Sunday, 20 October 2019

Autumn Extinction Rebellion - I'm an Unreconstructed 'Unco-operative Crusty'

The Far North All-Stars Affinity Group’s section of the XR Site 6, Westminster,Monday morning, 7 October 2019

Written by Allan Todd

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever…We are eroding the very foundations of economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. We have lost time. We must act now.”

Johnson - I absolutely refuse to refer to a dangerous political opportunist, who’s deliberately made racist, sexist and homophobic comments in order to further his career, by his first name! - accused October’s Extinction Rebellion activists of being “unco-operative crusties.” 

I leave it up to those who know me to judge whether or not I’m particularly ‘crusty’(!) - but I proudly embrace and own the term ‘unco-operative’! I, for one, certainly have absolutely no intention of co-operating in the government’s persistent refusal to take the climate actions needed to keep UK citizens safe from the growing impacts of Climate Breakdown.

Which is why I - along with Jack Lenox (Green Party PPC for Copeland) and around 70 other Cumbrians from various Extinction Rebellion groups from Carlisle, Penrith and Kendal - was down in London for the start of XR’s fortnight of action this October.

Our task - along with a large number of Extinction Rebellion groups from Scotland and the North East - was to help take and then hold Site 6 in Westminster on Monday 7 October - ideally, for the whole 2 weeks. This site had been designated as Power In Truth:

XR Site 6 - Power In Truth

I was particularly pleased to have the honour of taking - quite literally! - the first steps in securing our particular section of that XR site.

Although, sadly, our site - like most of the other sites - was ‘cleared’ by the police by the end of the first week, that ‘unco-operative’ streak is why I also went back down for the start of the second week of the XR action in London, on 14 October. 

Why ‘unco-operative’??

I know not everyone approves of an elected councillor taking part in peaceful civil disobedience - up to and including the point of arrest. To those who are unhappy with my actions, I have only this to say:

“I’m ‘unco-operative’ because I simply refuse to co-operate - by standing on the sidelines - in this government’s criminal inaction over the looming Climate Crisis.”

If anyone thinks that’s an exaggerated or unfair description of the UK government’s ‘action’ on reducing carbon emissions, I suggest they acquaint themselves with the most recent Report by the government’s own Committee on Climate Change, published this July. This is chaired by Lord Deben - a Tory member of the House of Lords, and formerly the Tory MP John Gummer.

In that Report, he pointed out that the UK government had only met 1 of the 25 ‘targets’ it had set itself for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, he went so far as to say this about the government’s ‘plans’ to tackle the Climate Crisis:

"The whole thing is really run by the government like a Dad's Army. We can't go on with this ramshackle system."

For an excellent overview on just how serious a crisis we are facing, check out the first part of the 10 October edition of BBC Question Time, in which Rupert Read - a leading Green Party member and Extinction Rebellion spokesperson - set out the situation in very clear but stark terms:


Times are definitely changing when the first question, which occupied almost half the show, was about the Climate Crisis and the radical ecological movement that has mushroomed since Extinction Rebellion was first launched at the end of October 2018.

For further confirmation of why the government needs to be pushed to take urgent and serious action on the Climate Crisis, here is a link to what the renowned campaigning journalist and environmental activist, George Monbiot, had to say in Trafalgar Square, at the start of this month’s Extinction Rebellion:


To disrupt or not to disrupt

Some people ask whether the disruption caused by Extinction Rebellion’s actions is justified. I’m fully aware of how inconvenient being caught in a traffic jam is - especially if there’s somewhere you urgently need to be.

But the impacts of global warming have already caused much greater disruption to the lives of thousands of people - including in Cumbria where, since 2005, we have had three ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ floods: 2005, 2009 and 2015.

Whilst I have been fortunate enough to escape (so far), I saw the huge impact flooding has on people when our younger daughter and family were flooded in Corbridge, as a result of Storm Desmond, in December 2015.

We all know now that the current level of global warming has already increased the average temperature of our oceans - and that this is resulting in more, and more serious, extreme weather events.

Even in economically-developed countries, these extreme weather events have already claimed several lives. Whilst, in the Global South, the number of deaths is in the thousands.

Yet this Tory government - like the Tory/LibDem coalition of 2010-15 before it - is still promoting fracking: one of the most extreme fossil fuel industries. At the same time, it is cutting subsidies to clean renewable energy projects, whilst continuing to give massive amounts of taxpayers’ money to the dirty energy companies.

