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Yellow Vests to Macron: “Obey the Will of the People”

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:35
Source: Open Democracy

MPs from France, we inform you of the People’s Directives for you to transpose them into LAW.

–  Zero homeless  : URGENT.

–  Income tax more progressive (more slices).

–  SMIC ( minimum wage for growth) of 1300 euros net.

–  Promote small businesses, villages and city centers. (Stop the construction of large commercial areas around big cities that kill small business + free parking in city centers).

–  Large Insulation Plan for housing. (to make ecological savings for households).

–  That BIG (Macdo, Google, Amazon, Crossroads …) pay BIG and that small (artisans, TPE, PME– SME and Microenterprises) pay small.

–  Same system of social security for all (including artisans and self-entrepreneurs). End of the RSI (the social regime of the self-employed).

–  The pension system must remain in solidarity and therefore socialized. (No retirement at peak).

–  End of the tax increase on fuel.

–  No pension below 1200 euros.

–  Any elected representative will have the right to a median salary. His transport costs will be monitored and reimbursed if they are justified. Right to the restaurant ticket and check-holiday.

–  The wages of all French people as well as pensions and allowances must be indexed to inflation.

–  Protect French industry: prohibit relocation. Protecting our industry is protecting our know-how and our jobs.

–  End of detached work (where ‘posted workers’ are sent by their employer to carry out a service in another European country on a temporary basis). It is abnormal that a person who works on French territory does not benefit from the salary and the same rights. Anyone authorized to work on French territory must be equal with a French citizen and his employer must contribute to the same height as a French employer.

–  For job security: further limit the number of fixed-term contracts for large companies. We want more CDI (the default open-ended or permanent work contract in France).

–  End of the CICE ( tax credits that corporations can claim for all salaries 2.5 lower than the French minimum wage). Using this money for launching a French car industry that has hydrogen (which is truly ecological, unlike the electric car.)

–  End of austerity policy. We are ceasing to repay the debt interest that is declared illegitimate and we are starting to repay the debt without taking the money from the poor and the poorest but by going after the $80 billion in tax evasion.

–  That the causes of forced migration are treated.

–  That asylum seekers are well treated. We owe them housing, security, food and education for the miners. Work with the UN to have host camps open in many countries around the world, pending the outcome of the asylum application.

–  That the unsuccessful asylum seekers be returned to their country of origin.

–  That a real integration policy  be implemented. Living in France means becoming French (French language course, History of France course and civic education course with certification at the end of the course).

–  Maximum salary fixed at 15000 euros.

–  That jobs are created  for the unemployed.

–  Increase in disabled benefits

–  Limitation of rents + low-rent housing (especially for students and precarious workers).

–  Prohibition to sell property belonging to France (airport dam …)

–  Substantial means granted to justice, the police, the gendarmerie and the army. That law enforcement overtime be paid or recovered.

–  All the money earned by highway tolls will be used for the maintenance of motorways and roads in France and road safety.

–  Since the price of gas and electricity has increased since privatization, we want them to become public again and that prices fall significantly.

–  Immediate end to closure of small chains: post offices, schools and maternity homes.

–  Let’s bring well-being to our elderly people. Prohibition of making money on the elderly. The gray gold is finished. The era of gray well-being begins.

–  Maximum 25 students per class  from kindergarten to the final year. – Substantial resources brought to psychiatry.

–  The People’s Referendum must enter the Constitution. Creation of a readable and effective site, supervised by an independent control body where the links can make a proposal of law. If this bill obtains 700,000 signatures then this bill will have to be discussed, completed and amended by the National Assembly, which will be obliged (one year to the day after obtaining the 700,000 signatures) to submit to the vote of all the French.

–  Return to a term of 7 years for the President of the Republic. (The election of the deputies two years after the election of the President of the Republic made it possible to send a positive or negative signal to the President of the Republic concerning his policy, so it helped to make the voice of the people heard.)

–  Retirement at age 60 and for all those who have worked in a trade using the body (a builder or butcher for example) a right to retirement at 55 years.

–  A 6-year-old child is not able to look after him or herself, continuation of the PAJEMPLOI help system until the child is 10 years old.

–  Promote the transport of goods by railway.

–  No deduction of tax at source

–  End of presidential allowances for life

–  Prohibition of charging retailers a fee when their customers use the credit card.

–  Tax on marine fuel oil and kerosene.

This list is non-exhaustive but thereafter, the will of the people will be heard and applied by means of the creation of the popular referendum system which will have to be quickly set up. Members of Parliament, make our voice heard in the Assembly.

Obey the will of the people. Apply these Guidelines. Yellow Vests.

See below. A new ‘unofficial list’ dated December 7, 2018 includes:

– cut tax to 25% of GDP ( half current levels)

– better public services/ massive hiring of civil servants to this end

– leave EU and NATO

– default on public debt

– new constitution

– on immigration: “Prevent migratory flows that cannot be accommodated or integrated, given the profound civilizational crisis we are experiencing.”

 

Statement from Unions Participating in TUED on the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 16:11

November 30, 2018

We are four unions participating in Trade Unions for Energy Democracy in the U.S. which represent workers in health, manufacturing, hospitality, and human services. We have been working in our unions to raise awareness of the devastating effects of climate change and advocating for Labor action to protect the Earth’s climate and defend our jobs.

Now, we are challenged to redouble our efforts by the recently published Fourth National Climate Assessment, which describes the destruction already wrought by climate change and what the U.S. can expect if current warming trends continue.

Released on November 23, 2018, the new report warns of the likely impact on human health and welfare, the natural environment, energy production and use, land and water resources, and transportation. It thus underscores the urgent need for the U.S. to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

In recent months, floods from Hurricane Florence on the south eastern coast of the U.S. have left over 50 dead, hundreds displaced from their homes, and toxic coal ash spread throughout the region. On the west coast, multiple wildfires in California have resulted in some of the most toxic air pollution in the world,[1] and have left at least 88 dead, with more than 200 still missing as of November 26, 2018.[2] In Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria ravaged the Island over a year ago, the death toll due to this unprecedented climate disaster is over 4,600.[3] During 2017—the second-hottest year in U.S. history—extreme weather and climate-related events inflicted a record-breaking $306 billion in damages.[4] If we continue with “business as usual,” by the end of the century, climate damages could cost the U.S. economy more than $500 billion a year with major job losses in multiple sectors.[5]

As progressive unions, we are committed to working with legislators on the national and local levels to develop policies needed so that workers whose jobs will be affected are ensured a just transition. We are also committed to developing the kind of policies needed for the U.S. to make its rightful contribution to the global effort to limit warming to less than 1.5˚C, a target supported by nearly every country in the world under the Paris Agreement. We welcome the ambitious clean energy and emissions targets adopted by many states and cities — but ambition must be matched by implementation.

