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BRICS bloc’s rising ‘sub-imperialism’: the latest threat to people and planet?

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa pose prior to the BRICS summit in New Delhi on March 29, 2012.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

November 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The heads of state of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) network of governments are coming to Durban, South Africa,  in four months, meeting on March 26-27 at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Africa’s largest venue. Given their recent performance, it is reasonable to expect another “1%” summit, wreaking socioeconomic and ecological havoc. And that means it is time for the first BRICS countersummit, to critique top-down “sub-imperialist” bloc formation, and to offer bottom-up alternatives.

After all, we have had some bad experiences at the Durban ICC.

Rafael Correa discusses Ecuador's 'Citizens' Revolution' and answers his left critics

Rafael Correa speaks at a rally in support of his re-election in next year's poll, Quito, November 10.

By Federico Fuentes

November 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- While European governments continue to impose policies aimed at making working people pay for a crisis they did not cause, the Ecuadorian government of Rafael Correa has taken a different course.

“Those who are earning too much will be giving more to the poorest of this country”, a November 1 Reuters dispatch quoted Correa as saying. He was announcing a new measure to raise taxes on banks to help fund social security payments.

Ecuador’s banking sector has registered US$349 million in after-tax profits, a November 8 El Telegrafo article said. “The time has arrived to redistribute those profits,” said Correa.

Reuters reported that by lifting the tax rate on bank holdings abroad and applying a new tax on financial services, the government hopes to raise between $200 million and $300 million a year.

The proceeds will fund a rise in the “human development bonus payment” from $35 to $50 a month. About 1.2 million Ecuadorians receive the payment, mainly single mothers and the elderly.

China's 'bureaucratic capitalism'

Photo: Alex Mahan/Flickr.

November 7, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- Terry Conway interviews Au Loong Yu,author of the forthcoming book, China’s Rise: Strength and Fragility (Resistance Books, IIRE, Merlin Press).

* * *

Can you explain why you have developed the term bureaucratic capitalism to describe China today and what you mean by that term?

I did not invent the term. It was first used, ironically, by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the 1940s to depict the kind of capitalism that the Guomindang (Koumintang] had created under its rule.

Maurice Meisner defines bureaucratic capitalism in his book The Deng Xiaoping Era – An Inquiry into the Fate of Chinese Socialism 1978-1994 as a term to refer to the use of political power for private pecuniary gain through capitalistic or quasi-capitalist methods of economic activity. He adds that although this is not new in history, the form of this in China today is more prominent than the others.

Sandy: Frankenstormentas y cambio climático, o cómo el 1% creó un monstruo

 

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3078.]

Por Chris Williams, traducción para www.sinpermiso.info por Lucas Antón

Si el estudio al que te aplicas tiende a debilitar tus afectos y destruir tu gusto por esos placeres sencillos en los que no es posible que se mezcle ninguna aleación, entonces ese estudio es ciertamente ilícito y no le conviene a la mente humana.

Frankenstorms and climate change: How the 1% created a monster

Frankenstorm Sandy from space.

By Chris Williams

If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind. 

If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved; Caesar would have spared his country; America would have been discovered more gradually; and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed.

—Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley.

October 29, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism -- There is little doubt that freakish and unnaturally assembled storms are a taste of what the future holds under an economic system that has “interfered with the tranquility of domestic affections,” galvanised the forces of nature into a fury of clashing dislocations as we pump ever-more heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere and industrial filth into our lungs.

Nature’s matrix: Linking agriculture, conservation and food sovereignty

Nature's Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty
By Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, and Angus Wright
Earthscan, 2009

Review by Ian Angus

October 17, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In any discussion of biodiversity and species extinction, someone usually insists that overpopulation is the problem. More people equals more farms equals less wilderness equals more extinctions. Life is a zero-sum game: you can have people and farming OR wildlife and biodiversity, but not both.

South African metalworkers' union: 'For a class struggle approach to climate change and energy transition'

Karl Cloete addresses NUMSA's February 2012 International Conference on Building a Socially Owned Renewable Energy Sector in Johannesburg.

Click HERE for more discussion on radical workers' solutions to the environemntal crisis.

By Karl Cloete, deputy general-secretary, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA)

[The following paper was presented on October 10, 2012, at a conference at Cornell University. NUMSA is South Africa's second-largest union, with alomost 290,000 members in the smelting, maunufacturing, auto and electricity generation industries.]

