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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter

December 5, 2015

This week: Ecosocialism, environment, and urban gardening

This issue of Other Voices covers a wide range of issues, from the climate crisis and the ecosocialist response, to terrorism and the struggle against religious fundamentalism, as well as items on urban gardening, the destruction of olive trees, and how the police are able to use Google's timeline feature to track you every move, now and years into the past. Another article challenges the role of big NGOs in legitimizing the status quo and blocking working-class and grassroots self-organizing

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Topic of the Week: Ecosocialism

Ecosocialism is a movement based on the idea that an ecological society is possible only on the basis of socialism, and that socialism is only possible if it is ecological.
Connexions features books, articles, websites, and organizations on ecosocialism.
Explore them here

Ian Angus

This Week on Connexions.org

COP21, the climate crisis, and ecosocialism: An interview with Ian Angus

Ian Angus describes ecosocialism as a movement which includes a range of opinion, but fundamentally, is composed of people who agree that there’s no ecological revolution that isn’t socialist, and there’s no socialist revolution that isn’t ecological. For Marxists, he says, ecosocialism involves the recognition that the environmental/ ecological question is the most important problem we face in the 21st century: If we don’t recognize its centrality, our politics will be irrelevant. According to Angus, “Unfortunately, a lot of folks on the left seem to think that the main thing we need to do is separate ourselves from other activists by focusing on where we disagree. Some people on the left have gotten so used to being isolated that they are uncomfortable when the walls start to break down. They feel safer in isolation.” Read More

Keywords: Climate Justice - Ecosocialism


The Useful Altruists: How NGOs serve the status quo

NGOs are far from revolutionary organizations, but many of us would think that their work still seems more helpful than not. Political differences with them aside, it seems dogmatic to denounce free health care and anti-poverty programs. Short of more radical measures, NGOs seem to serve an important interim function. This articles argues that in fact, many large NGOs are destructive, both in their current work and in their preclusion of an alternative future beyond the capitalist present. They undermine, divert, and replace autonomous organizing and erase working class struggle and organizing. Read More

Keywords: Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)

Noam Chomsky

Horror Beyond Description: Noam Chomsky on the Latest Phase of the War on Terror

Does the "war on terror" make sense? Is it an effective policy? And how different is the current phase of the "war on terror" from the two previous phases that occurred under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush's administrations, respectively? Moreover, who really benefits from the "war on terror"? And what's the link between the US military-industrial complex and war making? Read More

Keywords: State Terrorism - Terrorism

Free speech censored

Free Speech in an Age of Identity Politics

Kenan Malik writes: “Few people are willing to say ‘I’m against free speech’ or ‘I think censorship is a good’. What most opponents of free speech say, instead, is ‘I’m for free speech. But…’ You can say what you like, they insist. Just don’t say anything that is offensive. Or hateful. Or might make people feel uncomfortable. Or provoke them. Or is irresponsible. So over the past few years we have seen the growth of regulations and prohibitions against offensive speech. The spread of trigger warnings in universities. The predicament runs far deeper, however, than formal regulations or prohibitions. The real problem is that we have internalized those prohibitions. We have come to accept censorship not just because of external proscriptions, but also because of internal ones, because of a moral horror at the thought of offending others.” Read More

Keywords: Free Speech - Identity Politics

Timelines and placelines

How Law Enforcement Can Use Google Timeline To Track Your Every Move

The recent expansion of Google's Timeline feature can provide investigators unprecedented access to users' location history data, allowing them in many cases to track a person's every move over the course of years. The expansion of Google's Timeline feature, launched in July 2015, allows investigators to request detailed information about where someone has been -- down to the longitude and latitude -- over the course of years. Read More

Keywords: Electronic Surveillance - Privacy

Palestinian woman defending olive tree

Destruction of Palestinian olive trees is a monstrous crime

The uprooting and cutting down of over a million olive and fruit trees in occupied Palestine since 1967 is an attack on a symbol of life, and on Palestinian culture and survival. A grave crime under international humanitarian law, the arboricide is also contrary to Jewish religious teachings. Read More

Keywords: Olive Trees - Ethnic Cleansing

Capitalism vs. climate

Website of the Week: Climate and Capitalism

Climate and Capitalism is an online journal focusing on capitalism, climate change, and the ecosocialist alternative. Its goals are to provide news and analysis to inform, educate and develop the green left; contribute to building an international movement against capitalist destruction of the environment and for ecosocialism; and encourage and facilitate collaboration and exchanges of views among socialists and ecology activists. Visit Climate and Capitalism here.

