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Oil, energy and capitalism: An unpublished talk by Barry Commoner

Barry Commoner

Barry Commoner.

“Oil companies do not operate for the purpose of producing oil. They operate for the purpose of producing maximum profit. To solve the energy crisis, we have to reorganise our economic system.”

July 30, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Dr Barry Commoner was the best-known ecologist in the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s. His picture appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1970, and his 1971 book, The Closing Circle, was a best-seller and remains a classic of radical environmental analysis. As this talk shows, he was also an ecosocialist, before that word was created.

Commoner gave this talk at the Community Church of Boston on February 22, 1976, just before publication of his book, The Poverty of Power, when the “oil embargo” and energy crisis were still central political issues.

BRICS lessons from Mozambique

Floods in Mozambique have worsened.

By Bobby Peek

July 24, 2013 -- Pambazuka News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Just across the border in Mozambique there is neo-colonial exploitation underway. It is not Europe or the United States that are dominating, but rather countries that are often looked up to as challengers, such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). This is a dangerous statement to make but let us consider the facts.

South Africa is extracting 415 megawatts of electricity from Mozambique through the Portuguese developed Cahora Bassa Dam, which has altered permanently the flow of the Zambezi River, resulting in severe flooding on a more frequent basis over the last years. In the recent floods earlier this year it is reported that a women gave birth on a rooftop of a clinic, this follows a similar incident in 2000, when Rosita Pedro was born on a tree after severe flooding that year.

Green Party USA: Economic/ecological crises of the 21st century -- A deep green alternative

Document of the Greens/Green Party USA, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Don Fitz, national committee member of the Greens/Green Party USA. It is posted in the interests of discussion.

July 22, 2013 -- Why should we work longer hours in order to …

  • put our neighbours out of work,
  • produce fall-apart products that poison our children and grandchildren, and
  • have less time to enjoy life?

People are losing their jobs and homes. Many throughout the world are without food, medical care and transportation. Instead of addressing real needs, governments and international financial institutions are designing “austerity programs” that cut back on basic services and privatise everything from education and mail delivery to pension plans and public health.

Simultaneously, climate change intensifies before our eyes as summers warm, droughts expand, polar ice caps melt, and those who live in coastal areas are threatened by rising waters. This occurs amid heightened use of radioactive and other toxic chemicals, the destruction of biodiversity and a drive to pull the last resources out of the Earth so that nothing will be left to future generations.

Why we need an ecosocialist revolution (with video)

This is the text of Ian Angus'  talk at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, June 29, 2013, organised by the international Socialist Organization (USA). The video and audio of Angus' talk is also available, thanks to Wearemany.org.

Ration consumption or ration production?

Review by Don Fitz

Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present and Future of Rationing
By Stan Cox
The New Press, 2013

June 3, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Climate & Capitalism -- Stan Cox got quite a few folks a bit hot and bothered when his book Losing Our Cool critiqued air-conditioning during the middle of the 2010 heat wave. Now, in the middle of massive joblessness and economic downturn, his new book, Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present and Future of Rationing, is based on the assumption that humanity needs to massively reduce consumption if it is to have any chance of surviving.

Is the guy nuts? Does he hate the working class and poor? Or does he have very keen vision into a topic that few progressives and socialists have even thought about? Peeking beneath the surface, Slice It has the potential to spark serious discussion about the role of social wages in challenging climate change as well as control over production during the transition to a post-capitalist society.

Away with confusion

Australian socialists: `Take back the wealth! Put mines, banks and energy in the hands of the people!'

Election broadsheet of the Socialist Alliance, Australia

May 1, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Bring the mining industry, the big banks and the energy companies under public/community ownership and control, so that they can be run in a way that respects Aboriginal rights, the environment and social justice. The urgent need to address climate change alone demands that these industries be immediately taken out of the hands of the billionaires and their global corporations and operated as not-for-profit public services under the democratic control of the majority.

From Greece to Australia, the whole world has witnessed the moral bankruptcy of capitalism as it has destroyed the lives of billions of people through the wholesale privatisation of our collective wealth and socialisation of their losses.

We cannot afford to leave our future to the likes of Australian mining billionaires Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer, and the faceless bankers. If we do so, we won’t have a future worth leaving to future generations.

