Threshold (SEAC national magazine), pages 14-15, May 1991
by Ericka Kurz
SEAC National Campaign Coordinator
Things are zooming along with our Energy Independence Campaign, as are other Corporate Accountability campaigns such as Coors, Hydro-Quebec, and British Petroleum.
Corporate Accountability is really about democracy and decentralized decision-making in all aspects of society. It's actually a very "American" idea, in the original Constitutional, Declaration of Independence sense. We must make every effort to display the way in which the original ideals that founded this country have been abused and practically redefined - ideals like the "free market," which is about balanced, competitive economics accountable to citizens; not about big business monopolizing resources and claiming the right to do whatever it wants. Adam Smith probably rolls over in his grave when oil companies claim their right to drill the Alaskan Refuge (according to his "free market" principle), in spite of citizen opposition. It is the oil, nuclear, auto, and coal companies which are impeding a transition to efficient, renewable energy. With what sort of free market politics are they really operating?
Forbes Magazine in March called several members of the SEAC National Council (our 17 regionally elected representative schools) and the National Office to ask about our Corporate Accountability Campaign. They had seen the report MBD (an investigative agency for corporate interests in Washington, D.C. - see the Jan/Feb. issue of Threshold) had written up on SEAC and the Catalyst Conference that had phrases sort of like "SEAC...restructure Capitalism...bla bla bla" in it and made us look a little bit like the New Youth Red Fascist Centralist Leninist Party. Anyhow, Forbes was curious (and as we know pro-business - they tore Ralph Nader apart in one of their issues); so we tried as best we could to explain that we're not anti-business or anti-corporate, but pro-democracy and pro-accountability. We're more red, white and blue than Chevron or Amoco any day.
Democracy and Energy are the two most important issues which we as environmental activists can focus on, since more democratic political, economic, and social institutions will allow people everywhere to protect the natural resources they depend on, and since efficient, renewable energy will allow for more decentralized control of our energy production. Energy underlies everything: with an oil-, nuclear-, and gasoline-based energy system we have pesticide-based agriculture, air, water, and land pollution, nuclear weaponry, and centralized, powerful institutions which don't pay for economic "externalities" and manipulate our government with billions of lobbying dollars.
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