Keywords: Ecosocialism - Marxism and Ecology

Dignity of Chartism

People’s History

The Dignity of Chartism

When working-class people enter the stage of history, their part is unrehearsed. They do not emerge with fully formed theories of the world, and a clear perception of what history demands of them. Their ideas, their language and the political demands that they make show the scars and deformities with which the years of oppression have burdened them. Their desire to make change happen is what makes them dangerous to the ruling class. Thus the Chartists were considered by governments between 1830 and 1848 as a revolutionary threat. It was a threat that needed to be met with soldiers and an expanded police force, as thousands of workers went on strike, rallied, demonstrated and rioted in support of extending the vote to working-class households, so that the horrors of poverty pay and child labour in mine and mill might be remedied.
Read More

Keywords: Chartism - Democratic Movements

From the archives

From the Archives

Organizing Immigrant Labour

Ron Verzuh writes about barriers to unionizing the smelter workers of Trail, British Columbia, during the Second World War. Read More

Keywords: Union Organizing - Workers' History

Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here

Book of the Week

Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism

Karima Bennoune interviewed 300 people from 30 countries to report on a largely invisible group of people: Muslim opponents of fundamentalism.They remain largely invisible, lost amid the heated coverage of Islamist terror attacks on one side and abuses perpetrated against suspected terrorists on the other. A veteran of twenty years of human rights research and activism, Karima Bennoune draws on extensive fieldwork and interviews to illuminate the inspiring stories of those who represent one of the best hopes for ending fundamentalist oppression worldwide. Readmore

Keywords: Islamic Fundamentalism - Resistance

Tomatoes by Ulli Diemer

Film of the Week

Plant This Movie

A documentary which explores the growing worldwide movement to use green spaces and vacant land to grow vegetables instead of grass. The film explores urban gardening in cities including Havana, Shanghai, Calcutta, Addis Ababa, Lima, New York, New Orleans, and London. See

Keywords: Land Use - Urban Agriculture

From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp


From Dictatorship to Democracy

A short, serious introduction to nonviolent struggle, its applications, and strategic thinking. Gene Sharp presents nonviolent struggle as a realistic alternative to war and other violence in acute conflicts. The book also contains a glossary of important terms and recommendations for further reading. Read more

Keywords: Democratic Movements - Strategies for Social Change

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Connexions Calendar

November 30 - December 11, 2015
United Nations Climate Change Summit: UNFCCC COP 21
. Paris.

December 10, 2015
Human Rights Day

December 11, 2015
International Mountain Day.

December 18, 2015
International Migrants Day.

December 20, 2015
International Human Solidarity Day.

The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We'll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password. Read more →

Seeds of Fire

December 5, 1837

Outbreak of rebellion in Upper Canada. Some 500 to 1000 rebels, some armed with rifles, others with staves and pitchforks, gather at Montgomery’s Tavern north of Toronto and prepare to march into the city. They are held back by armed militia, and dispersed by December 8.

December 5, 1955
Start of the Montgomery Bus boycott, sparked when Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. The boycott ends in victory on December 20, 1956. It attracts national attention and helps to catalyze the national civil rights movement in the U.S.

December 6, 1848
Harriet Tubman, an African-American slave, escapes her owners in Maryland and goes to Philadelphia. After escaping, she returns to Maryland to rescue her family. She makes repeated trips to help other slaves escape to the northern U.S. and then to Canada, using the network of activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

When the Civil War breaks out, Tubman works for the Union Army, first as a nurse and cook, and then as an armed scout and spy. She becomes the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, the Combahee River Raid, which frees more than 700 slaves. After the Civil War she is active in the women’s suffrage movement.

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This issue was edited by Ulli Diemer.

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