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Is `de-growth' compatible with capitalism?

Photo by Twaize/Flickr.

By Alejandro Nadal

July 15, 2010 -- TripleCrisis -- A serious campaign in favour of “de-growth” has been going on for some time and has made important contributions. This movement has opened new avenues for debate and analysis on technology, credit, education and other important areas. It’s an effort that needs support and attention, and we must applaud their initiators and promoters for their boldness and dedication.

False food choices under capitalism

Below is the editorial of the Socialist WebZine, online magazine of the Socialist Party of the United States. Following that is an article by Dan La Botz, SPUSA's Ohio candidate forthe US Senate. Both appear in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

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July 17, 2010 -- Socialist WebZine -- How can we change the world? This is the question that socialists face in the 21st century. It certainly offers more possibilities than the one presented in the mid-1990s that asked whether we had reached the end of history. However, capitalism is also attempting to provide an answer to this question by offering individualised ways to change the world. Food is an important arena for this project – corporations insist that eating the right food or drinking the right coffee can really make a difference in the world.

Ecuador: Indigenous struggle, ecology and capitalist resource extraction

Marlon Santi, Quito, July 5, 2010.

Marlon Santi interviewed by Jeffery R. Webber

July 13, 2010 -- The Bullet -- On July 5, I sat down with Marlon Santi, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), in his office in Quito. We discussed the increasing contradictions between the demands of the Indigenous people's movement, on the one hand, around water rights and anti-mining resistance, and the positions of the government of Rafael Correa, on the other, which has labelled Indigenous resistance to large-scale mining and oil exploitation as “terrorism and sabotage”.

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Can you describe your political formation and personal political trajectory?

Australia: Report shows how to reach 100% renewable stationary energy by 2020

To download the full Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan click HERE (8.4MB). You can also download a 16-page synopsis HERE.

Hard copies can be purchased from the Melbourne Energy Institute.

July 14, 2010 -- Don't miss out on this cutting-edge research, which shows how Australia can reach 100% renewable energy within a decade, using technology that is commercially available right now.

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By Pablo Brait and Leigh Ewbank

Beyond Zero Emissions -- In April, the Australian government abandoned the severely flawed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme [a carbon trading scheme], the centrepiece of its national climate policy agenda.

Bolivia's Pablo Solon: We need 'a global movement to defend Mother Earth'

Pablo Solon (second from left) and the Bolivian delegation address a press conference during the Copenhagen climate talks, December 2009.

Pablo Solon interviewed by Derrick O'Keefe

June 29, 2010 -- Rabble.ca -- While G20 leaders barely made mention of the climate crisis, Pablo Solon, Bolivia's UN ambassador, was in Toronto to encourage action on the Cochabamba protocols.

It is no surprise that Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s chief climate negotiator and ambassador to the United Nations, was not on the list of special invitees to the G8/G20 meetings in Ontario this weekend. After all, in April Solon and the Bolivian government he represents organised the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, an international convergence of as many as 30,000 people determined to challenge the Copenhagen Accord being pushed by the world’s richest countries.

Bhopal: Corporate genocide, appeasement of imperialism, environmental hypocrisy

By Kavita Krishnan

July 2010 -- Liberation -- More than 25 years after the infamous Bhopal gas disaster, the verdict of a trial court in Bhopal is nothing but a cruel mockery of justice. With charges already diluted by the Supreme Court of India, the June 7 trial court verdict could only be a formal burial of justice. Not only does the verdict insult the victims of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters by letting off, either scot-free or with a ridiculously light sentence, the mighty CEOs who were the chief perpetrators, it amounts to an assurance to multinational corporations that they will enjoy total impunity in India even when their negligence and violations of regulations leads to the loss of thousands of Indian lives and injury to several thousand more.

On December 2-3, 1984, 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) leaked out of the Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, exposing more that 5,000,000 people to the toxic fumes. As many as 25,000 people have died as a result, and hundreds of thousands suffered irreversible damage to their health. The poison in the soil and water continues to affect future generations.

Michael Lebowitz: `We must choose socialism over capitalist barbarism'

Michael Lebowitz was interviewed by Srećko Horvat during the Subversive Film Festival and conference on socialism, held from May 1 to May 25, 2010, in Zagreb, Croatia. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Michael Lebowitz's permission. [Click HERE to read more articles by Michael Lebowitz.]

