at Paris, had been led by Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers’ party, which had for the most part worked to limit deforestation in the Amazon. In some ways the country could claim to have done more than any other on climate damage, simply by slowing the cutting. But in 2021 Jair Bolsonaro was in charge, at the head of a government that empowered every big-time cattle rancher and mahogany poacher in the country. If people cared about the climate, he said, they could eat less and “poop every other day”. And if they cared about democracy, they could … go to jail. “Only God can take me from the presidency,” he explained ahead of this year’s elections.

Or India, which may turn out to be the most pivotal nation given the projected increases in its energy use – and which had refused its equivalent of Greta Thunberg even a visa to attend the meeting. (At least Disha Ravi was no longer in jail).

Or Russia (about which more in a minute) or China – a decade ago we could still, albeit with some hazard and some care, hold climate protests and demonstrations in Beijing. Don’t try that now.

Or, of course, the US, whose deep democratic deficits have long haunted climate negotiations. The reason we have a system of voluntary pledges, not a binding global agreement, is that the world finally figured out there would never be 66 votes in the US Senate for a real treaty.

Joe Biden had expected to arrive at the talks with the Build Back Better bill in his back pocket, slap it down on the table, and start a bidding war with the Chinese – but the other Joe, Manchin of West Virginia, the biggest single recipient of fossil fuel cash in DC, made sure that didn’t happen. Instead Biden showed up empty-handed and the talks fizzled.

And so we were left contemplating a world whose people badly want action on climate change, but whose systems aren’t delivering it. In 2021 the UN Development Programme conducted a remarkable poll, across the planet – they questioned people through video-game networks to reach humans less likely to answer traditional surveys. Even amid the Covid pandemic, 64% of them described climate change as a “global emergency”, and that by decisive margins they wanted “broad climate policies beyond the current state of play”. As the UNDP director, Achim Steiner, summarized, “the results of the survey clearly illustrate that urgent climate action has broad support amongst people around the globe, across nationalities, age, gender and education level”.

The irony is that some environmentalists have occasionally yearned for less democracy, not more. Surely if we just had strongmen in power everywhere they could just make the hard decisions and put us on the right path – we wouldn’t have to mess with the constant vagaries of elections and lobbying and influence.

But this is wrong for at least one moral reason – strongmen capable of acting instantly on the climate crisis are also capable of acting instantly on any number of other things, as the people of Xinjiang and Tibet would testify were they allowed to talk. It’s also wrong for a number of practical ones.

Those practical problems begin with the fact that autocrats have their own vested interests to please – Modi campaigned for his role atop the world’s largest democracy on the corporate jet of Adani, the largest coal company in the subcontinent. Don’t assume for a minute that there’s not a fossil fuel lobby in China; right now it’s busy telling Xi that economic growth depends on more coal.

And beyond that, autocrats are often directly the result of fossil fuel. The crucial thing about oil and gas is that it is concentrated in a few spots around the world, and hence the people who live on top of or otherwise control those spots end up with huge amounts of unwarranted and unaccountable power.

Boris Johnson was just off in Saudi Arabia trying to round up some hydrocarbons – the day after the king beheaded 81 folks he didn’t like. Would anyone pay the slightest attention to the Saudi royal family if they did not possess oil? No. Nor would the Koch brothers have been able to dominate American politics on the basis of their ideas –when David Koch ran for the White House on the Libertarian ticket in 1980 he got almost no votes. So he and his brother Charles decided to use their winnings as America’s largest oil and gas barons to buy the GOP, and the rest is (dysfunctional) political history.

The most striking example of this phenomenon, it hardly need be said, is Vladimir Putin, a man whose power rests almost entirely on the production of stuff that you can burn. If I wandered through my house, it would be no problem to find electronics from China, textiles from India, all manner of goods from the EU – but there’s nothing anywhere that would say “made in Russia”. Sixty per cent of the export earnings that equipped his army came from oil and gas, and all the political clout that has cowed western Europe for decades came from his fingers on the gas spigot. He and his hideous war are the product of fossil fuel, and his fossil fuel interests have done much to corrupt the rest of the world.