Many of our members live in communities that are vulnerable to the effects of climate disaster, and recognize that we are all at risk to the devastating consequences of a warming planet if we do not rapidly reduce carbon emissions.

 

 

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/air-quality-california.html

[2] https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article222227300.html

[3] https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1803972

[4] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-climate-assessment_us_5bf5b31fe4b0771fb6b57ccb

[5] https://www.vox.com/2018/11/24/18109883/climate-report-2018-national-assessment

 

COP24: TUED and Allies Will Bring a Strong Pro-Public Message to Katowice — TUED Bulletin 81

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 15:41

November 30, 2018

Working with key allies in energy democracy advocacy, TUED has organized several meetings and strategy sessions during the upcoming “COP24” UN climate talks, which will take place December 3-14, 2018, in Katowice, Poland.

These sessions will take place over several days, from Thursday, December 6th until Monday, December 10th. They have been co-organized with Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York Office, the UK’s Public and Commercial Services Union, Friends of the Earth Europe, transform! europe, and Transnational Institute (TNI). The full schedule and registration details are available here.

~ ~ ~

UK Labour Party Shadow Minister to Address Energy Democracy Gathering

As part of this series of events, Rebecca  Long-Bailey, UK Labour Party Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will join us for a discussion on the Party’s climate and industrial policy. The Party is currently committed to bringing transmission and distribution networks back into public ownership, and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The Party is also committed to ensuring 60% of the UK’s energy comes from low carbon and renewable sources within 12 years of coming to power, and to working with energy unions and workers to deliver a ‘green jobs revolution’ at the heart of Labour’s industrial strategy. The meeting will take place Sunday evening, December 9th. Registration is required, and can be done here.

TUED and co-organizers have planned the following four events over the four days; please see the online program for full details and any updates, as well as for logistics and registration information:

Thursday, December 6 (afternoon)
TUED Roundtable: Analysis, Allies and Action
Time: 13:00-17:00 (with lunch at 13:00)

Friday, December 7 (afternoon)
Energy Democracy: Reclaiming Energy to Social Ownership and Full Democratic Control
Time: 13:30-16:00

Sunday, December 9 (evening)
Climate Change and the Energy Transition: Alternatives to Market Failures, and the Role of Public Ownership
Time: 19:30-21:30

  • Special guest: Rebecca Long-Bailey, UK Labour Party Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Monday, December 10 (morning)
Energy Democracy “Next Steps” Working Meeting
Time: 09:30-11:30

Again, the full program is available here.

~ ~ ~

For An Independent “Public Goods” Approach

In preparation for these meetings, TUED has prepared a discussion paper, which provides an updated assessment of where the world stands with regard to tackling the climate and energy crisis, When “Green” Doesn’t “Grow”: Facing Up to the Failures of Profit-Driven Climate Policy. As the paper argues:

“After more than a decade of speeches and assurances from global elites, the “green growth” approach to climate protection has failed to make any meaningful progress in addressing the climate crisis. Renewable energy is on an upward course, but overall energy consumption has continued to rise even faster; as a result, fossil fuel use continues to expand, emissions continue to rise, and nearly every major country is off-track to meet their Paris commitments.

“It is time for us to collectively confront these stark realities and formulate a radical, independent, and internationalist trade union alternative based on a “public goods” approach. One way or another, rising emissions hurt everyone, and reducing emissions would benefit everyone. Considerations of private profit must be taken out of the equation. Emissions reductions must therefore be regarded as an absolute necessity and a collective human right. And since most emissions come from how we generate and use energy, energy systems must be radically reshaped by needs-based and pro-public policies. This means reclaiming energy to public and social ownership, and democratic control.”

The full paper is available here. As always, we welcome feedback.

The Politics of Power: Getting to Grips with Changing Electrical Technologies — TUED Bulletin 80

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 14:49

November 5, 2018

With this issue of the TUED Bulletin, we bring you a guest contribution from Simon Pirani, Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, and author of Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption, published this year by Pluto Press. Simon is also a long-time activist around issues of energy, democracy and climate change.

Simon’s book provides a thorough and detailed historical account of how fossil fuels have come to shape modern societies, economies and environments. It is an invaluable contribution to debates about the challenges we face if we are to successfully reclaim energy to public, democratic control, and navigate the transition we need towards a sustainable alternative based on renewable sources.

In the piece below, written specifically for TUED, Simon describes key aspects of our rapidly changing systems for providing electrical power. Emerging technologies hold enormous potential for meeting people’s energy needs in safe, secure and sustainable ways — but realizing this potential will require deepening the technical expertise throughout our movement, developing concrete programs for action, and redoubling our commitment to class-conscious, worker-focused politics.

~ ~ ~

Technological Change in Electricity: Why History Matters By Simon Pirani

Electricity technology is changing. The communications revolution of the last quarter century – i.e. the growth of the internet and the instant information-sharing and management techniques that go with it – can, and will, turn supply, distribution and balancing upside down.

Computer technology not only has the potential to ease efficient organisation of electricity consumption by households and larger users. It also makes balancing, storage and distribution simpler on regional and national scales. All this enhances the potential of decentralised generation – and that in turn helps renewables. Properly used, the technology will keep pushing the cost of smaller-scale renewable supply sources downwards.

Many engineers see integrated urban systems – in which electricity, district heating, gas and transport networks are closely linked – as the next horizon. When there is too much of one form of energy, other networks can store it. Surplus electricity would be converted into heat, or hydrogen to be used as fuel. Surpluses of other energy types might be used to produce electricity, which could be stored, for example, in electric vehicles’ batteries. Combined heat and power technologies, long used to boost power station efficiencies, would become more adjustable.

For electricity workers on one hand, and social and labour movements fighting for socially just energy provision on the other, this technological leap throws up both possibilities and problems. Our movement’s strategies for electricity are developing, in opposition to the corporations that control the networks in many countries, and have their own ideas about how technological change can profit their owners.

To fashion effective approaches in the present and future, an accurate understanding of the past is helpful. Having recently researched a book on the global history of fossil fuel consumption – in which electricity plays a big part – five themes, at least, jumped out at me.

