Thursday, 26 January 2023

Two Barrels Aim at African People's Socialist Party

Written by Don Fitz

With new FBI and Department of “Justice” (DOJ) attacks expected in early January, a defense, mobilization and information session attracted hundreds of allies of the African People's Socialist Party (APSP).  On Friday, December 23 they zoomed into the “Emergency Mass Meeting: Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!”  The APSP told its supporters that it expects indictments in early January 2023 and possibly sooner.  

Indictments could include many more than the four names listed as “unindicted co-conspirators” during raids of July 29, 2022: Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Party Director of Agitation and Propaganda Akilé Anai, African People’s Solidarity Committee Chair Penny Hess and Uhuru Solidarity Movement Chair Jesse Nevel. 

At 5 am that morning, the FBI invaded multiple St. Louis locations, including the private residence of Omali Yeshitela and his wife and APSP Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela and the Uhuru Solidarity Center, as well as the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg FL. 

During the December 23 webinar, Yeshitela vividly recalled that flashbang grenades were set off and laser points were directed at his chest when he opened the door of their home, and a drone almost hit Ona when she came down the stairs.  Both of them were handcuffed and the entire Black working-class St. Louis neighborhood was under siege for hours.   The federal agents seized all of their devices, such as computers and phones, thereby seriously hampering their political work.

As reported by Toward Freedom, in St. Petersburg FBI agents lured Akilé Anai “outside her home, saying her car had been broken into. Upon opening her car, they forced her to hand over her devices.”

The FBI and DOJ claimed that the raids were sparked by Yeshitela’s having conversations with Aleksandr Ionov, a Russian they accused of spreading “Russian propaganda.”  During the webinar Yeshitela described how insulting and demeaning it was to insinuate that the APSP is unable to analyze African people’s state of oppression and make decisions for itself but can only reach conclusions after Russians tell it what to think.

This is particularly chilling for those who do solidarity work with Latin America, Africa and Asia.  According to the precedent set by the July 29 raids and indictments, anyone who meets with any representative of another country could face criminal charges under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which the APSP expects to be used to justify their bullying.  Actions against the APSP could lay the foundation for indicting me for interviewing and writing about Cuban doctors.

Legal abuse could be leveled against everyone else who has visited the island and explained what the revolution has accomplished.  The FBI/DOJ could indict Monthly Review for publishing my book on Cuban Health Care along with every other publisher who releases books on Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and other countries that have resisted US imperialism. 

A noticeable exception would be citizens and lawmakers who meet with and are influenced by agents of Israel.  They have no reason to fear harassment.  Of course, it might be quite different for those having the temerity to meet with Palestinians.

After the raids, the Black Alliance for Peace announced that it would “concentrate its efforts on not only opposing the U.S. war agenda globally but the war and repression being waged on Black and Brown communities within U.S. borders.”

A major purpose of the December 23 webinar was to build nationwide and international support for the July 29 victims so people are prepared to respond when the indictments come down.  In light of this, the Green Party of St. Louis issued a statement which appears below.  Following it are the APSP’s “Principles of Unity” which it asks organizations to endorse. You can communicate your support at the website HANDSOFFUHURU.ORG. 


The Other Barrel 

What is written above only describes one barrel of the corporate state’s shotgun.  The other barrel consists of efforts to shut down the many projects under the APSP umbrella.  They simultaneously offer meaningful life-changing needs for those in poor Black US communities and provide examples of what a socialist society could look like.

The projects are part of what the APSP calls its “Black Power Blueprint” (BPB) and what socialist theorists might call “concretization” of its ideas which “prefigure” a post-capitalist society.  The BPB’s efforts may be the most extensive integration of theory and practice occurring in the US today.

Perhaps the prime example is Uhuru Wa Kulea (African Women's Health Center) which has a vision “to provide health and self-care programs that reinforce our traditional African culture, and invest in the future of our community with doula and childbirth educator certification programs along with opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.”  Concepts for the Center rely heavily on the health care system of Cuba, which now has life expectancy greater than the US, due to its focus on women and children.

APSP-related efforts also include

• The Uhuru House Community Center which transformed a condemned building into a three-story community event and program space named Akwaaba Hall; 

• A Community Basketball Court to allow for “spirited youth programs” and tournaments;

• Murals at the Gary Brooks Community Garden that has been in operation for two years and at the recently completed Community Basketball Court which depict “Black families controlling our own culture and food economy by planting, growing and harvesting food from the garden;” 

• Completed renovation of a 4-plex apartment building devoted to housing for the African Independence Workforce Program which creates jobs for those re-entering the Black community from the prison system; 

• The Uhuru Jiko Kitchen and Bakery/Café which, once the refurbishing of an existing commercial structure is completed, will bring African economic and cultural life to a depressed commercial area and will help stop gentrification;

• A planned program for the Black Power Square where condemned buildings have been removed to make way for retail opportunities by utilizing shipping containers to house community-based small businesses and create jobs.

