Youth Climate Strike

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R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Apr 26 2019 13:17

ACG text here: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2019/04/25/extinction-rebellion-notes...
Any plans to do this as a leaflet?

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cantdocartwheels
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Apr 27 2019 00:06

IMO the criticisms of XR are all fine until you get to stuff like.....

Quote:
We don’t know exactly what a ‘better world’ could look like

Quote:
imagine those thousands of people protesting fossil fuel plants.....(which is basically like climate camp have done and will do again to currently fairly limited long term success)

which is hardly in either case the most convincing argument and comes across pretty weak tbh

I know i may seem facetious but you can moan about XR's demands being liberal/reformist/seat-at-the-tableist (which they of course explicitly are) all you want, but i think you have to have some sort of coherent alternative. I mean i can think of plenty of liberal or liberal left books/pamphlets on what a zero carbon society might look like (eg off the top of my had https://www.cat.org.uk/info-resources/zero-carbon-britain/research-repor... ) .And yet the anarchists//radical left have sadly little that is current to offer on this front.

I mean as it stands now XR's strength is a minimal set of demands for people to coalesce around and clear brand, conversely its weakness from our point of view is that it doesn't push out any concrete set of material demands whether transitional (scrap all fossil fuels subsidies) or a full description of a zero carbon society and how it could meet energy demands. Presumably this is because from their for want of a better word radical liberal perspective this might muddle the message and in their view its for the leadership, politicians and citizens assembly etc to sort out not the rest of us. Thus as far as I can see XR simply links to a few other pages when it comes to offering solutions on its site rather than laying out anything in any more detail.

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spacious
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May 5 2019 13:39

An open letter to Extinction Rebellion, composed by a number of groups:

https://www.redpepper.org.uk/an-open-letter-to-extinction-rebellion/

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
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May 5 2019 12:42
R Totale wrote:
ACG text here: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2019/04/25/extinction-rebellion-notes...
Any plans to do this as a leaflet?

We hadn't planned to but your idea is certainly a good 'un. I'll raise it in the org.

Spikymike
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May 5 2019 13:43

The 'Red Pepper' contribution seems to be recommending a long cobbled together list, selected to suite each and every one of it's different reformist campaigning organisation contributors, of what might best be described as 'transitional demands' (in the trotskyist style), some no doubt desirable but as a combination completely incompatible with the continuance of capitalism. The rest of it is just some repetition of 'advice' on tactics similar to that provided by others. 'Red Pepper' magazine is best left on the shelf to gather dust.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
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May 5 2019 14:43

ACG flyer downloadable HERE

spacious's picture
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May 5 2019 22:42
Spikymike wrote:
The 'Red Pepper' contribution seems to be recommending a long cobbled together list, selected to suite each and every one of it's different reformist campaigning organisation contributors, of what might best be described as 'transitional demands' (in the trotskyist style), some no doubt desirable but as a combination completely incompatible with the continuance of capitalism. The rest of it is just some repetition of 'advice' on tactics similar to that provided by others. 'Red Pepper' magazine is best left on the shelf to gather dust.

Yeah, perhaps you're right. I liked the letter better than the indeed very 'transitional' demands. I do value the sense of connecting climate crisis with centuries of extractivism and colonialism (with the omission of slavery). Ecological destruction is not a new thing, and even if climate breakdown takes it to a new qualitative level, seeing the deeper historical connections offers a more strategic view of the current moment. Instead of climate change being a terrible, bad, but inexplicable thing that undeservingly befalls an otherwise "modern and rational" society, and which can be undone by one more technical fix in a long line of technical fixes, it seems to be a much more diabolical problem where capitalist society is faced with the consequences of its past "solutions" that have turned into their opposites.

Maybe my reading was more sympathetic than yours, I think the authors have just chosen to not outright declare capitalism to be the problem but instead to draw some lines in the sand to set conversations going with those involved in the XR events.

Mike Harman
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May 6 2019 22:06

So with the Red Pepper statement, this caught me off guard a bit to be honest.

With climate change, if we talk about specific ways to combat it starting from our current position, then it is hard to couch them in ways which are not 'transitional demands' even if we're clear we think it will require social revolution to accomplish them. Whether a particular reform of capitalism is possible or not is a matter of conjecture usually.

An obvious demand, given that 33% of UK emissions are from transport (excluding international transport) and 30% of those are commuting to work or school (i.e. 10% of UK emissions are from commutes), would be a four (or three, or two) day working week - reducing commuter journeys by 1/5th (or 2/5ths or 3/5ths). (see here for stats https://data.gov.uk/dataset/9a1e58e5-d1b6-457d-a414-335ca546d52c/provisi...)

Or much longer holiday allowances so that people can take holidays which involve more travel time (by rail) compared to quick flight short trips.

This might be completely inconceivable under capitalism (although personally I think a four day week could be absorbed by higher productivity in a lot of sectors - i.e. an increase in relative surplus value offsetting a decrease in absolute surplus value and some employers are trying four day weeks already) - but reducing the working day is a long-standing aim of workplace organisation and points towards the abolition of work altogether in communism. In other words it might not be possible under capitalism, but it's pragmatic in the sense that a mass working class movement could either force it as a concession or go beyond it and it would have a concrete effect.

'Democratising the financial sector' on the other hand seems outlandish to me, it's the stuff of sovereign wealth funds or national investment banks. It's quite possible that states could massively subsidise renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel subsidy, but why couch this as a financial sector reform?

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spacious
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May 7 2019 23:41

I'm not sure how they arrived at that, other than by adding ingredients and boiling it down to a string of words they could agree on.

I came across this much better, more radically argued case about the extractivist and colonial implications of a Green New Deal (with the assumption of continued capitalist growth), from the director of War on Want, an organisation that also signed the Red Pepper open letter to XR:

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/green-new-deal-alexandria-ocasio-co...

Spikymike
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Jul 14 2019 11:17

Thought I would just add this 'post-situ' more personal/political reaction to the whole Extinction Rebellion street rebellion experience as a short practical critique of life in the City with some more criticism of it's participants limited understanding of the everyday deterioration of our local natural environment. See here;
www.revoltagainstplenty.com/index.php/recent/278-two-critical-comments-o...

Spikymike
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Jul 17 2019 16:10

And there is is this critical comparison between the call for a 'youth climate strike' now extended to others and the different concepts and practice of a 'general strike' and the 'mass strike' from a Left Communist perspective;
https://libcom.org/blog/thumbergs-call-general-strikes-confusions-libera...