If Bill McKibben’s A Communist, Call Me Alexandra Kollontai

hammer and sickleIncreasingly shameful to members of America’s conservative wing, Glenn Beck evokes Code Red by dismissing 350.org as “Communistic.” Sadly, he’s no match for our witty friend Bill McKibben.

Who the hey is Alexandra Kollontai, you ask? Why, she is the author of  The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman. Of the year 1917, a time when Bolsheviks were amassing their discontent, she wrote: “One of the most burning questions of the day was the high cost of living and the growing scarcity of vital necessities. Thus the women of the poverty-stricken strata had an indescribably hard time of it.”

Sound familiar? It should: food prices are rising and water’s running out in places (Yemen is considering moving its capital since Sana’a is almost bone dry). And worldwide men and women are putting down their, ahem, collective foot. So it’s familiar, but it’s not 1917. Instead, we are fully ensconced in a decidedly warmer 2011, surrounded by people who dangerously refuse the facts, people like the incendiary Glenn Beck.

One of our favorite organizations, 350.org made it on to Glenn Beck’s latest hitlist: for encouraging Egyptians, Jordanians, South Africans, Indians, and Americans around the world to show their commitment to a saner, cleaner future, Bill McKibben and his amazing posse were branded “communistic.”

Bill MckibbenIn a delightful tongue-in-cheek editorial published in the Washington Post, the head communist himself describes his new found calling:

And the next morning, on my first full day as a communist? I spent most of it outdoors, at the annual New England festival for young cross-country ski racers. More than 500 kids from across the region were competing, and I was standing on the toughest hill cheering. And here’s the thing – at least with the first- and second-graders, I was cheering for everyone equally. Not only that, but did you know where this particular type of skiing was invented? Norway.

Pretty sinister stuff, hey? Definitely the kind of behavior we’d associate with the leader of the 2011 Red Wave. The question is, why has Glenn targeted Bill – one of the world’s most respected people and the first to sound a very important and very loud alarm about the state of our planet?

Well, because he’s in favor of moderation. Because he demands corporate responsibility – real corporate responsibility. Because Bill knows that we can’t keep on living on the hog – at least not without some serious consequences: for us, and for the hapless generations to follow. But Glenn was really trying to deflect attention from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which Bill McKibben has recently criticized. Here’s what he wrote about that:

And yet I scourged them – because they’ve spent the past few years opposing any action on climate change. Indeed, they submitted a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency arguing that it should avoid regulating carbon emissions because, in the event of global warming, “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.”

To me that sounds absurd. Instead of the 16 companies that provided more than half the chamber’s budget adapting their business models to a world of safe renewable energy, they wished all people everywhere and forever to change their physiologies. But now I see that my protests can be read as a gesture of support for human solidarity, with all that implies.

You don’t have to be a communist to want clean water, clean skies, or decent food. For everyone. You don’t have to be Red to be Green. But one must question the intelligence of a person who would choose absolute chaos over peace, starvation over satiety, thirst over clean water, or cancer-causing airborne pollutants over a deep breath of fresh air.

If I’m a scarlet communist for wanting those things, then I’ll follow Bill McKibben any day.

:: Washington Post

More on Bill McKibben and the communist”ic” 350.org campaign:

Green Prophet’s Interview With Bill McKibben

Review of Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy

Get Mad With Bill McKibben

Cairo’s Climate Art Of Epic Proportions

image via souravdas

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One thought on “If Bill McKibben’s A Communist, Call Me Alexandra Kollontai”

  1. Arwa says:

    Great article although I still don’t get the big fuss about being a communist… Only in the US would anyone think that being a communist would be SO awful… Or an insult.

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