Many environmental campaigners are not surprised by this state of affairs - as several reports over the past few years have repeatedly pointed out that many government ministers have links (present and/or past) to the finance and/or dirty energy companies which are continuing to drive global warming. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘finance-energy complex’:



The existence of such a ‘fossil fuel web of power’ may help explain why governments since 2010 have done so little to move our economy to clean energy. If dirty energy giants such as BP, Shell and Texaco - and the dirty banks that finance their destructive (but profitable) Climate Crimes - are able to exert such influence over our democracy, it is no wonder that ordinary citizens are increasingly forced to take to the streets to disrupt these companies’ ‘business as usual’:


Approaching the ‘Cliff of Climate Breakdown’

Last year, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that we had only 12 years in which to make MASSIVE cuts in greenhouse emissions if we wish to avoid uncontrollable Climate Breakdown. David Attenborough has warned that humanity is facing its greatest threat in thousands of years as a result of human-driven climate change:

“If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations, and the extinction of much of the natural world on which we depend, is on the horizon.” 

Recent studies show the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years and the top 4 in the past 4 years - & each one breaking the previous record. Scientist are now broadly agreed that climate action must be increased five-fold to limit global warming to 1.5C & pointed out at COP24 that:

“We are the last generation that can stop climate change.”

Three possible Climate outcomes

It’s worth remembering that the figures that have come out of the various IPCC Reports since 1988 - when the IPCC was first set up - are the result of compromises, which has meant that their projections have always been notoriously - and often dangerously - conservative and thus have often underestimated the risks we are facing. 

In particular, oceans are now warming 40% faster than the UN predicted just 5 years ago. As a consequence, on every single continent, climate disruption - on a planetary scale - is no longer a future threat, but a lived reality. In almost every aspect associated with global warming, things are unravelling significantly faster than most scientific models had originally predicted.

In April this year, a far-ranging study on the impacts of global warming on the Arctic concluded that ice is now melting so rapidly that:

In April this year, a far-ranging study on the impacts of global warming on the Arctic concluded that ice is now melting so rapidly that:

“the Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th. Century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but also beyond the Arctic.”

In May, a UN Report revealed the startling loss of wildlife around the world, showing that a million species of animals and plants are at risk of extinction:

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever…We are eroding the very foundations of economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. We have lost time. We must act now.”

What next for Extinction Rebellion?

So far, Extinction Rebellion has focussed its protests on the government, in an attempt to force it to start taking serious actions to drastically reduce carbon emissions. As stated above, one very significant explanation of the government’s increasingly criminal inaction is the massive influence wielded by the dirty energy companies, and the dirty banks that finance them.

So, as well as continuing to disrupt government departments, I think the time has now come for us to target our protests in a more specific way, to also disrupt the ‘business as usual’ of the dirty energy companies, and the dirty banks that continue to facilitate their Climate Crimes:

Barclays - The Dirty Bank

Even if people are not prepared to take non-violent direct action, there are numerous non-arrestable roles that people can do, to help support those who are prepared, if necessary, to be arrested. At the very least, there are things individuals can do at home:

1. If you haven’t already done so, switch to an energy supplier that is based entirely on clean, renewable energy, such as: Ecotricity or Good Energy

2. In the same way, switch to a bank that doesn’t fund/facilitate the dirty energy projects that are driving the world ever closer to Climate Breakdown. These more ethical banks include: The Cumberland Building Society and The Co-operative Bank. If you’re currently with Barclays or HSBC, please make sure that, when you do switch, you email their respective CEOs to tell them why you’ve switched - and that you’ll be encouraging all your family and friends to do likewise:

Barclays: jes.staley@barclays.com

HSBC: john.flint@hsbc.com

Lists of clean energy suppliers and ethical banks can be found in ‘The Ethical Consumer’ magazine: https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/

Despite the police having cleared all XR sites -

 Trafalgar Square, occupied by XR activists

XR activists continued blocking actions into the second week - including, on Monday 14 October, the area around Threadneedle Street and Lombard Street, in front of the Bank of England, which was successfully blocked until just after 5.00pm. Even the blanket ban on all XR protests, issued by the Met Police the following day, did not - despite random stopping and searching - stop the protests.

