Thursday, September 30, 2010

October 16th: International day of Action against Agribusiness and Monsanto

La Via Campesina

On the occasion of the meeting of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, and to mark World Food Day on October 16, 2010, La Via Campesina calls for actions around the world to denounce the role of agribusinesses such as Monsanto and their destruction and corporatization of biodiversity and life.

Even though the UN declared 2010 the International year of Biodiversity, the CBD is meeting at a time of unprecedented biodiversity destruction. As well as animals, insects and birds, the world is also seeing the disappearance of thousands of plant varieties as agribusiness destroys, contaminates and privatizes the World Heritage stored inside the seeds and plants nurtured by generations of farmers over thousands of years of agriculture on Earth. Since 1900, approximately 90% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost from farmer’s fields. Biodiversity is also endangered by land-grabbing and the displacement of communities who are actually protecting biodiversity.

So what’s a green job, anyway?

Posted by Marc Lee
Progressive Economics Forum

Today CCPA released a new report by myself and Ken Carlaw, an economist at UBC-Okanagan, called Climate Justice, Green Jobs and Sustainable Production in BC. I doubt you’ll see any headlines about it in the major news dailies, but I think it will have a longer-lasting impact as a key economic framing piece for our Climate Justice Project.

In the paper we start with an ecological economics perspective on what “sustainability” really means when it comes to climate change policies, and from that we consider implications for “green jobs”. These are both important concepts that in the course of prominent usage tend to get thrown around without much clarity. So, we try to fill in those containers with meaning.

Proposal for the creation of a Climate Justice Co-op

Climate Justice Co-op

To face a global climate crisis in a manner that also addresses inequality, colonialism, racism and other forms of oppression, requires global cooperation.

To this end, we propose to establish an organization that will:

• Create links of solidarity internationally between communities fighting against fossil fuel and infrastructure projects, communities affected by climate change and false solutions to climate change, communities affected by extraction and other industrial projects, and sectors of the public who can back them up in the shared struggle for ecological justice.

• Build broad-based support for direct action.

Read More HERE.

Oil: Can Ecuador see past the black stuff?

A revolutionary plan to leave Ecuador's abundant oil in the ground could show the world just what's possible

John Vidal
The Guardian

A rupture in Ecuador's second largest oil pipeline
 polluted the Santa Rosa river in the
Amazon jungle in early 2009.
 Photograph: Guillermo Granja/Reuters
One of the most extraordinary people I have met in 10 days of travelling around Peru and Ecuador has been Alberto Acosta. He's head of Ecuador's leading research group now, but until 2007 was the second most powerful man in the country after the president, Rafael Correa. He was not only charged with masterminding the new constitution but was head of the assembly, or parliament, a founder of the ruling political party and minister of energy of the country that depends on oil.

But Acosta will go down in history as the world's only serving oil minister to have ever proposed leaving a country's black stuff in the ground. That's like Dracula renouncing blood, or a sports minister saying it's better to play hide and seek than football. It just does not happen.

Read more HERE.

International call of Klimaforum10, Cancun


We call upon all social movements, autonomous organizations of indigenous people, nomads, peasants and fishermen, workers, women, youth, teachers, students, neighbors, social activists, environmental, ecological and animal rights activists, professionals, pensioners, thinkers, scientists, and citizens in general to participate in the Klimaforum10, to be held in Cancun – Puerto Morelos, Mexico, between the 26th of November and the 11th of December 2010, in parallel to the COP16 hosted by the United Nations.

Read More HERE.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waste: Climate Change, Peak Oil, and the end of waste

By Bill Sheehan
Energy Bulletin

We in rich contries have almost lost the ability to supply our own needs through local manufacturing and agriculture--or even to extend the life of products through reuse, repair and repurposing. We rely on others, and on a system lubricated by cheap oil, to meet our needs as well as our wants.
In the post-peak-oil period, inevitable interruptions in the flow of the goods we rely on every day will be profoundly destabilizing.

The Normalization of Waste

It’s important at the outset to recognize a paradox about waste. Our culture holds generally negative attitudes toward wastefulness, yet waste is supported with community services that are more universal, more affordable, and more accessible than health care, housing, or education. Consider the ubiquitous street litter bins provided and maintained at public expense. These community amenities make wasting easy and convenient. Similarly, household garbage containers lined up at the curb every week communicate unabashedly that wasting is a publicly sanctioned behavior in our society.

Read more HERE.
Read the full report HERE (PDF)

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Documentary! - Oil in Eden

New Documentary! Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada's Pacific Coast Featured

Written by Damien Gillis

Watch this new 16 minute documentary - produced by Damien Gillis for Pacific Wild - on the battle to stop the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands, and the associated oil supertanker's that would gravely threaten BC's spectacular coast.

Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada's Pacific Coast from Pacific Wild on Vimeo.

It's one of the last bastions of Canadian wilderness: the Great Bear Rainforest, on BC's north and central Pacific coast. Home to bountiful marine mammals, fish, and wildlife - from orca and humpback whales to wild salmon, wolves, grizzlies, and the legendary spirit bear - this spectacular place is now threatened by a proposal to bring an oil pipeline and supertankers to this fragile and rugged coast.

The plan is to pump over half a million barrels a day of unrefined bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands over the Rockies, through the heartland of BC - crossing a thousand rivers and streams in the process - to the Port of Kitimat, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. From there, supertankers would ply the rough and dangerous waters of the BC coast en route to Asia and the United States. Dubbed the Northern Gateway Pipeline, the project is of concern for three main reasons: 1. It would facilitate the expansion of the Tar Sands, hooking emerging Asian economies on the world's dirtiest oil; 2. the risks from the pipeline itself; 3. the danger of introducing oil supertankers for the first time to this part of the BC coast.

