Wednesday, June 30, 2010

System change, Not climate change! Socialism or barbarism!

Socialist Action

If it was just a big photo op for the world's top twenty capitalist politicians, with an obscene $1 billion-plus 'security' price tag, that would be bad enough. But the G20 Summit in Toronto, June 26-27, is part of an ongoing campaign of the global ruling rich to destroy a century of working class rights and benefits, while continuing to despoil the environment.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which serves as a kind of secretariat for the G20, openly advocates: increase the age of retirement; de-fund medical treatments; freeze public sector wages; introduce means-testing for all social programmes; cut back agricultural supports for farmers; increase value-added taxes; hike gasoline taxes and introduce a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions.

What is Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect?

By Kevin Judd
Skeptical Science

Climate scientists are telling us that gases like carbon dioxide are causing global warming. Carbon dioxide is produced when petrol is burned in your car engine, or when coal and gas are burned at power-stations to make electricity. Carbon dioxide causes global warming because it contributes to the so-called greenhouse effect. So what is this greenhouse effect?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BP Slick Covers Dolphins and

Another disturbing video of the Gulf from the air.

Rekindling Socialist Imagination

Utopian Vision and Working-Class Capacities

By Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch
Monthly Review 2000

This is an abridged and modified version of the authors' joint essay in Necessary and Unnecessary Utopias: Socialist Register 2000 (dist. by Monthly Review Press), edited by Leo Panitch and Colin Leys.

"A continental welfare state, modeled on the comparatively successfulsocial democracy of the United States. That's the ticket. Do it the American way." This recipe for what path Europe should follow isn't the Economist calling for a new realism, or the voice of American imperialism talking through the Wall Street Journal, or even a stolen quote from a member of Tony Blair's cabinet caught in private conversation. It's the concluding lines of an article on an alternative for Europe published in the New Left Review, once the home and hope for a rejuvenation of creative Marxism.1

This degeneration of the socialist imagination reflects a pervasive pessimism within the left. It is both affected by, and carries some responsibility for, the more general political morass in which we find ourselves. We live in an era of foreclosed hope in the possibility of a better world. Even people who look at their lives and wonder if that's all there is see no way of realizing a life beyond capitalism, or fear that any attempt to do so can only result in another nightmare. Overcoming this debilitating political pessimism and keeping some sense of transformative possibilities alive is the most important issue anyone seriously interested in social change must confront.

Unreal Utopias:
Narrowing of the Intellect, Exhaustion of the Will

Despite what is sometimes alleged about the lack of attention paid to alternatives on the left today, there has actually been no shortage of attempts in recent years to rethink and reformulate the utopian goal. In the past year alone, three books by prominent and progressive intellectuals have focused on such a project. These works, each influenced by a different current of contemporary thought, unfortunately provide a rather clear perspective on the demoralized nature of much utopian thinking today.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Canadian Writer Naomi Klein in Toronto: Video

This is a speech Naomi delivered on Friday night, at a terrific event organized by the Council of Canadians. It is about why the G20 deserves to be derailed, interrupted and, ultimately, shut down.

Watch live streaming video from rabbletv at

Saturday, June 26, 2010

G8 comes up short on climate

By Clare Demerse
Climate Change, Pembina

We're now halfway through Canada's weekend of summits, with the G8 over and the G20 just getting started. For those of us looking for progress on climate change, the meetings are off to a rocky start.

This year's G8 declaration contains just four paragraphs on climate change, out of a total of 43. Unfortunately, they contain virtually nothing beyond what's already in the 2009 G8 declaration from Italy and the December 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

The best that can be said about the Muskoka declaration is that it didn't move backwards from last year - but it didn't move forward either. With Canada in charge, the G8 missed an important opportunity to make progress on addressing climate change.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters at these summits there's little need to discuss climate change at the G8 because "the real process is the UN process." He's absolutely right that the UN, where all countries can have a voice, is the right home for the next global climate deal. But the G8 countries are the biggest historical emitters of greenhouse gases and the countries with the greatest financial capacity to fund climate action. Other countries look to them for leadership, and they could have contributed important momentum to the UN talks if they had chosen to do so.

