Produce less, share better, decide together!
The Ecosocialist Conference for Climate Justice was held June 26-28 in digital format (originally scheduled for Basel, Switzerland). Activists from more than 20 countries participated and adopted a common statement, which follows below:
The corona pandemic has exposed the fragility of the neoliberal global economy. We will face yet another wave of austerity and unemployment, as pro-business governments raise taxes and slash spending, just as they did after the financial crash of 2008. All this on the back of the imminent collapse of global ecosystems caused by ruthless over-production, voracious agribusiness, and the deliberate exploitation of cheap, polluting carbon fuels for corporate profit. We need to challenge the growth-based and consumption-driven system of capitalism.
Measures against the climate crisis must take into consideration that women, people of colour and the working class in general are disproportionately affected by the multiple crises of the pandemic, the economy and the destruction of our ecosystems.
If we do not mobilise now – this decade – then global warming will become irreversible, ensuring that health and living standards deteriorate rapidly for most people on the planet. That is why we need a global mass movement to force governments to prevent a rise in the average surface temperature of the planet beyond 1.5°C, by 2030. And if vested economic interests seek to prevent this goal being achieved, we need a popular movement powerful enough to change the system.
Such an international movement requires goals. The immediate demands to fight for include:
- Public democratic control and ownership of all destructive industries, such as the fossil fuel industry, and their immediate conversion to renewable energy sources with the retraining of displaced energy workers allowing them to use their creativity and skills for useful and sustainable services and products. The armaments industries have to be dismantled and converted for purely civilian and peaceful production. A conversion programme must guarantee full employment with a reduction and sharing of working time.
- End all state subsidies to airline and automobile industries – introduce punitive taxes on carbon emissions and polluters. We fight for a socialisation of the airlines and the automotive industry, their drastic dismantling, conversion and integration into an affordable and sustainable public transport system. Free urban transport systems are urgently required.
- An international emergency plan (coordinated at state, town and village level) for a global transition to a carbon neutral, ecologically balanced economy. This must be developed by the self-organisation and mass mobilization of workers, peasant farmers, women and indigenous peoples. The conversion of agribusiness and intensive livestock farming to an ecological sustainable food production system.
- An ecosocialist transformation must include the socialisation of social and care equally distributed across society. Environmentally sustainable jobs should be created in free and universal health and care, housing, education and socially useful services.
- Immediate cancellation of all debt, especially those owed by developing and peripheral countries. International banks and financial trade is to be taxed to fund an ecological conversion programme in global south, as reparations for slavery, colonialism, and ecological destruction caused by Western industrialisation. The economic-financial globalization should be replaced by social and environmental economic relationships between North and South. We stand in solidarity with the movements in the global south fighting against neoliberalism and popular and democratic sovereignty.
- The socialisation of the banking and finance industry and its replacement by a public banking service, democratically managed for the investment into emergency plans of ecologically sustainable and socially just projects.
Words and good intentions no longer suffice. Capitalism is killing the planet – literally. System change at a continental and global level is required. We need a radical, anti-capitalist, ecological, feminist, internationalist and anti-racist alternative that puts people and planet before private profit. Ecosocialism offers an alternative to the capitalist system and a future worth fighting for.
Joint and decisive action: the next steps
The mass mobilization of the people is necessary to stop the climate crisis. That’s why it is necessary to build an international movement against the destruction of the environment by capitalism.
We think that the international climate justice movement should agree on some joint mass campaigns in the immediate future that will directly aim at a massive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, we want to promote a dialogue with the climate justice movement, trade unions and progressive social movements. In these campaigns, climate protection, protection of people’s health and the interests of workers for decent and meaningful jobs must find a common expression.
We therefore support the mobilisation for mass demonstrations in Glasgow and elsewhere to coincide with COP26 in November 2021, and support initiatives for a Global Day of action and mobilisation for climate justice in autumn 2020.
We believe that the climate justice movement, progressive organisations, and trade unions should discuss launching broad international campaigns.
- for the massive reduction of intensive livestock farming and the meat processing industry, and instead, the development of organic farming and sustainable food industry.