The above are in St. Louis.  APSP also runs Uhuru Foods and Pies in Oakland CA and St. Petersburg FL, a community garden/farm in Huntsville AL, furniture stores in Oakland CA and Philadelphia PA, a radio station in St. Petersburg FL and the Burning Spear newspaper.

The goal of attacking the APSP leaders is to exterminate every project and every component of the BPB which Omali Yeshitela speaks of as “building duel and contending power,” funded to a significant degree through reparations raised by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM).  The government, of course, has virtually unlimited police and legal resources at its disposal to drown out dissent.  If it can force the APSP to divert its energies and limited budget to its legal defense, the FBI/DOJ can undermine projects and terrorize solidarity activists even if it imprisons very few.

This is the message from one barrel of the snarling state:

“Don’t hope for a new life …

“don’t imagine a new world… 

“and certainly don’t try to build one …

“because capitalism is all you can look forward to.”

The other barrel of the shotgun screams that efforts by US citizens to build solidarity with victims of global oppression will be met with the most vicious attacks the corporate state can muster. 

Statement by Don Fitz on behalf of the Green Party of St. Louis, December 23, 2022. 

      The Green Party of St. Louis fully agrees with the right of African people to advocate and organize for the unification, liberation and self-determination of Africa and African People as laid out in the “Principles of Unity.”

      The FBI raid of July 29 was not just against the APSP.  It was an attack on all working for social justice and liberation.

      As has happened many times before, governmental violence was unleashed first against Black/African victims to serve as an example.

      The Biden administration is fully responsible for opening one of the most repressive eras in US history.

      We would have to go back to the racist president Woodrow Wilson and his imprisonment of Eugene Debs to find a case of people being arrested so blatantly for their political beliefs.

      Even during the US war against Viet Nam, people were not arrested merely for listening to Vietnamese views or visiting North Viet Nam.

      The current actions of the Biden administration are a message that no one can question his proxy war against Russia –  a message that Americans have lost the right to make their own decisions.

      The events of July 29, 2022 are meant to intimidate any who stand in solidarity with movements and countries who are struggling for their liberation, such as Cuba.

      They are warning that the same could happen to supporters of revolutionary Venezuela.

      The FBI raids are a threat to those who defend the right of Nicaragua to chart its own course.

       Indictment of Uhuru members aids and abets those criminals who overthrew the democratically elected government in Peru on Dec 7, 2022.

       Biden’s proxy war against Russia gives lie to his supposed opposition to climate change.  One of the real reasons for Biden’s “Hate Russia!” campaign is to allow US corporations to corner the market of fossil fuels in Ukraine and force Europe to buy US natural gas at absurdly high prices.

      Under Evo Morales, Bolivia sought to control its own lithium, a critical element for “alternative” energy.  When he was violently overthrown, the Trump/Biden supporter Elon Musk (of Tesla fame) proclaimed “We will coup whoever we want!”

      The great majority of the world’s cobalt, also essential for “alternative” energy, lies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (home to many other essential minerals).  Efforts of the Biden administration to destroy the APSP reveals his plan for anyone who advocates self-determination for Africa. 

 Principles of Unity 

We unite with the right of African people to advocate and organize for the unification, liberation and self-determination of Africa and African People. 

·       We denounce the FBI and US government's attacks on the African Liberation Movement historically and currently

·       We demand that the US government drop the charges against any member of the African People's Socialist Party, the Uhuru Movement and those named and implied in the indictment and warrants

·       We demand the return of all confiscated property to the Uhuru Movement and compensation for damages and payment of reparations for the attacks

·       We demand an end to FBI surveillance and infiltration of the Uhuru Movement and release of all documents on the Uhuru Movement since the 1960s

·       We denounce the assault on the anti-colonial activity and programs of the African People's Socialist Party/Uhuru Movement such as the Black Power Blueprint and other economic institutions and projects. 

Find out more about the repression!  At 6 pm CT, January 9, 2023 join the APSP update on the indictments and defense.  Click on https://handsoffuhuru.org/ and scroll to “Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!” to register.  At 7:30 pm CT, January 11, 2023 the Missouri Green Party will have a webinar on “The Long Story of Repression in the US.”  Email outreach@missourigreenparty.org to get information and to register. 

Don Fitz (fitzdon@aol.com) is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought, where a version of this article originally appeared.  He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor.  His book, Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution, has been available since June 2020. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Extract From: Ecosocialism Not Extinction

Written by Allan Todd (2022) 

“The central preomise of ecosocialism, already suggested by the term itself, is that non-ecological socialism is a dead end, and a non-socialist ecology cannot confront the present ecological crisis.”  

[Michael Löwy, Ecosocialism: a Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe, 2015, p.xi] 

As a clear and concise explanation of the nature of ecosocialism, the above quotation from Michael Löwy would be difficult to better.