1. Technological innovation doesn’t solve class conflict

Working-class militants of the late 19th century were inspired by the thrilling possibilities that electricity opened up. Its ability to provide easily-accessible heat, light and motive power fitted, like hand in glove, with their hopes of transforming society.

August Bebel, the German socialist leader, foresaw electricity lifting the burden of domestic labour from women. Charles Steinmetz, a militant on the run from Germany’s anti-socialist laws, emigrated to the USA, became the chief engineer at General Electric, helped invent alternating current – and believed that electricity grids could lay the foundations of social justice. The mood was summed up in 1901 in Work, a novel by Emile Zola. One of his characters, an electrical engineer, said: “The day must come when electricity will belong to everybody, like the water of the rivers and the breezes of the heavens.”

Were such hopes realised? Yes and no. In the rich countries, with the growth of the labour movement, the welfare state and municipal services, electricity was supplied to urban working-class populations and contributed to a massive improvement in living standards. Domestic labour became less back-breaking, although the time women spent on it didn’t go down much on average. But electricity, almost always and everywhere, remained under the control of corporations who saw it as a profitable commodity, or by governments who saw it as essential infrastructure for industrial development. The democratic potential dreamed of by Steinmetz and Zola was not achieved.

2. Electrification always reflects inequality and class divisions

Between 1950 and today, the proportion of the world population with electricity access rose from well under half to more than four-fifths – while the share of the world’s total fossil fuels used to generate electricity rose from one tenth to more than one third.

But electrification was unequal. Corporations prioritised urban customers, both industry and households – and usually the state did, too, even in the Soviet Union, where most rural areas were only electrified after the second world war. In no country, not even the USA, was the countryside electrified by private corporations. In India, in states where owners of large farms pressured government, electrification was extended to the countryside for agricultural production – but poorer farmers in other states were deprived of electricity, in some cases until today.

3. Struggles over commodification have profoundly shaped how electrical systems have evolved

The tension between the supply of electricity as a commodity (by private corporations) and as a state benefit to industry and households (by governments) persisted in the post-war boom, as networks spread across the rich world, and in the last third of the twentieth century, as they multiplied across the global south.

In the 1990s, the wave of liberalisation and privatisation encouraged by the World Bank and other international financial institutions did little or nothing to advance electrification in the global south. Governments, under pressure from labour and social movements, rejected elements of the institutions’ privatisation recipes – although corporations often took control of profitable generation assets.

In the last three decades, the massive expansion of urban populations in the global south has meant that a huge proportion of the world population – more than 1.5 billion people today – live on the edges of the commercial energy system. They have some access – usually irregular and unreliable – to electricity, but use biofuels to cook, as do the 1 billion people with no electricity at all.

In poorer neighbourhoods of cities in the global south, from Brazil to north Africa and India, the opposition between electricity as a commodity, and access to it as a state benefit, has taken shape in social conflict, in which urban residents have demanded free or cheap electricity as a right.

4. Ownership and control over electricity have proven to be decisive in shaping our options for tackling greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the 1980s, the more obvious it has become that fossil fuel consumption needs to be reduced to avert dangerous global warming, the clearer it has become that possibilities for non-fossil generation, and for energy conservation, are constrained by the way that electricity is owned and controlled.

For non-fossil power generation, governments in the richest countries had focused almost exclusively on nuclear throughout and following the post-World War II economic boom – a technological option that dovetailed with their military activities. In the USA, state support was given to solar development in the 1970s but withdrawn in the 1980s. Countries that persisted with renewables, such as Denmark with wind, proved to be exceptions to the rule, in which incumbents invested, and often over-invested, in mainly coal-fired generation.

Governments and international organisations alike projected constant growth of electricity demand: energy conservation, which began to be seriously researched after the oil price shocks of the 1970s, was pushed to the margins again in the 1980s, as oil prices fell again and globalisation set in. Conservation measures recommended by researchers, such as building regulations with teeth, and wider use of cogeneration, were often brushed aside.

5. Given these patterns, the potential of new technologies to curb demand has not been realized

On one hand, possibilities for rationalising grids with internet-based technologies have been held up by corporations who profit by keeping throughput high. On the other, the internet itself has become a substantial new source of demand – larger than India’s – due not to technical necessity but largely for advertising purposes.

~ ~ ~

These are five general, global trends. Obviously there were and are exceptions and complexities in individual countries, of which readers will be aware. Nevertheless, a general conclusion can be drawn, that the technological evolution of electricity systems has been shaped by the social, economic and political contexts.

From this it follows that a future change in the technological system – and decarbonisation implies very sweeping change – can best be envisioned in the context of deep-going social, economic and political transformations.

This, I believe, applies not only to electricity networks, but to the other big technological systems that account for the vast bulk of fossil fuel consumption: urban car-based transport networks; urban built infrastructure; industrial processes such as steelmaking and manufacture; chemical fertiliser production; and state and military uses.

History does not provide us with any easy formulas to guide future transitions. But it can help us unravel the complex systems that use fossil fuels, and the forces that shape them, to understand better how change can be brought about.

~ ~ ~

Simon Pirani is the author of Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption and a lifelong militant in labour and social movements.

Latin American Unions Adopt Radical Energy Agenda: “De-privatize, Democratize, De-commodify” — TUED Bulletin 79

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 13:22

October 26, 2018

From October 8 to 11, 2018, representatives from 15 countries throughout the Americas met in San José, Costa Rica, for the Third Regional Conference on Energy, Environment and Work. The meeting, convened by the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA-CSA), brought together 20 trade union centers affiliated to TUCA and 4 which are fraternal, 7 continental social movements, 4 civil society organizations and 5 universities.

For three days, the group discussed how to respond to the predatory and repressive actions of mining and drilling companies across the continent. There was unanimous support expressed for “Democratization of Energy” and “De-Privatization” and the recovery of sovereignty over resources. The meeting issued the following declaration:

Declaration of the 3rd Regional Conference on Energy, Environment and Work

Declaractión de la 3era Conferencia Regional de Energía, Ambiente y Trabajo

A delegation of trade unionists from the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas will be bringing a strong pro-public message to the UN climate change negotiations in Katowice, Poland, in December this year.

From the Declaration:

Democratization of Energy

We must conceive of energy as a fundamental right for a country’s entire population and, as such, it must be defended as a public service. This right is essential if people are to exercise their fundamental human and social rights, their integration into social life, and uphold their dignity.

