Ecosocialism 2020: From rebellion to revolution
Online conference — October 24-25
Oct 24: Resistance Bookshop, 22-36 Mountain Street, Ultimo; Activist Centre, 3/29 Macquarie Street, Parramatta and Resistance Centre, 1st floor, 472 Hunter Street, Newcastle
Oct 25: Boorloo Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth
Hosted by Green Left, with the support of the Socialist Alliance.
Full agenda below.
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Capitalism is sending humanity and the planet on a collision course towards ecocide.
The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting just how deadly agribusiness, deforestation and the unending pursuit of private profit really is.
It has also shown that governments can move fast when they need to: social safety nets have been put in place — albeit temporary ones — including those we were always told “we could not afford”.
Meanwhile, climate change continues to wreak havoc, with out-of-control fires on the west coast of the United States, and devastating bushfires in the Amazon, India, Africa and, again, in Australia.
The Coalition federal government’s handpicked COVID-19 commission is pushing a dangerous gas-fired COVID-19 economic recovery, at the urging of the fossil fuel lobby and in spite of a global glut. It makes the fight for the necessary transition to sustainable energy and jobs a lot harder — despite overwhelming public opinion in its favour.
Capitalism has broken what existed for millennia: the equilibrium between humans and nature. Now, we face a growing and dangerous metabolic rift between humanity and the ecosystem.
As high school climate campaigner Greta Thunberg said: “Our current system is not ‘broken’ – the system is doing exactly what it’s supposed and designed to be doing. It can no longer be ‘fixed’. We need a new system.”
Ecosocialism 2020 will look at capitalist globalisation, how the Global South has been robbed and the ecological crisis. It will also look at how we can campaign for an alternative ecosocialist future — a return to a collectivist society based on the global Indigenous values of egalitarianism, cooperation and co-existing with nature.
Saturday October 24
Their COVID crisis and our ecosocialist response
11am-1pm (8am-10am WAST)
Is capitalism taking us to a point of extinction? Are Black lives, Indigenous rights, the environment and workers’ movements strong enough to end corporate rule? What would an ecosocialist society look like? How could we win it? Are we in time? Socialists from Brazil, Malaysia and Australia will discuss the latest climate science, the rise of people’s movements under COVID-19, what a solidarity economy would look like and how we can win it.
Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance, Australia — Peter Boyle radicalised around the Vietnam war, and race and class issues after his family migrated from Malaysia. Peter has had a long involvement in the Aboriginal rights’ movement and is active in the Rojava solidarity campaign. He has been instrumental in developing Green Left's ecosocialist manifesto.
Sabrina Fernandes, Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), Brazil — Sabrina is a Brazilian eco-socialist organizer and communicator with a sociology PhD from Carleton University, Canada. She is the person behind Marxist YouTube Channel, Tese Onze, and is coordinating the launch of Jacobin Brasil. She is a member of Brazil’s Socialism and Liberty Party.
Sharan Raj, Malaysian Socialist Party — The Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM), formed in 1998, has joined battles to safeguard housing rights for plantation workers and to stop the privatisation of services. Three PSM activists have been elected to parliaments in the last 10 years as a result of their campaigning around workers’ rights, against the Good and Services Tax, for free education and against deforestation. More recently, after consulting widely with environment and social movement leaders, the PSM launched its Climate Crisis Campaign 2020. Sharan Raj heads up their ecological work.
Making council the voice of the people
1.30-3.30pm (10.30-12.30pm WAST)
The election victories of democratic socialists in the United States show communities have embraced fighters at a local level. Here, socialists have been re-elected to Fremantle in WA, Yarra and Moreland councils in Victoria where they have supported communities fighting tollways and for more public housing, services and green space. This panel will discuss the different approaches being taken by socialist councillors and in the campaigns for NSW councils in 2021.
Sam Ashby — Sam is a senior lecturer in occupational therapy at Newcastle University. She is a Mayfield-based activist and is running on a ticket with Newcastle socialist Steve O’Brien.
Susan Price — Susan, an editor of Green Left, is a long-term unionist who previously worked in the education sector. She is a member of Socialist Alliance running on a Community Need not Corporate Greed ticket in the Parramatta City Council.
Sue Bolton — Sue is a socialist councillor, elected twice to Moreland City Council and contesting a third term. Sue has been the voice of peoples’ struggles for green space, public transport, services and against racism.
Pip Hinman — Pip is an editor of Green Left. She is active in the campaign to ban unconventional gas in NSW. She is running for Socialist Alliance in the Inner West Council on a People Before Profit ticket.
Sunday October 25
Fighting for ecological and social justice in the fossil fuel heartland
12pm-2pm (3pm-5pm AEST)
The fossil fuel corporations hold a vice like grip over Australian politics, especially in WA. Despite the urgent need to pull back from the brink, there is a bipartisan charge to push the planet over the cliff of climate catastrophe. WA is being opened up to fracking and the new offshore gas projects if they proceed would be the most damaging in the country’s history. How do we convince working people in a country ruled by fossil fuel capitalists that there is a better future for all without oil and gas, how do we get there?
Marianne Mackay — Marianne is long-time Noongar activist who has been involved in campaigns against police violence and for Aboriginal sovereignty.
Dirk Kelly — Dirk is a member of Socialist Alliance and antifascist activist and technologist who lived in the US from 2011 until 2019.
Caleb Houseman — Caleb is involved in Extinction Rebellion and the movement to stop runaway climate change and passionate about putting a vision for human liberation at the heart of the environment movement.
Alison Xamon — Alison is a Greens member of the Legislative Council (North Metroploitan Region) in the WA parliament and she has been involved as an activist in movements from protecting forests and nuclear disarmament, to education, health and human rights.
Confronting imperialism and building people power in the Global South
2:30pm-4:30pm (5:30pm-7:30pm AEST)
The majority of humanity lives in what Donald Trump called “Shithole Countries”. Earlier phases of imperialism took the form of colonialism, then neo-colonialism with US military force hegemonic. Now it combines neo-colonialism with a battle for resources and the Global South will bear the brunt of ecological destruction.The struggle against imperialism has climate justice at its heart. Yet it is in the grip of this battle for survival that experiments in people’s power are most advanced providing an example to the world.
Gauri Gandbhir — Gauri writes for Green Left with focus on the struggle against the far-right Modi government in India.
Pedro Alvarez — Originally from Chile, Pedro is a musician and educator with an interest in aesthetics and politics, social change, and mental health. He has been active writing about the recent social processes in Latin America.
Sam Wainwright — Sam is a councillor at the City of Fremantle and long-time refugee rights activist. More recently he has been involved in the campaign in solidarity with Rojava and the Kurdish people.
Khaild Hassan — Khalid is a Sudanese socialist activist now living in WA. Having recently returned from a visit to Sudan he is an eye-witness to the the massive people-power movement that overthrew the al-Bashir dictatorship.
Film screening: People power vs Adani — The Fight of Our Times
Songs of struggle