Essentially, ecosocialists recognise that, because of the profound crises currently facing humanity and the rest of the planet’s species, both the socialist and the ‘green’ projects need to be redefined.  These multiple and interlinked crises - climate, ecological, economic, social and political - mean that, in the twenty-first century, it is no longer simply a question of either trying to ‘green’ parts of capitalism, or even replacing capitalism with twentieth-century conceptions of socialism.  We need to have an ecologically-sustainable planet, because, quite simply, there can be no viable life, let alone socialism, on a dangerously-degraded planet. Given the failures and part-failures of the COP process, it is now absolutely clear that capitalism cannot deliver that ecologically-sustainable planet… 

Climate Crisis

For ecosocialists, it is now abundantly clear that capitalism is creating dangerous - and possibly fatal - ruptures in the Earth System. Yet, even today, many activists in social movements and centre-left parties are failing to grasp just what is likely to be coming round the corner if serious climate action is not taken in the next few years.  To put it starkly, we are currently living through the greatest crisis in human history: a crisis consisting of several unprecedented but linked crises. If these crises are not radically and quickly addressed, the result will almost certainly be the collapse of human civilisation as we know it.  Or, at the most extreme, the extinction of huge numbers of most of the species on this planet, including humans… 

Ecological/Biodiversity Crisis

One rapidly accelerating, impact of global heating is the loss of species - so much so, that it is now generally accepted by experts that we are living through the sixth mass extinction of animal and plant species in Earth’s history, with an extinction rate 1000 times higher than the normal rate. And this is what is happening now, when the increase in the average global temperature is around 1.3oc. Yet, in 2012, the World Bank had reported that scientists were almost unanimously predicting that, if no significant policy changes were undertaken, then the average global temperature would have risen by 4oc by the end of this century - and possibly by as early as 2060. 

A study in 2018 predicted that such a rise in average global temperature would see up to half of animal and plant species becoming extinct by the end of the century. While, in 2019, a UN study predicted that some one million species are facing extinction in the near future.  Such a collapse in biodiversity would put human communities at risk, as a result of loss of food sources, pollution of fresh water systems and the oceans, and erosion of natural defences against extreme weather events. Yet, so far, most pledges made at the various COP meetings have yet to be fully implemented.  Of particular concern is the fact that earlier predictions regarding the timing and intensity of the impacts of global heating have proved to be too optimistic….

Origins of ecosocialism

As a succession of modern ecosocialist writers, including John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett, have convincingly established, there has long been a close connection between socialism and ecology. This connection goes back to Karl Marx who, in the second half of the nineteenth century, developed several key ecological ideas on the relationship between human activity - more precisely, capitalist activity - and nature. 

As early as the 1850s, Marx drew attention to what he called the dangerous ‘metabolic rift’ - or unsustainable ecological dislocation - that capitalism, because of its built-in drive for continuously-increasing production and ever-rising profits, inevitably creates between humans and the rest of the natural world. Essentially, the capitalist mode of production and accumulation treats nature as capital to be exploited, and ignores the Earth’s planetary boundaries to growth.  In the early 1860s, Marx also became interested in the concept of the atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’, which was just being raised by the Irish physicist, John Tyndall. Marx made the point that neither human societies in general, nor private companies in particular, own the natural world, and that therefore they should not degrade it. Instead, Marx argued that each generation had a duty to pass it down to succeeding generations “in an improved condition.” 

Engels, too, also produced ecological writings, commenting on capitalism’s increasingly destructive impact on nature, of which we are a part, and on which our survival as a species ultimately depends. As early as the 1840s, he wrote of the environmental and industrial pollution associated with capitalist manufacture and urbanisation.  Sadly, some of Engels’ work on ecological matters - as with some of Marx’s writings - were not widely disseminated at the time, indeed some were not published until decades after they were written. Thus they were largely unknown to those who nonetheless saw themselves as socialists or Marxists. 

Engels, for instance, in The Dialectics of Nature (an unfinished work from 1883, not published until 1925), warned about the possible consequences of our interference with nature, and commented that humans should not be fooled by apparent ‘victories’ over nature, because of unforeseen effects: “For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us.”  […], it is possible to see the emergence of Covid-19 as an example of nature taking its revenge on us… 

Why we need it

 The various COPs - even those of COP21 in Paris in 2015, and COP26 in 2021 in Glasgow - have mostly been problematic, in that the majority of the pledges made have rarely been implemented in any meaningful way. This is, in part, because they are not legally binding. To a large extent this is down to the relentless lobbying of politicians by those corporations most likely to be impacted by the pledges made by the countries involved in the COP process… 

Internationalism

 As well as taking action within Britain, it is also vital to make international connections and to co-operate with like-minded organisations across the world. The reach of capitalism is global and so should be our response. Ecosocialists attempt to develop practical solutions at all levels: local, regional, national, continental and global. Ultimately, if we are to mitigate and then end today’s multiple crises across the globe, we need an international ecosocialist coalition of radicals - rather like the Zimmerwald Movement which developed in 1915-16 during the crisis of WW1. The formation of the Global Ecosocialist Network in 2020 - to raise awareness of ecosocialist arguments - was a really useful step in the right direction… 

Join us in this vital struggle. Help us to bring together environmental and social justice campaigns with trade union struggles and begin to build a movement capable of winning. 

