A guest blog on cultural transformation, another on how corporations co-opted Earth Day and the environmental movement, plus analysis of how the NM legislature is controlled by gas & oil. A call to action for all of us.
After a few announcements, we offer summaries and links to last week’s three posts, then a poem from Pablo Neruda that is entirely appropriate to our shelter-in-place COVID lives.
Introducing Retake Conversations
Since February 3, 2017, Retake Our Democracy has aired over 150 radio shows on KSFR, Santa Fe’s public radio station. Covid-19 forced us to begin recording the show from home. This posed technology challenges initially, but also opened up the opportunity to produce not just a radio show and podcast but, in shifting to Zoom to record, to also produce a video recording of the interview.
The first Retake Conversation was recorded on Earth Day, April 22, and aired on the 25th. I interviewed Philip Shepherd, an internationally respected author and trainer from Toronto. All I can say is that Shepherd is an extraordinarily compelling conversationalist. We discussed the cultural and economic forces that have driven us to the verge a climate catastrophe with a capitalist system insisting upon constant growth and over-consumption. Shepherd also described the kind of cultural and personal transformation that is required to escape the grips of capitalism and how Covid-19 is forcing us to confront the need for this transformation. The recording of this interview is available for viewing now by clicking here.
Retake Conversations will be posted each Saturday afternoon under the Actions & Events menu on our website. Simply hover over Actions & Events and a pull down menu will appear with Retake Conversations.
Fix the Senate: A Call to Action
Over the last weeks, Retake posts have outlined a range of economic, climate, and social justice issues. We have pointed to how low-income communities and the Earth bear the brunt of our actions. In Saturday’s post (link below) we describe how the gas & oil industry controls the conversation at the Roundhouse, functioning as a gatekeeper that protects their industry from any regulation and from the State advancing meaningful transition planning or any regulation of the industry.
Gas & Oil is not alone. Big pharma, insurance, banking, and other lobbyists mirror the efforts of gas & oil and effectively control our state legislature. This is all described with great precision by Common Cause NM and NM Ethics Watch, as summarized in Saturday’s blog post below.
We have 6 weeks before the June primary. If we ever want to achieve a just transition, the Health Security Act, increased funding for early childhood, tax reform to fix the most regressive state tax code in the nation, and to invest substantially in our education system, the political composition of the NM State Senate must be changed. Currently five Democrats in Name Only (DINO) Senators, along with the GOP, control the dialog and prevent meaningful justice legislation from moving through the Roundhouse.
There are challengers who are mounting spirited campaigns against these DINOs. A recent poll shows that Neomi Martinez Parra is within one point of Senator John Arthur Smith, perhaps the most formidable of all the DINOs. That is stunning. And she was just endorsed by Congresswoman Deb Haaland. But before Covid, challengers like Neomi were counting on spring canvassing efforts to counter the huge supply of industry campaign contributions that will fuel misinformation mailings and television ads that will begin flooding the airwaves and filling mail boxes. This does not bode well for our challengers who operate without support from corporate benefactors.
Here is the good news. We have six weeks, you have time, and people are home, more willing to hear from you. And so Retake asks you to do this:
- Get motivated. If you haven’t already done so, read over Saturday’s post. A summary and link are provided at the bottom of the page. Then take a look at Eric Shimamoto’s Fix the Senate, a video presentation that describes precisely how a handful of DINOs control the NM state legislature. More importantly, Fix the Senate describes how NY activists used their primary election to fix their DINO-controlled Senate and how the following legislative session led to a flood of good bills landing on Governor Cuomo’s desk. We can do this here. Please take a look at Fix the Senate.
- Find a race. Retake Our Democracy is developing an election page on our website. It currently lists contact information for seven NM State Senate races where challengers are facing off with Senators who have aligned with the GOP to defeat good legislation. Contact a campaign and offer your help. They can use your time to make calls and your financial resources so they can create mailings and ads to counter the corporate monies flooding these races. Click here to view the campaigns.
- Call a friend or two. You are much more likely to sustain a phone banking effort if you have the psychological support of a pal or two. Get them into the race and schedule a daily chat to compare notes on how each of you did. You’ll be more motivated to make calls if you have a friend to whom you are reporting on your efforts.
We’ve got time and many of us have financial resources. Please pick a race and dive in. If we can win 2-3 of these races, the political chemistry changes in the Roundhouse. Imagine it is June 3, you wake up to find that your challenger has won the primary by 19 votes. You read further and find that two other DINOs were unseated. Now fast forward to March 19 when the 2021 Roundhouse session ends and a flood of good bills have worked through the legislature and are waiting for the Governor’s signature. It happened in NY and it can happen in NM. Covid has made it more difficult, but you can make it happen. Let’s do this..
