You are here

B3. EcoSocialism

An Urgent Just Transition to a Sustainable World

London Green Left Blog - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 05:47

First published at Conter

We live under an economic system which encourages consumption on an industrial scale and the consequences of climate change will be endured by future generations. What can we as activists do to affect change here in Scotland? Pete Cannell and Brian Parkin write ahead of this Saturday’s Just Transitions conference in Edinburgh about the steps we need to be taking…
We face an existential threat. Unless there’s a rapid transition to a low/no carbon economy there will be catastrophic climate change. The recent UN Climate report underlined how little time we have. In years to come, our children and grand children may ask why, when the danger was clear, there was no mass movement to drive the change that’s required.
The UN report, like government policies around the world, assumes the market will adapt to meet carbon reduction targets. However, growth in solar and wind energy production is taking place alongside a massive expansion in the use of coal. It’s now certain if we rely on market forces, driven as they are by the maximisation of profit, the targets will not be met.
The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, already higher than it has been for 10 million years will continue to grow and average temperatures will continue to rise.   
But it’s also clear if we drop the reliance on the market it’s possible to make the transition to a low carbon economy in a way that will mitigate the future effects of climate change and provide immediate benefits for most of the world’s population. The Campaign Against Climate Change has developed a costed blueprint for transition at a UK level and the notion of a Just Transition is gaining traction around the world.  
Today, a one-day conference in Edinburghwill look at how we can take the urgent steps needed for a Just Transition in Scotland. We start with some real advantages and some major challenges. Scotland as a ‘region’ of the UK is a distinct geo-political entity. It has a significantly higher proportion of its adult workforce in industrial employment.
Core industrial sectors such as shipbuilding, heavy mechanical (and electrical) engineering and construction have retained a ‘critical mass’ and skill content of their workforces and have been able to keep pace with world class technological developments. Long-term involvement in North Sea oil and gas has developed the most advanced marine engineering and process systems base in the world.
This is a major technological asset with massive spin-off and diversification potential. Scotland has by far the greatest share of the UK’s potential wave and tidal stream renewable energy resources (about 75%) as well as about half of the useable onshore and offshore wind.  
It’s important that energy policy, the creation of a state run energy company and the creation of a green investment bank are on the Scottish Government agenda. However, the initial proposals for these essential components of a strategy for transition fall far short of the scale and ambition that’s required.
There also seems to be little recognition of a looming energy crisis. In terms of electrical capacity and distribution, Scotland is rapidly slipping from its pre-electricity privatisation situation (1989) of a 50% over-capacity with interconnector ‘exports’ to England and Wales and Northern Ireland, to one of sharp capacity decline and a possible import dependency by 2025.
ScotE3, the organisers of the conference argue that to build the momentum required for a Just Transition a full and democratic debate is needed to tackle hard political questions. Climate change in the abstract is terrifying. But recognition of the threat can’t be confined to committed environmental activists.
If you’re scared and feel powerless then it’s very unlikely you will join their ranks. Indeed anger at inequality and fear for the future is precisely the terrain on which the alt right is flourishing.  
The relatively small-scale initiatives to tackle climate change that are currently in place or planned will neither be effective nor will they inspire confidence. However, large scale investment that guarantees job security (and paid retraining if required) for engineering workers in the construction and defence sectors as the switch is made to climate jobs would be hugely popular in these sectors which are rife with rotten agency staffing. 
A programme of home insulation for all would stop the illness and anxiety caused by the high levels of fuel poverty that exist across Scotland but disproportionately impact old and poorer people in rural areas.
These are big steps and necessary steps. At the conference we’ll see film from REEL News showing how working class communities in the US are organising for a Just Transition and there will be speakers from Campaign Against Climate Change, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the defence and construction sectors.
However, the most important part of the conference will involve thinking about how we win the case for urgent and large-scale action. The manifesto or action plan produced will be shared across the labour movement and community groups as an open document for discussion and amendment.
For more information go to the ScotE3 Employment, Energy and Environment website  
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Anti-fracking reunion held in Moncton outside MEA conference

