This Issue: What Next?

Millions 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 huge.

In 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?

The 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.

It 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.

The 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.

To 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.

This 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 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 web site.

- Ulli Diemer

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Topic of the week

Capitalist Crises

The 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.

Capitalism, 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

Connexions Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises
This week on

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: EcosocialismWorking Class & Climate Change

Connexions Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

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 TransitionOrganizing for Social Change

Connexions Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

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 PowerRuling Class

Connexions Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

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-CapitalismSocialism/Case for

Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

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 mediaWhistleblowers

Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

Website of the Week

Extinction Rebellion

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 DisobedienceEnvironmental Emergencies

Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

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 JusticeJust Transition

Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

Film of the Week

Tomorrow’s Power

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: AlternativesEnvironmental 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 JusticeMovement Building

Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

People’s History

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 HistoryWorkers’ History

Connexions Topic of the Week: Capitalist Crises

From the Archives

srael'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: NakbaPalestine

Seeds of Fire

October 23, 1956
Outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution
Demonstrations 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
The 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
The 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 leader.

October 27, 1962
Critical moment in the Cuban missile crisis
The 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 officer.
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.

Connexions Calendar

The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We’ll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the
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Connexions Quote of the Week: Grace Lee Boggs

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Copyright Connexions 2019. Contents are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License. This means you are welcome to share and republish the contents of this newsletter as long as you credit Connexions, and as long as you don’t charge for the content.

This issue was edited by Ulli Diemer.


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