Socialists, Greens discuss capitalism and the environment

Issue 

BY RENFREY CLARKE

ADELAIDE — A public meeting was held by the Socialist Alliance here on August 27 at the Semaphore Workers Club. Billed as "a discussion on red and green politics and activism", the meeting attracted 25 people, many of them involved in local campaigns.

Greens activist Stephen Darley told the meeting that capitalism "commodifies the environment". The natural world under capitalism becomes simply another factor in the calculations of the profit-makers, he explained. Darley noted such values are reflected within the environmental movement. Instead of basing itself on the needs of humans and the environment, this current limits its demands to concessions that the system can meet.

Darley referred to two local campaigns. Environmentalists are trying to block plans for the redevelopment of the Port Adelaide area. With old buildings to be demolished and high-priced 12-storey apartment complexes to take their place, the area's built environment will be totally altered and an established working-class community driven out.

The other campaign has seen local residents mobilise to try to stop the mining of sand from the Semaphore foreshore. The destruction of seagrass beds by pollutants has greatly accelerated the natural drift of sand northward along Adelaide beaches. As a result, high-priced buildings constructed on dunes further south are threatened with undermining. Rather than looking for sustainable solutions, the state Labor government has proposes to truck in huge quantities of sand from Semaphore.

Socialist Alliance member Jim Green, a leading activist in the movement against the federal government's plan to build a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, also spoke.

From Green Left Weekly, September 3, 2003.

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