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Ecosocialism


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#1 John Dolva

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 02:21 AM

Climate Change, Ecosocialism and the Green New Deal

Newly released figures confirm unemployment is going through the roof, austerity measures are causing global unrest, huge strike action has occurred recently in Chile amongst others and the biggest strike in the UK since 1926 seems increasingly likely in November with plans for sustained industrial action into the new year.

Synchronously we are becoming desensitized to news of whichever freak weather condition, flood, forest fire or natural disaster has just occurred in whichever country. In the Pacific Ocean, small islands are disappearing under rising seas, oceans are acidifying and greenhouse gases are being pumped into the atmosphere apace.

The miserably inadequate Cap-and-trade system, a new market that commodifies the atmosphere was apparently designed to deal with harmful emissions and avert catastrophic climate change, but designed by whom? by the wall-street money men that caused the economic collapse and the mass transfer of wealth from the public purse to the parasitic elite.

These parallel trends (environmental and social) show no sign of attenuation. So is there a strategy that seeks convergence? Yes, its called ecosocialism, but generally ecosocialists are better at pushing the desired outcome of the movement than they are the transition. A world in which the state eventually withers, free association of producers, use value replaces exchange value, ecological rationale, restoration of the commons and so on.

But outside of this appetising prospect, what can we embrace here and now? How do we move forward? There are no hard and fast rules and the seeds of ecosocialism are finding increasingly fertile conditions with various social movements and political groupings.

When we begin to talk of the fightback against austerity involving coordinated industrial action on the kind of scale proposed in the UK that may involve 6 million workers or more including various unions, many waking from relative slumber; notably the doctors union (the british medical association) that has balloted members for industrial action receiving overwhelming support of 87%.

When we acknowledge that neoliberal austerity is pushing unemployment in the UK to over 2.5 million, out of a total population of c.60million with similar trends in many 'advanced' countries.

When we recognise that this increase is in large part due to youth unemployment and that the outlook for young people is increasingly bleak; debt, housing, job insecurity and climate change all handed down from the profligate generation and many of those that have secured higher level education have found that their striving has exacerbated their financial woes with student debts of up to 30k and few jobs available. The myth of meritocracy laid bare.

When we consider It is not just the youth but it is across the board, many older workers facing the prospect of long term or permanent unemployment.

When we consider the extra-economic affects: the surprisingly uniform clinical presentation of unemployed people so prevalent that medical professionals have adopted the term "unemployment depression" *

When we consider all of these factors it seems appropriate to draw on lessons from history and talk 'New Deal' as was the response to the great depression caused by the Wall-street crash in 1929. But there is of course a difference; the 21st century New Deal would have to seek convergence, addressing both the social and ecological crisis.

At the dawn of the current economic meltdown in 2008 England & Wales Green Party Leader; Caroline Lucas used the great depression of the 1930's and subsequent new deal to juxtapose the idea of a Green New Deal:

"first, strictly regulate the cause of the problem - the greedy and feckless finance sector; second, get people back to work" and "Finally, fund this in part by an increase in taxes on big business and the rich - a measure which also has the positive effect of dramatically decreasing inequality"

And:

"A "carbon army", recruited from those in the region who are at present unemployed or wanting to improve their existing skills, could be trained for the low to high skilled jobs required. To reduce carbon dramatically will require skills ranging from energy analysis, design and production of hi-tech renewable alternatives, large-scale engineering projects such as combined heat and power and offshore wind, through to work in making every building "energy tight", fitting more efficient energy systems in homes, offices and factories"

My feeling is that ecosocialists must embed the fight for a green new deal as a core strategy. No it's not the whole picture, and in isolation it will not achieve the ecosocialist vision but it is an important part of the transition and it is something we can fight for here and now. And lets face it some of us (me in particular) can talk all day about 1. How capitalism is no way to run a planet. 2. What an ecosocialist world would be like and 3. Manifestations of 21st century socialism in Latin America; However when it comes to concrete strategies for transition something is often lacking.

Unions and political parties are pressing ahead with green new deal initiatives but they need support. Many of us feel a more natural affinity for grassroots movements. I know i'm not the only one. The truth of the matter is that the transition to ecosocialism will be multi-focal in kind, and that's fine, the question is when will it become systemic. Caveats aside, this will be sooner if we engage with unions and political parties green or socialist (ideally green-socialist!)

Major alarm bells do of course ring when we consider the fact that despite massive and hard fought gains for the new deal of the 1930's, with several million jobs created, in essence the project provided a crutch for capitalism i.e. it is not how we overthrow capitalism; it is a near-term strategy made more significant by the the decreasing time available to make meaningful changes. As David Schwartzman writes:

"What the Green New Deal can accomplish is very significant, indeed critical to confronting the challenge of preventing catastrophic climate change. Humanity cannot afford to wait for socialism to replace capitalism to begin implementing this prevention program"

Also we must heed the notion of the Jevon's paradox, that readers of John Bellamy Foster will be well acquainted with. In brief William Jevons was an English economist, essentially a capitalist who argued in his 1965 book 'The Coal Question" that:

"It is a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth."

Bellamy Foster gives examples of more efficient refrigerators not leading to fewer being made but rather more and with increased demand and with each unit increasing in size. In addition similar with the automobile industry; more energy efficient automobiles led to an increase in demand for driving so more fuel was burnt and more cars were made.

Various green sector jobs in this regard could play in to the hands of that mother of contradictions, green capitalism. In addition sectors that by design would be virtually redundant in the ecosocialist world such as advertising may find benefit under a green new deal.

So the success depends on the trajectory it takes; jobs created for what purpose and what and how much is produced. There would be need for constant re-evaluation to divert the prospect of overproduction and waste. The Renewable energy sector is key but the most powerful application of the green new deal bar-none would not just be to create entirely new jobs but to re-appropriate jobs from the military, to retool military personnel. It's easy to forget when we consider the human cost of war that the military whether engaged in occupations, terror campaigns or on training missions is the single biggest emitter of CO2. I guess dealing with the cessation of the military could be considered as green new deal plus, with the prospect not just of peace but of enormous funds and intellect that could be diverted toward the fight against climate instability

Another potential benefit is that during the struggle for the green new deal, a significant grouping of the population i.e the unemployed (although not exclusively the unemployed) could be engaged in green political action for the first time, or rather they will if we push it hard enough. In addition once successful there will be vast quantities of workers directly engaged in the green movement, increasing education and awareness. This is vital if we are to transition to ecosocialism, in turn it is also vital that ecosocialism, semantics aside, becomes mainstream.

Of course not everybody agrees with the idea of a green new deal and as already stated it's constraints need to be appreciated, but it is undoubtedly a debate that ecosocialists should engage in.

A green new deal, here in the UK headed by the 1million green jobs campaign has been embraced by the green party at the recent conference. For all of those that like to mock clicktivism' please reconsider and to all of those that don't; please add your name to the petition site here it will help. I gather you don't have to be a UK citizen. A U.S initiative the blue-green alliance can be found by clicking here.