Council of Canadians - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 13:12
November 16, 2018 - 4:12pm The Maritimes Energy Association hosted another conference promoting fossil fuel expansion in the region yesterday, this time in Moncton with the focus on natural gas. “Natural Gas Supply 2018 and Beyond”, also connected with the Atlantica Centre for Energy whose interests cover the Maritimes plus Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Alberta and Maine, was met with opposition waving signs and banging drums to indicate the industry still is not welcome. The shale gas...
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Chapter This Week

Council of Canadians - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 07:00
November 16, 2018 - 10:00am South Shore Chapter after screening BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal? with Raymond Plourde from the Ecology Action Centre, the organizing committee and Paul Pross from the Healthy Forest Coalition. The Quinte Chapter hosted a Corporatizing Canada event in Picton on November 14. See more photos on Flickr! Great photos from the Campbell River Chapter who recently sponsored a Zero Fossil Fuels rally with 350.org! A large part of the Council of Canadians’...
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

VIDEO: How to make your community a Blue Community!

Council of Canadians - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 12:17
November 15, 2018 - 3:17pm The Council of Canadians recently launched a new Blue Communities video with Eau Secours and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.The video gives an overview of the Blue Communities Project where municipalities, faith-based and other communities resist the corporate takeover of water by committing to three resolutions that: Recognize water and sanitation as human rights. Ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal...
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Extinction Rebellion – Direct Action in London to Save the Planet

London Green Left Blog - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 11:19


There will be a direct action protest in central London on Saturday 17 November, from 10am to 3pm, organised by the campaign group Extinction Rebellion. Originally, protesters were to meet in Parliament Square, but the latest from their Facebook page asks people to congregate on and around these London bridges straddling the Thames; Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth.
Saturday’s demonstration will be the culmination of non-violent direct action protests this week, which saw protesters gluing themselves to gates outside Downing Street on Wednesday, 27 people were arrested. Protesters then moved onto the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, where a wall was spray painted with the message: "Climate emergency. Frack off. Climate breakdown equals starvation."
Earlier in the week on Monday, a similar protest took place outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which saw 22 people arrested. Saturday’s action promises to be the largest yet, with over 2,700 people indicating on Facebook that they will attend.
This move comes out of a despair with normal politics and politicians, who have failed utterly to get to grips in any meaningful way, with man-made climate change and other environmental crises. Year on year for the last five years, the planet has got increasingly warmer, Arctic icecaps are melting, wild fires rage from the Arctic circle to Australia, and hurricanes are more frequent and more forceful than previously.
The IPCC report last month says we at best we have 12 years to mend our ways if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, and governments’ including in the UK do nothing, or worse, exacerbate the problem with fracking and airport expansions. This is why people are taking direct action and risking being arrested, to try and get the politicians to take the earth’s sustainability seriously.
Non-violent direct action has a proud history in the UK and around the world, the Suffragettes, Gandhi and the civil rights protests in the southern States of the US. All of which led to changes in the longer run. It is with this history and spirit in mind that Extinction Rebellion have organised their campaign.
I share the campaigners despair, no tinkering around the edges of current environmental policies will get us to where we need to be, so I fully support these protests and wish that I was as brave as these people. I don’t fancy getting arrested, I could well lose my job, if I did. 
So, I hope that my efforts in support of the demonstrators, which only amounts to that of a ‘keyboard warrior’ will, in some way, help to bring about change.
System change, not climate change. Solidarity with Extinction Rebellion.    
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Can the working class change the world?

Climate and Capitalism - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 16:31
A superb popular account of what’s wrong with capitalism and what working people must do to get rid of it. Highly recommended!
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Why do we seem to care so little for our Environment?

