Review: Rob Wallace – Dead Epidemiologists: On the origins of Covid-19

A new book by Rob Wallace, Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19, argues just that. According to Wallace, industrial agriculture pushes “capitalized wild foods deeper into the last of the primary landscape, dredging out a wider variety of potentially protopandemic pathogens.” And that’s only half the story. The other half traces the threat of avian and swine flus posed by factory farms and their peculiarly unethical forms of monoculture. Wallace focuses on how those monocultures remove immune firebreaks.

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Whose Green recovery: Why poorer countries must not be left behind by richer countries’ recovery plans

A new report from UK development charity Christian Aid warns that post-Covid stimulus packages are in danger of widening global inequality and pushing poorer countries to turn to fossil fuels which would threaten the success of the UK’s COP26 climate summit.

The report, Whose Green Recovery, analyses the various economic stimulus plans around the world and reveals that:

  • There is a dangerous lack of policies that will help developing countries, potentially wiping out climate gains in the Global North
  • More than half a trillion dollars going to carbon-intensive industries
  • Failure to add bailout conditions which would accelerate the zero carbon transition

The 33 page report outlines what a truly global green recovery would look like, featuring debt cancellation, fossil fuel subsidy removal and greater investment in overseas renewables rather than fossil fuels.

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Some issues in agrarian and ecological economics, in memory of Georgescu-Roegen

Juan Marinez-alier, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Ecological Economics 22 (1997) 225–238

Ecological critics of economics have argued for over one hundred years that economists should study the flow of energy and materials in the economy. The services nature offers to the human economy cannot be adequately valued in the accounting system of neoclassical environmental and resource economics. Today’s ecological economics does not only critizice; it also tries to provide physical indicators in order to judge whether the economy is ecologically sustainable. Beyond its decisive role in strengthening such ecological economics, Georgescu-Roegen’s work currently still holds sway in two additional fields: consumption theory (as analysed by Gowdy, 1993); and agrarian economics. Are there relations between such fields of study and ecological economics? In this article, I shall first focus on the agrarian question, and then on intra-and inter-generational ecological distribution. © 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.

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Ecosocialism and/or Degrowth?

An excellent article showing a way forward, recognizing that it is a complex process with many capitalist obstacles.

Should the ecological left aim to reduce all consumption, or to radically transform the prevalent type of consumption?

Posted on October 8, 2020

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EU’s farm animals ‘produce more emissions than cars and vans combined’ | Environment | The Guardian

Cows, pigs and other farm livestock in Europe are producing more greenhouse gases every year than all of the bloc’s cars and vans put together, when the impact of their feed is taken into account, according to a new analysis by Greenpeace.

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NYT: Climate Disruption Is Now Locked In (and irreversible?)

This New York Times article this morning announces that climate disaster is inevitable and irreversible!

America is now under siege by climate change in ways that scientists have warned about for years. But there is a second part to their admonition: Decades of growing crisis are already locked into the global ecosystem and cannot be reversed.

I’m trying to find a link that is openly available. The link below may be password protected.

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They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?

A long read but very important overview of a complex environmental process brought on by growth of a certain kind.

This is a story about frustration, about watching the West burn when you fully understand why it’s burning — and understand why it did not need to be this bad.

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Political Openings: Class Struggle During and After the Pandemic – The Bullet

A long but important overview from Sam Ginden. How can degrowth fit in this new conjuncture?

As the responses from parties and states to the rising discontent proved wanting, the crisis of legitimacy grew into a political crisis. Alongside popular anger with policies like free trade and austerity has come a loss of confidence and faith in state institutions ranging from social agencies to the judiciary and the police, along with disenchantment and alienation with mainstream political parties. It is on the terrain of social delegitimation and such political instability that capitalism’s vulnerability lies.

Strategic Dilemmas, Political Openings

The pandemic, it is now commonly noted, further highlighted capitalism’s social irrationalities. This was especially so in the US with its stunted (though very expensive) health system and in Trump’s crass response to the relative weight of commercial versus health concerns.

To this opening for building a radical opposition was added the environmental connection. Though largely pushed to the side during the pandemic, Covid-19 served as the canary-in-the-mine for capitalism’s general unpreparedness for not only future health pandemics but also the infinitely greater environmental crisis already enveloping us. Unlike health pandemics, the environmental crisis can’t be resolved through lockdowns, social distancing, and vaccines. It demands a radical restructuring of how society is organized, what we value, and how we relate to each other – issues that dwarf the already traumatic experiences with Covid-19.