The G8 declaration does mention "fast start" (2010-2012) climate financing, which was agreed to in Copenhagen. But while Copenhagen called for "new and additional" funding to support developing countries as they adapt to climate change and reduce their own emissions, the G8's declaration is vague, stating only that "we are putting in place our respective fast-start finance contributions" with no mention of whether those commitments will be new and additional.

Ultimately, the countries that have the credibility to lead on the world stage are the ones who are already acting at home. Since 1990, Canada's GHG emissions have grown faster than any other G8 country - so with Canada in the host's chair, perhaps today's outcome wasn't surprising.

But that doesn't make it any less disappointing.

British Columbia's Fossil Fuel Superpower Ambitions

By Roger Annis

The province of Alberta is well known as a climate-destroying behemoth. The tar sands developments in the north of that province are the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.

Less well known are the ambitions of its neighbouring province, British Columbia. It shares similar fossil fuel reserves and ambitions as Alberta. Vast coal and natural gas reserves are being opened at breakneck speed. Construction is underway or planned for accompanying road, rail, pipeline and supertanker transport routes. Widespread opposition to these plans is growing, but will it spread fast enough to save the province from what amounts to an unprecedented assault on its natural environment and the health and welfare of its citizens?
Read more here.

G8/20 created to silence global majority: Video

An interview with Dr. Vandana Shiva, in Toronto to attend the Council of Canadians' 'Shout Out for Global Justice' event.

RabbleTV (more videos here)

A victory for the whalers, a defeat for humanity

The IWC's decision to retain its ban on whaling does not mean that the killings will stop. Quite the reverse

By Philip Hoare

My generation has witnessed a vast change in the way we see whales. When I was born, in 1958, Britain was still a whaling nation. Ships would arrive in my hometown of Southampton laden with processed whale oil and meat, destined for margarine, plant fertiliser and pet food.

As I grew up, in the 1960s, attitudes changed. Our eyes were opened to the slaughter of cetaceans in the Southern Ocean and elsewhere. At its peak, this cull far surpassed that of the 19th-century industry commemorated by Herman Melville in Moby Dick. In one season alone, 1960-61, more whales died than in 150 years of Yankee whaling: 74,365 animals, one tenth of the total death toll for the 20th century. The blue whale, the fin whale, the grey whale, the right whale and the humpback – the largest creatures that have ever lived on our planet – all came to within a hair's breadth of extinction.
Read more here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

People's Assembly Keeps Climate Justice Debate Public

By Megan Cotton-Kinch
Toronto Media Co-op

While the power elites gather in their walled-off security cordons, the Peoples Assembly for Climate Justice offers another model of decision-making. Subtitled “Moving Forward for Cochabamba” the meeting seeks to build on the successful summit in Bolivia, a people’s alternative to the failure to reach any kind of meaningful climate agreement at Copenhagen.

Leading Activists Gather to 'Shout Out for Global Justice'

Council of Canadians

Toronto – Tonight leading activists from around the world join the thousands in, or traveling to, Toronto to oppose the G8/20 agenda this weekend. Tonight’s public event titled ‘Shout Out for Global Justice!’ at Massey hall will feature Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, Bolivian ambassador to the UN Pablo Solon, writer Naomi Klein, union leader Leo Gerard, physicist Vandana Shiva, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, War on Want executive director John Hilary and Indigenous activist Clayton Thomas-Muller. Each will focus on putting forward a people first vision which confronts the closed door, illegitimate, neoliberal agenda of the G8 and G20 meetings this weekend.

“Sadly, there has never been any threat of real progress or bold vision at these summits. The declarations have already been drafted, the media lines on failures already spun,” says Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians. “That’s why it is so important that civil society come together now to show our leaders that not only is a better, fairer, more inclusive world possible, the people of the world stand prepared to take action if our leaders won’t.”

The making of an eco-catastrophe

Chris Williams, author of the newly released book Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis, describes what led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Socialist Worker

ALMOST EVERYTHING you need to know about the warped priorities of capitalism is contained in the following contradiction: Unprecedented national resources were marshaled to fight a war for oil in the Persian Gulf, yet an oil spill on our doorstep in the Gulf of Mexico is left to gush for weeks.

Two months into the disastrous spill from the Deepwater Horizon well, and BP is still clueless about what to do, as it announces one half-baked plan after another and is essentially allowed to get on with it.