Now a growing coalition of First Nations, conservation groups, and concerned citizens from Canada and around the world is banding together to say no the Enbridge project, in what is shaping up to be the defining Canadian environmental battle of our time. Produced by Canadian filmmaker Damien Gillis for Pacific Wild, This 16 minute short documentary - featuring stunning images from the Great Bear Rainforest - provides a summary of the key issues involved in this battle over the pipeline, tankers, and Canada's Pacific coast.

Please forward this video to your friends and colleagues - and go to and to take action today to help protect BC from Enbridge's proposal.

The Trojan Horse of climate ‘skepticism’ penetrates the walls of the indy media

Anthony Black
Canadian Dimension blog
September 27th 2010

After having written ‘The Politics of Doubt: How climate skeptics have abused both science and the public trust’, I have become increasingly aware that the ‘denialist’ stance, though entirely the result of a quintessential, corporate right-wing conspiracy—i.e. sourced almost completely by a by a dozen or so Cold War anti-communist scientists with political connections reaching directly into the White House, and by a slew of right-wing US think tanks (and their bought and paid for phalanx of stooge lawyers and scientific hacks), duly communicated by the servile corporate press, and all financed by the likes of Exxon Mobil and Philip Morris—has penetrated substantial sectors of the ‘progressive’ independent media.

These include such icons as Global Research, Counterpunch, and Brasscheck TV.

Now, not only are these sites seemingly oblivious of the political context of the entire anti-anthropogenic global warming movement, (i.e. as mentioned earlier, a extremely well organized attempt to undermine any science seen as potentially threatening or damaging to ‘free market’ profiteering), but they are operating under the preposterous hypothesis that it is the few thousand or so climate scientists (from all over the world, of differing political persuasions, and working more or less completely independent of any centralized ideological and institutional bias or vested interest) who are in a conspiracy directed against the world at large…but specifically in competition with the globally ascendant corporatist / capitalist ruling power structure on this earth. What an amazing, what a wiley, what a diabolical group they (the scientists of the IPCC) are.

[I am always a bit in awe of this ever fecund argument, i.e. that the world is constantly going up in flames as a result of the poor, the powerless and the downtrodden pushing the wealthy, the mighty and the ascendent around—rather than vice versa.]

Indeed, these few thousand scientists are, apparently, much like the shadowy ‘UN cadres’ who have orchestrated the takeover of the US (a beloved myth of the good ‘ole boy civilian militia yokels) now vying with the global elites for world power…and all for some as yet unspecified gain—perhaps, acontinuation of their government research grants, or perhaps tenure with dibbs on the Department secretary.

Meanwhile, the free market fundamentalists, though having lost in the actual scientific arena, have nevertheless succeeded, not only in delaying any substantive policy action until it is likely too late…but are enjoying a damn good laugh to boot watching as their arch enemies, the ‘progressive, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist’ indy media, through the auspicies of an uncritical inveterate contrarian-ness, accept their (the corporatists’) well-funded, zealously constructed and criminally insane Trojan Horse of ‘skepticism’.

Ah, the smell of irony in the morning.

Journal of Peasant Studies - Free special issue on biofuels

The Politics of Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change
The Journal of Peasant Studies
Vol. 37, no. 4, Special Issue:

Guest Editors: Philip McMichael and Ian Scoones


See also attached file: special issue poster

The Journal of Peasant Studies special issue addresses key questions on biofuels within agrarian political economy, political sociology and political ecology. Contributions are based on fresh empirical materials from different parts of the world. The collection’s starting point has been four key questions in agrarian political economy: Who owns what? Who does what? Who gets what? And what do they do with the surplus wealth? It also addresses the emergent social and political relations in the biofuel complex, asking, ‘How do people interact with each other’? And, given the impacts on natural resources and sustainability, it also engages with questions about people-environment interactions, asking for example, ‘How do changes in politics get shaped by dynamic ecologies, and vice versa’?

At the same time, the collection is concerned with the politics of representation, that is, what are the discursive frames through which biofuels are promoted and/or opposed? And what are the institutional structures, and cultures of energy consumption on which a biofuels complex depends, and what alternative political and ecological visions are emerging to call the biofuels complex into question? Across 16 articles presenting material from five regions across the North-South divide and focusing on 14 countries including Brazil, Indonesia, India, USA and Germany, these questions are addressed within the following themes: global (re)configurations; agro-ecological visions; conflicts, resistances and diverse outcomes; state, capital and society relations; mobilising opposition, creating alternatives; and change and continuity.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Today's anticapitalist meetup: Joel Kovel, The Enemy of Nature

By Cassiodorus

In today's diary I will look at the second edition of Joel Kovel's The Enemy of Nature, revised from the first edition which I reviewed here back in 2007.

This newer review will take a look at Kovel's central proposal, ecosocialism, from the perspective of the history of power, by which I mean the general trend in which capitalism, imperialism, feudalism, empire, and so on exist as various historically-based means of domination.

Read more HERE.

Argentina Ecosocialist Manifesto

Marxismo Ecológico

The world has reached the century actually engaged in a global concern. Despite prolonged economic growth, inequality, poverty, injustice and violence that characterized the twentieth century have not been resolved, and in many cases have worsened. To all this, we must add the fact that the limits to that growth have begun to become apparent, showing a world plunged into unexpected ecological crisis until a few decades ago. The man and his life on Earth as we know, are at risk.

The ecological crisis is not caused by economic problems, or bad policies, but has its roots in the fundamentals of the society we live in and their mode of production, capitalism. Not accidentally, or suicidal tendency of humanity that environmental degradation occurs, but is related to the absence of democratic control and participatory planning of the economy. Are the social relations of production and distribution of goods prevailing in our society, destroying the environment in which we live and which we belong.

