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A Farewell to Copitalism

Over the next few days we are keen to publish posts that reflect on COP 26. We’re particularly interested in articles that look at the challenge of movement building in the wake of COP. To kick things off we republish this article by Brendan Montague the editor of the Ecologist which was first published online under a CC BY 4.0 license in that magazine on 12th November. Send articles or ideas for articles to triple.e.scot@gmail.com

The COP26 conference has failed to usher in a new era where capital is constrained to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown.

The future was supposed to be copitalism: a new global economic paradigm where national governments work together through the United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties (COP) process to limit emissions and prevent runaway climate breakdown – while leaving capitalism otherwise intact.

The climate conferences have taken place annually for a quarter of a century. The aim is to negotiate global emissions targets that will be translated into national policies. The high-water mark was the Paris Agreement of COP21 when the worlds’ leaders agreed to limit global heating to 1.5C. 

The mechanism agreed was “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs). This means national governments are responsible for submitting commitments to cut emissions to the UN. The COP process is also supposed to include a “ratchet mechanism” where those government commitments are made increasingly ambitious. 

Credibility

In order to deliver on the NDCs each country would have to use a combination of carrot – investment, incentives, tax cuts – and stick – regulation and taxation – to move capital away from fossil fuels and towards “green” technology and infrastructure. The most obvious and effective means of reducing emissions is a limit or stop on the exploitation of coal, oil and gas. 

Thus, “copitalism” is designed to maintain the status quo except where specific economic activity drives us towards climate breakdown. Capital accumulation remains the logic of our economies. Economic growth is maintained, or profit is delivered by the distribution of wealth from the poorest to the richest. Corporations continue to deliver profits for shareholders. Social inequality deepens. Poverty grinds.

The Glasgow conference, COP26, was the first deadline for presidents and prime ministers to hand in their Paris Agreement homework. The problem is, reducing fossil fuel exploitation involves a confrontation with the wealthiest, most entrenched monopoly corporations in human history.

And even on its own terms, the outcomes from the COP process over the last two weeks are catastrophic. As Climate Action Tracker (CAT) reported during the conference: “The projected warming from current policies – not proposals, what countries are actually doing – is…at 2.7 ̊C with only a 0.2 ̊C improvement over the last year and nearly one degree above the net-zero announcements governments have made.”

The distressing truth is Copitalism should be a dystopian nightmare.

Bill Hare, the chief executive of Climate Analytics, a CAT partner organisation, has said: “It’s all very well for leaders to claim they have a net zero target, but if they have no plans as to how to get there, and their 2030 targets are as low as so many of them are, then frankly, these net zero targets are just lip service to real climate action. Glasgow has a serious credibility gap.”

The new promises emanating from Glasgow would reduce this warming by just 0.1C. As Climate Action Tracker has established, there is a “very big credibility gap” when it comes to net-zero policy. Life under such conditions will not be worth living for millions, if not billions, of people. 

Damage

The primary weakness of the COP process is that even the best outcomes are, by design, not action but words. The conferences are focused on national governments setting out new commitments, always framed by deadlines years into the future. The politicians and their parties may not even be in power when those chickens come home to roost.

Those members of civil society paying the most attention – concerned citizens, protesters, charities and NGOs and the thousands of journalists – feel duty bound to celebrate and amplify the smallest successes from the COP process. There is a deep concern that the general public will become disheartened, climate anxiety will intensify and campaigners will switch off.

And so one of the major successes being touted at the conference is an agreement signed by 40 countries to phase out coal power by the 2030s for the coloniser economies and 2040s for the colonised, and to end all investment in new coal power generation. China has not agreed to reduce coal production and burning at home.

There has also been much fanfare about the surprise agreement between the United States – historically the largest contributor to climate breakdown – and China – currently the largest national contributor. But even here the response of many at COP26 has been characterised thus: “This was a stage-managed nothingburger. There was nothing new bar words, nothing on coal, finance or loss and damage.” 

The problem is, climate breakdown is a physical reality. 

Share price

A total of 88m barrels of oil were produced globally in 2020. The historically unprecedented international shutdown of production as a result of the global pandemic did not come close to reducing our use of oil by the levels necessary to prevent climate breakdown. Indeed, production was at a historic high of 95m barrels in 2019. There is no reason to believe it will not return to these suicidal levels in the coming years. 

