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COP26: We Only Want the Earth

By IWW Ireland - IWW UK, November 7, 2021

World leaders gathering in Glasgow for COP26 are more concerned with the theatrics of playing to the media than the climate catastrophe.

The vocal pledges and emotive speeches hold little weight against the refusal to hold large corporations to account. Despite a planet which is slowly eating itself alive, world leaders repeatedly hold back when it comes to holding their profit driven capitalist projects to account. Instead, they are opting for wishful thinking as exemplified by the Trevi fountain stunt.

As members of the Industrial Workers of the World gather to protest in support of our earth, we do so knowingly that what is actually called for is the immediate end of capitalism and that of the power structures which keep it intact. Nothing short of the complete destruction of global capitalism, here and now, will prevent us from free-falling into an irreversible environmental catastrophe for the world and all its inhabitants.

Due to the unjust structures in our world, it is those at the lower ends of capitalist hierarchies that are most affected by climate distress. Those in lower-profit countries, people of colour, women, the trans community, those who are disabled and the working class have an increased chance of experiencing the negative impact of climate change.

Simultaneously, it is those least affected who cause the most damage to our planet. During the first lockdown, when everyone stopped, carbon emissions only decreased by 3%. 71% of global emissions are produced by 100 companies including Amazon and the US Military.

For ourselves, as revolutionary syndicalists, it is our belief that the working class ultimately has the power and strength to end this nightmare for all. From the outset as a revolutionary union, our principles and vision refuses to compromise.

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

“Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organise as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”

COP26 is a piece of theatre. As members mobilise on the streets of Glasgow, in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, and across the world, we do so without hesitation at the importance of the challenges that lay ahead of our earth. There must be no ceasefire in the class war as our mission remains as important as it was back in 1905. Only organising industrially, within the workplace, within our communities, our streets and home can begin to form the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.

You can play your part by joining the IWW today where you work or live and encourage others to do likewise.

From the words of James Connolly, founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World, we echo today, “Our demands are most moderate, We only want the earth!

Leeds trades unionists: zero-carbon homes can help tackle climate change

By Gabriel Levy - People and Nature, September 2, 2020

Leeds Trades Union Council has issued a call for large-scale investment to insulate homes and install electric heat pumps, to cut carbon emissions and help tackle global warming.

Such a drive to retrofit and electrify homes would be an alternative to a multi-billion-pound scheme, supported by oil and gas companies, to turn the gas network over to hydrogen.

That scheme, Northern Gas Networks’ H21 project, could tie up billions of pounds of

government money in risky carbon capture and storage technology, which is not proven to work at the scale required – but would help to prolong the oil and gas industry’s life by decades.

This is a test for social and labour movements all over the UK.

The demand for retrofitting and electrification should be taken up, and fossil-fuel-linked technofixes rejected. Otherwise, talk of “climate and ecological emergency” is empty words.

“Our most important and urgent action is to halt the flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere”, says a draft document that the Leeds TUC published last week. “This means radical changes to the way we use energy for work, travel and to heat our homes.”

In setting out a plan for Leeds, the TUC there hopes to “offer a model that will be taken up by other towns, cities and regions”, where it can form the basis for collaboration between local authorities, and a focus for trade unions and community campaigners.

The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain

By Laura Pidcock - Red Pepper, July 6, 2021

Imagine the mixture of pride and elation at getting a letter from the Durham Miners’ Association, asking you to speak at the annual Durham Miners’ Gala – the ‘Big Meeting’ I have been coming to year after year. Imagine getting up onto the huge stage and looking out over a sea of people, outlining the vision for working people under a socialist prime minister.

The Durham Miners’ Gala is where socialists go to politically replenish the soul for the fight ahead. It is simply the most electrifying experience in the British labour movement, steeped in working-class culture, tradition and, of course, struggle. The speech I delivered in July 2019 was partly about our confident preparations for government, and the changes a brand-new Ministry of Labour (that I would be heading) would bring. But it was also a message to activists to persevere under sustained attack. Just five months later, I found myself shaking the hand of the Tory MP, who had just taken my North West Durham seat by 1,144 votes.

In some ways, The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain, by Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson, is a story about that defeat, and many others Labour suffered in the 2019 election. But it is also about the long history, a serious piece of writing that assesses the political, cultural and social ramifications of deindustrialisation in South Wales and County Durham.

Both the 2016 European referendum and the 2019 Tory landslide are commonly analysed over too short a period of time to understand the real shifts in politics and community. Some constituencies elected their firstever Conservative MPs. These events seem like ‘shocks’. Beynon and Hudson’s book takes a longer view, which is both refreshing and necessary if we are to escape the stranglehold the right has on discourse and opinion.

It explains in loving, careful detail why working people’s relationship with Labour in former industrial communities – where ordinarily they would have had strong class identification with the party – had become complex and ultimately soured. South Wales and Durham are used as case studies to examine that dislocation, and what emerges is a rich, social history.

UK: is the ‘dash for gas’ frackturing the labor movement?

By Francesca Sullivan and Karen Viquerat - Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, June 24, 2015

Unfolding story:  Proposal to frack in North West England leads to a minor earthquake

Just days after the UK’s leading union in the gas industry signed on to a charter with the gas industry to develop fracking, other unions are stepping up efforts to make sure the drilling never starts. The GMB’s Central Executive Committee issued its statement on fracking on June 8. The UK’s largest union, UNITE issued a press release in support of an anti-fracking demonstration organized by ‘Frack Free Lancashire‘ and Chris Baugh, Asst. General Secretary of Public and Commercial Services union, responded to the GMB’s argument.  See below for more details.