Read more HERE.
(use google translation if required)

Scrambling for the Arctic

Al Jazeera

An international summit has begun in Moscow, the Russian capital, to consider rival claims to mineral rights in the Arctic.

It is thought a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources lie beneath the arctic ocean, and now global warming is making it more accessible.

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal nations can claim exclusive rights to natural resources on or beneath the sea floor up to 370 kilometres beyond their land territory.

Al Jazeera's Tania Page reports.

2010 Climate Change Resource Roundup

Skeptical Science

The availability of accurate, dependable, concise and clear information on anthropogenic climate change increases every year. This is a shortlist of my favorite sources.

Link HERE.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Life sentence for Betty Krawczyk? Really?

CreekSide blog

Something has gone terribly wrong here.

Betty Krawczyk
Betty Krawczyk was 65 years old when she went to jail for Clayoquot Sound. It was her first ever time in prison.

She went to jail again at age 78 for standing in front of bulldozers in 2006 to protest the building of the Sea-to-Sky Highway through the Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics.

"There will be no logging here today," she said.

That time a court injunction also specified that she stay away from the bluffs. She didn't stay away and back into prison she went for another 10 months, this time for disobeying the court.

Somehow, instead of receiving the Order of Canada for her courage, Betty is now up to eight prison sentences - eight! - without this environmental hero and grandmother of eight having ever harmed a single person or piece of logging or construction equipment.

She shows up, she stands up for her beliefs, she gets arrested.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Film Pick: Forbidden Forest

By Ezra Winton
Art Threat

I was going to make this week’s pick a selection from a “top ten” list from the very recently launched, but the selection is so atrocious, so barren and bad, that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So, this week’s selection, in a roundabout way, connects with other Canadian “news”: One of Canada’s leading arts, culture, politics and literature magazines, The Walrus, has recently taken to offering its advertising space to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) for the sole purpose of greenwashing. CAPP and RBC, the principle investor in Canada’s eco-nightmare tar sands project, are publishing full-page ads in the magazine that amount to lies and rubbish.

Since the Walrus-tar sands greenwashing campaign is all about the supposed efforts of Canadian finance and resource companies’ efforts to reforest the brutally scarred region of northern Alberta, and since the awesome doc about the tar sands—H2Oil—isn’t available for streaming, we bring you Forbidden Forest.

Forbidden Forest is a tangentially related topic – deforestation and civil society resistance in New Brunswick. It’s a snappy little National Film Board doc, running at about one hour. The synopsis from the NFB site:

This feature-length documentary tells the story of two very different men brought together by the government of New Brunswick’s decision to hand the management of millions of acres of Crown land to six multinational corporations. One is an Acadian woodlot owner retired after nearly 40 years in a pulp mill; the other a painter and winemaker with homes in France and New Brunswick. Together, they travel to Finland – home of UPM-Kymmene, one of the largest licence holders of New Brunswick Crown lands – to urge company officials to practice responsible forestry. They also go head-to-head with the New Brunswick government in an effort to secure a new community-based forestry policy that is environmentally sustainable and produces more jobs than the highly mechanized techniques used today.

Enjoy, and after you watch, if you read The Walrus, write them a letter about their poor judgment in advertisers.

Bolivian president rallies New Yorkers to protect nature

People's World

NEW YORK—The earth has its own rights, and we are responsible for protecting them, Bolivian President Evo Morales told a standing room-only crowd at the Community Church of New York in Midtown. These rights, he said, must be taken into account when we consider environmental and climate change policies.

The church was full to capacity; 600 people turned out to hear Morales. The audience reflected the city of New York in all its glory, including many young people.

The president waxed nostalgic, speaking about his childhood and how his family related to the environment. The indigenous community, of which he is a part, shared the resources. But now, he said, referring to people in his country and elsewhere who have waged fights against corporate agricultural interests, "those of us who want to protect Mother Earth are labeled terrorists."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saskatoon ecosocialists organize

Ecosocialists in Saskatoon have organized and set up a website. Visit for more information.

The Saskatoon Parklands Eco-left Collective, SPEC.

We are a non-partisan political collective seeking to bring together the wisdom of the left and the wisdom of the earth, seeking to envision and build an ecological socialist future, and organizing primarily in the Saskatoon and central Saskatchewan region.

Globally, we are loosely affiliated with the Ecosocialist International Network, a network which, in recent years, has brought together a lot of interesting eco-left and eco-socialist individuals and groups from around the planet, forming the beginnings of a more solidified ecological left movement.

The website of the Ecosocialist International Network is

While networking with like-minded people around the globe, we also recognize the need to organize locally and respond to the particular social and ecological questions confronting us in Saskatchewan in the twenty-first century.

The Saskatchewan context brings with it many issues and challenges. We are responsible for mining about a quarter of the world's uranium, contributing globally to nuclear power, nuclear waste accumulation, and both nuclear and depleted uranium weapons, (not to mention the thousands of tonnes of radioactive mine tailings left behind in northern Saskatchewan). Our coal, oil and tar sands development, meanwhile, contributes to climate change. In the Saskatoon area, people who believe in a progressive approach to education have the task of confronting the growing corporatization and nuclearization of our university. Meanwhile, we confront a range of social and economic justice issues with rising rates of poverty, and the marginalization of various social groups.

The Saskatoon Parklands Eco-left Collective seeks to address various issues in our quarterly publication, "The Weaver", on our website, and in other advocacy contexts. At the same time, we wish to envision a radical, ecologically sound socialist alternative, beyond the limits of capitalism, militarism, nuclearism and imperialism.