But as Joseph Romm pointed out on his Climate Progress blog, "spill" hardly describes what's going on. People "spill" coffee, but hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil pouring into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of perhaps 100,000 barrels a day isn't really the same thing. A volcano of oil seems a more appropriate term.
Read more here.

Climate Justice has a New Program, and New Hope for Victory

CD Editorial Collective

On April 22, a mass international assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia, adopted a charter for action to protect our planet from ecological devastation.

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth drew more than 30,000 people from over 100 countries in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba. They included a large number of Indigenous people from throughout South and North America, who played leading roles in defining the meeting’s environmental philosophy and drawing up a program for action.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The road to global justice must be a green road" - ITUC

World labor leaders reject dictatorship of markets

By Scott Marshall
People's World

VANCOUVER, Canada - World labor leaders gathered here in the second congress of the International Trade Union Confederation are of one mind in rejecting the "Washington consensus" that calls for deregulation of banks and financial markets.

In his opening address, Guy Ryder, the outgoing ITUC general secretary, called for an end to the "dictatorship of the finance-atariate." He said it is the people's time to fight for "fundamental change in globalization."

The delegates amplified Ryders message in their remarks, and in one voice declared that decent jobs is the only real answer to the economic crisis. Overwhelmingly the delegates called for financial transaction taxes to pay for jobs and economic recovery.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If the oil sands aren’t high carbon, why do oil sands proponents spend so much time fighting low carbon fuel standards?

Marc Huot
Jun 23, 2010

With the recent efforts by the Government of Alberta to initiate a clean energy dialogue with U.S. leaders, I’m beginning to question the logic of our Environment Minister. On paper, the minister’s objectives are “to have an open and progressive discussion about climate change, the energy choices we all make as consumers, and how we can work together for a cleaner energy future.” Yet, when it comes to low carbon fuel standards — a set of policies that could accomplish those very objectives — the conversation stops dead in its tracks.

Low-carbon fuel standards, such as those adopted by California and being considered by several other jurisdictions, aim to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation by ensuring that the average life-cycle emission intensities of fuels sold in the region are limited to a certain level. According to this strategy, fuel providers may choose where they get their oil to avoid buying it from more greenhouse gas–intensive sources, such as the oil sands.

Nigeria and Oil Spills: Fifty Years of Solitude

By Marie-Noëlle Bertrand
Translated Monday 21 June 2010, by Isabelle Metral

For decades on end this African country has been confronted with oil slick after oil slick without anything being done to put an end to them, or even to clean up the mess.

Oil spills do not provoke the same sense of outrage everywhere. On May 1st, as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico mobilized the whole planet, an oil pipe broke off the Nigerian coast, and four million litres of crude oil leaked out in one week, spelling disaster for the local population whose shores are devastated. Yet, for the Niger delta, this was only one in a continuous series. In fact, last July Amnesty International published a report in which the disaster was called a “tragedy for human rights”. “The estimate is that every year now and for fifty years as much oil as leaked from the Exxon Valdez has been spilt over the delta,” the report noted, adding that “the pollution is there for all to see.” Thirty one million people “squelch about in the oil while air and water are polluted by flaring [1], and fishermen catch fish poisoned by heavy metals.”

Monday, June 21, 2010

Global trade unions demand sustainability from G8/G20 leaders

By rabble staff

The health of the world's economy depends on the health of the world's workers, and the time is long overdue for the world's policymakers to listen to them.

This is the message trade unionists and environmentalists from around the globe wanted to send to world leaders when the former two groups met in Toronto this past weekend to demand environmental, social, and economic sustainability in advance of the G8/G20 summit. The World Conference on Sustainability was organized by two Geneva-based global trade union federations, ICEM, and IMF, and was well attended by Canadian labour activists and leaders.

Climate Action Network Canada response to decision to include climate change on G8 agenda

In response to Prime Minister Harper’s decision to include climate change on the agenda of the G8 summit, Graham Saul, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada has said the following:

“After months of mounting pressure, Prime Minister Harper has finally gotten the message that no meeting of world leaders can happen without a central discussion on climate change. Pressure from heads of state, the head of the UN, Nobel Peace Laureates, and non-governmental organizations has made it clear that climate change is a priority for the world and for Canadians.