It’s worth remembering that Donald Trump’s first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, wears the Order of Friendship, personally pinned on his lapel by Putin in thanks for the vast investments Tillerson’s firm (that would be Exxon) had made in the Arctic – a region opened to their exploitation by the fact that it had, um, melted. And these guys stick together: it’s entirely unsurprising that when Coke, Pepsi, Starbucks and Amazon quit Russia last month, Koch Industries announced that it was staying put. The family business began, after all, by building refineries for Stalin.

Another way of saying this is that hydrocarbons by their nature tend towards the support of despotism – they’re highly dense in energy and hence very valuable; geography and geology means they can be controlled with relative ease. There’s one pipeline, one oil terminal.

Whereas sun and wind are, in these terms, much closer to democratic: they’re available everywhere, diffuse instead of concentrated. I can’t have an oilwell in my backyard because, as with almost all backyards, there is no oil there. Even if there was an oilwell, I would have to sell what I pumped to some refiner, and since I’m American, that would likely be a Koch enterprise. But I can (and do) have a solar panel on my roof; my wife and I rule our own tiny oligarchy, insulated from the market forces the Putins and the Kochs can unleash and exploit. The cost of energy delivered by the sun has not risen this year, and it will not rise next year.

As a general rule of thumb, those territories with the healthiest, least-captive-to-vested-interest democracies are making the most progress on climate change. Look around the world at Iceland or Costa Rica, around Europe at Finland or Spain, around the US at California or New York. So part of the job for climate campaigners is to work for functioning democratic states, where people’s demands for a working future will be prioritized over vested interest, ideology and personal fiefdoms.

But given the time constraints that physics impose – the need for rapid action everywhere – that can’t be the whole strategy. In fact, activists have arguably been a little too focused on politics as a source of change, and paid not quite enough attention to the other power center in our civilization: money.

If we could somehow persuade or force the world’s financial giants to change, that would yield quick progress as well. Maybe quicker, since speed is more a hallmark of stock exchanges than parliaments.

And here the news is a little better. Take my country as an example. Political power has come to rest in the reddest, most corrupt parts of America. The senators representing a relative handful of people in sparsely populated western states are able to tie up our political life, and those senators are almost all on the payroll of big oil. But money has collected in the blue parts of the country – Biden-voting counties account for 70% of the country’s economy.

That’s one reason some of us have worked so hard on campaigns like fossil fuel divestment – we won big victories with New York’s pension funds and with California’s vast university system, and so were able to put real pressure on big oil. Now we’re doing the same with the huge banks that are the industry’s financial lifeline. We’re well aware that we may never win over Montana or Mississippi, so we better have some solutions that don’t depend on doing so.

The same thing’s true globally. We may not be able to advocate in Beijing or Moscow or, increasingly, in Delhi. So, at least for these purposes, it’s useful that the biggest pots of money remain in Manhattan, in London, in Frankfurt, in Tokyo. These are places we still can make some noise.

And they are places where there’s some real chance of that noise being heard. Governments tend to favor people who’ve already made their fortune, industries that are already ascendant: that’s who comes with blocs of employees who vote, and that’s who can afford the bribes. But investors are all about who’s going to make money next. That’s why Tesla is worth far more than General Motors in the stock market, if not in the halls of Congress.

Moreover, if we can persuade the world of money to act, it’s capable of doing so quickly. Should, say, Chase Bank, currently the biggest lender on earth to fossil fuel, announce this year that it was quickly phasing out that support, the news would ripple out across stock markets in the matter of hours. That’s why some of us have felt it worthwhile to mount increasingly larger campaigns against these financial institutions, and to head off to jail from their lobbies.

The world of money is at least as unbalanced and unfair as the world of political power – but in ways that may make it a little easier for climate advocates to make progress.