And now over to the always passionate and articulate Jonathan Neale to explain more: [video]

Climate Change, Bolivia, Copenhagen Trade Unions, Military spending, Emissions and Participatory Democracy.: [video]

* Recent studies have shown that a high percentage of individuals develop depression within six months of becoming unemployed. Unemployment depression is a serious problem that throws you into a cycle of defeat because its debilitating symptoms can make it even harder for you to find another job. It's like a vicious cycle. Unemployment depression in its early stages is typically characterized by physical symptoms such as headache, stomach ache, and sexual dysfunction. Other symptoms that may eventually arise include irritability, fatigue, sluggishness, and loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. People who have been unemployed for more than three months are particularly susceptible to unemployment depression

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Edited by John Dolva, 29 September 2011 - 02:24 AM.


#2 John Dolva

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 04:07 PM


How to make an ecosocialist revolution
Saturday, October 8, 2011 By Ian Angus - Ian Angus is editor of climateandcapitalism.com and co-author, with Simon Butler, of the new book Too Many People?. This is his keynote presentation to the recent Climate Change Social Change conference in Melbourne. * * *

Meetings such as this play a vital role in building a movement that can stop the hell-bound train of capitalism, before it takes itself and all of humanity over the precipice. Building such a movement is the most important thing anyone can do today — so I’m honoured to have been invited to take part in your discussions.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Karl Marx predicted that unless capitalism was eliminated the great productive forces it unleashed would turn into destructive forces. And that’s exactly what has happened.

Every day we see more evidence that capitalism, which was once the basis for an unprecedented wave of creativity and liberation, has transformed itself into a force for destruction, decay and death.

It directly threatens the existence of the human race, not to mention the existence of the millions of species of plants and animals with whom we share the Earth.

Many people have proposed technological fixes or political reforms to address various aspects of the global environmental crisis, and many of those measures deserve serious consideration. Some of them may buy us some time, some of them may delay the ecological day of reckoning.




How to make an Ecosocialist Revolution from Jill Hickson on Vimeo.

Contrary to what some of our critics claim, no serious socialist is opposed to partial measures or reforms — we will actively support any measure that reduces, limits or delays the devastating effects of capitalism. And we will work with anyone, socialist or not, who seriously wants to fight for such measures. In fact, just try to stop us.

But as socialists, we know that there can be no lasting solution to the world’s multiple environmental crises so long as capitalism remains the dominant economic and social system on this planet.

We do not claim to have all the answers, but we do have one big answer: the only basis for long-term, permanent change in the way humanity relates to the rest of nature, is an ecosocialist revolution.

If we don’t make that transformation we may delay disaster, but disaster remains inevitable. As the headline on Climate and Capitalism has always said: “Ecosocialism or barbarism: There is no third way.”

But what do we mean by ecosocialism? And what do we mean by ecosocialist revolution?

What is ecosocialism?

There is no copyright on the word ecosocialism, and those who call themselves ecosocialists don’t agree about everything. So what I’m going to say reflects my own perspective.

Ecosocialism begins with a critique of its two parents, ecology and Marxism.

Ecology, at its very best, gives us powerful tools for understanding how nature functions – not as separate events or activities, but as integrated, interrelated ecosystems. Ecology can and does provide essential insights into the ways that human activity is undermining the very systems that make all forms of life possible.

But while ecology has done very well at describing the damage caused by humans, its lack of social analysis means that few ecologists have developed anything that resembles a credible program for stopping the destruction.

Unlike other animals, the relationship between human beings and our environment can’t be explained by our numbers or by our biology — but that’s where ecology typically stops.

In fact, when ecologists turn to social questions, they almost always get the answers wrong, because they assume that problems in the relationship between humanity and nature are caused by our numbers or by human nature, or that they are just a result of ignorance and misunderstandings.

If only we all knew the truth, the world would change. All we need to do is to tinker with taxes and markets, or maybe advertise birth control more widely, and all will be fine.

The lack of a coherent critique of capitalism has made most Green parties around the world ineffective — or, even worse, it has allowed them to become junior partners in neoliberal governments, providing green camouflage for reactionary policies.

Similarly, many of the biggest green NGOs long ago gave up on actually building an environmental movement, preferring to campaign for donations from corporate polluters. Because they don’t understand capitalism, they think they can solve problems by being friendly with capitalists.

In contrast, Marxism’s greatest strength is its comprehensive critique of capitalism, an analysis that explains why this specific social order has been both so successful and so destructive.

Marxism has also shown that another kind of society is both possible and necessary, a society in which destructive capitalist production is replaced by cooperative production, and in which capitalist property is replaced by a global commons.

What we now call ecology was fundamental to Marx’s thought, and, as John Bellamy Foster has shown, in the 20th century Marxist scientists made major contributions to ecological thought. But on the whole, the Marxist movements of the 20th century either ignored environmental issues entirely, or blithely deferred all consideration of the subject until after the revolution, when socialism would magically solve them all.

What’s worse, some of the worst ecological nightmares of the 20th century occurred in countries that called themselves socialist. We only have to mention the nuclear horror of Chernobyl, or the poisoning and draining of the Aral Sea, to make clear that just eliminating capitalism won’t save the world.

Now there is an easy answer to that — we could just say that those countries weren’t socialist. They were state capitalist, or something else, so criticism of their environmental crimes is irrelevant. But green critics will rightly call that a cop-out.

People in the Soviet Union and the other soviet bloc countries thought they were building socialism. And for most people worldwide that was what socialism looked like.

So whether we call those societies socialist or give them some other label, we need to answer the underlying question: what makes us think that the next attempts to build socialist societies will do any better than they did?

Our answer has two parts.

The first is that eliminating profit and accumulation as the driving forces of the economy will eliminate capitalism’s innate drive to pollute and destroy.

While mistaken policies and ignorance have caused some very serious ecological problems, the global crisis we face today isn’t the result of mistaken policies and ignorance — it is the inevitable result of the way capitalism works.

With capitalism, an ecologically balanced world is impossible. Socialism doesn’t make it certain, but it will make it possible.

The second part of the answer is that history is not made by impersonal forces. The transition to socialism will be achieved by real people, and people can learn from experience.

This is demonstrated in practice by Cuba, which in the past 25 years has made huge strides towards building an ecologically sound economy, and which has repeatedly been one of the few countries that meet the World Wildlife Fund’s criteria for a globally sustainable society.

The lesson we must learn from that achievement and from the environmental failures of socialism in the 20th century is that ecology must have a central place in socialist theory, in the socialist program and in the activity of the socialist movement.

Ecosocialism works to unite the best of the green and the red while overcoming the weaknesses of each. It tries to combine Marxism’s analysis of human society with ecology’s analysis of our relationship to the rest of nature.

It aims to build a society that will have two fundamental and indivisible characteristics.

• It will be socialist, committed to democracy, to radical egalitarianism, and to social justice. It will be based on collective ownership of the means of production, and it will work actively to eliminate exploitation, profit and accumulation as the driving forces of our economy.

• And it will be based on the best ecological principles, giving top priority to stopping anti-environmental practices, to restoring damaged ecosystems, and to re-establishing agriculture and industry on ecologically sound principles.

A sentence in John Bellamy Foster’s The Ecological Rift precisely and concisely explains ecosocialism’s reason for being: “There can be no true ecological revolution that is not socialist; no true socialist revolution that is not ecological.”

