From climate justice to the Fight for $15, movements had CEOs on the ropes—and we can still beat them.
By Naomi Klein Yesterday 1:29 pm
protesters unfurl a banner that reads “Resist” at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, January 25, 2017. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)
Let’s zoom out and recognize what is happening in Washington right now. The people who already possess an absolutely obscene share of the planet’s wealth, and whose share grows greater year after year—at last count, eight men own as much as half the world—are determined to grab still more. The key figures populating Donald Trump’s cabinet are not only ultra-rich—they are individuals who made their money knowingly causing harm to the most vulnerable people on this planet, and to the planet itself. It appears to be some sort of job requirement.
This article is adapted from several speeches given over Inauguration weekend.
There’s junk-banker Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, whose lawless “foreclosure machine” kicked tens of thousands of people out of their homes.
And from junk mortgages to junk food, there’s Trump’s pick for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder. As CEO of his fast-food empire, it wasn’t enough to pay workers an abusive, non-livable wage. Several lawsuits also accuse his company of stealing workers’ wages by failing to pay for their labor and overtime.
And moving from junk food to junk science, there is Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. As an executive and then CEO of Exxon, his company bankrolled and amplified garbage science and lobbied fiercely against meaningful international climate action behind the scenes. In no small part because of these efforts, the world lost decades when we should have been kicking our fossil-fuel habit, and instead vastly accelerated the climate crisis. Because of these choices, countless people on this planet are already losing their homes to storms and rising seas, already losing their lives in heat waves and droughts, and millions will ultimately see their homelands disappear beneath the waves. As usual, the people impacted worst and first are the poorest, overwhelmingly black and brown.