Thoughts for 2016

“After Paris: Unify Fights Against Austerity and Climate Change” by Asbjørn Wahl, The Bullet, January 1, 2016

The Climate Summit in Paris has once again reminded us of how vulnerable we are on planet earth. However, humanity is faced with a number of deep and challenging crises: economic, social, political, over food – and, of course, over climate change, which is threatening the very existence of millions of people. These crises have many of the same root causes, going to the core of our economic system.

Strong vested interests are involved….Seven of the ten biggest and most powerful companies in the world are oil companies. These firms are using all their power to avoid policies that hurt their economic interests. They execute enormous economic and political power. Where politicians are for sale, they buy them. Where governments or regimes challenge their power, they contribute to getting rid of them.

Workers all over the world fight against these interlocked crises – they fight for jobs, decent jobs, for living wages, for social protection, they fight against social degradation, they fight to improve their communities, for their livelihoods. Many of the policies used elsewhere to combat these crises are so-called austerity policies. But these are not, as some will have it, “necessary cuts in over-expanded public services” or “necessary downward adjustment to make workers’ wages competitive.” Austerity is a class-based policy – with the ultimate aim of increasing the return on investment. This represents the main frontline in the class war now coursing over the world….

To bring strategic sectors of our economy into public ownership under democratic control will have to be a decisive part of the struggle ahead. In the fight against climate change, the energy sector stands at the forefront: CO2 emissions are all about energy, and without bringing that sector under democratic control, we will not achieve the deep transformations we need rapidly enough.

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