Now that we know climate change will be discussed at the G8, we need to ensure the same for the G20. Our focus must be on the progress that needs to happen on the key issues of financing for poorer countries as they adapt to climate change and phasing out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.”

For comment:
Graham Saul, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada. 613.558.3368

People's Summit Opens in Toronto

Alternative to G8/20 has Open Agenda, Open Membership

By Geordie Gwalgen Dent
Toronto Media Co-op

With one week to go until the the G20, an in-camera meeting between the worlds most powerful finance ministers and bankers behind a $5 million security fence, ordinary people from all over Canada and across the world are holding their own summit.

The People's Summit, an open membership summit set up as an alternative summit to the G8 and G20 meetings, aims to be a place where people "debate, discuss and learn about the issues that really matter to people the world over," according to the Summit's Program.
Read more here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

People's Summit Event Listing

Event listings here.

Marxism and Ecological Economics: A review

Paul Burkett
Marxism and Ecological Economics: Toward a Red and Green Political Economy, Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2009. 332pp., $28.00 pb
ISBN 9781608460250

Reviewed by Gerry Gold and Steven Harris
Marx and Philosophy

This paperback edition of Paul Burkett's valiant but flawed attempt (originally published in 2005) to persuade academics of the value of Marx and Marxism to the newly integrated discipline of ecological economics deserves a broad measure of attention, applause and support.

Gulf oil spill: A hole in the world

The Deepwater Horizon disaster is not just an industrial accident – it is a violent wound inflicted on the Earth itself. In this special report from the Gulf coast, a leading author and activist shows how it lays bare the hubris at the heart of capitalism.

By Naomi Klein

Everyone gathered for the town hall meeting had been repeatedly instructed to show civility to the gentlemen from BP and the federal government. These fine folks had made time in their busy schedules to come to a high school gymnasium on a Tuesday night in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, one of many coastal communities where brown poison was slithering through the marshes, part of what has come to be described as the largest environmental disaster in US history.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Canadian Reflections on the Cochabamba Climate Summit

By Kimia Ghomeshi and Ben Powless
The Dominion -

TORONTO—Last month, representatives from around the globe gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia for the first World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Called by Bolivian President Evo Morales in the wake of last winter’s Copenhagen United Nations Summit, he called “the peoples of the world, social movements and Mother Earth's defenders,” to gather for a People’s Summit. The conference captured popular sentiment, ballooning from an expected 5,000 participants to well over 30,000 from over 140 countries. This compares with around 40,000 participants to the Copenhagen summit, although "civil society" only made up half that number—making it the largest gathering of non-governmental voices on climate change.

High-level delegations also came from Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Cuba, with representatives of 40 other governments present. Crucially, however, talks were led by those in attendance, not by governments. This was a sharp distinction from any UN processes, where civil society and Indigenous Peoples must often fight to be heard, let alone have their input respected. This meant that those voices had not only the opportunity to talk climate justice; they had the ability to challenge the terms of the traditional climate debate and put forth radically different solutions.

These are reflections from Canadians who attended the summit in various capacities.

BP's $20 billion spill fund echoes in Bhopal justice cry

By Krittivas Mukherjee

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian activists seeking justice in the Bhopal gas tragedy, the world's worst industrial disaster, are accusing the United States of "double standards", saying it was punishing firms polluting American soil but ignoring their mistakes abroad.

The Obama administration on Wednesday pushed oil giants BP Plc to agree a $20 billion fund to pay damages for a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that has threatened fishing and tourism and killed birds and marine life.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cuba Readies to Face BP Oil Spill


With the help of Venezuelan specialists Cuba is preparing to deal with the possible arrival of the BP oil spill to its pristine coasts, said General Ramon Espinosa, a deputy minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).

Espinosa spoke at a conference on disasters taking place in Havana. He said the island lacks experience on dealing with oil spill disasters and thus asked for experts from its chief ally.

Another top military official, Gen. Ramon Pardo, who heads the islands civil defense, said it would be a “serious misfortune” if the oil slick reaches Cuban coasts.

The tourism and fishing industries would be the most affected.