Our starting point as NUMSA is that to effect an energy transition, we as the global union movement DO need a perspective to guide us as well as strategies to be utilised by the movement. While such a perspective and accompanying strategies will definitely not come fully formed and in one go, we HAVE to keep working on them through discussions, through struggles, through experimentation and through learning from experiences of those in the forefront of energy struggles (within and outside of the labour movement).

India: ‘Nuclear energy is not a national issue – it is a global issue’ -- anti-nuclear movement gains momentum

More than 20,000 villagers protest at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant on September 9, 2012. Photos from Countercurrents. More photos below.

Neeraj Jain interviewed by B. Skanthakumar

October 5, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The anti-nuclear peoples’ movement in India has been gathering momentum in recent years. The courageous struggle of women, men and children of Idinthakarai village in South India, who are resisting the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, and are under siege by state security forces – with more than 56,000 of whom have been falsely charged, including 6000 for the offence of “sedition”, and 53 imprisoned – has highlighted the people’s movement against nuclear energy.

Barry Commoner, 1917-2012: one of ecosocialism's most important pioneers

For more tributes to Barry Commoner, visit Climate & Capitalism and Climate Change Social Change.

By Ian Angus

October 2, 2012 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission --  Barry Commoner died on September 30, at the age of 95 in New York. He never called himself an ecosocialist, but he was one of our most important precursors.

He was a founder of the modern environmental movement, an anti-war activist and a powerful critic of capitalism. His 1971 book, The Closing Circle, was a pioneering analysis of the economic and social causes of environmental destruction. At a time when most writers were blaming individual behaviour or overpopulation for pollution, Commoner exposed the role of capitalism and profit.

Green is also the colour of money: EU carbon trading failure as a model for the 'green economy'

By Ricardo Coelho

September 16, 2012 -- Corner House/Carbon Trade Watch -- The first two phases of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (2005-2007, 2008-2012) allocated free permits according to historical emissions; a practice known as "grandfathering" that has acted as a de facto subsidy for the biggest polluters. Electricity producers, for example, by increasing electricity prices in line with the price of the permits they received for free, have made windfall profits of between €23 to €71 billion during the second phase. The third phase (2013-2020) will still see significant subsidies paid to industry.

Video: Class and climate catastrophe in the Philippines

August 30, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring masses), reflects on the politics of class and catastrophic climate change in the wake of the 2012 Manila floods. Interview by Peter Boyle.

Ian Angus: The return of the population bombers

Earth Day 1970 poster. People are the enemy.

[For more discussion on the population issue, click HERE.]

The following talk was presented at the Marxism 2012 conference in Toronto in May, and at the Socialism 2012 conference in Chicago in June. A recording of the Chicago presentation can be heard online at wearemany.org.

Overpopulation ideology undermined the environmental movement in the 1970s, diverting social protest into harmless channels. To prevent a similar setback today, we must understand populationism’s conservative role, and why it is attractive to a growing number of green activists.

By Ian Angus

July 22, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of socialist Renewal with permission -- As you know, Simon Butler and I have written many articles and an entire book refuting the claim that the environmental crisis is caused by overpopulation and the related idea that environmentalists should make reducing birth rates and immigration a top priority.

Israel’s environmental colonialism and eco-apartheid

The construction of Israel’s mammoth apartheid wall has separated Palestinian farmers from their fields and destroyed Palestinians' legally owned fertile agricultural land.

By Ben Lorber

July 12, 2012 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the idea of Zionism first gripped the minds of a few intellectuals and the limbs of many agrarian pioneers in the early 20th century, the state of Israel has presented its settlement of the land of Palestine, and its uprooting of the Palestinian people, as a rejuvenation of the earth. By “greenwashing” the occupation, Israel hides its apartheid behind an environmentalist mirage, and distracts public attention not only from its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, but from its large-scale degradation of the earth upon which these tragedies unfold.

Determined to “make the desert bloom”, an international organisation -- the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (JNF-KKL, or JNF) planted forests, recreational parks and nature reserves to cover over the ruins of Palestinian villages, as refugees were scattered far from, or worse, a few hilltops away from, the land upon which they and their ancestors had based their lives and livelihoods.

Video: 'The Story of Change' -- Can shopping save the world? (with script)

The latest episode in the Story of ... videos. More at the Story of Stuff project. Annie Leonard is the creator of the Story of Stuff project, a series of animated films that discuss our pressing social, environmental and economic concerns and the effort to build a more sustainable and just world. To see some of the earlier films in the series, as well as read some of the discussion they have generated, click HERE. The original Story of Stuff is available HERE.