London Green Left Blog - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 09:52

Written by Harvey Perry

The Revelation
A McDonald’s straw holds the potential to change your perception on the current state of global warming. A single, 5 inch plastic straw.
Starting my second year of university was very daunting, which it is for a lot of people as not only are you there to get a degree that holds no promise of leading to a career, but also forming new friendships is difficult especially with people you are forced to live with. Thankfully, this year I managed to find a group of people who want to have a good time at university and get their work done, which are my kind of people. During a heat wave a few weeks ago we had a day out in the sun, getting some work done and eating a lot of food. Plenty of sandwiches and crisps. Walking back from the field, we picked up some fast food because why not.
I threw my burger wrapper and chips away into a bin but kept the straw just to play with while I walked back with my friends back towards the flat. Having something to play with has always been normal behaviour for me as I’ve been described as “very fiddly”, which probably isn’t the worst thing I’ve been called in life. After I’d chewed the straw to ruins I blew it out of my mouth and watched it fall to the ground, joining the empty crisps packets and used coffee cups littered all over the street. It’s quite rare for me to litter because I am rationally afraid of being fined hundreds of pounds that I know I won’t be able to pay, nonetheless I did it anyway and thought little of it because it was just one straw. 
Something about seeing my straw joining the masses of rubbish that accumulated just 10 feet from nearby bins made me realise that I couldn’t have been the only person right then to have done that very same thing. Maybe it was the sun finally being out and enjoying the start of summer me see all the rubbish around, but that straw helped me see a bigger picture. A revelation, if you will.
I asked my friends why they thought that in 2018 there wasn’t a unanimous agreed upon law by world leaders to make positive strides in improving the environment, and why no one is held accountable when considerable damage is done to environment during wartime or oil spillage disasters and the like. One my friends, a Sociology student, and the oldest out of all of us, said that in some traditional perspectives, damage to the environment isn’t considered to be in the same category as crime between people, as plants and ecosystems aren’t harmed in the same way that humans are. 
As argued by the group, this way of thinking is very outdated as to hurt the environment is only harming human life in the long run. A tweet I’d seen earlier that week by Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said that planet Earth will ‘survive anything we throw at it. But Life on Earth will not’ (Twitter, 2018) and as apocalyptic as that sounds, I think it is important that even on an individual basis people need to take better care of this planet.
The Environmental Consciousness
My friend also told us about a sociologist called Giddens who presented a paradox in human nature towards the issue of global warming. The consequences of global warming will not take effect immediately and so people today may not see it as an issue that needs to be given immediate attention. However, this way of thinking will lead to the inevitable future where it will be too late to right the wrongs of the past. 
Seeing all of this rubbish flutter around the city centre triggered images of mountains of rubbish that I’d never seen with my own eyes to race through my mind, striking me on a level I didn’t think was possible. Suddenly my environmental consciousness kicked into overdrive and I realised how easy it was to add to the damage to the environment, and think little of the consequences as you are doing it. Thinking of the thousands of plastic straws that were improperly recycled by the millions and millions of fast food customers every week, made me realise how important and immediate the issue of “fixing” the environment is.
The Generational Gap
Over the last few months in South Yorkshire, there has been a rapid increase of trees being cut down as part of a large operation to fix the roads and pavement across the entire county. In the process, hundreds of old trees are to be cut down and the saplings being planted to replace these old trees aren’t sufficient enough to adequately replace the adult trees that are being cut down. In some cases these small saplings have been reportedly vandalised and may take anywhere between 10-15 years to reach adulthood.
In February, I had the opportunity of filming a protest event outside of Sheffield’s Trades and Labour building where members of the Labour party were meeting. Labour controls Sheffield City Council. One of the protesters was a fourteen year old boy who, despite his age, saw the same paradox that Giddens theorised about and very passionately believed that the older politicians will have to live with the consequences of this operation, far shorter than himself and people his age would have to. 
Seeing such fierce advocacy for change in someone so young was an odd sight to see in person yet I was reassured in knowing that he wasn’t alone. There are plenty of intelligent young people around the world, who are frustrated with how the world is and want to set things right for their generation and future ones. Alas, there are plenty of people in older generations who dismiss young people as being “snowflakes”, easily offended and angry for no reason. A truly inaccurate title that is becoming attached to young people.