As is increasingly clear to many, with corporations, governments and mainstream parties refusing to put climate protection before capitalist profits, the choice facing us and most of the other species on this heating-up planet is, quite simply: ‘either ecosocialism - or capitalist barbarism and extinction!’ Whilst it is necessary to fight hard for all the reforms, mitigations and policies we can force from governments, ultimately we will have to make a decisive break with the logic of capitalism itself.  As Marx would (probably!) have said if he were alive today:

“People of the world unite, rise up, and ACT!  You have a planet to save!”

The full booklet is available from: Resistance Books 

Allan Todd is a climate and anti-fascist activist, and a member of Left Unity’s National Council and of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. He is the author of Revolutions 1789-1917 (CUP) and Trotsky: The Passionate Revolutionary (Pen & Sword). His next book is Che Guevara: The Romantic Revolutionary.

Friday, 4 November 2022

COP27- Still Fiddling While the World Burns - Ecosocialist Alliance Statement


Ecosocialist Alliance has released a statement ahead of the COP27 meeting at the heavily fortified Sharm El-Sheikh resort, in Egypt.

In England on 5 November, people celebrate the averting of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ of 1605. It is sometimes named after one of the plotters as ‘Guy Fawkes Night,’ but also as ‘Bonfire Night.’ From 1606 when the authorities encouraged people to light bonfires on the anniversary, the night has seen fireworks and bonfires across the country. An effigy of Guy Fawkes is often burnt, but these days, in some places, current political leaders and others are used as the effigies.  

So, it is appropriate that this date is chosen on the eve of COP27, for Ecosocialist Alliance to release this statement. The whole planet is in danger of becoming a bonfire, with the United Nations warning we are on track for at least 2.5C to 2.8C increases in temperature, which will be devastating.

These COP meetings are largely a photo opportunity for world leaders, but nothing solid ever comes out of them. We need to adopt a programme something like this statement, before it is too late, and the planet burns.    

COP27- Still Fiddling While the World Burns

COP 27, which will meet from the 6th - 18th November 2022, unfolds against a backdrop of growing climate chaos and ecological degradation. As this latest COP approaches, economic recession, increased poverty and war run alongside the multiple interlinked and inseparable crises of climate, environment, extinction and zoonotic diseases. We now face a global economic recession likely to be deeper even than that of 2008.

The economic spiral into recession will make addressing environmental crisis even more difficult, as states and corporations rush to increase fossil fuel production to offset the deepening energy crisis. They will try to make working people pay with their living standards and their lives, for the crisis of their rotten system. Resources which should be directed at adaptation and amelioration of the climate crisis will be diverted to war and fossil fuel production including dangerous Fracking and Underground Coal Gasification (UCG).

We face increasingly destructive wars, most notably in Ukraine which is destabilising world food supplies, and which has the potential for the use of nuclear weapons. War causes huge physical and social damage to people and societies and the military industrial processes produce 6% of all greenhouse gasses. The impact of wars in Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine and other places in terms of human and environmental cost, and on food production and energy costs, will continue to exacerbate the crises facing the environment and the global economy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must not be the pretext for a rush to fossil fuels, new coal and gas and the resumption of fracking. Quite the opposite- it should be a spur to shift more rapidly towards renewables.

As Ecosocialists, we say another world is possible. A massive social and political transformation is needed, requiring the mobilisation of the mass of working people, women and men, across the globe. Only the end of capitalism’s relentless pursuit of private profit, endless waste, and rapacious drive for growth, can provide the basis for a solution not only to climate change, environmental degradation, and mass extinction, but to global poverty, hunger, and hyper exploitation.

The COP 27 conference will take place in an isolated, heavily policed tourist resort, with only one major road in and out, and hotels charging rates that will likely push the entire COP beyond the means of many grassroots organisations, especially those from poorer countries in the Global South. The Egyptian government say there will be room for opposition, but what they mean, is that activists will be offered fake protests opportunities where state-affiliated NGOs demonstrate around the convention giving the impression of an independent local civil society. No real Egyptian or other opposition will be allowed near Sharm El-Sheikh. We send solidarity to Egypt’s climate campaigners, women’s organisations, Trade Unionists and workers fighting for democracy.

2022 has seen floods in Pakistan, directly affecting thirty-three million people, Australia and elsewhere. We have seen wildfires, extreme heat, ice melt, drought, and extreme weather events on many continents, yet governments pursue still more fossil fuel production. 2022’s summer of disasters broke records worldwide. In 2021, global sea level set a new record high and is projected to continue to rise. The United Nations reports that research shows that women and children are up to fourteen times more likely than men to die during climate disasters.

