The agrarianist Wendell Berry wrote once that modernity had bred a dangerous and close-to-fatal ignorance about ecology. In contrast to earlier ways of life, our social relations, which are our productive relations, do not force us to reckon with the consequences of what we consume in the course of making our lives, including making the people who come after we do. But modernity allows for exceptions.
How can ecosocialism respond to the operation of power in capitalist accumulation and reproduction? Does ecosocialism help provide answers to struggles taking place in the local state and in sites of contest?
World climate negotiations concluded in Bonn, Germany recently after two painstaking weeks. Whilst many parties to the UN convention and other commentators choose to highlight any small steps forward in the talks, no matter how inadequate, Friends of the Earth opts to speak truth to power.
Asia Pacific is the region where the most people are already feeling the impacts of changes in the climate and Meena Raman of Friends of the Earth Malaysia spoke out in Bonn, saying “Every COP feels like a broken record. We are sick and tired of talkshops. Act!”
The global economy is facing numerous structural challenges. With the looming fourth economic revolution characterised by even more technological development and mechanisation, the future of productive labour is bleak. Most unskilled and semi-skilled workers are likely to lose their jobs. Even some skilled workers are not spared from this emerging catastrophe, as numerous job categories – such as brick-layers – are increasingly becoming redundant.
One summer in college, I got a job canvassing for Greenpeace. We spent the morning getting pumped up by our supervisor about how we were really going to make a difference, then spent the afternoon on the sidewalk downtown asking passers-by for donations. As new hires, we had three probationary days to “make staff”: anyone who didn’t meet the quota would not be kept on, and those who did would be fired if they didn’t continue to deliver.
The AFL-CIO convention here passed yesterday a political resolution that calls for a break with “lesser of two evil politics” but came up short when it comes to projecting a clear path to how that will be accomplished.
A new 64-page report – One Million Climate Jobs: Moving South Africa forward towards a low-carbon, wage-led, and sustainable path – by the Alternative Information & Development Centre (AIDC) provides the detail, with extensive research citations, showing how this can be done and financed. The focus is on South Africa, but the remedies are broadly replicable across the globe.
After more than a decade of tenacious union lobbying of government negotiators, the words “a just transition of the workforce” was written into the preamble of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
But now what? Encouraged by Paris, unions around the world have committed fresh energy towards giving Just Transition some practical significance, otherwise it will remain little more than a moral appeal for fairness in a corporate-dominated world economy where both morality and fairness are increasingly scarce.