For a leftist critique of the shift to Green Economy

During the recent Greek election, the centrist/blairite Socialists got elected running on a platform of transforming the Greek economy towards the direction of Green Development. Looking beyond the electoral campaign buzzwords, the idea of starting to seriously discuss pursuing a Green shift is definitely an important political development. For us in the radical Left, however, this shift is not as apparently progressive as it sounds, especially when viewed in the context of a global economic crisis that has caused serious regressions in labor rights.

In this vein, Greg Macdougall, sat down with Ben Powless, a young Mohawk activist and organizer of the upcoming Power Shift Canada conference to discuss issues of Green Economy and social and economic justice.

The interview is available on in two parts:

  1. Grassroots must lead transition to green economy
  2. Why youth and First Nations are key to green economy future

And here’s the abstract:

The Power Shift Canada 2009 conference will take place in Ottawa from October 23-26. The focus is on climate change, but also on a ‘just transition’ to green jobs. Between 1000-1500 mainly young activists will gather to figure out how to present the case for a shift to a green economy, and to develop strategy for local organizing to make that happen.

Ben Powless is a Mohawk youth and one of the key organizers of the conference. He’s involved with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, and the Indigenous Environmental Network, among other pursuits. I had the opportunity to meet with him and hear firsthand the importance of green jobs and how we can get there in an equitable, just manner.

(photo by Kathy Doucette, some rights reserved)

Posted via email from black cat ★ red cat

For a leftist critique of the shift to Green Economy

5 thoughts on “For a leftist critique of the shift to Green Economy

  1. It’s not all about jobs.
    What good is it to have jobs, and live in a desert land, totally dependent on others for energy, with produce made in some labs (e.g. Monsanto) etc.
    The old “development” terms were all about “growth” (i.e. only economic !!). Then came the term “sustainable development” (then = after the Rio Earth Summit, 1992) which was too low-key because nobody was prepared to sacrifice economic growth for a greener day. Up until now and despite the emergency calls from IPCC.
    However, today’s “green development” should be a new concept, totally aligned with December’s Copenhagen summit (it’s not as if we have any alternatives left …).
    It’s a step beyond just keeping some jobs in place. That’s what ND tried to do, failing miserably, in all aspects (too long a discussion to start here).
    Let’s hope GAP can take us to the next level, because we don’t have many shots left. At least, there is (for the first time!!) an Environmental Ministry. That’s a good start.


  2. Another note (somewhat irrelevant?):
    I honestly don’t understand the denial of smaller parties (e.g. eco-greens) to co-operate in some aspects. He offered them participation in the Env. Ministry and they turned it down.

    And this includes us (SYRIZA). I’m not saying that we should provide anybody with an alibi, to enforce their blairist-type policies.
    But it’s high time we put our words where our mouth is.


    1. Ksi says:

      The PASOK offer to the Eco-Party to participate in the Ministry of Environment was a prank made by a Greek journalist Thanasis Lalas from the radio station Flash. After the journalist made the prank phonecall, the Eco-Party went around in the media talking about it and that was what actually created the whole fuzz.


      1. As a matter of fact I was referring to the offer made to that lady who lives in Austria (I forget her name). She ranked 2nd in their Euro-elections ballot, in June.


  3. You are right that the point is not just about jobs. The shift to a green economy is a very important one.

    (However, it doesn’t solve the problem. Capitalism can become greener, but I don’t think that in the long run anything less that a democratic economy –call it Socialism 2.0– can save humanity from the barbarity that climate change is brewing. But that’s another long discussion.)

    The point here, as fas as I understand it, is that in this new green capitalism, unless we can come up with leftist alternatives and leave economic “liberalism” do its magic, labor could end up in a very bad state.

    Moreover, for the green shift to be effective, it must address the issues of labor. One thing is how to convince the electorate that the green economy is not a luxury and that it is not merely a new realignment of capital against labor. The other thing is a basic one: labor will build the new economy, and so it should have its fair share of it.


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