Sunday, April 28, 2013

What Would an “Eco-Socialist” Politics Look Like?

Thoughts on The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York

By Andy Feeney 
April 20, 2013 

As many Americans prepare to observe Earth Day this year, democratic socialists who are paying attention might want to contemplate two possibly disagreeable questions.

The first is: what if anything can we contribute to the understanding of climate change and other urgent environmental problems that countless green activists haven’t already discovered themselves – and long before us? The second is: what unique contribution can socialists make – if any – toward fixing what’s wrong?

When around 17 million Americans attended the first Earth Day events some 43 years ago, an easy answer to both questions was: “not much.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Eco-Feminism for Another Possible World

A rich exchange is required between ecology and feminism

Presse-Toi A' Gauche
April 23, 2013
(google translation)

Puleo Alicia García Doctor of Philosophy at the University Complutense of Madrid, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University and Board Member of the Chair of Gender Studies at the University of Valladolid. She recently published "Eco-feminism for another possible world", Madrid, Cátedra, 2011.

Juan Tortosa - What is eco-feminism?

Alicia García Puleo - I understand that as the encounter between feminist consciousness, environmental, animal rights and peace in the twenty-first century, when it becomes necessary to revise our understanding of the place of humanity in our land.Eco-feminism is not only the conservation of endangered species. Eco-feminism combines the concern for justice for the human social ecology. I must, however, emphasize that I answer the question from my proposal eco-feminist. But there are different ways of thinking about eco-feminism, for example, some do not care about the "other animals."

That everyone shares is the concern for environmental issues that affect mostly women. We women are biologically and hormonally vulnerable to toxic chemicals currently in use, and we are concerned both as consumers as producers.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Calgary muzzles artists critical of tar sands

April 17, 2013

                                                Eeny, Meeny, Miny by Bill Helin

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation had a permit from the City of Calgary to display their travelling art exhibition, Artists for an Oil-Free Coast, at city hall. However, once the show opened, a backlash from conservative politicians caused the city to revoke the permit, arguing the show was too “political” and violated municipal bylaws banning demonstrations inside the building.

Despite the show’s unambiguous title, the city claims they “weren’t aware there was a specific political agenda or cause associated with the art exhibit,” according to Sharon Purvis, the city’s director with corporate properties and buildings.

While the city is allowing the work — largely comprised of landscapes and nature scenes — to stay up until Wednesday, they have banned exhibition organizers conducting media interviews or speaking about politics to the public.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, renowned painted Robert Bateman, who contributed artwork to the show, welcomed the hostile reaction.

“I’m sympathetic to the councillors that want to ban it. They’re actually helping the cause of raising the profile of the show, which is OK, because otherwise the show might get ignored.”

More information about the Artists for an Oil-Free Coast, including future tour dates, can be found at the Raincoast website.

Ecological Transition of the Economy: A Giant Step Beyond Capitalism

Presse-Toi A' Gauche!
April 16, 2013
(Google translation)

Québec solidaire, in the wake of the 2007-2008 crisis, launched a manifesto on May 1, 2009, entitled to recover from the crisis: dare beyond capitalism? This question has animated all the reflection of our party in the issue 2 (economics, geography, employment).

Québec solidaire to the crisis of capitalism and the ecological crisis

This exciting approach has resulted in a transition program to define the foundations of a new post-capitalist society. While the crisis has unveiled the power of the financial oligarchy, against the backdrop of global ecological crisis, this program allows us to identify the necessary exercise of genuine sovereignty economic conditions marked by the limits of the environment.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Unity Statement on Ecological Justice

Tuesday February 5th, 2013

The following unity statement on Ecological Justice — the first new unity statement for FRSO/OSCL since 1991 — was adopted at our January 2013 Congress. With a strong focus on ecology and the necessity of left analysis and practice that centers and emphasizes ecology, the statement is the outcome of the last three years of summation, study, and practice, as well as countless years of experience in environmental justice and ecological work by a number of our members.

In 2010 we embarked on a multi-part national study of ecological crises, social movements that center ecology, indigenous struggles, eco-socialism, eco-feminism and much more. We engaged our membership around key ideas, questions and contradictions facing the left and humanity in relationship to ecological crises as they intersect with economic and political crises in the 21st century. We also prioritized, as an organization, sending members and leaders to retreats hosted by the Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project.