Pardo said the government has begun to prepare the population in the most vulnerable zones to confront such a possibility, reported IPS

Mother Nature's Son

Canadian Oil Boosters Freak Out, Challenge RAN to Duel

By Brant in Freedom from Oil
RAN (Rainforest Action Network)

Fearful that the union of environmental activists and cosmetics purveyors spells doom for the tar sands, Canada’s biggest oil boosters totally freaked out about our campaign with LUSH Cosmetics this week.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) were the first to freak out. A hurried press release boldly asserted that “It’s technology – not soap – that enables cleaner energy.” The hoaky humor got a laugh, but the laughing was at them not with them. Carola Hoyos at the Financial Times panned that CAPP “has drawn the line at designer soap“. Dina O’Meara at the Calgary Herald came down even harder writing that “CAPP should know better than to charge out, guns blazing, in reaction.” But charge out they did, upping the ante with a challenge (via Twitter no less!) to an in-person debate. We humbly obliged of course, but now they’re not returning our emails (or tweets). C’mon guys! Let’s talk it out!

Not to be outdone, the Government of Alberta freaked-out big time and picked up the phone. Alberta Minister Iris Evans (voted best-dressed in Alberta!) pulled her rapid-response team for “frank discussion” with LUSH and RAN. Her blog post after the call included “just a sample” of the gems she dished out including that “Oil sands account for less than 0.1 per cent of world’s greenhouse gas emissions.” By way of sample comparison, BP Gulf Spill (depending on who you ask) accounts for less than .1 percent of oil spilled globally, but we don’t think it’s a good idea either.

Frankly,we’re tickled pink that our little campaign has drawn so much attention. We’re educating thousands of average folks across North America about the hidden cost of our oil addiction, and it’s good to know who’s freaked out by that.

Bonus Quiz: How much more CO2 does Alberta emit per-capita than the global average? Winner gets a t-shirt!

Envisioning Real Utopias

By Edward Lewis and Erik Olin Wright
New Left Project

Erik Olin Wright is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. This discussion focuses on his recently published book, Envisioning Real Utopias. In this part, the focus is on the foundations of emancipatory alternatives to capitalism, and the existing practices that inform those foundations. The second part, following shortly, will focus on questions on the transition to a ‘real utopian’ future.

Why do you think there is a need for visions of social arrangement very different from those that we have now? Why is there a specific need for ‘real utopian’ visions?

There are really two somewhat questions here: why do we need to look for fundamental alternatives to existing social institutions, and why should these alternatives be framed as “real utopian” visions.

First, the issue of the search for alternatives: We live in a world characterized by deeply troubling, if familiar, contrasts: poverty in the midst of plenty; enhanced opportunities for some people to live creative, flourishing lives alongside social exclusion and thwarted human potential; new technologies to cure disease, enhance health and prolong life along with untreated, devastating illness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Greenhouse Gas Emission Offsets May Be Fraudulent

Offsets for the emissions that cause climate change from around the globe may have been faked
By Nathanial Gronewold and Climatewire

A broad coalition of activists are charging that as much as a third of all Kyoto Protocol carbon offset credits ever sold to banks and governments could be illegitimate because they were generated by firms manipulating the marketplace.

Companies, the activists allege, are deliberately generating greenhouse gas pollution in order to snag millions of dollars worth of carbon credits when they then mitigate the emissions. Many chemical manufacturers also seem to be tweaking their systems to generate as much emissions as possible, only reverting to normal pollution levels once they've hit their maximum annual offset credit allowance.
Read more here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Climate change added to G8 agenda

Canada has added climate change to the G8 agenda after coming under pressure from world leaders and environmentalists.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirms climate change will be on the table at both the G8 and G20 summits in Ontario later this month.

Andrew MacDougall says Harper discussed the issue by phone today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Leaders from the European Union, Mexico and the United Nations have been calling on Canada to put climate change on the to-do list when it hosts the summits.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates and environmentalists have also joined the chorus.
A coalition of environmental groups noted today that African leaders have been invited to the G8 as observers.

They said that not discussing the issue at the summit would have been a "slap in the face" to those leaders since their countries are suffering the most because of climate change.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Staking the North: The Arctic is being developed—in whose interest?