I think as a general consensus for the common human, the attention we pay to our environmental consciousness is quite low on the list of things to worry about in life. The little things we could be doing on a daily basis to improve the environment around us are often dismissed because we have to go to work, to pay for rent and constantly fix our sleeping patterns, because a new show came out on Netflix. I follow various zero-waste Reddit and Instagram pages to find the latest tips on how to up cycle the things around me that might go to waste, but I seldom put these tips into practise. 
Finding reassurance in knowing that I am doing my part to contribute is often at the bottom of my ever-growing list of things to-do. Similar to many controversial issues in the world, this mentality of “Surely I can’t change things, I’m just one person” is often what divides entire communities from ever being able to come together and make great change in the world. This same attitude is why 35% of registered voters didn’t show up to the ballots in the 2010 UK general election (BBC News, 2018).
Tried and Tested Mentalities
Growing up I noticed this mentality strongly imbedded in people within my family. My uncle had a very clear idea about everyone in the world doing the right thing and giving their best effort to keep the your conscious clear, whereas my mom had a similar mind state to many other people of only caring for those within the immediate family. It wasn’t a disheartening thing to constantly hear that individual action couldn’t lead to considerable change throughout the world, because I would read about people like MLK and Malcolm X who lead great movements and spearheaded change throughout history.
My uncle’s belief in individual action leading to significant change was so great that it compelled him to join the army, and growing up around a time when people in my family were finally starting to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives, helped me shape my own understanding of the world. 
I believed that it was everybody’s role in society to do their bit for the sake of providing a balance in society, ensuring the world ran smoothly. It wasn’t until I developed a great sceptics mind whilst studying sociology at high school, where I started to realise that not everybody in society has intentions to go out into the world and spread peace and positivity. Some people just don’t conform to society as utilitarian as some of us would hope.
Moral Obligations to Society
Something I wrote at the end of a very long essay in my last sociology essay during A-levels went something along the lines of “No one is obligated to give anything back to society despite everyone living in it. But if we all stopped believing in these obligations that we give ourselves, then society falls apart”. As intellectual as I thought I was being in my exam, I think I was finally realising that everybody has intentions in the world, but not all of them are good, and not everyone has the goal of spreading peace throughout the world. 
Anyone willing to risk their lives for something they believe is right is truly commendable, but even as a child I didn’t understand that if your own people back home aren’t upholding society then what is everyone fighting for? Are these obligations to society as important as we are told they are? We have to at least believe in leaving the world better than we found it, for the sake of admitting that we did our best to better the world to future generations.
Where We Go From Here
Taking into consideration how little my groups’ few bags worth of litter weighs in compared to the amounts dumped into landfills across the world, it all adds to the upsettingly long list of cases where the responsibility of government bodies and communities to protect each other and the environment from this scale of environmental harm is completely disregarded. Like Neil deGrasse Tyson said, the Earth will be fine no matter what we do to each other. 
Yet somehow it seems very likely that humans will bring about the fall of the human race. The growing laissez-faire attitude towards this level of negligence when it comes to taking care of mother nature would result in ruining beautiful wildlife that are continuing to die at increasing rates, some we will even see become extinct within our lifetime. It would mean shorting life expectancies for future generations that we will never get to meet, and it will ensure the deaths of key ecosystems that provide so much life and value to the rare, perfect conditions for allowing us to live on Earth. 
Not only do world leaders need to make active efforts in communication and cooperation to ensure we are metaphorically putting the right foot forward as a human race, but also swift action needs to be taken to ensure that future generations can benefit from whatever we leave behind. Change on a global scale could mean a great deal when combined with the efforts of individuals, of others willing to match their enthusiasm and desperate to pass that activism onto future generations.
‘A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit’ – David Elton Trueblood (Trueblood, 1951).
Bibliography:
https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/988127586139033600?s=21[Accessed 22 April 2018]
Trueblood, E. (1951). The life we prize. New York: Harper.
BBC News. (2018). Who are the non-voters?.[online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32527697[Accessed 12 April 2018]
Harvey Perry is a green political activist
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Marxist ecosocialism and the value debate

