Welcome to the IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus

"Judi Bari did something that I believe is unparalleled in the history of the environmental movement. She is an Earth First! activist who took it upon herself to organize Georgia Pacific sawmill workers into the IWW…Well guess what friends, environmentalists and rank and file timber workers becoming allies is the most dangerous thing in the world to the timber industry!"

--Darryl Cherney, June 20, 1990.

EcoUnionist News #119

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 31, 2016

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Stories:

Ongoing Mobilizations:

The Thin Green Line:

Just Transition:

Bread and Roses:

Carbon Bubble News #119

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 31, 2016

A supplement to Eco Unionist News:

Lead Stories:

Carbon Market Watch:

Other Carbon Bubble News:

Utility Death Spiral News:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC; Hashtags: #greenunionism #greensyndicalism #IWW. Please send suggested news items to include in this series to euc [at] iww.org.

Capital Blight News #119

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 31, 2016

A supplement to Eco Unionist News:

Lead Stories:

The Man Behind the Curtain:

Greenwashers:

Disaster Capitalism:

Other News:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC; Hashtags: #greenunionism #greensyndicalism #IWW. Please send suggested news items to include in this series to euc [at] iww.org.

EcoUnionist News #119 - #NoDAPL Update

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 31, 2016

Statement from Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman, Dave Archambault II, August 15, 2016:

The United States via the Army Corps of Engineers is in the mist of moving ahead with an oil pipeline that officials are claiming is not potentially harmful to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. I am here to advise anyone that will listen, that the Dakota Access Pipeline Project is harmful. It will not be just harmful to my people but its intent and construction will harm the water in the Missouri River, which is one of the cleanest and safest river tributary left in the United States.

We have been told by the officials that there will be breaches in the pipe line, but they claim that the situations are generally never very bad. This is unacceptable.

Our Mother Earth is sacred. All things evolve and work together. To poison the water, is to poison the substance of life. Everything that moves must have water. How can we talk about and knowingly poison water?

I’ve been told and taught that it is our responsibility to stand for our relatives, the ones that crawl, the ones that fly, the ones that burrow, the ones that swim, the ones that flower. Relatives that cannot speak for themselves. Who will speak for them? We have to speak for those who are not here – our ancestors, for those children who are not yet born. Our ancestors left sacred sites for us. We have to speak for them. Children not yet born will not live without water. We have to speak for them.

Several of our Lakota and Dakota relatives have had visions and dreams. They have been visited in a spiritual sense and have been told that there is a black poisonous snake trying to come among us. Our relatives have said this.

Our instructions say snakes are good – they serve a great purpose in the web of life. Our elders and the elders before them have given us wonderful teachings and a beautiful way to live and co-exist with all that is, however, the black poisonous snake we are being warned about does not come from the Creator. It is man-made and the creature is made of nothing but Greed. There is nothing good that has ever come from Greed. Greed is pure poison. It blinds and twists thinking. It is what my people have endured and continue to endure.

Right now the Rosebud reservation, the Cheyenne River reservation, the Pine Ridge reservation and my Standing Rock reservation represent five of the 10 poorest places or counties in the United States, according to the 2010 Census. Our state of being is not our fault. We did not cause this. United States lawmakers and their policies caused this. Why?? Greed – and now again, even what little we have left is under attack.

Is it too much to respectfully and peaceably request that we not live in fear of being bitten by this creature of eminent harm? Isn’t living in fear and terror unacceptable in the United States?

The United States should use all its will and power to be a real great world leader. It should swear off oil production because we all know it is harmful to it is to our planet. The United States should use all its wisdom and technology to develop alternative sources of power. It should be a great wise leader to preserve and enhance this earth, not knowingly destroy the webs of life.

What I ask is that my fellow American citizens stand with my people to stand with us. I ask you to please call or write your Senators and Representative to stop this blindness and this greed.

And, if nothing else, please, offer a prayer for my people and all the people who are standing with us in prayer. Just offer some thoughts of protection for us. We ask that you offer a prayer for sensibility and common sense on behalf of all the two-legged that walk as this is not just a Lakota/Dakota issue, this is a human issue.

This land that is being disturbed was once ours. Our people, our Indian Nations lived and governed our peoples all over this territory. This land across the Cannonball River that is now threatened was forcibly taken from us and there was nothing that we could do about it then and now.

Nonetheless, we still believe that we are the keepers of this beautiful land. Although it was taken from us, we know, we must stand and speak on this land’s behalf. We want everyone and the federal government to respect this land and take care of it. That is why our people are standing up and standing with the land and water. We have to be here. It is instructions that the Creator has given us. We have to be here. We have to stand to protect ourselves and those cannot speak for themselves.

When the President of the United States came to Cannonball, I did not ask him for anything. I tried to let his wife, Michelle and him, see for themselves a little of our reality. They saw our people in our happiest times, singing and dancing, but they also heard the tough reality of life for so many of our youth.

I believe both were impacted but knowing what I know now, I wish I would have asked President Obama to help us in this struggle.