The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth

John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York
ISBN: 978-1-58367-218-1
$17.95 paperback
352 pp.

Log in to the Monthly Review Store before adding this item to your shopping cart and receive a 20% discount. Buying Directly from the MR Store Helps Support Monthly Review. Buy This Book

“This book is desperately needed, because it ends any illusion that we can solve our pressing environmental crises within the same system that created them. With tweaking the system—using incremental market-based strategies—off the table, we can put our efforts into genuine, lasting solutions.”

Annie Leonard
author and host, The Story of Stuff

“Marx’s concept of ‘metabolic rift’ in the circulation of soil nutrients between countryside and town is generalized by Foster, Clark, and York to an insightful Marxist analysis of the current ecological rift between modern capitalism and the ecosystem. It is a scholarly, well-referenced, and important contribution.”

Herman E. Daly
Professor Emeritus, School of Public Policy
University of Maryland

“This important book treats industrial capitalism as the globally destructive force that it is, and powerfully points the way toward, as the authors put it, ‘universal revolts against imperialism, the destruction of the planet, and the treadmill of accumulation.’ We need these revolts if we are to survive. This book is a crucial part of that struggle.”

Derrick Jensen
author, Endgame and The Culture of Make Believe

“This timely new work promises to become a basic resource in understanding the incompatibility between capitalism and ecology, and also in arguing for the ecological dimensions of any future socialism.”

Fredric Jameson
Professor, Duke University
author, Valences of the Dialectic

Humanity in the twenty-first century is facing what might be described as its ultimate environmental catastrophe: the destruction of the climate that has nurtured human civilization and with it the basis of life on earth as we know it. All ecosystems on the planet are now in decline. Enormous rifts have been driven through the delicate fabric of the biosphere. The economy and the earth are headed for a fateful collision—if we don’t alter course.

In The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth, environmental sociologists John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York offer a radical assessment of both the problem and the solution. They argue that the source of our ecological crisis lies in the paradox of wealth in capitalist society, which expands individual riches at the expense of public wealth, including the wealth of nature. In the process, a huge ecological rift is driven between human beings and nature, undermining the conditions of sustainable existence: a rift in the metabolic relation between humanity and nature that is irreparable within capitalist society, since integral to its very laws of motion.

Critically examining the sanguine arguments of mainstream economists and technologists, Foster, Clark, and York insist instead that fundamental changes in social relations must occur if the ecological (and social) problems presently facing us are to be transcended. Their analysis relies on the development of a deep dialectical naturalism concerned with issues of ecology and evolution and their interaction with the economy. Importantly, they offer reasons for revolutionary hope in moving beyond the regime of capital and toward a society of sustainable human development.
John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review. He is professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and author of The Ecological Revolution, The Great Financial Crisis (with Fred Magdoff), Critique of Intelligent Design (with Brett Clark and Richard York), Ecology Against Capitalism, Marx’s Ecology, and The Vulnerable Planet.

Brett Clark is assistant professor of sociology at North Carolina State University. He is coauthor (with John Bellamy Foster and Richard York) of Critique of Intelligent Design.

Richard York is associate professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He is co-editor of the journal Organization & Environment and coauthor (with John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark) of Critique of Intelligent Design.

Climate Justice Treks from Cochabamba to Cancún

Daniela Estrada*

SANTIAGO, Sep 21 (IPS) - The "people's" climate agenda that the Bolivian government and civil society produced at an April conference in Cochabamba has made its way to the official United Nations negotiating table. But its inclusion in a binding climate treaty is unlikely, say activists.

The agreement approved by the World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, was a response -- founded on the idea of climate justice -- to the derailed official talks for a new, obligatory global climate pact.

The failure of the negotiations was evident last year at the Copenhagen climate summit, officially known as the 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Civil Society Divided Ahead of Climate Summit

By Emilio Godoy

MEXICO CITY, Jun 4, 2010 (IPS) - With less than six months before Mexico hosts the next global climate change summit, Mexican environmental organisations hosting the parallel civil society forum are divided on how to carry it out -- which some fear could ultimately weaken their role at the negotiating table.

The differences are centred on the scenario for bringing together non- governmental organisations (NGOs) in Mexico's Caribbean resort city of Cancún, where the 16th Conference of Parties (COP 16) to the United Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held Nov. 29 to Dec. 10.

At the COP 15 summit held in Copenhagen last December, the NGOs organised the Kilmaforum09, and some of the Mexican environmental groups want to repeat that formula, while many others want an approach that better reflects the Mexican and Latin American reality.

The disagreements "arise primarily because of power imbalances," Miguel Valencia, one of the 10 members of the Klimaforum 2010 Mexican organising committee, told IPS.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The End of the World As We Know It? The rise of the post-carbon era

By Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
CeaseFire Magazine

Only 500 generations ago, hunter-gatherers began cultivating crops and forming their tiny communities into social hierarchies. Around 15 to 20 generations ago, industrial capitalism erupted on a global scale.

In the last generation, the entire human species, along with virtually all other species and indeed the entire planet, have been thrown into a series of crises, which many believe threaten to converge in global catastrophe: global warming spiraling out of control; oil prices fluctuating wildly; food riots breaking out in the South; banks collapsing worldwide; the spectre of terror bombings in major cities; and the promise of ‘endless war’ to fight ‘violent extremists’ at home and abroad.

We are running out of time. Without urgent mitigating, preventive and transformative action, these global crises are likely to converge and mutually accelerate over the coming decades. By 2018, converging food, water and energy shortages could magnify the probability of conflict between major powers, civil wars, and cross-border conflicts. After 2020, this could result in political and economic catastrophes that would undermine state control and national infrastructures, potentially leading to social collapse.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Oscar Wilde, 1891

Oscar Wilde
The chief advantage that would result from the establishment of Socialism is, undoubtedly, the fact that Socialism would relieve us from that sordid necessity of living for others which, in the present condition of things, presses so hardly upon almost everybody. In fact, scarcely anyone at all escapes.

