Wine and Milk vs. Oil and Gas: Existing Industries Go Up Against Fossil Fuel Job Promises

By Justin Mikulka - DeSmog Blog, April 15, 2010

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.

Ken Stanton’s 400-cow dairy farm lies in the path of the proposed Constitution Pipeline, which would carry fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York.

Three generations of Stanton’s family spoke in opposition to the pipeline during a packed public comment session at a hearing at Cobleskill-Richmondville high school on March 31.

“The pipeline would cut through my land. With eminent domain, there’s nothing I can do. It doesn’t feel like America anymore,” Stanton told the Daily Gazette.  

It’s people like Stanton who stand to lose in the face of new fossil fuel developments, despite the job-creation claims of industry.

Until recently, new projects were justified in the name of American energy independence, but with the new push to lift the Jones act to allow for crude oil exports and the big PR effort to ramp up liquid petroleum gas (LPG) exports, the new spin is job creation. 

The American Petroleum Institute has abandoned the energy independence approach and gone with the new argument about jobs — and the media was happy to broadcast the message.  From CNBC:

By lifting restrictions on crude oil exports, the U.S. economy could generate more than a quarter of a million jobs and save consumers billions in energy costs, the American Petroleum Institute said Monday.

In addition to the promise of jobs, the institute is claiming exporting more crude oil will lower prices for American consumers. This is a bold claim given that this past year propane prices in the U.S. hit record prices, coinciding with an exports increasing by 75 percent.

Earth Day, Labor, and Me

By Joe Uehlein - Znet, April 19, 2010

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 approach of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 provides us an opportunity to reflect on the “long, strange trip” shared by the environmental movement and the labor movement over four decades here on Spaceship Earth. 

A billion people participate in Earth Day events, making it the largest secular civic event in the world.  But when it was founded in 1970, according to Earth Day’s first national coordinator Denis Hayes, “Without the UAW, the first Earth Day would have likely flopped!”

Less than a week after he first announced the idea for Earth Day, Senator Gaylord Nelson presented his proposal to the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO.  Walter Ruther, President of the UAW, enthusiastically donated $2000 to help kick the effort off – to be followed by much more.  Hayes recalls:

"The UAW was by far the largest contributor to the first Earth Day, and its support went beyond the merely financial.  It printed and mailed all our materials at its expense — even those critical of pollution-belching cars.  Its organizers turned out workers in every city where it has a presence.  And, of course, Walter then endorsed the Clear Air Act that the Big Four were doing their damnedest to kill or gut."

Some people may be surprised to learn that a labor union played such a significant role in the emergence of the modern environmental movement.  When they think of organized labor, they think of things like support for coal and nuclear power plants and opposition to auto emissions standards.

Kazakhstan: Most Jailed Oil Workers Now Released, but Truth About Massacre Still Hidden

By Gabriel Levy - People and Nature - April 22, 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.

Two more of the oil workers jailed after the 2011 strikes in Kazakhstan have been released, and two more transferred from prison to colony-settlements.

Two workers from Zhanaozen, the centre of the strike movement – Kanat Zhusipbaev and Shabdal Utkilov – are still behind bars. Three more, from the nearby settlement of Shetpe, are presumed to be in prison and are due for release this year or next.

The reduction of the prisoners’ sentences comes after an international campaign by trades unionists, during which Kazakh embassies across the world were picketed and 11,000 letters sent to Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev. The seven-month strike in 2011, in which thousands of workers in the western Kazakh oil field took part, was brought to a bloody end on 16 December that year. Security forces opened fire on a demonstration at Zhanaozen, killing at least 16 people and wounding at least 60.

Thirty-seven people rounded up during a police reign of terror in the town were tried in June 2012. All but the five mentioned above have been released, according to human rights campaigners and trade union organisations. (See a list here.)

‘Jobs vs. the Environment’: How to Counter This Divisive Big Lie

Jeremy Brecher - The Nation, April 22, 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.

In an era in which our political system is dominated by plutocracy, grassroots social movements are essential for progressive change. But too often our movements find themselves at loggerheads over the seemingly conflicting need to preserve our environment and the need for jobs and economic development. How can we find common ground?

The problem is illustrated by the current proposal of the Dominion corporation to build a Liquefied Natural Gas export facility at Cove Point, Maryland, right on the Chesapeake Bay. Seven hundred people demonstrated against the proposal and many were arrested in three civil disobedience actions.  But an open letter on Dominion letterhead endorsing the project—maintaining it will “create more than 3,000 construction jobs” most of which will go “to local union members”—was signed not only by business leaders, but by twenty local and national trade union leaders.

