February 15, 2013 by Posted by Peter Rugh
350.org, the Sierra Club, and the Hip Hop Caucus have called a Forward on Climate Rally ”to tell Barack Obama it’s time to lead in the fight against climate change, beginning with the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.” The demonstration will take place in Washington DC, at noon on Sunday, February 17.
A number of socialist organizations have formed the Ecosocialist Contingent to march together at the demonstration, making the case for a united and independent grassroots movement that does not look toward the Democratic Party for solutions or help. For more information visit: www.ecologicalsocialists.com.
The organizations planning to take part in the Contingent have drafted the statement below for public release.
System Change, Not Climate Change!
A statement from the Ecosocialist Contingent for the Forward on Climate, February 17th, 2013
Tens of thousands of activists, including students, indigenous leaders, religious groups, and community organizations will assemble in DC on February 17 for one of the largest climate and environmental justice demonstrations ever. The climate extremes of 2012 have shifted public opinion in favor of change, despite Obama’s electoral silence. The rise of Idle No More has further energized the movement and internationalized perspectives. February 17th should mark the beginning of a more united, grassroots climate movement with no illusions in the free market or the Democratic Party. We ecosocialists are honored to stand with so many and say no to the Keystone XL! No to extreme energy!
Ecosocialists believe capitalism is killing the planet. The drive to increase profits assumes endless growth on a finite planet. Capitalism depends on cheap oil and gas, and shuns energy conservation and a swift switch to renewables as unprofitable.
The US war machine has devastated the Middle East in the service of ExxonMobil. Fossil Fuel corporations continue to scour the planet for ever-more oil, gas, coal and profit. This must change. We must bring human society back into balance with nature. Politicians such as President Obama are beholden to corporate interests and refuse to do what’s necessary to avert ecological catastrophe. Only the self-organization of the 99% can turn society around.
Mobilizations like those of the First Nations people, farmers, and towns who are blocking pipeline construction through their lands offer a way out of the crisis. Progressives, radicals, the labor movement, and First Nations must unite. We demand President Obama reject the Keystone XL permit. We demand a massive public works campaign, green jobs and cuts to defense spending. We support broad action campaigns for free and publicly-owned mass transit, public ownership of renewable energy, as well as an end to racism, sexism, homophobia, and oppression.
The capitalist system is in fundamental conflict with the climate system. Capitalist exploitation of nature is the flip side to the exploitation of human labor. Ultimately therefore, to solve the ecological and social crisis, we need a revolutionary movement that creates a new society free of exploitation, oppression, and the profit motive. A society which measures the quality of life not through the competitive acquisition of things, but by our relationship to each other and nature, that acts to protect and restore our planet for future generations.
- No to the Keystone XL Pipeline, fracking, mountaintop removal, nuclear power and extreme energy
- Respect indigenous rights
- Tax the polluters! Build a renewable infrastructure with union labor
- Another World is Possible! For a society based on human need, not profit.
Endorsing organizations and individuals:
Editorial board, New Politics
Chicago Socialist Party
West Queens Green Party, NYC
Green Party Manhattan Local
Bronx Green Party
Bronx County Green Party
International Socialists (Canada)
Mike Davis, Professor, Creative Writing, UC Riverside; author of Planet of Slums, In Praise of Barbarians, Late Victorian Holocausts
Ian Angus, Editor, ClimateandCapitalism.com
Sherry Wolf, Author, Sexuality & Socialism
Phil Gasper, Associate Editor, International Socialist Review
Bhaskar Sunkara, editor & publisher of Jacobin magazine, senior editor In These Times.
Victor Wallace, Managing Editor, Socialism & Democracy
Chris Williams, Professor, Pace University; author, educator, activist
Gregg Shotwell, author of Autoworkers Under the Gun
Joanne Landy, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy; editorial board member, New Politics
Alan Wald, editorial board, Against the Current
Subhankar Banarjee, photographer, writer, and activist
John Stachel, *Director, Center for Einstein Studies, Boston University
David Schwartzman, Professor Emeritus, Biogeochemistry, Howard University;http://www.solarUtopia.org and http://www.redandgreen.org
Lois Wilcken, La Troupe Makandal, Inc
Ernest Boyd, Asheville, North Carolina
Rory Short, Quaker/Yogi/Buddhist/Environmentalist
Lance Newman, Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
Professor of English and Environmental Studies. Westminster College
Sue Udry, *Executive Director, Defending Dissent Foundation
David Barsamian, Director, Alternative Radio
Mark A. Lause, Professor of History, University of Cincinnati
Ann Montague, Co-Chair, Lavender Caucus,SEIU 503 (Oregon)
Greg Albo, Professor of Political Economy, York University
Dana Bisignani, Women’s Studies Instructor, Poet, Graduate Student, Purdue University
Michael Friedman, Biologist, member Professional Staff Congress (CUNY), AFT local 2334
Michael Rubin, State Coordinating Committee, Green Party of California
Howie Hawkins, Teamsters local 317, 2010 Green party candidate for NY Governor
Sandy Boyer, Radio Free Eireann