By Shailagh Keaney
The Dominion -
Photo: Angela Sterritt

MONTREAL—On March 28 Indigenous leaders and environmental activists called for a moratorium on Arctic oil and gas exploration, as Foreign Affairs Ministers from Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia and the United States met at the “Arctic Summit” in Chelsea, Quebec to discuss their plans for the resource-rich North.

Canada has acknowledged its interest in metals, oil and gas in the Arctic, which the melting sea ice is opening up to exploration. But critics are expressing concerns about the impact of Arctic industrialization on Indigenous peoples and the climate.

The Regime of Money

Joel Kovel explains his vision of ecosocialism and critiques the rampant environmental destruction of extreme capitalism and globalization. Images: Jade Ajani & Jonah Adels. Music: Jeffrey Brodsky.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Canada's Dirty Oil: Breaking our addiction


This new DVD convincingly makes the case that Canada’s oil sands are too dangerous, too dirty, and too expensive. Highlighting the local and global impacts of oil sands extraction, Breaking Our Addiction also makes the case that dirty oil sands crude vs Middle Eastern oil is a false choice. In this, the 21st century economy, a clean transportation future awaits if we choose to make it happen.

Canada's Dirty Oil: Breaking Our Addiction - General audience (long version) from Dirty Oil Sands on Vimeo.

From Cochabamba to Cancun

Building a Climate Justice Movement in Quebec

Roger Rashi

The recent Cochabamba Conference on Climate Change has issued a call to build “a global peoples movement for climate justice.” A novel feature of this call is that it is supported by progressive countries, mainly those of the ALBA Alliance (Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, and others), as well as by social movements, primarily but not exclusively, from Latin America.

A potential pitfall lies in the danger felt by some social movements that they might lose their autonomy, or worse, become a pawn in a “diplomatic strategy” spun by the countries involved. This distrust is expressed, overtly or covertly, by many activists and organizations already involved in environmental issues.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Toronto Days of Action

The Group of 8 Leaders and the Group of 20 Leaders are meeting in Ontario from June 25-27, 2010. Toronto-based organizations of women, people of colour, indigenous peoples, the poor, the working class, queer and trans people and disabled people are organizing a people's convergence. Join Us!

About us
The so called ‘leaders’ and bankers of the twenty richest countries are meeting in Huntsville and Toronto on 25-27 June 2010 at the G8 and G20 Summits. They are meeting to make decisions that will result in more exploitation of people and the environment. They want to ensure that the systems that increase colonization, wars and displacement are maintained. In direct resistance, we are coming together to create a just world that puts people before corporate and elite profit.

G20 People’s Summit prepares to welcome the global justice movement to Toronto

Council of Canadians

One week from today, the 2010 People’s Summit – a weekend of popular resistance to the G8 and G20, teeming with exciting, diverse, and democratic responses to an unjust system – will begin at Ryerson University, with allied events at the University of Toronto. The 2010 People’s Summit's includes three days of workshops, panel discussions, skillshares, interactive arts events, film screenings and more, all running from June 18th to 20th.

While the billion-dollar-plus G8 and G20 Summits actively prevent the democratic participation of the global majority, the voice of the people will be loud and clear at the People's Summit. “The People’s Summit is the democratic alternative to the G8 and G20 Summits, where everyone is welcome,” says Marya Folinsbee, Coordinator of the People’s Summit. “People – individuals and civil society organizations – from across Canada and the world are coming to advance a People's agenda, where real solutions to the economic crisis, climate change, human rights abuses, and global injustice will be explored. Unlike the G20, this Summit is an inspiring example of the power of the people to build a more just world.”

Toronto vs. Cochabamba

G20 to consolidate control over climate negotiations
by Cameron Fenton
The Dominion

MONTREAL—A small group of the wealthiest and largest carbon-polluting nations will use this summer’s G8 and G20 summits to advance an unjust global climate deal through unrepresentative, anti-democratic channels, say climate campaigners, Indigenous groups and representatives of nations in the global South.

According to documents released in February by the G20 Research Group—associated with the Munk Centre for International Studies—the European Union (EU) wants to “pursue a new deal on global warming through the G20, since the December 2009 Copenhagen conference of nearly 200 countries led to unwieldy negotiations that accomplished little.”
Read more here.

