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Missing the Climate Forest

​​​On Sunday, COP 27 began in Cairo Egypt. Today, across America, we will have the 2022 elections. These two events: the yearly conference of international community seeking to address the growing climate crisis, and nation-wide elections focusing on crime, inflation, and reproductive rights, may not seem particularly related to the average news viewer, but they have much more in common than might meet the eye. It's actually quite puzzling that a clearer connection hasn’t been drawn between the election and the climate crisis. Despite an entire summer of devastating natural disasters, including brutal heatwaves in states like Nevada and near record flooding in Florida, both of which have important races, the Democrats have refused to highlight the climate crisis and bring into focus the devastating consequences of inaction. A greater focus on climate change would likely have proven a political boon to Democrats, a recent poll in October from Washington/Ipsos found that 79% of democratic voters are concerned about the climate crisis. What’s more, both African Americans and Latinos, core Democratic party constituencies essential to their victory, are more likely, not less, to say climate change is important to their vote. Politicians and pollsters are quick to point out, that the economy, abortion, and crimeare the issues voters list as top priorities, suggesting that focusing on the climate crisis would be a distraction from what voters truly care about. This misunderstands, however, the nature of climate change. Rising energy and food prices are, at least in part, a consequence of the climate crisis. The record-setting droughts and heatwaves of the last several years are putting increasing strain on our agricultural system and energy grid, hurting people’s pocketbooks in American, and leading to famine in the global south. Heatwaves increase rates of violent crimes like murder and domestic violence, in addition to the more widely reported direct deaths from heatstroke. The warming climate and encroaching human habitation are also increasing the spread of deadly pathogens, putting strain on our failing “healthcare” system. Even an issue like reproductive rights has strands of the climate crisis running through it, reproductive freedoms are needed to prevent further uncontrolled population growth (although this is obviously not the main reason to support a woman’s right to choose). These are merely a handful of examples, and we could continue the exercise with nearly every issue currently on the ballot. It's somewhat unclear why the Democrats are unable to make this case, especially as more of the capitalist class begins to be concerned around the climate crisis. Perhaps it is because the current Democratic leadership is simply constitutionally incapable of mounting a rigorous attack on Republicans regardless of the issue, be it voting rights, crime or climate change, or perhaps it’s simply the wrong group of capitalists who want change, with the major Democratic and Republican donors remaining unmoved by the growing crisis. As frustrating and unacceptable as this all is, our duty today remains the same: we must organize and fight against the fascist takeover of our nation this election, and then we must continue to organize against those in power, regardless of if it’s the feckless corporate sycophants currently in control, or the Neo-fascist order trying to end democracy. Fundamentally, neither of these parties has the ability to address the real material issues facing the American people. Make no mistake, however, that this does not mean these two groups are the same. Even if both groups will fail to deliver for the people when in power, it is far easier to organize and push the Democratic Party than it is to fight for representation in the presence of the explicitly anti-majoritarian Republicans, many of whom believe violence is a legitimate form of political expression. This election is about holding the line against authoritarian rule, so we have the space to create more favorable conditions for a responsive government to flourish. Voting alone will not get the American people the representative democracy we deserve, but it can stop it from being lost entirely, and it can lay the groundwork for future organizing in the political and economic spheres. So join us each Tuesday in growing solidarity, tomorrow to vote and every Tuesday in growing economic solidarity as we build an economic cudgel to force politicians and the donor class to pay attention to the climate crisis, to force America to fight for the side of humanity at the COP 27, and to make sure that our children will have a democracy and livable planet to inherit. Get out there and vote! #DSOT #UPM

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