Thursday, August 17, 2006

Camp for Climate Action: Hundereds of Workshops, A Blockade and Protest at Drax


I`m just going off to Brussels for a climate change meeting organised by the climate youth network, part of the climate action network. Before I go i just wanted to mention the climate camp which is going to be a vey exciting event...lots of hype and lots of excitement! Hopefully i will see some of you there.

Climate change is happening now and is set to get much worse.
Governments and corporations dream of growth without end, economy without
limits. When nuclear power is hailed as the solution to ecological crisis you
know there's a problem. There is a growing grassroots movement that
fundamentally challenges the fossil fuel economy.


The camp will be a place
for this movement to get together. It will be a place for new people, people who have never been 'political' before but who want move beyond concern into activity. It will be a place for experienced activists: old and young, cynical and hopeful. We all need courage, the guts to step beyond the comfort of our concern or the borders of our group. Climate change casts a long shadow over the future. But we believe this time can be an opportunity, a moment when people come together and say 'enough'.

There are already quite a few articles and blog posts about the event, here is one from the Red Pepper:

We’re all doomed. That’s how I felt as I dragged myself through the streets
of Oxford tackling the assault course of confused tourists, hungover students
and irate locals. When you spend most of your waking life thinking about climate
change, impending apocalypse follows you around like a bad smell. It can make
you very unpopular at parties. On this particular day I’m trudging the crowded
streets on my way to meet some climate activists so they can tell me about their
new plan to save the world. If I’m honest I’m not optimistic, but that comes
with the territory.I sit outside the crowded cafe as the untrustworthy sunshine
retreats and leaves me shivering into my soya cappuccino, waiting. When they
arrive I ask one of them, Sally Reeve, to tell me about the ‘climate camp’,
their plan for solving climate change.
Sally pauses thoughtfully. ‘The
climate camp is an action camp taking place in the summer, getting people to
engage with climate change and take action.’ Another intense pause and then: ‘I
think people are really scared by climate change. They know that some massive
response is needed and that actions by the government and corporations aren’t
proportionate to the scale of the problem. We need to come together and educate
ourselves, share ideas and do some really important direct action.’Doubts enter
my mind unbidden as I hear those two little words: direct action. A common
response – a direct reaction – for many. Does that mean it’s all about climbing
trees and fighting the boys in blue? Sally patiently replies: ‘Obviously direct
action is an important part of the camp, but it’s not something we expect
everybody to take part in. People who haven’t taken direct action before
shouldn’t feel excluded.’ Ian Kilminster, another organiser of the camp, adds:
‘What we should remember is that solutions to climate change have to be
grassroots and that encompasses direct action but needs to include all sorts of
action. It’s not just about taking responsibility for yourself but making the
changes around you collectively.’ I begin to relax a little and ask why they
felt the need for a climate camp at this moment.Sally explains that most of the
focus for action on climate change has been on changing individual consumption,
with little scrutiny of the institutions and economic forces driving the climate
crisis. The bottom line of fossil fuel corporations precludes them from taking
real action on climate change because it’s an inherent contradiction for their
core business. She states that the real solutions must be determined by us, the
people. But why do we need to slum it in a campsite for two weeks in order to do
this? Sally skims over my whining: ‘Most of the NGO campaigning is asking the
government for reduction targets or persuading oil companies to be more socially
responsible. We don’t believe that either of those is going to be effective
because the government can only do what the corporations allow it to do. And the
corporations can only push for more consumption because that’s the way they’re
legally structured. Therefore it’s up to us.’As we talk more about the camp,
that it will be organised into ‘neighbourhoods’ to welcome people into an open
but organised structure, the childcare available, the range of topics covered –
from the effects of oil pollution in the ‘developing world’ to challenging the
irrepressible aviation industry – I can no longer deny the effect they’re having
on me and I spontaneously exclaim that they’ve even inspired me. Me! This is a
disturbing experience which I've done my best to repress ever since by
frantically watching Big Brother. Listening again to their words on my mini-disc
later brings back those tired old stirrings of, is it .... hope? Through my
headphones Ian enthuses: ‘If we don’t get this right everything else is wrong.
If you want a fair and equitable future then it will have to be envisioned and
created by everybody that will live in it. The camp won’t be the thing that does
that but will be a kick-start for it. When the camp is over it’s just the
beginning for grassroots movement on climate change.’ We may well be doomed, but
this old hack will certainly be there this summer with the positive and the
inspired. See you there?

