An Alternative To De-Growth Pessimism

Recently more than 200 academics published an open letter in support of the demands for an economic system that abandons growth as its central objective, writes Francine Mestrum  from Global Social Justice. In the European Parliament a major conference was organized on ‘post-growth’ and the European Trade Union Confederation held a ‘post-conference’ on the same topic.

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The rising tide: Kerala 2018 flood

It will not be enough for us to rue the past, writes Arundhati Roy.

This year in Kerala, the monsoon that we long for, and the rivers that we pretend to love, are talking back to us. Certainly, for me, the rain was the ink in my pen, and the river, the Meenachil, drove my story. They made me the writer that I am.

Now their fury is unimaginable, and the scale of the disaster and peoples’ suffering is still unfolding. The Army, the navy, various government agencies, local communities, an extraordinary collective of fisher folk, journalists, and thousands of ordinary people have shown exemplary courage and fellow-feeling, risking their lives to bring others to safety. Help and money is pouring in. More help and more money will be needed. And yet, as the waters recede, revealing oceans of plastic and debris, we are faced with the fact that it would be dishonest of us to treat this calamity purely as a natural disaster in which we humans played no part.We know by now that in the era of global warming and climate change, the mountains and the coastal areas will be the first to pay the price.

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Israel’s environmental colonialism and eco-apartheid

The construction of Israel’s mammoth apartheid wall has separated Palestinian farmers from their fields and destroyed Palestinians’ legally owned fertile agricultural land

Since the idea of Zionism first gripped the minds of a few intellectuals and the limbs of many agrarian pioneers in the early 20th century, the state of Israel has presented its settlement of the land of Palestine, and its uprooting of the Palestinian people, as a rejuvenation of the earth wrote Ben Lorber, in a piece published in Links in 2012.. By “greenwashing” the occupation, Israel hides its apartheid behind an environmentalist mirage, and distracts public attention not only from its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, but from its large-scale degradation of the earth upon which these tragedies unfold.
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Red-Green study group responds to Labour Party consultation

Red Green Labour is pleased to publish the response of the Red-Green Study Group to the Labour Party Environment, Energy, Culture policy consultation.  Its in two parts: a shorter summary first and then their full submission,

Earlier we published a series of articles from RGL supporters on aspects of policy we’d like to see in the review – have a look at them if you missed them – or if you’d like to refresh your memory. But the deadline for responses is Sunday June 24th so do it as soon as possible!

Summary

This response is the result of prolonged discussion among members of the RED-GREEN STUDY GROUP, which has been working since 1992 on bringing together green, socialist and feminist thinking. Contributors include Trade Unionists, members of the Labour Party, members of the Green Party and unaffiliated socialists. Our commitment to producing this response arose from the renewal of hope given by the election of Jeremy Corbyn and the new leadership of the Party.

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So Trashy! A Review of EU Waste Management and Inequality Modeling

Landfill in Poland

The policy of the European Union (EU) in the field of environmental protection and natural resources has, since the 1980s, continued to grow in importance, writes Ana Tomicic. But some topics are of particular concern to European citizens. This is the case, in particular, with the production of waste, which is increasingly alarming, with the EU generating some 2 billion tons of waste every year.

More than 40 million tons of this waste are classified as “hazardous waste.” Nearly 60% of the waste produced consists of mineral waste and soil, most often from construction and demolition as well as mining activities. Approximately 30% is produced by manufacturing, trade, energy, services and agriculture, meaning that waste production generally increases at rates comparable to those of growth.

About 10% is “municipal waste” – in other words, waste generated mainly by households and to a lesser extent by small businesses and public institutions such as schools and hospitals.
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The emergence of an ecological Karl Marx: 1818 – 2018

Photo: David Holt

Karl Marx was born in Trier 200 years ago today. The legacy of the political economist is fiercely contested. The Ecologist was among the first magazines to examine his ecological thinking – in an essay published in 1971. Here, Gareth Dale, an editor of the book Green Growth, examines Marx’s own claims about nature and society – and our original interpretation of them

In the closing decades of the twentieth century an ecological Marx was unearthed…the upshot has been a radical rethinking of Marx’s project.