- for the socialization of transport: all airlines and the plane and automobile industry, and their conversion to produce environmentally sustainable cheap/free public transport systems and socially useful products.
We agree to reconvene this conference in a physical form in 2021 to develop our programme of action and our ecosocialist alternative.
Stop the rise at 1.5°c!
Put people and the planet before profits
Fight for an ecosocialist alternative!
Workshop 1: Industrial conversion
Workshop raised several fundamental questions regarding a strategy of industrial conversion:
1 The gap: How can we close the gap between the needs of a fast and a massive reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and the broad consciousness among the different sectors of the working class in broad sense of the word.
2 The strategy: Strategy of social appropriation: Who are the subjects? The concerned workers, the broader population, the “civil society” and on which geographical scale? This is a complicated issue because mot value chains as well production and innovation systems are organized on a transnational scale.
3 Challenges for industrial conversion: What is the amount of energy needed? So far, the current energy needs cannot be met only be renewable energies. Therefore, the consumption of energy, and also the production of physical products must be reduced. This means, we do not only have to convert industries, but even to dismantle them, especially the armaments industry and the meat-based agroindustry.
What is the geographical scale of conversion? Most industries, e.g. the automotive and the aerospace industries have complicated transnational supply chains. Therefore, purely national conversion strategies cannot work.
4 Campaigns for social appropriation and industrial conversion: We need to launch international campaigns for conversion, mainly the fossil energy industries, the meat industry, the automotive and aerospace industries and the airlines. However, it needs to be launched an intensive discussion process of making decisions among ecosocialist organisations and movements.
Workshop 2: Agriculture
1 Boycott companies that produce on illegal land in the countries of the global south!
2 An international campaign with an ecosocialist perspective, in defense of indigenous peoples and ecosystems. It starts with massive support for the Amazon Social Forum
3 This campaign has to be combined with the constant denunciation of the socio-environmental impacts of agribusiness activities, the commodification of nature and WTO measures that contribute to inequalities between the global north and south
4 Against the authoritarianism and ultraliberalism that promotes the privatization of our resources, we demand the exit of Bolsonaro from the presidency of Brazil and the collective and democratic reappropriation of our natural resources!
Workshop 3: Public health care, social needs and scientific participation
1 Pandemics like Covid-19 are part of the ecological crisis created by capitalism. While pandemics ignore borders, they do not ignore class and race. In Europe and Americas, it is the most deprived and the black and minority ethnic populations that have suffered disproportionately.
About health care system
2 Stop privatization and bring out of market the health sector ;
3 A publicly-owned health and care system, adequately funded by progressive taxation, free at the point of delivery from the “cradle to grave” and taking action against discriminations;
4 A publicly-owned pharmaceutical research and industry providing cheap generic drugs and global free vaccine campaign;
Global and coronavirus prevention
5 Preventive medicine for mental, physical or chronic diseases;
6 Food standards to be raised to ensure healthy diets, with the massive reduction of intensive livestock farming and the development of sustainable food industry;
7 If health & the safety conditions are not adequate in the place of activity, all workers should have a legally protected right to withdraw or to strike
8 Public service to guarantee water, food and energy basic needs to fight health crisis efficiently. In addition, the providers of these services, which are largely in the private sector, must be flexible with regard to users who are in a highly vulnerable situation during the pandemic.
9 Efforts focused on small and family-owned businesses for the millions of (informal) jobs.
Science and education
10 Improved science education to facilitate public participation in the decision making process. Public, universally-available and fact-based science education, including social and ethical education of scientific workers.
11 Public funding of academic research to eliminate corporate interests from universites and scientific publication.
12 Democratic Climate Crisis Committee to plan the transition including experts, workers and activists to give binding advice to governments.
Workshop 4: Transportation
An important proportion of fossil fuels is used in the form of petrol, diesel and kerosene for the transport of people and goods. In view of the poor ecological balance of individual motorized traffic, it is obvious that new mobility concepts need to be developed quickly. We demand:
1 An immediate plan for a democratic organised appropriation and conversion of the car industry towards public societies that aim to offer public and sustainable transportation to everyone. In that process, workers of the industry and of public transport systems must play a central role. The immediate development and access to regional public transport and the drastic reduction of the costs of long-distance rail transport.