The first demand of the working class is to end energy poverty. That is, ensure that everyone have access to the energy required to maintain basic standards of family life and mobility. Our income must not be corroded by the expenses incurred to cover said basic needs.

We affirm the need to democratize energy, because we understand that far from being just a debate between state planners, sector technicians and managers of large companies, it has to be society, through democratic and transparent mechanisms of popular participation, who define what energy we want to develop, how, for what purposes and for whom, and in doing so question, among other things, the excessive consumption patterns of the elites. It is not enough to discuss changes in the energy mix, we must debate the energy policy in relation to our desired vision for national and regional development.

Given this vision, the labor movement together with grassroots organizations has an affirmative agenda:

De-privatization of the sector, given that the logic of private profit is opposed to the logic of satisfying the needs of peoples and nations;

Recovery of sovereignty over our resources and common goods, breaking commitments that require accepting systems of impunity for large transnational companies that operate in the energy sector or that use it intensively in our countries and territories while taking advantage of free trade agreements and investment protections;

Discussion regarding the role and application of technology within a democratically-decided national project. We must not accept technological determinisms imposed and manipulated by corporate interests nor that, under the pretext of transition, reinforce dependence on technological development centers in the Global North;

We must increasingly move towards the de-commodification and de-fossilization of our energy matrix, from a vision of transition based on democratic, social, and environmental justice.

 

DECLARACIÓN DE LA 3era CONFERENCIA REGIONAL DE ENERGÍA, AMBIENTE Y TRABAJO

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 07:27

DECLARACIÓN DE LA 3era CONFERENCIA

 La 3ra. Conferencia sobre Energía, Ambiente y Trabajo, convocada por la CSA en San José Costa Rica, del 8 al 11 de octubre de 218, ha reunido a representantes de 15 países del continente, 20 centrales sindicales afiliadas a la CSA y 4 fraternas, 7 movimientos sociales continentales, 4 organizaciones de la sociedad civil y 5 universidades.

Esta declaración recupera puntos de debate y acuerdos logrados a partir de un diálogo entre el movimiento sindical y las otras representaciones que participaron, como parte de la estrategia de alianzas sociales que compartimos con los movimientos aquí presentes y que se expresa en la construcción de la Jornada Continental por la Democracia y contra el Neoliberalismo.

La clase trabajadora de las Américas atraviesa una coyuntura política de graves riesgos y amenazas para la paz, las libertades, los derechos sociales y la democracia.

Vuelve a la agenda el programa neoliberal en países donde había logrado detenerse, pero a diferencia de los años 90, cuando conseguía venderse electoralmente, ahora se combina con propuestas fascistas y autoritarias, con discursos de odio misóginos, racistas, xenófobos, homófobos, abiertamente antisindicales y de ataque a los movimientos sociales. Incluso el proceso de paz en Colombia con las distintas insurgencias, clave para la distensión en toda la región, ahora está amenazado por el nuevo gobierno.

Esta coyuntura se instala después de un ciclo de avances sociales que se había registrado en varios países latinoamericanos, para finalmente ser puesto en cuestión por los coletazos de la crisis iniciada en 2008 en los Estados Unidos, cuyos reflejos duraderos se extienden sobre los demás países.

Las fuerzas políticas y sociales reaccionarias buscan fracturar a los movimientos populares, haciendo creer que el problema de la sociedad son las dirigencias sindicales, migrantes, LGTBI, las personas jóvenes, el feminismo, la población afrodescendiente, las demandas campesinas e indígenas y el ambientalismo. Hay un recrudecimiento de la represión y la criminalización de la lucha social. Manipulan los miedos de la gente en momentos de aumento del desempleo y desestructuración de las economías. Para eso se valen de las noticias falsas repetidas mil veces en las redes sociales por usuarios falsos y en los medios de comunicación controlados por las grandes empresas.

La xenofobia, la misoginia, la homofobia y el racismo dejan de ser discursos de sectores intolerantes en los márgenes del sistema político, para ocupar el centro del escenario. Hay una nueva oleada de la ideología individualista que intenta crear un terreno para el ataque gubernamental a las organizaciones sindicales y los movimientos sociales.

En ese contexto consideramos insuficientes las políticas estatales ya acordadas en la convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático (CMNUCC) frente al desafío de la crisis climática. No se ha conseguido poner en marcha una verdadera transición ecológica, al mismo tiempo que hay toda una arquitectura mundial para garantizar la impunidad de las empresas transnacionales en su afán de lucro por sobre los derechos de la clase trabajadora, de las comunidades en los territorios y de la naturaleza. Seguiremos presionando adentro y afuera de las Conferencias de las Partes (COPs) por un freno al cambio climático y por la justicia social.

El momento es de resistencia a la oleada reaccionaria y conservadora, de afirmación de las conquistas de nuestros pueblos y de alianzas sociales y políticas amplias para resistir y vencer.

El sindicalismo que necesitamos para este periodo no es el que se dedica al cabildeo, sino el que moviliza y organiza a trabajadores y trabajadoras.

I.   El Trabajo es el Centro de una Política Alternativa

El trabajo continúa en el centro de la vida de nuestras sociedades.

Sin embargo, se encuentra bajo ataque tanto de las fuerzas políticas afines a las organizaciones patronales como de interpretaciones sociológicas que manipulan realidades para tratar de convencernos que trabajadores y trabajadoras ya no somos necesarios y en consecuencia debemos aceptar la erosión de las conquistas en materia de derechos sociales, laborales y sindicales.

Las fuerzas reaccionarias han lanzado una nueva ofensiva individualista, ahora cargada de odio hacia “otras y otros” también pobres y excluidos a quienes se acusa de ser causantes del deterioro de las condiciones de vida y trabajo de los colectivos laborales perjudicados por las políticas neoliberales.

Para el movimiento sindical el punto de partida de una transición desde una economía de alto consumo de carbono, basada en el agronegocio y el extractivismo minero-energético hacia otra social y ambientalmente sustentable, pasa por garantizar que su resultado sea el fortalecimiento y ampliación del trabajo decente.