Climate and Capitalism - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 15:29
Many socialists have contributed to the debate on Marxism, nature, and value, strengthening our common understanding of the enemy we face and the movement we must build.
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

My IPCC Take-away: Imagine. Take Action. Repeat.

London Green Left Blog - Sun, 11/11/2018 - 08:09


Written by Rob Hopkins and first published at Transition Network
For those who care about the world and the people and creatures we share it with, the last 6 weeks has offered a barrage of dire news. The new IPCC report called for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. We learntthat since the time the Beatles broke up and I was born (I claim no scandalous link between those two events), human activity has caused a 60% decline in mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.
We’ve seen the German government, whose ‘Energiewende’ we were all celebrating a few years ago, dragging away protesters trying to prevent the clearing of an ancient woodland in order to create an open cast coal mine. Oh, and Brazil just elected a fascist who has vowed to turn much of the Amazon, that vital global carbon store, into farmland, merging the departments of environment and agriculture so as to ensure maximum cheap beef burger output. 
My own personal WTF moment was the US Department of Justice arguing last week, in their attempt to overturn a court case brought by 21 young people, that “there is no right to ‘a climate system capable of sustaining human life’”.  Er, excuse me? Is anyone actually taking this stuff seriously? Grief and rage feel an entirely appropriate response. As Bill McKibben put it, “we’re running out of options and we’re running out of decades”. 

As I work on the book I’m writing about imagination, I find myself intrigued with a thought that doesn’t seem to want to leave my head, namely that the deeper we get into climate change, the harder we seem to be finding it to imagine a way out. It’s an idea that, for me anyway, gets under the skin. We know that the more we see and feel its impacts, the more anxious we become, which in turn results in more cortisol in our systems and the contraction of our hippocampus, the imagination centre in our brain, hampering our ability to imagine the future.
We know that the increase of CO2 in the air we breathe impacts our cognitive abilities to the extent that the rise to 660ppm of CO2 by the end of the century forecast by the IPCC would lead to a 15% decline in those abilities. If we don’t intentionally put our priority on rebuilding the collective imagination, that vital ability may just slide out of our grasp. We know also that increased CO2 levels results in less of the vital minerals in our food that feed our brains and enable us to be imaginative.
The IPCC report does not say that climate breakdown is inevitable. It tells us that climate breakdown is inevitable if we continue with growth-based neo-liberal economics.  As David Fleming once wrote, “if the mature market economy is to have a sequel it will be the work, substantially, of imagination”. We need to be able to imagine it before we can build it, and we need to help those around us be able to dream about it too. It’s at times like this I come back to Joanna Macy’s assertion that these times call for 3 equally important pillars to underpin our responses:
Holding Actions: putting our bodies on the line to say “no” to the things that are driving us over the edge, always aware that this work is vital, but not enough on its own.
Structural Change: where we build the new world within the shell of the old dying one, creating the structures, economy, connections and models that we will need in order to thrive.
Shift in Consciousness: the inner work needed for the other two to succeed, changing our values and stories to enable the depth of change needed to become instinctive.
We won’t see the imagination needed coming from the top, that much is clear. If it ever was to be found up there, it has long since evaporated. The IPCC report stated clearly that our survival depends on our using less energy, consuming less stuff and eating less meat, and the next day, the UK’s imagination-bereft Energy and Climate Minister Claire Perry told the BBC “who would I be to sit there advising people in the country coming home after a hard day of work to not have steak and chips?”

