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Renewable Energy is (Mostly) Green and Not Inherently Capitalist, Volume 1: Wind Power (REVISED)

By Steve Ongerth - IWW Eco Union Caucus, Revised January 16, 2024

Is renewable energy actually green? Are wind, solar, and storage infrastructure projects a climate and/or envi­ronmental solution or are they just feel-good, greenwashing, false "solutions" that either perpetuate the deep­ening climate and environmental crisis or just represent further extractivism by the capitalist class and the privileged Global North at the expense of front-line communities and the Global South? 

This document argues that, while there is no guarantee that renewable energy projects will ultimately be truly "green", there is nothing inherent in the technology itself that precludes them from being so. Ultimately the "green"-ness of the project depends on the level of rank-and-file, democratic, front-line community and working-class grassroots power with the orga­nized leverage to counter the forces that would use renewable energy to perpetuate the capitalist, colonialist, extractivist system that created the cli­mate and environmental crisis in which we find ourselves.

In‌ order to do that, we mustn't fall prey to the misconceptions and inaccuracies that paint renewable energy infrastructure projects as inherently anti-green. This series attempts to do just that. This first Volume, on utility scale wind power addresses several arguments made against it, including (but not limited to) the following misconceptions:

  • Humanity must abandon electricity completely;
  • Degrowth is the only solution;
  • New wind developments only expand overall consumption;
  • Wind power is unreliable and intermittent;
  • Wind power is just another form of "green" capitalism;
  • The extraction of resources necessary to build wind power negates any of their alleged green benefits;
  • Wind power is an extinction-level event threat to birds, bats, whales, and other wildlife (and possibly humans);
  • Only locally distributed renewable energy arrayed in microgrids should be built without any--even a small percentage--of utility scale wind developments;
  • Only nationalized and/or state-owned utility scale renewable energy developments should be built;
  • No wind power developments will be green unless we first organize a socialist revolution, because eve­rything else represents misplaced faith in capitalist market forces.

In fact, none of the above arguments are automatically true (and the majority are almost completely untrue). However, they're often repeated, sometimes ignorantly, but not too infrequently in bad faith. This document is offered as an inoculation and antidote to these misconceptions and misinformation.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

What’s Next for the Teamsters?

Barry Eidlin & Paul Prescod on Labor’s Moment Today

GKN factory occupation needs YOUR help to start green production under workers control

Declaration of the 1st International Meeting of Diversities and Supporters

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 18, 2023

From the 1st Meeting of Diversities in the 8th Conference of La Via Campesina, we, LVC peasants who identify ourselves as sexually and gender diverse, and our allies, want to celebrate the creation of this space. Here, we meet to exchange ideas, debate and reflect on a reality that drives us, as an international organization, to continue transforming the ways we relate to one another in order to end all the discrimination, prejudice and all forms of violence that gender non-conforming people experience.

We are certain that a new society free of all oppression on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, diverse abilities and class will only be possible when all the people who make up La Via Campesina can treat each other with respect, guaranteeing basic human rights, peasant rights, as well as the rights that have been historically denied to sexually and gender diverse persons and that aim at creating emancipated human relations.

We celebrate the diversity in our soil, waters, forests, farms, and territories. We celebrate our communities’ social and cultural diversity because it builds strength and resilience. As people who embody these diversities, we do not ask to be tolerated; this is not about pity or charity. This is about knowing that a socially diverse movement for agroecology and food sovereignty is a stronger movement and that the liberation of everyone is intertwined with the liberation of our societies.

Declaration of Solidarity and Commitment to the rights of Migrants and Refugees around the world

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 18, 2023

#18D23 On the International Day of Migrants and Refugees, La Via Campesina calls on states to ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrants and their Families. LVC rejects the proposed EU agreement on migration and proposes a Global Solidarity Pact for the rights of migrants and refugees.

The situation of millions of migrant people and families around the world continues to worsen. Every day, the grabbing and plundering of resources and the destruction of local economies, mainly by transnational economic powers, in addition to wars, terrorism, and environmental and climate disasters, are increasing. All of this is made worse by global capitalism and colonialism, forcing people from their territories. Authoritarian governments and international institutions are complicit, putting in place a regulatory and military structure that stigmatizes, represses, and murders those who decide to migrate at the borders. Once they reach their destination, these people (many of whom are in the agricultural sector) suffer exploitation, discrimination, and racism. In economies that take advantage of migrant labor, such as Europe or the United States, and in countries through which migration passes, the segregation and oppression these people face are made worse by policies of hate and violence against the most vulnerable. This is promoted by the extreme right and fascism, playing into the political and economic power of those who already own our planet.