Recuperar la visión de la centralidad del trabajo es también reconocer el trabajo necesario para la producción del vivir, aquel que es realizado en el hogar y en la comunidad mayoritariamente por mujeres, por fuera de los circuitos mercantiles y que no es reconocido en su contribución al desarrollo económico y social. El aprovechamiento que el capital hace del resultado de ese trabajo es la otra cara de los ataques misóginos a los derechos de las mujeres. El patriarcado no es solamente un fenómeno cultural, sino un sistema de dominación que genera rentas por la explotación de aquel trabajo no remunerado.

II.  Democratización de la Energía

La energía debe ser entendida como un derecho fundamental para toda la población de un país, por lo tanto, debe ser un servicio público. Es esencial para que las personas puedan ejercer sus derechos humanos y sociales fundamentales, su integración a la vida social, su dignidad.

La primera reivindicación de la clase trabajadora es acabar con la pobreza energética. Es decir, garantizar que toda la población tenga acceso a la energía que necesita para mantener estándares básicos de vida familiar y movilidad. Que sus ingresos no sean corroídos por los gastos realizados para cubrir esas necesidades básicas.

Afirmamos la necesidad de democratizar la energía, porque entendemos que lejos de tratarse apenas de un debate entre planificadores gubernamentales, técnicos del sector y directivos de grandes empresas, tiene que ser la sociedad, a través de mecanismos democráticos y transparentes de participación popular, quien defina qué energía se quiere desarrollar, cómo, para qué fines y para quienes, cuestionando los patrones de consumo excesivo de las élites. No es suficiente discutir cambios en la matriz energética, hay que rediscutir la política energética en relación con el desarrollo que se quiere para el país y la región.

Frente a este cuadro el movimiento sindical junto con organizaciones de movimientos sociales tiene una agenda afirmativa de:

Desprivatización del sector, ya que la lógica del lucro privado se contrapone a la lógica de la satisfacción de las necesidades de los pueblos y naciones;

Recuperación de la soberanía sobre nuestros recursos y bienes comunes, rompiendo compromisos que significan aceptar una arquitectura de la impunidad de las grandes empresas transnacionales que operan en el sector energético o que lo usan intensivamente en nuestros países y territorios, cuando aprovechan los acuerdos de libre comercio y protección de inversiones;

Discutir las opciones tecnológicas con una orientación definida por un proyecto de país que sea decidido democráticamente. No debemos aceptar determinismos tecnológicos impuestos por saberes manipulados por los intereses de las corporaciones, y que, a pretexto de la transición, refuerzan la dependencia a los centros de desarrollo tecnológicos del Norte;

Debemos crecientemente avanzar hacia la desmercantilización y desfosilización de nuestra matriz energética, desde una visión de transición basada en la democracia y la justicia social y ambiental.

III.  La Energía como bien Común

Afirmar la energía como bien común es cuestionar la privatización del sector energético, paso necesario para revertir la mercantilización de la energía y su reconocimiento como derecho.

Se trata de reposicionar mecanismos democráticos de participación en la sociedad, reivindicando el rol del Estado en la propiedad, control y reorientación de la generación y uso de energías desde su carácter público. Las rentas extraordinarias que el sector pueda generar, por las características que tienen varias fuentes energéticas, deben tener una aplicación definida socialmente de acuerdo con una visión de país basada en la garantía de los derechos de la clase trabajadora.

El atendimiento de la energía como derecho básico de toda la población pasa necesariamente por una revisión profunda de la forma como la sociedad ve al sector. Hay necesidad de una nueva pedagogía que promueva en la población la emancipación cultural, educativa y organizativa.

En este entendimiento, también podremos propiciar una desconcentración y descentralización del sector, promoviendo iniciativas locales, cooperativas, comunitarias, etc. aprovechando las posibilidades de las alternativas tecnológicas disponibles y otras que se pueden desarrollar desde una visión popular. Propugnamos por el desarrollo de un sector público que vaya más allá de la propiedad estatal y de la centralización, aportando desarrollo local y que, complementariamente, avancen hacia proyectos de integración regional.

IV. Transición Justa

La transición ecológica y social en materia energética debe considerar que parte de un escenario complejo de muchas heterogeneidades. Un país no es igual a otro, una región no es igual a otra en el mismo país. En este debate, un sector social no es igual a otro, pero debemos avanzar en construir acuerdos mínimos.

Es necesario colocar la discusión de la transición justa en los niveles nacional, subnacional y local, en diálogo entre el campo y la ciudad. Es decir, no hay solo una vía o modelo de transición que debemos propugnar.

Se trata entonces de discutir cuáles deben ser los parámetros generales.       Para el movimiento sindical el punto de partida es que la transición debe promover el trabajo decente y asegurar los derechos laborales y sociales con la opción por el dialogo social efectivo.

Es fundamental que se oriente también por criterios democráticos de participación ciudadana, que apunten a la paz en los territorios, a reducir el extractivismo, a democratizar el acceso a la tierra y promover la reforma agraria y a superar una estructura social basada en el patriarcado.

Una transición justa no puede orientarse a una nueva mercantilización de la naturaleza y de las alternativas energéticas.

Tampoco debe ser vista como parte de un debate dominado por técnicos especialistas, sino que debe incorporar la visión de nuestro sindicalismo sociopolítico y de otros sectores sociales, que apunta a la adecuación de las alternativas tecnológicas con los anhelos de construir sociedades de inclusión de todos y todas.

La Jornada Continental por la Democracia y contra el Neoliberalismo

 La Jornada Continental por la Democracia y contra el Neoliberalismo es la plataforma donde esa reivindicación del papel central de la clase trabajadora en sus múltiples facetas debe combinarse con la lucha para acabar con la impunidad y la captura de los Estados y los territorios, por parte de las grandes corporaciones, en defensa de los derechos y promoción de la economía campesina y la soberanía alimentaria, la economía feminista y la justicia ambiental y social.

La agenda de lucha sindical es indisociable de las alianzas sociales con todos los movimientos que resisten al neoliberalismo y al avance del fascismo en la región. Desde estas alianzas llamamos a movilizarnos permanente contra el neoliberalismo, el fascismo y en defensa de la democracia. Nos encontraremos en las manifestaciones de noviembre de 2018 contra el G20 y el FMI en Buenos Aires y en todo el continente.

Permaneceremos movilizados en los lugares de trabajos, escuelas, universidades, plazas, comunidades, territorios, calles, etc.

¡Unidad y alianzas sociales en defensa de nuestra América!¡Seguimos en lucha!

Latin American Unions Adopt Radical Energy Agenda: “Deprivatize, Democratize, Decommodify.”

