We are pleased to publish a guest post for Red Green Labour by Pritam Singh, Professor Emeritus, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford
The current Indian farmers’ protest is the largest, mostly peaceful, protest in history. It is against three farm laws India’s farmers fear will privatize India’s agriculture sector and leave over 600 million Indians at the mercy of large corporations. The agricultural market reforms push further the Hindu nationalist BJP government’s agenda of centralising economic power and decision-making. The opposition to the reforms by farmers, many state governments, and regional political formations is a watershed moment in this government’s agenda of deepening the entry of agribusiness capitalism and of increased centralised control.
My father was a climate activist to the end. Ken Montague was a boomer, born among the bomb craters of the East End of London in what would now be considered abject poverty.
The experience instilled in him a desire to take care of those around him. And when I say, ‘those around him’ I mean all of humanity.
This article, republished from Brave New Europe is a serious and well argued contribution to a necessary and ongoing strategic debate on ‘growth’ v sustainability .
Red Green Labour does not have an agreed position in this debate but we broadly agree with Joel Kovel’s remark that a sustainable socialist strategy would be about “doing more good stuff and less bad stuff”.
Notable (eco)socialists have recently criticized the idea of degrowth 1. Here we want to argue that such criticism is misplaced. Growth is a problem over and above capitalism. A sustainable eco-socialism should reject any association with the ideology and terminology of growth. 21st century socialists should start thinking how we can plan for societies that prosper without growth. Like it not, growth is bound to come to an end, the question is how; and whether this will happen soon or too late to avert planetary disasters.
Advance Praise for Fight the Fire
“This is a timely book. At a time when the world is still reeling from the ravages of Covid-19 and the massive economic dislocation that it engendered, now is the perfect time to reinvigorate the campaign for climate jobs, or, as in the case of the Philippines, to launch it. And this book is just what any climate jobs campaigner would need. It provides the big picture, the science and the politics of climate change, as well as the nuts and bolts of how such a campaign would look like. More than that, it is replete with lessons that the author has gained from a life spent fighting in the trenches of various campaigns.” – Josua Mata, Secretary-General, SENTRO union federation, Philippines.
Alan Thornett offers a critical review of How to Blow up a Pipeline by Andreas Malm, published by Verso in January 2021,
When I first saw the title of this book – How to Blow up a Pipeline – I could hardly believe it was serious. Unfortunately it is. It is a vigorously argued appeal for the environmental movement to break from its past and make violent direct action, short of the loss of life, against the fossil fuel infrastructure, central to its strategy to defend the planet.
It calls for a direct action wing the climate movement to be established to carry this out. Targets would include oil pipe-lines and refineries, coal mines, power stations and privately owned high pollution vehicles such as SUVs. This, Malm argues, is the only real route to revolutionary change.
In my view such a change would not only be wrong but disastrous. As, I suspect, one of the few on the radical left who has been trained by the British Army in the use of high explosives in order to sabotage railway lines and blow up bridges I am appalled that such a method is being advocated on the Marxist left today in the struggle against climate change.
This important article by Patrick Bond looks at the very real challenges South African activists face in 2021.
He examines the strengths and weaknesses of oppositional climate politics in South Africa today. He pays tribute to four activists who died in late 2020, and argues that the movement’s key objective in the coming year must be the unity of environmental, community and potentially even labor movements.
- Resilience and the road to COP26
- The importance of healthy soil
- Resisting corporate take-overs of seed and food systems
- The value of indigenous knowledge
- Redressing racial inequity in our food system
- The future of UK farming
- Biodiversity loss and the impact on our health
A melting-pot of change makers
This recent article by Chris Saltmarsh, in Tribune magazine, is very welcome.
Chris points to the apparent drift in Labour policy away from the radicalism of the 2017 and 2019 manifestos in terms of the environment.
This fascinating article in The Guardian points to a burgeoning movement of seed-sharing and exchanging and makes the case for public ownership of seed. Certainly something which should be discussed widely in the Labour and environmental movement.
Covid has made people see how the food system is dominated by large corporations, say campaigners
The pandemic encouraged an interest in allotments and seed saving. Photograph: Bill Allsopp/Alamy Stock Photo
Seeds need to be brought back into public ownership, rather than belonging to a small group of agrochemical companies, say campaigners, after a year in which seed-swapping and saving has reached new heights of popularity.