No sooner had your writer reported on the metastasis of the sustainability movement from universities to the religious community than it came to his attention that activists were doubling down on efforts to bankrupt the economy and sentence capitalism to the dustbin of history. Because: Social Justice.
This latest head scratcher is scheduled to take place in the Acton Institute’s own Grand Rapids’ backyard, and will feature a sustainability event in a Grand Valley State University facility named after an Acton Board Member. The Rapidian – a Grand Rapids web site for “citizen journalism” – reports:
An activist panel, breakout sessions, lunch, skill building sessions and a general activist assembly will be held at the John C. Kennedy Hall of Engineering in Grand Rapids on Saturday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the local community as well as students and staff.
Two of the key points that will be discussed at the event is that “green” capitalism is not a solution to climate change and that collective climate justice must be achieved through the development of strategies and the use of tactics that rely on direct action.
“We cannot buy our way out of this crisis and promoting ‘green’ consumption only perpetuates market-based false solutions and distracts us from investigating the profit driven, growth mantra that capitalism thrives on. We must reduce our collective consumption and imagine entirely new ways of living,” says Jeff Smith, lead facilitator of Change U. Smith has been involved in community organizing and social justice work for 30 years.
The activist panel will include Briana Ureña-Ravelo, who will be speaking about the climate crisis and white supremacy; Lee Sprague, a Native American who will talk about the climate crisis from an Indigenous perspective; Kevin Holohan, a GVSU professor who will be speaking about education and climate justice and Smith, who will be speaking about militarism and imperialism as it relates to climate justice….
Holohan says his presentation on education will provide insight into the historical, philosophical and cultural discourses that frame the natural world. He believes that education often reinforces a sense of human superiority to things outside of the human world. Collectively he hopes the group will begin to envision ways of reversing these trends.
“The primary importance of the notion of climate justice is that it forces us to honestly assess who wins and who loses as a result of neoliberal economics, global capitalism, industrial and technological development, and consumerism,” Holohan says, “and to figure out how to uphold the dignity of all living beings and hold accountable those most responsible for threats to individual and community livelihood.”
Good grief. One is tempted to intone the progressive chant: “Check your privilege” to all this cosmic, anti-capitalist claptrap. Claptrap, it must be added, uttered by progressives snuggled together in the confines of a brilliant new state university complex funded by Michigan taxpayers and local philanthropy that includes contributions from a man whose capitalist exercises helped realize the Hall of Engineering’s construction. Oh, hypocrisy, where is thy sting?
John C. and Nancy Kennedy are among the most active and generous philanthropists in West Michigan. Not only have Kennedy businesses provided hundreds of high-skilled jobs to the Grand Rapids area, but the family’s charitable efforts include the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, GVSU, Grand Rapids University Prep Academy, St. Mary’s Hospital and United Way among others.
In other words, the Kennedys’ business acumen and sense of Christian charity have done more to assist today’s poor than this cadre of anti-capitalists sheltered in a state university. Climate change may be proven to be catastrophic and caused by humans in the future, but the needs of the poor are immediate as well as beyond.
Crushing capitalism for the ostensible benefit of the poor simply makes no sense. One suspects that the “entirely new ways of living” to be discussed at this Grand Valley State University seminar will include some very old solutions that have been proven to fail again and again.