Why Ecological Revolution?

It is now universally recognized within science that humanity is confronting the prospect — if we do not soon change course — of a planetary ecological collapse. Not only is the global ecological crisis becoming more and more severe, with the time in which to address it fast running out, but the dominant environmental strategies are also forms of denial, demonstrably doomed to fail, judging by their own limited objectives. This tragic failure, I will argue, can be attributed to the refusal of the powers that be to address the roots of the ecological problem in capitalist production and the resulting necessity of ecological and social revolution.

The term “crisis,” attached to the global ecological problem, although unavoidable, is somewhat misleading, given its dominant economic associations. Since 2008, we have been living through a world economic crisis — the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. This has been a source of untold suffering for hundreds of millions, indeed billions, of people. But insofar as it is related to the business cycle and not to long-term factors, expectations are that it is temporary and will end, to be followed by a period of economic recovery and growth — until the advent of the next crisis. Capitalism is, in this sense, a crisis-ridden, cyclical economic system. Even if we were to go further, to conclude that the present crisis of accumulation is part of a long-term economic stagnation of the system — that is, a slowdown of the trend-rate of growth beyond the mere business cycle — we would still see this as a partial, historically limited calamity, raising, at most, the question of the future of the present system of production.1

When we speak today of the world ecological crisis, however, we are referring to something that could turn out to be final, i.e., there is a high probability, if we do not quickly change course, of a terminal crisis — a death of the whole anthropocene, the period of human dominance of the planet. Human actions are generating environmental changes that threaten the extermination of most species on the planet, along with civilization, and conceivably our own species as well.

What makes the current ecological situation so serious is that climate change, arising from human-generated increases in greenhouse gas emissions, is not occurring gradually and in a linear process, but is undergoing a dangerous acceleration, pointing to sudden shifts in the state of the earth system. We can therefore speak, to quote James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and the world’s most famous climate scientist, of “tipping points…fed by amplifying feedbacks.”2 Four amplifying feedbacks are significant at present: (1) rapid melting of arctic sea ice, with the resulting reduction of the earth’s albedo (reflection of solar radiation) due to the replacement of bright, reflective ice with darker blue sea water, leading to greater absorption of solar energy and increasing global average temperatures; (2) melting of the frozen tundra in northern regions, releasing methane (a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) trapped beneath the surface, causing accelerated warming; (3) recent indications that there has been a drop in the efficiency of the carbon absorption of the world’s oceans since the 1980s, and particularly since 2000, due to growing ocean acidification (from past carbon absorption), resulting in faster carbon build-up in the atmosphere and enhanced warming; (4) extinction of species due to changing climate zones, leading to the collapse of ecosystems dependent on these species, and the death of still more species.3 Continue reading

Disobedience Makes History

The Clown Army is surrounded, Gleneagles G8 protests, Scotland 2005 Photo: © Ian Teh

Led by the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination
Saturday 23 January 2010, 10.30–17.30
Saturday 30 January 2010, 10.30–17.30

In 1989 thousands of citizens defied the law and brought down the authoritarian regimes that were already crumbling under economic burdens across Eastern Europe.  Many of the seeds of these revolutions were planted by artists and subcultures who devised forms of civil disobedience and opened up a space for dissent.

Twenty years later we are in the midst of an unprecedented economic and ecological crisis not unlike that which swept across the east in 1989 and yet voices of dissent are being increasingly repressed. There has never been a more urgent time to develop new forms of creative disobedience and artists have the skills and imagination to do this. This workshop will explore the history and practice of creative disobedience and will culminate in a co-created intervention. No arts or activism experience necessary.

Tate Modern  Level 7 East Room
£50 (£35 concessions), booking recommended
Price includes refreshments
For tickets book online
or call 020 7887 8888.