The message is clear: we will continue to ‘Rebel For Life’ until the government stops putting the narrow financial interests of the dirty energy companies and the dirty banks first and, instead, takes serious action to protect our planet:

Rebel For life

Allan Todd is a member of Allerdale & Copeland Green Party, an XR activist and a Green Left supporter

Thursday, 17 October 2019

FridaysForFuture - Statement in solidarity with Rojava


We, as Fridays For Future groups, condemn the attack of the Turkish army on the
Democratic Federation of North and East Syria / Rojava. We are part of the global
climate justice movement, just as the people in Rojava who are building a society
based on the principles of radical democracy, women’s liberation and in particular
ecology. For this reason, the local Friday For Future Rojava group has called upon us to take action, and we have to stand in solidarity with the people in Northeast Syria who are threatened by the Turkish invasion. We call upon everyone to take the necessary steps to stop this war.

Rojava and the Democratic Federation are examples of the build-up of an ecological,
democratic and feminist society. The aim is to create an ecological and democratic
society, in which the production of goods takes place in cooperatives and in a
decentralised manner, according to the needs of people and in harmony with nature.
This form of democratic and ecological life is responding to the ecological crisis and its different aspects ranging from the climate crisis, monoculture in agriculture to water scarcity and energy supply.

The war of the Turkish state on Rojava is at the same time a deep humanitarian crisis as it is an ecological one. Thousands of people are already fleeing from the attacks that have destroyed the cities and villages of Rojava. The destruction of nature in this war is going to bring about a deep impact on the ecological systems in the region which will make life harder for current and coming generations.

We call for actions in solidarity with Rojava and, in particular, to protest the support of
European governments and companies, that are assisting the Turkish state in its war
against Rojava by weapon exports, diplomatic support and financial help. We are
calling upon the EU to not let itself be put under pressure by Turkey’s threat of letting
refugees enter European territory but to remember the principles of human rights and
democracy it claims to stand for.

Therefore, we call upon everybody to participate in the strikes on Friday,18th October, and to organise and/or to partake in actions under the motto #FridaysForPeace. We further call upon you to build a climate justice block in your regional protests for peace and solidarity this Saturday, 19th October!

Fridays For Future is an international grassroots movement without centralist
structures where each group has the right to take action on its own, but is at the same time united in our goal of building a future worth living for all human beings.
FridaysForFuture, ParentsForFuture and StudentsForFuture groups that
have signed the statement:


If you have any questions, please contact the following address: Press-FFF-Rojava@gmx.de

FridaysForFuture, ParentsForFuture
and StudentsForFuture in Germany:

FridayForFuture Aachen
FridayForFuture Alzey
FridayForFuture Anklam
FridayForFuture Aschersleben
FridayForFuture Bielefeld
FridayForFuture Bochum
FridayForFuture Bonn
FridayForFuture Cologne
FridayForFuture Duisburg
StudentsForFuture Duisburg
StudentsForFuture Frankfurt am Main
FridayForFuture Frankfurt am Main
FridayForFuture Freiburg
FridayForFuture Freising
FridayForFuture Ganderkesee
ParentsForFuture Ganderkesee
FridayForFuture Göttingen
StudentsForFuture Göttingen
FridayForFuture Göttingen
FridayForFuture Hamburg
FridayForFuture Hannover
StudentsForFuture Hannover
FridayForFuture Heilbronn
ParentsForFuture Heilbronn
FridayForFuture Herzogenaurach
ParentsForFuture Herzogenaurach
FridayForFuture Kalamata
FridayForFuture Karlsruhe
FridayForFuture Kerpen
FridayForFuture Kiel-Gaarden
FridayForFuture Koblenz
FridayForFuture District Pinneberg
FridayForFuture Kronach
FridayForFuture Landsberg am Lech
FridayForFuture Landshut
FridayForFuture Leer
FridayForFuture Leipzig
FridayForFuture Leverkusen
FridayForFuture Lübeck
FridayForFuture Freie Universität Berlin
FridayForFuture Ludwigsburg
FridayForFuture Mannheim
FridayForFuture Marburg
FridayForFuture Marktoberdorf
FridayForFuture Mielkendorf
FridayForFuture Murnau
FridayForFuture Neuruppin
FridayForFuture Neustadt an der Aisch
FridayForFuture Nienburg
FridayForFuture Nürnberg
FridayForFuture Oberhausen
FridayForFuture Offenburg
FridayForFuture Ortenau
FridayForFuture Osnabrück
FridayForFuture Rhein-Sieg
FridayForFuture Saarburg
FridayForFuture Salzwedel
FridayForFuture Schleiden / Eifel
FridayForFuture Schwerin
FridayForFuture Schwetzingen
FridayForFuture Sonthofen
ParentsForFuture Sonthofen
FridayForFuture Speyer
FridayForFuture Teltow Fläming
FridayForFuture Trikala
FridayForFuture Uslar
FridayForFuture Weilheim (Oberbayern)
FridayForFuture Wismar
ParentsForFuture Wismar
FridayForFuture Hochtaunus
ParentsForFuture Holzwickede / Unna
ChangeForFuture Germany
HumanistsForFuture Germany
TeachersForFuture Germany
WorkersForFuture Germany
FridaysForFuture in Italy:
FridayForFuture Bari
FridayForFuture Padova
FridayForFuture Scafati
FridayForFuture Vicenza
FridayForFuture Eutin
FridayForFuture Foggia
FridayForFuture Napoli
FridayForFuture Siracusa
FridayForFuture Lecce
FridayForFuture Ischia
FridayForFuture Vicenza
FridayForFuture Pomigliano d'Arco
FridaysForFuture in the USA:
FridayForFuture Washington DC
FridayForFuture Los Angeles
FridayForFuture Rojava
Climate Strike Zürich
FridayForFuture Iran