What is an ecosocialist revolution?

When we say revolution, we are talking about a profound change in the way humans relate to the earth, in how we produce and reproduce, in almost everything humans do and how we do it.

What we’re aiming for is not just a reorganisation of capitalism, and not just changes in ownership, but for what Fred Magdoff, in an article in a recent issue of Monthly Review, calls “a truly ecological civilization — one that exists in harmony with natural systems.”

Magdoff lists eight characteristics that such a civilization would have.

It would:

1. stop growing when basic human needs are satisfied;

2. not entice people to consume more and more;

3. protect natural life support systems and respect the limits to natural resources, taking into account needs of future generations;

4. make decisions based on long-term societal/ecological needs, while not neglecting short-term needs of people;

5. run as much as possible on current (including recent past) energy instead of fossil fuels;

6. foster human characteristics and a culture of cooperation, sharing, reciprocity, and responsibility to neighbours and community;

7. make possible the full development of human potential, and;

8. promote truly democratic political and economic decision making for local, regional, and multiregional needs.

As Fred Magdoff says, a society with those characteristics would be “the opposite of capitalism in essentially all respects”.

Not easy or quick

Achieving such a change is absolutely essential — but we should not delude ourselves that it will happen simply or quickly. I’ve found that most environmentalists and most socialists seriously underestimate just how big a task we have set ourselves, how big the change will have to be, how difficult it will be, and how long it will take.

Forty years ago, in 1971, Barry Commoner, one of the first modern socialists to write about the environmental crisis, estimated that in order to reverse the environmental destruction that he could then see in the United States and to rebuild industry and agriculture on an ecologically sound basis, “most of the nation’s resources for capital investment would need to be engaged in the task of ecological reconstruction for at least a generation”.

The rate and extent of environmental destruction has accelerated rapidly in the four decades since Commoner wrote that. The time required and the cost of the repairs and reconstruction have increased substantially.

For example, the United Nations recently estimated that it will take 30 years to clean up the devastating damage caused by Shell Oil in the Ogoni peoples’ homeland in the Niger Delta. That’s for an area of just 386 square miles — about one-ninth the size of Sydney.

The Niger Delta is a particularly horrible example of capitalism’s ecocidal role, of course, but there are many more examples around the world, enough to dash any hope for an easy turnaround.

That means that the title of my talk today is a little misleading. I can’t tell you how to make an ecosocialist revolution, because the necessary changes will take decades, in circumstances we can’t predict.

What’s more, the transformation will undoubtedly require new knowledge, and new science. To paraphrase Marx, there is no recipe book for the chefs of the ecological revolution.

Getting to the starting point

But what we can and must discuss is, how to get to the starting point.

One of the pioneers of revolutionary socialism and environmentalism was the great British poet and artist William Morris. In 1893, he described the starting point this way:

“The first real victory of the Social Revolution will be the establishment not indeed of a complete system of communism in a day, which is absurd, but of a revolutionary administration whose definite and conscious aim will be to prepare and further, in all available ways, human life for such a system.”

We could combine William Morris’s statement with Fred Magdoff’s terminology, to summarise the central goal of the ecosocialist movement today: “A revolutionary administration whose definite and conscious aim will be to prepare and further, in all available ways, human life for an ecological civilisation.”

In our new book, Too Many People?, Simon Butler and I express that idea this way:

“In every country, we need governments that break with the existing order, that are answerable only to working people, farmers, the poor, indigenous communities, and immigrants — in a word, to the victims of ecocidal capitalism, not its beneficiaries and representatives.”

And we suggest some of the first measures such governments might take. Our suggestions include:

• rapidly phasing out fossil fuels and biofuels, replacing them with clean energy sources;

• actively supporting farmers to convert to ecological agriculture; defending local food production and distribution;

• introducing free and efficient public transport networks;

• restructuring existing extraction, production and distribution systems to eliminate waste, planned obsolescence, pollution and manipulative advertising, and providing full retraining to all affected workers and communities;

• retrofitting existing homes and buildings for energy efficiency;

• closing down all military operations at home and elsewhere; transforming the armed forces into voluntary teams charged with restoring ecosystems and assisting the victims of environmental disasters.

Our suggestions aren’t carved in stone, and I’m sure many of you can think of many other essential changes.

For other valuable ideas about what such a government would do, I encourage you to also look at the “short term agenda for environmental activists” in the final chapter of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism, by John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff, and at the program proposed in Australia in the Socialist Alliance Climate Charter.

I stress that we shouldn’t wait for an ecosocialist government to make those changes. On the contrary, we should be fighting for every one of those measures today, as central elements of our fight for a better world.

Those are first steps, just the beginning — building a fully ecological civilisation will involve much more. The longer it takes us to build a movement that can get the process started, the more difficult the ecosocialist revolution will be.

Majority participation

I have stressed the complexity and size of the task before us not to discourage you, but to underline another essential point. Social changes this sweeping will not happen just because they are the right thing to do.

Good ideas are not enough. Moral authority isn’t enough. An ecosocialist revolution cannot be made by a minority. It cannot be imposed by politicians and bureaucrats, no matter how well meaning they might be.

It will require the active participation of the great majority of the people. In Marx’s famous words: “The emancipation of the working class must be the act of the workers themselves.”

This is not because democracy is morally superior, but because the necessary changes cannot be carried through, and will not be long-lasting, unless they are actively supported, created and implemented, by the broadest possible range of people.

Only majority support and involvement can possibly overcome the opponents of change. The only way to overcome the forces that now rule, the forces of global destruction, is to organise a countervailing force that can stop them and remove them from power.

That’s another fundamental truth about revolutions — there is no such thing as a win-win revolution, where everyone gains and no one loses. In a real revolution, the people who had power and privileges in the old society lose their power and privileges in the new.

A few of those people may join in the revolutionary cause, and if so we will welcome them to our cause. But most of them probably will not support the majority.

Today, as in every human society for thousands of years, there are powerful social groups that benefit from the existing situation, and they will resist change no matter how obvious the need for change may be.

We only have to look at the present US Congress or at Australia’s parliament to see powerful people who will resist change even to the point of destroying the world.

The climate change deniers are not isolated cranks. They are well-financed politicians, backed by some of the world’s richest corporations, and they are prepared to bring the world down to protect their power.

You know, whenever we talk about revolution, the powers that be accuse us of plotting violence. In fact, most of the ecosocialists I know are pretty nonviolent in their personal lives. I admit that many of us in Canada like hockey, and I’m sure there are some footy fans here today, but that doesn’t translate into our political outlook.

We don’t want violence, and we will be pleased if the transition to ecosocialism is entirely peaceful. Unfortunately, unlike in professional sports, what happens in a revolution isn’t entirely up to us.

As we’ve seen in many countries, the democratic election of popular governments by huge majorities has never stopped defenders of the old order from trying to regain power through violent means. And as the people of Venezuela and Bolivia have shown, the best way to minimise and counteract the violence of the reactionaries is to mobilise the largest possible number of people to defend the revolutionary process.

A tale of two cities

What forces will determine the outcome of the global environmental crisis in the 21st century? Less than two years ago we had a strong foretaste of the class lineup.

