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Climate Solidarity: Workers Vs. Warming

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 18:09

By Jeremy Brecher - Labor Network for Sustainability, February 8, 2017

Workers have no greater interest than to prevent the destruction of the earth’s climate on behalf of themselves and their posterity. But workers often act as an organized force to oppose climate protection measures in the name of their interests as workers. How is such a paradoxical state of affairs possible? How did we get in such a state? How can we change it? How can the working class reorganize itself to fight for climate protection? Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming proposes answers to these questions.

Climate Solidarity presents a vision for the labor climate movement. It offers a comprehensive and at times provocative view of the past, present, and future of organized labor and climate change. It provides a substantive analysis for leaders and activists in the labor climate movement. It presents a well thought out, historically informed analysis both of climate change and of organized labor. Climate Solidarity will be read and discussed by those who will shape labor’s response to the climate crisis.

Jeremy Brecher is the author of more than a dozen books on labor and social movements, including the labor history classic Strike!, recently published in an expanded fortieth anniversary edition by PM Press. Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming is part of Brecher’s Climate Insurgency Trilogy, along with Climate Insurgency: A Strategy for Survival and Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual.

What’s in Climate Solidarity

The Introduction to Climate Solidarity, “Climate and Work,” poses the paradox of workers producing the greenhouse gases that are producing catastrophe for us and future generations.

Chapter 2, “The World Order of Climate Alienation,” describes the features of the modern world order that helped create and perpetuate climate alienation, including the nation state system, private property, markets, wage labor, and dependence on fossil fuels. It demonstrates how these features can lead workers and our organizations to pursue short-term particular interests at the expense of our long-term common interest in a sustainable, climate-safe planet. It shows how these same features render workers largely powerless to protect the climate should we wish and choose to do so. It explains how short-term particular interests and powerlessness interact to produce climate alienation. It concludes with a broad outline of how these features must be changed to make effective climate protection possible.

Chapter 3, “Worker Movements,” describes the ways in which workers have come together throughout modern history to act on common interests. It shows how worker actions have been rooted in patterns of mutual solidarity, self-organization, and challenge to authority. It describes how worker solidarity, organization, and action have often been restricted to limited groups and objectives. It indicates how those restrictions have limited the power of workers to influence our conditions of existence. And it tells how those limits have often been overcome in new forms of collective action.

Chapter 4, “Organized Labor and Climate Protection,” describes how the tension between the apparent short-term interests of particular groups of American workers in particular climate-destroying activities and workers’ common interest in climate protection have been expressed in two major trade union statements on global warming and in the controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Chapter 5, “The Emergence of Climate Solidarity,” shows many ways in which American workers are expressing our common interests in climate protection and finding ways to act on them.

Chapter 6, “A Climate-Protecting Workers’ Movement,” explores how workers could move beyond short-term special interests in climate-destroying activities to develop broader solidarity and self-organization through the struggle to protect the Earth’s climate.

Chapter 7, “A Worker Climate Action Plan,” proposes a program of social change that workers need to impose on those in authority to eliminate climate alienation.

Chapter 8, “Climate Solidarity vs. the Alienation of Labor,” sums up the central role of worker climate protection in both protection of the earth’s climate and in the self-liberation of workers from a destructive world order.

Read More - Download PDF.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: green unionismgreen syndicalismJust TransitionLabor Network for Sustainabilityenergy democracyclimate justice

Draft Resolution - Stop Line 3

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 17:36

Draft Resolution - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 24, 2018

The following resolution is a draft only and has not yet been adopted by any IWW branch or the union as a whole. We will update this post if and when that changes. We are posting it here as a recommended resolution.