I will pass away someday, which is all part of the Creator’s plan, but I have a son and daughter. I have no doubt that they will give me grandchildren. What will we leave for our grandchildren? Poisoned water? The substance of Life! In my language, we describe water as the source of Life. We say Mni Wiconi!

My Tribe asks how can we live with ourselves if we don’t respect the rights and needs of our future generations?

Today I realize that everything happens for a reason. Although I didn’t ask the President for a dime, I see our people are peacefully speaking out in a good way now. This is hugely important to my Tribe and all of our Tribal Nations. This peaceful demonstration is a cry to stop the desecration of land and water.

I pray that the powers that be, hear our prayer because all this behavior we are exhibiting is a prayer on our part.

Thank you for listening and enjoy your families, your children and grandchildren.

To Join in the Struggle

The Dark Side of Local

By Margaret Gray - Jacobin, August 21, 2016

We live in the shadows,” explained Javier, a Hudson Valley farmworker, while describing his life to me. “We are treated like unknown people . . . We are not paid well and cannot ask for more.” A worker on another farm said, “They treat us like nothing; they only want the work . . . Whether we like it or not, we have to like it.”

Some of today’s liveliest political conversations concern agricultural production and distribution. But these discussions are also among the most confused.

Exploitative conditions on factory farms have rightly drawn the attention of academics, activists, and journalists. Indeed, the vast majority of research on farmworkers focuses on the largest farming sites. Consumers are offered countless reasons to avoid produce from them — but few alternatives other than to “buy local.”

Much contemporary food writing argues that when we buy locally grown food directly from farms, we not only secure fresher, more seasonal produce, but we also create an intimate, trusting relationship with the farmer. This supposed bond reinforces the common understanding that the local food production process is more wholesome than the industrial agricultural system.

Food writers and scholars have highlighted the many positive aspects of local food systems: economic and social justice, the sense of community facilitated by face-to-face interactions with food producers, and the civic engagement and democracy promoted by alternative agri-systems.

For example, as Barbara Kingsolver argues in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, “‘locally grown’ is a denomination whose meaning in incorruptible.” Later in the book she addresses the poor pay and conditions of workers on factory farms, citing their average annual income of $7,500. Clearly, she intends readers to feel grateful that local farms offer a more just and well-paid alternative.

Or take another prominent example: in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a landmark in the new food literature, Michael Pollan describes two types of farming — industrial and pastoral — and offers no in-between.

In promoting local diets as healthy and righteous alternatives to the capitalist-industrial monoculture food system, such writers have sold us an idea premised on a false dichotomy.

On one hand, they demonize factory farms for poisoning the land and local waterways, for confining and mistreating animals, and for exploiting their workers in the name of earning profits. On the other hand, they promote local agriculture as the antidote to the factory farms’ corporate ills.

By shopping at the farmers market or joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, consumers support smaller (though not necessarily small) farmers, keep food dollars local, encourage limited pesticide use, and ensure animals are treated humanely.

The enemy is not the climate; it’s capitalism

By Michael Gasser - Santa Cruz Ecological Justice, August 22, 2016

In a new article in the New Republic, 350.org founder Bill McKibben, probably the world’s most influential climate activist, argues that World War III has begun and that the enemy is climate change.

He goes on to say that we are losing the war, that we should learn from the experience of World War II, that by retooling industry as we did then we can win the war. In making this case, he is largely adopting the position that has been promoted since 2014 by The Climate Mobilization (TCM). A few days after McKibben’s article appeared, TCM’s co-founder Ezra Silk published an extensive “Victory Plan”, which outlines the steps needed to “restore a safe and stable climate”, “reverse ecological overshoot”, and “halt the 6th mass extinction”.

Before going on to say what I think is wrong with McKibben’s and TCM’s position, I want to make it clear that there is much that is certainly right about it. Above all, they recognize the seriousness of the crisis, the fact that many people who are aware of climate change under-estimate the seriousness, and the need for drastic action to solve the crisis.

The problem is that what they are arguing for is not nearly drastic enough. This is because their “war” is against nature, and as such it ultimately relies on technological fixes, rather than challenges to the political and economic system. McKibben rests much of his case on the well-known work of Stanford University engineer Mark Z. Jacobson and his colleagues, who have argued that renewable technologies could replace those based on fossil fuels in the United States within decades. While Jacobson has his critics, his work is undeniably important. What his work shows — and he himself agrees — is that the main obstacles to solving the crisis are not technological but rather political and economic. The question is who controls the technology.

If this is so, then we must look for the enemy elsewhere. In what must be the best-known of all books written on the climate crisis and its causes, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, author Naomi Klein spells it out pretty clearly. The enemy (of the climate and hence of us) is capitalism. Although Klein does not go into much detail about what she actually means by “capitalism”, a number of ecosocialist writers have filled this gap. For an excellent overview, suitable for those who know little about the science of climate change and/or little about capitalism, see David Klein and Stephanie McMillan’s  Capitalism and Climate Change: the Science and Politics of Global Warming. A common theme in this work and others, especially Richard Smith’s Green Capitalism: the God that Failed and Daniel Tanuro’s Green Capitalism: Why It Can’t Work, is that capitalism, by its very nature, is completely incompatible with a just and sustainable future. If capitalism has a “solution” for the climate crisis, one can only imagine a dystopian world where elites survive in isolated islands of livability, protected from the masses of climate refugees on the outside.