Now and then, in the course of the century, a great man of science, like Darwin; a great poet, like Keats; a fine critical spirit, like M. Renan; a supreme artist, like Flaubert, has been able to isolate himself, to keep himself out of reach of the clamorous claims of others, to stand ‘under the shelter of the wall,’ as Plato puts it, and so to realise the perfection of what was in him, to his own incomparable gain, and to the incomparable and lasting gain of the whole world. These, however, are exceptions. The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them.

They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease.

They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.

Read The Soul of Man Under Socialism HERE.

Have the climate wars begun?

The whole region of Espinar, in Peru, is outraged about the proposed irrigation scheme that will deprive them of water

The Guardian

Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru.
Trains to the ancient citadel have been suspended as protesters
oppose an irrigation scheme in the region. Photograph: EPA
The plan was to go from the Four Lakes district in Peru's Cusco province up to the communities in the Espinar region, another three hours and 600m up the Andes mountainsides into the high pastures. These villages are more than 4,300m high (14,000ft), some of the remotest and highest inhabited in the world.

But we nearly didn't get there because the city of Yauri, where we were to stay, was in lockdown over water. The following day, we were told, there would be a total strike. No one would be able to get in or out.

We pass road blocks set up by the strikers and reach the city late at night. The next morning we meet the strike leader Nestor Cuti. This is no ordinary dispute over water, he says. The people of Espinar know well that climate change is already drying up their rivers and is likely to lead to desertification of the whole region. As it is, Yauri only gets around two hours of water a day. In 20 years time, if trends go on, there will be nothing.

Read more HERE.

Capitalism Against the Planet


With the Cancun summit on climate change only a few weeks away, the planet’s ecological future was the subject of a debate at this year’s Fête de l’Humanité on Friday, September 11. Is finance capitalism solely to blame for the environmental crisis or is capitalism itself to blame? What new mode of development is to be promoted and how can it be implemented?

André Chassaigne, deputy for the Puy de Dôme (PCF), Yannick Jadot, deputy (Europe Écologie [1]), Corinne Lepage, European deputy (Cap 21 [2]), Danielle Mitterrand (Fondation France Libertés), and Elizabeth Peredo, Committee for an international court for climatic justice (Bolivia), were interviewed by l’Humanité.

HUMA: Bolivia proposes setting up an international tribunal for climatic justice. What exactly do you have in mind?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Low Tide on Grand Pré

CO2 Art: Eco Art

Bliss Carman
Low Tide on Grand Pré had been called “the most nearly perfect single poem to come out of Canada” (by 20th century critic Desmond Pacey). It has been speculated that the poem refers to the death of a loved one, an illicit and clandestine romance or even the death of the author's mother. My own sense of it is that the poem is about karma or about things finishing how they should.

THE sun goes down, and over all
     These barren reaches by the tide
Such unelusive glories fall,
     I almost dream they yet will bide
     Until the coming of the tide.
And yet I know that not for us,
     By any ecstasy of dream,
He lingers to keep luminous
     A little while the grievous stream,
     Which frets, uncomforted of dream--
A grievous stream, that to and fro
     Athrough the fields of Acadie
Goes wandering, as if to know
     Why one beloved face should be
     So long from home and Acadie.
Was it a year or lives ago
     We took the grasses in our hands,
And caught the summer flying low
     Over the waving meadow lands,
     And held it there between our hands?
And while the river at our feet--
     A drowsy inland meadow stream--
At set of sun the after-heat
     Made running-gold, and in the gleam
     We freed our birch upon the stream.
There down along the elms at dusk
     We lifted dripping blade to drift,
Through twilight scented fine like musk,
     Where night and gloom awhile uplift,
     Nor sunder soul and soul adrift.
And that we took into our hands
     Spirit of life or subtler thing--
Breathed on us there, and loosed the bands
     Of death, and taught us, whispering,
     The secret of some wonder-thing.
Then all your face grew light, and seemed
     To hold the shadow of the sun;
The evening faltered, and I deemed
     That time was ripe, and years had done
     Their wheeling underneath the sun.
So all desire and all regret,
     And fear and memory, were naught;
One to remember or forget
     The keen delight our hands had caught;
     Morrow and yesterday were naught.
The night has fallen, and the tide . . .
     Now and again comes drifting home,
Across these aching barrens wide,
     A sigh like driven wind or foam:
     In grief the flood is bursting home.
Bliss Carman, 1886

Greenpeace warns Canadian communities about the threats of nuclear waste repositories

Greenpeace Canada

Northern communities being courted as the site for a radioactive waste dump should be wary of the safety claims being made by the waste management agency controlled by the nuclear industry, says a new analysis of the scientific studies on underground waste disposal commissioned by Greenpeace.

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) began looking in May for a community willing to have the nuclear industry’s harmful and dangerous waste buried in its area. The NWMO is offering large economic benefits to any community willing to take large quantities of the nuclear industry's radioactive waste. The agency has claimed such a proposal would be safe for the environment and community.

“Canadian communities should beware of being taken down the garden path by the nuclear industry’s desire to bury its biggest public relations problem – radioactive waste,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a nuclear analyst with Greenpeace Canada. “The commissioned analysis documents the blanks in our understanding of the threats of deep geological waste disposal that get papered over in the selling job of the nuclear industry.”

'Most Germans Don't Want Nuclear Power'

Speigel OnLine

AFP - Anti-nuclear campaigners demonstrating in Berlin on Saturday sent a powerful message of opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to extend the lifetimes of German reactors. Media commentators say she would be unwise to ignore it, because her own supporters don't want nuclear power either.