Whereas: The existing Line 3 is an Enbridge pipeline that transports crude oil from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin spanning northern Minnesota and crossing the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac reservations and the 1855, 1854, and 1842 treaty areas;

Whereas: Since Enbridge Line 3’s construction in 1961 it has experienced severe corrosion that has led to countless spills and ruptures;

Whereas: Instead of decommissioning Line 3 and paying for its removal and the rehabilitation of the lands it has despoiled, Enbridge is pushing to expand and replace it (they call it a "replacement" but it is larger, with a higher volume and in a new corridor);

Whereas: At $7.5 billion, the proposed new Line 3 would be the “largest project in Enbridge’s history” and one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the world, carrying up to 915,000 barrels per day of one of the dirtiest fuels on earth, tar sands crude;

Whereas: Line 3 is poised to be a linchpin in tar-sands infrastructure, committed for decades to advancing a dying industry that is a major source of greenhouse gases, poses a direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of indigenous communities, and creates a perpetual risk to large sources of clean water including Lake Superior (also a large part of Minnesota’s tourist economy and a potent symbol to the region’s people);

Whereas: Economically, the tar-sands are doomed; and environmentally, they are a disaster;

Whereas: In approving Line 3, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission failed to adhere to even its modest mandate “to balance the private and public interest,” instead prioritizing the short-term profits of foreign corporations and their phony claims of “good jobs” over the will of Native communities, the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans (hundreds of thousands of whom have spoken out in opposition), and the very future of the planet without which there can be no “public”;

Whereas: In issuing a Certificate of Need for Line 3, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission also ignored the findings of the reviewing administrative law judge who said there is no need for a new pipeline on Enbridge’s preferred route;

Whereas: Line 3 will provide nowhere near the number of permanent union jobs the the project’s promoters promise they will (Enbridge itself estimates the number at around 25; its marketing and lobbying campaigns are designed to obscure this fact) and the Minnesota Department of Commerce has indicated that more local and long term jobs would actually be created by decommissioning the existing pipeline;

Whereas: More jobs could instead be created by investing in the infrastructure our communities actually need, such as clean water, affordable and livable housing, and widespread public transportation;

Whereas: Far more permanent union jobs can be created at comparable wages by repairing other aging and far more vital pipeline infrastructure, such as water mains in Flint, Michigan and elsewhere, or repairing leaks in existing oil and gas pipelines which, if unfixed, release harmful amounts of methane--a known greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming at a rate multiples greater than carbon dioxide;

Whereas: Far more jobs currently exist in the growing renewable energy sector than in the declining fossil fuel sector;

Whereas: Though these renewable energy jobs are currently typically nonunion, unions, if so determined, could easily develop a successful organizing program using solidarity unionism that could revitalize the struggling labor movement;

Whereas: Enbridge Line 3 will not deliver the promised "energy security" or "energy independence" promised by its promoters (many building trades and AFL-CIO union officials among them);

Whereas: Oil pipelines such as the proposed Line 3 “replacement” tend to leak and create unnecessary risks to the surrounding environment, both through methane gas leaks as well as crude oil spills--which in the case of heavy tar sands oil are literally impossible to clean up as the toxic substance sinks deep into the ground and into aquifers that supply millions of people with water;

Whereas: Such pipelines endanger the communities along their routes, including many indigenous communities whose tribal sovereignty has been ignored and violated during permitting processes by agencies subject to regulatory capture by the capitalist interests that promote them;

Whereas: Continued new construction of such pipelines will contribute massively to the acceleration of already dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn are contributing to already dangerous levels of climate change and could lead to a dead planet with no jobs of any kind;

Be it Resolved that: the IWW declares and reiterates its steadfast opposition to the construction of the Line 3 “replacement”;

Be it Further Resolved that: the IWW stands in solidarity with First Nations, union members, environmental activists, and community members who oppose it;

Be it Further Resolved that: the IWW urges rank-and-file members of building trades unions, the Teamsters, and other unions who have declared support for Enbridge Line 3 to agitate and call upon their elected officials to reverse their support; and

Be it Finally Resolved that: the IWW supports a just transition away from fossil-fueled colonial capitalism which countless workers and activists of all stripes have been developing and visioning for decades, and declares its intention to fight for the implementation of a real and transformative--in other words, anti-capitalist and anti-racist--Green New Deal.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: Line 3green unionismgreen syndicalismIWWblockadiaindigenous resistance

Radical Realism for Climate Justice

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 19:28

By Lili Fuhr and Linda Schneider - P2P Foundation, October 4, 2018

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial is feasible, and it is our best hope of achieving environmental and social justice, of containing the impacts of a global crisis that was born out of historical injustice and highly unequal responsibility.