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

London’s Metropolitan Police ‘Acting Unlawfully’ say Extinction Rebellion’s Lawyers


Lawyers acting for Extinction Rebellion (XR) have applied to the High Court for a judicial reveue into the Metropolitan Police’s blanket ban on ecological protests across the whole of London. The police issued the ban under a section 14 of the Public Order Act on Monday night, effectively outlawing protests by XR in the city.

Since imposing the order, the police have cleared Trafalgar Square of protesters, where the activists had previously been allowed, even encouraged, by the authorities to move their protests to this single site. No laws were being broken in the Square, but now the police’s change of tack risks criminalising peaceful protest, which is a fundamental right of any democracy worthy of the name.

A protest camp at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, south of the Thames, was also dismantled on Tuesday, even though again, no laws were being broken and the local authority, the London Borough of Lambeth, had given permission for protesters to be there. Smaller protests around the capital have continued, with over 1,600 arrests made by police. 

This is a very worrying development, where the police can effectively ban any peaceful protest they want to. It has all the hallmarks of a police state, not a state that adheres to the rule of law, and the police surely know this.

The Green party MEP Ellie Chowns was among those arrested in Trafalgar Square on Monday night. She is now one of several claimants in the judicial review. She said she had not even been part of XR’s protests but was arrested after asking questions of police about the legality of their actions.

There has clearly been political pressure applied to the police, presumably by the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, the hardline ‘law and order’ minister. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has distanced himself from the action, which he was apparently not consulted about. But why has such draconian action has been taken, when the protests only caused minor inconvenience to the public in the city?

I work in Westminster where many of the road blocking protests have taken place, and what has struck me is that many of my work colleagues, who normally take little interest in ecological matters, have commented how much better the environment is in the area, without all of the usual traffic clogging up roads and spewing toxic fumes into the air. There has been no great outcry from the public for the protests to be stopped.

However, plans to disrupt the underground train network on Thursday may well change public perceptions, if they go ahead. I hope XR re-thinks this one, because apart from the potential loss of public support for the rebels, they should be encouraging the use of public transport, especially electric powered transport. Will this action force workers into their cars or onto diesel powered buses? I think it will, so is rather counter-productive.

I think the main reason that the police have taken this unprecedented action is that they are over extended, and can’t cope with the protests carrying for the rest of this week. I have seen police vans in the area from Kent and even Scotland, so obviously these police officers have been drafted into London, indicating just how stretched the London police are.

But could not another approach have been attempted? The police were quick to say that the protests were taking officers away from more important work, like tackling street crime in the city. Well, why not concentrate their resources on that then? The protests only need minimal policing, what does it matter if a few roads are blocked? Privately, some officers have commented as much, but their orders are to keep the traffic moving around London, in the process poisoning the public in the area.

