enviromental justice

Factions of the Democratic Party

Sequel to my Post in Factions in the REpublican party, Factions in the Democratic Party Ok so last time I went over the factions of the Republican Party, lets do the same for the democrats.  Two things to understand first that are critically.  Firstly like with the GOP, I am not talking about the Centrists who are part of the party, even though they are a major element.  The centrists are basically an entirely separate party who due to the two party system split themselves between the Dems and the Reps, and are sort of their own thing, but know that especially among the leadership of the Dems there are a lot of centrists which is where Clinton fell as a leader on the political spectrum, I am more talking about the main democratic base just like I was with the Republicans.  Secondly,  a big difference between the democrats and Republicans is that the democrats are more a collection of core interest voters, each of whom has a certain topic which is “there” core issue.  There are fully formed ideologies in the Democrats but they don’t really vote on those, while in the Republican party the seven factions are roughly speaking seven fully formed ideologies, who reluctantly work together.  This will be more important I swear. So what are the interest groups of the Democratic Party?

    The Civil Rights Faction

     Those who prioritize Civil Rights.  These are the people who are marginalized and oppressed groups within the US and want to fight back against systemic oppression. Women, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Jews, Muslim, GSM, the disabled, and any other group who have historically been targeted by bigotry and hate make up this faction.  As you can tell that is a wide variety of people and they are not really united, I mean go unto any Social Justice forum and you will see African American activists being sexist, Feminists being transphobic, Gay men being nasty to gay women (and both to bisexuals), Transgendered people being Islamophobic, Muslim hating Jews and via versa etc etc.  

      But in the last decade has lead to a far greater sense of shared identity among these various groups, they fight and they squabble and many reject the notion of having anything in common, and many are bigots among them but we’ve been seeing more and more people give at least lip service on all or almost all of the issues, which is why I am counting them as a single voting bloc.  Or rather, when we are up against the Republican Party they are a single voting bloc, because the GOP has made it its business to target…all of those groups and so among people who identify strong with these groups, they tend to serve as a single faction.  When I say identify btw, I mean that they understand they are an oppressed group and make voting decisions based on that choice.  As this election showed, not all women come out and vote based on gender issues, not all Latinos vote based on racial issues, not all gay men vote based upon homphobia ect.  But many do, and for good reasons because one party is trying to kill them and the other is mostly content to say how sad it is as they die, so among all of these groups you have identity factions trying to protect their lives, and during election years they tend to come together and vote as a bloc. 

        They care primarily about hate crimes, the rise of the Alt Right, BLM and other examples of police brutality, Stop and Frisk, Immigration reform, an insensitive and uncaring media that treats them like spoiled children because they don’t care much for being abused regularly, completely segregated and unfair school system, anti welfare policies aimed at screwing them over, a totally unrepresentative entertainment industry that thrives on offensive negative stereotypes, a chunk of the country that seems to think women having control over their own bodies and Gay people wanting to get married is somehow something to be contested over, and of course an internet culture that basically sees the existence of free speech means that it is their duty to make these already oppressed people miserable every minute of every day.  Also keeping the Republicans out of power because the Republicans have made it clear they want to kill these people just to watch them die.   

     Class Advocates

 The second group are the old founders of the modern democratic Party, people who care about class.  These are ex union workers, the lower classes, working classes and increasingly the middle class.  They aren’t all white, but the majority of them are, and they know full well they are getting fucked over by the current state of the country.  They are furious primarily at the wealth gap, declining wages, lobbying in politics, these horrible trade deals that seem to exist to fuck them over, the total lack of political oversight on corporate shadiness, the total breakdown of welfare, the constant threat to Social Security/Medicare/Madicaid, the total lack of a reasonable healthcare policy, the fact that Wall street basically wasn’t punished for the crash, the low Corporate Tax rate, the rising wealth gap, the slow death of the middle class, right to work states, our broken infrastructure, and lobbying, seriously these guy really hate lobbying.  Some of them defected to Trump during the election in a few Rust Belt States.   

     The Anti War Faction

 Then we have the anti war people, who really want the War on Terror to end and have been spending the last 15 years in a constant state of endless sadness.  They want to reduce the war, they want to cease torture, they want to close Gitmo, they want to want to stop supporting coups abroad, they want nuclear disarmament, and they want to ratchet down tensions with the rest of the world.  The thing they really want is for us to rethink our relationship to Israel and Saudi Arabia.  These guys never get what they want and live in a state of constant sadness.   

      The Environmentalists 

 Then we have the environmentalists who want us all not to die from Climate Change.  Their primary goal is for us not to die from climate change, and likely because we never listen to them, we are all going to die from Climate Change, thanks Baby Boomers thanks a lot.   

      Civil Liberties

 And finally the people who want to defend Civil Liberties, they think that the 1st and 4th amendment have taken a beating that needs to be corrected, they want a non corporate owned Press, they want to curtail the power of the CIA and NSA, they want greater government openness and government accountability, they want to have more accountability for government screw ups and they want to end the War on Drugs.   Oh and also everybody on this list would like Prison Reform, College Reform, and Public Education reform.   Now you might notice something looking at all of these groups, none of them have really gotten much of their core demands met since 1980, or at all, because again the Democratic Party is not actually led by leftists, its led by Centrists who have a different sent of priorities than the liberals.  


