Shale gas opponents love playing proletarian because they tend to be socialists at heart, profoundly radical, guilt-ridden and irrelevant.
One of most frustrating things in discussing shale gas issues with a relatively non-political general population is the difficulty in getting across just how profoundly radical (and hollow) most fractivists really are. They are seldom driven by environmental issues alone or even principally. Scratch the surface of their opposition campaign and you find a socialist movement at work in one of its various guises. Ultimately, they always lose because reality intrudes in the end. Still, we risk wasting a lot of time if we don’t call them out for what they are, as it goes to their credibility and, more specifically, their lack of it. This was all brought to mind again when this silly website solicitation was brought to my attention (click photo to go to website):
It’s an invitation to some training exercise of the sort we’ve seen Alex Lotorto conduct from time to time, so there’s nothing especially surprising about the whole thing. A little research on the organizer, Nick Katkevich, though, reveals another “serial protestor” who seems to wish he was born in time to be a Bolshevik. Katkevich is 29 years old or so and has quite the protest record. Here are a few examples:
Phoenix, AZ – Nov. 18, 2011 Protest against city ordinance prohibiting camping in public spaces.
Seekonk, MA – Nov. 23, 2012 Protest of Wal-Mart workers’ wages and benefits
Providence, RI – May 3, 2013 Protest demanding coal divestment at Brown University
Katkevich is also involved in fossil fuel divestment campaigns, efforts to overrule the Citizens United Supreme Court decision by state referendum, “Occupy Phoenix” initiatives and numerous other leftist causes. He is also the founder of a business called Proletarian Life, which describes as a business created to help fund social movements, by which one presumes he means paying some of his expenses for playing proletarian at events all over the country, including one in Tunkhannock on Monday evening. More on that in a moment.
The Proletarian Life website includes a blog that consists solely of photos and images such as this one:
It’s called a “retro poster,” evoking Stalinist imagery, as if the Soviet Union, which starved millions of its people in the 1920’s and 1930’s, somehow presented a laudable vision of what America could be without this damnable capitalism.
Proletarian Life’s “business” is selling trendy clothing such as this charming sweatshirt for $33:
You’ve always got to be on the cutting edge of fashion if you intend to play proletarian. It’s about being one of the people, but you still have to stand out, right? What better way than in sweatshirt screen-printed using natural gas powered dryers. The ad says this:
Proletarian (def): a member of the laboring class; especially : the class of industrial workers who lack their own means of production and hence sell their labor to live.
Printed on American Apparel
A portion of proceeds go to supporting nonviolent social movements.
Notwithstanding this self-righteous pap, Proletarian Life is right about one thing; it clearly doesn’t understand capitalism, as it has been in business since October, 2012 and recorded only 15 sales. The FANG fundraising effort is going about the same. They already completed their little foray into Pennsylvania and have collected only $1,345 to cover the expenses, including $185 from this trustfunder.
Side question: Is there no one in this movement of the spoiled who is not a trustfunder?
Perhaps that explains the pitiful performance of FANG on Monday night. The event was one of several hearings being conducted by Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board regarding some very specific changes to its Chapter 78 Oil & Gas Regulations. All the usual suspects (Vera Scroggins, Craig Stevens, et al) were there to engage in all the usual antics they’ve been using for years now. Craig, the trial lawyer advance man, took his brown jug to the lectern and forgot to even say anything about it, so wrapped up was he in repeating his “sixth-generation” schtick.
Two members of FANG stood out for their ability to deliver irrelevant testimony. The first was Nick Katkevitch himself, Mr. Proletarian, who came back from the future, he said:
The whole thing is laughable, of course, and our readers from down south will be amused by the childish use of the term “y’all” (which, coming from Rhode Island, he was unable to pronounce correctly) as he addressed oil and gas workers in the audience who he must have imagined were Texans or something (even almost all workers today are local).
It was a revealing moment of condescension, by these fractivists and leftists, toward the fellow human beings for whom they profess such deep love or agape. It also offered some insight into their incredibly shallow thinking, as if this constituted serious argument befitting of the hearing, or “Back to the Future” was somehow clever.
The reality is that Katkevich’s prescription for every ill he imagines in our human existence is to go back to the past. He despises the modern life even while he exploits it. His Proletarian Facebook page, in advance of their trip to Pennsylvania talked of “The Connecticut and Rhode Island car is en route to Pennsylvania!” Gee, do you suppose that car used any fossil fuels to get to Pennsylvania, or how much fossil fuel was involved in generating the power if it was an electric car?
Katkevich apparently wants to go back to a socialist political system that has been tried numerous times over human history and failed every single time, delivering misery and a wretched environmental record wherever it has been attempted. There’s no future in the way the “man from the future” would have us all live.
Then there was this “valley girl” testimony from someone who was obsessed with going back to the past and worried that “we are extracting the dead” to fuel our cars and heat our homes.
She gets the award for the single most irrelevant testimony, that has to be watched to be believed, especially when she appeals to the regulators to “let the dead rest and the mountains live.” She was talking about the fossils, of course.
Pause here to let that sink in.
I must admit this is a novel approach but, somehow, I doubt an appeal to respect things that died hundreds of millions of years ago will resonate. It’s the ultimate in the back to the past philosophy of these folks. It’s a philosophy that is anti-capitalist at the root; a revolt of the spoiled children of wealth not willing to give any of it up like St, Francis, for example. Yet, they’re more than happy to lecture all of us about the dangers of capitalism to lessen their sense of guilt at having done so well for reasons they can’t appreciate.
It’s no trip to the future, but a step back into the past and into self-aggrandizement. That is the nature of the profoundly people who represent so many of the fractivists.