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Social Change not Climate Change

Capitalism and the government have already proved to us that they lack the will, the power, and the inclination to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change. Both rely on the continuous, maximal economic growth which results in climate change, and both have shown us again and again that they can find ways to benefit from ecological disaster.

In a recent Guardian article, self styled climate policy guru Geoge Monbiot claimed that real social change was not required to tackle climate change, and even went as far as saying that fighting for social change, decentralisation, and the eventual death of capitalism would cause the failure of the climate change movement. He was criticising an article by Ewa Jasiewicz, published in the guardian a few days before. Ewa claimed that:

“Changing our sources of energy without changing our sources of economic and political power, will not make a difference. Neither coal nor nuclear are the “solution”, we need a revolution.” Continue reading Social Change not Climate Change

Australia’s Green-Red Pioneers

As the threat of climate change approaches, the tasks that face us seem enormous; we are overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness. However, a look at the history of working class anti-capitalist struggle shows that when the trade union movement is fighting and winning, anything is possible. The story of the New South Wales Builders Labourers Federation points precisely to the kind of trade unionism that we need to face the problems of today. The following article is an adapted excerpt from Greg Mallory’s University of Queensland PhD thesis, Going Into Uncharted Waters, Department of History, University of Queensland, 1999 first published in Workers’ Liberty #64.

Men who worked in the building industry from the 1940s to the 1970s acknowledged that the working conditions were extremely poor. The work was particularly arduous. There was very little mechanisation, and ladders and scaffolding were often unsafe. Toilets, clean water and lunchrooms either did not exist or were in very poor condition. As Darcy Duggan said: ‘… make-shift bloody ladders, the likes of toilets of which were only four posts with a bit of hessian around, the state of the sheds was bad, just made out of corrugated iron.’ Continue reading Australia’s Green-Red Pioneers

Vestas workers – Up for a fight!

On Friday 3 July, Workers’ Climate Action and the Cowes Trades Council held a public meeting attended by around 100 people, to oppose the closure of the Vestas plant, Britain’s only wind turbine factory, on the Isle of Wight. Two months ago, Vestas announced over 500 job cuts and is seeking to move production to the USA

The room was packed with workers from the factory as well as people from the wider community. By the end of the meeting, there were people seriously discussing the tactic of a factory occupation to save jobs and force much-needed investment in wind energy. How did this come about?

Continue reading Vestas workers – Up for a fight!