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:21

DECLARATION

Adopted on October 11, 2018

The 3rd Conference on Energy, Environment and Work, convened by the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA-CSA) in San José Costa Rica, from October 8 to 11, 2018, has brought together representatives from 15 countries from around the continent, 20 trade union centers affiliated to TUCA and 4 which are fraternal, 7 continental social movements, 4 civil society organizations and 5 universities.

This declaration summarizes points of debate and agreements reached from the dialogue between the trade union movement and other representatives as part of the social alliances strategy that we share with participating movements and which is materialized in the making of the Continental Day for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism.

The working class of the Americas is going through a political juncture of grave risks and threats to peace, liberties, social rights and democracy.

The neoliberal agenda is making a comeback in countries where we had managed to deter it. Unlike in the 1990s, when neoliberalism managed to sell itself electorally, today it comes as a package of fascist and authoritarian proposals, combined with hate speech that is misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, openly anti-union and that attacks social movements. Even the peace process in Colombia between the state and different insurgencies, key to detente throughout the region, is now threatened by the new Duque administration.

This situation comes after a cycle of social progress in several Latin American countries, eventually thrown into question by the violent fluctuations of the 2008 crisis and whose lasting effects continue to be felt globally.

Reactionary political and social forces aim to fracture grassroots movements, claiming that societal problems are caused by the proposals of union leaders, migrants, LGBTQ people, feminists, people of color, the youth, farmers, indigenous communities and environmentalists. There is a notable upsurge in repression and the criminalization of social struggle. Elite interests manipulate the fears of people in periods of unemployment, instability, and/or recession, with the creation and propagation of fake news playing a key role to this end within both social media platforms and, importantly, established news corporations.

Xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia and racism are discourses of intolerance which, far from being constrained to politically marginal sectors of society, currently occupy center stage.     Additionally, there is a new wave of individualist ideology aiming to set the stage for government attacks on labor organizations and grassroots movements.

Moreover, state policies agreed upon in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are clearly insufficient given the scale of the challenge posed by the climate crisis. We haven’t been able to set in motion a true ecological transition. Meanwhile, a global structure works efficiently to guarantee the impunity of transnational corporations whose drive for profit is prioritized over the entire global working class and the environment. We will continue to pressure within and beyond the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to stop climate change and advance in social justice.

This moment requires resistance to the reactionary and conservative wave, affirmation of the victories our people have achieved, and the formation and consolidation of broad broad social and political alliances so that we may collectively resist and win.

The trade unionism that we need for this period is one dedicated not to lobbying, but to mobilizing and organizing workers.

I    Work is at the Heart of Alternative Politics

Work continues to be central to the life of our societies.However, it is under attack from both political forces affiliated to employers’ organizations and from sociological interpretations that attempt to convince us that workers are no longer necessary and that we must consequently accept the erosion of past victories regarding social, labor and union rights.

The reactionary forces have launched a renewed individualistic offensive full of hatred towards “others and others” including the poor and marginalized who they fault for the deterioration of living and working conditions, a product of neoliberal policies.

For the trade union movement the starting point of a transition from a high carbon economy, based on agribusiness and mining-energy extractivism to another socially and environmentally sustainable, is to ensure that it results in the consolidation and expansion of decent work.

Recovering the vision of the centrality of work implies recognizing the work necessary for the production of living: that which is carried out in the home and in the community, primarily by women, outside the commercial realm and which is not recognized for its contributions to economic and social development. Capital’s appropriation of its fruits is the other side of the ongoing misogynistic attack on women’s rights. The patriarchy is, beyond simply a cultural phenomenon, a system of domination that generates income for the exploitation of unpaid labor.

II. Democratization of Energy

We must conceive of energy as a fundamental right for a country’s entire population and, as such, it must be defended as a public service. This right is essential if people are to exercise their fundamental human and social rights, their integration into social life, and uphold their dignity.

The first demand of the working class is to end energy poverty. That is, ensure that everyone have access to the energy required to maintain basic standards of family life and mobility. Our income musn’t be corroded by the expenses incurred to cover said basic needs.

We affirm the need to democratize energy, because we understand that far from being just a debate between state planners, sector technicians and managers of large companies, it has to be society, through democratic and transparent mechanisms of popular participation, who define what energy we want to develop, how, for what purposes and for whom, and in doing so question, among other things, the excessive consumption patterns of the elites. It is not enough to discuss changes in the energy mix, we must debate the energy policy in relation to our desired vision for national and regional development.

Given this vision, the labor movement together with grassroots organizations has an affirmative agenda:

Deprivatization of the sector, given that the logic of private profit is opposed to the logic of satisfying the needs of peoples and nations;

Recovery of sovereignty over our resources and common goods, breaking commitments that require accepting systems of impunity for large transnational companies that operate in the energy sector or that use it intensively in our countries and territories while taking advantage of free trade agreements and investment protections;

Discussion regarding the role and application of technology within a democratically-decided national project. We must not accept technological determinisms imposed and manipulated by corporate interests nor that, under the pretext of transition, reinforce dependence on technological development centers in the Global North;

We must increasingly move towards the de-commodification and de-fossilization of our energy matrix, from a vision of transition based on democratic, social, and environmental justice.

III. Energy as a Common Good

To affirm energy as a common good is to question the privatization of the energy sector, itself a necessary step in reversing the commodification of energy and its recognition as a right.

It is about repositioning democratic mechanisms of participation in society, claiming the role of the State in the ownership, control and reorientation of the generation and use of energy from its public nature. The extraordinary income that the sector can generate, due to the characteristics of several energy sources, must have a socially-defined application according to a sovereign vision based on the guarantee of the rights of the working class. The provision of energy as a basic right necessarily involves a profound revision of the way society views the sector. There is a need for a new pedagogy that promotes our cultural, educational and organizational emancipation.

In this understanding, we can also promote a deconcentration and decentralization of the sector, promoting local initiatives, cooperatives, community, etc. taking advantage of the possibilities of available technological alternatives and others that can be developed from a popular perspective. We advocate for the development of a public sector that goes beyond state ownership and centralization, contributing to local development and, additionally, moving towards regional integration projects.

IV. Just Transition

The ecological and social transition in energy matters must recognize that it comes from a complex scenario of many heterogeneities. Just as no two countries are the same, likewise no two regions within a given country are the same. And while, similarly, no two social sectors are the same, we must advance in building minimum agreements.