Out of the national study and the work of the Ecology Workteam of FRSO/OSCL, we drafted a statement, looking towards the adoption of a unity statement at our 2013 Congress. We had four major re-writes of the statement, countless discussions, debate, regional workshops and political education sessions with members in order to reach a place of agreement and unity as members of FRSO/OSCL.

Structural adjustment or…. Ecosocialism

By Victor Quintana
APRIL 7, 2013

Like medieval plagues, structural adjustment programmes implemented through southern Europe economies are destroying families, trampling on social rights, eliminating jobs, and making life precarious. Burying the hopes of the populations are the political parties that rotate in equal doses in one failed government after another. Given the right-wing and social democratic alternance it seems that all voters in Southern Europe are deciding is how, and at what speed their social rights are to be liquidated.

In this situation, the Left, called by many, the radical left, are adopting a new alternative to meet the challenge of these times that threaten social life, the integrity of the people, the environment, the community of living beings: Ecosocialism. It was presented at the National Congress of the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) held in Bordeaux, France from 22 to 24 March. This party formed the Left Front with the French Communist Party and other smaller parties, in 2012, with Jean Luc Melenchon as presidential candidate and achieved a historic 11% of the votes in the first round.

Trade Unions in the Green Economy: Working for the Environment

06 APRIL 2013

Need there be a conflict between jobs and climate change? The positions of trade unions internationally on problems of climate change and the environment is explored in a varied collection of articles, reviewed by Douglas Coker.

Trade Unions in the Green Economy: Working for the Environment, eds. Nora Rathzel and David Uzzell, foreword by Tim Jackson (Routledge: Earthscan, 2013), xiv, 238pp.

The threats from global warming and climate change are well established. Progress on implementing measures to mitigate global warming have been woefully inadequate and currently seem to have stalled completely. Governments at all levels have disappointed, business responses vary with much greenwash evident, so what, one might wonder, have trade unions been doing in response to the threat from global warming? This much needed book, Trade Unions in the Green Economy: Working for the Environment, provides some answers.

Edited by Nora Rathzel and David Uzzell with a foreword by Tim Jackson, author of Prosperity Without Growth, a wide range of authors contribute eighteen chapters in total. Academics dominate, senior staff from UN and trade union organisations contribute, and we have one contribution from a consultant, and last but not least one contribution from a Swedish autoworker (one of Gramsci's ‘organic intellectuals’?).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Imperial recipes for a burnt planet

Socialist Worker
April 2, 2013

Chris Williams, author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis, explains the critical connection between imperialism and ecological destruction.

AT THE turn of the 19th century, industrialist and weapons manufacturer par excellence Alfred Nobel, the guilt-ridden inventor of dynamite, established the Peace Prize that carries his name, proposing that it go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Over 100 years later, for the first time ever, a Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an African woman. The 2004 award was controversial. Politicians from the country responsible for the awards, Norway, wanted to know what this woman from Kenya had done for peace.

Carl I. Hagen, leader of Norway's Progress Party, whose senior political adviser, Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, was a member of the Nobel Committee, sneeringly dismissed giving the Prize to a mere environmental activist: "I thought the intention of Alfred Nobel's will was to focus on a person or organization who had worked actively for peace...It is odd that the committee has completely overlooked the unrest that the world is living with daily, and given the prize to an environmental activist."

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Tar Sands Disaster

New York Times
March 31, 2013

IF President Obama blocks the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all, he’ll do Canada a favor.

Canada’s tar sands formations, landlocked in northern Alberta, are a giant reserve of carbon-saturated energy — a mixture of sand, clay and a viscous low-grade petroleum called bitumen. Pipelines are the best way to get this resource to market, but existing pipelines to the United States are almost full. So tar sands companies, and the Alberta and Canadian governments, are desperately searching for export routes via new pipelines.

Canadians don’t universally support construction of the pipeline. A poll by Nanos Research in February 2012 found that nearly 42 percent of Canadians were opposed. Many of us, in fact, want to see the tar sands industry wound down and eventually stopped, even though it pumps tens of billions of dollars annually into our economy.