Further, a total of 159,610,000 tonnes of coal were produced globally in 2020. Again, the pandemic slowdown resulted in a dip in mining. But, even so, coal production globally is higher today than when the gavel was struck to mark the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016. And bear in mind that there remains 1,074,108,000,000 tonnes of proven coal reserves around the world.

The actual introduction of a copitalist economy would inevitably result in coal, oil and gas becoming stranded assets. Those companies that hold these assets would not be able to exploit them, turning assets into sales into profits into dividends for shareholders. The share prices might not collapse, but they would certainly move. If capitalism works on any level, then it is that those with capital will only invest in companies that deliver a return on that investment.

CC0

The share prices of the major energy companies tell the same story. ExxonMobil currently has a market capitalisation of $281 billion. A share in the company today is worth $64 – indistinguishable from the price on the opening day of COP26 and well above the $35 price from this time last year. ExxonMobil shareholders do not fear copitalism. 

Likewise, the share price of the Peabody Energy Corporation – the world’s largest private coal company – remains steady at $11, almost three times its value last year. Closer to home, shares in BP have risen from £2.36 each to £3.41 in the course of the last year, as the company recovers from the pandemic. 

Campaigners

The justification for this political project is that the need to avert climate breakdown is so urgent and critical, and the likelihood of a wider and deeper political transformation of our societies and our economies is so remote, that the capitalists must be appeased while being persuaded that climate mitigation is in their interests as much as anyone else’s.

The problem with the capitalist project is that capitalists are not running the capitalist system, but perversely the capitalist system runs the capitalists. The corporate leadership of any country does not choose what or how it produces but instead is the flotsam of our societies willing to do anything to ride the wave of capitalist wealth-making at any cost.

Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, is a moral vacuum. But this is not a personal failing of a human being who just happens to have risen through the ranks of his corporation through hard work and diligence. 

A capitalist logic has promoted those executives who deliver results, deliver profits, precisely by grinding the most out of the human and natural resources they control. No amount of evidence or hectoring can change van Beurden’s mind. And if it does, he will be out of a job.

The assembled delegates, the surrounding banks of NGO campaigners and exhausted journalists try to understand the daily shocks and disappointments of the COP process. It is assumed that a failure of understanding on the part of a particular leader – usually someone else’s leader – is the cause of failure at the conference. We are wedded to the idea of human agency, of powerful saviours, of national leaders.

Billionaires

The delegates of COP26 negotiating our collective future are hidden away in a cordoned off zone within the Blue Zone. More than 500 of those delegates are either directly within the employ of fossil fuel companies or delegates for government departments working with Big Coal, Oil and Gas. The NGOs and the journalists accredited to the zone are locked out of the real discussions, relying on press conferences for any crumbs of information.

The Blue Zone itself feels like a military encampment on the banks of the River Clyde. The fences tower overhead with delegates rushing through turnstiles guarded by security. The Green Zone along the road is entirely separate, but here the pavilions are dominated by National Grid, Unilever, Sainsbury’s and Microsoft. The message – that corporations are the solution – is not subtle. The Green Zone is open to the public, and school children tour the science museum styled displays. 

Civil society is represented in Glasgow. But the COP26 Coalition is both physically and metaphorically cast into the hinterland in venues scattered across  the living centre of the city of Glasgow. Here the science of climate change is understood and accepted, and the reality of the actual change needed to prevent calamity is discussed. The attendees are actual people from Glasgow.

The discussions at the venue in Adelaide Place were wide ranging and meaningful, taking in the Green New Deal, degrowth, Indigenous traditions, the threat of green colonialism, food sovereignty, international trade, and more. But the event seemed only to coincide with the COP negotiations happening less than two miles away. There seemed no possibility of these debates influencing the proceedings. 

Copitalism should be a dystopian nightmare. The COP26 conferences are a political project aimed at maintaining as much as possible of our current global economic system. The billionaires will continue to make gargantuan profits, fuelling their intergalactic fantasies. At the same time, 15 million people have likely died from coronavirus and billions are denied a cheap vaccine to maintain the profits of the pharmaceutical industry.