Confidence in climate science remains strong, poll shows

Survey shows 71% of Britons are concerned about climate, despite hacked emails, failure at Copenhagen and cold weather - The Guardian

Climate science's winter of discontent has not made a large impact on the British public's attitudes to global warming, according to poll of over 1,800 people.

The poll, by researchers at the University of Cardiff, showed a small drop in public acceptance of climate change but not the major falls that some observers had predicted after a series of media controversies over the actions of climate scientists, combined with the failure of the Copenhagen summit and the record-breaking cold temperatures.

"By no means has there been a collapse in confidence in climate science," said Professor Nick Pidgeon, who led the study. "If I was in policy circles I would not be complacent, but reassured that it has not been as serious as many thought it would be."
Read more here.

The Oil Spill Disaster & Fundamental Flaws of the Overall System

Contributed by: Nihilo0
InfoShop News

As many of my regular readers might suspect, I've been following the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico rather closely. But a particular event related to that catastrophe really brought together my overall opinion of the whole mess. In an obscenely ludicrous turn of events, those applying to respond for the clean-up efforts on the gulf coast were subjected to drug tests and immigration raids! I was almost too furiously disgusted to guffaw.

But, frankly, maybe this potentially predictable event is just what was needed to allow us a chance to see the oil spill in a broader and more comprehensive context. As destructive, disruptive, and outright calamitous as this epic and growing oil spill has been... it's easy to forget or overlook the fact that humanity was already in and facing serious crisis. Even without our terminal addiction to oil (which is easily one of the most comprehensive and pressing issues) we still face issues which are often, at best, only incidentally related to petroleum extraction.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BP spills coffee

Cultures of Resistance

Does each gesture really make a difference? Can music and dance be weapons of peace?

Director Iara Lee embarked on a two-year, five-continent trek to find out. From MALI, where the music of Tuareg resistance rises from the desert, to BURMA, where monks acting in the tradition of Gandhi take on a dictatorship, moving on to BRAZIL, where musicians reach out to slum kids and transform guns into guitars, and ending in PALESTINIAN refugee camps in LEBANON, where photography, music, and film have given a voice to those rarely heard, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE explores how art and creativity can be the ammunition in the battle for peace and justice.

CULTURES OF RESISTANCE from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo.

Featuring: Medellín poets for peace, Capoeira masters from Brazil, Niger Delta militants, Iranian graffiti artists, women’s movement leaders in Rwanda, Lebanon’s refugee filmmakers, U.S. political pranksters, Argentina’s Madres de Plaza de Mayo, indigenous Kayapó activists from the Xingu, Israeli dissidents, Hezbollah, Hamas, and hip-hop artists from Palestine, and many more...

Check out the website for more information:

Dutch Green Left makes gains but the right makes more

Dutch voters went to the polls after government collapse over the continued deployment of troops in Afghanistan.

The Labour Party withdrew from Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrat-led coalition in February because of disagreements on extending the deployment of the 1,950 Dutch troops deployed in Afghanistan, precipitating the need for a general election. Radio Netherlands describes the poll as a text-book election battle between left and right.

The Socialist Party, Green Left and the Labour Party, on the left of the political spectrum, wanted far fewer cuts in the next period of government than the parties on the right.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Heatwaves kill scores in South Asia as 2010 is slated to be the hottest year on record

Notes toward an International Libertarian Eco-Socialism

Jason Burke of The Guardian recently reported that ferocious heat-waves have claimed the lives of hundreds—perhaps thousands—in the South Asian countries of Pakistan and India in recent weeks.1 The deaths induced by these heat-waves come during what is preliminarily being termed the hottest summer in the region since official records began in the late nineteenth century. The ruins of Mohenjo-daro, located in Pakistan, were said to have experienced record-breaking temperatures of 53.7° C (129° F) just last week.2 This ‘achievement’ is a few degrees C short of the global historical records reached in Libya’s Al ‘Aziziyah in 1922 (57.8° C), California’s Death Valley in 1913 (56.7°), and historical Palestine’s Tirat Zvi in 1942 (53.9°).3

Lessons learned from BP disaster – Arctic moratorium needed

Council of Canadians

Today’s passage of the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) is a step in the right direction but much more is needed, warns the Council of Canadians.