On my recent visit to the amazing Art Angel project in Dundee, which uses art to help people with mental health issues, anxiety and depression back into the world, I was told that the key aspects of what they create are “safety and hope”.  In the people I spoke to there I saw the rekindling of their imaginations, their connection to the future, because of the safety and hope now in their lives that wasn’t there before.

It feels vital to me that alongside the declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ and the very welcome and needed wave-upon-wave of civil disobedience that the recently-launched Extinction Rebellion are calling for, we must never lose sight of the need to fire the imagination about the future it is still possible to create. Research published recently reminds us that making changes in our own lives, living the change that’s needed, and talking about it with others, does have an impact on the thinking of those around us. The same goes for the projects that our communities undertake too. 
Those stories are infectious. Really bold, amazing, world-changing, imagination-firing stuff is happening all over the world, even though you most likely won’t see it on the BBC News. If you haven’t heard about what’s happening in Rojava, Jackson, Clevelandor Iceland, or countless other places too, then you need to really bathe yourself in that stuff. And of course without the policy space and change that results from direct-action like the Extinction Rebellion, making low carbon alternatives happen continues to be like swimming against a very strong tide.
Alongside the call to mobilise hundreds of thousands of people to get arrested, and the call, being heeded by more and more companies and even nations to divest from fossil fuels, what if a similar call invited people to occupy empty shops on their High Street and reopen them as stores that model a low carbon future, and create spaces for conversation and connection? Or playful artistic events that bring together activists and artists to ‘makeover’ their place so people wake up to find themselves in the world we’re talking about, the world where we made it? Acts, if you like, of non-violent anticipatory futures-building in very public places.  As David Graeber wrote, “it’s one thing to say ‘Another World is Possible’. It’s another to experience it, however momentarily”.
While I completely understand that grief and despair are, right now, entirely appropriate, I tend to agree with Dee Hock that “it’s far too late, and far too urgent for pessimism”. Last week I spoke with Kali Akuno at Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi, about the amazing work they’re doing there rebuilding their economy around co-operatives and social justice. He told me: “Wallowing in a defeatist attitude is a sure way to be defeated. The lesson from Mississippi is that we need to stay grounded and utilise what opportunities we have”.
I find it helps to see growth-based economics as being a war on imagination, feeding the inequality, disconnection and anxiety which directly undermines it, creating what Henry Giroux calls the ‘disimagination machine’.  I love this, from ‘Rant’ by Diane di Prima: 
“The war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it….
the war is the war for the human imagination
and no one can fight it but you/ & no one can fight it for you
The imagination is not only holy, it is precise
it is not only fierce, it is practical
men die everyday for the lack of it,
it is vast & elegant”.
Last week, Preston, the northern English city implementing a radical approach which is, in essence, city-scale Transition, was chosen as “the most improved city in the UK”. This stuff works, it changes economies, lives and expectations. The expansion of Transition, through the Municipalities in Transition project, to focus on the enabling and collaborator role that local government can play, is one of the most fascinating developments in its evolution.  Of course it’s not yet enough, by any stretch. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be.
My main take-away from the 2018 IPCC report is that there may still be time, but only if we can bring about a deep reimagining of what the world could be and how it might work. As Daniel Aldana Cohen put it, “we are only doomed if we do nothing”. While mass arrests and a firm “no” is vital, our “yes” being sufficiently rich in imagination, play,  invitation, joy, awe and possibility matters just as much. “Rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. How deeply do those words call to your imagination?  What yearning do they evoke? What possibilities and delights do they invite, what do they call you to step up and do?
As the great Captain Beefheart once said, “fifty years from now you’ll wish you’d gone ‘wow’”. It may well be that the degree to which our work evokes “wow”, here and now, may turn out to be the best indicator we have of its success, and indeed our ability to navigate the next 20 years may, as much as anything else, depend on our ability to cultivate it in those around us. 
* The ‘Imagine. Take Action. Repeat’ from the title of this blog is not my own creation, it is unashamedly purloined from this video by the brilliant Centre for Story-Based Strategy.  All images by James McKay are taken from Paul Chatterton’s new book ‘Unlocking Sustainable Cities‘.
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Chapters This Week