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Srećko Horvat: In May, as a participant of the big international conference on Socialism, you are coming to a country which had an experience with the the Yugoslavian version of socialism in the last century. Could you explain why socialism in the 21st century?

The battle for the world food system: an interview with Raj Patel

The battle for the world food system: an interview with Raj Patel from Jill Hickson on Vimeo.

June 3, 2010 -- Raj Patel, author of The Value of Nothing and Stuffed and Starved, interviewed by Jill Hickson and Simon Cunich for Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Patel discusses corporate dominance of global food production and battles to create democratic and sustainable food systems.

Chapters:

Video: The Malthus myth: Population, poverty and climate change

May 30, 2010 -- Capitalism and Climate -- Most of what you've heard about Robert Malthus is wrong. He didn't predict a population explosion, and he didn't think we should control our population. His real goal was to convince people that society cannot be improved, that most people will always be poor. "The Malthus Myth: Population, Poverty and Climate Change" was a talk presented by Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism and a contributing editor of Socialist Voice, at Socialism 2010 in Toronto, May 22, 2010. Many thanks to Pance Stojkovski, who recorded this presentation and edited it for Socialist Project's LeftStreamed.

Bolivia’s mining dilemmas: Between Mother Earth and an ‘extraction economy’

A Bolivian tin miner. The Huanuni tin mine has now been returned to full control by the state-owned Comibol.

By Federico Fuentes, Cochabamba

May 15, 2010 -- The tremendous success of the April 19-22 World People's Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, has confirmed the well-deserved role of its initiator — Bolivia's President Evo Morales — as one of the world’s leading environmental advocates.

Since being elected the country’s first Indigenous president in 2005, Morales has continuously denounced the threat posed by the climate crisis and environmental destruction. Morales has pointed the figure at the real cause of the problem: the consumerist and profit-driven capitalist system.

(Updated May 12) Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and texts from the People's Conference on Climate Change

The following documents were also adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22, 2010, in Bolivia. The Bolivian government will submit them to the United Nations for consideration. The main document, the People's Agreement, is available HERE.

For more coverage of the historic conference, click HERE.

They are: 1. The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth; 2. Shared Visions document; 3. Structural causes; 4. Referendum on climate change; 5. Document of the Working Group on Agriculture and Food Sovereignty; 6. Document of the Working Group on Climate Debt; 7. Document of the Working Group on Climate Finance; 8. Indigenous Peoples' Declaration; 9. International Tribunal of Climate and Environmental Justice working group; 10. Dangers of the carbon market; 11. Working Group No. 10 on the Kyoto Protocol and greenhouse gas emissions reduction; 12. Working Group 13: Intercultural dialogue knowledge sharing, knowledge and technology; 13. Final conclusions of Working Group 2: Harmony with Nature to Live Well; 14. Working Group 6: Climate Change and Migration; 15. Working Group 14: Forests; 16. Working Group 11: Adaptation -- Confronting Climate Change; 17. Strategies of Action; NEW: 18. Declaration of the "unofficial" "Working Group 18. [More will be posted as they become available.]

Can capitalism fix climate change?

By Simon Butler

April 14, 2010 -- Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It has taken capitalism about 250 years to generate enough waste and pollution to press dangerously against nature’s limits. With such a damning record, there should be no grounds to expect a different outcome in the future.

Yet the mainstream discussion about how to tackle the climate crisis still assumes that, this time around, capitalism can be made sustainable.

In an April 3 Sydney Morning Herald piece arguing for capitalists to take a leading role in resolving the climate crisis, Paddy Manning said it “was an article of faith for this column” that a free market could respond effectively to the challenge of climate change. But, struggling to come up with Australian capitalists responding positively to the challenge, he was forced to admit: “Faith is needed, because climate change is proof of colossal market failure.”

Photo essay: `Stop the coal rush!' -- people's blockade halts exports from world's biggest coal port

Ship movements cancelled at the world's biggest coal port, Newcastle (Australia) -- March 28, 2010 from jagath dheerasekara on Vimeo.

Photo essay and story by Jagath Dheerasekara

March 28, 2010 -- Newcastle, Australia -- A mass community protest at the biggest coal port in the world, Newcastle, succeeded in preventing coal ship movements all day. Hundreds of peaceful protesters occupied the harbour from 10 am.