To do so will require a radical shift away from resource-intensive and wasteful production and consumption patterns and a deep transformation towards ecological sustainability and social justice. Demanding this transformation is not ‘naïve’ or ‘politically unfeasible’, it is radically realistic.

This publication is a civil society response to the challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5°C while also paving the way for climate justice. It brings together the knowledge and experience of a range of international groups, networks and organisations the Heinrich Böll Foundation has worked with over the past years, who in their political work, research and practice have developed the radical, social and environmental justice-based agendas political change we need across various sectors.

Download a complete PDF of this collection of documents.

Radical Realism for Climate Justice includes the following eight volumes:

A Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production by Oil Change International shows that the carbon embedded in already producing fossil fuel reserves will take us beyond agreed climate limits. Yet companies and governments continue to invest in and approve vast exploration and expansion of oil, coal and gas. This chapter explores the urgency and opportunity for fossil fuel producers to begin a just and equitable managed decline of fossil fuel production in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

Another Energy is Possible by Sean Sweeney, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) argues that the political fight for social ownership and democratic control of energy lies at the heart of the struggle to address climate change. Along with a complete break with investor-focused neoliberal policy, this “two shift solution” will allow us to address some of the major obstacles to reducing energy demand and decarbonizing supply. “Energy democracy” must address the need for system-level transformations that go beyond energy sovereignty and self-determination.

Zero Waste Circular Economy A Systemic Game-Changer to Climate Change by Mariel Vilella, Zero Waste Europe explains and puts numbers to how the transformation of our consumption and production system into a zero waste circular economy provides the potential for emission reductions far beyond what is considered in the waste sector. Ground-breaking experiences in cities and communities around the world are already showing that these solutions can be implemented today, with immediate results.

Degrowth – A Sober Vision of Limiting Warming to 1.5°C by Mladen Domazet, Institute for Political Ecology in Zagreb, Croatia, reports from a precarious, but climate-stabilized year 2100 to show how a planet of over 7 billion people found diversification and flourishing at many levels of natural, individual and community existence, and turned away from the tipping points of catastrophic climate change and ecosystem collapse. That world is brought to life by shedding the myths of the pre-degrowth era – the main myth being that limiting global warming to 1.5°C is viable while maintaining economic activities focused on growth.

System Change on a Deadline. Organizing Lessons from Canada’s Leap Manifesto by The Leap by Avi Lewis, Katie McKenna and Rajiv Sicora of The Leap recounts how intersectional coalitions can create inspiring, detailed pictures of the world we need, and deploy them to shift the goalposts of what is considered politically possible. They draw on the Leap story to explore how coalition-building can break down traditional “issue silos”, which too often restrict the scope and impact of social justice activism.

La Via Campesina in Action for Climate Justice by La Via Campesina in Action for Climate Justice by the international peasants movement La Via Campesina highlights how industrialized agriculture and the corporate food system are at the center of the climate crisis and block pathways to a 1.5°C world. In their contribution, La Via Campesina outline key aspects of system change in agriculture towards peasant agro-ecology and give concrete experiences of organized resistance and alternatives that are already making change happen.

Re-Greening the Earth: Protecting the Climate through Ecosystem Restoration by Christoph Thies, Greenpeace Germany calls to mind that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and the destruction of forests and peatlands contribute to global warming and dangerous climate change. His chapter makes the case for ecosystem restoration: Growing forests and recovering peatlands can sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and protect both climate and biodiversity. This can make untested and potentially risky climate technologies unnecessary – if emissions from burning fossil fuels and other greenhouse gas emissions are phased out fast enough.