It is necessary to position the discussion of Just Transition within the realm of national, subnational and local scales, in dialogue between the countryside and the city. In other words, there is no single, all-encompassing model or way forward in the transitions we advocate.

We must therefore discuss and define the general parameters. For the trade union movement, the starting point is that the transition should promote decent work and ensure labor and social rights with the option of effective social dialogue.

It is essential that it be guided also by democratic criteria of citizen participation, aiming for peace in the regions, the reduction of extractivism, the democratization of access to land and the promotion of agrarian reform, and the overcoming a social structure based on patriarchy.

A Just Transition can not be oriented towards a new commodification of nature and energy alternatives.

Nor should it be seen as part of a debate dominated by technical specialists, but must rather  incorporate the vision of our socio-political trade unionism and other social sectors, which aims at the adaptation of technological alternatives with the desire to build societies of inclusion of all and all

V. The Continental Conference for Democracy and against Neoliberalism

The Continental Conference for Democracy and against Neoliberalism is the platform where this vindication of the central role of the working class in its multiple facets must be combined with the struggle to end impunity and the capture of States and territories, on the part of the large corporations, in defense of the rights and promotion of the peasant economy and food sovereignty, the feminist economy and environmental and social justice.

The union struggle agenda is inseparable from social alliances with all movements that resist neoliberalism and the advance of fascism in the region. From these alliances we call to mobilize permanently against neoliberalism, fascism and in defense of democracy. We will meet at the November 2018 demonstrations against the G20 and the IMF in Buenos Aires and throughout the continent.

We will remain mobilized in places of work, schools, universities, squares, communities, territories, streets, etc.

Unity and social alliances in defense of Our America!  The struggle continues!

Hothouse Politics? Struggles for Energy Democracy Heating Up — TUED Bulletin 78

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 06:40

September 26, 2018

Struggles around energy are proliferating globally. Working people, trade unions, communities and even some elected governments increasingly understand that the impacts of decisions about energy affect us all, and that there is an urgent need for bold, informed action to reclaim democratic control of energy resources, infrastructure and options.

In this TUED Bulletin, we highlight several recent developments that show a bit of the range of things that are happening:

  • South Africa: Unions, Allies Prepare for Power Struggle
  • Australia: National Union of Workers Launches “Cooperative Power”
  • Australia: Queensland Labor Government Announces New Public Renewable Energy Company: “CleanCo”
  • Transport: ITF Calls for “Massively Expanding Public Transport Now”
  • Frontline Communities: “It Takes Roots: Solutions to Solidarity” (Sol2Sol) Week
  • Next System Project Issues Bold Call for Public Ownership of Energy
  • Canadian Public Sector Union NUPGE Joins TUED
South Africa: Unions, Allies Prepare for Power Struggle

TUED Coordinator Sean Sweeney recently participated the international conference on “The Role of Public Utilities in Transforming the Energy Sector,” a jointly convened by the Alternative Information and Development Center, (AIDC), Transnational Institute (TNI) and TUED. The meeting took place in Johannesburg, September 3-5, 2018.

The 40-person gathering included key unions including the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the new federation, South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), led by Zwelinzima Vavi.

Discussions were animated by the fact that struggles around energy in South Africa have grown in intensity in recent months. The coal-dependent public power utility, Eskom, is engaged in a high-stakes and high-profile public battle with private renewable energy interests, including “Independent Power Producers” (IPPs). In its efforts to address ongoing capacity-balancing and financing challenges, Eskom has threatened to close coal-fired power stations, leaving tens of thousands of union members without employment.

NUMSA and SAFTU have formulated a clear and strong response, calling for the radical restructuring of Eskom, and social ownership of the renewables sector. That approach was reaffirmed earlier this year in an OpEd authored by NUMSA’s Deputy General Secretary Karl Cloete and published by South Africa’s Daily Maverick. Making reference to TUED, Cloete explained the union’s firm opposition to “capitalist capture of renewable energy,” and its support for a “socially owned and democratic alternative.” The piece takes forward a position NUMSA has been advocating since at least 2011, and which was also described in TUED Bulletin #66: Should Unions Strike for a Just Transition?

More information on the conference, including the full program and video recordings of key sessions, is available here.

In the coming months TUED will be working with TNI and AIDC in developing a clear energy vision for South Africa that is consistent with NUMSA’s and SAFTU’s programmatic commitments.

Australia: National Union of Workers Launches “Cooperative Power”

In Australia, trade unions and allies recently launched Cooperative Power, a new, democratically structured energy retailer, in an effort to help build an energy system that is clean, sustainable, affordable and democratic. The initiative aims to “take the power back from huge energy corporations for the benefit of people and our planet.”

Cooperative Power is structured as an “enterprise cooperative,” bringing together trade unions, community groups, NGOs, and other cooperatives to democratize decision-making over how electric power is generated for its members, and how much it costs. Founding members include:

Profits that accrue from sales will be used to empower workers and their communities throughout Australia to establish similar worker- and community-owned renewable energy generation efforts, and to support wider efforts for climate justice—including the work of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA and NUW, both valued participants in TUED.

In its initial phase, Cooperative Power will offer services to members in South-East Queensland and New South Wales. The new retailer’s services will be available to the rank-and-file members of its participating associations—currently 75,000 rank-and-file members across its participating organizations. In the coming weeks, the project anticipates being able to announce expansion of its service area into South Australia and Victoria.

Read more about the project here.

Australia: Queensland Labor Government Announces New Public Renewable Energy Company: “CleanCo”

Also in Australia, the Queensland Labor Government led by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has launched its own new publicly owned, renewable energy power generation company, called CleanCo. The new company, wholly owned by the provincial government, is expected to add downward pressure on retail electricity prices, and is projected to save households roughly AU$70 (~US$50) each year.

At the launch, the provincial premier said, “We have already made great progress on keeping power prices low, due in large part to our commitment to keep our assets in public hands. CleanCo will go even further to help deliver cheaper and more reliable energy for all Queenslanders – from mum and dad consumers right up to large industrial users.”

The company will have “a strategic portfolio of low and no emission power generation assets, and will build, construct, own and maintain renewable energy generation,” according to Deputy Premier Jackie Trad. “This will continue supporting jobs in our renewable energy industry, starting with 1000MW of new renewables like solar, wind and hydro.”

