As the climate talks were starting in Glasgow, the Edinburgh COP26 Coalition and Edinburgh XR held a march of around 400 people from the Meadows to the Scottish Parliament – ending with a rally at the parliament. Speakers included a young activist from Kenya, Friends of the Earth, the Edinburgh Muslim Women’s Association and many more. Ex oil worker Neil Rothnie spoke for Scot.E3.
Two new short films just out from Reel News – Can’t beat the rank and file! – The future of trade unionism in construction (13 mins), and Landworkers Alliance Skills Fair 2021 (18 mins).
The first covers 60 years of unbroken rank and file struggle by construction workers, including the National Building Workers Strike of 1972, the fights for safety, including from asbestos, and against the blacklisting of activist workers, up to the Shut-the-sites campaign last year in the pandemic, and this year’s campaign against deskilling of electricians at Hinkley Point C (‘No 2 ESO’) all threaded together by construction activist JT Murphy’s 100 year-old chant: “With the bosses never, With the trade union officers sometimes, With the rank and file always”.
The second film, in contrast, is about the collective aspirations of young people and people of colour for land and food justice. All very well you may be thinking, but where’s the power for change to come from? At which point the film deftly switches to the fierce and persistent militancy of Indian farmers in the face of three laws designed to commodify land and food for private profit. The Indian Farmers are even bringing their protest to Glasgow this weekend.
Scot.E3 is collaborating with other climate jobs campaigns to organise this event at 415pm on November 9th at COP26
There are currently over a dozen national climate jobs campaigns around the world, as well as further green new deal proposals. The articulation between the climate justice movement and the labour movement is, at this moment, still in its early steps and the pandemic has not promoted any sort of coalescence. The Corona Crisis is not an external event, but part of capitalist over-consumption of nature. Climate jobs are therefore one of the key components of any programatic and political alliance between climate and workers movements. Capitalism has no plan but collapse, so we need a plan from below. To overcome the climate crisis we need a political program for society, and workers in all sectors need to be involved in shaping a livable future for humanity, which will take a lot of work!
4:15 pm UTC+0
Albany Centre. 44 Ashley Street, Glasgow, G3 6DS United Kingdom
Emma Cockburn (Scot3E – Scotland),
Nuria Blázquez (Ecologistas en Acción – Spain),
Jonathan Neale (One Million Climate Jobs – UK),
João Camargo (Global Climate Jobs / Empregos para o Clima – Portugal)
Josua Mata (Sentro – Philippines)
Julia Kaiser (Students for Future, TV N 2020 – Germany)
Jean-Claude Simon (Transform Europe! – Denmark)
Ditthi Bhattacharya (New Trade Union Initiative – India)
Alongside our friends from the Portuguese Climate Jobs campaign Climaximo , and a host of other organisations, Scot.E3 is supporting the Fifth International Ecosocialist Encounters conference which takes place in Lisbon from 21st to 23rd January 2022.
Find out more on the conference website – but here’s the brief description.
The climate crisis is worsening before our eyes at an accelerating pace.
While the flames of overwhelming fires consume our earth, more and more people are getting expelled from their lands so that extractive and emissions increasing projects can take place, pushing us towards the abyss of climate chaos. As heat waves are getting more intense all around the world, increasingly more people are left in unemployment and precariousness due to the escalating economic and social crisis that the capitalist management of the pandemic worsened. As the seas rise and climate catastrophes such as violent storms, droughts and hurricanes threaten even more populations, the violence towards the already marginalized bodies of our societies increases and access to essential services, such as housing, energy, food, health and water keeps being denied, giving place to the accumulation of profit instead of securing life.
The newest IPCC report confirms what we already knew: in less than two decades we will reach the 1.5ºC temperature limit of global warming whereupon the worst climate phenomena become even more uncontrollable, unless we take urgent and drastic action now.
Capitalist elites keep applying the same profit accumulation mechanisms that have led us here in the first place, creating the illusion that something is being done to fight the climate crisis while taking advantage of all these crisis as new opportunities to amplify profit, militarize and privatize essential life services.
We did not create this scenario nor did we choose to be living in the major civilizational crisis of our times, but we do have the responsibility to stop the climate crisis, leaving no one behind.
If decades of worsening climate, economic and social crisis created by capitalist business as usual have taught us anything, it is that we ourselves have to assume the political and social mission of reaching climate and social justice on the deadline defined by the climate science.
Since 2014, ecosocialists, ecofeminists, peasants, trade unionists, several social movements and political organizations have been gathering on the international ecosocialist encounters to collectively imagine and set in motion an ecosocialist alternative to the abyss towards which the capitalism and climate collapse push us. In 2018, we started from the understanding of ecosocialism as a critical political theory and practice, which sets itself the joint task of dismantling capitalism, productivism and inequality, and constructing the alternative that can produce ecosocial justice. It does so by addressing at the same time the crucial issues of the purpose of economy and work, of production and social reproduction, the ownership of the means of production, the sharing of essential commons and solidar democratic decision-making. At the same time, it bears in mind the restoration of our wounded ecosystems.