Modelling 1.5°C-Compliant Mitigation Scenarios Without Carbon Dioxide Removal by Christian Holz, Carleton University and Climate Equity Reference Project (CERP) reviews recent studies that demonstrate that it is still possible to achieve 1.5°C without relying on speculative and potentially deleterious technologies. This can be done if national climate pledges are increased substantially in all countries immediately, international support for climate action in developing countries is scaled up, and mitigation options not commonly included in mainstream climate models are pursued.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: climate justiceclimate changeLa Via CampesinaTrade Unions for Energy DemocracyOil Change InternationalIPCCSystem Change not Climate Changeagroecologygreen unionismgreen syndicalismgeoengineeringgreen capitalismecosocialismthird natureeco-feminismdegrowthzero waste

An A-Z of Green Capitalism

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 19:13

By staff - Corporate Watch, September 2016

Capitalism thrives on crisis, and the multiple global environmental crises, including climate change and habitat and biodiversity loss, are creating new markets from which to generate profit. Those promoting green capitalism argue that if nature was valued correctly it will not only be protected, but even enhanced, along with the health of the economy and well-being in society.

However, it is a contradiction in terms. Capitalism is fundamentally exploitative of people and the natural world, it is not and cannot be ‘green’. Green capitalism involves various institutions, including governments, corporations, think tanks, charities and NGOs, implementing policies, practices and processes to incorporate nature into capitalist market systems. It takes the same capitalist ideas and values that create environmental crises – i.e. continual economic growth, private property, profit and ‘free’ markets – and applies them to the natural world as a way to solve those crises. It serves to maintain capitalism’s dominance, both through finding new ways to generate profit, and as a way of protecting it from criticism of being environmentally destructive.

This guide is intended as an introduction to the ideas surrounding green capitalism as well as the alternatives to it. We hope it will support attempts to resist the threat of green capitalism and create space for real ecological alternatives.

Download the complete report (PDF) here.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: green capitalismgreen anarchismgreen syndicalismecosocialism

Protect the Sperrins From Pollution and Profit

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 20:55

By Derry IWW - (via facebook post), November 17, 2018

Earlier today members of the Industrial Workers of the World have taken a delegation of local activists to visit the Greencastle Peoples Office (GPO) in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains where the community continues to oppose the destruction of their environment by multinational Dalradian Gold Ltd.

Last week, several hundred people rallied at the site in solidarity and support with the ongoing campaign. The size of the demonstration clearly showed the extent of anger felt within the community and beyond at the activities of Dalradian Gold in the area. For the past number of years residents in the village of Greencastle, county Tyrone have continuously objected to any development of a gold-mining processing plant in the Sperrin Mountains due to the huge catastrophic impact which it will have on the environment and the health of people throughout the North West.

Following today’s visit, a spokesperson for the IWW said, “Today was a chance for activists to learn first-hand of what the Greencastle community are facing and have faced over the past number of years and the impact gold-mining will have on all of us. We wanted to show our solidarity with residents who have set up the GPO protest camp at the site of the proposed Dalradian Gold mine.

“Following on from today’s visit we would urge the wider trade union movement to acknowledge the destructive consequences of gold mining within a location such as the Sperrins, an area of outstanding natural beauty, as well as the impact it will have upon the lives and health of our communities throughout the entire North West for future generations.

“It’s up to everyone who is concerned with the continued environmental destruction of our planet and the health of our communities to show their support for the people of Greencastle and their fight against greedy multinationals. You can show your support by sharing information about the impact gold-mining has upon the land and communities, attend community information meetings and encourage support groups in your area to oppose Dalradian. Write letters of opposition to gold-mining either to your local newspapers or political representatives. Visit the Sperrin Mountain’s and see for yourselves what is at steak if we allow this area of outstanding natural beauty to be destroyed by gold mining, explosions, pollution by cyanide and radioactive poisoning.

