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For more on SYRIZA, click HERE
By Sean Sweeney
February 18, 2015 -- Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- During its first days in office, SYRIZA has taken actions that suggest it is willing to confront the European Union’s neoliberal approach to energy and to embark on a new course. New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has also stated his government will restore collective bargaining agreements and stop 300,000 planned layoffs.
The SYRIZA government has said it will stop the proposed sell-off of the Public Power Corporation (PPC), which is 51% publicly owned but had been targeted for full-on privatisation in 2016. “We will halt immediately any privatisation of PPC”, energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television a few hours before officially taking over his portfolio. “There will be a new PPC which will help considerably the restoration of the country’s productive activities”, he said.
February 23, 2015 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following talk was given at a celebration of ALBA in Toronto, February 21, 2015.
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Today we celebrate a decade of achievement of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). For 10 years ALBA has stood on the world stage as a defender of peace, solidarity and popular sovereignty.
Before ALBA, Cuba stood alone for many years against the U.S.-led empire. But through ALBA, an alliance of countries, with wide influence and many friends among governments and peoples, now challenges imperialism on a range of issues. While representing only a few small and poor countries, ALBA exercises great moral authority and carries weight in world affairs. ALBA is the most effective international alliance based on solidarity in modern history.
By Laurie Guevara-Stone
January 14, 2015 -- Rocky Mountain Institute, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- US President Barack Obama’s recent announcement that he wants to begin normalising relations with Cuba generated news around the world. But the Cuban province of Granma may soon be making headlines for another reason: its embrace of renewable energy.
While Cuba is an island full of sun, rivers and windy coasts, only 4 per cent of the island’s electricity is generated from renewable energy. The island hopes to soon change that, with a goal of generating 24 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030, and Granma is leading the way.
By Don Fitz
December 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, submitted by the author; a version of this article first appeared at Truthout.org -- Did you ever think that investigation of the potential dangers of putting genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into food would be based on objective research? Or that unbiased reviews of research by academic journals would chart a steady march toward scientific truth? If so, you would be very wrong. Through all of its phases, scientific research is subject to repression, manipulation and more insidious forms of control that push it toward a profit-based consensus.
Three well-known GMO studies form a pattern of authors' being harassed, intimidated and even having their findings "retracted" or withdrawn by a scientific journal after being published.
Suppression of GMO research
Protesters at the People's Climate March in Lima.
December 14, 2014 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Late in the night, 194 countries of the UN framework convention on climate change finally reached agreement. Far from satisfactory, this deal jeopardises any “historic agreement” in Paris. The climate justice NGOs and movements, including Attac France and the Friends of the Earth France, have released this first analysis.
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No justice in Lima outcome
The world faces a planetary emergency: climate change, caused by a system that puts the pursuit of profit above the needs of people and the limits of nature. It is already devastating millions of people across the planet. Climate science predicts we will soon breach critical tipping points and could be locked in to 4-5°c of warming with catastrophic impacts for us all.
The Lima Conference should have been a milestone that marked out how governments will take urgent action to tackle climate change and to support vulnerable people across the world to adapt to its locked in impacts.
[The people] are supposed to exercise power through parliamentary assemblies. But the financial oligarchy which rule our present situation have taken upon themselves the right to veto their decisions. This is why the system doesn’t fear the left, which it has been able to control … But it has a clear-headed fear of the people. Since it is the people who directly and physically contend with them for power with a spontaneous program that is the negation of the established order. -- Jean-Luc Mélenchon
For more on Jean-Luc Mélenchon, click HERE.
By Liam Flenady
The author, Judith Marshall, meets Pope Francis.
By Judith Marshall
November 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have recently returned from three fascinating days in Rome where I participated in a World Meeting of Popular Movements. This event brought to the Vatican a throng of articulate delegates from among the poor and excluded of the 21st Century, people fighting for land, for housing, for work and for dignity. Pope Francis was a central force in creating this gathering in Rome. Our meeting with him in the Old Synod Hall of the Basilica was a high point.
The meeting brought together 150 delegates. Thirty of them were Bishops from various parts of the world whose ministries include strong accompaniment and support for movements of the poor. The other 120 came from various popular movements working on the thematic issues of the meeting – Terra, Labor, Domus. Men and women fighting for land, work and housing were present from every continent. In a statement from the organisers, the logic was clear.
