Saturday, December 22, 2012

China’s Capitalism and the Climate

By Robert Hunziker
Dissident Voice
December 22nd, 2012

China’s three-decade-old conversion to state capitalism has radically transformed the country. As a result, more than one-half of China’s population now lives in an urban setting versus 26% in 1990, and China has 19 mega cities each with over 10 million population. This vast undertaking has become a way forward for a population of 1.4 billion people (a population larger than the United States, the European Union, and South America combined) to conduct business on the world stage, and the ramifications are felt all across the planet.

As China increasingly adapts to capitalism, conflict arises within its own society as well as beyond its borders. Capitalism’s penchant for conflict goes back as far as the middle of the 19th century when Karl Marx was the first economist in the world to notice how “boom & bust” economic cycles were largely unknown to the world until capitalism hit the scene. These boom & bust cycles may be unique to capitalism, but China, outside of the past three decades, for a thousand years was quiet, pastoral, and self-sufficient, ignoring the outside world. However, nowadays China has come face-to-face with the world like a fire-eating dragon.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New book from NYC - No Expectations: A Memoir

From Next Year Country Books  

NO EXPECTATIONS by James N. McCrorie is a brief memoir of a Montreal working class kid, the son of Scottish immigrants, who lowered his sights, abandoning a lively ambition to either go to sea or become a railroader, and settling for the life of an academic.

The choice did not keep him out of some of the historical struggles of his time, including the fight for medicare in Saskatchewan in 1962, the wild cat strike of 1964, when CN railroaders shut down the railroad, paralyzing the nation, and university reform, which dominated campus life throughout the 1970s.

Click HERE to purchase this book.

Read excerpts from his book HERE and HERE.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Climate Change: The Tragic Farce At Doha

Solidarity Ecosocialist Commission
Europe Solidaire Sans Frontieres
11 December 2012

Activists demand action on climate change at a protest march on Saturday. Article HERE.

As the Doha COP18 climate talks draw to a close, they have unfortunately confirmed The Economist’s description of the event as a “theater of the absurd.” Even as the World Bank has released a report describing a rise in average global temperatures by a catastrophic 4 degrees Celsius over the course of this century, no greater sense of urgency emerged at the talks, largely due to the obvious futility of trying to formulate global policy without a serious commitment by Washington to reduce its own gargantuan carbon footprint. Meanwhile, the effects of climate change have accelerated with the ferocious global warming-fueled superstorm Sandy and the enormous Typhoon Bopha that has ravaged the southern Philippines, to mention only the most recent and dramatic that have ravaged communities as a result.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Marxist Ecological Vision

By Nicolas Davenport
1 November 2012

The following article is adapted from a presentation at the Solidarity summer school in August 2012. Nicholas Davenport is a member of the newly formed Ecosocialism Working Group of Solidarity. The editors of Against the Current view this contribution as part of an urgently needed discussion.

The questions facing environmental activists, and socialists in particular, range from the sheer scale of the environmental disasters already underway to the problems of beginning a transition from a system organized around massive consumption of fossil fuels, vast megacities and global agribusiness.

In the process of doing so, how will an ecosocialist movement and society address the crisis of global inequality and the need to “develop the productive forces” without pushing the planet and human civilization over the environmental cliff? We look forward to explorations of these questions from a variety of angles and viewpoints. — David Finkel, for the ATC editors

THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS presents the starkest possible example of both the necessity of and opportunity for revolutionary change. Nothing but a radical transformation of basic social relations can prevent the worst possible outcomes of the crisis. In spite of its overwhelming and frightening magnitude, the ecological crisis presents a moment to revitalize the world revolutionary movement.

However, much of the socialist response to the ecological crisis so far has been inadequate. When we talk about the ecological crisis, socialists often fail to integrate it into our general analysis of the trajectory of bourgeois society and the opportunities for revolution.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pipeline politics — Can popular protest stop the tar sands leviathan?

By Richard Fidler 
December 8, 2012

Petroleum giant Enbridge Inc. has taken huge strides in recent weeks to complete its plan to transport tar sands oil to eastern Canada and from there to foreign markets.

Already assured of support from the Harper government, the company is rapidly lining up further backing from provincial politicians and industry players, including a key trade union. And it is fast-tracking the regulatory approval process.

Enbridge’s project entails reversing the flow of an existing pipeline circuit across southern Ontario to Montréal, Quebec and from there through New England states to Portland, Maine. At present imported oil is carried from Portland to Sarnia, Ontario, where existing refineries already process dirty tar sands oil piped from Alberta. Enbridge also plans to increase the pipeline’s capacity from 240,000 barrels per day to 300,000 bpd.

Monday, December 3, 2012

New study states that climate change may not be reversible

All Voices
December 2, 2012

The threat of global warming is quite an immediate one, having a potential to not only cause irreparable damage to global ecology but also, if left unchecked, to make the planet earth unliveable. Visible effects of global warming have already been felt, with scientists recently collating data on the rise in sea levels because of global warming, noting the increase to be around 11 millimeters. Of course the issue of whether or not the effects of global warming climate change can be reversed has been a hotly contested subject for many years now with conventional wisdom urging that regardless of the damage done so far, carbon emissions, which contribute directly to global warming, must be cut down upon.

However a new study suggests that perhaps it is too late, that carbon emissions are now too high for humanity to turn back the tide of climate change. Researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia in Britain have found that it is unlikely that global warming, which stands at 2C above pre-industrial levels, will ever be reverted, saying that carbon emissions had gone beyond a level to control.

The research, published in the journal, Nature Climate Change stated that carbon dioxide emissions had reached 35.6 billion tons this year, an increase of 2.6 percent from last year and an alarming 58 percent increase since the 1990s.

Tyndall's director, Corinne Le Quere, said, "These latest figures come amidst climate talks in Doha, but with emissions continuing to grow, it's as if no one is listening to the scientific community. I am worried that the risks of dangerous climate change are too high on our current emissions trajectory. We need a radical plan."

Read more HERE.