The big issues of climate change will be debated in Egypt but whatever is agreed, capitalism left to itself can at best mitigate, not end them. Environmental destruction is woven into the very fabric of the system itself. However, much big business resists, we will have to force it to act on a global scale. Ultimately, only the ending of capitalism itself and its replacement by democratic Ecosocialist planned production for need and not private profit can guarantee the necessary action.

Genuine climate solutions cannot be based on the very market system that created the problem. Only the organised working class, and the rural oppressed of the global south -women and men have the power to end capitalism, because their labour produces all wealth and they have no great fortune to lose if the system changes, no vested interests in inequality, exploitation, and private profit.

Sustainability and global justice

The long-term global crisis and the immediate effects of catastrophic events impact more severely on women, children, elders, LGBTQIA+, disabled people and the people of First Nations. An eco-socialist strategy puts social justice and liberation struggles of the oppressed at its core.

Migration is, and will increasingly be, driven by climate change and conflicts and resource wars resulting from it. Accommodating and supporting free movement of people must be a core policy and necessary part of planning for the future.

Action now to halt climate change!

We demand:

•           All new fossil fuels must stay in the ground – no new gas, coal, or oil! No to Fracking and UCG!

•           A rapid move to renewable energy for transport, infrastructure, industry, agriculture, and homes.

•           A massive global programme of public works investing in green jobs, and replacing employment in unsustainable industries.

•           The retrofitting of homes and public buildings with insulation and other energy saving measures to reduce fuel use and to address fuel poverty.

•           A globally funded just transition for the global south to develop the necessary sustainable technologies and infrastructure.

•           A major cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 70% by 2030, from a 1990 baseline. This must be comprehensive - including all military, aviation, and shipping emissions – and include mechanisms for transparent accounting, measurement, and popular oversight.

•           The end of emissions trading schemes.

•           No to ‘offsetting’ of carbon emissions- we need a real zero not net-zero.

We call for:

•           Immediate cancellation of the international debt of the global south.

•           A rapid shift from massive factory farms and large-scale monoculture agribusiness towards eco-friendly farming methods and investment in green agricultural technology to reduce synthetic fertiliser and pesticide use in agriculture and replace these with organic methods and support for small farmers.

•           A massive reduction in meat and dairy production and consumption, with a view to its phasing out, through education and provision and promotion of high- quality, affordable plant-based alternatives.

•           The promotion of agricultural systems based on the right to food and food sovereignty, human rights, and with local control over natural resources, seeds, land, water, forests, knowledge, and technology to end food and nutrition insecurity in the global south.

•           The end of deforestation in the tropical and boreal forests by reduction of demand for imported food, timber, and biofuels.

•           A massive increase in protected areas for biodiversity conservation.

•           End fuel poverty through retrofitting energy existing homes and buildings with energy efficient sustainable technologies.

We demand a just transition:

•           Re-skilling of workers in environmentally damaging industries with well-paid alternative jobs in the new economy.

•           Full and democratic involvement of workers to harness the energy and creativity of the working people to design and implement new sustainable technologies and decommission old unsustainable ones.

•           Resources for popular education and involvement in implementing and enhancing a just transition, with environmental education embedded at all levels within the curriculum.

•           Urgent development of sustainable, affordable, and high-quality public transport with a comprehensive integrated plan which meets peoples’ needs and reduces the requirement for private car use.

•           A planned eco-socialist economy which eliminates waste, duplication and environmentally harmful practices, reduction in the working week and a corresponding increase in leisure time.

•           Work practices reorganised with the emphasis on fair flexibility and working closer to home, using a free and fast broadband infrastructure.

•           An end to ecologically and socially destructive extractivism, especially in the territories of Indigenous peoples and First Nations .

•           Respect for the economic, cultural, political and land rights of Indigenous peoples and First Nations.

As eco-socialists we put forward a vision of a just and sustainable world and fight with every ounce of our energy for every change, however small, which makes such a world possible. We will organise and assist wherever worker’s and community organisations internationally, raising demands on governments and challenging corporations.

If you would like to support the statement or contact Ecosocialist Alliance please email eco-socialist-action@protonmail.com

Ecosocialist Alliance, October 2022

Groups

Left Unity, UK

Anti-Capitalist Resistance, UK

Green Left, UK

Global Ecosocialist Network, International

RISE, Ireland

Parti de Gauche Marseille Nord, France

Socialist Project, Canada

Breakthrough Party, UK

People Before Profit, Ireland

Climate and Capitalism, International

XR Camden, UK

Anti-Fracking Nanas, UK

West Cumbria Friends of the Earth, UK

Save Euston Trees, UK

Ecosocialist Alliance UK Facebook Group, UK

Individuals

Beatrix Campbell, OBE, Writer, UK

George Monbiot, Environmental Writer & Activist, UK

Ken Loach, Film maker, UK

Julia Steinberger, Professor of Ecological Economics, Lausanne University, Switzerland

Victor Wallis, author of Red Green Revolution, USA

Professor Krista Cowman ,Historian, UK

Marina Prentoulis, Associate Professor in Politics & Media, UEA; author of Left Populism in Europe, UK

