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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.
* * *
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.
By Ian Angus
July 14, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Last year in Monthly Review, I debated Eddie Yuen, an anarchist who believes it is a mistake for radicals to focus on telling the truth about the global environmental crisis, because “awareness of climate crisis does not necessarily lead to increased political engagement.” Not only can such awareness lead to apathy, he wrote, but “environmental catastrophism is very likely to be mobilized by economic and national elites to reinforce existing inequalities and expand enclosures, commodification, and militarization”.
I never expected to hear similar arguments from a Marxist, much less one I respect as much as Sam Gindin, a long-time leader of the labour movement in Canada, who is now an adjunct professor at York University and co-author of the Deutscher-prize winning book The Making of Global Capitalism.
By Don Fitz
July 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The world has over half a century of experience with programs that claim to help nature or feed the planet while they do the opposite. The twin crises of the early 21st century are economic and ecological collapse. Should we increase production to create more jobs and accept horrible environmental damage? Or, should we protect a livable world at the cost of causing more unemployment?
An increasingly popular answer is the “Green New Deal” (GND): create “green jobs” in order to jump start the economy. But the GND might not provide long term employment and could cause major environmental harm. Digging beneath the surface appearance of the GND requires exploring its family tree: the “Green Revolution”, green capitalism and the “Green Economy”.
The Green Revolution
[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3910.]
Por Sonny Melencio
22-06-2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Cuando viaje desde Manila hasta Australia, me compré en el aeropuerto un libro de bolsillo para leer en el avión. Fue la novela de Dan Brown titulada Infierno. Cuando la edición de tapa dura de este libro llegó a las librerías, en las Filipinas la gente se volvió loca con una pequeña parte de la novela que se refería a Manila como la "puerta del infierno".
Después de leer el libro, pensé que lo que la novela dice sobre Manila es verdad. Es la ciudad más densamente poblada de la tierra, con enormes atascos de tráfico, una contaminación sofocante, casas hechas de metal corrugado y cartones, comunidades que apestan y un horrible comercio sexual y tráfico de mujeres, jóvenes y niños.
Me acordé de la novela de Dan Brown hoy porque, a pesar del infierno que es actualmente Manila, nuestro gobierno habla de un paraíso que se construirá en las Filipinas durante este "siglo de Asia".
El siglo de Asia
Group of 77 Summit — Plurinational State of Bolivia, 14 and 15 June 2014. “For a New World Order for Living Well.”
"Only we can save the source of life and society: Mother Earth. Our planet is under a death threat from predatory and insane capitalism. Another world is not only possible, it is indispensable, because otherwise, no world will be possible." -- Evo Morales
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, gave this remarkable opening talk at the summit of the Group of 77 plus China, meeting in Santa Clara, Bolivia, on June 14, 2014.
* * *
Introduction by Richard Fidler
June 24, 2014 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The Summit of the Group of 77 plus China, marking the alliance’s 50th anniversary, closed in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on June 15 with the adoption of a declaration containing 242 articles, entitled “For a New World Order for Living Well.”
Video from Green Left TV.
[The following talk was presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa-Philippines (Party of the Labouring Masses), during the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, Australia on June 7, 2014.]
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was travelling from Manila, coming here to Australia, I bought a copy of a pocketbook that I could read in the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel entitled Inferno. Actually, when the hardbound copy of this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel which referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.
After reading the book, it occurred to me that what the novel said about Manila was true. It was the most densely populated city on Earth, with huge traffic jams, suffocating pollution, houses made of corrugated metal and cardboards, communities reeking of stench, and horrifying sex trade and trafficking of women, girls and children.
I was reminded of Dan Brown’s novel today because, despite the inferno that is Manila now, our government is talking about a paradise that will be built in the Philippines during this "Asian Century".
The 'Asian Century"
"Despite repeated warnings from the majority of the world's scientists of the urgent need to slash greenhouse gas emission, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed over 400 parts per million for the first time in human history – signalling the globe’s dangerous race to catastrophic and irreversible global warming."
Adopted by the 10th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance, June 7-9, 2014.
1. The 10th national conference of Socialist Alliance is taking place at a time extreme inequality, intensified conflict and ecological crisis on a global scale. The 85 richest individuals in the world now hold as much wealth between them as the 3.5 billion poorest people in the world. A world divided by such extreme inequality will never be at peace and this is fundamentally why wars and uprisings continue to break out in numerous countries. This unprecedented concentration of wealth and power also is an absolute block to the urgently needed transition to an ecologically sustainable future.
By Renfrey Clarke
April 26, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- If modern industrial capitalism were a person, he or she would be on suicide watch. The system that has brought us quantum physics and reality television, modern medicine and the columns of Andrew Bolt is set on a course which, by all the best reckoning, points directly to its doing itself in.
If capitalism goes on — everything goes. Climate, coastlines, most living species, food supplies, the great bulk of humanity. And certainly, the preconditions for advanced civilisation, perhaps forever.
Moreover, we’re not just talking risk, in the sense of an off-chance. These are the most likely outcomes for capitalism’s current policies and performance in the area of climate change.
As far back as 2010 the famed US paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson told a gathering of scientists in Phoenix, Arizona: “Climatologists, like other scientists, tend to be a stolid group … Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.”
Review by John Riddell
April 21, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- A new and outstanding book by Umair Muhammad, Confronting Injustice: Social Activism in the Age of Individualism, presents a strong case for the necessity of socialism to counter the impending calamity of global warming.
Muhammad, an MA student at York University in Toronto, ends his 174-page text by quoting anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin: “The bold thought first, and the bold deed will not fail to follow.” Confronting Injustice is indeed bold in exposing all the market-based evasions and half-measures urged upon those seeking to end environmental destruction.
Muhammad is keenly aware of how hard it is for the newly radicalised to find a personal path in the face of immense social contradictions. The first half of his book responds to the issue posed by its subtitle, “Social Activism in the Age of Individualism”, presenting an extended discussion of moral philosophy for social activists.
Age of individualism/age of conformity
Land & Labour: Marxism, Ecology and Human History
By Martin Empson
London: Bookmarks Publications, 2014
Review by Simon Butler
April 4, 2014 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- With several serious global environmental crises bearing down on us, the question of our age must be “what can we do?” Martin Empson urges us to look into the past and into the future for answers in his new book, Land and Labour. His message is that human destruction of its environment is not inevitable, although it is very likely if we don’t draw upon the best and worst examples from humanity’s diverse experience.