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environment

A brief socialist history of the automobile

By Rob Rooke

No single commercial product in the history of capitalism has had a greater effect on the economy and politics than the automobile. No other product has been such a lever to increase consumption and increase markets in the developed world. It could be argued that the car, more than any other product, was at the very heart of the 20th century’s economic expansion. In US society, for over a century, the car has been raised on a cultural pedestal worshipping individuality and defining big business’ vision of freedom.

Global food crisis: Capitalism, agribusiness and the food sovereignty alternative

By Ian Angus

[Second of two articles. Click here for part one.]

“Nowhere in the world, in no act of genocide, in no war, are so many people killed per minute, per hour and per day as those who are killed by hunger and poverty on our planet.” —Fidel Castro, 1998

May 11, 2008 -- When food riots broke out in Haiti last month, the first country to respond was Venezuela. Within days, planes were on their way from Caracas, carrying 364 tons of badly needed food.

The people of Haiti are “suffering from the attacks of the empire’s global capitalism,” Venezuela's President Hugo Chàvez said. “This calls for genuine and profound solidarity from all of us. It is the least we can do for Haiti.”

Venezuela’s action is in the finest tradition of human solidarity. When people are hungry, we should do our best to feed them. Venezuela’s example should be applauded and emulated.

But aid, however necessary, is only a stopgap. To truly address the problem of world hunger, we must understand and then change the system that causes it.

No shortage of food

The starting point for our analysis must be this: there is no shortage of food in the world today.

Videos: Cuba's green revolution

A clip from the BBC's Around the World in 80 Gardens (2008) introduces the urban organic food gardening revolution in Havana, Cuba. Click HERE for a three-part talk by Cuban permaculturist Roberto Perez that delves deeper into Cuba's green revolution, and an interview with the makers of The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, the film in which Perez featured.

So there’s nothing to stop us from emulating the Cuban farming revolution.

Are livable cities just a dream?

By Dave Holmes

When one sees a modern city from the air, especially at night, it is a truly awe-inspiring spectacle. What always strikes me is the immensity of the project, a testimony to the power and creativity of human beings. However, on the ground and actually living and working in this wonder, things are quite different and the social and ecological problems crowd in and fill one’s view. The truth is that our cities have always been dominated by the rich and powerful and built and operated to serve their needs — not those of the mass of working people who live and toil in them.

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This article is based on a talk presented at the Climate Change | Social Change Conference in Sydney, April 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For more articles, audio and video from the conference, click here.

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Individual versus social solutions to global warming

By Terry Townsend

A talk to the Climate Change Social Change Conference held in Sydney from April 11 to 13, 2008, organised by Green Left Weekly. For more articles, audio and video from the conference, click here.

April 13, 2008 -- I’m sure everybody here is aware of the basic facts of global warming and the likely consequences if rapid and serious action is not taken. There is virtually unanimous agreement among scientists and activists, and increasingly among millions of ordinary people, about the degree of the problem and the time frame we have to make fundamental changes to address it.

Climate Crisis — Urgent Action Needed Now!

Statement initiated by participants in the Climate Change|Social Change conference, Sydney, Australia, April 11-13, 2008. The statement is now available at to be signed online at http://www.petitiononline.com/Nelmezzo/petition.html. Please distribute this information to your networks, and get all who are serious about fighting global warming to sign on.

The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For video and audio from the conference, please click here.

The following statement was started by the participants in the Climate Change|Social Change conference. It is being distributed to environmental, trade union, Indigenous, migrant, religious and community organisations to help build the movement against global warming.

London, May 8, 2008: Can the free-market stop climate change?

London: Thursday 8 May 7.30-9pm

Is big business responsible for dangerously increasing levels of CO2 emissions or can we buy our way out of climate change with market based solutions such as carbon trading?

Take part online or in person.

Speakers:
Caroline Lucas, MEP Green Party
Peter Hardstaff, World Development Movement
Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South

Watch online

This will be streamed below on 8 May 7.30-9pm.
Register for an email reminder of when the event is live

Watch in person

To attend the live event please register for a free place.

