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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole
(0)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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This Changes Everything: Workers have the power to stop climate change

Writing in Socialist Worker UK, Martin Empson reviews Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything, and argues that the only way to stop climate change is to get rid of capitalism

There’s no denying it—capitalism is damaging the planet. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report proves that humans are fundamentally changing the environment, leading to a more dangerous climate.

The impact will be immense, particularly on the world’s poorest. The report says that to avoid dangerous climate change above 2°C, energy generation must be almost entirely low carbon by 2050 and completely so by 2100.

The report’s authors hope it will influence a global treaty being prepared for December 2015.

But there are worrying signs. Some countries such as oil supplier Saudi Arabia were concerned about sections that urged reductions of fossil fuel use.

A previous attempt to get countries to agree to serious action in 2009 was scuppered by a coalition of governments led by US president Barack Obama.

But there is also a growing climate movement demanding action. In September there were big protests worldwide as government representatives met in New York.

Another indication of the new mood is the popularity of Naomi Klein’s latest book, This Changes Everything. A launch event in London drew some 2,000 attendees.

The book is explicitly anti-capitalist. Klein writes that we need to “protect humanity from the ravages of both a savagely unjust economic system and a destabilised climate system”.

Reducing emissions gives us the “chance to advance policies that dramatically improve lives, close the gap between rich and poor, create huge numbers of good jobs, and reinvigorate democracy from the ground up”.

Action

Environmental action cannot be left to individuals such as the “lifestyle decisions of earnest urbanites who like going to farmers’ markets on Saturday afternoons”.

Instead, we need state action such as sustainable transport and energy-efficient housing.

Market mechanisms are supposed to reduce emissions. But Klein points out that the private sector has played only a tiny role in investing in renewable energies. Governments have been responsible for nearly everything.

Klein says we need an “alternative worldview” and mass movements such as those that fought against slavery or for civil rights. We need to “Grow the Caring Economy, Shrinking the Careless One”.

Klein sometimes looks to local change, such as communities divesting from fossil fuel industries and supporting sustainable alternatives. But she also acknowledges the need for economic planning, tough regulation of businesses and higher taxation for the rich.

This is important stuff and has incurred the wrath of many right wingers.

But while Klein’s book looks to challenging capitalism, it is less clear about who has the power to do this.

The fossil fuel companies have already demonstrated how they will fight to protect their interests.

Klein quotes Karl Marx, noting capitalism’s irreparable rift with “the natural laws of life itself”. This is why we need to overthrow the system.

The force to do this is the working class. Through its unique role in capitalist production, it has the power to stop the system and build a new world.

As Klein says, in the face of climate change, “only mass social movements can save us now”.



Read More

This Changes Everything
by Naomi Klein

Land and Labour: Marxism, Ecology and Human History
by Martin Empson

Available at Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop. Phone 020 7637 1848 or go to bookmarksbookshop.co.uk

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