Tens of thousands demonstrated in central Berlin on Saturday against plans by the government to extend the lifetimes of Germany's 17 nuclear power stations by an average of 12 years beyond the originally planned phase-out in 2021.

Organizers said the protest drew 100,000 people and was the biggest of its kind in Germany since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Police put the figure much lower, at around 40,000 according to initial estimates.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why you have to be Red to be Green

Scottish Socialist Party pamphlet

Canadian Aboriginal Concerns With Oil Sands

A compilation of key issues, resolutions and legal activities

By Danielle Droitsch , Terra Simieritsch
Pembina Institute
Sep 19, 2010

Aboriginal communities have been raising concerns about the impacts of oil sands development on their communities and their legal rights for a number of years. Increasingly, these concerns are manifesting themselves as formal resolutions and legal challenges. This briefing note outlines their key concerns, shares their commentary and provides an overview of resolutions and legal issues.

Download HERE

Space for Movement?


Written by Building Bridges Collective
August 2010

In the wake of the failed COP-15 in Copenhagen last December, Bolivia’s first indigenous president called for a World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (CMPCC). Was this the necessary space for social movements to respond where governments and the UN have failed? Was it an attempt to co-opt radical demands? Following the CMPCC in Cochabamba, April 2010, this booklet reflects on the lessons from Bolivia and the role of movements in the fight for climate justice.

Download a copy of the book HERE!

Tar Nation: Play the game!

Tar Sands Watch

Take out your political frustrations and play the game HERE.
(Hint: Squirt Harper and Iggy with oil until they are both gone!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Climate movement — what next?

Climate Change, Social Change
September 19, 2010

Green Left Weekly’s Simon Butler asked five Australian climate activists for their thoughts on the current state of the movement.

Phillip Sutton is the convenor of Melbourne’s Climate Emergency Network and co-author of the 2008 book Climate Code Red.

Adam Lucas is coordinator of Beyond Zero Emissions Sydney and lectures in the Science and Technology Studies Program at the University of Wollongong.

Gemma Weedall is co-convener of the Adelaide branch of the Socialist Alliance and attended the April World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Fiona Armstrong is a Melbourne-based climate policy analyst and climate action advocate.

John Rice, an Adelaide-based climate activist, was a founding member of the Climate Emergency Action Network South Australia (CLEAN).

How has the climate action movement fared since the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks? Can you see any weaknesses in its strategy or tactics that need to be addressed?

Philip Sutton: The failure of the Copenhagen negotiations, and indeed the failure to get decisive action on climate from governments in Australia, is both devastating (given that we are heading rapidly into catastrophic climate change conditions) and yet was always highly probable (because, to solve the climate problem, we have to do nothing less than restructure the whole world economy).

Read more HERE.

The Rights of Mother Earth: A visual documentation

The Ecosocialist Information Agency has been patiently creating a visual poster for each article of the Rights of Mother Earth adopted by the World People's Conference on Climate and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22, 2010.

The conference was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 19-22. Text from PWCCC. For more coverage of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, click HERE.

Visit the Ecosocialist Information Agency's website HERE to view these posters.

Uranium: An NFB documentary

Intercontinental Cry
Uranium is an award winning short film on the consequences of uranium mining in Canada. Narrated by Buffy Sainte-Marie, the 48-minute film explores how uranium mining can impact the environment, the health of those who are employed in the industry, and the quality of life of Indigenous peoples who live near the mines.

Seldom do we hear the fact that almost every uranium mine in Canada is on Indigenous land. Even more seldom are the occasions where Indigenous Peoples on those lands were meaningfully consulted and informed about what a uranium mine can mean for them, their community, their economy, their culture, their very existence.

The dangers are grim at best. According to "Hazards of Uranium," a briefing published earlier this year, exposure to the radioactive element can cause kidney diseases, blood diseases, leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, gastric cancer, liver cancer, cancer of the gallbladder and extrahepatic bileducts, kidney cancer, diseases of the respiratory tract, mental disorders and birth defects.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ecosocialist Book: Woman on the Edge of Time

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

From Wikipedia

Woman on the Edge of Time (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976) is a novel by Marge Piercy. It is considered a classic of utopian "speculative" science fiction as well as a feminist classic.

Plot summary
Thirty-seven-year-old Hispanic woman Consuelo (Connie) Ramos, recently released from forced detention in a mental institution, begins to communicate with a figure that may or may not be her imagination—it is a woman named Luciente. She begins to realize that Luciente is from the future, which is a utopian world in which a number of goals of the political and social agenda of the late sixties and early seventies radical movements have been fulfilled. Environmental pollution, homophobia, racism, phallogocentrism, class-subordination, consumerism, imperialism, and totalitarianism no longer exist in the agrarian, communal community of Mattapoisett.

The death penalty, however, continues to exist ("We don't think it's right to kill (...). Only convenient."), as does war. Connie learns that she is living at an important time in history, and she herself is in a pivotal position; her actions and decisions will determine the course of history. Luciente's utopia is only one possible future; a dystopian alternate future is a possibility— one in which a wealthy elite live on space platforms and subdue the majority of the population with psychotropic drugs and surgical control of moods, also harvesting these earth-bound humans' organs.

Women are valued solely for their appearance and sexuality, and plastic surgery that gives women grotesquely exaggerated sexual features is commonplace. The technocrats controlling this horrific future attempt to influence the past—Connie's present—to ensure the existence of their future. Connie realizes the importance of her position, but is torn, because helping Luciente means abandoning her hopes of regaining custody of her young daughter.

