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What Does the CA Dem Party's Sabotage of Anti-Fossil Fuel Policy Say About the Party?

Updated: Nov 18



By Thomas Neuburger


Note: I had prepared a much longer post that included the information below — but Wix, our blogging platform, ate it and spit out nothing.


For Wix users, the deadly message says, "It seems there's a network issue. Please check your internet connection and refresh the page," and it comes up a lot. Note to fans: This is not a network issue. It's a Wix issue. The perp is the server at manage.wix.com. Beware.


The two threads below, one fully reproduced and one linked to, retell from RL Miller's personal experience the way the California Democratic Party sabotaged, in a way that hid their fingerprints, two critical and popular proposals.


The first policy: Take no money from the fossil fuel industry. The second: Take no money from police unions. Since there was never a vote to reject the proposals, the sabotage made no news of consequence, and California Party leaders can still mouth platitudes about climate change being one of the most urgent issues of the day, knowing their hands are perceived to be clean.


This story has already been told by Dorothy Reik, President of Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains. (See "California Democratic Party-- Where Democracy is Out of Order!") RL Miller is the Political Director of Climate Hawks Vote and President of Climate Hawks Vote Political Action. She's also the elected chair of the California Democratic Party’s environmental caucus and a strong and active pro-climate worker.


Here's Ms.Miller's tweet thread. Note that the first tweet contains a link to her earlier live-tweets on the same subject.

I've had a bit of time to process WTF the Cal Dem Party did this weekend. [This is a new] Thread, with a link to my original rough live tweeting[:] https://twitter.com/RL_Miller/status/1452337354979508224 Unroll available on Thread Reader
1. What happened: The progressives wanted a simple up-or-down vote on whether the party should continue to take fossil fuel and law enforcement money. We forced a meeting to get that vote. We did not get that vote.
1a. Instead the party chair in a carefully orchestrated power play first had the party vote on a committee to study the matter. The vote was NOT needed at all because the committee, members, and purpose had already been announced and did not need party approval. But...
1b. The vote gave party folk, who say they want to do something about climate and policy brutality, a way to feel good about themselves. And process. And strategic, and thoughtful, and I can't count how many times i heard those words. Anyway.
1c. Party leadership then let us present our motions but denied us the chance for an up or down vote; instead they orchestrated a move to refer the "immediate ban" motions to the (just-approved) committee to study the matter. So much for the fierce urgency of now!
1d. If you're thinking that this sounds like bullsh!t, you are correct. This is, in fact. bullsh!t.
1e. This is the THIRD committee to study the matter. I served on committee 1.0 (2019-20) to address party finance including fossil fuel money. The party standing finance committee has studied and wants to ban law enforcement money. Delay Committee 2.0 is, in fact, a delay tactic.
2. As for WHY all this happened, several theories.
Theory 1: Party chair @rustyhicks, who came out of the building trades where he stood up for fracking, and disparages @sunrisemvmt activists and tells them that fossil fuels will be around for their lifetimes, is in fact a climate delayer if not flat out denier.
1a. Hicks does not understand/ actively dislikes the immediate need for climate action. The @CA_Dem convention was one long infomercial for his friends in the building trades (and their friends the oil industry), with bonus carbon capture vendors on the side.
1b. Hicks is one of the big reasons California has lost its edge on climate in the last couple of years. He engages in what @AlexSteffen calls "predatory delay": only in his case it's delay for the sake of building trades/ oil industry jobs, not profit.
Second theory: party chair Hicks is a Navy veteran and simply wants to grind his enemies into dust rather than compromise with insurgents within the party. Which is great when enemies are actual GQPers storming the Capitol, but not so much when he goes to war against fellow Dems.
third theory: party Powers That Be (insert your own shadowy figure here) have no intention of ever banning any money coming into the party, and he is simply a foot soldier carrying out their wishes.
3. Final thought on this. Most of my fellow exec board members who voted want to trust the process (the third committee to study the matter). I don't trust the process and here is why.
3a. Yeah, third committee to study the matter. That sorta says all you need to know about the process. This meeting took place as several NorCal friends were losing power, being evacuated, etc. thanks to a bomb cyclone following devastating wildfires.
3b. More importantly, Hicks stacked the committee with conservaDems and defenders of the status quo. Of the 9 member committee, I count 1 progressive and at least 4 who actively favor taking bad money. That's... ah... not reassuring.
3c. Delay Committee 2.0 will, among other things, "Provide a plan for backfilling the historic contributions from those categories on CADEM’s prohibited contributions list." IOW, if it can't find replacement money then it won't prohibit bad money. That's not reassuring either.
4. Finally, note this: utter disrespect shown for Black voices in particular. Y'all follow me for climate stuff, but we worked w/ #BlackLivesMatter folk, and for a Black woman's (@tdlove5 ) words to be dismissed as "flowery speeches" by party elected leaders is appalling.
5. As for what next... some donations are being canceled, and some folk are thinking of quitting the party, but the fact is that 78 percent of the party exec board -- my friends! voted against the fierce urgency of now. Me, I'm gonna end this thread and burn off stress. TTYL.

This is a truly ugly tale, both hers and Ms. Reik's. There's a difference in their responses, though. The title of Ms. Reik's post is critical of the Party, its leaders and the leaders' abuse of the Party apparatus for anti-progressive purposes.


That's one way to respond. The other is Ms. Miller's:

It's up to you to decide whether the "2 party system must expire or life on earth will expire." Also whether current Democratic Party leaders are interested or not in "the good and the right."


Obviously, individual Democrats, Democratic candidates and office-holders do care, and a lot. Ms. Miller and Ms. Reik, for example, obviously care and put their efforts where their conscience lies. And thank God for the constant pressure they apply.


But do current Democratic leaders care, at either the state or national level? Does the chair of the CA Democratic Party care, for example? Or Joe Biden, who's about to neuter the best of the climate policies in his Build Back (More or Less) Better plan?


I leave that to your capable minds to decide.

(To read all of my work, visit God's Spies at Substack.com. More information here and here.)

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