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Ecological crisis: Tragedy of the commons or tragedy of the commodity?

This essay is based on the new book The Tragedy of the Commodity: Oceans Fisheries and Aquaculture by Stefano B. Longo, Rebecca Clausen, and Brett Clark, published by Rutgers University Press (2015).
This essay is based on The Tragedy of the Commodity: Oceans Fisheries and Aquaculture by Stefano B. Longo, Rebecca Clausen and Brett Clark, (Rutgers University Press 2015).

By Stefano B. Longo and Brett Clark

July 21, 2015 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- We live in an era of ecological crisis, which is a direct result of human actions. Natural scientists have been debating whether the current historical epoch should be called the Anthropocene, in order to mark the period in which human activities became the primary driver of global ecological change.[1]

Australia: Socialist Alliance adopts new progam, 'Towards a Socialist Australia'

Adopted by the 11th Socialist Alliance national conference, June 5-8, 2015

June 21, 2015 -- Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Humanity has reached a critical crossroad. Capitalism cannot advance society as a whole. Already, large sections of the world live in poverty, repression and endless war but in addition the irrational and insatiable drive for profits by a highly monopolised and globalised capitalism is driving towards irreversible and catastrophic climate change.

Capitalist governments – and the giant corporations they work for – are refusing to act on the desperate warnings of the great majority of the world's leading scientists to avert the climate crisis.

John Bellamy Foster: Is China building an 'ecological civilisation'?

Air pollution in China's major cities is among the world's most severe.

By John Bellamy Foster

June 12, 2015 -- Monthly Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- China's leadership has called in recent years for the creation of a new "ecological civilisation". Some have viewed this as a departure from Marxism and a concession to Western-style "ecological modernisation".

However, embedded in classical Marxism, as represented by the work of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, was a powerful ecological critique. Marx explicitly defined socialism in terms consistent with the development of an ecological society or civilisation -- or, in his words, the "rational" regulation of "the human metabolism with nature".

Hijacking 'Anthropocene': Anti-green ‘Breakthrough Institute’ misrepresents science

By Ian Angus

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,
“it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
—Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

May 19, 2015 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- What can lobbyists do when science contradicts their political messages? Some simply deny the science, as many conservatives do with climate change. Others pretend to embrace the science, while ignoring or purging the disagreeable content. That’s what the Breakthrough Institute (BTI) is doing with one of the most widely discussed issues in 21st century science, the proposal to define a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

Naomi Klein: To fight climate change we must fight capitalism

Naomi Klein interviewed by Agnès Rousseaux and Sophie Chapelle, for Basta! magazine.

May 10, 2015 -- Basta! magazine, posted at Climate and Capitalism, reposted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Basta! : We seem to be heading straight toward climate disaster. We know what will happen if we do nothing about climate change, yet nothing really changes. Why is it so?

Naomi Klein: It’s not that we’re doing nothing – we’re actually actively doing exactly the wrong things. We have an economic system that defines success and progress as infinite economic expansion. Any kind of expansion is deemed good. Our emissions are going up much faster than they were in the 1990s.

In the past decade, we had very high oil prices, which has created huge economic incentives for fossil fuel companies to push into new, more expensive, higher-emitting forms of extraction, such as tar sands and fracking.

This changes some things: Jodi Dean on Naomi Klein's 'This Changes Everything'

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

By Naomi Klein
Alfred A. Knopf, 2014

By Jodi Dean

March 17, 2015 -- I Cite, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- How do we imagine the climate changing? Some scenarios involve techno-fixes like cloud-seeding or new kinds of carbon sinks. Cool tech, usually backed by even cooler entrepreneurs, saves the day -- Iron Man plus Al Gore plus Steve Jobs. In green.

Other scenarios are apocalyptic: blizzards, floods, tsunamis and droughts; crashing planes; millions of migrants moving from south to north only to be shot at armed borders. The poor fight and starve; the rich enclave themselves in shining domed cities as they document the extinction of charismatic species and convince themselves they aren't next.

Mining, energy, climate, capitalism: Why don’t NGOs connect the dots?

Alternative Mining Indaba Feb 2015

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

March 14, 2015 -- Despite making powerful criticisms of multinational mining corporations, an NGO-organised conference in Cape Town ignored essential links with related struggles.

In southern Africa, the Zulu and Xhosa word Indaba is used for important gatherings or conferences. February’s Alternative Mining Indaba, challenging a pro-corporate conference held at the same time, was organised by the Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa, in assocation with  Norwegian Church Aid, Oxfam, Benchmarks Foundation, Diakonia and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.

* * *

Intersectionality missing-in-action at Cape Town’s Alternative Mining Indaba

By Patrick Bond

Women and the technological revolution

Woman installing solar panel in Bangladesh.

By Reihana Mohideen[1]

March 16, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We are told that women may soon bid farewell to existing methods of birth control and welcome a new type of contraception in the form of microchip implants. An MIT start-up backed by the Bill Gates Foundation plans to start pre-clinical testing for the birth control chip this year and pave the way for a possible market debut in 2018.

Mike Treen: Une critique de la théorie des crises

[English text and video at http://links.org.au/node/4156.]

Mike Treen, directeur national du syndicat Unite, explique pourquoi le capitalisme continue à connaître des crises aujourd’hui, et pourquoi ces crises vont se répéter avec une sévérité accrue jusqu’à ce que les travailleurs prennent le pouvoir et imposent une propriété, un contrôle et une planification démocratiques pour répondre aux besoins à la fois de l’humanité et de Mère Nature.