The novel gives little indication as to whether or not Connie's visions are by-products of a mental disease or are meant to be taken literally, but ultimately, Connie's confrontation with the future inspires her to a violent action that will prevent the dissemination of the mind-control technology that makes the future dystopia possible, but that also ensures her indefinite detention at the Rockover Psychiatric Institution and the permanent loss of custody of her daughter.

She will undoubtedly be treated with electroconvulsive therapy and be "filed away among the living cancers of the chronic wards." Though her actions do not ensure the existence of the Mattapoisett future, Connie nevertheless sees her act as a victory: "I'm a dead woman now too. (...) But I did fight them. (...) I tried."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ideas for the Struggle

By Marta Harnecker
PDF of pamphlet from Socialist Project

"What's happening is a renovation of left-wing thought. The ideas of revolutions that we used to defend in the 1970s and 1980s, in practice, have not materialized. So, left-wing thought has had to open itself up to new realities and search for new interpretations. It has had to develop more flexibility in order to understand that revolutionary processes, for example, can begin by simply winning administrative power.

One of the problems is reflected in the leadership of cadre, accustomed as they are to thinking: when we take office, we change. We are democratic while working in a movement, but when we take office, we become authoritarian. We don't understand that, in the society we want to build, the state has to promote protagonism of people, rather than supplant their decision making. It happens in some left-wing governments: government officials think that it's up to them to solve problems for people, rather than understand that they must solve problems together with people. If our government officials are to be wise, they must be pushed by popular initiatives so that the people can feel they are doing it themselves. The state's paternalism, in building socialism, may help at first, but we must create popular protagonism.

I insisted in 1999 that we use the term "political instrument" because "the party," in some cases, is a worn-out term. We were interested in creating an agency that is in accordance with the needs of the new society, rather than copying the schemas of already obsolete parties. The party, classically, has been a group of cadre who, at bottom, are seeking to prepare themselves for taking political office, winning elections, with methods of work that we copied from the Bolshevik Party, which were democratic, not clandestine. We mechanically translated that structure.

The results of renovation of what used to be our political parties, or rather social movements that participate in this political construction, are now instruments that belong to social movements. Therefore we think that political instruments, whether they are fronts or whatever, must be the critical consciousness of the process." — Marta Harnecker

Link to Ideas for the Struggle pamphlet PDF HERE.

EIN Wiki Launched


Ecosocialist International Network supporter Richard Greeman has created a WIKI for discussion of EIN-related issues.

All EIN supporters are encouraged to sign up and participate at

Requiem for a Species?

Written by Elaine Graham-Leigh

Clive Hamilton's pessimism about climate change activism relies on the assumption that individual consumers are to blame, but capitalism is the elephant in the room argues Elaine Graham-Leigh.(Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species. Why We Resist the Truth about Climate Change, (Earthscan 2010)

We all know that we cannot fully stop climate change. Global warming is happening; the goal of climate campaigners is to limit that warming to 1.5oC, avoiding the most catastrophic consequences and crucially, the tipping points after which runaway global warming would be beyond anyone’s power to halt. Clive Hamilton’s depressing message is that we’ve failed. We are facing a four-degree world. This is only a certainty, however, if we accept Hamilton’s political assumptions.

Eco-terrorism: Green is the new red

Hugo Blanco tells U.K. Greens: End capitalism before it ends us

Socialist Resistance

Hugo Blanco, a longstanding leader of Peruvian peasant struggles and fighter for indigenous rights is currently touring Britain as a guest of Socialist Resistance and Green Left.

Last weekend he spoke at Green Party conference. Blanco started with criticising biblical Marxism, adhering to Marxist works as if they were holy scripture. Hugo talks about his long personal struggle for social justice and against oppression. In a comment he stressed also at a meeting at the Venezuelan consulate in London, he explained that we need to put an end to capitalism before it puts an end to us.

The video is online at:

The hot tears of noble people

"If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people."

Growth and Consumerism: Nature or Nurture?

Climate and Capitalism

Is a desire to always have “more” a fundamental feature of human nature? In Mindful Economics, Joel Magnuson explains how consumerism was deliberately created to meet capitalism’s need for constant growth.

From Chapter 9 of Mindful Economics: How the U.S. Economy Works, Why It Matters, and How It Could Be Different, by Joel Magnuson. published by Seven Stories Press, New York. Copyright © 2007, 2008 by Joel Magnuson.

The Growth Imperative: Prosperity or Poverty

Generating a measurable rate of return for investors is the core element of any capitalist economy. Investors derive their income from percentage returns on stocks, bonds, or other business investments. If investors do not get these expected returns, they will sell their investments and seek returns elsewhere. By disinvesting, or cashing out, investors can drive down the book value of a company, which can ultimately cause the business to fail. To prevent this outcome, the prime directive of a capitalist business is to sustain robust returns and growth of financial wealth for their investors. This is the paramount goal of capitalist enterprise.

Read More HERE.

See also What do socialists say about human nature? (ISR)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Foundations and the Environmental Movement

An Interview With Daniel Faber
By Michael Barker

Daniel Faber is Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative at Northeastern University. He completed his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1989, and his first published book was Environment Under Fire: Imperialism and the Ecological Crisis in Central America (Monthly Review Press, 1993). Since then Faber has published Capitalizing on Environmental Injustice: The Polluter-Industrial Complex in the Age of Globalization (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), and is the editor of The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the United States (Guilford Press, 1998), and coeditor with Deborah McCarthy of Foundations for Social Change: Critical Perspectives on Philanthropy and Popular Movements (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005). Faber is also an editorial board member of Capitalism, Nature, Socialism: A Journal of Socialist Ecology (1988-present). This interview was undertaken by email in September 2010.