In December 2009, the world’s rich countries sent delegations to Copenhagen with instructions not to save the climate, but to block any action that might weaken their capitalist economies or harm their competitive positions in world markets.

And they succeeded.

The backroom deal imposed by US President Barack Obama was, as Fidel Castro wrote, “nothing more than a joke.” The follow-up deal that they negotiated in Cancun was no better.

The Copenhagen and Cancun meetings made it clear that our rulers do not want to solve the climate and ecological crises. Period.

They place their narrow economic and electoral interests before the survival of humanity. They will not change course willingly.

Five months after the Copenhagen meeting, a very different meeting took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

At the invitation of Bolivian president Evo Morales, some 35,000 activists, many of them indigenous people, came from more than 130 countries, to do what Obama and his allies refused to do in Copenhagen — to develop an action program to save the environment.

They drafted a People’s Agreement that places responsibility for the climate crisis on the capitalist system and on the rich countries that “have a carbon footprint five times larger than the planet can bear”.

The World People’s Conference adopted 18 major statements, covering topics from climate refugees to indigenous rights to technology transfer, and much more.

It is impossible to imagine such a program coming out of any meeting of the wealthy powers, or out of any United Nations conference.

Those two meetings, in Copenhagen and Cochabamba, symbolise the great divide in the struggle for the future of the Earth and humanity. On one side, a meeting dominated by the rich and powerful, determined to save their wealth and privileges, even if the world burns.

On the other side, indigenous people, small farmers and peasants, progressive activists and working people of all kinds, determined to save the world from the rich and powerful.

The Cochabamba conference was a big step towards a global movement that can actually change the world. It showed, in a preliminary way, the alliance of forces that must be forged in each country, and internationally, to end the environmentally destructive capitalist system.

We need students and academics and feminists and scientists — but we will not be able to change the world unless we win the active participation of working people, farmers, indigenous peoples and all of the oppressed.

These are the forces that the green left must ally with. These are the forces that we must win to the perspective of ecosocialist revolution.

What to do now?

Now at this point, you should be asking, “How can we do that? How do we win mass support for the program and objectives we know are essential?”

That is exactly the right question to ask. Because if we can’t translate our ideas and our program into action, then our ideas are irrelevant, and so are we. To cite another famous comment by Marx, our task is not just to explain the world, our task is to change it.

As Marxists, we use our analysis of the world as a basis for determining what to do. First we ask, “what’s going on?” Then we ask, “What is to be done?”

When we ask those questions today, we are all intensely aware that although the need for revolution is very clear to us, we are in a minority, not just in society at large, but even within the left and within the environmental movement.

As Marxist scholar Fredric Jameson has written, we live in a time when for most people, “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism”.

Most green activists do not see capitalism as the primary problem — or, if they do, they don’t believe an ecosocialist revolution is possible or desirable.

So the key task before us is not to proclaim the revolution from every street corner, but rather to find ways to work with the broadest possible range of people as they are today.

Latin American Marxist Marta Harnecker has expressed it this way: “Being radical is not a matter of advancing the most radical slogans, or of carrying out the most radical actions …

“Being radical lies rather in creating spaces where broad sectors can come together and struggle. For as human beings we grow and transform ourselves in the struggle. Understanding that we are many and are fighting for the same objectives is what makes us strong and radicalizes us.”

It is through struggles for change that we can win the people who today find it easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.

We cannot artificially create majority support, but fortunately we can depend on capitalism and imperialism to help us. Long ago, Marx and Engels said that what the bourgeoisie produces, above all, are its own gravediggers.

In 2011, we have seen capitalism’s future gravediggers come into direct conflict with authoritarian governments, with imperialism, and with capitalist austerity programs, in countries as diverse as Chile, Spain, Greece, Tunisia, Egypt, Britain and even the United States.

We cannot tell in advance where mass struggles will break out, or what forms they will take. That’s not under our control. The best slogans in the world won’t do it. But capitalism will make it happen.

The real question is, will the next radicalisation peter out, or be defeated — or will it move forward, and ultimately challenge capitalism itself?

The movement we need

There are no guarantees. Marxism is not deterministic. The ecosocialist revolution is not inevitable. It will only happen if people consciously decide that is necessary, and take the steps needed to bring it about.

As long ago as 1848, Marx and Engels posed an alternative: the class struggle would lead either to “a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large,” … or to “the common ruin of the contending classes.” In this century of environmental crisis, the common ruin of all, the destruction of civilisation, is a very real possibility.

One factor that will determine the outcome — in my opinion the single most important factor — is the role that will be played by the people in this room, and by others like you around the world.

Spontaneous uprisings such as those we’ve seen in Europe and North Africa this year are inevitable, but they are not, by themselves, sufficient to bring into being “a revolutionary administration whose definite and conscious aim will be to prepare and further, in all available ways, human life for an ecological civilisation”.

That will not be achieved unless we are successful in creating, in advance, an organised movement with a clear vision, an ecosocialist program, that can bridge the gap between the spontaneous anger of millions of people and the beginning of the ecosocialist revolution.

Meetings such as this one can be part of the process of building that movement. I don’t have a blueprint for how to build the movement we need. Indeed, one of the lessons we can learn from the failures of socialism in the 20th century is that centrally-dictated, one-size-fits-all plans for movement building will always fail.

Rather than a blueprint, let me suggest four characteristics that movements committed to ecosocialism must share if they are to have any chance of success.

1. Ecosocialists will extend and apply ecosocialism’s analysis and program.

This might seem obvious, but it’s very important. In the past century, many Marxists tried to freeze Marxism. After the death of Marx, or Engels, or Lenin, or Trotsky, or Mao — each group had its own cut-off point — their Marxism stopped developing.

From then on, no matter what the situation, all they had to do was consult the sacred texts. All of the answers were there. Some organisations on the left still do this today.

That approach is completely alien to Marxism, which gives us a method, but not all the answers. It doesn’t even give us all the questions.

In their lifetimes, Marx and Engels studied the scientific, technological and other discoveries of their time, and learned from the struggles of their day. They used their new knowledge to extend, deepen or change their political conclusions. Ecosocialism must follow their example.

There is not, and there will not be, a perfect and immutable ecosocialist program, no document we can point to and say, “that’s it, no more changes, we know what to do in all circumstances”.

A key task for ecosocialists everywhere is to take the beginning points that ecosocialism offers today, and to build on them using the method of Marxism, the best scientific work of our time and the lessons we learn in struggles for change. Then we must apply our new understanding in a wide variety of places and circumstances.

This hard to do, because it requires us to think, to understand our situations and respond appropriately and creatively, not just repeat the same old slogans.

Only if we do that can ecosocialism contribute effectively to saving the Earth.

2. Ecosocialists will be pluralist and open.

Another lesson we can learn from the 20th century is that monolithic socialist grouplets do not turn into mass movements. They stagnate and decay, they argue and they split, but they don’t change the world.

So I want to emphasise that I am not urging you to rush out and found yet another sect. Ecosocialism is not a separate organisation, it is a movement to win existing red and green groups and individuals to an ecosocialist perspective.