Putin’s grotesque war might be where some of these strands come together. It highlights the ways that fossil fuel builds autocracy, and the power that control of scarce supplies gives to autocrats. It’s also shown us the power of financial systems to put pressure on the most recalcitrant political leaders: Russia is being systematically and effectively punished by bankers and corporations, though as my Ukrainian colleague Svitlana Romanko and I pointed out recently, they could be doing far more. The shock of the war may also be strengthening the resolve and unity of the world’s remaining democracies and perhaps – one can hope – diminishing the attraction of would-be despots like Donald Trump.

But we’ve got years, not decades, to get the climate crisis under some kind of control. We won’t get more moments like this. The brave people of Ukraine may be fighting for more than they can know.

Putin’s War Gives America A Chance To Get Serious About Refugees

These past brutal weeks have become only more unbearable as pictures emerge of the devastation that Russia has left behind in the towns around Kyiv. Still, shock events on this scale do present an opportunity to unstick locked-in attitudes and policies, which is something we badly need, particularly because we face an even larger and more existential challenge than the rise of Putin-style despotism: the climate crisis, and, with it, the almost unimaginable refugee challenge that is coming our way as the planet warms. There’s a chance that the war in Ukraine could be instrumental in helping to renew our resolve to take on both.

So far, the most widely noted area of overlap between the Ukrainian tragedy and global warming has had to do with energy. The fact that Russia’s war machine is funded by fossil fuel, and that Putin uses control of gas supplies to intimidate Western Europe, has begun to shake up energy policy: Germany has moved up its target date for a conversion to clean energy, for instance. And, if the Biden Administration has caved to Big Oil’s insistence on increasing the supply of hydrocarbons, at least that stance is being more urgently and broadly questioned. Last week, in the Times, Thomas Friedman insisted that, instead of doubling down on fossil fuels, we should “double the pace of our transition” off them, because “nothing would threaten Putin more than that,” and because the temperature in the Antarctic last month was seventy degrees above normal. “Our civilization simply cannot afford this anymore,” he wrote, a point underlined by today’s release of a dire and comprehensive report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But, even if we seize this moment to dramatically accelerate the transition to solar and wind power—even if we somehow manage to meet the scientific mandate to cut emissions in half by 2030—we’ll still face the huge and unavoidable consequences of the warming that we’ve already unleashed. And chief among these is the fact that we’re steadily shrinking the area of the planet that humans can inhabit, and, in the process, creating refugees and migrants in what will almost certainly turn out to be unprecedented numbers: the United Nations estimates that we could see two billion climate migrants before the century is out. So the fact that Putin has created four million refugees in a matter of weeks is a test of our systems.

Those systems are straining. Volunteers have been showing up at European train stations offering spare rooms to fleeing Ukrainians, but there’s probably a limit to that kind of generosity. A resident of Vienna named Tanja Maier provides a daily account on Twitter of her efforts to help people arriving in that city, and recently she wrote that some of them are heading back home, “as the disenchantment sets in and the reality of the refugee experience in Europe without funds takes its toll. So much is luck and money. You need both.” The sheer scale of the exodus is overwhelming: Moldova, for instance, has seen four hundred thousand people come across its border; most have moved on to other countries, such as Romania, but a hundred thousand have been absorbed there—in a country of 2.6 million people.

The United States is a country of three hundred and thirty million people, with a per-capita income more than four times that of Moldova, which makes the Biden Administration’s offer, issued last month, to take in a hundred thousand Ukrainians, seem slightly less generous. Nevertheless, Biden’s move is a politically brave one, considering how, in recent elections, Republicans have demagogued anything to do with immigration. He’s got away with it so far, though—partly because the daily pictures from Ukraine make it clear just how necessary it is, and partly because, as refugees from other war-torn territories have pointed out, Ukrainians are white. As an Afghan refugee in an Italian camp told a reporter, “People who used to give spare clothes and food to us are now giving them to Ukrainians.”