The Camp for Climate Action runs from 26
August-4 September. See
www.climatecamp.org.uk
Heidi Bachram is a research associate at the Transnational institute project, Carbon Trade Watch. She can be contacted at heidi[AT]tni.org

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1 Comments:

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe any hope that the problem of climate change can be solved within the existing economic framework of Neo-Liberal Capitalism will prove to be utterly unfounded. To try to put this right without rectifying the clapped out global financial system won’t work and environmentalists doing so will carry on coming up against a brick wall. They need to look at the way this system works and intellectually grow beyond the conditioning that economics and finance can only be understood by economists and financiers. Of course its true that they are doing something very useful in highlighting to the unaware the “elephant standing in the corner” but we’re all locked in to an international economic system that most effectively blocks substantial change. *New Para*

Let me try to explain. The two main cornerstones of Western economies are usury and speculation. Usury in that the vast majority of money in circulation has been electronically created by the commercial banks, is called by them “credit” and is lent to Governments and individuals for quick profit not for a particular motive of world betterment. No-thing moves when electronic money circulates when you use your debit card, direct debits, cheques etc and when Governments borrow money- all that happens is that the drawer’s account data entry is debited (decremented) and the payee’s is credited, (incremented). So this money can be created at negligible cost to the banks because it is created and exists only as a DATA entry in our electronic bank accounts and is exchanged between them as such only. The stuff in your wallet/purse created by the Royal Mint for the Bank of England (whose revenue DOES accrue to the state) represents a tiny fraction of all the ‘money’ that exists, the vast majority originated as loans mostly created- yes, out of thin air- by the commercial banks under this “fractional reserve banking system”, circulates electronically between banks’ computers and the vast profit (interest) levied on all of us accrues to bankers not Governments. For more information on how this amazing system has evolved (which one could be forgiven for thinking has been deliberately designed with a main aim to enrich private financial elites) in the UK and many, many countries I refer you to the expert writings, monetary reform proposals and how you can protest- at www.moneyreformparty.org.uk and www.jamesrobertson.com. I think most people fondly imagine that when they press 'Balance Request' on the cash machine, the computer figure that comes back represents the amount of notes, coins and/or precious metals their bank holds for them in some vault somewhere! Even pretty low corporation tax is often avoided by the use of foreign tax havens, (At least £20 Billion total in the UK per annum avoided at 2003 figures- War on Want ‘Tax Havens Briefing’- www.waronwant.org/?lid=5441). The need for the continuing increase of the assault on the world’s resources substantially stems from the imperative of “economic growth” which is necessary to keep up with the ever spiralling overall interest payments due on the explosion in recent years of different types of loans created by commercial banks and other private interests. I read that this enormous growth in private credit has been allowed to occur with all its wanton increase in the consumption of resources and debt hardship because of outsourcing by corporations of huge amounts of skilled & unskilled jobs to developing countries with cheap labour and minimal regulations under globalisation (“corporate flight”). With the generally decreasing availability therefore of properly paid quality jobs, to make ends meet governments, public services (eg using PFI) and individuals in the richer (developed) nations have all had to be allowed to borrow more and more; its only this explosion of credit that has plugged the gap in our economies. I recommend the reading of the website and books by the US professor of economics Ravi Batra who has a lot of hard hitting and extremely interesting things to say on this matter, www.ravibatra.com. *New Para*

I refer to the ‘cornerstone of Speculation’ in that National economies and their populations are utterly dependant on the $2 Trillion or so (equivalent) that changes hands electronically every DAY- untaxed- around the world on the “financial markets” in search of speculative quick profit unrelated to any exchange of real goods or services. Utterly dependant because National Governments create hardly any of the money that is in circulation as I have already explained and they need to compete internationally to keep on attracting this privately created & transmitted globally mobile electronic money which has become the lifeblood of all our economies. Financiers and corporations increasingly trade IN money not WITH money, since deregulation in the 1980s- eg Removal of foreign capital exchange controls (and credit controls) which happened then. Why did we multi-nationally give up so much control over our economies then to those which to many might seem like a load of locusts? Are the ones (within the IMF, WB?) who pushed our nations’ leaders to do this still in positions of influence? In this “liberalised” regime why create, innovate and trade in cumbersome goods when one can make far more far quickly and with far less risk just by moving money (data) and money instruments between computers around the world? Almost all the global financial institutions and even many corporations are at it, a parasitic activity. A “monstrous global casino” in the words of sustainable economics columnist Hazel Henderson. Any government that even publicly SPEAKS of restricting it, or taxing it, or significantly environmentally regulating the stock market listed business that it invests in, or getting off the absurd merry-go-round of competing with other nations to clamp down on corporation tax so as to attract employment and capital, or creating their OWN electronic (credit) money, or even threatening tax havens, faces economically disastrous capital flight to nations NOT doing so within hours on the trading computers on the stock markets and the derivatives computers of the international corporations and banks. You see how the financier oligarchy has got us all over a barrel? No Government dare even publicly consider democratically demanded change to the status quo. No corporation dare significantly reduce the current quick profit return to its international capital investors by SIGNIFICANT investment in alternative forms of energy & transportation as to do so invites a declining share price and capital flight to corporations not doing so. The intellectual economist Lyndon LaRouche in Executive Intelligence Review (see below) actually uses the term “Financier Oligarchy” referring to the way our ‘democracies’ are going under the economic & corporate globalisation model I have already described. If you think carefully about it you might realise that under neo-liberalism what we have is a global financial tyranny where essential human needs come second to nations being forced to compete with each other to make often fabulously wealthy owners of international capital- grow even richer- for no effort. Before anyone pulls the “pension funds” ‘old chestnut’ on me, let me retort that I recently heard on a BBC financial programme that only 20% of shares are owned by pension funds. A POSSIBLE SOLUTION to re-gain control over international capital and corporations by electorates and governments is proposed by “The Simultaneous Policy” at www.simpol.org and I believe progressives might feel their strategy warrants participation. *New Para*

