The environment

The G7: resistance in Cornwall

More photos below article My trip to Cornwall to demonstrate around the G7 summit (11-13 June) felt a bit like a set of concentric circles: I was part of and helping to cohere a delegation of Workers’ Liberty supporters and friends; we were seeking to imbue socialist politics, internationalism, and a working-class orientation into the wider anti-G7 movement; and that movement was challenging the G7 and the politics they represent. It was only en route towards the most southwesterly tip of this island, cutting through the darkening fog in a car-share with newly-acquainted comrades — and...

Malm's "Fossil Capital": mired in slurry

Andreas Malm’s writings on climate change have been widely lauded across the left in recent years, including in Solidarity (Zack Muddle, 588, 14 April 2021). In my view, Malm is a charlatan, a pretentious poseur, who sows confusion on Marxism and climate change politics. This became clear with his book Fossil Capital (2016) and has worsened subsequently. Fossil Capital Britain was the first industrial capitalist state. Climate scientists estimate that Britain accounted for 80% of global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion in 1825 and 62% in 1850. Therefore accelerating fossil fuel use...

Environmentalists in Singapore mobilise on May Day

On May Day, SG Climate Rally, a youth-led environmentalist organisation, held an online public meeting entitled “Workers Rights = Climate Action”. The meeting commemorated Labour Day (1 May in Singapore) and marked the conclusion of SG Climate Rally’s petition for the rights of food couriers and ride-hailing app drivers. The petition was started in response to the government’s new petrol tax hike, announced in its Budget as an environmentalist policy. Ironically, the same Budget allocated $870 million to Singapore Airlines, an aviation firm that is not only incredibly pollutive, but which has...

Meeting the crises to come

A 2020 report from the US Commission on Commodity Futures Trading found: “A sudden revision of market perceptions about climate risk could lead to a disorderly repricing of assets, which could in turn have cascading effects on portfolios and balance sheets and therefore systemic implications for financial stability.” In short, economic shocks will be an early impact of climate change and will start as people begin to grasp the reality of climate change and the bleak view of the future. Consider the effect of sea level rise on world property markets. A lot of coastal settlements will flood with...

How class struggle shaped fossil fuel

The devastating and sometimes fatal Texas power outages of February 2021 show “how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” so spewed Texan governor Greg Abbot: “It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.” As eye-popping as this shameless lying may be, Abbot only acts as the personified caricature of the irrationality we see systemically with international capitalism. The urgent necessity to halt climate change is universally accepted by scientists. It is the greatest danger facing humanity. Leading bourgeois economists, champions of capitalism, are urging...

Diary of an engineer: Capping the laughing gas

The apprentices haven’t seen each other since November, and it’s good to work with L. He has a lot of electrical knowledge, works diligently and has a very cool head. We work together installing a fan in the workshop (P’s fan, we call it, as it was his idea). Free of supervision, we can take our time cutting and tapping metal conduit so it fits snugly against the ceiling, running the cable neatly and listening to L’s “classic rock” playlist — now and then L breaks out in songs and head-banging. He’s twenty-one, likes cars, fishing, and scotch whisky. We learn this week about two projects the...

Study guide: Fossil Capital by Andreas Malm

See a review here, a previous one here, a recording of a talk on the book here: and get the book here. Download a version of this study guide as a PDF here. Possible study schedule A suggested 9 week study schedule: Chapter 1: Setting the scene, the fossil economy (read chapter 2 if you like, or come back to that later with chapter 12) Chapters 3 and 4: Energy types and prime movers; proto-fossil economy; the industrial revolution and the first structural crisis Chapters 5 and 6: the advantages of water, and of reservoirs and aqueducts; some peculiarities of the capitalist mode of production...

Workers, trade unions and climate politics

Calvin Lawson - an RMT rep in Newcastle, part of the RMT Environmental Action Group, and co-lead on trade union strategy for Labour for a Green New Deal - spoke to Solidarity. Our trade union group within Labour for a Green New Deal is working with local groups to establish union link officers who can connect with trades councils, union branches and so on to support workers’ struggles but also take up environmental questions. We’ve organised some roadshows to encourage discussion and engagement, for instance in the North East where I’m based and working with Unison in the Manchester area. That...

More green space

Exceptional times, like those that we are living through, often highlight the shortcomings in our society. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many, from the chronic underfunding of our health service to the inability to care for the most vulnerable amongst us. We have also seen the shutting down of green spaces, particularly in cities, on the grounds that people should simply stay home. This is straightforwardly a class issue. Those with higher incomes are far more likely to live in houses with access to gardens, whilst those on lower incomes are more likely to live in flats with no gardens or...

"The Silvertown Tunnel will be a disaster"

Victoria Rance, a spokesperson for the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel campaign, spoke to Solidarity. If it goes ahead the Silvertown Tunnel [a road tunnel under the Thames between Silvertown and the Greenwich Peninsula, supported by London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan] will be a disaster for people in East London and for the fight against climate change. It’s being justified as a way of easing congestion. The Blackwall Tunnel always has jams, and there’s not many river crossings in the East of London. But what they’re doing is making a crossing right next to the Blackwall Tunnel – it’s the same...

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