This Issue: What Next?
of us, in many different countries, came out in late September to
demand action on the climate crisis. Around the world, in diverse ways,
we are working to keep up the pressure. Time is short, and the tasks are
the midst of our activism and organizing, we need to keep asking
ourselves some important questions: What are our goals? And what should
we do to reach our goals?
high of massive demonstrations is often followed by a slump of
discouragement, when we realize that nothing fundamental seems to have
changed as a result of our protests.
may be worth remembering the history of other mass protests. In early
2003, a huge anti-war movement arose in reaction to the planned American
invasion of Iraq. Some 36 million people came out in cities around to
world to protest against the threat of this illegal war, launched on the
basis of transparently false pretexts. Despite the massive protests,
the war started, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died, and the fallout
continues to this day. The anti-war movement continued for some time
longer, and then virtually disappeared, even though the threat of war
has been increasing year by year, with the United States started pulling
out of international arms control treaties and engaging in dangerous
military provocations on the borders of Russia, China, and Iran.
hard truth is that while mass protests can be energizing while they
happen, their momentum can be difficult to sustain unless we are able to
convert them into ongoing organizing.
keep moving forward, we have to find ways of working together to create
a counter-power to challenge capitalist system, including the political
structures and institutions that sustain it. To put it another way, we
have to understand where the real power lies, and we have to have
strategies for challenging that power with the power of vast numbers of
people, organizing together. We also have to have a clear idea of what
our goals are – not only specific goals related to carbon in the
atmosphere, but goals of worldwide system change.
newsletter includes a number of articles, books, and other resources
which suggest approaches to, and answers to, some of those questions.
We hope you find them useful and thought-provoking.
A Note from the Editor
Other Voices is
back after a hiatus of more than a year. I regret the break in
publication. I was dealing with the sorrow of my partner Miriam’s
illness and death, and putting out a newsletter was a challenge I wasn’t
up to. Connexions is a small volunteer-based organization, and no one
else was available to step into the gap.
Even without the newsletter, it has been a busy time for Connexions. We
moved to a new office in the spring. This entailed not only a physical
move, but some significant ongoing changes to our computer servers. We
also took the opportunity to make some improvements to the search engine
on the Connexions.org website. The website keeps growing: there are
more than a quarter of a million files on the Connexions server, so good
indexes and search tools are crucial.
We’re about to undertake phase two of our moving adventures: the
Connexions Archive, a collection of many many thousands of periodicals,
books, documents and other odds and ends, is about to move out of the
storage locker where most of it has been residing, into a proper space
with shelves, filing cabinets, and tables and chairs. This is a separate
space from our actual office, but the two locations are within easy
walking distance, so we think it will work well for us.
We are also in the midst of a project funded by Library and Archives
Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program, which is enabling us
to digitize, catalogue, and describe a substantial part of our
collection, as well as to do some oral history interviews. These
materials will go online soon, and add a wealth of new materials to the
Connexions.org web site.
- Ulli Diemer
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climate crisis is a crisis of capitalism. It didn’t come about because
nature has somehow malfunctioned, nor is it an unforeseen and
inescapable cataclysm like an asteroid striking the earth. Scientists
and environmentally aware people have been warning us for decades of the
looming danger. The causes are clear: capitalism is an
economic-political system based on accumulation and destruction: endless
growth, endless extraction, and endless environmental destruction.
in fact, is and always has been a system of crises. Its entire history
is punctuated by economic crises, environmental crises, and political
crises, and its reaction to those crises has all-too-often been the
creation of even worse crises: fascism and war.
To face the climate crisis, we need to arm ourselves with knowledge of
what capitalism is and what it is capable of. The Connexions Subject
Index leads to a wide variety of books and articles about capitalist
crises, past and present. Explore it here
Guiding Principles for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal
We must solve the climate crisis and the inequality crisis together.
Climate remedies in the context of austerity will produce a popular
backlash, as we see in the yellow vest protests against a fuel tax.
Corporations profiting from fossil extraction have long worked to turn
workers against environmentalists, claiming that clean energy would be a
job killer. But working class and poor people’s quality of life,
gravely threatened by climate disruption, would greatly improve in a
just transition.Because corporate capitalism rewards extraction to
concentrate wealth, it must be replaced by a sustainable economy. A
Green New Deal can begin the transition from exploitative capitalism to
democratic ecological socialism. Read more
Keywords: Ecosocialism – Working Class & Climate Change
Illusion or Advance? Ecosocialists Debate the 'Green New Deal'
In this article, six activists discuss the strengths and weaknesses of
'Green New Deal' proposals, and how the left should respond. This is an
essay in six voices, from long-time activists who participate in the
North American ecosocialist network System Change Not Climate Change.
Each was challenged to make their point in 500 words or less. Read more
Keywords: Just Transition – Organizing for Social Change
Doubling Down: The Military, Big Bankers and Big Oil Are Not In Climate Denial, They Are in Control and Plan to Keep It That Way
The two most important narratives imposed on us are climate change as a
"threat to national security" and as a "business opportunity" - the
twin rationales for military and corporate power. They want to focus us
on how to manage the crisis, profit from it, or adapt to it, instead of
opposing it. According to the bankers, the problem with climate change
is that it’s "posing significant risks to the prosperity and growth of
the global economy." What they will not say is that the global economy
-- which demands enormous fossil fuel production and consumption -- is
posing significant risks to the climate. The global shipping and
aviation on which peak profit-making depends is, like the military,
exempt from the Paris Accords. The bankers, generals, and politicians
are protecting the sources of their power. Read more
Keywords: Corporate Power – Ruling Class
The Need for a Compelling Anti-Capitalism Narrative
According to Jason Hirthler, “without a more stirring socialist vision,
imbued with the symbols and ritual that instantiate human myth, we will
continue to find our attempts to inspire revolution co-opted by
monopoly capital, which tend to better stories than the left does.”