“The passage of C-311 has been a long time coming and it is certainly good to see Parliament support it,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “While the Council of Canadians is celebrating the passage of C-311 and we want to see it pass the Senate, we believe that this is just a starting point.”

Canada owns the podium for inaction at Bonn climate talks


With international climate treaty negotiations underway again in Bonn, Germany this week, a fossil-of-the-day award has been handed to Canada by the International Climate Action Network (CAN) - a worldwide network of over 450 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The fossil-of-the-day is given out each day of negotiations as a means of calling out the countries who have been particular bad actors at the negotiating table. As of last count, Canada has more fossils than any other country in the world.

In fact, last year Canada was named the "Fossil of the Year" and awarded a "Colossal Fossil."

As Ben Wikler from TckTckTck partner Avaaz explained at the Colossal Fossil award ceremony last year in Copenhagen, “Canada has made zero progress here on financing, offering nothing for the short term or the long term beyond vague platitudes. And in last night’s high-level segment, Canada’s environment minister gave a speech so lame that it didn’t include a single target, number or reference to the science."

Things haven't changed much since then as Canada adds another Fossil to its trophy case at the Bonn climate talks today after they announced that they would lower their greenhouse gas emission targets to the same level as the United States.

So now we don't only see these talks in Bonn continuing to drag along at a snail's pace, but Canada, one of the largest per-capita greenhouse gas emitters in the world, is now trying to wrangle out of the commitments they have already made.

Earlier this year, Canada hosted the 2010 Games in Vancouver and told the world they were the most sustainable Olympics in history. They also won a record number of medals at the Games.

There is a bitter irony, that only a few months later the same country is leading the pack to the bottom when it comes to dealing with climate change and racking up a record number of awards for doing so.

Michael Lebowitz: `We must choose socialism over capitalist barbarism'

Links Journal

Michael Lebowitz was interviewed by Srećko Horvat during the Subversive Film Festival and conference on socialism, held from May 1 to May 25, 2010, in Zagreb, Croatia. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Michael Lebowitz's permission. [Click here to read more articles by Michael Lebowitz.]

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Srećko Horvat: In May, as a participant of the big international conference on Socialism, you are coming to a country which had an experience with the the Yugoslavian version of socialism in the last century. Could you explain why socialism in the 21st century?

Michael Lebowitz: Basically, I think there is no alternative. Capitalism has always been a system that treats human beings and nature simply as a means for the purpose of making profits. The logic of capital is the growth of capital and, as Marx pointed out, its tendency is to destroy both those original sources of wealth -- human beings and nature. But how long can that go on? Production under capitalist relations is so unfulfilling that it produces people who can only get satisfaction by purchasing and possessing things. At the same time, we know that in order to be able to sell the commodities produced, capital must constantly generate new needs. It is a lethal combination – consumerism is not an accident in capitalism.
Read more here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill

John Vidal
The Guardian

Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it. The Deepwater Horizon disaster caused headlines around the world, yet the people who live in the Niger delta have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades

A ruptured pipeline burns in a Lagos suburb after an explosion in 2008
which killed at least 100 people. Photograph: George Esiri/Reuters

We reached the edge of the oil spill near the Nigerian village of Otuegwe after a long hike through cassava plantations. Ahead of us lay swamp. We waded into the warm tropical water and began swimming, cameras and notebooks held above our heads. We could smell the oil long before we saw it – the stench of garage forecourts and rotting vegetation hanging thickly in the air.

The farther we travelled, the more nauseous it became. Soon we were swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the best-quality oil in the world. One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months.
Read more here.

McQuaig: Smear tactics tar protesters

Linda McQuaig
June 01, 2010

Given the abysmal state of things — with no progress on climate change, financial markets still operating as unregulated casinos and oil continuing to surge freely into the gulf — it's not surprising that many people feel the world is being poorly managed. Millions respond by drifting into apathy or hedonistic consumerism.

But there are others who are so passionate about the fate of the Earth that they feel compelled to do more than shop. They want to object, to let world leaders know they disapprove. These are the types of people who plan to protest at the G20 summit later this month in Toronto.