Monsters

But the experience of COP26 during the last few days suggests that copitalism itself is an unachievable utopian dream, as vacuous as Charles Fourier’s vision of the oceans turning to lemonade. There is, alas, no real need for a neologism. Capitalism cannot allow copitalism to exist, such is its rapacious need for mountains and oceans of coal, oil and gas.

Barack Obama when president of the United States was instrumental in defusing the Paris Agreement and now calls on young people to protest for climate action. During his speech on Monday he made the following confession: “There are times where the future seems somewhat bleak. There are times where I am doubtful that humanity can get its act together before it’s too late, and images of dystopia start creeping into my dreams.”

The reality is that COP26 is failing because capitalism cannot allow copitalism to supersede. We cannot postpone the work of ending capitalism until after we have moved to avert climate breakdown. Because capitalism is climate breakdown. Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Tla A’min Nation, the Indigenous activist told People’s Plenary meeting before a walkout today: “Cop26 is a performance. It is an illusion constructed to save the capitalist economy rooted in resource extraction and colonialism. I didn’t come here to fix the agenda – I came here to disrupt it.”

This argument does not have to be simplified for the public. We already know. As Cora, a 15-year-old member of Fridays For Future from Edinburgh said so eloquently this week: “Letting that kind of capitalist theatre run every COP? We are never going to see the change that we need now.”

But if copitalism is now an impossible utopia, is capitalism really the only game in town? Is it easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of the billionaire? Or is now the time for the climate movement to merge fully into the environment movement, the social justice movement, the (dare I say it) anti-capitalist movement so that we can aggregate our traumas, our grievances, our hopes, into something with the force and multitude that can begin to challenge the capitalist machine at the core of our misfortunes?

The famous quote from the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci also seems apposite right now. “The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters.”

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist.

This article license CC By 4.0

Climate justice, climate jobs and the military industrial complex

This is the slightly expanded text of a contribution that Pete Cannell (speaking for Scot.E3) made to a meeting organised by the global climate jobs network at the COP26 people’s summit.

Scotland is well placed to make a rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy.  It is well endowed with natural resources for wind, wave, tidal and hydro power generation.  Hydro power was developed in the 1950’s and sixties, more recently there has been some further development of local, small-scale hydro.  Offshore and onshore wind power has developed rapidly, wave and tidal has seen very little investment.  But Scotland also has a relatively strong representation of engineering skills among its workforces.  These workers have skills in electrical, marine engineering, fabrication and so on – skills that are needed for the transition to a zero-carbon economy that needs to begin right now.

Most of these workers are currently employed in either the Oil and Gas sector or ‘Defence’.  Sectors which are significantly larger as a proportion of the Scottish economy than they are of the UK as a whole. 

The current state of play with climate jobs is disastrous.  The policy of leaving transition to the market has resulted in declining numbers of jobs in renewables.  We’ve written about the closure of facilities at BiFab and Machrihanish elsewhere on this site.  At the same time there have been massive job losses in the North Sea and a long-term decline in engineering jobs in the defence sector.  While there has been a massive increase in offshore wind generation the private sector has driven down wages and conditions, used low paid workers from around the world, shifted production to sites thousands of miles away and focused on profit maximisation rather than just transition.

There’s a lot more we could say about oil and gas but in the context of the other talks at this meeting we want to focus now on the arms trade.  Britain is one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world and Scotland has a disproportionately large share of this activity.  It has been excellent that during this mobilisation around COP26 there has been a lot of discussion of the huge carbon emissions of the military.  

Defence Imagery CC BY-NC 2.0

In Scot.E3 we’ve argued for the need to go further – the military industrial complex in Scotland (and globally) acts as a barrier to transition.  It thrives on public subsidy – far more than that provided for renewables.  This is a characteristic it shares with the oil and gas sector. It distorts the economy, it’s secretive and hugely corrupt, dominates research agendas and monopolises skills and resources that should be directed to saving the planet.

We look forward to a day when the commitment and imagination of young people currently in school can be deployed to develop the kind of sustainable and socially just society that we are fighting for.  But time is short, and we need to start the transition now with the skills and knowledge that are already available. To achieve climate justice and win the climate jobs we need it’s going to be necessary to force a radical shift of resources away from the defence sector as well as from oil and gas.