Romayne Phoenix, Ecosocialist Campaigner, UK

Dr Jay Ginn, (retired academic researcher, UK

Alistair Sinclair Green Eco-Socialist Councillor, Lancaster City Council, UK

Clara Paillard, Unite the Union & Tipping Point UK, UK

Felicity Dowling, Left Unity Principal Speaker, UK

Derek Wall, Former GPEW Principal Speaker; Political Economy Lecturer, Goldsmiths; Author of Climate Strike,UK

Rob Marsden, Red Green Labour editorial board- personal capacity, UK

Jo Alberti, veteran left activist, UK

Doug Thorpe, Left Unity National Secretary, UK

Kevin Frea, Deputy Leader, Lancaster City Council, UK

Dee Searle, One Vote for the Planet activist, UK

Jim Hollinshead, Left Unity, UCU, UK

Ed Bober, UK

Patrick Fitzgerald, Artist, Vizcaya, Spain

Allan Todd, Climate & Anti-Fascist Activist; member of Left Unity’s NC, UK

Gordon Peters, Ecosocialist activist, UK

Tim Dawes, Former Chair Green Party of England and Wales; Rtrd. Senior Local Govt. Officer/Consultant, UK

Joe Human. climate activist, UK

Fiona Prior, Climate activist, grandmother, UK

Peter Murry, Ecosocialist activist, UK

Lucy Moy-Thomas, Climate Emergency Camden, UK

Tina Rothery, Climate Campaigner, UK

Dr. Richard Nicholson, Haywards Heath Town Councillor, UK

Sally Lansbury, Labour Party Cllr., Allerdale Borough Council, UK

Deanna Austin-Crowe, Health Worker, UK

Chris Bluemel, Musician & Activist, UK

Lucy Early, Ecosocialist Alliance member, UK

Joseph Healy, International Officer of Left Unity & UNITE Regional Officer, UK

Al Barnes, Paramedic & XR Activist, UK

Steve Masters, Climate activist and Green party councillor, UK

Alice Brown, One Vote for the Planet, UK

Jane Walby, Global Justice Now, Camden Fairtrade Network, Debt Justice, UK

Dorothea Hackman, Save Euston Trees, UK

Penelope Read, Eco-Warrior, Actor & Musician, UK

Samantha Barnes, Solicitor, UK

Charlotte Christensen, Mum & Anarchist, UK

Howard Coakley, University Mental Health Mentor, and Activist, UK 

Joe Hill, Germany

Bob Whitehead, Secretary of the West Midlands Climate Coalition, UK

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

The Socialist Green New Deal


From Green Left

Introduction

In this document, we trace the development of a Green Socialist New Deal (GSND) from its origins in the ‘New Deal’ of the 1930s, to the more recent Green New Deal.

We believe that the latter can only be effective in tackling the multiple crises of finance, climate change, environmental degradation, social and global justice and peace through an eco-socialist alliance of workers and trade unions that challenges the current capitalist order.

We outline a set of interim policies in our GSND, concluding that these medium-term changes would reduce climate change and also enhance our democracy and human welfare.

History of New Deals

The ‘New Deal’ was a package of regulations, financial reforms and public works in the USA introduced by President Roosevelt in response to the depression after 1929. It was designed to deliver “the three Rs” – Relief from poverty, economic Recovery and financial Reforms.

Whilst full employment was not restored until after the USA joined World War II in 1941, when public expenditure for the war effort doubled GDP, the New Deal led to significant economic recovery, major improvements in health and growth in employment. Some programmes continue today and the concept of a New Deal remains a powerful symbol of what governments can achieve when free market mechanisms fail.

In 2008 a group of prominent individuals in Britain (Economist Ann Pettifor, Caroline Lucas MP, the Guardian’s Larry Elliott and Tony Juniper published a set of proposals under the title 'Green New Deal' (GND) in response to the ‘triple crunch’ facing the world: the financial crisis in 2007-8, accelerating climate change and soaring energy prices. This concept of a GND has enthused radical movements across the world and versions have proliferated on both sides of the Atlantic.

Most of these are confined to technical measures for addressing climate change but few address the root causes of climate change; environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, poverty, inequality and injustice. For eco-socialists, a GND must involve restructuring societies and economies, through democratic discussion across all of society, including workers, unemployed people, pensioners, carers and their organisations.

By 2019, after ten years of Tory austerity, both Labour and the Green Party included versions of the GND in their General Election manifestos. Both featured imaginative proposals to rejuvenate Britain’s infrastructure, energy systems, housing, transport, environment, health and welfare. These were significant policy advances to build on but have been insufficiently radical to address our problems and their causes successfully.

Transition to an eco-socialist future

The survival of many species, including human, requires a transition to a postcapitalist, democratic, green socialist future, to be achieved by a new alliance of workers and eco-socialists. Our Green Socialist New Deal is properly understood as a stepping stone on the journey to that destination. The policies outlined here can be implemented swiftly in the context of Britain’s current institutions and economic framework. They begin the process of delivering radical change at local, regional and national level.

