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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

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.

Michael Lebowitz: Socialism for the 21st century -- re-inventing and renewing the struggle

[For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.]

[The following presentation was delivered to launch La Alternativa Socialista, the Chilean edition of The Socialist Alternative, in Concepcion, Santiago and Valparaiso, November 2012.]

By Michael A. Lebowitz

January 9, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Every socialist in the 21st century should try to answer two questions.

First, why don’t workers put an end to capitalism – given its destruction of human beings and the environment (something Marx was so conscious of). In particular, given the declining standards of life for decades in the United States, the economic disaster in Europe and the current crises, how is it that the system is reproduced without a significant challenge by the working class?

Second, why did the working class within what has become known as “real socialism” [the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe] allow those systems to revert to capitalism without resistance from the working classes, who were presumably its beneficiaries?

Africa’s ‘rising’ or overdue uprising?

By Patrick Bond

January 1, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Either:

1) Africa owes its takeoff to a variety of accelerators, nearly all of them external and occurring in the past 10 years:

  • billions of dollars in aid, especially to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria;
  • tens of billions of dollars in foreign-debt cancellations;
  • a concurrent interest in Africa’s natural resources, led by China; and
  • the rapid spread of mobile phones, from a few million in 2000 to more than 750 million today.

Business increasingly dominates foreign interest in Africa. Investment first outpaced aid in 2006 and now doubles it.

Or:

US economy: A major attack on labour rights

President Barack Obama bragged how he had saved the US auto industry by handing out billions in taxpayers’ money to the auto bosses, and even establishing what amounted to temporary federal ownership of the old General Motors plants when GM went bankrupt during the “Great Recession”.

By Sam Williams

December 23, 2012 -- A Critique of Crisis Theory, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Journal with permission -- December 11, 2012, brought news of a major new attack on basic labour rights in the United States. The following day, the Federal Reserve [the US central bank] announced new inflationary measures designed to end the economic stagnation the US economy has been mired in since the “Great Recession” bottomed out in July 2009.

Rising profits, sinking planet: socialist solutions to the climate crisis

"We have to put limits on the [capitalist] system's operation ... which means building a mass movement that has to build into itself not just the question of ecological justice, but also the question of social justice ... a movement with the radicalism of the 1960s' social movements with the social power of the union movements of the 1930s" -- Chris Williams.

Click HERE for more on Marxism and ecology.

Filmed by Doug Enaa Greene

Michael Lebowitz: What makes the working class a revolutionary subject?

Part of a mural by Crystal Howie.

By Michael Lebowitz

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.]

December 2012 -- Monthly Review -- What makes the working class a revolutionary subject? Not Hegelian mysticism — that it is the universal class or the vulgar copy of the Absolute Spirit. Nor is the working class a revolutionary subject because of its physical location — that it is strategically placed to stop the wheels of industry.

Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon -- Patrimonial-Hacendado power and capitalist accumulation

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

December 2012 -- This essay first appeared in English in five parts at Richard Fidler's Life on the Left and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Álvaro García Linera is one of Latin America’s leading Marxist intellectuals. He is also the vice-president of Bolivia — the “co-pilot”, as he says, to President Evo Morales, and an articulate exponent of the government’s policies and strategic orientation.

In a recent book-length essay, Geopolitics of the Amazon: Patrimonial-Hacendado Power and Capitalist Accumulation, published in September 2012, García Linera discusses a controversial issue of central importance to the development process in Latin America, and explains how Bolivia is attempting to address the intersection between economic development and environmental protection.

The issues he addresses are of great importance not only in Bolivia but throughout Latin America, and in fact in most of the countries of the imperialist periphery. They are especially important to understand in the “First World,” where there is an increasing campaign in parts of the left to turn against the progressive and anticapitalist governments in Latin America on the ground of their alleged “extractivism.”

How to change a destructive system

By Sam Wainwright

[Sam Wainwright is an elected municipal councillor in Fremantle, Western Australia, and a member of the Socialist Alliance. This is a talk he gave on the topic of how to achieve social change in Australia.]

December 9, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance (Australia) -- It's pretty obvious for anyone that cares to look that capitalism is a socially destructive and ecologically unsustainable system.

Based on the unequal distribution of wealth, it condemns billions to living in poverty worldwide.

In more wealthy places like Australia, where workers have much higher incomes, capitalism invents products for us to spend money on just as quickly as we win a wage increase. That we have one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world is but one proof that it doesn't provide people with a meaningful existence.

Now the worsening climate crisis -- caused by capitalism’s endless accumulation of profit and wealth -- threatens the very basis of life on Earth.

