Brian Holmes on Mon, 6 Aug 2018 20:18:52 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> What does Trump get right?

On Mon, Aug 6, 2018 at 11:50 AM, JNMRom <> wrote:

you don't have cooperatives of "renewable energy only" ? we have hundreds in Europe. They buy and inject 100% renewable electricity in the main network, and they sell exactely the same quantity.

Yeah, we have suppliers of renewable energy all across the United States. In the Midwest it's particularly about wind power, and in the West and Southwest (including Texas believe it or not) there is major solar capacity, so much that California, for example, no longer buys all the hydroelectric surplus of Washington and Oregon, because they have so much solar. Everything was in place to push these developments further when our new, polarizing, white supremacist, neofascist government came in to Make America Grotesque Again with an (impossible) return to coal! If it were not for that direct opposition to practically every progressive initiative then I would not be quite so focused on encouraging people to vote -- and also to think a lot more about what state power can do, especially when it is squarely against you.

One of the important things about distributed energy is that although it can be owned and managed locally, all the way down to the level of an installation on the roof of a local community center, it still needs large regional-scale transmission grids so that everyone can share in the benefits. As you know very well, solar and wind put new stresses on the grids due to intermittence, so those grids need investment for modernization and they need new forms of management that can help with the interlinkage to the smaller scales. If corporations provide that investment and management, the risk of monopolistic development is obvious.

This is why we need the Partner State concept that Michel Bauwens and the Commons Transition group are developing. It's because the grid demands coordination (aka socialism) at a larger scale, even while the new technologies make it possible to literally empower communities by producing electricity at a smaller scale (local autonomy). I think the problems in France are pretty similar, because the majority of power production is still nuclear (around 75%!). BUT it's clear there is a big push to lower that figure and bring a lot more alternatives on line. So you need support from the relevant parts of the national state, or in France, maybe at least the Regions. And such support is good because creates an industrial development path that could lead both the US and France in another direction, away from what they both do unfortunately very well, namely mine uranium on Indigenous people's lands and bomb oil-producing countries over and over again on the pretext of "restoring peace to the international community."

If you leave Godzilla as it is, you get widespread destruction. Something similar happens with the State. I don't know if any Japanese anime movie has ever thought about teaching Godzilla how to lead a productive life as a planetary gardener happily chomping down coal and nuclear plants and leaving solar, wind, geothermal and ocean-tide installations in their place, but anyway, that's my favorite film. If we don't learn to play it in reality then I am afraid we will be stuck with 20th-century reruns for about the next twenty years, until the lights go out and what James Hansen calls "the storms of my grandchildren" become "the storms everyday." There is no question that the people in California, for instance, are going to go ahead with the process of transforming their very large subnational government into a partner state for the new carbon-neutral technologies, because due to climate change they now have firestorms all summer long. Explosive forest fires of a kind never seen before. And it's actually quite a bit scarier than Godzilla, 'cause it's got off the screen and into a deadly rampage in potentially anyone's neighborhood almost anywhere in the state.

You know, this whole subject is excruciating. What Trump got right was mobilizing the resentment of the white working class, because the world is changing and some people are starting to feel seriously left out, ripped off and swindled by forces they cannot exactly identify. The center-left has not helped them find better targets for both their anger and their aspirations, but now it could, because there is a more serious push from the real left, including the ecologists. The molecular changes already underway in terms of energy, in terms of racial equality and in terms of protecting people against unregulated capitalism all have to go forward, but we need the bloody politics to help make it work! And although I no longer live there, I think this is basically true in France and throughout Europe as well. But you could say more about that.

solidarite et encore, merci, il faut en parler plus, Brian
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