In the struggle over the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been described as the “Birmingham of the climate movement,” pipeline proponents have been quick to seize on the “jobs issue” and tout support from building trades unions and eventually the AFL-CIO. In a press releasetitled “U.S. Chamber Calls Politically-Charged Decision to Deny Keystone a Job Killer,” the Chamber of Commerce said President Obama’s denial of the KXL permit was “sacrificing tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs in the short term, and many more than that in the long term.” The media repeat the jobs vs. environment frame again and again: NPR’s headline on KXL was typical of many: “Pipeline Decision Pits Jobs Against Environment.” A similar dynamic has marked the “beyond coal” campaign, the fracking battle and EPA regulation of greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act. Those who want to overcome this division must tell a different story.

Anarchist Materialism: Can We Start Having a Revolutionary Labor Strategy?

IWW 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.

Authors' Disclaimer: This piece is designed to challenge some prevailing attitudes of Class Struggle Anarchists in the US.  The arguments should not be seen as a critique of individual behavior but rather of structural tendencies which hopefully will produce a constructive discussion. 

It should be apparent to anyone viewing the labor movement in the US that it has arrived at a turning point.  Despite economic stagnation and a reduction in comparative household wages, business unions are in a weaker position than they have been in almost 100 years.  Meanwhile there seems to be a lack of discussion about how radical labor militants can seize this opportunity to become relevant… much less win.  If we want a revolutionary change in economic and social structures, then it is necessary to build the power and capacity that can actually achieve it.

However, in order to build power, we must first determine where power lies.  One such way is to map out economic and community structures and find out where anarchist militants can be the most useful.  In labor organizing it is vital to understand the demographics and profit generation of specific industries, capital investment, percentage of GDP, modes of production (the manner and relationships of production), transportation choke points, and important utilities (such as power companies) just to name a few.

From there it is important to develop and prioritize a strategic orientation.  What are the stages that the US needs to go through in order to actually overthrow the system?  First the current period should be thought out.  What are the current realities both in terms of where our strengths are and that of the rest of the left and working class, as well as our opponents?  Is capital in advance or retreat?  Are we in a moment of structural reorganization and if so, where in the country?  Manufacturing may be shrinking in the Midwest but retooling in the Southwest and growing in the Southeast.  There could be increasing mechanization in the ports, but also expansion to keep up with growing population demand.  Food production may be shifting in scale, labor, and products as it becomes industrialized or shifts to accommodate trade agreements.  But this must be researched to determine the exact material conditions that exist.  Only then can we decide how to begin social insertion and develop mature national strategies.

Railroad Workers Unite In Chicago

By Kari Lydersen - www.inthesetimes.com, April 21, 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.

Chicago is known as the place where the nation’s railroads meet. And last weekend, the city also became the meeting spot for about 40 of the country’s most progressive and activism-driven railroad union workers when it hosted the biennial conference of Railroad Workers United (RWU), an independent labor organization founded in 2008 that includes members of the major rail unions, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and other labor groups. Their gathering dovetailed with the Labor Notes conference, which brings together activist trade unionists from around the world every two years.

Those converging in Chicago for the RWU conference included locomotive engineers, rail yard workers, people who build trains and employees of contractors that service locomotives. They represent a small wedge of activism and solidarity-building in an industry that, while crucial to the country’s economic well-being and one of the cleanest freight transport options, is also notorious for retaliation against workers who agitate for better conditions or speak out about injuries and safety hazards.

Chapter 10 : Fellow Workers, Meet Earth First!

By Steve Ongerth - From the book, Redwood Uprising: Book 1

It was inevitable that the two would meet, really. Earth First! was challenging the corporate extraction of resources, but it wasn’t combating it at its source: the point of production. The problem was that the business unions theoretically could, but in practice they would not. They were too invested in their role as junior partners in the capitalist economy, which left them incapable of fighting it. There was only one union in the United States that could, and luckily, it still existed, even if it was but a shadow of its former self.

That the IWW influenced Earth First! is obvious. If the opposite was true in the early days of Earth First!’s existence, it is difficult to say. Initially, there was no direct or textual reference made by the IWW to Earth First! in its official publication, The Industrial Worker, prior to February 1988, although there was a one-time reproduction of one of Mike Roselle’s images (frequently used in the Earth First! Journal’s “dear shit fer brains” letters section), slightly altered and used in the Industrial Worker’s own letters section in September 1983.