Declaration of LVC Delegation to the 2016 World Social Forum

By La Via Campesina - August 14, 2016

We not only believe that another world is necessary, the members of La Vía Campesina are already building a better world."

--Carlos Marentes, co-coordinator of the North America Region of LVC

We, representatives of member organizations of La Vía Campesina from the North America Region (Union Paysanne from Quebec, National Farmers Union, Canada, National Family Farm Coalition, Rural Coalition and Border Agricultural Workers Project from United States), accompanied by LVC members from Europe, Palestine and Brazil took part in the World Social Forum in Montreal, Quebec from August 9-14, 2016.  

We were graciously hosted by the Union paysanne and reaffirmed our support for their struggle to end the syndicate-monopoly control of agriculture in Quebec, adding our voice to the demand that "There is no Food Sovereignty without Peasant sovereignty". 

In our press conference of August 11th, Maxime Laplante declared: "The Quebec situation is extremely particular in that there is in Quebec only one organization having the right to represent farmers here, to negotiate with the government or to intervene in the management of marketing plans, marketing, etc. That organization is the Union des Producteurs Agricoles (UPA). It is the only organization with the legal right to represent farmers." 

La Via Campesina North America woman coordinator and vice-chair of the National Family Farm Coalition Dena Hoff stated: ''The whole region of La Via Campesina stands behind Union paysanne in its demands for recognition by the government of Quebec as the voice of the peasants struggling for food sovereignty." 

The LVC delegation participated enthusiastically in the opening march, in many workshops, panels and assemblies on the themes of food sovereignty, the right to food, post extractive societies, agro-ecology and peoples agrarian reform, and the future of the WSF, among many topics, together with allies like ETC Group, Grain, Climate Space, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Global Justice Now, USC Canada, SUCO, Why Hunger, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Global Forest Coalition, Focus on the Global South, Development and Peace, Inter-Pares, Vigilance OGM Québec, and others. 

As Dena Hoff, stated: "The fight for food sovereignty will be won with a million grassroots efforts". 

At a time of deepening crises in the world, including massive suffering of migrants fleeing war, increasing poverty and hunger, extreme weather events, corporate driven land and resource grabs, the expansion and consolidation of big agribusiness and monocultures of feed and fuel plantations across the planet, we declare our firm commitment as LVC to the life-or-death struggle for food sovereignty, a peoples agrarian reform, seed and biodiversity sovereignty, the democratization of the food system and the strong defense of human rights. 

We question the use of the concept of "agro-ecology" and climate buzzwords that are removed from the context of food sovereignty and used as a means of justifying an expansion of  "green washing" or for NGO fund raising.  We insist that agro-ecology signifies a validation of small and medium scale farming, peasant-led research and innovation, and it signifies the integration of traditional practices, and peasant and rural community control of our seeds. 

Food sovereignty is the right of farmers and eaters to control their own food production, processing and distribution with culturally appropriate foods and equitable compensation and dignity for food providers. We assert that small-scale farming, fishing, herding, hunting and gathering are essential in the struggle to bring relief to climate change and continue feeding humanity.  We seek access to land for all, especially youth with the drive to feed their communities. We seek an end to the invasion of GMO seeds into our territories and we demand the right of farmers to continue to produce, save and share their own seeds.  We say  "No" to corporate agriculture and say "Yes" to the people of the land and to the peasant way.  

LVC also publically criticized the Canadian Government because many leaders of important social movements were unable to attend the WSF as many hundreds of visas were denied, including the visas of two of the peasant leaders in our delegation.  

We have also taken the opportunity provided by the WSF 2016 to express our solidarity with all the movements currently fighting against violence, dispossession, exclusion and the attacks against the democratic rights of people. We specially expressed our solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people against the oppression, and exploitation at the hands of Zionist Settler Colonialism, the struggle of our compañeras and compañeros of the Landless Movement of Brazil against the recent State Coup, the First Nations courageous struggle against the threats to the integrity of their land posed by tar-sand exploitation, pipelines and other destructive actions by capital, and the fight against the increasing violence against black people and therefore we fully support the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

¡GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE, GLOBALIZE HOPE! 

Given in Montreal, Quebec, on August 14, 2016

EcoUnionist News #118

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 24, 2016

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Stories:

Ongoing Mobilizations:

The Thin Green Line:

Just Transition:

Bread and Roses:

An Injury to One is an Injury to All:

Whistle Blowers:

Capital Blight News #118

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 24, 2016

A supplement to Eco Unionist News:

Lead Stories:

The Man Behind the Curtain:

Green is the New Red:

Pages