And he never stopped calling for action and detailing for readers the perils—whether under Bush, Obama, or the current president—of business-as-usual energy policies or center-of-the-road politics.

John was relentless in his effort to expose the failure of a Democratic Party establishment that consistently strays from the promises made to working-class people and the progressive mantle the party claims in word but repeatedly fails in deed.

“When neoliberals and centrists defend ‘the system’ or warn against upending it, they’re more likely expressing concerns about their losing their personal power base than they are about the party winning elections,” he wrote last fall.

“The time to follow polls is long gone,” John asserted. “If we are to restore our freedoms, we must shape polls, not follow them. Fortunately, leading a progressive rebellion against the oligarchy is not only the moral thing to do; it’s smart politics, too.”

So while he suffered fools not lightly, he never wavered from a commitment to talk sense to them.

“What we do—or don’t do—in the next few years will quite literally influence the kind of planet our progeny live on. Indeed, it will shape the world for hundreds of generations to come.  What an awesome responsibility for a once puny species to possess.  What a challenge to face, without hope.”
Click Here: geelong cats guernsey 2019—John Atcheson, 2011

For those who missed it, Atcheson in 2017 wrote, “What They Say vs. What They Mean: An Inside-the-Beltway Glossary”—an indispensable resource if you’re an upstart (or aging) progressive looking to get a grip on the insanity of mainstream politics.

“Given the absurdity of our political process and the media’s malfeasance, our national well of stupidity is deep and wide,” Atcheson lamented in 2013 while he railed against one of his favorite targets, the corporate news industry.

“Without a press devoted to honesty and accuracy,” he wrote in 2012, “our ship of state runs on yarns, myths, and the modern day equivalent of ‘bread and circuses,’ and we are at the mercy of the evil, the foolish, and the ignorant.”

Frequently forced to denounce the corporate media’s obsession with balance—”making it puke out nonsense as if it were news”—Atcheson did so with gusto. “One can achieve balance by putting a ton of bullshit on one side of the scale, and a ton of gold on the other,” he explained in a column last November, “but that doesn’t make them equivalent.”

He understood better than most why Hillary Clinton likely lost in 2016 and how President Donald Trump won, but never lost sight of the “long game” needed to attain true progressive victories.

Atcheson made his dedication to future generations clear in his climate activism, and that also brings us back to that day outside the White House in 2012. Before being handcuffed and dragged away for trying to stop a pipeline that he believed would likely be built anyway (but notably has not been)—what did it feel like to a person like John who never gave up on the effort to change minds or influence readers even though he was wide-eyed about the intense realities of this troubled yet beautiful world?

It felt like hope, he wrote.

In this writer’s final correspondence with John last month he commented, “Interesting times, eh?” In response, I wrote dryly, “The End Times are always interesting.”

Though it’s certain he got the joke, he didn’t let it slide.

“Every ending is a beginning,” he wrote back. “Trite, but true.”

He then added, “I do believe in history’s dialectic”—and left it at that.

Like so many other writers and activists who toil for justice with no offer of reward and little reason to believe victory will be won, John proved—in a manner uniquely his own and one that we who hold common dreams will never forget—that our objections to injustice we voice and the political battles we wage do matter. They matter profoundly and he knew it.

In one of his most-read and widely shared articles of 2019, he concluded in a way that was not subtle: “What’s needed is a people’s revolution and a radical insurgency that restores government to the governed,” he wrote. “Nothing short of that will prevent future Trumps, or solve our very real problems.”

We owe you much and we thank you and we will miss you, John Atcheson.

So we mourn.

And—because “hope begets action, but action also begets hope,” and because “every ending is a beginning”—together we fight on.

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