Our ecosocialist programs define who we are, they are the glue that holds us together. But within that broad framework, we need to understand that none of us has a monopoly on truth and none of us has the magical keys to the ecosocialist kingdom.

We will undoubtedly disagree on many issues, and our debates will be vigorous. But if you agree that “there can be no true ecological revolution that is not socialist; no true socialist revolution that is not ecological,” then what unites us is more important than our differences.

We need to build a democratic ecosocialist movement together.

3. Ecosocialists will be internationalist and anti-imperialist.

Within the broad environmental movement, ecosocialists must be the strongest voices for global climate justice. All serious environmentalists must be internationalists, if only because ecosystems don’t respect national borders.

In particular, there is no national solution to climate change. It must be fought for country-by-country, but only international change can defeat it. International communication, collaboration, and solidarity are absolutely essential.
But for those of us who live in the wealthy countries, the imperialist countries, there must be much more to our internationalism.

It’s been said many times that the people of the global South, and indigenous people everywhere, are the primary victims of climate change and other forms of environmental destruction.

What isn’t said as often, but is even more important, is that the primary environmental criminals are “our” capitalists in the North. That places a special responsibility on ecosocialists in the wealthy countries to combat the policies of our governments and of the corporations that are based in our countries.

Today, the most powerful and important struggles for ecological justice are taking place in the so-called Third World. At the barest minimum, we in the imperialist countries need to publicise those movements and expose the role our home-grown capitalists play. We need to show our solidarity as concretely as we can.

We must give particular emphasis and support to the demands raised in the Cochabamba Peoples Agreement.

• We must demand that our governments give financial support for adaptation to climate change, including the development of ecologically sound agriculture.

• We must demand direct transfer of renewable energy and other technologies, so that the poorest countries can have economic development without contributing to global warming. (I want to stress that unless and until we win this, no one in the North has any right to criticise the energy and development choices made by progressive movements and governments in the Third World.)

• We must oppose so-called market solutions, and the commodification of nature. This includes rejecting carbon trading in all its forms.

• We must welcome climate refugees to our countries, offering them decent lives with full human rights.

4. Ecosocialists will actively participate in and build movements for a better world.

Finally, and most important, ecosocialists must be activists.

We need to slow capitalism’s ecocidal drive as much as possible and to reverse it where we can, to win every possible victory over the forces of destruction. As I’ve said, our rulers will not willingly change — but mass opposition can force them to act, even against their will.

There are many environmental issues facing the world today, and I’m sure that ecosocialists will be active in a wide variety of campaigns. But the scope and potential destructiveness of the climate emergency make it the most important issue, and we need to give it the highest priority.

Our goal must be to bring together everyone — socialists, liberals, deep greens, trade unionists, feminists, indigenous activists and more — everyone who is willing to demand that governments act decisively to bring down greenhouse gas emissions. And at the same time, we need to unite the forces that understand the need to go beyond defensive battles and lay the basis for a movement that can in fact initiate the ecosocialist revolution.

Fortunately those two tasks are not in conflict. Fighting for immediate gains against capitalist destruction and fighting for the ecosocialist future aren’t separate activities, they are aspects of one integrated process.

It is through united struggles for immediate gains and environmental reforms that working people and farmers and indigenous people can build the organisations and the collective knowledge they need to defend themselves and advance their interests.

The victories they win in partial struggles will help to build the confidence needed to take on bigger targets. And it is only by participating in and building such struggles that the ecosocialist movement can grow, can win a hearing from wider numbers of people, and can ultimately make an ecosocialist revolution possible.

The challenge we face

The People’s Agreement adopted in Cochabamba eloquently expresses the challenge before us.

“Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life. It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings.”

There, in three sentences, is the case for building a movement to save the world, the case for an ecosocialist revolution. As I’ve said, it will not be easy, but I cannot think of a more important and worthwhile cause.

Working together, we can put an end to capitalism, before it puts an end to us.


From GLW issue 898


#3 John Dolva

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 04:09 PM


People’s Agreement of Cochabamba
April 24, 2010 in Announcement, News

World People’s Conference on Climate Change

and the Rights of Mother Earth

April 22nd, Cochabamba, Bolivia

PEOPLE’S AGREEMENT

Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.

If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of species would be in danger of disappearing. Large extensions of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would expand, and the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas would worsen. Many island states would disappear, and Africa would suffer an increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the production of food would diminish in the world, causing catastrophic impact on the survival of inhabitants from vast regions in the planet, and the number of people in the world suffering from hunger would increase dramatically, a figure that already exceeds 1.02 billion people.The corporations and governments of the so-called “developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to the rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system.

We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.

The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.

Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.

Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.

Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings. We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:

  • harmony and balance among all and with all things;
  • complementarity, solidarity, and equality;
  • collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all;
  • people in harmony with nature;
  • recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own;
  • elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism;
  • peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth;
The model we support is not a model of limitless and destructive development. All countries need to produce the goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their populations, but by no means can they continue to follow the path of development that has led the richest countries to have an ecological footprint five times bigger than what the planet is able to support. Currently, the regenerative capacity of the planet has been already exceeded by more than 30 percent. If this pace of over-exploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030. In an interdependent system in which human beings are only one component, it is not possible to recognize rights only to the human part without provoking an imbalance in the system as a whole. To guarantee human rights and to restore harmony with nature, it is necessary to effectively recognize and apply the rights of Mother Earth. For this purpose, we propose the attached project for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, in which it’s recorded that:

  • The right to live and to exist;
  • The right to be respected;
  • The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue it’s vital cycles and processes free of human alteration;
  • The right to maintain their identity and integrity as differentiated beings, self-regulated and interrelated;
  • The right to water as the source of life;
  • The right to clean air;
  • The right to comprehensive health;
  • The right to be free of contamination and pollution, free of toxic and radioactive waste;
  • The right to be free of alterations or modifications of it’s genetic structure in a manner that threatens it’s integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
  • The right to prompt and full restoration for violations to the rights acknowledged in this Declaration caused by human activities.
The “shared vision” seeks to stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gases to make effective the Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which states that “the stabilization of greenhouse gases concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic inferences for the climate system.” Our vision is based on the principle of historical common but differentiated responsibilities, to demand the developed countries to commit with quantifiable goals of emission reduction that will allow to return the concentrations of greenhouse gases to 300 ppm, therefore the increase in the average world temperature to a maximum of one degree Celsius.

Emphasizing the need for urgent action to achieve this vision, and with the support of peoples, movements and countries, developed countries should commit to ambitious targets for reducing emissions that permit the achievement of short-term objectives, while maintaining our vision in favor of balance in the Earth’s climate system, in agreement with the ultimate objective of the Convention.

The “shared vision for long-term cooperative action” in climate change negotiations should not be reduced to defining the limit on temperature increases and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but must also incorporate in a balanced and integral manner measures regarding capacity building, production and consumption patterns, and other essential factors such as the acknowledging of the Rights of Mother Earth to establish harmony with nature.