REDUCED ENERGY DEMAND AND EXPANSION OF RENEWABLES

Our GSND requires immediate government action to reduce the use of coal, oil and gas, consistent with Carbon Net Zero, by 2030. This objective will require a range of measures including:

Carbon accounting by companies: a requirement to measure and report the carbon emissions for which they are responsible

Carbon tax on industry and commerce, starting at £100 per ton and rising annually.

Carbon budgeting and rationing at national, community and household levels and the introduction of Personal Carbon Allowances starting at around ½ ton per month and reducing each year.

Reductions in energy demand through home insulation, energy conservation and modal shifts to electric mass transport.

Major investments in renewable energy sources -solar, wind, wave, geothermal, hydro and tidal.

Massive growth in material re-use and recycling of manufactured goods, clothing, commodities, metals, building materials and more, creating a near Zero Waste system and eliminating toxic landfill.

TWO MILLION PLUS CLIMATE AND GREEN JOBS

Studies indicate that moving to a carbon-free future can generate many good jobs, providing a Just Transition for those whose jobs are currently in carbon intensive industries. Under GSND we will:

Rapidly deploy workers to the fast-expanding renewable energy sectors (see above).

Create thousands of new jobs in construction and engineering as we shift from gas and oil to electricity with the attendant requirement to upgrade the national grid.

Employ builders, electricians and fitters in large numbers in insulating millions of homes to new energy standards and installing carbon-free heating.

Expand jobs in the care sector and in organic agriculture/agro-forestry as we transition from a profitdriven to a needs-based, sustainable economy.

Launch a National Climate Service to co-ordinate regional and local action on climate.

A JUST TRANSITION - PLANNED WORK TRANSFER

The process of decarbonisation will be disruptive, resulting in major and rapid shifts in economic activity, rendering millions of jobs obsolete and creating a correlative requirement to create new, well-paid and socially useful ones. We would create national and regional plans to guarantee the creation of well-paid replacement jobs, with training and skills development in new low carbon sectors.

It is vital that trade unions, workers and communities can design, lead and cooperate in these plans, as well as at all levels of government. We would ensure that new jobs provided safe and healthy working conditions in environmentally sustainable workplaces, as well as rights of workers to information on the environmental impacts of their work and whistleblower protection.

We would implement distributive measures to ensure that other social groups besides workers, including unpaidcarers,  the disabled, pensioners and students, share fairly in the ecological and social benefits of the transition. The working week would allow more flexibility for workers and their families, in terms of timing and number of hours/days at the workplace and at home.

GREEN TRANSPORT REVOLUTION REDUCE-LOCALISE-DE-CARBONISE-ELECTRIFYINTEGRATE

Transport creates over 20% of carbon emissions. This must be reduced by over 90% by 2030. To achieve this we shall reduce the need for transport by localising work, commerce and services to each community. We shall ensure that essential services, like health, are available within 20 minutes of most people. We shall accelerate a comprehensive rollout of digital broadband technology, supporting the trend to hybrid working and achieving a major reduction in long-distance commuting.

We shall effect a major localising of public and private services in urban areas and villages. This will help repopulate rural areas and further reduce wasteful commuting. Further measures to make communities sustainable and food resilient will include:

Ensuring a rapid shift from fossil fuel vehicles to electric, battery, flywheel and hydrogen power over the next ten years, withdrawing all fossil fuel motors by 2032.

Developing an electric bus and coach network across Britain, connecting most towns and villages on an hourly timetable.

Integrating different public transport modes (bus/train) and ensuring that all are fully accessible.

Phasing in free bus travel, starting in inner-city areas.

Re-opening and electrifying many closed rail-lines to connect districts across regions and introducing a regional Travel Card.

We would complete electrification of railways alongside new urban tram networks by 2035 and phase out heavy lorries over 10 tonnes whilst transferring freight to rail.

We would permit only electric vans and lorries after 2030.

We would build new walkways (pavements) and continuous cycle lanes linking most towns and villages across the countryside (up to 10 miles).

We would incentivise electric car pooling and local car clubs and penalise private vehicle ownership through a series of measures including road pricing for private motor transport in cities (£1/mile). We would implement a carbon tax on all air travel and shipping (£100 per tonne).

The target for our GSND in the area of transport is to establish a clean, integrated, accessible public transport system covering the whole of Britain by 2035… for the first time.

LAND, AGRICULTURE and FOOD

Land ownership is currently highly unequal and many large estates are unavailable for growing organic food, for public recreation or for re-wilding that benefits the environment, climate and biodiversity. We would break up estates over 10,000 and introduce a Land Value Tax.

Britain is a fertile, temperate country which can feed itself easily. We would achieve a phased reduction of the 50% of food that is currently imported by restoring food self-sufficiency and replacing intensive or industrialised farming with smaller mixed farms.