Council of Canadians - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 13:27
November 9, 2018 - 4:27pm The London Chapter at the Support Postal Workers Rally on November 5. Joining a chapter is a great opportunity to meet with other Council of Canadians supporters who share your passion and vision for a better Canada. See if there’s a chapter near you and if not, contact us to discuss starting one! Below are a few recent highlights – send your actions and events to your regional organizer – we’d love to add your photos to our Flickr photostream too! Here are a...
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

It’s time to break up capitalism’s love affair with plastic

Climate and Capitalism - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 06:40
A valuable invention is massively misused in the service of profit, producing unprecedented waste and pollution. How can we stop the plastic plague?
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Halifax townhall on Pharmacare final consultation for Advisory Council

Council of Canadians - Thu, 11/08/2018 - 13:11
November 8, 2018 - 4:11pmThe Advisory Council on Implementation of National Pharmacare held their final consultation last night in Halifax, wrapping up several months of cross-country meetings to gather feedback on how Pharmacare should be implemented. Over 100 people attended the event, which consisted mostly of an open-mic style participation by the audience with intermittent comments from Council members Diana Whalen (former MLA in Nova Scotia) and Camille Orridge. Participants who spoke up...
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

The African Water Commons Collective on the causes and effects of four recent fatal fires on Cape Town’s peripheries

Council of Canadians - Wed, 11/07/2018 - 12:21
November 7, 2018 - 3:21pm Written by Faeza Meyer, an activist from Mitchell's Plain, Cape Town, and a founding member of the African Water Commons Collective, and an active member of Women for Change, the Housing Assembly, and the Water Crisis Coalition. In the aftermath of a drought and the shadow of so-called “day zero,” it is becoming clear that the Cape Town residents who cannot afford to pay for water will live on the edge this YEAR END’s “festive” season. While four communities are...
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Modern slave ships overfish the oceans

Climate and Capitalism - Wed, 11/07/2018 - 10:23
‘Seafood caught illegally or under conditions of modern slavery is laundered by mixing it with legally caught fish before it enters the supply chain.’
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Fight against Goldboro LNG turns international

Council of Canadians - Wed, 11/07/2018 - 06:53
November 7, 2018 - 9:53am This week the Nova Scotia Advocate reported on efforts by German anti-fracking activists to stop the German government from giving a financial guarantee to Peridae, the company behind the Goldboro LNG proposal. This proposal includes an Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) plant designed to export LNG from Goldboro, Nova Scotia in Guysborough County. Gastivist Berlin have written an open letter calling on the German government to halt this financial guarantee which reads:...
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Fossil fuel production and use exploded in the 20th century. Can we stop the flow in the 21st?

Climate and Capitalism - Tue, 11/06/2018 - 21:15
In ‘Burning Up’ Simon Pirani shows why fossil fuel consumption has grown so fast, and why only radical social change can prevent climate disaster now
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Film Review – Peterloo

London Green Left Blog - Tue, 11/06/2018 - 09:54

I am a fan of Mike Leigh’s films, and I can’t remember not enjoying any of his previous films, but I was a little perturbed by some of the reviews I read of his latest work, Peterloo. Most reviews seem to be a little underwhelmed by the film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Another concern was the length of the film, as anything over two hours I tend to get a bit bored with, but Peterloo at two and half hours length, just seemed to fly by for me.