2 The development of cycle and pedestrian paths combined with the establishment of car-free zones in all major urban centres.
3 The integration of travel time to work into the working time to stimulate the reduction of home-work commuting.
4 Ban short distance flights.
5 Drastic reduction of aviation traffic by heavy taxation and by building up an international night train railway system.
6 Shift of public investment from car and aviation infrastructure to public transport systems. Promote compact city planing that is compatible with public transportation.
7 Allocate corporate and government funds from the Global North to the Global South to create free, accessible and adequate public transportation and pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
Workshop 5: Trade union work and Climate Justice
1 The social appropriation of large energy production and raw material extraction groups: for the establishment of democratically elected bodies in which employees and representatives of civil society are responsible for organizing the dismantling or reorientation of existing structures.
2 The guarantee of employment: industrial conversion must not put workers out of work. The right to free professional reorientation and further training, as well as the right to work through job sharing must be guaranteed.
3 A moratorium on the extraction of underground oil, gas and coal: The extraction of existing fossil energy sources must be drastically reduced, and the development of new sources must be totally banned.
4 The creation of municipal and democratically elected cooperatives with a mandate for local electricity and water supply based on renewable energies and public water supply. In many cities, existing industrial services can serve as a foundation for these cooperatives to democratize and develop.
Workshop 6: Feminism
1 Ending exploitation of women, especially in the global South but also in general
– Recognition of diplomas awarded abroad to avoid that migrants, especially women, are forced into underpaid labor
– Free and universal access to essential services: Public services sould be “degendered” and should be put under the control of users and workers
– Socialisation of care work : Less time spent on formal work to allow for care work and community organizing. (Instead of using disposable items we should have the time to do things on an individual, familial and community level. We need to share the necessary “social” and care work. This may allow people to avoid migrating for low-paid work.)
– Equal payment and revaluation of care work
– Stop gender-based violence and build up structures and resources for those affected by it
2 Climate Justice: Transfer of resources and technical knowledge from people responsible for climate change towards people suffering the most from climate change: women, people of colour and indigenous people
– In general, when we take measures against climate crisis, we should consider the effects they might have on women and indigenous people (especially in the Global South) to mitigate and avoid them.
Workshop 7: Internationalism and South-North relations
1 Suspension of public debts accompanied by the establishment of a popular, democratic and collective audit of the debts, in order to determine what is legitimate or not to repay.
2 Recognition of the debt linked to women’s work, as well as its symbolic and material revaluation.
3 Recognition of the ecological debt of the industrialized countries of the North for real climate justice.
4 An end to the Dublin agreements and the opening of borders to anyone who feels threatened in their country of residence.
5 The fight against imperialism must be fought everywhere. In the North, through active campaigns against tax evasion by multinationals, and tax policies that encourage predatory capital accumulation at the expense of human and environmental rights. In the South, through campaigns against the activities of these companies, and for the democratic reappropriation of resources by local populations.
Workshop 8: Corona and racism
– In a vision of an (eco-)social transformation of our society it is fundamentally important to also consider aspects of the structural racism we see today and of how it has historically to how it developed. If you want to deconstruct the capitalist system, you must look at the way it has globally been built on the base of slavery and colonialisation. Therefore, we argue that a climate justice movement not considering how slavery and colonialism formed this system will not be able to give us the social transformation we so desperately need.
– In this sense it is the task of all ecosocialists to also build solidarity with anti-racist movements, and also support demands such as defund the police or universal access to health care. We must break with the current system that is assigning different and highly precarious work to POC, doesn’t give them access to adequate housing, and offers nothing but state violence and police repression when they stand up and fight.
– Ecosocialists must accept the detours of supporting struggles that do not always have an obvious and direct connection to the ecology. At the same time, we can all be inspired by the struggles of the indigenous people against the Dakota-Pipeline or the massive revolts happening now in the USA.
Ecosocialist Conference for Climate Justice