The IWW did take note of general environmental struggles and actions within the pages of the Industrial Worker. For example, in the October / November 1980 issue there was a lengthy article titled, “Big Mountain Dine & Hopi Bat­tle Mine Interests”, a struggle which Earth First! supported for many years. In the June 1981 issue included a lengthy article about the Bolt Weevils”—which predate Earth First!, but serve as one of its inspirations—called, “The Power Line Protest in West Central Minnesota”. Earth First!er Roger Featherstone, was once involved in this campaign. There was a similar, uncredited article about this movement, simply called “Bolt Weevils” in the May 1, 1984 issue of the Earth First! Journal. An isolated column (that does not mention Earth First!) called “Ecology Notes” appeared in the Decem­ber 1982 issue. The same column never appeared again, however. By 1983, articles about ecologically oriented workers’ struggles became more and more frequent, but Earth First! was never mentioned, even if Earth First! was involved in the struggle. Meanwhile, the Wobblies were rarely mentioned in the Earth First! Journal except for a few occasional letters from self-identified IWW members, or former members. [1]

Behind the scenes, however, individual Wobblies and Earth First!ers frequently came into contact with each other. Dave Foreman later revealed that he had regularly corresponded with Utah Phillips. Franklin and Penelope Rosemont had also been in contact with Foreman as well as Roger Featherstone, a veteran of several environmental campaign, who described himself as “a roving reporter for Earth First!” [2] In Tacoma, Washington, IWW members Barbara Hansen and Allen Anger lived in an apartment in the same building as the IWW hall along with long time member, and then branch secretary, Ottilie Markholt. They were friends with George Draffan, who had been a member of the IWW when he was in college, long before joining Earth First! in the 1980s. [3] Colorado IWW member and oilfield worker Gary Cox was also sympathetic to Earth First!. Cox had read The Monkeywrench Gang, become a subscriber to the Earth First! Journal, and had attended an Earth First! speaking event by Dave Foreman and Roger Featherstone at the University of Colorado. [4] A handful of IWW members were Earth First!ers themselves, including a musician known as “Wobbly Bob”. [5]

Nevertheless, the first actual mention of Earth First! in the pages of the Industrial Worker touched on the Cameron Road tree spiking and the injury to George Alexander.

IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus on Terra Verde on Pacifica Radio KPFA 94.1 FM

Originally posted here - link

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.

Earth Day is around the corner and May Day is coming up too, so what better time to discuss the ways that the labor and environmental movements intersect. Tune in to hear from three organizers who are bringing together many kinds of workers around the Bay toward a new economy with environmental aims: Brooke Anderson of Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project, Stephanie Hervey of the Sunflower Alliance and the Action Hub in Richmond, and Elliot Hughes of the Industrial Workers of the World’s Environmental Unionism Caucus.

MP3 Audio File

For more on the Earth Day to May Day assembly, visit - earthdaytomaydayassembly.org.

In Each Other we Trust: Coining Alternatives to Capitalism

By Jerome Roos - Roar Magazine, March 31, 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.

Beyond God and state, it’s money that rules. Can we still imagine alternatives? And what role will recent innovations like Bitcoin play in the struggle?

One doesn’t need to subscribe to Gilles Deleuze’s somewhat obscurantist post-structuralism to recognize that the French philosopher made at least two extremely prescient observations. First, his hypothesis in the early 1990s that Foucault’s disciplinary society, with its schools, prisons and mental asylums, had ceased to be the paradigmatic mode of governmentality under neoliberalism and was instead giving way to a nascent “state of control.” And second, his related observation that in this emerging control society the money-form assumes renewed centrality within the reproduction of capitalist power relations. “Beyond the state,” Deleuze wrote, “it’s money that rules, money that communicates, and what we need these days isn’t a critique of Marxism, but a modern theory of money as good as Marx’s that goes on from where he left off.”

Interestingly, Deleuze tied these two observations together with the chains of debt, which he considered to be the “universal condition” of capitalist control. In his widely-cited Postscript of 1992, he wrote that “man is no longer man confined, but man in debt.” I was reminded of these prescient words when I attended the fascinating MoneyLab conference in Amsterdam last weekend. Organized by the Institute of Network Cultures, the event brought together a smattering of intellectual superstars like Saskia Sassen and Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, alongside a diverse and international group of scholars, artists, activists, hackers and heterodox economists, including past ROAR contributors Max Haiven and Brett Scott. The central aim of the groundbreaking interdisciplinary gathering was to explore “experiments with revenue models, payment systems and currencies against the backdrop of ongoing global economic decline.”

Whistleblower Exposes 'Big Black Snake'

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.

Whistleblower and activist John Bolenbaugh exposes dirty tricks, lies and cover-up of oil and pipeline companies. Former Enbridge employee fought with Enbridge over the clean-up of a 40 mile oil spill in the Kalamazoo River. After many false claims by Enbridge pipeline over the clean state of the river, this year the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the cleanup of the river three years after the initial spill.

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