“It is important that we remain vigilant and vocal about what is actually happening. It is up to all of us to protect our worker’s rights to live in an environment free from pollution and from the capitalist greed that is trying to dispossess people from their land, their jobs and their livelihood."

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: IWWDerry IWWIrelandminingCapital Blightgreen unionism

Confronting the Carbon Capitalists

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 20:42

By Seattle IWW - It's Going Down, November 14, 2018

Last summer brought another record wildfire season to the Pacific Northwest. Smoky air from fires in the region caused hellish air quality around the entire Northern Hemisphere. The causes of the forest fires and the destruction of our forest ecosystem generally are incontrovertible. Over one hundred years of fossil-fueled capitalist development and hundreds of years of violent colonial oppression–of people and the biological world–have driven the Earth to the brink.

Northwest forests, once some of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, have been clear-cut and laden with biocides. Complex interrelationships have been smashed with saws and machinery to make way for monoculture “working forests” devoid of biodiversity. Decades of fire suppression by the Forest Service on behalf of timber companies have left trees to grow on each other like matchsticks waiting to be lit.

In the face of all of this, liberals, true to form, have resorted to self-flagellation and hand-wringing. The New York Times Magazine’s recent piece, “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change” by Nathaniel Rich, places the blame of climate change and ecocide squarely at the foot of an undefined human nature. The author mostly chronicles failed climate negotiations between nation-states at the United Nations.

In his telling, we were so close to breakthroughs, but then greedy human nature stopped everything. Our collective desire for more stuff led to the failure of negotiations being made in good faith between nations. There is no other possible direction for history to have unfolded. Or so the story goes.

International diplomacy’s climate failures are a failure of all humans in the eyes of the liberal elite like Rich. That a nation-state would act counter to the will of its subjects is unthinkable to the privileged classes.

The victims of colonialism and capitalism have always known otherwise. At the same time “human nature” was failing to protect the earth in UN meeting halls, working-class people were mobilizing against extractive industry in Northern California and being targeted for assassination. Indigenous peoples around the world were suffering from state violence for fighting against the very oil drilling that state officials said they were trying to curb. Everywhere the triplet monsters–capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy–tread, organized resistance by the oppressed fought back. Contrary to the pearl-clutching lament that “human nature led to this,” water protectors, land defenders, and workers have laid their bodies in front of the machinery of extractive capitalism countless times. And this is nothing new.

Andreas Malm’s recent book, Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, lays bare the earliest history of the carbon economy. He chronicles the rise of the coal economy in the British textile industry–an industry that was previously powered by a combination of water and exploited human labor. Huge public works schemes built elaborate reservoirs and channels to power the mills with the water in Britain’s rivers, but then, like today, industrial production used only a small fraction of this renewable energy. Almost none of the massive water power projects came close to reaching capacity.

Cotton bosses found that workers at the mostly countryside mill towns could easily organize strikes and work stoppages to win demands. Bosses responded by shifting to coal-fired steam engines located in cities and towns. There, freed from the rivers’ constraints and supplied with increasing numbers of dispossessed workers, cotton bosses learned that fossil energy was one of the ultimate means of power over workers–the power that mattered most to them.

The new coal-powered production led to new forms of labor insurrection: militant unions, Chartism, and other revolutionary movements. One notable action mentioned in Fossil Capital is the 1842 General Strike, also called the Plug Plot Riots; workers and community members marched through towns pulling boilers’ plugs to quench the coal fires, smashed coal-powered machinery, and shut down coal mines. It was, in effect, one of the first mass direct action and sabotage campaigns targeting the fossil fuel economy.

Of course, labor and ecological exploitation has remained vast and systemic since then, and the story is always the same: colonize a population, use violence to break them from their land and means of subsistence, extract fossil capital, then move on and leave the decimated landscape to the locals.

