Recently a number of prominent environmentalists, including George Monbiot and Dr. James Hansen, have called for expansion of nuclear power generation, to replace coal and oil fired plants that produce high volumes of greenhouse gases.
Most socialists and environmentalists have opposed such measures as unacceptably dangerous, pointing to the recent Fukushima catastrophe in Japan, and to the lack of any method for safe disposal of nuclear waste.
Below are the three articles from the debate and other resources from socialists on the nuclear question.
A Socialist Defends Nuclear Power
Walters defends nuclear power and argues that anti-nuclear positions are reactionary and that building socialism will require more energy than can be produced by any other means.
SCNCC activist Michael Friedman responds:
Still No Nukes!
Our primary task is not to offer technological solutions to capitalist ills, but to offer social solutions that incorporate the technologies most amenable to our social goals. Nuclear doesn’t fit the bill.
SCNCC activist Chris Williams responds:
Unsafe, Unaffordable, Unnecessary
Nuclear is no solution to global warming — it’s dangerous, expensive, and can’t be deployed quickly enough.
James Hansen and the Climate-Change Exit Strategy
John Bellamy Foster’s critique of Hansen’s carbon tax proposal
Green capitalism: the god that failed
Part of Richard Smith’s article takes on Hansen’s carbon tax strategy and why capitalism’s growth priorities make it a non-starter.
Capitalism and the destruction of life on earth: six theses on saving the humans
In the section “Wild facts” and unquestioned assumptions, Richard Smith critiques the pro-nuclear assumptions of Hansen, Monbiot and others.
Monday, November 4th
9pm EST / 6pm PST
Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 475-4825
Participant Access Code: 679592#
We will discuss next steps coming out of Power Shift, particularly for anyone new to SCNCC.
If you have questions or comments, or would like to join SCNCC’s national organizing listserv, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris W, Natalie M and Nurit M speaking to a packed room at the SCNCC workshop on Ecology and Imperialism, PowerShift 2013
Earlier this month, System Change Not Climate Change joined thousands of young people and students in Pittsburgh for the bi-annual Power Shift conference. Sponsored by a large grouping of green NGOs called Energy Action Coalition (EAC), this year’s conference was the 4th Power Shift held since 2007. It was the first time the conference was held outside of Washington DC. Organizers chose Pittsburgh in part because of the strong labor history of the city and the anti-fracking work of the broader Pittsburgh community.
This time around, Power Shift was much more explicitly left wing than in years past, reflecting recent political developments within the climate movement. It was an incredibly energizing weekend. Here are some highlights:
- Workshops on capitalism, racism, mass incarceration, immigration justice, and much more – highlighted the systemic nature of the climate crisis and how climate change intersects with other forms of exploitation and oppression.
- An outpouring of speakers and workshop leaders who are women, queer, people of color, immigrants, and First Nations – reflected the true breadth of the movement for climate justice.
- The official launch of the National Student Divestment Network, an independent, student-led network of campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns. The Network is explicitly democratic, bottom up, independent of green NGOs, and committed to linking anti-racist organizing with the struggle against the fossil fuel corporations.
- 225+ in attendance at SCNCC’s workshop on Ecology & Imperialism: why climate activists must oppose war, militarism, and racism
- 220 people signed up to get involved with SCNCC over the course of the weekend!
- Tangibly articulated debates within the movement were complex, but encouraging. It is clear that the people in communities fighting for environmental justice, the thousands of students working hard within divestment campaigns, and all of the activists and organizers bringing protests and direct actions to life across the country are setting the tone of this movement from the bottom-up.
Get involved & Stay involved with System Change Not Climate Change:
SCNCC approached Power Shift with a radical, three-fold vision for the future of the climate movement:
- A movement that is democratic – grassroots organizing infused with collective decision-making over what campaigns we take on and our strategies & tactics within those campaigns.