Marxism and the environment -- John Bellamy Foster

Marxism and the environment was a workshop given by John Bellamy Foster to the Climate Change Social Change Conference, in Sydney on April 12, 2008. Foster is editor of Monthly Review (USA) and author of Marx's Ecology. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For more audio and video of John Bellamy Foster on related topics, go to http://links.org.au/node/343


Climate change solutions: what role for the market? & Equity in energy consumption -- Patrick Bond

Two talks by Patrick Bond, delivered at the Climate Change Social Change Conference, Sydney, April 12, 2008.

Climate change solutions: what role for the market?

Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu-Natal; editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society
John Kaye, Greens NSW MLC
Stuart Rosewarne, co-editor Journal of Australian Political Economy and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

Climate change and its social roots

Recording of the public meeting at the Climate Change Social Change Conference April 11, 2008.


Speakers

Cuba: The challenge of fossil fuels and climate change

Roberto Perez, Cuban biologist and permaculturalist, Antonio Núñez Jimenez Foundation for Nature and Humanity, a Cuban NGO. Feature talk at the Climate Change Social Change Conference, Sydney, April 12, 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly.

 

Audio: John Bellamy Foster on `Ecology, capitalism and socialism'

John Bellamy Foster's feature talk, recorded at the Climate Change Social Change Conference on April 12, 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. Foster is editor of Monthly Review and author of Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature.

Video: John Bellamy Foster on Capitalism and Climate Change

John Bellamy Foster, Marxist ecologist and editor of Monthly Review, addressed the Climate Change I Social Change Conference on ``Capitalism and Climate Change'', Sydney, April 11, 2008. Foster's talk was part of a panel discussing ``Climate change and its social roots''. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. Below is Foster's talk in five parts. Click here for an audio recording of all the speakers on the panel, which included Patrick Bond from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society. John Bellamy Foster discusses Marxism and the environment further here.

 

Video and audio: Cuban permaculturist -- `Climate change means we must change'

Cuban permaculturist Roberto Perez spoke at the Climate Change | Social Change conference, April 11-13, Sydney. Click here for more videos and text.


Climate action now! Socialist Climate Change Charter

Climate action now! Socialist Climate Change Charter

It happens to be an emergency...

Climate action now!

  • Download the Socialist Alliance Climate Change Charter here
  • Download easy-to-print version of the Socialist Alliance Climate Change Charter (with references) here
  • To see how the charter was created click here
  • SUMMARY:

    Warnings that can’t be ignored

    Climate scientists have been warning us about global warming for

    A revolutionary response to the climate change crisis

    ``We need an emergency mobilisation of society, a five- or 10-year plan to achieve a drastic reorientation of our economy and use of energy. Anything else is simply not serious.''

    April 3, 2008 -- Dave Holmes, a veteran leader of theAustralian Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), is one of the authors of the pamphlet Change the System Not The Climate (Resistance Books 2007) who will be participating in the Climate Change | Social Change Conference, April 11-13 in Sydney Australia. The other authors of the pamphlet, renowned Marxist John Bellamy Foster and Links editor Terry Townsend, are speakers at the conference.

    Peter Boyle of the DSP spoke to Holmes about the key issues the conference needs to address.

    Video: Patrick Bond on the global fight for climate justice

    On March 4, Patrick Bond addressed a meeting organised by Climate and Capitalism blog in Toronto, Canada, and supported by Socialist Project in Canada and Socialist Voice, among others. Bond will also be a featured speaker at the Climate Change l Social Change conference in Sydney, Australia, April 11-13. Watch Patrick Bond's presentation below.

    International conferences and gatherings

    AUSTRALIA: Climate Change | Social Change -- A conference to strengthen radical social action to stop climate change. April 11-13, 2008. Sydney Girls' High School, Cleveland Street, near ANZAC Parade, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia.

    CUBA: International Conference on the Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century. Havana, Cuba, May 5-8. Palacio de Convenciones.

    CANADA: A World in Revolt -- May 22-25, 2008 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor Street West (St. George Subway Station), Toronto.

    ***

    Principles, strategies and tactics of decommodification in South Africa

    By Patrick Bond

    Patrick Bond is the author of two recent books: Unsustainable South Africa: Environment, Development and Social Protest and Fanon's Warning: A Civil Society Reader on the New Partnership for Africa's Development. Both are available from Africa World Press (http://www.africanworld.com). His 2001 book Against Global Apartheid: South Africa meets the World Bank, IMF and International Finance, will be republished by Zed Press this year, as will a new edition of Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa from Pluto Press.

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