Most mainstream media outlets are owned by stock market listed corporations. Does anyone believe such a corporation will allow SERIOUS debate in its pages or TV stations, of reform to the international financial system when it is this system that is the investment hand that feeds it, both owning the shares and placing the corporate adverts? Does anyone seriously believe that one example tabloid and TV/news station owning international corporation that currently pays no corporation tax in the UK by the use of tax havens will seriously allow such debate in its media outlets? I’m not suggesting columnists and editors are directly told what to say and what not to, but they know there are limits which they must not cross if they are to retain their jobs which are mostly in the form of shortish term renewable (or not) contract posts. And most of them seem never to have asked themselves what money really is, who creates it, who administers its circulation, who profits from it and why no Government of left OR right credentials strangely refuses to reinstate fair corporate taxation and environmental regulations ONCE IN POWER despite the obvious dire financial state of our public services, worsening annually, and the developed countries still paltry overall help to the developing ones whose populations are starving to death in their millions monthly for the want of the huge surplus of food per capita that exists worldwide (Some 10%- look up UN Statistics). It should be obvious surely that there’s a CHRONIC lack of money for foreign aid and public services for all our government’s sorry obfuscation that the latter need more “modernising”, ie. another round of cuts. The neo-liberal free movement of capital & corporations is leaving the competing nations’ governments with a chronic lack of cash for public spending on virtually everything- from palaces to prisons. *New Para*

I believe that "Planet Earth [environment] is in a sad and perilous condition while each day brings it nearer to the critical... [and] that even the most dire prophecy falls short of the calamity facing the world today. Few there are who see the immediacy of the threat and the urgency of the steps needed to counter it", (this quote from www.share-international.org). Anyone who seriously believes that humanity can burn off gigantic amounts of carbon into the atmosphere daily over what will total to some 200 years (in the form of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels) that had been gradually accumulated beneath the earth over hundreds of MILLIONS of years, and while annually cutting down tens of millions of acres of atmosphere purifying tropical forests- all of this without incurring MAJOR upheaval and destruction to the earth’s life supporting natural climate systems- is conditioned and deluded indeed. *New Para*

I believe that only a total and systemic collapse of the world’s financial system will bring humanity to its senses and- (even though I know this itself would cause major trauma for a while because we have allowed stock market listed corporations to take over most food and energy production and distribution worldwide)- it is my belief and hope that this is coming to pass. (I refer again to the writings of economics professor Ravi Batra). The men of money’s selfish greed and competition is over-reaching itself at long last and the frantic efforts to prop up the system behind the scenes are at long last crumbling. “The REAL economy has fallen out from under the markets which have been artificially propped up by accounting tricks, enormous and unpayable debt loads, and mass delusion on the part of the markets and the public” (John Hoefle banking columnist, and refer also to the writings of economist’s Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review for more information, www.larouchepub.com). The signs of the oncoming collapse are obvious for those who look beyond their own narrow interests and look below the surface at powerful people’s MOTIVES- not what they SAY but what they DO and WHY that might be- with objectivity. People who make the effort to READ & STUDY widely. Anyone who thinks that substantially unrestrained powerful people in today’s out of democratic control globalised capital/corporate world have not been manipulating to retain and enhance their own selfish interests, and who denounces those who highlight this as “conspiracy theorists”, is deluded and conditioned indeed. They have just not reflected seriously on the sad condition of greed and fear of loss as well as spiritual poverty and poverty of intellect that dominates the natures of many, many of our fellow human being financier oligarchs in power. We live in a competitive economic culture which makes a VIRTUE out of consumption and greed and it's essential that more & more of us realise it, detach from it and protest peacefully against it. If we want to survive un-decimated as a species, we’ve surely got some major waking up to do- and quickly.

 

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