Developed countries, as the main cause of climate change, in assuming their historical responsibility, must recognize and honor their climate debt in all of its dimensions as the basis for a just, effective, and scientific solution to climate change. In this context, we demand that developed countries:

• Restore to developing countries the atmospheric space that is occupied by their greenhouse gas emissions. This implies the decolonization of the atmosphere through the reduction and absorption of their emissions;

• Assume the costs and technology transfer needs of developing countries arising from the loss of development opportunities due to living in a restricted atmospheric space;

• Assume responsibility for the hundreds of millions of people that will be forced to migrate due to the climate change caused by these countries, and eliminate their restrictive immigration policies, offering migrants a decent life with full human rights guarantees in their countries;

• Assume adaptation debt related to the impacts of climate change on developing countries by providing the means to prevent, minimize, and deal with damages arising from their excessive emissions;

• Honor these debts as part of a broader debt to Mother Earth by adopting and implementing the United Nations Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.

The focus must not be only on financial compensation, but also on restorative justice, understood as the restitution of integrity to our Mother Earth and all its beings.

We deplore attempts by countries to annul the Kyoto Protocol, which is the sole legally binding instrument specific to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries.

We inform the world that, despite their obligation to reduce emissions, developed countries have increased their emissions by 11.2% in the period from 1990 to 2007.

During that same period, due to unbridled consumption, the United States of America has increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 16.8%, reaching an average of 20 to 23 tons of CO2 per-person. This represents 9 times more than that of the average inhabitant of the “Third World,” and 20 times more than that of the average inhabitant of Sub-Saharan Africa.

We categorically reject the illegitimate “Copenhagen Accord” that allows developed countries to offer insufficient reductions in greenhouse gases based in voluntary and individual commitments, violating the environmental integrity of Mother Earth and leading us toward an increase in global temperatures of around 4°C.

The next Conference on Climate Change to be held at the end of 2010 in Mexico should approve an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 under which developed countries must agree to significant domestic emissions reductions of at least 50% based on 1990 levels, excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms that mask the failure of actual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

We require first of all the establishment of a goal for the group of developed countries to achieve the assignment of individual commitments for each developed country under the framework of complementary efforts among each one, maintaining in this way Kyoto Protocol as the route to emissions reductions.

The United States, as the only Annex 1 country on Earth that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, has a significant responsibility toward all peoples of the world to ratify this document and commit itself to respecting and complying with emissions reduction targets on a scale appropriate to the total size of its economy.

We the peoples have the equal right to be protected from the adverse effects of climate change and reject the notion of adaptation to climate change as understood as a resignation to impacts provoked by the historical emissions of developed countries, which themselves must adapt their modes of life and consumption in the face of this global emergency. We see it as imperative to confront the adverse effects of climate change, and consider adaptation to be a process rather than an imposition, as well as a tool that can serve to help offset those effects, demonstrating that it is possible to achieve harmony with nature under a different model for living.

It is necessary to construct an Adaptation Fund exclusively for addressing climate change as part of a financial mechanism that is managed in a sovereign, transparent, and equitable manner for all States. This Fund should assess the impacts and costs of climate change in developing countries and needs deriving from these impacts, and monitor support on the part of developed countries. It should also include a mechanism for compensation for current and future damages, loss of opportunities due to extreme and gradual climactic events, and additional costs that could present themselves if our planet surpasses ecological thresholds, such as those impacts that present obstacles to “Living Well.”

The “Copenhagen Accord” imposed on developing countries by a few States, beyond simply offering insufficient resources, attempts as well to divide and create confrontation between peoples and to extort developing countries by placing conditions on access to adaptation and mitigation resources. We also assert as unacceptable the attempt in processes of international negotiation to classify developing countries for their vulnerability to climate change, generating disputes, inequalities and segregation among them.

The immense challenge humanity faces of stopping global warming and cooling the planet can only be achieved through a profound shift in agricultural practices toward the sustainable model of production used by indigenous and rural farming peoples, as well as other ancestral models and practices that contribute to solving the problem of agriculture and food sovereignty. This is understood as the right of peoples to control their own seeds, lands, water, and food production, thereby guaranteeing, through forms of production that are in harmony with Mother Earth and appropriate to local cultural contexts, access to sufficient, varied and nutritious foods in complementarity with Mother Earth and deepening the autonomous (participatory, communal and shared) production of every nation and people.

Climate change is now producing profound impacts on agriculture and the ways of life of indigenous peoples and farmers throughout the world, and these impacts will worsen in the future.

Agribusiness, through its social, economic, and cultural model of global capitalist production and its logic of producing food for the market and not to fulfill the right to proper nutrition, is one of the principal causes of climate change. Its technological, commercial, and political approach only serves to deepen the climate change crisis and increase hunger in the world. For this reason, we reject Free Trade Agreements and Association Agreements and all forms of the application of Intellectual Property Rights to life, current technological packages (agrochemicals, genetic modification) and those that offer false solutions (biofuels, geo-engineering, nanotechnology, etc.) that only exacerbate the current crisis.

We similarly denounce the way in which the capitalist model imposes mega-infrastructure projects and invades territories with extractive projects, water privatization, and militarized territories, expelling indigenous peoples from their lands, inhibiting food sovereignty and deepening socio-environmental crisis.

We demand recognition of the right of all peoples, living beings, and Mother Earth to have access to water, and we support the proposal of the Government of Bolivia to recognize water as a Fundamental Human Right.

The definition of forests used in the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes plantations, is unacceptable. Monoculture plantations are not forests. Therefore, we require a definition for negotiation purposes that recognizes the native forests, jungles and the diverse ecosystems on Earth.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be fully recognized, implemented and integrated in climate change negotiations. The best strategy and action to avoid deforestation and degradation and protect native forests and jungles is to recognize and guarantee collective rights to lands and territories, especially considering that most of the forests are located within the territories of indigenous peoples and nations and other traditional communities.

We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature.

Polluting countries have an obligation to carry out direct transfers of the economic and technological resources needed to pay for the restoration and maintenance of forests in favor of the peoples and indigenous ancestral organic structures. Compensation must be direct and in addition to the sources of funding promised by developed countries outside of the carbon market, and never serve as carbon offsets. We demand that countries stop actions on local forests based on market mechanisms and propose non-existent and conditional results. We call on governments to create a global program to restore native forests and jungles, managed and administered by the peoples, implementing forest seeds, fruit trees, and native flora. Governments should eliminate forest concessions and support the conservation of petroleum deposits in the ground and urgently stop the exploitation of hydrocarbons in forestlands.

We call upon States to recognize, respect and guarantee the effective implementation of international human rights standards and the rights of indigenous peoples, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples under ILO Convention 169, among other relevant instruments in the negotiations, policies and measures used to meet the challenges posed by climate change. In particular, we call upon States to give legal recognition to claims over territories, lands and natural resources to enable and strengthen our traditional ways of life and contribute effectively to solving climate change.

We demand the full and effective implementation of the right to consultation, participation and prior, free and informed consent of indigenous peoples in all negotiation processes, and in the design and implementation of measures related to climate change.

Environmental degradation and climate change are currently reaching critical levels, and one of the main consequences of this is domestic and international migration. According to projections, there were already about 25 million climate migrants by 1995. Current estimates are around 50 million, and projections suggest that between 200 million and 1 billion people will become displaced by situations resulting from climate change by the year 2050.