I am a Mancunian, albeit living in London for many years now, so the story of Peterloo is familiar to me, it is part, and quite a big part, of the city’s social and political history. The name Peterloo referenced the battle of Waterloo, just four years earlier, when the British army, with considerable help from the Prussian army, finally defeated Napoleon’s French forces.
The film opens with a scene from the battle, with one of the characters Joseph, played by David Moorst, surviving the mayhem. He then returns to his family home in Manchester, tired, hungry and still in uniform. Contrast this to the huge amount of money given to the Duke of Wellington from the nation, for his contribution to winning the battle.
The film then moves to political discussions within Joseph's family, and later at a series of public meetings, where the main issue is a lack of political representation for most people. At this time Manchester didn’t have a single representative in Parliament. This was a time when Britain was moving from a rural farm based economy, to an industrialised one, and Manchester and much of Lancashire was the centre of it.
There are great, passionate speeches being made in this section of film, about the lack of political representation and much grumbling about wage cuts and the Corn Laws, which banned imported grain, and therefore artificially inflated prices for land owners, at the expense of the burgeoning factory workers in the towns and cities. The Corn Laws were eventually repealed in 1849, splitting the Tory party in the process.
There are many fine acting performances, especially Maxine Peake, as the matriarch trying to feed her family and hold things together. The period costume is fantastic too. The sense of social solidarity amongst the working classes and their generosity is captured well in the film. 
Some of the accents and turns of phrase in the film didn’t seem to me to be authentic Manchester, more Lancashire and even in some cases Yorkshire, but these characters could have been from those areas, and Manchester probably didn’t have a distinctive culture that it has today, so maybe I’m being unfair here. I did chuckle at a couple of turns of phrase that I hadn’t heard for a while, like ‘mithering’ (pestering) and someone had a ‘cob on’ (grumpy), which are authentic Manchester.
The people decide to hold a large public protest and march to St Peter’s field in central Manchester, on a Monday, so as to halt work in the cotton mills and other factories, and it is very successful in bringing a large crowd to the protest. The police had been spying on the leaders of the march for some time and the local and national authorities were getting nervous, and they call in the army to confront the marchers.
This was only forty years after the French revolution, so this nervousness was perhaps understandable. But the kind of contempt that ordinary folk are held in by the ruling classes comes through well in the film and the brutality, and not just in final scene, with which they are treated.
The march organisers, decide to invite a charismatic speaker, who some have seen speak in London for increased suffrage, Henry Hunt, a wealthy liberal land owner from Wiltshire, played by Rory Kinnear. He really takes over the whole thing and insists on being the only speaker on the day.
As it happens, the authorities act when the Hunt speaks and he and some of the organisers are arrested, the army, cavalry and infantry, then massacre the crowd, with about 15 people killed and 400–700 injured, including women and children. The crowd eventually scatters and that is the end of things.
It was the end of the film, but not in real life. Such an event as the Peterloo massacre has not taken place since 1819, Percy Shelley wrote his famous poem ‘The Masque of Anarachy,’ ‘rise like lions etc’ after the massacre. The ruling classes were fearful that if there was another occasion such as this, demonstrators would come armed, and it might have led to their overthrow by the people. The liberal (Manchester) Guardian newspaper was founded. Suffrage was gradually extended.
A great film, I highly recommend it, especially if you are of a left wing persuasion.
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Corporatizing Canada a must-read

Council of Canadians - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 11:31
November 5, 2018 - 2:31pm I am writing this to urge you to read a new book called Corporatizing Canada: Making Business out of Public Service, edited by Jamie Brownlee, Chris Hurl and Kevin Walby and published by Between the Lines. The book contains 16 chapters on many aspects of this important and dangerous development written by the top experts in the field in Canada. While they are all excellent, I must give a personal shout out to one in particular. Emma Lui, the Council of Canadians’...
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, November 2018

Climate and Capitalism - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 21:18
A bumper crop! Eight new books on biofuels, nutrition fraud, imperialism, post-capitalism, indigenous sovereignty, coral reefs, moral economists, and chicken
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Capitalism is killing the world’s wildlife, not ‘humanity’

Climate and Capitalism - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 07:16
By failing to name the system responsible, the new Living Planet report undermines its own call for a collective response to the biodiversity crisis. 
Categories: B3. EcoSocialism

Pages