The AFL-CIO convention here passed yesterday a political resolution that calls for a break with “lesser of two evil politics” but came up short when it comes to projecting a clear path to how that will be accomplished.
A new 64-page report – One Million Climate Jobs: Moving South Africa forward towards a low-carbon, wage-led, and sustainable path – by the Alternative Information & Development Centre (AIDC) provides the detail, with extensive research citations, showing how this can be done and financed. The focus is on South Africa, but the remedies are broadly replicable across the globe.
After more than a decade of tenacious union lobbying of government negotiators, the words “a just transition of the workforce” was written into the preamble of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
But now what? Encouraged by Paris, unions around the world have committed fresh energy towards giving Just Transition some practical significance, otherwise it will remain little more than a moral appeal for fairness in a corporate-dominated world economy where both morality and fairness are increasingly scarce.
Sarita Gupta and Dimitri L, Real News, October 2, 2017
Dimitri L.: This is Dimitri Lascaris for the Real News in Silver Spring, Maryland. We are at the Labor Convergence on Climate organized by the Labor Network for Sustainability. I'm here today with Sarita Gupta, the executive director of Jobs with Justice. Thank you for joining us.
Sarita Gupta: Thank you. It's great to be here with you.
Dimitri L.: I'd like to talk about the mission of your organization, and particularly how we can get organized labor leading the transition that we need to undergo in order to solve the climate crisis currently confronting us.
In a series of landmark statements following the May 2017 election of the pro-reform President Moon Jae-in, Korean energy, transport and public service workers have called for “a just energy transition” allowing the sector to “function as a public asset under public control.” Unions support the new government’s decision to close the country’s aging coal-fired and nuclear power stations, and its planned reconsideration of two new nuclear facilities, Kori 5 and Kori 6.
Workers have no greater interest than to prevent the destruction of the earth’s climate on behalf of themselves and their posterity. But workers often act as an organized force to oppose climate protection measures in the name of their interests as workers. How is such a paradoxical state of affairs possible? How did we get in such a state? How can we change it? How can the working class reorganize itself to fight for climate protection? Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming proposes answers to these questions.
Discussion document submitted to Labor for Our Revolution (LFOR):
This memorandum proposes an analysis and provisional framework around which to construct an ambitious and effective agenda for progressive labor to respond to the converging environmental crises, and to pursue a rapid, inclusive approach to energy transition and social justice.
Last week, on February 22, 2017, water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the primary camp of Standing Rock, were evicted by the Army Corps of Engineers in a military style takeover. A peaceful resistance that began with a sacred fire lit on April 1, 2016, ended in a blaze as some of the protectors, in a final act of defiance, set some of the camp’s structures on fire.
The millions of people around the world who have stood in solidarity and empathy with Standing Rock now stand in disbelief and grief, but the forced closure of the encampment is simply the latest chapter in a violent, 500-year-old history of colonization against the First Nations. It is also the latest chapter in the battle between an extractive capitalist model and the possibility of a post-capitalist world.
Of course, the ongoing struggle will not go down in the flames at Oceti Sakowin. We should take this opportunity to remember the enduring lessons of this movement, and prepare ourselves for what is to come next.