Developed countries should assume responsibility for climate migrants, welcoming them into their territories and recognizing their fundamental rights through the signing of international conventions that provide for the definition of climate migrant and require all States to abide by abide by determinations.

Establish an International Tribunal of Conscience to denounce, make visible, document, judge and punish violations of the rights of migrants, refugees and displaced persons within countries of origin, transit and destination, clearly identifying the responsibilities of States, companies and other agents.

Current funding directed toward developing countries for climate change and the proposal of the Copenhagen Accord are insignificant. In addition to Official Development Assistance and public sources, developed countries must commit to a new annual funding of at least 6% of GDP to tackle climate change in developing countries. This is viable considering that a similar amount is spent on national defense, and that 5 times more have been put forth to rescue failing banks and speculators, which raises serious questions about global priorities and political will. This funding should be direct and free of conditions, and should not interfere with the national sovereignty or self-determination of the most affected communities and groups.

In view of the inefficiency of the current mechanism, a new funding mechanism should be established at the 2010 Climate Change Conference in Mexico, functioning under the authority of the Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and held accountable to it, with significant representation of developing countries, to ensure compliance with the funding commitments of Annex 1 countries.

It has been stated that developed countries significantly increased their emissions in the period from 1990 to 2007, despite having stated that the reduction would be substantially supported by market mechanisms.

The carbon market has become a lucrative business, commodifying our Mother Earth. It is therefore not an alternative for tackle climate change, as it loots and ravages the land, water, and even life itself.

The recent financial crisis has demonstrated that the market is incapable of regulating the financial system, which is fragile and uncertain due to speculation and the emergence of intermediary brokers. Therefore, it would be totally irresponsible to leave in their hands the care and protection of human existence and of our Mother Earth.

We consider inadmissible that current negotiations propose the creation of new mechanisms that extend and promote the carbon market, for existing mechanisms have not resolved the problem of climate change nor led to real and direct actions to reduce greenhouse gases. It is necessary to demand fulfillment of the commitments assumed by developed countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change regarding development and technology transfer, and to reject the “technology showcase” proposed by developed countries that only markets technology. It is essential to establish guidelines in order to create a multilateral and multidisciplinary mechanism for participatory control, management, and evaluation of the exchange of technologies. These technologies must be useful, clean and socially sound. Likewise, it is fundamental to establish a fund for the financing and inventory of technologies that are appropriate and free of intellectual property rights. Patents, in particular, should move from the hands of private monopolies to the public domain in order to promote accessibility and low costs.

Knowledge is universal, and should for no reason be the object of private property or private use, nor should its application in the form of technology. Developed countries have a responsibility to share their technology with developing countries, to build research centers in developing countries for the creation of technologies and innovations, and defend and promote their development and application for “living well.” The world must recover and re-learn ancestral principles and approaches from native peoples to stop the destruction of the planet, as well as promote ancestral practices, knowledge and spirituality to recuperate the capacity for “living well” in harmony with Mother Earth.

Considering the lack of political will on the part of developed countries to effectively comply with commitments and obligations assumed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and given the lack of a legal international organism to guard against and sanction climate and environmental crimes that violate the Rights of Mother Earth and humanity, we demand the creation of an International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal that has the legal capacity to prevent, judge and penalize States, industries and people that by commission or omission contaminate and provoke climate change.

Supporting States that present claims at the International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal against developed countries that fail to comply with commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol including commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

We urge peoples to propose and promote deep reform within the United Nations, so that all member States comply with the decisions of the International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal.

The future of humanity is in danger, and we cannot allow a group of leaders from developed countries to decide for all countries as they tried unsuccessfully to do at the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. This decision concerns us all. Thus, it is essential to carry out a global referendum or popular consultation on climate change in which all are consulted regarding the following issues; the level of emission reductions on the part of developed countries and transnational corporations, financing to be offered by developed countries, the creation of an International Climate Justice Tribunal, the need for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and the need to change the current capitalist system. The process of a global referendum or popular consultation will depend on process of preparation that ensures the successful development of the same.

In order to coordinate our international action and implement the results of this “Accord of the Peoples,” we call for the building of a Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth, which should be based on the principles of complementarity and respect for the diversity of origin and visions among its members, constituting a broad and democratic space for coordination and joint worldwide actions.

To this end, we adopt the attached global plan of action so that in Mexico, the developed countries listed in Annex 1 respect the existing legal framework and reduce their greenhouse gases emissions by 50%, and that the different proposals contained in this Agreement are adopted.

Finally, we agree to undertake a Second World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in 2011 as part of this process of building the Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth and reacting to the outcomes of the Climate Change Conference to be held at the end of this year in Cancun, Mexico.



#4 John Dolva

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 09:06 PM


Ecosocialism, Mumia and MOVE
Sunday, August 8, 2010 By Derek Wall

Posted Image

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal — on death row for more than 30 years in Pennsylvania for a murder he didn't commit — is an iconic figure. Yet while the struggle for his freedom continues, less attention is given to his role as a political leader.

While Mumia has not, to my knowledge, used the term ecosocialist, his passionate message to the US Social Forum on June 22 had a clear ecosocialist content.

Referring to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he said: “If ever there were a time to honestly question the madness at the heart of capitalism, it is now, as people are repulsed by what they are seeing, week after week, and now month after month, of environmental wreckage, corporate greed, and government subservience.

“Because, in truth, this is what capitalism, unbridled, unregulated, looks like: the spoilage of the natural world for private gain.”

Mumia signs this and many of his messages with the words “Ona Move! Long Live John Africa!” In doing so, he acknowledges the political influence of the controversial radical Philadelphia radical group, MOVE, an influence reflected in his ecosocialism.

His work in exposing the violence with which the authorities suppressed MOVE was the primary reason for Mumia being targeted and framed.

During the 1970s, Mumia, a former Black Panther Party activist working as a radio journalist, became aware, like many people in Philadelphia, of a group variously described as “violent black nationalists”, a “religious cult” or plain terrorists — the MOVE organisation founded by an illiterate carpenter, Vincent Leaphart, who took the name John Africa.

MOVE activists typically they took the surname Africa because they believed all humanity comes from Africa. Although their members were mainly black, others were white or Hispanic.

John Africa constructed a spirituality based on reverence for all life. MOVE was passionate about animal rights, indeed one of their first confrontations came during an anti-zoo demonstration.

MOVE members lived communally. In Philadelphia, the police had earlier taken on the Black Panthers with extreme violence.

MOVE was now targeted by the authorities. Group members would demonstrate, be beaten for doing so and the conflict dramatically escalated. In April 1976 the police horrifyingly killed MOVE member Janine Africa’s baby, Life Africa.

In 1978, police fired 10,000 bullets during a siege of a MOVE community. A police officer was killed by a bullet that witnesses say was fired from outside the MOVE building. Nine MOVE members were charged with killing the officer and still remain in prison in 2010.

This escalation of state violence peaked with the FBI bombing a MOVE community in 1985, killing 11 people — six adults and five children. The only adult survivor, Ramona Africa, was promptly imprisoned.