Capitalism and food: Let them eat junk

An interview with Rob Albritton

March 2010 -- Rob Albritton’s Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity (2009), published by Arbeiter Ring Press in Canada and Pluto Press in the UK, offers a welcome and urgently needed analysis of “how the profit fixation of capital has led us deeply into a dangerously unsustainable system of food provision, a system that totally fails when it comes to distributive justice and to human and environmental health” (p. 201). His analysis takes us inside capitalism and shows how its “deep structures” manage our agricultural and food systems in irrational ways.

Socialist Project’s Relay magazine recently asked John Simoulidis to interview Robert Albritton about his book and current global struggles to address the failures of our agriculture/food system. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

Why James Hansen is wrong on nuclear power

By Renfrey Clarke

April 8, 2010 -- “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Attributed to economist J.M. Keynes, that retort has always been good advice. Now that carrying on with “business as usual” greenhouse gas emissions has been revealed as a road to disaster, should environmentalists change their minds on nuclear power?

To be sure, the dangers of the nuclear industry have not gone away. A major nuclear war, by creating “nuclear winter” conditions, would end most life on Earth. Humanity, however, has managed the threat of nuclear war in the past, and the chances are that we will continue to do so.

If thousands of nuclear power reactors were in operation, reactor accidents would be frequent enough that they would almost stop being news. But deaths would probably be few, and other losses would be relatively minor compared to the dead oceans and scorched grainlands of the greenhouse future.

Fourth International: Mobilisation for the climate and anti-capitalist strategy

[The following documents dealing with capitalism's climate crisis were presented at the 16th World Congress of the Fourth International, held in Belgium in February 2010.]

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By Daniel Tanuro

February 2010 -- Three billion human beings lack the essentials of life. The satisfaction of their needs requires increased production of material goods. Therefore increased consumption of energy. Today, 80 per cent of this energy is of fossil origin, and consequently a source of greenhouse gases which are unbalancing the climatic system.

However, we can no longer permit ourselves to unbalance the climate. We are probably no longer very far from a “tipping point” beyond which phenomena which are uncontrollable and irreversible on a human timescale are likely to be set in motion, which could lead to a situation that humanity has never experienced and which the planet has not experienced for 65 million years: a world without ice. A world in which the sea level would rise by approximately 80 metres compared to its level today.

After Copenhagen: Can we save the world? Video: Is the climate sick of us?

Ian Angus interviewed by Esquerda.net during the conference O Clima Farto de Nos? (Is the climate sick of us?), held in Lisbon, March 26-27. The three questions, shown in text in Portuguese, are: Is the climate sick of us? What must be done internationally about this situation? What message would you like to give to the Portuguese people?The video, which is in English with Portuguese subtitles, has also been posted on the website of Portugal's Left Bloc, and on the Esquerda.net channel on YouTube.

 

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Bolivia creates a new opportunity for climate talks that failed at Copenhagen

 

By Pablo Solón Romero

March 19, 2010 -- http://pwccc.wordpress.com/ -- In the aftermath of the Copenhagen climate conference, those who defended the widely condemned outcome tended to talk about it as a “step in the right direction”. This was always a tendentious argument, given that tackling climate change cannot be addressed by half measures. We can’t make compromises with nature.

Bolivia, however, believed that Copenhagen marked a backwards step, undoing the work built on since the climate talks in Kyoto. That is why, against strong pressure from industrialised countries, we and other developing nations refused to sign the Copenhagen Accord and why we are hosting an international meeting on climate change in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from April 19 to 22, 2010. In the words of the Tuvalu negotiator, we were not prepared to “betray our people for 30 pieces of silver”.

TAKE ACTION! Help Copenhagen climate change activists falsely accused of terrorism

Natasha Verco and Noah Weiss with the incriminating evidence.

By Kieran Adair

March 23, 2010 -- In Copenhagen, Sydney-based climate justice advocate Natasha Verco, as well as US activist Noah Weiss, faces charges under Denmark’s “terrorism” laws. Verco faces up to 12-and-a-half years' jail for her role in organising protests against the United Nations Copemnhagen climate summit in December.

The two activists appeared in court on March 18 (see report below).

Verco was arrested while riding her bike on December the 13 ahead of a national day of action she was helping organise the following day. She said: “A plainclothed police women jumped out at me and ... took me to an unmarked police van. I asked them, ‘Are you randomly picking me up?’ and they said ‘No, we hunted you’.”

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