Gemma Weedall addresses Socialism 2014 in Malaysia.
By Gemma Weedall
November 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Climate change is the biggest and most urgent threat facing humanity today. We are seeing global temperatures rise at an unprecedented rate, with 13 of the 14 warmest years on record having occurred in the past 14 years.
In fact, if you are under 37 years of age, you have never seen a year of below average temperature.
Last year in Australia, over 150 weather records were broken, including experiencing our hottest day, week, month and year on record. It is likely that these records will not be long-standing, with all signs indicating they will be broken again this coming summer.
There are predictions that at current rates of emissions increases, the Arctic will be ice free in summer as soon as four years from now, but in the best case scenario, in about 20 years.
This represents a dangerous tipping point that will take us into uncharted territory from which we may not be able to return.
By Maxime Combes
November 14, 2014 -- MediaPart, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An unheard of agreement. Seen by some as historic, taking the words of US President Barack Obama and not putting them into perspective. On November 12, the media and commentators welcomed almost unanimously the joint US-China announcement on greenhouse gas emissions. But what is it really?
On November 12, Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping announced their targets for cuts to their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The US announced a 26-28% reduction by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. While China envisages a peak in its GHG emissions around 2030, or if possible before.
Are these announcements really unheard of?
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
By Naomi Klein
Alfred A. Knopf, 2014
Review by John Riddell
October 20, 2014 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Despite endless conferences, treaties and solemn promises, greenhouse gas emissions have risen 61% since 1990, and the rate of increase is accelerating. As Naomi Klein tells us in her new book, This Changes Everything, we are now experiencing an “early twenty-first century emissions explosion”.
The reason for this ominous failure, she shows, is that the present capitalist profit system itself is incompatible with climate and environmental stability. Our only hope is the rise of mass movements with the combined goals of saving the environment and achieving social justice.
This Changes Everything is a rich resource of fact and argument: it’s a book that every climate justice activist should read, use and share.
‘The Right is right’
The World Bank has made the world a worse place: socially, politically, economically and environmentally.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
October 11, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Washington DC and 10 countries across the globe, protests on October 10 targetted the World Bank during its annual meeting. Many are asking, isn’t 70 a dignified age for institutional retirement, especially for policies and practices long considered destructive but now seemingly back in official favour?
Founded in 1944 to finance war-torn Europe’s reconstruction, the World Bank is now suffering one of its most severe credibility crises, accentuated by a new civil society campaign, "WorldVsBank". South Africa’s three largest cities host teach-ins because this country, after all, was the model "Knowledge Bank" pilot after 1990.
A women in Bolivia views a melting glacier's water.
For more on Bolivia, click HERE.
By Richard Fidler
October 6, 2014 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Bolivia goes to the polls on Sunday, October 12, in the country’s third national election since the victory of Evo Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) in December 2005 and the second since the adoption of its radically new constitution in 2009. The MAS list, led by President Morales and his vice-presidential running mate Álvaro García Linera, is far ahead in the opinion polling over four opposition slates, all to the right of the MAS.
Although Bolivia’s “process of change”, its “democratic and cultural revolution” as García Linera terms it, is still in its early stages, the country’s developmental process has already attracted considerable interest — and some controversy — internationally, not least because of its government’s role as a leading critic of global climate change, which it forthrightly attributes to the effects and the logic inherent to the capitalist mode of production.
New York City, September 21, 2014.
By Patrick Bond, New York City
September 24, 2014 -- First published at TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The world’s largest ever march against climate change on Sunday, September 21, brought 400,000 people to the streets of New York, starting a lively parade at Central Park. On Tuesday, September 23, 120 of the world’s political leaders – notably not including China's and India's – gathered 25 blocks away at the United Nations. The message they got from society was symbolised by the march route: instead of heading towards the UN building, the activists headed the other way, west.
This directional choice reveals that hope for action on climate change comes not from the apparently paralysed heads of state and their corporate allies, who again consistently failed on the most powerful challenge society has ever faced: to make the greenhouse gas emissions cuts necessary to halt certain chaos.