Book tickets online

Source: http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/eventseducation/coursesworkshops/20641.htm

שטח סגור | Closed Zone | منطقة مغلقة

Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement calls on the State of Israel to fully open Gaza’s crossings and to allow the real victims of the closure – 1.5 million human beings – the freedom of movement necessary to realize their dreams and aspirations.

“Theres nothing Jewish about what Israel is doing in Palestine and nothing anti-Jewish about opposing it. Free #Gaza! Long live #Palestine!” – Twitter

See http://www.closedzone.com/

Hugo Chávez Writes on “The Battle of Copenhagen”

December 22nd 2009, by Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Copenhagen was the scene of a historic battle in the framework of the 15th Conference of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP15). Better said, in the beautiful, snowy capital of Denmark, a battle began that did not end on Friday, December 18, 2009. I reiterate: Copenhagen was only the beginning of a decisive battle for the salvation of the planet. It was a battle in the realm of ideas and in praxis.

Brazilian Leonardo Boff, a great liberation theologian and one of the most authoritative voices on environmental issues, in a key article, entitled What is at stake in Copenhagen?, wrote these words full of insight and courage: What can we expect from Copenhagen? At least this simple confession: We cannot continue like this. And a simple proposition: Let’s change course.

And for that reason, precisely, we went to Copenhagen to battle for a change of course on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA), and moreover, in defence of the cause of humanity and to speak, with President Evo Morales, in defence of the rights of Pachamama, of Mother Earth.

Evo, who together with yours truly, had the responsibility to be a spokesperson for the Bolivarian Alliance, wisely said: What this debate is about, is whether we are going to live or we are going to die.

All eyes of the world were concentrated on Copenhagen: the 15th Conference on Climate Change allowed us to gauge the fibre we are made of, where hope lies and what can we do to establish what the Liberator Simón Bolívar defined as the equilibrium of the universe, an equilibrium that can never be achieved within the capitalist world system. Continue reading

The Day The Music Was Resurrected

For four years in a row Simon Cowell’s X-Factor has dominated the Christmas number one slot in the charts. He’s certainly not the first person to send bland, manufactured porridge masquerading as music to the top of the charts but he is the first to insist year on year that there is no alternative.

Year after year he unleashes all the corporate power at his disposal, including a prime-time TV show which acts as a long-running, dedicated advertising campaign that puts QVC and the Shopping Channel to shame, all in the service of his ever-burgeoning fortunes.

Stacked against him were a married couple in Essex, Jon and Tracy Morter, who decided that enough was enough and launched a campaign from their living room to depose the dictator.

How were they going to do it? By backing Killing In The Name by rap-rock band Rage Against the Machine (RATM).

Leaping beyond all their expectations the campaign, based mainly through the internet as the song was no longer available in the shops, became a mini-movement with almost a million people joining the Facebook group and over half-a-million people buying the single in a week.

Joyously it topped the charts with no corporate backing nor even, initially, with the knowledge of the band itself. Continue reading

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on How to Tackle Climate Change: “We Must Go from Capitalism to Socialism”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on How to Tackle Climate Change: “We Must Go From Capitalism to Socialism”

Democracy Now speak with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about climate change, the Copenhagen summit and President Obama. Chavez accuses calls the COP15 summit undemocratic and accuses world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet, Chavez says. That requires a change in the economic model: we must go from capitalism to socialism.

See also:

Fidel Castro: The Truth of What Happened at the Summit

Venezuelan President’s Speech on Climate Change in Copenhagen

Fidel Castro: The Truth of What Happened at the Summit

The youth is more interested than anyone else in the future.

Until very recently, the discussion revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centers on whether human society will survive.

These are not dramatic phrases. We must get used to the true facts. Hope is the last thing human beings can relinquish. With truthful arguments, men and women of all ages, especially young people, have waged an exemplary battle at the Summit and taught the world a great lesson.

It is important now that Cuba and the world come to know as much as possible of what happened in Copenhagen. The truth can be stronger than the influenced and often misinformed minds of those holding in their hands the destiny of the world. Continue reading