For a Fighting Ecological Trade-Unionism

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1777 ... March 4, 2019
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For a Fighting Ecological Trade-Unionism

Daniel Tanuro

How can we reconcile social struggle and environmental struggle? This question poses problems for trade unionists. To avoid a climate catastrophe, it would be necessary to reduce economic activity, to suppress useless or harmful production, to give up a substantial part of the means of transport … But what would happen to employment then? How can we avoid a surge of unemployment, a new rise of poverty and precariousness? In today’s relationship of forces, in the face of financialized and globalized capitalism, these challenges seem impossible to meet.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has drawn a radical conclusion: under the guise of fine words in favour of the “just transition,” it has chosen to accompany the... evolution toward an impossible green capitalism. The Vancouver “Resolution on combating climate change through sustainable development and just transition” (2010) is clear: this document advocates a transition that “without endangering industries’ competitiveness or putting excessive pressure on state budgets” (Article 5). We feel that we are dreaming: the demand for the respect of competitiveness is not even accompanied by a reservation concerning the fossil fuel sector, the main cause of climate change! However, without breaking the power of this sector of capital, it is strictly impossible to avoid the climate catastrophe.

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