Mumia noted: “I have seen every substantive so-called constitutional right twisted, shredded and torn when it comes to MOVE. Since the early 1970s, I've seen male and female MOVE members beaten till bloody and bones broken, locked beneath the jails, caged while pregnant, beaten into miscarriage, starved by municipal decree, sentenced to a century in prisons, homes demolished by bomb, by crane, by cannon, by fire. But I've never seen them broken.”

He observed that he too had been influenced by the negative image of MOVE before meeting and talking with them.

“What I found were idealistic, committed, strong, unshakeable men and women who had a deep spirit-level aversion to everything this system represents. To them, this system was a death system involved in a deathly war.

“To them, everything this system radiated was poison — from its technological waste, to its destruction of the air and water, to its destruction of the very genetic pool of human life and animal life and all life. MOVE opposed all this bitterly and unrelentingly, without compromise.”

Mumia remains, despite decades of imprisonment in US dungeons, a prophet in the true sense — a voice articulating a politics that challenges capitalism and imperialism while speaking for the earth.

We must redouble our efforts to free Mumia but we must also make sure his remarkable voice, which articulates a radical vision with poetry and clarity, is heard.

[Derek Wall is a is a former Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales and an activist, writer and economist. He is also a member of the eco-socialist network Green Left and maintains the blog . He will speak via video link at the Climate Change Social Change conference, Melbourne University, November 5-7. Visit www.ccsc2010.wordpress.com for details.]


From GLW issue 848


#5 William Kelly

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 01:13 AM

Ecosocialism, Mumia and MOVE
Sunday, August 8, 2010 By Derek Wall

Posted Image

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal — on death row for more than 30 years in Pennsylvania for a murder he didn't commit — is an iconic figure. Yet while the struggle for his freedom continues, less attention is given to his role as a political leader.

While Mumia has not, to my knowledge, used the term ecosocialist, his passionate message to the US Social Forum on June 22 had a clear ecosocialist content.

Referring to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he said: "If ever there were a time to honestly question the madness at the heart of capitalism, it is now, as people are repulsed by what they are seeing, week after week, and now month after month, of environmental wreckage, corporate greed, and government subservience.

"Because, in truth, this is what capitalism, unbridled, unregulated, looks like: the spoilage of the natural world for private gain."

Mumia signs this and many of his messages with the words "Ona Move! Long Live John Africa!" In doing so, he acknowledges the political influence of the controversial radical Philadelphia radical group, MOVE, an influence reflected in his ecosocialism.

His work in exposing the violence with which the authorities suppressed MOVE was the primary reason for Mumia being targeted and framed.

During the 1970s, Mumia, a former Black Panther Party activist working as a radio journalist, became aware, like many people in Philadelphia, of a group variously described as "violent black nationalists", a "religious cult" or plain terrorists — the MOVE organisation founded by an illiterate carpenter, Vincent Leaphart, who took the name John Africa.

MOVE activists typically they took the surname Africa because they believed all humanity comes from Africa. Although their members were mainly black, others were white or Hispanic.

John Africa constructed a spirituality based on reverence for all life. MOVE was passionate about animal rights, indeed one of their first confrontations came during an anti-zoo demonstration.

MOVE members lived communally. In Philadelphia, the police had earlier taken on the Black Panthers with extreme violence.

MOVE was now targeted by the authorities. Group members would demonstrate, be beaten for doing so and the conflict dramatically escalated. In April 1976 the police horrifyingly killed MOVE member Janine Africa's baby, Life Africa.

In 1978, police fired 10,000 bullets during a siege of a MOVE community. A police officer was killed by a bullet that witnesses say was fired from outside the MOVE building. Nine MOVE members were charged with killing the officer and still remain in prison in 2010.

This escalation of state violence peaked with the FBI bombing a MOVE community in 1985, killing 11 people — six adults and five children. The only adult survivor, Ramona Africa, was promptly imprisoned.

Mumia noted: "I have seen every substantive so-called constitutional right twisted, shredded and torn when it comes to MOVE. Since the early 1970s, I've seen male and female MOVE members beaten till bloody and bones broken, locked beneath the jails, caged while pregnant, beaten into miscarriage, starved by municipal decree, sentenced to a century in prisons, homes demolished by bomb, by crane, by cannon, by fire. But I've never seen them broken."

He observed that he too had been influenced by the negative image of MOVE before meeting and talking with them.

"What I found were idealistic, committed, strong, unshakeable men and women who had a deep spirit-level aversion to everything this system represents. To them, this system was a death system involved in a deathly war.

"To them, everything this system radiated was poison — from its technological waste, to its destruction of the air and water, to its destruction of the very genetic pool of human life and animal life and all life. MOVE opposed all this bitterly and unrelentingly, without compromise."

Mumia remains, despite decades of imprisonment in US dungeons, a prophet in the true sense — a voice articulating a politics that challenges capitalism and imperialism while speaking for the earth.

We must redouble our efforts to free Mumia but we must also make sure his remarkable voice, which articulates a radical vision with poetry and clarity, is heard.

[Derek Wall is a is a former Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales and an activist, writer and economist. He is also a member of the eco-socialist network Green Left and maintains the blog . He will speak via video link at the Climate Change Social Change conference, Melbourne University, November 5-7. Visit www.ccsc2010.wordpress.com for details.]


From GLW issue 848



I'm from near Philadelphia, where this crime occurred, and I know this story, a cop was killed, Mumia was caught at the scene and either Mumia killed the cop or his brother did and Mumia protected his brother.

He's lucky he hasn't been executed.

Unlike the Tippit murder, there are no other suspects.

His voice is heard, more so than when he was alive and few paid any attention to him.

Why should a cop killer be freed just because he's a socialist and poet?

BK

Edited by William Kelly, 14 October 2011 - 01:14 AM.


#6 John Dolva

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 04:13 AM

Posted 12 August 2010 - 01:06 PM

Mumia killed a cop.

And if he didn't, his brother did, and he took the rap.

Somebody killed the cop and he was convicted of it.

MOVE was a fake revolutionary group. They were all on welfare, on the dole, collecting unemployment, squating in a crack house and living on Big Macs. Ask anybody from Philadelphia who was there at the time, and they'll tell you the same. They weren't a threat to take over the government of Philadelphia, that's for sure. They didn't have to bomb them from a helicopter, all they had to do was shut off their supply of Big Macs.

John Judge and others tell me Mumia's a political prisoner.

I say he's a cop killer, just like Joanne Chesmard, who killed NJ State Trooper.

They say Oswald killed a cop, but I don't think so. I think it was a frameup and
he took the rap.

BK

" Why should a cop killer be freed just because he's a socialist and poet? " - is imo a very odd question (as is much, to me, of the rest of your post, BK ), I wonder if you could rephrase it, please?

There certainly are divergent opinions on this matter.

Who do you reckon killed 2Pac? Malcolm X? See, I'm asking, not telling you, what you believe.

#7 John Dolva

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 08:12 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR2Ho5iGn_k&feature=BFa&list=AVGxdCwVVULXcsCPRhkVpYvAgM0i8gKnbr&lf=list_related

Bombay Dub Orchestra - Beauty And The East (Banco De Gaia Remix)

crapitalism

Edited by John Dolva, 25 November 2011 - 02:21 PM.




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