     All five of these factions feel like they aren’t ever heard, like the main power centers ignore them and don’t take them seriously, like they are constantly fighting against society at large, and every day things get worse for their interest. And they are correct because Reaganism and Neoliberalism have really fucked over the Left.  Also notice something important, Hillary Clinton doesn’t belong to any of these groups, because she is in the Centrist Group, within the Civil Rights the Feminists mostly like her but mostly because they want somebody to finally break the glass ceiling but that is about it, none of these groups were really having their interests met by either Clinton or Kaine.   But looking at these groups you will notice…they don’t contradict.  You can care about the death of the middle class, systemic oppression, the environment, opposing the war abroad, and NSA overreach without any ideological contradiction, which simply isn’t true of the Republicans.  Jingoism, Libertarianism, Alt Right, Know Nothing Nationalism, Conservatism, the Religious Right and the Bushiness Party all actively contradict each other and if it wasn’t for the two party system they would basically fall apart.  That just isn’t true for the Democrats, and that is why our infighting still hasn’t gotten to the level of vitriol that you see on the right.  It is also why they turn out up vote more, the GOP base (not its leaders its base) is more ideological than us, and so if they feel like their ideology is dying out, they commit themselves fully. If the Left actually unified for once in their life and put aside those difference, we could basically emerge victorious because if the five factions worked in tandem we would win over a lot of republicans and independents, and between these five groups you have a majority of the country, and in particular among the youth.  As the elder population starts to die off, these views will become more and more mainstream, we just need to harness that energy in the meantime.   

Watch on fuckyeahenvironmentaljustice.tumblr.com

Following a four-year legal effort, a settlement was reached in a case NRDC brought on behalf of itself and two members (Sheila Holt-Orsted and Beatrice Holt) of an African-American family whose homestead was adjacent to a landfill contaminated with toxic trichloroethylene (TCE).

Watch on resistkxl.tumblr.com

The Manchester neighborhood in Houston is completely surrounded by Valero, Texas Recycling, a car crushing facility, the Port of Houston, Highway 610, a rail yard and a waste water treatment plant. These are two aerial photos of the Manchester community that my dad, Juan Parras, took a few years ago. The area in green is of course Manchester. The third image is a shot of the Houston Ship Channel. You can see the extent of industry’s concentration here in the “Petro-Metro.”

As if this isn’t bad enough, another industrial pollution threat is looming, one that could stretch all the way across the middle of the United States. President Obama is deciding soon whether to approve a pipeline that would stretch from Canada to Houston.

TEJAS has done work over the last year in collaboration with the Sierra Club and others to bring attention to the Keystone XL pipeline. We do not support extraction of the Tarsands in Alberta, Canada, we do not support a cross-national pipeline and we certainly do not support it being refined in a community that is already inundated with industry.

The other community that the pipeline is destined for is Port Arthur. Hilton Kelley, who recently won the Goldman Award for his environmental justice work, has come out against the pipeline. The community in Port Arthur is similarly overburdened with petrochemical plants and refineries.

The petrochemical industry is green-washing the tarsands in Canada, calling it “Ethical Oil”. Of course, we are all smarter than that. During my trip to London for the BP shareholder’s meeting this spring, I had the good fortune of meeting some great people. Among them were indigenous leaders Clayton Thomas-Muller, Melina Massimo, and Jasmine Thomas. Clayton works with the Indigenous Environmental Network, Melina with Greenpeace and Jasmine with IEN I believe. Jasmine’s mother was with a delegation of indigenous leaders from Canada that met with the United Houma Nation and Indigenous leaders from Ecuador after the BP Drilling Disaster. It was a powerful meeting. Perhaps, it’s time to gather everyone once again. This pipeline, if approved, would be absolutely devastating to Manchester and Port Arthur, not to mention neighbors of the tarsands in Canada, and countless communities in between.

In my intro to nonprofits class we have the option to make a video of ourselves pitching a nonprofit organization idea and post in on the website for classmates to pick which group they want to be in. You don’t have to pitch an idea but I kind of want to. However, it’s the most intimidating thing. Lately I’ve taken a strong interest in environmental justice and green space in underprivileged communities. I would love to pitch an organization based around that concept but I’m too timid. What happens if no one wants to work for my organization, ya feel me? But also in the “big girl world” I’m going to have to take pride and confidence in my ideas and passions so maybe this is a good place to start.

I’m pro-choice, I’m all for [it], in this modern day, but…again looking from
the Indian standpoint in Indian society, to me, to argue about just equal pay
and all that kind of thing, to me that struggle’s like frosting on the cake.
When you get done with the survival stuff, we can tackle that
(Smith 2008, 130).
—  Madonna Thunderhawk qutd in Smith, Andrea. Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely alliances. 2008