I guess it comes down to money, as all seem to these days. There is an economic cost to businesses in London, although not that great in reality. It is perhaps no coincidence either that the hardline stance began after protests in the city of London began, the centre of the money making machine in the UK. Can’t have that happening can we?   

Sunday, 13 October 2019

We need your support – Open letter by #FridaysForFuture #Rojava


Dear students of Fridays For Future,

We have been following the world wide climate protests and strikes with great excitement. And since we founded Fridays For Future Rojava in May of this year we have been protesting and striking along side you!

Fridays For Future has brought young people together all over the world, united by the understanding that we cannot continue living in a world in which nature is being destroyed!

The reality in Rojava, the Kurdish region of Northern Syria, is very different from the reality in many places, where there are local chapters of FFF. Since 2012, when the revolution in Rojava began, we have been building an alternative model for society – based on the three fundamental principles of women’s liberation, ecology and radical democracy. In the last 7 years, bottom up, self administrated and ecological projects have been created everywhere: neighbourhood councils – women’s centres - educational academies – an alternative, free school system – economic and agricultural cooperatives – and much more besides. 

All areas of life have been reorganised from the bottom up. In the past, everything used be governed from Syria’s capital Damascus. Now we govern ourselves. In all these new structures, women organise themselves autonomously so they can form a counterbalance to the power structures of patriarchy.

This democratic system has been a target for reactionary forces from the beginning. First, the Al-Nusra Front (a subsidiary of Al-Qaeda) and then the Islamic State attacked our cities and occupied large parts of the country. But we were able to free ourselves from their cruel regime. The Islamic State has been defeated. But the Islamic State is not a phenomenon that arose only here in the Middle East. Many of the Jihadists came here from Western countries passing through Turkey.

Even with the end of the Islamic State the attacks did not stop. In early 2018, Turkey led an illegal war of aggression and has been occupying Afrin ever since – a region that was under self-administration before and was considered one of the safest areas of Syria. Now, violence rules there again.

Many young people like us helped in defending Afrin. Almost every family can name someone who fell in the defence against the Islamic State and Turkey – someone who was murdered defending peace and democratic values for the world.

On October 9th 2019, Turkey started attacking. Everywhere bombs dropped by airstrikes and shot by artillery rain down on us. The Turkish forces are also attempting to cross the border in some places. Already, there have been many civilian casualties. Infrastructure like damms and the electricity power supply have been among the first targets.

In these trying hours, we turn to you, dear friends of Fridays For Futures. We believe that a solution to the ecological crisis is only possible through self-determination. Our economy has to be structured in a cooperative way and according to the needs of the people. That is what the revolution in Rojava stands for. Stand strong, discuss these topics, don’t let yourself be fooled by the media, hit the streets! As long as these attacks continue, there will be actions of solidarity and resistance. The campaign #Riseup4Rojava will tie all these actions together.

If you want to contact us directly, write us at makerojavagreenagain@riseup.net! We are a diverse group of people from the region as well as people who have come to Rojava to support the revolution – so you can write us in English or any other language! 


Thursday, 10 October 2019

In Defence of Greta Thunberg


Written by Daniel Tanuro and first published at International Viewpoint

The young Swedish woman Greta Thunberg has faced an exceptional outpouring of hatred that translates into the most vile macho attacks, the most sordid insinuations about her mental health, the lowest calumnies about her autonomy, and even barely veiled death threats. [1]

You don’t have to look far to find the source of these ever-growing waves of hatred. This source is the national-populist, climate denying, sexist, racist and antisemitic extreme right-wing. It is spreading like a cancer, especially since the election of Trump, Brexit, and the successes of the German AfD, the French FN/RN and the Italian Lega, among others. The photoshop montages showing Greta alongside financier Georges Soros or a fighter of the Islamic State clearly show the antisemitic or Islamophobic intentions of these circles.

The links of this extreme right with fossil capital are proven, in particular through the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). EIKE collaborates with the Heartland Institute, a US climate denying think tank funded by the oil sector and the Koch Group (the most powerful private company in the US, active in the fossil fuel sector and chemicals, violently climate denying). 

If we dig a little deeper, we find in the campaign against Greta Thunberg all the nebula of collaborators in reactionary think tanks and other climate denying "institutes" funded by Exxon and Chevron. Notably the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) from which Myron Ebell, a member of the Trump transition team at the head of the EPA, Breitbart News, etc., came.

