The Green Party of California – 2012-05-11 01:05:12
ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (May 2012) — It is hard to imagine a more reactionary corporate Democrat than the current senior Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein. She exemplifies power as it is now wielded in the higher circles of a violent and ruthless plutocratic system hiding behind a democratic faÃ§ade.
Feinstein’s politics are characterized by the gradual destruction of whatever remnants of democracy still exist in our country; full sup- port for militarism, imperialism and criminal wars; and the destruction of life giving ecologies by big corporations and their political allies.
Democracy vs. Plutocracy
In the struggle now being fought by people all over the world for their democratic rights in the workplace and daily life as well as for direct representation in society’s larger political and economic decisions, Feinstein has always been on the wrong side of the struggle. She and her husband, the finance capitalist Richard C. Blum, are extremely wealthy, own six different homes, an entire hotel and a private jet for their own exclusive use.
She could fund her own campaigns for public office, but instead takes large donations from dozens of the biggest corporations. We need public financing of elections, instant runoffs and proportional representation to begin to break the stranglehold of the 1 percent, but Feinstein opposes all of them. She favors the continued corporate domination of politics.
As head of the Senate’s Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee from 2001-2007, Feinstein illustrated the corrupt nature of high-level politics today by supporting the appropriation of over $1.5 billion to two military contractors, URS Corporation and Perini Corpora- tion, both companies that her husband, Richard Blum, had a controlling interest in.
When her actions were exposed, she quietly resigned from the subcommittee, and of course, there was no investigation by the Senate’s “ethics” committee, chaired by Feinstein’s friend, Barbara Boxer, who accepts rides to California on Feinstein’s personal jet.
Feinstein also supports the relentless elimination of the civil liberties of the people while corporations are given more and more rights. Even the SF Chronicle, generally a big supporter of Feinstein, recognized that she was one of the “biggest cheerleaders” for renewing Bush’s PATRIOT Act, adding that it went “too far” in “erasing bedrock guarantees” of the Constitution.
Militarism, Imperialism and War
A member of two capitalist class imperialist private policy making bodies, the Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission, Feinstein has never seen a war she did not like. During her tenure in the Senate, she has voted for every war possible.
She never questions the need for yet another bombing campaign or invasion and occupation of some poor and weak country that has oil or strategic location that the U.S. ruling class wants to get their hands on.
Feinstein also chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, wildly approving both the appointment of General Petraeus to head the CIA and the massive use of drones to kill thousands of people, even U.S. citizens who are identified as enemies, but whose criminal guilt has not been established.
The ongoing and accelerating global ecological crisis is alarming, and is a deeply rooted consequence of the capitalist system’s production and exchange activities, for profit and accumulation. As could be expected, Feinstein and her husband’s political and economic activities routinely undercut ecological needs in favor of the accumulation of more wealth and power for themselves and their favored system, capitalism.
One example is Feinstein’s relationship to wealthy corporate farmer Stewart Resnick, owner of over 100,000 acres of prime farmland in the San Joaquin Valley. He has written big check after big check to her political campaigns, as well as hosted her at at least two of his mansions. Over the past few decades he has also given several million dollars to the Democratic and Republican Parties and their candidates.
Then, when Resnick called Feinstein in 2009 to weigh in on the side of corporate agribusiness in a drought fueled ecological dispute over water to big landowners or water for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s ecological needs, Feinstein jumped in, pushing the agribusiness viewpoint onto two Cabinet level secretaries and calling for a sweeping review of the science to allow more water to go to Resnick and other big operators.
Due largely to excessive water diversions, the Delta’s ecology is in serious trouble, with fish populations in catastrophic decline. Jim Metropulos, a Sierra Club leader, representing an organization that always endorses Feinstein, and almost always backs Democrats in every election, stated that “it is very disappointing that one person can make this kind of request, and all of a sudden he has a senator on the phone, calling up (Interior Secretary) Salazar.”
Would it be too much to hope that the Sierra Club would learn from this and other examples and draw appropriate conclusions about Feinstein and the Democratic Party?
Blum and Feinstein also favor and work for “wilderness,” she in the Senate sponsoring legislation to set aside public lands as preserves, and he as a member of the Governing Council of the Wilderness Society.
One problem with their approach lies with the dualism inherent in the concept of “wilderness” as something standing outside and separate from humans. In fact, the “wilderness” areas of the world have been or still are inhabited by indigenous people, who have sometimes been exterminated by industrial society, supposedly creating “wilderness.”
In any case, humans are never outside of nature, our lives depend upon it, and we live as part of nature and we change nature simply by existing. The earth, nature, plants and animals including humans, must be viewed as a part of a whole, and destroying the air, water, oceans, and forests that lie outside “wilderness” will impact, even destroy the “wilderness” as well. The nature and politics of Blum’s Wilderness Society can be seen by looking at its Governing Council and one of its “corporate partners.”
The Governing Council is filled with the super rich like Blum and includes a member of the Getty oil family, a member of the Roosevelt family, a Rockefeller family in-law, a Texas Pacific Group private equity billionaire, an adviser to the Clinton-Gore White House and a past chairman of Recreational Equipment Company, which sells products for outdoor activities. Its leading corporate partner is Bank of America, which, for years financed mountain top removal to mine coal by Massey Energy and International Coal Group.
A leader of Rainforest Action Network correctly called this a “barbaric form of resource extraction,” an activity that, through the Bank of America, was profiting the Wilderness Society. Recently, under the pressure of direct action against it, the Bank of America cut back on but did not end such financing. The Blum-Feinstein-Wilderness Society approach of creating a few islands of non-development in a sea of life destroying capitalist ecocide is clearly inadequate as a strategy of ecological and human survival.
What is required is for us to envision what a rational, egalitarian, life affirming economy and society would look like and struggle to bring that system into reality. The long term survival of the planet and its wonderful life forms cannot be coaxed out of a system of alienation that tramples anything and everything that gets in the way of profits and capital accumulation. This is the reality that all of us, including Blum and Feinstein, must eventually face.