South Africa: Who will surf the protest wave?

Johannesburg's Orange Farm revolts against local elites.

By Patrick Bond

July 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The recent surge of unconnected community protests across South Africa confirms the country’s profound social, economic and environmental contradictions. But if activists fall before a new hail of police bullets, or if they lack an overarching, unifying political strategy, won’t their demonstrations simply pop up and quickly fall back down again – deserving the curse words "popcorn protests" – as they simply run out of steam, or worse, get channelled by opportunists into a new round of xenophobic attacks?

It’s been a hot winter, and we’re just halfway through July (the Centre for Civil Society’s Social Protest Observatory keeps tabs at http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za). Consider evidence from just the past two weeks, for example, in Johannesburg’s distant Orange Farm township south of Soweto, where residents rose up against city councillors and national electricity officials because of the unaffordable $250 installation charged for hated pre-payment (i.e. self-disconnection) meters, not to mention a 130% increase in electricity prices.

Video: Stop the financialisation of nature!

June 28, 2012 -- ATTAC.TV -- A recently released, short animated film about the takeover of nature by financial markets and the real alternatives coming up from the civil society.

An initiative of SOMO, European Attac Network, Food&Water Europe, Friends of Earth, Amis de la Terre, Carbon Trade Watch, WEED, Ecologistas en Acción, Aitec and Campagna per la riforma della Banca Mondiale. Produced by La Antena and AttacTV. Animated by desarme s.c.

NO REDD+! in Rio+20: A declaration to decolonise the earth and the sky

“Against Amazonian Genocide. Xingu (Afro-Brazilian freedom fighter) Lives Forever.” Photo by Anne Petermann/Global Justice Ecology Project. This photo was taken during the People's March through Rio on June 20, 2012, and first appeared at Climate Connections.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

Introduction and notes by Chris Lang

June 19, 2012 -- REDD-Monitor -- Last week, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life held a press conference denouncing REDD and the green economy. The press conference was part of the People’s Summit, a nine-day event taking place in parallel to the UN Rio+20 conference.

Values versus prices at the Rio+20 Earth Summit: 'the Green Economy is the environmentalism of the rich'

Climate Connections, June 18, 2012 -- What’s wrong with the green economy?: Joanna Cabello of Carbon Trade Watch at Rio+20.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond, Rio de Janeiro

June 18, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article also appeared at Climate and Capitalism -- Given the worsening world economic crisis, the turn to "Green Economy" rhetoric looms as a potential saviour for footloose financial capital, and is also enormously welcome to those corporations panicking at market chaos in the topsy turvy fossil-fuel, water, infrastructure construction, technology and agriculture sectors.

On the other hand, for everyone else, the Rio+20 Earth Summit underway this week in Brazil, devoted to advancing Green Economy policies and projects, appears as an overall disaster zone for the people and planet.

Rio+20: Farmers, Indigenous peoples mobilise against green capitalism and the privatisation of nature

Rio de Janeiro, June 14, 2012 -- La Via Campesina -- About 3000 people from around the world will mobilise to say NO to the commodification of life and nature at the "Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and in Defense of the Commons", the parallel opposition activity to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20.

The peoples' summit is a space for discussion, debate and construction of alternative proposals by the global civil society, social movements and peoples collective organisations. La Via Campesina -- the international organisation of small farmers -- has been actively participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce the false solutions of the same failed economic model that are now being dressed in green under the name “green economy”. La Via Campesina is instead promoting peasants' sustainable agriculture as a true solution to the global climatic and environmental crises.

Beautiful green world? On the myth of the green capitalist economy

By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

June 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The "green economy": It will stop climate change and the extinction of species and in so doing will create high growth rates and millions of jobs. It’s seen as a miraculous weapon. Through it, global capitalism will be stabilised. And then it will be sustainable as well.

But what is the green economy? In it, policy parameters are supposed to ensure the flow of capital to make markets and the economy "greener" and create "green" jobs. Enterprises are to pay an "appropriate" price for environmental damage. And not least: the state is supposed to orient its public procurements to sustainability criteria and create sustainable infrastructures.

As of June 2012 at the UN’s Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, the green economy is to become a new central concept of global policy. The conference is taking place on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, where the magic formula "sustainable development" was coined.

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