Karl Marx’s 200th birthday is being celebrated today in circumstances he neither desired nor expected: a planet that is governed by, and increasingly shredded and cooked by, capitalism.

The previous such commemorations – in 1918 and 1968 – arrived amidst worldwide upsurges for progressive social-movements.

The Marx for those conjunctures was a theorist of class struggle, revolution and the subjection of the postcolonial world, but was neglectful of nature. Environmentalists found value in Marx, but not in his ecological analysis. Continue reading “The emergence of an ecological Karl Marx: 1818 – 2018”

1936-2018 Remembering Joel Kovel, a towering pioneer of ecosocialism

Michael Löwy reflects on the life and contributions of our friend and comrade, ecosocialist Joel Kovel, who died on April 30.

The passing of Joel Kovel is a great loss not only for us, his friends and collaborators, but for the broad international ecosocialist movement, of which he was a towering pioneer.

I first met Joel at an International Marxist Conference at the University of Nanterre (Paris), convened in 2001 by my friends of the journal Actuel Marx. We immediately sympathised, and found a common interest: the urgent need to bring together the “Red” and the “Green,” under the aegis of a new concept: Ecosocialism. We felt that the most of the left had not yet understood the need for an ecological turn, and we believed one should attempt to contribute to such a re-orientation. The Fourth International, with which I was associated, had just decided to adopt an ecosocialist program, and Joel felt encouraged by this decision.

Joel tells the story of our meeting in The Lost Traveller’s Dreambut, in his unassuming and modest way, does not say that the idea of writing an International Ecosocialist Manifesto was his. I immediately agreed with the proposition and we worked out the document together, after several drafts. As he says, it was like sending a message in a bottle thrown into the sea.
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Nigeria’s conflict is a result of environmental devastation across West Africa

Nigeria is experiencing a major conflict between nomadic herdsmen and indigenous farmers. In 2016, the conflict led to the death of 2,500 people, displaced 62,000 others and led to loss of US$13.7 billion in revenue, writes In January 2018 alone, the conflict claimed the lives of 168 people.

The herdsmen are predominantly Fulanis, a primarily Muslim people scattered throughout many parts of West Africa. The farmers, meanwhile, are mostly Christian. Therefore, when violence erupts between the two groups, with symbolic results like churches being burnt down, it is unsurprising that the dominant narrative in Nigeria and abroad is that this is a conflict motivated by religion and ethnicity.

What’s missing is the environmental perspective. Nigeria spans more than 1,000km from a lush and tropical south to the fringes of the Sahara Desert in the north. And, in Nigeria, the Sahara is moving southward at a rate of 600 metres a year. At the same time, Lake Chad in the country’s far north-east has largely dried up. Fulani herdsmen who once relied on the lake have thus moved further south in search of pasture and water for their livestock. The further south you move, the more the population becomes Christian, hence when resource conflicts emerge they appear religious. Continue reading “Nigeria’s conflict is a result of environmental devastation across West Africa”

An Anti-Forest Policy: Rhetoric or Sleight of Hand?

Sacred grove in Bastar Chhattisgarh Phto: Madhu

If the Indian government really meant what it said by “building on our rich cultural heritage” and “participatory”, would it not seriously review why the Forest Rights Act (FRA} and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 (PESA}, meant to give adivasis (indigenous people in South East Asia RGL} the self-governing space they need, are not implemented?

Forests have been the cultural and livelihood lifeline for hundreds of millions of people in India, not to mention home for thousands of species of plants and animals, write Madhu Ramnath and Ashish Kothari. They have an exalted place in virtually every spiritual and religious tradition, in their civilisational history, mythology and folklore, scientific traditions, and even in its politics. So when any government announces a new National Forest Policy, there should be widespread dialogue around the most important question: will it safeguard the most crucial values of India’s forests? From an examination of the draft policy put out by the government on 14th March 2018, the answer is a resounding no. Continue reading “An Anti-Forest Policy: Rhetoric or Sleight of Hand?”