The company will be Queensland’s third government-owned energy generator. The provincial government is putting AU$250 million (US$180 million) into new, publicly owned, renewable energy generation assets for the company, which is expected to be operational and trading on the country’s national electricity market by mid-2019.

In support of the project, the provincial government will also establish a “Just Transition Group” to “ensure that the energy transition in Queensland was just and equitable for affected workers and communities.” An Advisory Committee will also be established to help develop a “Just Transition Policy Framework,” with participation from the province’s publicly owned energy companies, relevant unions, stakeholder groups, Jobs Queensland, the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Queensland Treasury and the Office of Industrial Relations.

Read more about the launch here.

“It Takes Roots: Solutions to Solidarity” (Sol2Sol) Week

TUED’s Outreach Coordinator, Irene HongPing Shen, participated in the It Takes Roots Alliance “Solutions to Solidarity” (Sol2Sol) Week, held September 8-14, in San Francisco, California. Activities ranged from workshops on community-based issues and solutions related to climate change, to protests demanding an end to false market-based solutions to climate change.

The week was organized in response to California Governor Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), which took place September 12-14, 2018. GCAS brought together Mayor’s from around the world, big NGOs, US labor leaders and multinational corporations with the goal of building a stronger “green growth” plan to challenge Trump’s pulling out of the Paris Agreement and his climate change denialism.

The week was kicked off by a march on September 8th where approximately 30,000 marchers gathered. Martha Hawthorne of SEIU Local 1021, a TUED union, played a major role in coordinating the labor contingent and helped bring together 700 union members marching for better climate solutions.

The Energy Democracy National Tour hosted an event at Sol2Sol with organizations which had events on their tour, of which TUED was one, along with other U.S. based organizations working on local community energy democracy solutions.  Together, we discussed our respective work and explored topics, including the possibility of two-pronged solutions of nationalization of the energy sector and local ownership of energy grids, a joint effort toward addressing oppression and democratized control of energy.

On September 12, the University of California Berkeley Labor Center hosted a Labor Conference. TUED unions NUMSA and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) presented and spoke on public ownership.  Sharon Modiba, Senior Researcher at NUMSA, explained that socially owned power is a necessary measure to advance agendas of the working class, to have continued uninterrupted work, and to effectively transition into and control a new renewable energy sector.

Alana Dave, Education Officer of ITF, explained how ITF’s Our Public Transport campaign challenges the current model of public transport to address climate goals, increase accessibility of public transport to millions of workers (many whom are informal), and reclaims the meaning of “public,” to emphasize that this doesn’t need merely to refer to public services, but that values and helps advance a broad, pro-public agenda. (See also the following item on ITF’s announced support for a massive expansion of public transport.)

Transport: ITF Calls for “Massively Expanding Public Transport Now”

At an event during the San Francisco Global Climate Action Summit (described above), the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF) announced its support for a declaration to create zero-emissions cities by 2030.

According to the ITF’s General Secretary Stephen Cotton, “The ITF and its affiliates are ready to support the declaration in real and tangible ways. We recognise that if we act now and act together, dangerous climate change can be averted. That’s why the ITF is here at GCAS making the case for massively expanding public transport now.”

The ITF is a global union federation representing over 20 million transport workers in 145 countries. The announcement was made in the context of the Global Climate Action Summit, in San Francisco, USA. The statement is in support of the Green and Healthy Streets Declaration by the C40 cities, which was announced in Paris in October 2017.

In its statement the ITF and its affiliates commit to supporting the Declaration by:

  • Working in partnerships with mayors and cities to ensure that the transition to fossil-fuel-free streets is a just transition that creates decent jobs, reduces inequality, and drives inclusion and improvements in the lives of working class and low-income people.
  • Building partnerships with mayors and city authorities to develop and integrate just transition plans that drive decent work and social action, including labour impact assessments, safeguards and job targets for men and women workers.
  • Mobilising workers knowledge and skills to shape and enhance the supportive actions needed to meet the commitments in the Declaration.
  • Working in partnerships with mayors and city authorities to deliver a just transition to zero emission buses, including developing plans for relevant worker training.
Read the full statement here. Next System Project Issues Bold Call for Public Ownership of Energy

The U.S.-based Next System Project—an initiative of The Democracy Collaborative—has published a bold analysis, “Public Ownership for Energy Democracy,” making the case for urgently reclaiming energy systems to public ownership, and restructuring them for democratic control. Drawing on the experience and expertise of a broad group of researchers, theorists and activists, the project is working to “promote visions, models and pathways that point to a ‘next system’ radically different in fundamental ways from the failed systems of the past and present and capable of delivering superior social, economic and ecological outcomes.”

In the piece—published in early September as part of a series of papers aimed at “taking climate action to the next level”—author Johanna Bozuwa writes:

“Energy democracy… seeks to take on the political and economic change needed to tackle the energy transition holistically. A democratic energy system powered by renewables (and free of fossil fuels) would distribute wealth, power, and decision-making equitably….

“Public ownership of utilities can accelerate the renewable energy transition at the scale needed to meet our closing climate deadline for action. It’s simply too late to provide piecemeal incentives and then wait expectantly for a market controlled by fossil fuel interests to voluntarily deploy more renewables. Energy utilities’ control over so much of the energy supply chain make these entities a strategic platform for bringing energy democracy tactics to scale. Harnessing energy utilities for the people could fuel projects from expansive low-income housing efficiency projects (such as PUSH Buffalo),2 to community solar programs (such as the solar gardens of Cooperative Energy Futures in Minnesota),3 to stopping gas pipelines (such as the resistance to Dominion Power’s Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia).”

Read the full piece here.

National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) Joins TUED

TUED is pleased to welcome Canada’s National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) as the latest participating union. NUPGE represents some 390,000 members, mostly in the provincial public service sector.

On presenting the union’s decision to join, Larry Brown, President of NUPGE, said:

“Our members live in a world being damaged by climate change, and our members are on the front lines in dealing with the effects of climate change.  Our members fight the forest fires, provide Emergency Medical Services when floods and fires happen, provide healthcare to the wounded, provide resources to those driven from their homes and communities.  We are the collective arm of the state, in operation on the ground where it matters.

“We have joined TUED because we agree with the slogan, “Solidarity for Survival.” We agree that trade unions, organizations of working people, must lead the way.  And we agree that democratic control over energy, turning control over energy and its uses to the public, is crucial to our future.

“We are thrilled to join with thoughtful and dedicated trade unionists around the world to fight for a better, safer world.”