Socialists, he says “need to craft more compelling stories of a world
without war and a land where health and education and work are rites of
passage rather than a lifelong ordeal.” Read more
Keywords: Anti-Capitalism – Socialism/Case for
The Destruction of Freedom: Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange And The Corporate Media
The corporate media's hostility towards Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning
and WikiLeaks - obvious by lack of coverage or overt antagonism - shows
it is tool of the state and big business. Read more
Keywords: Corporate media – Whistleblowers
Extinction Rebellion is an international movement that uses non-violent
civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise
the risk of social collapse. They state that they “practice mass 'above
the ground' civil disobedience – in full public view. This means
economic disruption to shake the current political system and civil
disruption to raise awareness. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience
that this causes.” Not everyone agrees with their approach, but they
have stimulated debate and raised awareness. Find out more about them here
Keywords: Civil Disobedience – Environmental Emergencies
Book of the Week
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future
By Mary Robinson
Stories of the impact of and resistance to climate change from
grassroots activists around the world. Climate Justice is a manifesto on
one of the most pressing issues of our time, and a lucid, affirmative,
and well-argued case for hope. Read more
Keywords: Climate Justice – Just Transition
Film of the Week
By Amy Miller
Tomorrow’s Power is a feature length documentary that showcases three
communities around the world and their responses to economic and
environmental emergencies they are facing. In the war-torn, oil-rich
Arauca province in Colombia, communities have been building a peace
process from the bottom up. In Germany activists are pushing the country
to fully divest from fossil-fuel extraction and complete its transition
to renewable energy. In Gaza health practitioners are harnessing solar
power to battle daily life-threatening energy blackouts in hospitals. Find out more
Keywords: Alternatives – Environmental Emergencies
Climate Justice and the Prospect of Power
John Riddell evaluates of the experience of the movement to block the
cross-Toronto ‘Line 9’ pipeline project and considers more broadly the
meaning of “climate justice” and the relationship of socialism to social
movements. Read more
Keywords: Climate Justice – Movement Building
Whose history? Why the People's History Museum is Vital
The People’s History Museum in Manchester, England, actively conserves,
documents and preserves the present as well as the past. It provides
opportunities to look back at the changing nature of work and the
political struggles that emerged alongside these changes. Read more
Keywords: People’s History – Workers’ History
From the Archives
Israel's latest attempt to erase Palestine
Efforts by teams from the Israeli defense ministry to remove sensitive
documents from Israeli archives must be understood in a new political
climate and are not simply an attempt to spare Israeli governments
embarrassment, as some have suggested, says historian Ilan Pappe.
“Israeli and American intentions combined with the vulnerability of the
Palestinians bring us to a dangerous historical juncture. Israel is now
in a position to attempt once more to act according to the logic of the
"elimination of the native" (the anthropologist Patrick Wolfe's
characterization of the motives behind setter colonial movements such as
Zionism).” Read more
Keywords: Nakba – Palestine
October 23, 1956
Outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution
of students and workers march through Budapest. In the evening, police
fire on unarmed demonstrators; demonstrators start seizing weapons, and
fighting breaks out. The result is a revolution which overthrows the
Hungarian government but is eventually crushed by the Soviet Union.
October 25, 1983
U.S. invades Grenada
United States invades Grenada and overthrows its leftist government. It
claims the invasion is necessary because Grenada, a
341-square-kilometre island with a mostly rural population of 90,000,
possessing no air force, no navy, no missiles, and no standing army,
poses a grave military threat to the United States.
October 27, 1864
Founding of the First International
founding convention of the International Workingmen’s Association (the
First International) adopts its “General Rules” which will express the
basic orientation of the International and guide its actions. Written by
Karl Marx, they begin with the unequivocal statement “the emancipation
of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes
themselves” – an insistence that liberation can only be self-liberation,
that it cannot be imposed or bestowed by an outside organization or
October 27, 1962
Critical moment in the Cuban missile crisis
world comes to the very brink of nuclear war. It escapes only by a
hair’s breadth, thanks to a life-and-death decision by a Soviet naval
The Cuban Missile Crisis, which has been building since
October 14, is in danger of spiralling out of control because of the
illegal and high-risk U.S. naval blockade of Cuba. On this day, reckless
U.S. Navy commanders decide to drop depth charges on a Soviet submarine
(B-59) present in the area. The targeted submarine is armed with a
nuclear torpedo which it is authorized to launch if it is directly
attacked. The three senior officers on the submarine are required to
agree before a nuclear weapon is launched. Two of them want to launch,
but the third, Vasili Arkhipov, refuses to agree, and so the launch is
averted. Had the submarine fired its nuclear weapon, it is a virtual
certainty that the United States and the Soviet Union would have been
plunged into all-out nuclear war.
On the next day, U.S. President Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev agree to an end to the crisis.
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This issue was edited by Ulli Diemer.
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