Author Archive

Resources from the Climate Change/Social Change conference

May 10, 2008

John Rice

The very successful Climate Change/ Social Change Conference was held recently in Sydney, and now video and audio of virtually all pleneries and workshops are now available online

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Anzac Day and the need for an independent foreign policy for Australia

May 7, 2008

Steve Darley

We recently commemorated Anzac Day. Those who are supportive say they are not glorifying war, but marking and remembering the sacrifice of the brave soldiers who died there. The peace movement shouldn’t attack the role of the soldiers, neither then nor as regards Vietnam nor in Iraq and Afghanistan now. Few of them knew what they were getting into, and they may well be our best allies in finishing the wars now raging.

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New science shows up Rudd’s greenhouse targets

May 7, 2008

Renfrey Clarke

Groundbreaking new research findings posted on the internet in April have confirmed what many scientists and climate activists have already concluded: that the goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions embraced by the European Union and Australia’s Labor government are gravely inadequate.

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An ecosocialist manifesto

April 26, 2008

Introduction

The idea for this ecosocialist manifesto was jointly launched by Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy, at a September 2001 workshop on ecology and socialism held at Vincennes, near Paris. We all suffer from a chronic case of Gramsci’s paradox of living in a time whose old order is dying (and taking civilization with it) while the new one does not seem able to be born. But at least it can be announced. The deepest shadow that hangs over us is neither terror, environmental collapse, nor global recession. It is the internalized fatalism that holds there is no possible alternative to capital’s world order. And so we wished to set an example of a kind of speech that deliberately negates the current mood of anxious compromise and passive acquiescence. This manifesto nevertheless lacks the audacity of that of 1848, for ecosocialism is not yet a spectre, nor is it grounded in any concrete party or movement. It is only a line of reasoning, based on a reading of the present crisis and the necessary conditions for overcoming it. We make no claims of omniscience. Far from it, our goal is to invite dialogue, debate, emendation, above all, a sense of how this notion can be further realized. Innumerable points of resistance arise spontaneously across the chaotic ecumene of global capital. Many are immanently ecosocialist in content. How can these be gathered? Can we envision an “ecosocialist international”? Can the spectre be brought into being?

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Introducing The Ecosocialist

April 16, 2008

By John Rice

The aim of The Ecosocialist is to be an “intersection set” of the various left and green movements, drawing on the energy and ideas of those who are interested in exploring and discussing the current ecological and social crises from a political perspective.

Why the necessity for so much politics? We believe that solving the world’s environmental and social problems, which are inextricably linked, will require a mobilisation of communities of such magnitude that it will necessarily be a political process. The dominant global business interests have, over the decades, created these problems we face, and they are not likely to readily adopt the necessary solutions. It will take concerted political pressure exercised by majorities around the world to bring about the needed changes. This will involve struggle against vested interests, powerful institutions and ways of doing business. Big capital has got us into this mess, and it’s primarily anti-capitalist solutions, we believe, that will extract us. Just what form these will take is open to debate – and this debate is just what we need to be able work our way forwards.

To achieve this, it’s essential that the environmental movement develop an advanced political understanding, and a deep knowledge of the history of struggles that have already taken place against these powerful interests. We can learn much – both practically and theoretically – from those who have gone before, and we can learn a great deal from each other through discussion and sharing resources. Given the paucity of political and historical pedagogy in our educational institutions, it’s incumbent upon us – the movement itself – to establish networks, resources, and processes by which we construct our own knowledge through questioning, discussion and resource exchange.

We need a rich and vibrant left intellectual culture to take on the enormous challenges the planet confronts. We need, in the face of a hegemonic mass media, to give each other cogent and succinct arguments. Though your contributions we hope The Ecosocialist can play a small part in developing this. We hope to be a political centre that is not centralist; we welcome varieties of perspective. In this way people can engage freely in discussion and return to their respective movements, parties, and workplaces with a sharper, more historically and theoretically informed knowledge of the issues we all confront.

In at least one Australian city, we meet monthly to discuss self-selected readings. Members of most local left parties and many religious groups are involved in this regular debate. This face-to-face interaction plays a key role in building left-green networks across the city, and we would encourage this development elsewhere. In the meantime, this blog works to play a similar role on line. Let the discussion begin!

To start with, we offer for consideration the Ecosocialist Manifesto, written by Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy in 2001 and the draft second version of the Ecosocialist Manifesto, which is under discussion internationally.