Free public transport and beyond

By Stefan Kipfer

December 3, 2012 -- The Bullet (Socialist Project, Canada) -- Epochal crises allow us to see clearly the irrationalities of capitalism, notably its systematic inability to develop to the fullest human capacities and provide the basis for sustainable and respectful relationships to the rest of nature. The current world economic crisis has thrown to the dustbin of history the aspirations and capacities of millions of human beings – those laid off, driven off the land or relegated to permanent precariousness. At the same time, the crisis has intensified the exploitation of those still connected to gainful employment and driven up, at least temporarily, the ecologically destructive extraction of ‘resources,’ particularly in the global South and the peripheral areas of the global North.

Venezuela's Doha climate talks delegate: 'Rich countries profit from pollution'

December 7, 2012 -- Democracy Now! -- Claudia Salerno, top negotiator for Venezuela at the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, famous for her dramatic action at the conference three years ago in Copenhagen when she bloodied her fist while banging it on the table, demanding to be heard, says "this is not an environmental process. This is a process that is going to have impact in economics, so that is why it is so difficult for developed countries to make the necessary changes in their economics."

December 7, 2012 -- Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Claudia Salerno, you are the chief climate negotiator for Venezuela here. You are famous for, three years ago in Copenhagen, hitting your fists against the table to get attention, to be recognized, and bloodying your hand. Talk about what’s happening today, and take it back to three years ago in Copenhagen, why you were so distressed.

Doha climate talks: Bolivia declares, 'The climate is not for sale!'

The following address was presented on December 5 by Jose Antonio Zamora Guitierrez (pictured), minister of environment and water for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, to the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP18) in Doha, Qatar. 

* * *

December 5, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mr. President of the COP, distinguished heads of state of countries of the world, ministers, officials, delegates and representatives of social organisations, Indigenous peoples and communities and farmers of the world, receive a greeting from the Plurinational State of Bolivia and our president, Evo Morales Ayma.

The planet and humanity are in serious danger of extinction. The forests are in danger, biodiversity is in danger, the rivers and the oceans are in danger, the Earth is in danger. This beautiful human community inhabiting our Mother Earth is in danger due to the climate crisis.

'The Greek people are at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis'

Speech given by Eric Toussaint at the SYRIZA youth festival in Athens on October 6, 2012 (transcript below). More than 3000 people were present to listen to four speakers: Marisa Matias, EU deputy, member of the Left Bloc (Portugal); Lisaro Fernandez, miners’ union leader (Asturias, Spain); Alexis Tsipras, president of SYRIZA (Greece); Eric Toussaint, president of Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM, Belgium).

* * *

By Eric Toussaint, translated by “Snake” Arbusto and Judith Harris

October 6, 2012 -- We are now experiencing one of the worst crises of the worldwide capitalist system. But capitalism will not die a peaceful, natural death. Crises are part of the metabolism of capitalism. Only conscious action by the people can destroy and supersede capitalism in order to open the way to democratic socialism.

The Greek people are currently at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis. The way in which the Greek people mobilise to confront and respond to this capitalism crisis will be a crucial factor for finding a solution at the international level. You are at the epicenter of both the crisis and the solution to this crisis.

Land grabbing: A new colonialism

A nascent oil palm plantation in southeastern Sierra Leone owed by Socfin Agriculture Company, which in March 2011 signed a 50-year lease with the government of Serra Leone. Photo by Felicity Thompson/IRIN.

By Alan Broughton

November 6, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the global financial crisis of 2008 and its associated food crisis that sent another 200 million people into malnutrition, there has been a massive grab for land by large corporations around the world. Worst hit has been Africa, where food security is already non-existent for many people. Governments, including the Australian government, welcome this “investment” in agriculture, some bizarrely claiming that food security will be increased.

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.

South Africa's political economy after the Marikana massacre

Marikana miners protest against the August 16, 2012, massacre by police.

For more on the Marikana mine massacre, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

October 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When a ruling party in any African country sinks to the depths of allowing its police force to serve white-dominated multinational capital by killing dozens of black workers so as to end a brief strike, as happened in South Africa in August, it represents not just human rights and labour relations travesties. The incident offers the potential for a deep political rethink.

But that can only happen if the society openly confronts the chilling lessons learned in the process about the moral degeneration of a liberation movement that the world had supported for decades. Support was near universal from progressives of all political hues, because that movement, the African National Congress (ANC), promised to rid this land not only of formal apartheid but of all unfair racial inequality and indeed class and gender exploitation as well. And now the ANC seems to be making many things worse.

There are five immediate considerations about what happened at Marikana, 100 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, beginning around 4 pm on August 16, 2012:

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