Thursday, May 03, 2012

Time to set up the American Business Chamber

JBowers makes a good catch in a prior comment thread.  From one chamber to another:

Climate change dispute erupts with Aspen telling U.S. Chamber of Commerce to take a hike 
Aspen's chamber of commerce isn't the first to sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over political differences. The chamber in Homer, Alaska, made national headlines when it canceled its membership last year....  
At a retreat on Tuesday, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association's board voted 11 to 1 to withdraw its membership from the national organization. Tension between Aspen's chamber and the national one existed for years. The 680-member local chamber penned a letter to the national group in 2010 delineating its differences. But this year — which saw the driest winter in Aspen since the 1976-1977 season — politics are in overdrive thanks to the coming November general election. Several weeks ago, Aspen's chamber began feeling pressure from Schendler and his Aspen Skiing Co. bosses, the mayor, a pair of county commissioners and residents who had had enough of the local chamber's affiliation with the right-wing U.S. Chamber and its obstruction of solutions to climate change. .... 
The local chamber's recap continued: “Aspen’s economy is inextricably tied to the future of the global climate and all area entities have deeply embraced the idea of reducing our carbon footprint. With our resignation from the U.S. Chamber, the ACRA shows its solidarity with this position.” 

Two small cities are more than enough to christen this a trend sweeping the entire country.  Okay, maybe it's just a good sign, but I'll take it.  There are plenty of other small liberal resort towns and ski towns.  As the article notes, there are also a number of large businesses that have had enough of the US Chamber and its decision to favor conservative-leaning businesses over moderate and progressive businesses.

I think our local Silicon Valley chambers, and other places with strong green energy business interests, should be following the same steps to support their local business interest, along with the national and human interest.  I've gone back and forth in the past over whether businesses should fight to change the US Chamber from the inside or the outside, but I think the outside is looking more like the best alternative.

There already exists a Green Chamber of Commerce, pushing for business-friendly environmental solutions.  I think that's a great idea, but in addition to that maybe we need an umbrella American Business Chamber to be the Gandalf to the US Chamber's Saruman - to be what the US Chamber should have been.  The Green Chamber, local Chambers, and individual businesses rejecting Saruman could join a politically neutral, national level American Business Chamber rather than one that's decided to be a tool and player on one side of the political spectrum.  They should get back to ABC.