On Monday (6 Oct 2014) I along with 2000 other people swarmed into Central Hall Westminster in London to hear Naomi Klein talk about her new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. She was introduced by and in conversation with Owen Jones.
The book deals with the central argument that ‘neo-liberal capitalism’ with its dependence on fossil fuels and need for continuous growth is unable to tackle climate change. Free-market fundamentalism has spent the last thirty years removing regulation, rubbishing the public sector, promoting unsustainable growth, destroying collective solidarity and concentrating power and wealth in the hands of the few. Its practices have attacked and undermined the very tools – state action, planning and investment – that are urgently needed to bring climate change under control. Its ideology has made us doubt our capacities for collective action and undermined our values of solidarity and human kindness. It has, she says, “…systematically sabotaged our collective response to climate change.”
She spoke eloquently and passionately and was interrupted by spontaneous enthusiastic clapping and cheering from the audience several times. In many ways it was a call to arms. She gave examples of how grass roots movements might begin to make changes – for example by community groups setting their own grid systems to run renewable energy so that mass movements of ‘the commons’ could challenge the grip of the oligarchs on the fossil fuel industries.
Owen Jones reminded the audience of the ways in which we can organise together to mobilize – starting with the TU march on 18th October ‘Britain Needs a Pay-Rise’ (maybe adding but big business doesn’t).
It was extremely disappointing not to see any of the Labour Party Shadow cabinet there. How come this economic, political and ideological issue is not being addressed by our party, and instead is dismissed as ’’just environmental’ ? Naturally enough Caroline Lucas of the Green party was in the front row.
Jane Orton, Banbury Town Branch