We would ensure a policy mix of education, incentives and rationing of high carbon products to accelerate the shift in consumption habits towards a healthier, more affordable and predominantly vegetarian/vegan diet culture. Our target is 80% plant-based consumption by 2032. In addition, we shall ensure further improvements in animal rights and welfare.

Less developed countries that currently export food to Britain will be able to use their land and water resources to meet the needs of their own populations and we shall drive global initiatives to ensure that compensation is paid by rich countries to help in the transition to local farming by indigenous people. We shall legislate to ensure that commercial fishing uses only sustainable practices which benefit local small-scale fishing.

HOUSING FOR ALL

There are millions of poorly-housed and homeless people in Britain. To deal with this, our GSND will:

Protect public housing from sell-off or privatisation, by abolishing 'Right to buy’ and setting a target to build 1 million new homes for social rent.

Enable Local Authorities to identify, acquire and refurbish suitable empty buildings for local housing and to implement a new Vacancy Tax on private properties empty for over 6 months. This new tax to be related to the new Land Value Tax.

Make funds available to local authorities for building new social, affordable, ‘passivhaus’ homes (mainly on brownfield sites) and to refurbish existing ones.

We shall build 100,000 compact Eco-flats in the first 6 months to meet urgent housing need and create non-profit district co-operatives for Housing and for Energy.

NATIONAL SOCIAL CARE SERVICE

We shall ensure major public investment in free or affordable social care, generating many new low carbon jobs in which care workers are well-trained and well-paid.

The shift from a profit-driven to a needs-driven approach will improve the welfare of care workers, family carers and those needing care.

FAIR TAX REVOLUTION

The necessary changes will require investment of funds, partly from taxation and partly by other means. Our Green Socialist New Deal will involve:

Nationalisation of some banks and the creation of a new People’s Bank.

Widespread implementation of non-profit community credit schemes.

Capital controls to protect against harmful, speculative capital movements.

Introduction of a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions.

Closure of tax loopholes, such as transferring profits to low tax zones, hiding profits etc.

Increased corporation tax inheritance tax and capital gains tax

New taxes on high incomes, wealth, land value and pollution, including carbon.

Cancellation of the expensive Public Finance Initiative (PFI) debts held mainly by hospitals.

UNIVERSAL BASIC SERVICES

There is a widespread perception in the west that public services are somehow predatory, financed as they are by taxes levied on “legitimate” private economic activity. This perception is expensively manufactured and sustained, and there is an implicit suggestion that the public sector is somehow less morally deserving than the private sector. Successive governments have promoted this misrepresentation in order to starve public services, especially the NHS and welfare services, of the funding they require to meet community needs.

In truth the community ultimately owns public sector assets - the commons that we inherit from our forbears - and should make the decisions about the level of economic resources invested in universal public services.

We shall ensure that universal services including housing, employment, health and social care, public transport, education and training, energy and water, receiving an adequate share of investment from the Treasury.

We shall provide a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for adults over 16, (with a child income managed by a parent), together with an enhanced National Minimum Wage. Taken together, these initiatives will greatly reduce absolute poverty especially among families with young children.

We shall ensure much stronger measures to limit air and water pollution, conserve biodiversity, and prevent soil degradation. We shall equip the Environment Agency with much greater powers of enforcement.

REPUBLICAN DEMOCRACY

We shall take rapid steps towards a republican model of government, with increased devolution to the regions and local authorities and proportional representation at national, regional and local levels in order to revive democratic participation.

Local and regional Citizens Assemblies will be used in developing public policy. We shall transform the House of Lords into a set of elected Scrutiny Committees or a Senate of Regions.

Conclusions

The medium term policies set out in this Green Socialist New Deal would be a major shift towards a truly democratic, equal and fair society based on human and environmental needs.

Implementing an ambitious agenda for change such as this will require co-operative action involving all Labour, Socialist and Green movements. 

Acknowledgments:

Green House Think Tank 

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) 

Zero Carbon B

Campaign against Climate Change (CACC) Trade Union Group: 'Climate Jobs’ (2021)

Greener Jobs Alliance Green Party Manifesto 2021(US)

'Fight the Fire’ by Jonathan Neale

'What we need to do now' by Chris Goodall.

'Why we need a Green New Deal’ by Ann Pettifor. Monthly Review, US Eco-Socialist Journal.

Green Left London 

New Economics Foundation Think Tank. 

'Climate Strike-Practical Politics of the Climate Crisis’ by Derek Wall

'How to save our Planet’ by Professor Mark Maslin

With thanks to Contributors: Danny McNamara, Jay Ginn, Peter Murry, Anne Gray, Les Levidow, Mike Shaughnessy and several others;

Design: Lois Davis

Published by Green Left, c/o 151 Queens Drive, London N4 2AR. Editor: Mark Douglas.

Please send comments to the editor and to request hard copies, email: mdouglas@gn.apc.org

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