Author Archive: roman

Divestment, Nukes and Royal Commissions

In a week in which the SA premier has announced a Royal Commission into Uranium Mining and Enrichment, it’s probably appropriate to talk about energy and the anti-nuclear movement. (Incidentally, has anyone else noted how unusual it is for the government to call a Royal Commission? They’re usually called when there’s suspicion of wrong-doing and corruption, requiring the extraordinary powers of a royal Commission to compel people to give evidence. It all depends, of course, on the terms of reference. Perhaps FoE needs to call a people’s Commission?)

If anyone’s inyerested in goping to  the national anti-nukes meeting in melbourne, please let robyn know ASAP.

If you have a moment, you might like to fill out the simple survey for the nuclear free movement (see below)… Read more >> notes re Global Divestment day

Some weeks it’s hard to keep up with how quickly the world is changing.

Yes, part of that is the climate crisis: we live in a world that’s been profoundly and dangerously altered. But the politics of climate change are changing too, and some weeks you can feel a tangible shift in what is possible and what is not.

This is one of those weeks, and Global Divestment Day is a chance to be part of that shift. Together, we’re changing the game and putting fossil fuels on the defensive.

Click here to register for Global Divestment Day which kicks off at the end of this week.

But if you really can’t make it or don’t live near an event, here are 3 important things you can do instead:

1. Divest your bank

Click here to see whether your bank is financing fossil fuels

Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to switch banks

Click here for a letter to send your current bank to explain why you’re leaving

Click here for a letter to send your new fossil free bank to explain why you’re joining them

2. Divest your super

Click here to see where your super fund stands on fossil fuels. Via Super Switch, you can contact your super fund to ask them to stop investing in fossil fuels or search for a fund that is fossil free.

3. Change your profile picture on social media to demand divestment

Call on your bank, super fund, favourite celebrity, local council, faith group, politicians, school, university or other local institution to stop financing climate destruction. Click here to change your profile pic today.

I can’t wait to see what we’ll do together for Global Divestment Day this Friday and Saturday across the country and around the world.

Thank you so much for being part of the movement,

Charlie for the team

PPS: Did you hear that the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund just divested from dozens of fossil fuel companies including 40 coal companies?… Read more >>

Nuclear Lessons Unlearned in Japan

On 11 March it will be four years since a huge earthquake and tsunami caused the meltdown of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. There is still no end in sight for the suffering of the people of Fukushima, but now it seems that the government and the electric power industry are moving inexorably towards the restart of reactors which have been shut down for most of the time since the accident.

“How can this be?”, incredulous observers might wonder. There are a few key factors which make it possible for the government to ignore the wishes of the bulk of the Japanese population for a nuclear phase out.

First, the current government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), came to power not because of its support for nuclear energy, but because of the incompetence of its predecessor. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) enjoyed a brief three years in government, a period which happened to coincide with the nuclear accident. Responding to public opposition to nuclear power, it declared a goal of phasing out nuclear energy by 2039, but due to its many other failings it was decimated in December 2012 elections and has failed to recover since. The LDP has returned to the pre-eminent position it has occupied for most of the last 60 years as Japan’s leading party and, because it has no challengers, it is riding roughshod over the public will.… Read more >>

The Democracy Project

This book by activist, anarchist and author David Graeber (Debt: the first 5,000 years) is not just an insider view of Occupy Wall Street, but also a discussion on the nature of power and democrary.

He was there at the first gathering, where with support from friends from the Global Justice movement, he helped stop the protest being hijacked by the hierarchical WWP, who just wanted a march and list of demands. The OWS focus on a horizontal organisation, building the sort of activities we’d like to see, refusing to play the traditional protest games or issue a list of demands to the existing power structure are all important indicators of a deeper analysis of current power structures and the possibilities for change.

Here’s lots of interesting insider detail about what happened with the OWS movement which was not reported by mainstream media, coupled with an incisive and readable analysis of alternative political action.

The Chapter How change happens includes useful tips on consensus, dealing with police, and creating alternatives, complete with examples from Zuccotti Park and elsewhere.

An interesting analysis, compulsive reading. Highly recommended.

(Penguin, 2014)…

Klein’s Call to Arms

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.16.14 pmNaomi Klein’s latest book This Changes Everything is subtitled Capitalism vs The Climate. She looks at what’s been achieved in climate activism, and the progress of global trade talks, and suggests that any chance of a gradualist approach is gone, squandered over the last few decades:

“Put a little more simply: for more than two decades, we kicked the can down the road. During that time, we also expanded the road from a two-lane carbon-spewing highway to a six-lane superhighway. That feat was accomplished in large part thanks to the radical and aggressive vision that called for the creation of a single global economy based on the rules of free market fundamentalism, the very rules incubated in the right-wing think tanks now at the forefront of climate change denial. There is a certain irony at work: it is the success of their own revolution that makes revolutionary levels of transformation to the market system now our best hope of avoiding climate chaos.”

(p114, the chapter entitled “Coddling conservatives”)

The attempt not to scare the consumers is misguided:

“ As for pitching climate action as a way to protect America’s

high-consumerist “way of life”—that is either dishonest or delusional

because a way of life based on the promise of infinite growth cannot be

protected, least of all exported to every corner of the globe.” (p119)

Klein clearly recognizes that the rise of global capitalism and the growth of trade has

risen with the growth in emissions, and suggests that a radical response must also tackle inequality and reclaim the global commons.

“there is a direct relationship between breaking fossilized free market

rules and making swift progress on climate change. Which is why, if we

are to collectively meet the enormous challenges of this crisis, a

robust social movement will need to demand (and create) political

leadership that is not only committed to making polluters pay for a

climate-ready public sphere, but willing to revive two lost arts:

long-term public planning, and saying no to powerful corporations.”

( p234, in a chapter titled “Public and paid For”)

This is a well argued, well-researched polemic arguing that we need to grasp the opportunity to demand what’s needed.… Read more >>