- A movement that is anti-capitalist – the climate movement must begin a far-ranging discussion within society: can stopping climate change be compatible with an economic system that is flooded with fossil fuel profits? Can we create a safe and healthy planet for all human beings while simultaneously allowing ever-expanding resource extraction, endless growth, and the massive inequalities that come along with it?
- A movement centered around working class power – students and youth have always played a vital role in social movements, but we need a more radical, anti-racist labor movement at the heart of the climate justice movement to have the social, political and economic leverage to counter the wealth and corporate power of the 1%.
If you are drawn to both of these ideas, we need you to get involved with SCNCC! We are a very new coalition but we expect and intend to grow rapidly, so we need your help. Here are some concrete ways to get involved – there is lots of work ahead.
Finally, we want to leave you with this: if you haven’t seen it already, check out this incredible interview with actor and comedian Russel Brand calling for a revolutionary change in society in order to address the issues of planetary destruction and massive wealth inequality. Although Brand shouldn’t begin with sexist overtones, the interview is definitely worth viewing and discussing:
Joe S and Zach Z
The movement to save the planet from ecological devastation is growing as more and more people realize that the unsustainable practices of this society are leading towards planetary catastrophe as well as even deeper social inequality and oppression. The strength, determination, and energy on display at this year’s enormous Power Shift conference are a testament to the growing strength of this movement. Yet, in order to win social and environmental justice, we need to build a movement that is not only larger and stronger, but that tackles the root cause of human oppression and ecological destruction in this society: the profit-driven capitalist system. System Change Not Climate Change is an effort to develop and implement the kind of strategy that’s essential for the environmental movement to win its goals—a revolutionary ecosocialist strategy.
We are a growing and open coalition, open to anyone who agrees with our Points of Unity. Here are some ways you can get involved with our work:
- Get in touch with a local group if one exists in your area
- Host an ecosocialist meeting in your neighborhood or on your campus. Show some videos from SCNCC’s New York conference or the “Capitalism is Killing the Planet” forum, and start a discussion about what ecosocialism means and how we might get there.
- Get involved in local climate justice campaigns
- Start discussions by handing out our fliers on ecosocialist politics
- Sign up for our monthly newsletter, which includes announcements of monthly organizing conference calls open to everyone interested in building SCNCC. Get in touch with an organizer via the contact form to let us know what you’re interested in doing in your area, and to get connected with the discussions that are going on inside the coalition
- If you’ve done any ecosocialist writing, or are inclined to, please submit articles to our blog, including book reviews. Contact email@example.com.
Finally, please follow SCNCC on Facebook and Twitter. Looking forward to organizing with you!
We are gearing up for PowerShift (October 18-21 in Pittsburg) along with 10,000+ students and environmental activists. Though a youth conference, there is no age check at the door. Anyone curious about ecosocialism or involved with SCNCC already should consider joining us there and doing outreach.
National Monthly SCNCC Conference Call
Monday, October 7th
9pm EST / 6pm PST
Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 475-4825
Participant Access Code: 679592#
The agenda will be largely devoted to PowerShift organizing, but we will also look beyond that and do some planning, given the success of the recent LA and Vancouver events.
If you have questions or comments, or would like to join SCNCC’s national organizing listserv, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, October 9th @ 7pm
Lafayette Hall, room 210, UVM Campus
Speaker: Fred Magdoff, co-author of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism and UVM Professor Emeritus in Plant and Soil Science
Magdoff’s presentation, based on this short, readable book, is a sharply argued manifesto for those environmentalists who reject schemes of “green capitalism” or piecemeal reform. Environmental and economic scholars Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster contend that the struggle to reverse ecological degradation requires a firm grasp of economic reality. Going further, they argue that efforts to reform capitalism along environmental lines or rely solely on new technology to avert catastrophe misses the point. The main cause of the looming environmental disaster is the driving logic of the system itself, and those in power—no matter how “green”—are incapable of making the changes that are necessary.
Sponsored by System Change Not Climate Change
Endorsed by: the International Socialist Organization, Monthly Review (list in formation)