Zoominars Coming May 5, May 19, May 26 and June 9
For more information on each of these Zoominars, including links to pre-register, click here. You must pre-register to secure a “seat” in the Zoom Room. On the same page, you will find links to videos of our first two Zoominars, one with the Land Commissioner and the other a PRC Democratic candidate forum. Below are the four upcoming Zoominars.
- Tuesday, May 5, 6:30–8 pm. “Will Covid Kill the Fracking Industry & If So, What Can NM Do?” with Dahr Jamail, internationally celebrated author and Greg Rogers, expert in gas and oil pricing, accounting and accountability.
- Tuesday May 19, 6:30–8 pm. “How Gas & Oil Have Purchased the NM State Legislature & What We Can Do About It” with Heather Ferguson, Executive Director, Common Cause NM; Dede Feldman, former NM State Senator and author; and Kathleen Sabo, NM Ethics Watch.
- Tuesday May 26, 6:30–8 pm. “The State Budget Crisis: Ways to Balance the Budget Without Sacrificing Investments in NM’s Future,” with three leaders from NM Voices for Children: Amber Wallin, Deputy Director; Bill Jordan, Government Relations Officer; and Paige Knight, Research & Policy Analyst.
- Tuesday June 9, 6:30–8 pm. “How Public Banking Can Support a Just Transition & Economic Justice in NM,” with Elaine Sullivan, President of the Board, Alliance for Economic Prosperity. She will be joined by a series of guest experts on various aspects of public banking.
A Look Back At Three Important Posts
Almost as if it were planned, last week’s posts worked together to lead to a call for action to create a new political environment in Washington and New Mexico, an environment that would be far more responsive to grassroots efforts to effect tranformational change.
Tuesday’s post with guest blogger Philip Shepherd illuminates why a cultural transformation is needed and the shift in personal perspective necessary to creating that transformation. Then on Earth Day, Alexandra Lakind brought into relief how corporations have subtly co-opted the environmental movement from day one, or at least from Earth Day I, shifting the onus of responsibility from them to us.
Finally, the week closed out with a post on how the NM legislature is bought and paid for by the gas and oil industry and how this creates a formidable challenge to those seeking economic and climate justice in NM. As described above, that post is a Call to Action, for if we are ever to achieve any regulation of the gas and oil industry, or reform the tax code, or fully fund early childhood education, or secure a woman’s right to choose, we need to adjust the political chemistry in the Roundhouse.
Retake has been advocating in the Roundhouse since the 2017 session and we have encountered the same challenges and roadblocks. We clearly will never achieve a just transition or economic, social and climate justice operating within the same system. And so, Retake is encouraging all of you to pick a race and devote some time (phone calls) and or financial resources to these races, so please use the resources above to get in the game!
“Covid Is Us,” A Guest Blog By Philip Shepherd; Plus Two George Carlin Videos
Tuesday, April 21. Philip Shepherd’s guest blog was a perfect introduction to Earth Day the next day, as he pinpoints the cultural and economic forces that impel us toward a climate catastrophe. Shepherd also describes the kind of cultural transformation that is required to escape the grips of capitalism, and how Covid-19 is forcing us to confront the need for this transformation. Please share this post with others; Shepherd’s “Covid Is Us” needs to be read by many.
How Corporations & the Media Made Earth Day & Ecology About Us, Not Them, From the Very Beginning
Tuesday, April 22. The post offers a tribute to Earth Day with guest blogger Alexandra Lakind, daughter of Santa Fe activist, Les Lakind. She does an excellent job of tracing how Madison Avenue shifted the onus of responsibility for environmental degradation from the corporate sector to us, a maneuver that Lakind claims has hindered the movement for decades. From Lakind: “This sanitized version of environmentalism has continued to plague the movement; individual acts like biking or purchasing zero-emission vehicles have overshadowed systemic concerns such as underfunded public transit and an oil-driven military industrial complex. ”
NM State Legislature Owned by the Gas & Oil Industry; Plus Trump’s Brazen Disregard for Truth, the Media, and Our Health & Safety
Saturday, April 25. This post offers a glimpse at Trumpian stupidity, and then an examination of an exhaustive Common Cause–Ethics Watch Report on how gas & oil controls the NM Legislature. The only conclusion to be drawn is that for the next four months, we must focus our advocacy on the primary and general election, first to fix the NM State Senate and then to restore sanity to the White House and U.S. Senate.
A Poem from Pablo Neruda
Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about…
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with
Now I’ll count up to twelve
Juan Gonzalez Airs the Same Concern I Have: What If Trump Refuses To Accept Election Results
In two and a half minutes, Juan Gonzalez captures exactly what is so wrong about Trump’s praise for the “Liberate” protesters and what it could mean for the election. His concerns don’t seem far fetched, indeed, they seem eminently possible. If you need a laugh about now, after Gonzalez finishes, stay on the link and Stephen Colbert will follow.
Paul and Roxanne