The main themes of the charge against Greta Thunberg are the same on both sides of the Atlantic: that she goes back to school to learn what she doesn’t know; that she is a puppet in the hands of Al Gore and green capitalism; that those who pull the strings use disabled children to impose a dictatorship of emotion; that she calls for a strike because the world is over, that’s totalitarianism; that poor girl is an illuminated woman, a sick woman, etc. [2] Most of these elements were present in the commentary of Jordan Bardella (FN/RN) during Greta’s visit to the French National Assembly.

We can see that climate denial does not explain everything, far from it. The hatred against Greta Thunberg is all the more vicious as the target is a woman, and a young woman. A young woman who is not afraid to accept herself as she is, with, as she herself explains, her different personality [3]. 

A brave, determined, intelligent, sensitive young woman who knows what she’s talking about. A young woman who expresses herself very clearly, in the name of youth, in the name of the future, and does not hesitate to face the powerful with cheerful insolence. In a word: a witch.

When it comes to attacking a woman, what some call the "tradition of liberty" often makes France, unfortunately, the place where the most pestilential unpleasant smells are released. Those from Bernard Pivot’s exceed everything [4] Given the character’s academic distinctions, this is an opportunity to recall this historical phrase: "Sir, you’re just a piece of shit in a silk stocking". By meditating on this political reality: sexism and machismo always build a bridge to the far right.

At first, the representatives of capital focused on the recuperation of Greta Thunberg and, through her, the neutralization of youth. Hence the invitation to Davos, the European Parliament, the National Assembly and many other official venues. Since she was calling for the unity of all against the threat, in the name of science, politicians thought they would put her in their pockets and show her that they were doing their best, etc. But Greta Thunberg wasn’t fooled. Already in the European Parliament, after Juncker kissed her on the hand (!), she said: "Politicians don’t want to talk to us? Neither do we."

It is important to tell the whole truth and the truth, in this case, is that a significant part of the left and the ecological community howled with the wolves. Under the most diverse pretexts: "Greta is not anti-capitalist", "Greta is not against growth", "Greta is a star", "It is not by chance that she is invited here or there", "Greta plays the game of green capitalism", etc. 

Not to mention the two- bit psychiatric experts. And all this, at the bottom, for only one, central reason: their rage at being shown up by a fifteen-year-old girl, out of nowhere, who has done more in one year to change the climate (without pun intended) than many militant structures in thirty years...

Today, there is no doubt about it: after Greta’s performance at the UN, the dominant parties will change their tactics. She pilloried them all without hesitation ("How dare you? You only talk about money"), and her message had a maximum impact worldwide. Faced with the failure of the summit, she once again called for strikes. As a result, the attempts to recuperate are over, there is no more laughing..

The turning point is clearly visible in France: Macron blames Greta Thunberg for "antagonizing our societies", advises young people to take "citizen" actions rather than strike, or to go to Poland to demonstrate against the climate denier Duda. As for LVMH’s CEO, Bernard Arnault, he went to the front line to blame the young Swedish woman for "demoralizing youth" (same argument as Bardella) in the face of the bright prospects of green capitalism. "How dare he?" Does this individual believe that the fortune he has made in the luxury industry for the rich "give hope" to anyone?

Incredible as it may seem, given the context, powerful people are concerned, even worried. They fear an abyssal rupture between youth and the old world. Their world. That of politics in the service of the rich, of competition between nations, of capitalism that destroys nature and life. 

They fear that the global youth movement, as it expands, will lead to other layers: peasants, exploited people, indigenous people whose forests are sacked, the oppressed in general. Impossible? Who knows? Who knows? The call of the Greta generation resonates deeply, because the 99% do not like the idea that our children’s world will be worse than ours... except for the 1% who are responsible for the disaster.

Since she refuses to come into line, they are prepared to use any means against the symbol of this movement, Greta Thunberg. The media that carried her to the pinnacle will drag her through the mud, the politicians who tried to use her will hand her over to the executioner for witchcraft and the far right will offer themselves to do the job.

The hatred against this young woman is an expression of the struggle of the dominators for their domination. The fight against youth and women, of course. But also against employees, peasants, racialized people, indigenous peoples, different people, and the living in general. Class struggle in the Anthropocene era.

