A United Front Against Climate Catastrophe

By Burkely Hermann - Z Blogs, June 13, 2014

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.

Aggressive militarism continues to emanate from the office of the presidency and the US government itself. With drone strikes in foreign countries, an “empire of drone bases” in Africa as the Washington Post once called it, and a continuing war in Afghanistan, you would think that there would be mass protests on the streets against these injustices. Instead, there have been noble and honorable protests against drones, the war in Afghanistan, Bush era war criminals, and so on, but they have been too limited. At the same time, protests calling for the coming climate catastrophe to be adequately addressed have been growing among indigenous people and concerned citizens in both the Global North and the Global South. This is despite a laser focus of the big environmental organizations, Gang Green, on stopping Keystone XL but not a focus on many other issues. This article outlines why the peace movement[1] and the environmental movement within the United States should join together as a united front against corporate power and global neoliberal capitalism.

The Inevitable Demise of the Fossil Fuel Empire: Rocketing production costs, proliferating write-downs, stranded assets pave the way for renewable renaissance

By Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, originally published by Guardian Earth Insight blog, June 10, 2014

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.

The latest data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and other sources proves that the oil and gas majors are in deep trouble.

Over the last decade, rising oil prices have been driven primarily by rising production costs. After the release of the IEA's World Energy Outlook last November, Deutsche Bank's former head of energy research Mark Lewis noted that massive levels of investment have corresponded to an ever declining rate of oil supply increase:

"Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry's upstream investments have registered an astronomical increase, but these ever higher levels of capital expenditure have yielded ever smaller increases in the global oil supply. Even these have only been made possible by record high oil prices. This should be a reality check for those now hyping a new age of global oil abundance."

Since 2000, the oil industry's investments have risen by 180% - a threefold increase - but this has translated into a global oil supply increase of just 14%. Two-thirds of this increase has been made-up by unconventional oil and gas. In other words, the primary driver of the cost explosion is the shift to expensive and difficult-to-extract unconventionals due to the peak and plateau in conventional oil production since 2005.

São Paulo Unions Threaten General Strike for World Cup Amid Subway Protests

Days of subway strikes raise fears of transport chaos during tournament in Brazil; union leaders say other sectors could join industrial action

By Hannah Strange - The Telegraph, June 11, 2014

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.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Saturday claimed that protests ahead of the World Cup were part of a “systematic campaign” against her government, as São Paulo union leaders threatened a general strike to coincide with the opening of the tournament in the city.

São Paulo, which is due to host the opening match on Thursday, has been paralysed by days of strikes and protests by subway workers which have led to clashes with police and deepened fears of chaos for visiting fans.

The cost of staging the event - at an estimated $11.5 billion (£6.9 billion) the most expensive World Cup ever - has ignited public anger at economic woes, corruption and poor social provisions. But Ms Rousseff said that criticism of spending amounted to “disinformation”.

“Today there is a systematic campaign against the World Cup - or rather, it is not against the World Cup but rather a systematic campaign against us,” she said, without revealing who she believed to be behind it.

Police fired tear gas and beat back protesters at one São Paulo subway station on Friday night, leading Altino de Melo Prazeres Júnior, the head of the Union of São Paulo Subway Workers, to insist members would not be deterred and instead would reinforce their presence at key interchanges in the city.

Enbridge Attempted Murder failed on family of Whistle Blower John Bolenbaugh at HELPPA.org

By John Bolenbaugh - helppa.org, June 11, 2014

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.

Despite Promised Jobs, Desert Town Opposes Giant Copper Mine

By Kari Lydersen - In These Times, June 11, 2014

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.

As the first rays of dawn fall on the red rocks and turquoise lichen of Oak Flat campground, located on the edge of the Tonto National Forest in Arizona, no one stirs in the small tents and RVs arrayed below the scrubby trees. The only movement comes from the handful of white pickup trucks making their way past the plateau en route to twin towers strung with lighting on the hillside above.

These towers are Shafts 9 and 10 of Resolution Copper, which could eventually be the largest copper mine in the country. That is, if its owner, the multinational corporation Rio Tinto, can convince the federal government to let it mine beneath the campground and surrounding land.

Rio Tinto is already doing exploration and building infrastructure for mining on land that the company owns in these rugged hills. But Rio Tinto says the most valuable part of the ore body lies below land owned by the federal government. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower prohibited mining in that area; President Richard M. Nixon later renewed the decree.

For a decade, Rio Tinto has been pushing legislation that would allow a “land swap” to circumvent the ban. The company would gain control of the 2,400 acres of government-owned copper-rich land near Oak Flat; in exchange, Rio Tinto would give the Arizona government about 5,300 acres among various parcels in other parts of the state. The company has said that without the land swap, it wouldn’t be economical to mine at all.

Residents of Superior, the small former mining town five miles downhill from Oak Flat, are firmly opposed to the new copper mine and to the land swap legislation. Superior was built by mining—Shaft 9 was part of the Magma Mine, an underground operation where many Superior residents worked until it closed in the early 1990s. The other former Magma Mine shafts are defunct; Shaft 10 is a new one Rio Tinto is constructing. Most people in this area support mining as a concept, and many were devastated when the Magma Mine closed.