La Via Campesina includes many organizations of migrants and rural waged workers. The movement continues to demand the recognition and support of both the peasants who remain and fight in their territories and those who decide to migrate to improve their lives and their communities.

Peasant Youth Unveils Vision: 5th International Youth Assembly Declaration

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 16, 2023

We have on this land all of that which makes life worth living
On this land
The lady of our land
The mother of all beginnings
And the mother of all ends
She was called Palestine

Mahmoud Darwish

We, the young peasants, convened our 5th International Assembly of the Youth Articulation of La Vía Campesina in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 1, 2023. We started our gathering by centering our sense of belonging to the land that we come from. We reaffirmed our solidarity and shared all of our love with the people of Palestine and their longstanding struggle for liberation, especially in the current context of blatant genocide, violent occupation, and the siege of Gaza by Israel. We commit to continue amplifying the message of their struggles with our communities and the general public and engage in direct and ongoing actions in support of the Palestinian people.

We gathered to address and contemplate the profound crises gripping global agriculture and food systems while sharpening our strategies, actions and solutions . We engaged in vital discussions, sharing experiences and wisdom of our people, focusing on four critical themes: the crisis of generational continuity in agriculture, climate justice and agroecology, a critical analysis of new digital technologies, and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People working in Rural Areas from a youth perspective.

Committed to advancing collective visions and proposals rooted in solidarity, internationalism, and systemic transformation, we presented our consolidated ideas at the 8th Conference of La Via Campesina. Consequently, our 5th International Youth Assembly was a landmark event to reinvigorate our strategies and commitment to the movement. As we transition from one International Coordination Committee (ICC) youth member per continent to one ICC youth member per region we further strengthen and expand our active participation with commitment to inclusivity, balance, diversity and intergenerational exchange thus strengthening our work within and from our regions thus strengthening our work within and from our regions.

VIIIth International Conference, La Via Campesina: Bogotá Declaration

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 9, 2023

More than 400 delegates of La Via Campesina, representing 185 organizations and movements in 83 countries, together with allies, are gathered in Bogotá, Colombia to celebrate our 8th International Conference from the 1st to the 8th of December of 2023.

We, the peasants, rural workers, landless, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, forest dwellers, rural women, youth and diversities and other peoples who work in the countryside around the world and united within La Via Campesina, declare that “Faced with global crises, we build food sovereignty to ensure a future for humanity!” towards a just and decent food system for all, recognizing peoples’ needs, respecting nature, putting people before profit and resisting corporate capture.

The 8th Conference is happening at a time when the Colombian social movements are celebrating a major political victory, the creation of an agrarian jurisdiction, and the constitutional recognition of peasants as political subjects with rights. Our participation in the monitoring and follow-up of the peace agreement in Colombia inspires us as peasants to continue building peace worldwide.

Harvesting Disparity: Climate Change, Food and Water Security, and Migrants of the UAE

By staff - Fair Square, December 9, 2023

The image of climate-friendly menus being pushed at this year’s global climate conference, COP28 in Dubai, UAE, clashes with the stark reality faced by vulnerable communities in the host country, and its impact on the environment, a new report released today unveils.

The official COP28 website proclaims that, “Our focus is to deliver sustainable, affordable, delicious, and nutritious food. COP28 UAE will deliver a catering menu which is largely plant based, emphasizing local and regional produce and promoting environmentally-friendly food consumption.” The site also describes how the COP28 Presidency is “striving to show the world how climate-friendly food can be tasty, healthy and affordable.”

However the team of investigators behind the report – who are based in the Gulf and remaining anonymous to protect their safety – found that outside the venue, the reality for many workers in the UAE was in stark contrast to “environmentally-friendly food consumption”.

The 40-page report, Harvesting Disparity: Climate Change, Food and Water Security, and Migrants of the UAE, explores pronounced disparities in access to quality, nutritious food for migrant workers who grapple with working hours and wage theft that hinder their ability to secure proper meals, while also examining the broader impacts of UAE food supply chain practices on climate and vulnerable communities abroad.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

The TUC guide to building retrofit at work

By staff - Trades Union Congress, February 8, 2023

Why advocate for retrofit?

Cold and draughty buildings with poor air quality affect our well-being and health at work. Running buildings is increasingly expensive due to the cost of living and energy bill crisis, and is the third largest carbon emitting sector globally. Done in the right way, maintenance and retrofit can fix these issues. This leaflet provides suggestions for trade unionists for why and how to start advocating for building retrofit at work.

Read the report (Link).

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