In 2022, on the 5th International Ecosocialist Encounters, we start from all this understandings to seek more answers and collectively built a stronger international articulation, capable of fighting the major crisis of our times.
Together we will envision the ecosocialist world we need, starting to shape with which tools and strategies we can achieve it.
Stephen McMurray argues that the climate movement needs to be a movement rooted in social justice, not one that falls into the trap of individualism and promoting policies which increase exclusion.
With the COP conference taking place in Glasgow in Autumn 2021, there has been renewed focus on tackling climate change, particularly given the severe fires and floods which have affected many parts of the world. There are however, concerns that policies which are aimed at reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, may have a negative impact on the lives of people with disabilities.
Ableism is the discrimination or prejudice against people with disabilities in favour of non-disabled people. Eco ableism is defined as a failure by environmental activists to recognise that many of the climate actions they are promoting make life harder for people with disabilities.
Action to tackle climate change requires a wide range of policies and actions to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. These include changing the way we travel and the way we generate and use energy. However, there is a danger that such policies could further marginalise people with disabilities. This has been illustrated in Edinburgh, which introduced ‘Spaces for People’ in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bollards were introduced to separate cyclists from vehicles and pavements widened.
Whilst improving cycling and walking routes to encourage people to cycle and walk more is vital in reducing transport emissions, there is evidence that they have made it harder for people with disabilities getting around. Restricting parking with bollards and introducing double yellow lines has made it much harder for people with disabilities who rely on motorised vehicles to get shopping and socialise.
RNIB Scotland and the Edinburgh Access Panel have expressed serious concern over the introduction of floating bus stops, as it means that people with disabilities will have to cross cycle lanes to get on and off buses. This is particularly worrying for people with visual impairments.
Eco ableism is linked into the neoliberal agenda of tackling climate change by individualism. That individual actions can influence the market and effectively tackle climate change. This ignores the reality that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Individualism can also be tied into victim blaming. Many people with disabilities are limited in the individual actions they can take.
There remain difficulties, for example in using public transport. Only 80 out of 270 London Underground stations feature some form of step-free access. Furthermore, there is the issue of planning ahead to organise the wheelchair ramp and the worry that a member of staff won’t turn up on either end of the journey[ii].
With buses as well, wheelchair spaces are often taken by buggies, leading to tensions and arguments. This is despite a court ruling that drivers should ask passengers to make way for wheelchairs. This can put wheelchair users off public transport and more reliant on private vehicles.
Much of the advice given to individuals to reduce their energy use is in the form of turning down the heating and watching what we eat. However, many people with disabilities struggle to keep warm due to limited mobility and may require special diets, therefore reducing their choices. A home insulation programme is desperately needed to reduce energy use and bills. People with limited mobility should be prioritised.
Even when it comes to electric cars, people with disabilities face challenges. Research found that there was concern in relation to; lifting the charge cable from the boot, manoeuvring the cable to the charge point, space or trip hazards around the car and charger, charging points not designed for wheelchair users and lack of public charging points.
The challenge therefore, is to design the charging of electric cars to be accessible as possible. There is a definite need to greatly increase the need of charging points. Ideally, these should include disabled parking bays in the street, hospitals, GPs, supermarkets, and shopping centres.
The climate movement needs to be a movement rooted in social justice, not one that falls into the trap of individualism and promoting policies which increase exclusion. Just as we should strive for a just transition for workers and communities, we should strive for policies that not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also increase social justice and inclusion.
Scot.E3 has endorsed this campaign to repeal the anti trade union laws:
Workers need the right to strike for climate justice – repeal the anti-union laws** A joint statement from Earth Strike: Empower the Unions and Free Our Unions. Please add your or your organisation’s name! **
On 24 September, young people around the world struck for the climate. The youth climate strikes are vibrant and inspiring. They are also powerful: because they are defiant, because they are disruptive, because they are young people leveraging their collective power. Most of the strikers are too young to vote or hold political office, but by striking they are exercising power.
We want workers of all ages to follow the youth strikers’ lead. Workers have huge power, we need to use it! We need workers’ action to defend ourselves against the environmental dangers and deteriorating conditions brought about by the climate crisis. We need action to challenge and confront bosses and governments who care far more about profit than the planet and its people. It is time to revive the proud history of industrial struggles over social and political issues, including environmental ones – from the New South Wales building labourers’ “Green Bans” to the Lucas Plan.
For decades workers in the UK have been fenced in by multiple laws which make quick and effective strike action difficult, and action over political issues like climate change more difficult still. Workers do and will continue to defy the anti-union laws; but these laws have helped weaken the culture of organisation, direct action and solidarity.
We call on all organisations who seriously want to fight climate change to fight and vocally demand the abolition of all anti-union laws and their replacement with strong legal rights for workers and unions – including rights to strike freely at will, in solidarity with others and for political demands, and to picket freely.
We call on the whole labour movement to support the youth climate strikers in any way it can.