Instead, momentum has arisen largely from grassroots activists, even those fighting under the worst conditions possible, amid denialism, apathy, corporate hegemony, widespread political corruption and pervasive consumer materialism.
South Africa: Climate alarm is ringing but ANC government is failing to act! Signs nukes deal with Russia
South Africa's massive new Medupi coal-fired power plant under construction.
By Oliver Meth
September 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The climate alarm is ringing and until now the African National Congress (ANC) led government has failed to act.
While scientific evidence and information on climate change gets more and more overpowering every day, the government still ignores its findings – by refusing to act.
Luthuli House and the Pretoria headquarters have not been vocal on the issue.
Now, the announcement of Russia and South Africa’s nuclear deal is no surprise, as the Voice of Russia in November last year was quoted as saying a deal on nuclear power in South Africa had been struck with the government. More recently, minister of energy Tina Joematt-Pettersson said in her budget speech on July 21 that "nuclear expansion option is a central feature in our future energy mix".
Typhoon Yolanda, November 2013.
Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) statement on the climate crisis
Climate action, not words!
Capitalism has no solutions!
For a socialist alternative!
September 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- President Benigno Aquino concluded his United Nations speech in New York on September 23 by posing the question: What more can we do? The question is rhetorical, even hypocritical, as the president very well knows what needs to be done: to address the demands of the mass movements, which he has heard, but not heeded. We have been campaigning for an end to coal-based power generation, for example. How has the president responded? By dramatically increasing coal-power generation. His actions are completely contrary to his statements.
Environmental activists attempt to gain access to the plenary session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
August 30, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- – The movement from below to tackle climate change is gathering pace in South Africa and elsewhere in the world in advance of the September 21 mass march against the United Nations.
Environmentalists lead, but this struggle invokes the world’s greatest class-race-gender-North-South conflicts, too. Ban Ki-Moon’s heads-of-state summit on September 23 may generate greater publicity for the cause, but if, as anticipated, world rulers simply slap each other on the back, activists will have to even more urgently intensify the pressure.
The following talk was delivered to the US International Socialist Organization's Socialism 2014 conference in Chicago, June 28, 2014. It has been edited for publication in International Socialist Review. See also John Riddell's article, “Capitalism’s First World War and the Battle Against It“, in Socialist Worker.
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By John Riddell
August 5, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On August 5, 100 years ago, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, setting in motion a chain of events that led a month later to the outbreak of the First World War.
The war shattered the world socialist movement and unleashed an overwhelming social catastrophe in Europe, killing 17 million soldiers and civilians. The resulting revolutionary struggles brought the war to an abrupt end in 1918, while toppling the continent’s three great empires and bringing workers and peasants to power in Russia. The war also contributed to a global rise of anti-colonial struggles.
What does this unique cataclysm mean for us today? It is useful to compare World War I with the dangers posed today by climate change and environmental collapse.
BRICS leaders in Fortaleza, Brazil.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
July 31, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Contrary to rumour, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) alliance confirmed it would avoid challenging the unfair, chaotic world financial system at the Fortaleza, Brazil, summit on July 15, 2014.
How much more can the polar bear?
[For the rest of the debate, see “On ‘environmental catastrophism’: Ian Angus replies to Sam Gindin” and "‘Environmental catastrophism’: a response to Ian Angus [by Sam Gindin]"
By Ian Angus
Dear Sam Gindin,
I was pleased to receive and publishyour response to my article; the left can only gain from frank and open discussion of our differences. But I’m concerned that we’re spinning our wheels. As labour and green activist Terry Moore says in An activist comments on the "eco-catastrophism" debate, there has been “more heat than light and a lot of ‘talking past each other’ without real engaging on the key points being raised.”
By Sam Gindin
[This is a response to “On ‘environmental catastrophism’: Ian Angus replies to Sam Gindin”.]
July 28, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The most critical question confronting anyone concerned with the environmental crisis is the political one: how to build a social force able to do something about it. The most important division among social activists is not between those who think an environmental collapse is imminent and those who think we will continue to stumble on in an ever uglier, degraded world. It is between those who believe that personal recycling, technical fixes, market incentives and green jobs can solve the environmental crisis, and those who argue the solutions are necessarily much more radical, extending to a challenge to capitalism itself.