Unite Press Release

For immediate use: Monday 22 June 2015

Unite urges councillors to keep Lancashire ‘frack free’

Britain’s largest union, Unite will be joining campaigners and local groups tomorrow (Tuesday 23 June) in a demonstration to support a ‘frack free Lancashire’ and halt Cuadrilla’s fracking plans.

The ‘don’t frack Lancs’ demonstration outside Lancashire county council hall in Preston coincides with a council meeting where county councillors will decide whether to accept or reject Cuadrilla’s fracking applications.

Chair of Unite’s executive council, Tony Woodhouse is among the speakers at the demonstration being organised by Friends of Earth. The county hall demonstration runs from 17:00 to 19:00.

Last week council planning officers recommended that fracking should go ahead at Preston New Road, but permission should be refused at Roseacre Wood due to a severe impact on road safety due to heavy lorries.

Councillors tomorrow will decide on whether to accept or reject planning officers’ recommendations.

Unite North West regional secretary Mick Whitley said: “Fracking is a huge issue for communities across our region and a cause for deep concern.

“A moratorium on fracking is in place in Scotland and the Welsh assembly government is following suit such is the depth of concern in other parts of the UK.

“Here in Lancashire, county councillors need to listen to tens of thousands of people from across the county who have objected and reject all applications for fracking.”

Unite is committed to supporting and lobbying for a moratorium on all fracking activities across the United Kingdom.

Global Climate Jobs

By various - Global Climate Jobs Network, September 2015

We have to stop climate change, and we have to do it quickly. To do it, we will need 120 million new jobs globally for at least twenty years.

There are now campaigns in several countries fighting for mass government programs for climate jobs. Most of them started with union support, and all of them are trying to build an alliance of unions, environmentalists, NGOs, and faith groups.This booklet has been produced by several of these campaigns, because we want people in other countries to do the same.

The first half of this booklet explains the idea of climate jobs in broad strokes. But each country is different, so the second half of this booklet sketches what climate jobs would mean in South Africa, Norway, Canada, New York State, and Britain.

Read the report (English PDF) | (French PDF) | (Spanish PDF).

Building Workers’ Power in the United Kingdom

By New Syndicalist - Industrial Worker, July/August 2015

A few months ago New Syndicalist (a group of Wobblies from the United Kingdom writing about worker-led, anti-capitalist theory and strategy) was approached by the Workers’ Power column with a request to write a reflective piece on the recent growth of the IWW in the United Kingdom. People who have been following our online media presence will know that the U.K. IWW hit an important milestone this year—exceeding 1,000 members. This was celebrated recently at our annual conference in Bradford, England. An older member recalled attending the 2005 conference in the same city that had just seven members in attendance. In 2015 most branch delegations were larger.

We have seen fantastic growth over the past decade, particularly in the case of some of our larger branches that now have between 100 to 300 members. What is it like to have branches of this size and how did they get built? These were the key questions posed to us. These are obviously very big questions and have by no means simple answers, particularly in terms of attempting to represent the dedicated and patient work of IWW organizers across the United Kingdom over the past 10 years. Nonetheless, we did put our heads together at New Syndicalist and decided to focus on what we thought were the five most important factors in helping to grow our branches in the North (where we are based), some of which have doubled in size over the last year.

The list is by no means exhaustive, and some more experienced Wobs may feel we may be trying to teach them to “suck eggs” here as they will recognize many fundamental concepts within our existing organizer training program. We nonetheless present them in the hope of solidarity, shared dialogue and spirited debate.

Ecosocialism in a Nutshell

Arranged by Stan Rosenthal (Socialist Environment and Resources Association) - Writers and Reader Cooperative, 1980; (republished by Ian Angus - Climate and Capitalism, November 13, 2013

This booklet outlines in cartoon form perhaps one of the most significant developments in contemporary politics--the blending of the traditional concerns of the Labour Movement with those of the fast growing rcological lobby into a new concept: Eco-Socialism.

It has been compiled from the relevant parts of Nuclear Power for Beginners since this was considered to be the best material available for publicizing the new ideas in the most concise and effective manner.

Not only does the booklet trace the coming together of the Greens and the Reds, but it shows how you can help turn their vision into reality.

Read the report (PDF).

A Modest Proposal (For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being Aburden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public)

By Jonathan Swift - 1729

Ecology.IWW.ORG web editor's note - The following piece is a satire, written in response to the British aristocracy's claims that the Irish Potato Famine was the fault of the Irish Working Class's simply having too many children (a nonsensical Malthusian dismissal of class warfare) as opposed to the fault of the British ruling class's deliberate policies of imperialism and colonialism. It is reposted here as a reminder of the utter inanity of Malthusian dogma:

It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.

I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our charity in the streets.

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of other projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in the computation. It is true, a child just dropped from its dam may be supported by her milk for a solar year, with little other nourishment; at most not above the value of 2s., which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner as instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall on the contrary contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.

There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us! sacrificing the poor innocent babes I doubt more to avoid the expense than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.

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