* * *

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Ce qui suit est basé sur les propos de Mike Treen, directeur national du syndicat néozélandais Unite, à la conférence annuelle de l’organisation socialiste Fightback, qui s’est tenue à Wellington, 31 mai – 1er juin 2014, et un séminaire hébergé par Socialist Aotearoa le 12 octobre. Traduit par Gabriel Stollsteiner

Paul Le Blanc: Explorations in plain Marxism: revolutionary theory, practical action

"For many developing intellectually in the English-speaking world during the early 1960s, the radical sociologist C. Wright Mills (on his way to work above) was an incredibly important influence."

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of Marxist theory, click HERE.

By Paul Le Blanc

January 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ideas of Karl Marx are often put forward as an invaluable resource for those wishing to understand the world in order to change it for the better. Yet various people who speak as Marxists often insist upon divergent ways of understanding even the most basic concepts associated with Marxism – such as capitalism and the working class.

Discussion: How do we rule? Direct and representative democracy and revolutionary power

A meeting of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, April 1917.

By Doug Enaa Greene

January 14, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – I want to begin by stating that I am a firm and unapologetic advocate of the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat [to replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie we presently suffer under]. To deny the necessity of that dictatorship is to leave power in the hands of those who wield it – the exploiting capitalist class. And without the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, you cannot lay the foundations of a society that provides for human needs and allows for the full development of human potential.

Revolutionary sport: exclusive excerpt from 'Sport in Capitalist Society'

Sport in Capitalist Society: A short History
By Tony Collins
London: Routledge, 2013
184 pages

January 11, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Routledge has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish an excerpt from Tony Collins' radical history of sport.

Readers of Links are urged to order a copy of this excellent book HERE.

More on sport and capitalism at Links.

* * *

  • Why are the Olympic Games the driving force behind a clampdown on civil liberties?
  • What makes sport an unwavering ally of nationalism and militarism?
  • Is sport the new opiate of the masses?

These and many other questions are answered in this new radical history of sport by leading historian of sport and society, Professor Tony Collins.

'Une planète trop peuplée?' Preface to the French edition of 'Too Many People?'

Une Planete Trop Peuplee

December 17, 2014 -- Capitalism & Climate, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Québec publisher Les Éditions Écosociété has translated and published the book that Simon Butler and Ian Angus co-wrote, Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis (Haymarket Books, 2011).

The French edition, titled Une planète trop peuplée? Le mythe populationniste, l’immigration et la crise écologique, features a new preface by Serge Mongeau, who is the founder of Écosociété and was a candidate for Québec solidaire in the 2008 Québec general election.

Below is a translation of that preface, followed by the original French text, both published with permission from Les Éditions Écosociété.

Preface to the French edition of Too Many People?

By Serge Mongeau, translated by Ian Angus, with assistance from Richard Fidler

GMOs, pesticides, climate, nuclear energy: How capitalism controls science

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

Ebola crisis: Cuba shows the world how it is done

By Rupen Savoulian

November 24, 2014 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Margaret Chan, was speaking about the terrible crisis afflicting the poor West African countries Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, namely, the growing outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. This condition is a fatal disease, transmitted from undomesticated animals to people, and is transmitted by contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

Raj Patel on nutrition, gender and food security in Africa

More from Raj Patel.

November 27, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing, speaks on “Nutrition, Gender and Food Security in Africa". Patel is a research professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, a visiting professor at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University in South Africa and a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy. His current writing and film project is “Generation Food”. The event is sponsored by UT’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

Produced/edited by Jeffry Zavala, videography by Grace Alfar, Jeff Zavala and Ellie Main.

An Austin Indymedia Production, http://Austin.Indymedia.org.

Ebola epidemic exposes the sickness of the global economic and political system

An awareness campaign against Ebola in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 25, 2014.

By the Peoples Health Movement

November 2014 -- PHM Global News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern". The declaration came four months after the WHO reported a major Ebola outbreak in Guinea in West African. The epidemic broke in Guinea and spread to three of its neighbours – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The cumulative number of cases and deaths as at November 12 stood at more than 13,000 cases and 5160 deaths. Most public health experts agree that the official figures are a major underestimation of the extent and spread of the disease.

Why greens must be red and reds must be green

November 16, 2014 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In these videos Ian Angus argues for a movement based on socialist and ecological principles, to save humanity and the rest of nature from capitalist ecocide.

Angus is editor of Climate & Capitalism, a founding member of the Ecosocialist International Network, co-author of the Belem Ecosocialist Declaration and editor of The Global Fight for Climate Justice. The presentation, delivered in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 16, 2014, was organised and co-sponsored by Ottawa Ecosocialists and Ottawa Socialist Project. It was recorded and edited by Albert Dupuis.

In part one, Ian Angus’s talk is introduced by Richard Fidler, who writes and blogs at Life on the Left. In part two, the question and answer period is chaired by Peter Gose, professor of sociology at Carleton University.

Mike Treen: A critique of crisis theory

November 10, 2014 -- Mike Treen, Unite Union national director, discusses why capitaism continues to have crises today and why they will continue with increasing severity until working people take power and impose democratic ownership, control and planning to suit the needs of both humanity and Mother Earth.

November 10, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following is based on talks given by Mike Treen, national director of the New Zealand Unite Union, at the annual conference of the socialist organisation Fightback, held in Wellington, May 31-June 1, 2014, and a seminar hosted by Socialist Aotearoa in Auckland on October 12.

* * *

The National Business Review reported a comment by New Zealand's minister of finance Bill English on August 15 that he had occasionally pointed out in speeches to business audiences that New Zealand has had post World War Two recessions roughly every 10 years: in 1957-58; 1967-68; the mid-1970s; the mid-1980s; 1997-98 and 2007-8. He would observe laconically: “You'd think we would see them coming.”

But of course bourgeois economists, commentators and journalists don't generally see them coming. One problem, however, is that sometimes the Marxist alternative sees them coming a little too often.

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