Climate change

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Protests organised for COP26

Far more important, arguably, than what will be discussed and decided by world leaders and delegates in the COP 26 climate conference itself — almost certainly very little — is what the environmental and labour movements make of this opportunity. The event provides an impetus and focal point for environmental activism to reboot post-lockdowns, in a world where the severity of environmental devastation is increasingly hard to hide from. Friday 22 October will be a Youth Climate Strike, Friday 5 November will be a “Workers’ Mobilisation day” around the country, Saturday 6 a “Global day of action...

"For a Socialist Green New Deal!"

This is Edinburgh Central CLP delegate Hannah Taylor’s speech for the left-wing Green New Deal motion the conference passed. "Capitalism is incapable of solving the problem it’s created. Left to their own devices bosses will continue to extract profits, exploit workers, lobby governments to halt change, and argue that our demands are radical, unreasonable, unworkable. "Do not believe corporations when they say little individual lifestyle changes are good enough. Even with a global lockdown, emissions in 2020 were only 7% less than in 2019. Only structural, systemic change can save workers here...

The World Transformed: scratching the surface

A lot of radical things were said at this year’s The World Transformed festival. As one participant said, many speeches only scratched the surface. Clear political conclusions or concrete demands weren’t always drawn out. For example, at a panel on “Kill The Bill,” speakers said that we cannot support police reform and that we must instead “abolish the police” – all the while talking about the negative implications of the police bill. Occasional jibes were made at “white people talking about Trotsky or whatever, telling us how to do a revolution.” Nevertheless, TWT was an informal, accessible...

Final "Socialist Green New Deal" motion going to Labour conference 2021

This is the left-wing “composite” motion backed by various unions including the Fire Brigades Union and a large number of Constituency Labour Parties. For our notes written in advance on what should be in the motion, see here. See here for the broadly similar policy Labour conference passed in 2019. Conference notes: • As with Covid, the climate crisis exposes sharply the inequalities in society in the UK and internationally and we must ensure that workers are at the heart of any future programme and that means unshackling trade unions. • The UK faces a post-covid unemployment crisis with...

What will be in Labour’s Green New Deal motions?

There has been controversy around the Green New Deal motions to Labour Party conference (25-9, Brighton), after the “Green Jobs Revolution” motion promoted by Labour for a Green New Deal (LGND) was ruled out by the Conference Arrangements Committee. Following protests it was reinstated. “Green Jobs Revolution”, submitted by 22 CLPs, is one of several left-wing motions in the Green New Deal section. There are also CLP motions under the title “Global Climate Justice” and motions from the FBU, BFAWU and TSSA unions. Then there is a more right-wing or conservative motion from the GMB, some...

More cows will mend soil, will mend climate? No!

David Walters (Solidarity 586) highlights important environmental considerations concerning soil. The destruction, degradation, depletion of soil through intensive mono-cropping; the nitrogen run-off and energy use of artificial fertilisers; the numerous destructive impacts of chemical pesticides. Yet his key claim that “we need more ruminants (grass eaters) not less” does not follow and is untenable. In the first section I contend that Walters overstates the potential for soil to be used to offset historic industrial emissions, by implication underplaying their dangers, and by extension the...

Supporting gas is not green

Sacha Ismail’s report on the TUC congress (Solidarity 606) misses a crucial point on climate change. “The most lively debate was on climate change... [m]uch of the debate focused on the motion’s support for nuclear energy. As some speakers pointed out, the much wider problem is that it advocated essentially not very much change at all.” The motion is not left wing, detailed, environmental or substantive. The reason to oppose it (rather than bemoan its inadequacies) is its support for gas, for gas-derived “blue hydrogen”, for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) to help drive further...

Marx, the environment, and "metabolic rift"

For the last twenty years the idea of the “metabolic rift” has become a key component in reconstructing an approach to environmental crises based on the works of Marx. This has been critically discussed in the pages of Solidarity, particularly by Paul Hampton who has suggested that these ideas are an important source for anyone seeking to understand how capitalism impacts on the environment but do not constitute a rounded theory.[1]Here, I take a more critical approach and suggest that the idea of the metabolic rift may be a dead-end.[2] The idea of the metabolic rift has been popularised by...

Momentum Internationalists Labour conference briefing

Thanks to Momentum Internationalists for this briefing on Labour Party conference (25-29 September, in Brighton) Who are Momentum Internationalists? Momentum Internationalists was formed by activists from the left anti-Brexit campaign Labour for a Socialist Europe, L4SE, in early 2020 to continue the fight for left-wing and internationalist politics after the Tories finally forced through Brexit. We ran candidates in the Momentum NCG elections of 2020 and promoted motions in the Momentum policy priorities ballot of 2021. We are not just a caucus within Momentum. We have been active on the...

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