Whatever Greta Thunberg’s limitations, our place is at her side, in the struggle she has constantly promoted and which it is now a matter of democratically organizing. It is the place of the left and even of any ecology worthy of the name. Get your hands off Greta Thunberg!

Footnotes

[1] "Recreational boating accidents occur in August": for example, the British businessman, Trump’s ally and Farage funder Arron Banks, commented on the fact that Greta Thunberg was sailing across the Atlantic to attend the United Nations Climate Change Summit.

[2] For an anthology of the insults heard in the French media, read Samuel Gontier’s article, Haro sur Greta Thunberg, la démoniaque vestale hitléro-maoïste.

[3] It should be recalled that the Austrian psychiatrist Asperger, who gave his name to the syndrome, was a Nazi. Responsible for the murder of disabled children, Asperger had developed a test to determine which ones to save because he thought their abilities could be useful....

[4] He is the author of this tweet: "In my generation, boys were looking for little Swedish girls who had the reputation of being less uptight than little French girls. I can imagine our astonishment, our fear, if we had approached a Greta Thunberg.”

Daniel Tanuro is writer and activist. He wrote the book The Impossibility of Green Capitalism.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Autumn International Extinction Rebellion Begins – London – Photos and Report


On Sunday 8 people were arrested after the police’s Territorial Support Group officers broke in and raided an address in south London. Equipment to be used today at the start of Global Extinction Rebellion, was taken away by police, but rumours quickly circulated that much of the equipment had been smuggled out of the back of the building.

After the protests in April, the government declared a climate emergency, but other than setting a distant net zero carbon emissions target for 2050, have done next to nothing. Real, urgent action is needed.

Today 12 locations in Westminster in central London were taken by the rebels, with traffic blocked around the Houses of Parliament, although emergency vehicles are being allowed through the road blocks. 

Early on Monday morning, police stopped and searched anyone looking like a protester around Westminster underground station. By late morning police had moved rebels off Lambeth Bridge, but rebels decamped to either end of the bridge, effectively closing the route. The police said that 135 people had been arrested by early afternoon on Monday.

It appears that the police have been told by the government to take a stronger line, than they did back in April, but the rebels say their numbers are five times bigger than in the spring. 

The London rebels are broadcasting live on radio here



This is a blockade at the north bank of Lambeth Bridge, rebel blocked the south side of the bridge, too.












This blockade at the junction at Horseferry Road and Marsham Street was set up about 100 metres back from Lambeth Bridge.














This lorry was parked in the middle of Marsham Street, outside of the Home Office.



Rebels got out of the lorry and chained themselves to the underneath of the vehicle.





                                          A 'tent city' was quickly set up.








A kitchen serving vegan food was also set up. The rebels are in this for the long term. Two weeks of disruption are planned in central London.


An inspiring uprising has been started by the rebels. It was good natured, and has been well organised. Power to the people!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Capitalism Made This Mess, and This Mess Will Ruin Capitalism


Matt Brown interviews Jason Moore, environmental historian, first published at Wired

You and I have the unfortunate honor of facing down a crisis the likes of which our species has never before seen. Rapid climate change of our own making is transforming every bit of ocean and land, imperiling organisms clear across the tree of life. It’s killing people by way of stronger storms and hotter heat waves and unchecked pollution.

We all can and should do our part—fly less if possible, buy local foods that haven’t been shipped thousands of miles, get solar panels and an electric car. But let’s not lose sight of the root cause of this crisis: rampant capitalism. Capitalism has steamrolled this planet and its organisms, gouging out mountains, overexploiting fish stocks, and burning fossil fuels to power the maniacal pursuit of growth and enrich a fraction of humanity. Since 1988, 100 corporations have been responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Most of us have probably heard of the Anthropocene, humanity’s stain on the geological record through activities like land misuse and plastic pollution. Jason Moore, an environmental historian and sociologist at Binghamton University, calls the problem something else: the Capitalocene. WIRED sat down with Moore to talk about what got us into this mess, why capitalism won’t survive it, and what a brighter future might actually look like.

WIRED: What is the Capitalocene you’re proposing?

Jason Moore: Capitalocene is a kind of critical provocation to this sensibility of the Anthropocene, which is: We have met the enemy and he is us. So the idea that we're all going to cover our footprints, we're going to be more sustainable consumers, we're going to pay attention to population, are really consequences of a highly unequal system of power and wealth.

