You are hereTruthout: Nuclear Missiles, Cluster Bombs, Koch Brother-Like Legal Activism and Climate Solutions!? Greenwashing Lockheed Martin

Truthout: Nuclear Missiles, Cluster Bombs, Koch Brother-Like Legal Activism and Climate Solutions!? Greenwashing Lockheed Martin

-by Jonathan Leavitt

August 20, 2011- Would a progressive Burlington, Vermont, mayor partner with the Koch brothers? Obviously not. Their well-heeled right-wing legal activism has been condemned by liberal icons including Burlington's own Bernie Sanders and anything they did in liberal Burlington would carry a heavy taint.

Would the same mayor partner with a corporation which, like the Koch brothers, defeats progressive change on a state and federal level? Say that the corporation's work-a-day existence (instead of building Dixie Cups like the Koch brothers), is selling nuclear missiles and cluster bombs, propping up dictators and doing detainee interrogation at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Say that the corporation, like the Koch brothers, was instrumental in the notorious Citizens United ruling and two controversial Supreme Court decisions in recent weeks. Say one of the court cases was the dismissal of a sex-discrimination lawsuit, brought on behalf of 1.5 million women who have worked at Wal-Mart, which likely will drastically complicate the ability of disempowered victims to stand together in class action suits. The other suit aims at stopping six states from limiting emissions of greenhouse gases under federal common law. One of those six states being prevented from regulating climate change was the mayor's home state, Vermont. Would Burlington's progressive Mayor Bob Kiss partner the City of Burlington with such a corporation? Apparently so. But if Mayor Kiss expected the people of the so-called "People's Republic of Burlington" to be subservient handmaidens, quietly ushering in a new cynical era of corporate greenwashing for Lockheed Martin, he was quite mistaken.

The Big Showdown: The People of Burlington v. Lockheed

After a grassroots-powered victory inside a February City Council meeting and again in City Council Committee earlier this month, Burlington activists hoped to turn out a diluvial flood of concerned citizens to speak out in Burlington City Council's public comment August 8. It was billed as The Big Showdown: The People of Burlington v. Lockheed. After seven and a half months of door to door organizing, media outreach and gathering petition signatures, No Lockheed community organizer Anna Guyton sounded optimistic going into this test of strength for her coalition. "We're hoping many people will come on August 8th." Guyton made connections between the global struggle to keep money for climate solutions in the public and not the corporate sphere and how local climate change activists are "committed as ever to keeping power in the hands of Burlington citizens."

Over a hundred people filled the stately Contois auditorium and spilled into the balconies before the showdown even started. The City Council was poised to decide whether Burlington would approve a precedent-setting community standards resolution, calling for the city to not partner on climate change with a corporation which, "Earn the majority of its profit from the production and/or marketing of weapons or warfare technology, including but not limited to nuclear/chemical weapons, land minds, or cluster bombs, as determined by the corporation's most recent annual report."



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