Even Biden’s offer, however, demonstrates how broken our immigration and refugee systems are: a group of Ukrainian refugees told the Washington Post that visits to U.S. embassies in European capitals had proved useless. “They told us, ‘Sorry, we don’t have any options for you yet,’ ” one man said. So they flew to Mexico City and on to Tijuana, where some fifteen hundred are now camped a few yards from the U.S. border. The closest thing to a register of the refugees is a numbered list that volunteers keep on a yellow legal pad, the Post reported. “No. 612 was Gleb Prochukhan, 15, the No. 3-ranked junior table tennis player in Kharkiv, whose English was good enough to translate for some of the foreign volunteers who had descended on Tijuana with blankets and protein bars and tacos.”

Of course, the number of Ukrainian refugees on the border is nothing compared with the number of refugees from South and Central America, who have been stuck at the border for years, ever since the Trump Administration, under the guise of covid protection, stopped taking their applications. The Biden Administration may lift that policy next month, but it hasn’t said how many people it will admit, or under what circumstances. On Friday, the Post reported, “A family of Honduran asylum seekers, turned away at the border, passed by the Ukrainian encampment to ask for small change.”

Hondurans and their Central American neighbors, in fact, have as strong a claim to shelter here as Ukrainians do. By 2019, Honduras was in the fifth year of a devastating drought, linked to climate change, that, in some parts of the country, cut corn yields by more than seventy per cent. An internal report from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, obtained by NBC News, found that a crop shortage was the “overwhelming factor driving record-setting migration” from Guatemala. The report describes that shortage as leaving citizens “in extreme poverty and starving.” Then, in 2020—at the end of the most active hurricane season ever recorded in the Atlantic—within two weeks, two huge storms crashed into the region, doing damage estimated at forty per cent of Honduras’s G.D.P. By contrast, the costliest U.S. natural disaster ever, Hurricane Katrina, which displaced a million or more Americans, dented the nation’s economy by only one per cent of its G.D.P. (And Hondurans did next to nothing to cause the climate crisis that drove that drought and those storms—the average Honduran emits one-fifteenth as much carbon dioxide as the average American.)

We should obviously care about Ukrainian suffering, but we should also care about the suffering of Central Americans, and of others—such as Somalians, who have been enduring an escalating drought. As Reuters reported last month, “It has not rained on Habiba Maow Iman’s farm in southern Somalia for two years. Her animals are dead; her crops failed. . . . The 61-year-old is one of tens of thousands seeking aid on the outskirts” of a refugee camp that is now in the midst of a measles epidemic. Somalia’s per-capita carbon emissions are about 0.3 per cent of America’s.

Which brings us back to the present moment, and the opportunity that President Biden now has to dramatically shift the tenor of this debate in favor of making immigration and asylum easier. To do so, he’ll need to argue on practicalities as well as on principles. Most Americans agree that immigrants are hardworking and improve the country. Meanwhile, unemployment is approaching record lows, and many people sense that we need more bodies in the workforce. To look at the health-care industry, for example, if you’re a rural American, you know that we’re running desperately short of doctors; if you’re an aging American, you know that there’s already a dire shortage of home health-care workers, which is going to get worse in the years ahead. And so on. America’s population is barely growing now; as Derek Thompson pointed out in The Atlantic last month, 2021 saw the slowest growth in the nation’s history, in part because so many people died of covid, in part because fewer people had babies, and—in the largest part—because immigration has collapsed, from more than a million people annually, before Donald Trump entered office, to less than a quarter of a million last year.

Shifting to a more welcoming set of immigration policies will require figuring out systems to take migrants in and resettle them, but lots of people are ready to assist. Krish Vignarajah, the president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (I serve on the advisory board), told NPR that, during the past year, a hundred thousand Americans have volunteered to help, as they watched first Afghans and then Ukrainians be forced from their homes. Refugees, she said, “need everything from organizations like ours picking them up at the airport, you know, helping them find affordable housing—obviously not an easy thing to do at this moment given the housing crisis. It’s about helping them find new jobs, integrate into their communities, navigate public transportation… taking them to doctor’s appointments, helping them enroll kids in public school.”