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Samir Amin: ‘He was a militant till his last breath’

Samir Amin’s works are not the only things he left behind… His legacy was a guide to those who want to change the world.

‘Building a strong international’

Samir Amin, shortly before his death, prepared a document with Firoze Manji that calls for a transnational alliance of workers and oppressed peoples. Manji explains the process of forming the call: “Samir had a long preoccupation with the need for building a strong international. He had previously published calls for the formation of the fifth International. He and I had long discussions about the value of calling for a fifth International. I argued that in this period with the weakness of the left as it is internationally, what is required is not a vanguardist approach, but rather to develop an alliance of organisations of working people, farmers, peasants, women and the oppressed. We agreed that It is important to recognise that people think and they can theorise and contribute to our understanding of the way in which capital exploited and oppressed so as to serve its own interests. Therefore our task as militants should be to encourage and provide a framework in which such discussions by organised peasants, organised workers, organised farmers, organised oppressed groups can take place in an environment that would give articulation to an emancipatory agenda and a programme for confronting capital. Such an approach is not a top down, but rather one that enables us to learn from discussions and debates in a broad alliance, rather than, at this stage at least, the formation of a self-appointed political party or international based on a failure to even make an assessment of the lessons of the failures of the last four internationals. To do otherwise is to end up talking to ourselves, and we fail to connect with, lean from and engage with existing movements.

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Media Briefing on Janta Parliament: 13th Aug – August 16-21, 2020 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

A Peoples’ Parliament to fill a vacuum in Indian public and political discourse?


Media Briefing on Janta Parliament – August 16-21 2020 10:00 – 18:00

13 August 2020 | 2:30pm onwards

Dear all,

The Budget Session of Parliament was curtailed due to the sudden imposition of the lockdown and since then the Parliament has not been in session. In these unprecedented times, countries across the world have adapted to conducting virtual and online sessions with the understanding that the Parliament cannot stop representing the people and keeping a check on the executive. 

In India, with Parliament Committees not being functional for most of the duration of the ill prepared lockdown period, there have been several far-reaching and controversial policy decisions taken by the government that have escaped any kind of legislative scrutiny or representative accountability, which can only be ensured by Parliament. 

As per media reports, the Monsoon Session of Parliaments, ordinarily scheduled to begin in the last week of July is not likely to be convened soon. In the absence of parliamentary oversight, concerned citizens, civil society organizations and people’s campaigns have decided to come together to convene a Janta Parliament to discuss urgent policy related concerns that have emerged from the global COVID -19 pandemic, affecting the socio-economic and political lives of all citizens of the country, but especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. 

The Janta Parliament aims to fill this vacuum in public and political discourse, by convening a group of experts, practitioners, students as well as voices from the ground from diverse backgrounds and experiences, to set a policy agenda for our political representatives when they convene for the Monsoon Session of Parliament. 

The Janta Parliament has been organized as a virtual gathering over a period of 6 days between 16 August 2020 – 21 August 2020 and will cover 10 thematic sessions on Health, Food Security and Nutrition, Education, Environment, Agriculture, Economy, Industry Labour and Employment, Technology and Surveillance, Impact on Vulnerable Communities, and Civil Liberties, Laws and Governance.

( Detailed concept note and schedule here)

We invite you to be part of this 6 day programme and request your help in presenting the concerns, experiences, suggestions and recommendations that are revealed as a part of this  participatory process.

To introduce this event we have organized a virtual press briefing on 13 August 2020, from 2:30pm onwards during which some of the coordinators for the Janta Parliament and experts speaking at the Janta Parliament will discuss the rationale behind the Janta Parliament, overall expectations, the follow-ups from it and thematically highlight some of the pressing COVID-19 centric issues that will be discussed over the period of six days. 

The speakers who will be present at the press briefing include Kavita Srivastav (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), Nikhil Dey (Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan), Maansi Verma (Maadhyam), Abhay Shukla (Jan Swasthya Abhiyan), Ashish Kothari (Kalpavriksh / Vikalp Sangam), Vijoo Krishnan (All India Kisan Sabha) and Jayati Ghosh.

Date: 13 August 2020

Time: 2:30 onwards

For further details (such as Zoom link to join this press conference) write to us at jansarokar2019

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