‘There are no recipes for socialism’: interview with Hugo Moldiz, Bolivian Marxist

Hugo Moldiz interviewed by Coral Wynter and Jim McIlroy

April 24, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hugo Moldiz is a respected Marxist journalist and author living in La Paz. He has written several books, including Bolivia in the Times of Evo, published by Ocean Sur in 2009. He is editor of the weekly La Epoca and has also contributed many articles to the magazine America XXI. We interviewed him during a recent visit to La Paz, Bolivia. Translation from the Spanish by Coral Wynter.

* * *

What is the significance of the election of an Indigenous president in Bolivia?

Mauritius: Flash flood hits Lalit de Klas’s offices and archives

By Lindsay Collen

[Please contact Lalit de Klas at lalitmail@intnet.mu to offer solidarity or assistance.]

April 5, 2013 -- Lalit -- Mauritius' revolutionary socialists, organised in the Lalit de Klas party (Lalit), have been in total crisis mode after the terrible flash floods in and around the capital Port Louis, floods in which people lost their lives in the centre of town, caught in underpasses and underground parking garages. Others were stranded on top of their houses or left hanging on to mango tree branches in the flood waters. Others still were trapped inside vehicles carried away like Dinky toys, all ending up jumbled up in a mess. There was 153 mm of rain in two hours in Port Louis.

Declaration of the Social Movements Assembly of the World Social Forum, Tunisia 2013

 

 

By the Social Movements Assembly of the World Social Forum, Tunisia, 2013

March 29, 2013 -- We are gathered here to affirm the fundamental contribution of peoples of Maghreb-Mashrek (from North Africa to the Middle East), in the construction of human civilisation. We affirm that decolonisation for oppressed peoples remains for us, the social movements of the world, a challenge of the greatest importance.

Through the WSF process, the Social Movements Assembly is the place where we come together through our diversity, in order to forge common struggles and a collective agenda to fight against capitalism, patriarchy, racism and all forms of discrimination and oppression. We have built a common history of work which led to some progress, particularly in Latin America, where we have been able to intervene in neoliberal alliances and to create several alternatives for just development that truly honors nature.

21st century Marxists need to return to Marx’s ecological critique

By Simon Butler

March 23, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Do oil spills make good economic sense? A witness called by Canadian firm Enbridge Inc.— which wants approval to build a $6.5 billion pipeline linking Alberta’s tar sands with the Pacific coast — told a recent hearing in British Columbia (BC) that the answer is yes.

He said oil spills could benefit the economy, giving business new opportunities to make money cleaning it up. He told Fishers Union representatives that an oil spill in BC might indeed kill the local fishing industry, but their lost income would be replaced by compensation payouts and new career prospects, such as working for oil cleanup crews.

Upon reading this, some readers might protest: “That’s just not fair! How come British Columbian communities reap all the economic gains of a potential oil spill disaster, when we have to live in relative safety?”

It’s easy to laugh at this kind of thinking, to write it off as a desperate ploy by a greedy oil company.

Senior Chinese communist: `Industrial civilisation is unsustainable'

A group of volunteers wave green handkerchiefs as they ride their bicycles in Beijing on November 21, 2012, for the launch of a world-tour to promote low-carbon lifestyles.

[This article originally appeared in Chinese in Red Flag Manuscript, no. 22, 2012. This text is from the English edition of Qiushi Journal (vol. 5 no. 1, January 1, 2013), a publication of the Communist Party of China's central committee, via the Online University of the Left. The author is a former vice-chair of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress of China. Note: this article is also a slightly abridged version of the preface of the book Saving the Earth’s Biosphere — Concerning the Transformation of Human Civilization, which was edited by the author and published by Xinhua Press in September 2012. It indicates that despite the Communist Party of China's headlong rush to embrace environmentally unsustainable capitalism, there is some questioning of this course.]

By Jiang Chunyun

Reducing production: How should socialists relate to struggles against capitalist growth

By Don Fitz

March 19, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The question is not should we advocate reducing production within capitalist society but rather: How do we best relate to those struggles that are already occurring? Activists across the globe are challenging the uncontrollable dynamic of economic expansion which threatens the survival of humanity. It has never been more urgent to provide a vision of a new society that can pull these efforts together.

France: Parti de Gauche launches ecosocialism manifesto; Jean-Luc Mélenchon on ecosocialism

Above and below, five-part video of Parti de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon's seminar on the "Ecosocialist Revolution" presented on February 10, 2013, in Tunisia.