Marching for climate justice

Despite wind and heavy rain one hundred thousand people marched in Glasgow yesterday. They were joined by hundreds of thousands more at over 300 locations around the world. Here’s a visual record of the Glasgow march. Thanks to Graham Checkley for the pictures and video.

And here’s an overview of the whole march from our friends at REEL News

Scotland, COP26 and the Climate Crisis

This article by Scot.E3 activists Brian Parkin and Pete Cannell was first published in the newsletter of the Scottish United Left.  United Left is a self funded organisation for UNITE members, with the principal aim of promoting a socialist agenda within the Union

For the better part of a century Scotland has been energy self-sufficient. Since the end of World War 2 an ‘energy mix’ of coal, hydro, natural gas and nuclear provided an embarrassment of riches as far as power generation was concerned. Not only was Scotland power generation self-sufficient but it was also a net exporter of power to England and Northern Ireland via inter-connecter cables. But over the past decade, the picture has been changing radically.

Firstly, much of Scotland’s ‘thermal’ power plant- coal and nuclear has been retired– and the one gas-fired plant at Peterhead has been down-loaded; and without the fitting of carbon capture plant- it too, will be closed by 2025. Also, by 2030 Scotland’s remaining nuclear station at Torness should have closed. And despite a considerable investment programme in wind turbine construction it is conceivable that Scotland will be unable to meet its peak winter demand at times.

Climate crisis

The November COP 26 Climate summit in Glasgow will present evidence showing a worsening picture of runaway climate change due to the failure to control and reduce COand other greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere. But even before the summit begins, many scientists and environmental activists have expressed doubts about any targets on greenhouse gasses being met. This is bad news which suggest that fundamental political changes are required in order to bring the world economy in line in order to prevent a global catastrophe. But rather than just await a solution from upon high, it is essential that wherever possible, climate crisis abatement strategies are undertaken now.

Scotland’s potential

Relative to much of the rest of Europe, Scotland is endowed with a combination of natural assets- which if harnessed responsibly- could turn the country into a showcase green energy economy. Scotland has one of the longest coastlines of any country in Europe- along with some of the most reliable wind resources- both on and off shore. Another exemplary energy resource is the Pentland Firth- the tidal stream straits between Northern Caithness and the Orkney Islands. It has been calculated that if a mere 20% of the straits energy could be captured then the power needs of Scotland could be met. 

The social dimensions

Any radical shift in the economy is not possible without the jobs to achieve it and the democratic consensus to make it possible. But no such programme is possible unless there is a clear understanding that the status quo can no longer prevail. It is a status quo that is driven by a profit motive that denies both environmental responsibility and social justice. So while the planet overheats, the elderly and poor shiver. Therefore, we will need a Just Transition that will transfer and retrain workers from old sectors into building and maintaining the various component sectors of the green economy. There will be houses to upgrade to new thermal standards and new houses to build that incorporate those standards. New smart power distribution and supply systems will have to be built and maintained. Also the design and manufacture of new wind, tidal, wave technologies and supply systems will require a new generation of workers.

And beyond……

A truly green economy must also take into account the wider built environment- issues like clean free public transport and the redesign of energy efficient public amenities and enhanced cultural facilities. And Scotland which beyond its central belt has a dispersed population dependent on road transport- which raises the prospect of non-fossil fuel powered vehicles. 

These and many other issues will present themselves as the transition towards a green energy economy nears. But it is essential that every stage of these transitions are the subject of truly democratic discussion that will at each stage raise the question of whether Scotland will remain part of a dire global problem- or a leading part of its solution.

Brian Parkin and Pete Cannell for Scot.E3

Edinburgh COP 26 Demo

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.

Neil Rothnie speaking at the rally

Two new videos from REEL News

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. 

No Climate Justice Without Climate Jobs

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!

November 9

4:15 pm UTC+0

Albany Centre. 44 Ashley Street, Glasgow, G3 6DS United Kingdom

Contributors:

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)

Online:

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)

5th International Ecosocialist Encounters

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.

Eco Ableism is not the answer

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.

Edinburgh Morningside: Copyright M J Richardson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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. 



 

 

Strike for Climate Justice

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.

This statement was launched by the Earth Strike: Empower the Unions and Free Our Unions campaigns.

Image by Graham Checkley