There’s an assignment of blame here, which corporations love to do in particular with their workers—if you don't meet your goals as a company, it's not the people in the C-suites that are getting laid off, it's the laborers. The climate crisis strikes me as an extension of that, that 100 corporations are responsible for 70 percent of emissions, but they're the ones who will say, "Well, you as consumers could do a whole lot yourselves."

That's right, and there's also a shift from looking at production to looking at consumption. Most carbon dioxide doesn’t come from people flying around the world, although that's a major contributor to it. It comes from production. For younger people there seems to be a kind of cognitive dissonance between yes, we are responsible, and at the same time we know that we are not responsible.

Is capitalism compatible at all with any movement on climate change?

That's the classic ecosocialist question. It's very clear that the problem is not technological—there are the technological means to decarbonize very rapidly. Still, if you solarize and go with wind, you have to store all the energy, you have to rebuild the electrical grids. It's usually costly, and finance capital is really wary of those long-term projects.

What the venture capitalists want is a very narrow version of a technological application that can be used and put on the market right away. Out there in the culture, we think of capitalism as entrepreneurial and risk-taking and innovative, and that sometimes is the case but only within a very, very narrow frame. And we're talking about huge existential transformations of the earth.

Is there historical precedent here? Have, for instance, natural climate fluctuations in the past threatened capitalism?

Climate changes over the past 2,000 years have been extraordinarily destabilizing to ruling classes. This was the case for the Roman Empire in the West. So drought pushes the Huns, which pushes the Goths, they go into Western Europe. But more fundamentally, the changing climate after the year 400 creates all sorts of economic and political tensions, and in Western Europe the Roman Empire collapses. We now understand that wasn't a terrible thing, that in fact there was more equality, a lower birth rate. There were peasants reorganizing agriculture so that they depended on many different sources of food and had many different livelihood strategies, instead of just growing wheat for the Roman overlords.

Moments of climate change become moments of climate crisis, and that's in the relatively milder climate shifts of the Holocene, which is now over. Capitalism is not going to survive, but it also depends on what we mean by capitalism. For me, Capitalocene is a critique of this idea that capitalism is just about economics. Because it's also a system of power and it's a system of culture.

A difference this time with human-made climate change compared with past realignments of power is that capitalism has wrapped around the world. You have all these economically interconnected countries.

It's interconnectedness in an imperial sense in terms of great powers, but also in terms of the overwhelming power of finance capital, which is of course kept afloat by the great powers. I think that it makes the global system much more volatile and much more vulnerable. In places like Dubai and Miami, they're already getting skittish. What happens when Miami has storm surges of 3 or 4 feet every year? What happens when Manhattan experiences a superstorm Sandy kind of reality every couple of years?

So what would an ideal system look like? How might we politically and economically get along better with the planet?

You would have to have a democratically controlled accumulation fund. I think that banking and finance have to be socialized because otherwise you're continually at the mercy of big capital deciding what's profitable or not.

What would the ideal world be like? It would integrate town and country, it would have cheap and low-carbon public transportation. We also have to look at the actual history of huge destructive events in the 20th century and its relationship to the web of life. I think about the willingness of countries like the US to, for instance, destroy Vietnam in that ecocidal way. That great quotation during the Tet Offensive: "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it." That will be the tendency of one or more great powers in the era of climate crisis, that as social justice politics and movements challenge the present regime, there will be an attempt to impose a devastating military solution on that.

So given all that, are you optimistic about this future?

It is going to be difficult. I would just remind everyone that climate change is bad for ruling classes. It's miserable for all the rest of us over the time spans of 10 and 20 and 30 years, that we're all going to be living through very difficult times. But there will also be times at which the 1 percent, in whatever form that takes, will be thoroughly and radically destabilized. I don't think ruling classes are at all prepared for the kinds of political and cultural transformations that will occur in this period.

We're already seeing this in part around the generational shift and the fact that now we can talk about socialism. That's really the first time since maybe 1970 to '75 we could do it in a public way. Capitalism is much less resilient than most people credit it. It had its social legitimacy, because in one way or another it could promise development. And I don't think anyone takes that idea seriously anymore.

Matt Simon is a science journalist at WIRED, where he covers biology, robotics, cannabis, and the environment. He’s also the author of Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World—And Ourselves, and The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, which won an Alex Award.