the broader ecology movement has always been composed of different shades of ‘green.’  there have been both conservatives and radicals, reformists and revolutionaries in the movement.

in light of the current crisis, many have wondered if more is possible today than what might have been for the last 40 years.  the economic, political and military hegemony of US Empire and neoliberalism have fractured for the entire world to see, and as the rulers scurry around to pick up the pieces and hold it together, we’ve begun to see sparks of autonomous movements from below.  the student and worker movement to defend public education advancing in California is probably the most well known example of activity from below independent of official society’s channels for reform.  it might finally be asked on a mass level what we can do independent of the Democratic Party, and labor and university bureaucracies.

the same might be happening within the ecology movement.  green anarchists and environmental anti-authoritarians have long worked parallel reformist environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club with, however, much criticism, but a gulf has long existed between the two.  in addition to this, ideas of independent activity from below that challenged the powers of the state and ruling parties among the rank-and-file has been either sparse or met with reticence.

while the failure at Copenhagen might be considered nothing new by many radical tendencies in the movement, the mass activity that preceded that disappointing week could be thought to have raised both the expectations and confidence of environmentalists across the world.

recently there has two items in the news that raise the question of new possibilities in the ecology movement:

Save Greenpeace
Greenpeace has long utilized radical tactics, but without theoretically questioning the role of the state or capital in the devastation of the environment.  with the appointment of the new director for the organization’s climate campaign, some in the organization are challenging the leadership’s willingness to collaborate withsome of the worst polluters.  the question is, will this be generalized to include all of the ruling class?  will some of the membership swing to the left and help build an ecology movement from below?

The Wrong Kind of Green
reflecting on Copenhagen, journalist Johan Hari has published an indictment of those environmental organizations that have begun working with some of the worst polluters, such as Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy.

(here is an interview with Hari on Democracy Now!)

in his article, Hari cites other examples, so how is this new?  is this the beginning of an accelerating trend in the ecology movement, in which more and more organizations swing to the right and lose even the veneer of maintaining “independent” environmental position?

part of this may be due to the crisis by which capital and the state have lost the ability to afford granting concessions, but if this is the beginning and the middle falls out of the ecology movement we can only expect increased polarization.  if this is the case then the left wing of the ecology movement needs to, now more than ever, organize, organize, organize!