But many Superior locals see Rio Tinto’s current plan as a very different story. They are furious that it would block public access to the beloved campground of Oak Flat and that it will irrevocably alter the fragile high desert land. The mine would use a method called block cave mining that involves removing a huge amount of ore and allowing the land to collapse in its stead, rather than filling in the cavity or bolstering it with pillars. Ultimately, this would leave a pit 2.5 miles in diameter and 1,000 feet deep where the largely pristine landscape used to be.

Rank-and-File Environmentalism

By Trish Kahle - Jacobin, June 11, 2014

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.

The “jobs versus environment” debate is often seen as a fundamental division between labor and environmentalists, most recently emerging in the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite dire warnings from scientists about its potentially disastrous environmental impact, the pipeline was endorsed by the AFL-CIO, which justified its decision by citing “job creation.” Estimates range from 5,000-9,000 temporary positions — a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 794,000 unemployed construction workers in the US — and a mere 35 permanent jobs.

Is there any kind of environmental degradation, environmental activists might wonder, unions won’t endorse to secure a small handful of construction jobs?

Jeremy Brecher is right to point in a recent piece to the need for the labor and environmental movements to “evolve toward a common program and a common vision.” To do so, we’ll need to break down the false “jobs versus environment” dichotomy created by capital to obscure the fact that the exploitation of workers and the degradation of the environment go hand in hand.

Noting the common source of workers’ exploitation and ecological degradation is important because it also points us to a solution. Workers are the ones who can halt the assault on the planet.

Capital Blight - Aristocracy Forever

By x344543 - June 12, 2014

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.

When the union leaders' payoffs by the bosses has begun,
There will be no labor trouble anywhere beneath the sun,
For the AFL trade unions and the management are one,
The union keeps us down.

Chorus
Aristocracy forever,
Aristocracy forever,
Aristocracy forever,

--lyrics excerpted from Aristocracy Forever, by Judi Bari

It happens far too often. Big corporate industrial polluters rape and pillage the Earth, whether by tar sands mining, fracking, mountaintop coal mining, offshore oil drilling, clearcut logging, and more. What's more, much of what they extract they export elsewhere, choosing to remove even the economic benefits of local production from the affected community. These corporations claim to be "good neighbors", but they suck up all the wealth (in the form of profits), and they outsource the costs to the community. And the workers who actually do the labor to produce all of this wealth? Not only are they not paid the full value of their labor, they're often the first to bear the brunt of the toxic pollution and chemical poisoning these companies create in their wake.

It's no wonder that time and time again we witness communities organizing and mobilizing opposition to this state of affairs, often assisted by environmental organizations of various types. What's curious, however, is how often the unions (if the workers in these facilities are fortunate enough to have union representation) defend the companies and even promote the companies' messages--even though it's ultimately not in the workers' interest to do so.

IWW Statement on Operation Centurion

By the IWW European Regional Administration (ERA)

The IWW condemns the intensification of immigration raids across the UK under Operation Centurion. We believe that all workers, regardless of their place of origin or legal status, need to support one another in order to fight the common enemy; the present system that upholds the interests of business and other elites at the expense of ordinary working and unemployed people.

The undercutting of the pay and conditions of British workers by migrant labour is not caused by the immigrants themselves but by business owners, managers and government who seek to maximise their profit by forcing working and unemployed people to compete for an ever-diminishing number of jobs. This 'race to the bottom' forces us to work harder for less money, and all workers suffer from this - while bosses happily rake in their profits.

The IWW urges British and documented migrant workers not to demonise those without papers but to look after one another at work and create a strong labour movement to promote the interests of working class people of all nationalities - improving pay, working conditions, and collective power at work for everyone. The first step is to join a union.

What is the IWW?

We are the union for all workers, working across the globe to empower workers to improve their lives together. We are one of the fastest-growing unions in Britain, and we pride ourselves on real democracy and getting results through collective worker-led action. We welcome anyone who works for a wage, whatever their immigration status, because we believe that an injury to one is an injury to all.

Casey Jones in #LacMegantic

Video and Song by J.P. Wright - Railroad Workers United, June 6, 2014

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. J.P. Wright is a member of the IWW and Railroad Workers United.

Krugman: In The Real War On Coal, The Mining Industry Won And Workers Lost

By Joe Romm - Think Progress, June 9, 2014

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.

Paul Krugman has another column in the New York Times explaining that slashing carbon pollution has a small economic impact while “the consequences will be terrible if we don’t take quick action.”

For those raising concerns about the impact on coal miners, he offered this chart in his blog of total mining jobs from Historical Statistics of the United States (HSUS) and the FRED database:

As he explains, “strip mines and machinery in general have allowed us to produce more coal with very few miners”:

The real war on coal, or at least on coal workers, took place a generation ago, waged not by liberal environmentalists but by the coal industry itself. And coal workers lost.

Strangely, we never hear about Reagan’s war on coal (as I’ve said). Or George H. W. Bush’s war on coal.

Of course, if conservatives truly cared about coal miners they wouldn’t work so hard to block coal dust reforms — an action that United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts said in 2012 “amounts to nothing more than a potential death sentence for thousands of American miners.”

Pretending to care about workers and jobs while really promoting the agenda of the 1 percent — industry and pollutocrats — is a classic rhetorical strategy conservatives use to maintain support for their job- and climate-destroying agenda from the 99% who are in fact hurt by their policies.

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