This task won’t be easy, not logistically and not politically, but every tenth-of-a-degree rise in temperature shrinks the habitable world by some fraction, forcing more people from their homes. Just as Putin’s war gives Biden a new opportunity to make the case for renewable energy, so it gives him an opening to address this intractable problem. In both cases, it may be a last chance before climate change overtakes us.

Amazon Workers’ Historic Win And Corporate America’s Ongoing Greed

If it can’t fight off unions directly, it will do so indirectly by blaming inflation on wage increases, and then cheer on the Fed as it slows the economy just enough to eliminate American workers’ new bargaining clout.

On Friday, Amazon—America’s wealthiest, most powerful, and fiercest anti-union corporation, with the second-largest workforce in the nation (union-busting Walmart being the largest), lost out to a group of warehouse workers in New York who voted to form a union.

If anyone had any doubts about Amazon’s determination to prevent this from ever happening, its scorched-earth anti-union campaign last fall in its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse should have put those doubts to rest.

In New York, Amazon used every tool it had used in Alabama. Many of them are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act but Amazon couldn’t care less. It’s rich enough to pay any fine or bear any public relations hit.

The company has repeatedly fired workers who speak out about unsafe working conditions or who even suggest that workers need a voice.

As its corporate coffers bulge with profits—and its founder and executive chairman practices conspicuous consumption on the scale not seen since the robber barons of the late 19th century—Amazon has become the poster child for 21st-century corporate capitalism run amok.

Much of the credit for Friday’s victory over Amazon goes to Christian Smalls, whom Amazon fired in the spring of 2020 for speaking out about the firm’s failure to protect its warehouse workers from COVID. Smalls refused to back down. He went back and organized a union, with extraordinary skill and tenacity.

Smalls had something else working in his favor, which brings me to Friday’s superb jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report showed that the economy continues to roar back to life from the COVID recession.

With consumer demand soaring, employers are desperate to hire. This has given American workers more bargaining clout than they’ve had in decades. Wages have climbed 5.6 percent over the past year.

The acute demand for workers has bolstered the courage of workers to demand better pay and working conditions from even the most virulently anti-union corporations in America, such as Amazon and Starbucks.

Is this something to worry about? Not at all. American workers haven’t had much of a raise in over four decades. Most of the economy’s gains have gone to the top.

Besides, inflation is running so high that even the 5.6 percent wage gain over the past year is minimal in terms of real purchasing power.

But corporate America believes these wage gains are contributing to inflation. As the New York Times solemnly reported, the wage gains “could heat up price increases.“

This is pure rubbish. But unfortunately, the chair of the Federal Reserve Board, Jerome Powell, believes it. He worries that “the labor market is extremely tight,”and to “an unhealthy level.

As a result, the Fed is on the way to raising interest rates repeatedly in order to slow the economy and reduce the bargaining leverage of American workers.

Pause here to consider this: The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that corporate profits are at a 70-year high. You read that right. Not since 1952 have corporations done as well as they are now doing.

Across the board, American corporations are flush with cash. Although they are paying higher costs (including higher wages), they’ve still managed to increase their profits. How? They have enough pricing power to pass on those higher costs to consumers, and even add some more for themselves.

When American corporations are overflowing with money like this, why should anyone think that wage gains will heat up price increases, as the Times reports? In a healthy economy, corporations would not be passing on higher costs—including higher wages—to their consumers. They’d be paying the higher wages out of their profits.

But that’s not happening. Corporations are using their record profits to buy back enormous amounts of their own stock to keep their share prices high, instead.

The labor market isn’t “unhealthily” tight, as Jerome Powell asserts; corporations are unhealthily fat. Workers don’t have too much power; corporations do.

The extraordinary win of the workers of Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse is cause for celebration. Let’s hope it marks the beginning of a renewal of worker power in America.

Yet the reality is that corporate America doesn’t want to give up any of its record profits to its workers. If it can’t fight off unions directly, it will do so indirectly by blaming inflation on wage increases, and then cheer on the Fed as it slows the economy just enough to eliminate American workers’ new bargaining clout.