A recent example of this strategy is happening now. Fossil capitalists and their cronies in the colonial Canadian and American states have inundated the Pacific Northwest with proposals to punch pipelines, oil trains, and other infrastructure through already decimated lands. Most have been defeated, but some are dangerously close to completion. The Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline expansion through British Columbia, recently purchased by the Canadian federal government after months of militant direct action delayed construction, would triple the amount of tar sands moving through the Salish Sea.

The fiercest resistance to these plans has come from the frontlines: Indigenous communities, and Indigenous women in particular. Whether they will succeed in this particular battle isn’t clear, but if we want to permanently end this war on the environment and live in harmony with the Earth, we must end capitalism. As Fellow Workers, Wobblies, and caretakers of our verdant (for now) planet, it is our historic mission to do just that. And in order to be successful we must join with our Indigenous and colonized comrades to confront carbon capitalism and learn what it means to be in harmony each other and with the Earth.

[This post was originally published in the fourth issue of the Seattle Worker, available now!]

Learn more about the IWW’s Environmental Unionism Caucus
ecology.iww.org 
facebook.com/IWWEnvironmentalUnionistCaucus
twitter.com/IWWEUC

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: climate changegreen syndicalismcapitalismCapital Blightfossil fuelsdisaster capitalism

Extinction Rebellion and the Environmental Unionism Caucus

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 20:35

By staff - Bristol IWW, November 15, 2018

Bristol IWW has voted to give it’s full support to Rising Up! and it’s Extinction Rebellion campaign and establish an Environmental Unionism Caucus. Please join us in London this Saturday to demand action on the impending climate catastrophe.

The inaction and indifference of the mainstream unions on this matter is unacceptable. In the face of a global environmental crisis that will affect the most vulnerable first, Unite and GMB have voiced their support for expanding Stansted airport as well as building a third runway at Heathrow. It is vital that organisations like the IWW take the lead on this issue and push the workers movement into urgent action. For more info please see: ecology.iww.org.uk/node/2849 or this article on Left Foot Forward by one of our members, Alex.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: Extinction RebellionIWWBristol IWWgreen syndicalismclimate justicedirect actionIWW Environmental Unionism Caucus

Welcome to the IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 15:50

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

--Darryl Cherney, June 20, 1990.

Click on "Read More" (immediately below) to help you navigate this site and how to find the information you seek.

To contact us or locate an active IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus (EUC) group (which report to their nearest chartered IWW branch), select "contact us" and you'll find a (more or less) current list of active EUC groups and/or one of our members will contact you.

If you're ready to get involved with the IWW EUC, select "join" and follow the instructions listed there.

If you'd like to learn more about what the IWW EUC does or what our general positions are on the issues that surround the intersection of revolutionary unionism, climate justice, and ecology, visit our "Green Unionism" library.  Please note that documents are organized by author, but you can run a search by subject using the search bar on the left side of the navigation menu. We also try to organize information by subject and/or topic.

If you'd like to keep current with a variety of news sources that are more or less relevant to environmental unionism, (with perspectives that match our own and many that don't), visit our "News Feeds" and you'll find syndicated content from other sites and sources. (We also recommend you "like" our Facebook Page, where our members post additional content).

If you'd like to connect with other organizations, movements, and/or networks doing similar or complimentary work, please visit our "links" page (please note a link to another organization's site does not constitute an endorsement of their actions, perspectives, or opinions and are intended for information purposes only).

If you are looking for the main IWW site, we have included a link for that as well.

If you're really ambitious, print a full page original of the quartersheet leaflet, pictured at the right, make some copies, cut them into quartersheets and distribute them (we'd prefer if you'd do so using 100% post consumer recycled paper at a union estanlishment if at all possible, naturally!)

Finally, you have any questions, please contact us.

