Not long ago, a lot of socialists around the world had little to say about environmental issues. The environmental movement was focused on individual (change your light bulbs) and capitalist (create a market for emissions) solutions to the ecological crisis. In 2007, immediately after the founding of the Ecosocialist International Network (EIN), I wrote a Canadian Dimension article on the challenges facing ecosocialists. In it, I discussed two trends that seemed to indicate a new wave of anti-capitalist and pro-ecology action:
For five centuries, Africa has suffered at the hands of the West. Starting with the slave trade, through the colonial era, to today’s neoliberal global economy, the development of industrial capitalism in the West has come at a terrible price paid by Africans. Food riots in Mozambique early this month and looming mass starvation in Niger after floods that were preceded by years of drought both reflect the ongoing economic exploitation. However, they also reflect another creation of the industrialised West adversely affecting Africa: climate change.
“BP PLC’s long-awaited internal investigation into the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig found that the British oil giant bears some responsibility for the disaster but laid most of the blame on its contractors”, the September 8 Wall Street Journal said.
The Fabio Di Celmo Committee for the Five, (CFDCF) of Quebec-Cuba Solidarity, has been organising picket lines in front of the US Consulate in downtown Montreal the first Thursday of every month for more than three years in solidarity with the Cuban Five. The five are Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez, and Ramón Labanino and Fernando Gonzalez. They were arrested 12 years ago on September 12, sentenced to long prison terms and held in terrible penitentiary conditions.
“Two American soldiers have been killed and nine wounded after a gunman in Iraqi army uniform attacked them at an Iraqi base, US officials said. “The soldiers were part of a security detail for a United States company commander who was meeting members of Iraq's security forces at a commando compound near the city of Tuz Khurmato, 170 kilometres north of Baghdad, US military said. “They were the first American soldiers killed since US forces formally ended combat operations in Iraq a week ago … [I]nsurgents continue to launch attacks daily, many targeting Iraqi soldiers and police.”
The Australian logging industry is seeking to cash in on a global surge in markets for forest biomass and wood-fired power. Proposals for new wood-burning power stations are popping up around the globe. The US alone has 102 new wood-fired power stations planned, the October 25, 2009 Independent said.
“Tony Blair's autobiography, A Journey, is being subversively moved to crime sections in book shops by members of a Facebook protest group. “Over 10,000 Facebook members have joined the group ‘Subversively move Tony Blair’s memoirs to the crime section in book shops’ and have been posting photos of them doing so … “The Facebook group description said: ‘Make book shops think twice about where they categorise our generation’s greatest war criminal.’” — September 8 Webusers.co.uk.
In late August, Mexican authorities found the bodies of 72 migrants from Central and South America. They had been kidnapped on their way to the United States, brutally shot and left to die in a remote, abandoned ranch near a small town in northeastern Mexico. Eighteen-year-old Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla was one of two survivors of the massacre who managed to escape and lead authorities to the crime scene. He claimed he and his fellow US-bound migrants were kidnapped by the Zetas drug cartel and told they would either have to pay a ransom or work as drug couriers and hit men.
“Tony Blair today cancelled a second event scheduled to mark the launch of his memoirs after anti-war campaigners prepared to mount a protest against him … “The decision comes just days after Blair announced he was cancelling a signing session due to be held at the Waterstone's book store in London's Piccadilly this lunchtime, amid concerns over planned protests … “A book signing in Dublin a few days earlier had seen eggs and shoes hurled by protesters, with one individual attempting to make a citizen’s arrest.” — September 8 Guardian.
Edward Bernays, the US nephew of Sigmund Freud, is said to have invented modern propaganda. During the World War I, he was one of a group of influential liberals who mounted a secret government campaign to persuade reluctant Americans to send an army to the bloodbath in Europe. In his 1928 book Propaganda, Bernays said the “intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses was an important element in democratic society” and that the manipulators “constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power in our country“.
Opposition has grown to the Western Australian state government’s compulsory seizure of James Price Point, 60km north of Broome, for a $30 billion gas processing project in the Browse Basin. The Kimberly Land Council (KLC), the Greens and the Wilderness Society have all spoken out against the move. Frank Parriman, the co-chair of the KLC Traditional Owners negotiating committee, accused Woodside, the company that plans to build the project, of orchestrating the takeover.
Free Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani I write to express my disgust at the appalling treatment of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani by the Iranian government. I am a longtime friend and supporter of the Iranian people and their struggle. In the time of the Shah, I wrote letters and articles, spoke at meetings and joined many protests against his repressive regime and supported the resistance. Later, I defended the Iranian Revolution against the attacks of the US, Britain, Israel and other Western powers.
Getting public housing was like a dream come true — an escape from the never-ending cycle of evictions and unscrupulous landlords stealing my bond money. My flat is in a reasonably middle-class suburb, in a building accommodating 13 tenants and a community garden. Unfortunately the dream turned sour.
Journalist Jeff McMullen used his speech at the September 8 Building Bridges forum at Parramatta Town Hall to condemn ongoing government support for the NT intervention. He told the 50-strong forum: “The Northern Territory Intervention has been the most damaging policy inflicted on Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people since the policies of the Stolen Generation.
At a September 7 Green Left Weekly forum, Andrew Bartlett and Ewan Saunders spoke about the possibilities that have opened for the progressive movements since the election. Bartlett was Greens candidate for the seat of Brisbane in the recent federal elections. E Saunders contested the same seat for Socialist Alliance. Bartlett gained 21% of the primary vote, a swing of 10%. He gave an assessment of the voting results.
I am a committee member of the Human Rights Alliance and a trustee of the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee WA. Through my role in both during the past couple of years, I have been stunned by the fact that Australia has one of the world's worst deaths in custody records. There are more non-Aboriginal deaths in custody than Aboriginal deaths. But the rate of Aboriginal deaths in custody is higher than in South Africa during the peak of apartheid.