By Mathieu Agostini and Corinne Morel Darleux, Parti de Gauche, France.

March 29, 2013 -- Ecosocialisme -- On December 1, 2012, the Parti de Gauche (PdG, Left Party), organised a roundtable in Paris to discuss the ecosocialist project. This gave the opportunity to debate a new ecosocialist manifesto (Premier manifeste 18 thèses pour l’écosocialisme) around 18 themes. [PdG is a key part of the Front de Gauche, or Left Front (FdG), which is led by the PdeG's Jean-Luc Melenchon.]

Fred Magdoff: The environmental crisis and capitalism (video)

Click HERE for more on Marxism and ecology.

March 11, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Fred Magdoff, a professor emeritus of plant and soil sciences, author of What Every Environmentalist Should Know About Capitalism, contributor to Monthly Review and ecosocialist spoke on the connection between the growing environmental crisis and capitalism. Professor Magdoff spoke at MIT University in Boston MA on March 11, 2013. This event was filmed by Doug Enaa Greene. Second part below.

Anti-fracking movement goes global, climate-change mafia warns

More than 2000 people protest against coal seam gas in the Illawarra, NSW, Australia, October 2011.

By Farida Iqbal

February 10, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- The shale gas industry-commissioned white paper, The Global Anti-Fracking Movement: What it Wants, How it Operates and What’s Next, makes for some very interesting reading. It was produced late last year by Control Risks, an “independent, global risk consultancy specialising in helping organisations manage political, integrity and security risks in complex and hostile environments”.

The white paper focuses on shale gas, but it also discusses coal seam gas. Shale gas is what features in the film Gasland by Josh Fox, which details the destructive effects of “fracking” on communities in the US.

A global movement has emerged to combat the risks to water and air quality, health and farmland that shale gas mining poses. Australia has both shale and coal seam gas reserves.

Chris Williams: What must be done to stop climate change?

For a moment he lost himself in the old, familiar dream. He imagined that he was master of the sky, that the world lay spread out beneath him, inviting him to travel where he willed. It was not the world of his own time that he saw, but the lost world of the dawn -- a rich and living panorama of hills and lakes and forests. He felt bitter envy of his unknown ancestors, who had flown with such freedom over all the earth, and who had let its beauty die. -- Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars

By Chris Williams

Venezuelan ecosocialist: Can the revolution be liberated from the oil economy?'

January 30, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- Part 1: The international mainstream media is misreading the Venezuelan people on President Hugo Chavèz (currently battling serious illness), argues Professor Miguel Angel Nuñez, an adviser to Chavèz on agro-ecology, in an interview with Green Left TV. The interviewers are Jim McIlroy and Coral Channel, authors of Voices from Venezuela. While in Australia Nuñez addressed meetings on ecosocialism in Venezuela organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Filmed and edited by Peter Boyle.

 

Part 2: The progressive redistribution of oil revenue has allowed the Venezuelan revolution to achieve remarkable social progress, in health, education, housing and social justice. But there are major contradictions, not least for the environment, which feeds back into health, food sovereignty and wellbeing, explains Nuñez.

Evo Morales: Ten commandments against capitalism, for life and humanity -- 'Manifesto of Isla del Sol'

Click image for the original Spanish edition of the Manifesto of Isla del Sol. The cover shows Morales arriving at the Island of the Sun in a replica of the balsa rafts that Andean peoples used for centuries on Lake Titicaca.

[For more on Evo Morales and Bolivia, click HERE.]

January 15, 2013 -- Climate and Capitalism/Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- On December 21, 2012, at a solstice celebration in Lake Titicaca, high in the Andes, Bolivia's president Evo Morales introduced the Manifesto of Isla del Sol.  His talk, translated below, includes the full text of the manifesto.

Bolivia’s ‘process of change’: the balance sheet for 2012, challenges to come

[Click HERE for more on Bolivia.]

By Katu Arkonada, translation and notes for Bolivia Rising by Richard Fidler

December 18, 2012 -- La Epoca (Spanish) via Bolivia Rising, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- 2012 has been a year of transition for the process of change in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, notwithstanding the many events, problems and contradictions encountered by the executive branch during the last 12 months of its administration. A year of transition because we have left behind the 2010-2011 biennial of consolidation following the 64% victory of President Evo Morales in the December 2009 election and are now entering a new biennial, 2013-2014, which will take us very rapidly to the presidential elections of December 2014.

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