Tags: IWWgreen unionismIWW Environmental Unionism Caucus

Restoring the Heartland and Rustbelt through Clean Energy Democracy: an Organizing Proposal

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 16:27

By Steve Ongerth - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, April 29, 2017

The world faces a crises of enormous proportions. Global warming, caused by the continued burning of fossil fuels, threatens life on Earth as we know it, and yet, those most responsible for causing the crisis, the fossil fuel wing of the capitalist class, seems hell bent on doubling down on business as usual. In the United States of America, whose corporate overlords are among the worst offenders, they are led by the recently elected Donald Trump, whose cabinet is bursting at the seams with climate change denialists and fossil fuel capitalist industry representatives. Instead of transitioning to a clean energy economy and decarbonizing society as quickly as possible, as climate scientists overwhelmingly recommend, Trump and his inner circle would seemingly rather not just maintain the status quo; they’ve signaled that they intend to make the worst choices imaginable, putting all of the US’s energy eggs into the oil, natural gas, and coal basket.

Worse still, Trump claims to enjoy a good deal of support for such moves from the Voters who elected him, which includes a good portion of the "White working class" who have traditionally supported the Democratic Party, whose policies are just barely more favorable to addressing the problems of global warming (which is to say, still woefully inadequate). Meanwhile, the leadership of the AFL-CIO, pushed principally by the Building Trades unions, have doubled down on their efforts to continue to serve as capital’s junior partners, even as the latter continues to liquidate them in their ongoing campaign of systemic union busting.  Just recently, science teachers across the country began to find packets in their school mailboxes, containing a booklet entitled "Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming", a DVD, and a cover letter urging them to "read this remarkable book and view the video, and then use them in your classroom," courtesy of the climate change denialist Heartland Institute.

One might think, given all of these situations, that…well, to put it mildly…we’re doomed. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, in spite of the bleakness of these circumstances, a deeper look behind them reveals that fossil fuel capitalism is in terminal decline, that their hold over our lives hangs by a thread, so much that we the people, the workers and peasants of the world, have the ability to transform the human existence to one based not on plundering the Earth and exploiting the masses for the profit of a few, but one based on true grassroots democracy, free of suffering and want, and one that exists in harmony with the Earth. The key to making this transformation lies with clean energy, and the people who can make this transformation are the very people who helped elect Donald Trump themselves. One may justifiably ask, how is this even remotely possible?

This new organizing proposal, Restoring the Heartland and Rustbelt through Clean Energy Democracy, offers a potential solution and practical steps to achieve it which can not only break the reactionary tide, perhaps once and for all, but also can greatly accelerate the very necessary process of abolishing capitalism and building a new, ecological sustainable world in the shell of the ecocidal old by building an intersectional movement championing "Clean Energy Democracy". Such a movement has the potential to unite workers, rural and rustbelt communities, climate justice activists, environmentalists, indigenous peoples, and farmers of all backgrounds and revitalize a vibrant and grassroots democratic anti-capitalist left, and it offers goals that help address the intertwining crises of global warming, decadent capitalism, failing economies, and demoralized communities plagued by economic depression, racism, and reactionary nationalism.

While the burgeoning "resistance", loosely led by a coalition of groups and movements with a smorgasbord of goals and demands, many of which are reformist and defensive (though not undesirable if seen as steps along the way to more revolutionary and transformative demands) has so far successfully held back much of the worst intentions of Trump and the forces he represents, making the latter fight tooth and nail for every single inch (as well they should), such resistance still lacks the positive vision needed to truly meet the needs of most people, including especially the most oppressed and downtrodden. By contrast, Restoring the Heartland and Rustbelt through Clean Energy Democracy offers one piece of a revolutionary and transformative vision that can truly help build a new world within the shell of the old, thus putting an end to capitalist economic oppression as well as the ongoing systematic destruction of the Earth's ability to sustain life.

Download the Proposal (PDF File).

Leave feedback on this proposal by sending an email to euc@iww.org.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: Just Transitiongreen unionismenergy democracyjobs versus environmentgreen jobsgreen syndicalismDonald TrumpDemocratic PartyThe Resistanceclimate justicecarbon bubblerenewable energy workersrenewable energycoalmine workersoilnatural gasKoch BrothersHeartland Institute