Michael Barker (MB): When do you first remember reading or hearing about critiques of liberal philanthropists and their foundations? What was your initial reactions to such criticisms? Here I am predominantly thinking about the former "big three" foundations, the Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations.

Daniel Faber (DF): I come at the politics of philanthropy as a long time scholar-activist in a family of activists, where the need to raise money to support our various organizing efforts has always been a central issue and topic of discussion. So, I’ve been thinking about this for over 25 years, and writing about it over the last ten years. In my view, there are three fundamental sets of issues that must be confronted.

Read more HERE.

Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip

A short animated film about the feedback loops likely to lead to catastrophic climate change, by Leo Murray.

The script, with extensive peer-reviewed references and additional information and links, is available at​

Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

The Fight of Our Lives

By Murray Dobbin
Murray Dobbin's Blog

In the world of progressive, grass roots politics, everyone, it seems, is running as fast as they can. That is certainly the impression I have had over the past few years, when almost everyone I know is involved in several social movement activities or individual actions.

But it may actually be the case that some aren’t running at all any more — they are, as a colleague responding to one of my recent blogs suggested, immobilized: “…inundated and overwhelmed by the number of issues that arise on a daily basis. Add to this the sheer complexity of the many issues, the need to understand that complexity and its context in the larger scheme of things, confounded by the shifting and introduction, on an almost daily basis, of new or related issues, and you have all of the ingredients that can promote a kind of social paralysis…”

Monday, September 13, 2010

The powerful coalition that wants to engineer the world's climate

Businessmen, scientists and right-wing thinktanks are joining forces to promote 'geo-engineering' ideas to cool the planet's climate, writes Clive Hamilton

Some people geo-engineering techniques, such as filling the sky with shiny dust to reflect sunlight, could curb such temperature rises without the need to restrict greenhouse gas emissions

In August 1883 the painter Edvard Munch witnessed an unusual blood-red sunset over Oslo. Shaken up by it, he wrote in his diary that he "felt a great, unending scream piercing through nature". The incident inspired him to create his most famous work, The Scream.

The sunset he saw that evening followed the eruption of Krakatoa off the coast of Java. The explosion, one of the most violent in recorded history, sent a massive plume of ash into the stratosphere, turning sunsets red around the globe. The gases emitted also caused the Earth to cool by more than one degree and disrupted weather patterns for several years.
Read more HERE.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Protesters descend on Montreal's World Energy Congress

QMI Agency

MONTREAL — Activists covered themselves in oil and rallied outside the Montreal Convention Centre as government officials met at the World Energy Congress Sunday.

About 60 Greenpeace activists staged a Black Tide Beach Party, and 12 people donned oil-covered bathing suits, to protest the use of oil and to advocate for renewable energy options.

As well, hundreds of people gathered outside the convention centre holding banners and signs that read, "Go beyond oil."

"Dirty energy is wreaking havoc all over the world, from the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to the reckless expansion of drilling into fragile environments such as the Arctic, " Greenpeace International climate and energy campaigner Julien Vincent said in a release about the protest. "As the dirty energy industry descends on Montreal for the World Energy Congress, the message is clear: we desperately need an energy revolution, moving beyond oil and other dirty fuels to power our future with clean, renewable energy."

Protesters were calling on a global ban on new exploration in the Arctic for oil and gas.

The event participants also criticized the plans by Quebec Premier Jean Charest to allow exploration for oil and gas in the province.

"The Charest government must announce an immediate moratorium on exploration for oil and gas in Quebec," Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Virginie Lambert-Ferry said.

The World Energy Congress opened in Montreal Sunday. The congress is held every three years and looks at global energy issues. More than 5,000 government officials from around the world are in Montreal for the four day congress

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tarnishing the Maple Leaf

Tarnishing the Maple Leaf - How the Tar Sands Drives Canada's Climate Positions

Climate Action Network Canada / Tar Sands Group
December 2009


Climate Change: Public Denial and Corporate Disinformation

By Dick Bennett
Peace, Justice Ecology Blog

Poison ivy grows faster and becomes more poisonous. Ragweed produces more pollen, and asthma. Japanese beetles live longer. Ticks increase.

Ouch. What, when, where? Duke University scientists discovered these consequences of the CO2 increasing in our atmosphere and resultant warming.

Well, it’s good to be warned now, you might say. But these warnings were published in 2006. That is, before 2006 scientists knew that anthropogenic C02 and warming were increasing and were already studying their effects. In 2007 the summative, magisterial 4th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report was published. And since then hundreds of additional scientific studies and many books have been published reaffirming the IPCC Reports. For example, in 2010: Bill McKibben,. Eaarth: Making Life on a Tough New Planet; Peter D. Ward, The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps.

The question then is not is warming happening, but why do so many people behave as though it isn’t? Yes, we resist change even though we know our grandchildren will pay for it a decade from now. But is reducing CO2 entirely within our power?

Not if corporations decide. We clutch the water-logged life-preserver of denial and inaction as we sink, partly because of the deliberate, systematic, extraordinarily well-financed disinformation disseminated by corporations to ensure business profit as usual.

In Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway tell about corporate use of a few bought scientists to obfuscate and delay urgently needed change. Oil company officials particularly have sowed confusion. Take as one example our knowledge of the steady retreat of Arctic sea ice, the melting of Greenland’s massive ice sheets, and the spectacular breakup in 2002 of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in Antarctica, all found in IPCC reports. Well, in 2007, just as the new IPCC report was being released, one of the front groups financed by ExxonMobil offered $10,000 for each pseudo-study disputing the findings of the scientific community.

The result is melting ice, rising, acidic seas, weather extremes, droughts, forest fires, and super ivy, ragweed, beetles, and ticks.