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      We Are Demanding Big Changes!
      How Capitalism is Destroying the Earth with Poverty & Environmental Degradation

      By Thomas Davies

      Sometimes the truth is crazier than fiction. Canadian Aerospace and rail giant Bombardier is in the process of laying off 7,500 workers. They have received 3.7 billion dollars in different government assistance to survive. They lost $981 million last year. So, what did their executives decide to do? They gave themselves a 50% raise - sharing $32.6 million between 6 of them!

      As public protests continued in front of the company’s offices, Bombardier executives tried to appease the massive public outcry by “delaying” their compensation packages. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for his part, supported the government bailout and the executive’s decision to raise their own earnings, “We respect the free market and the choices that companies will make.”

      Meanwhile a recent OXFAM report found the two richest people in Canada are as wealthy as the poorest 30 per cent, as Canada and all other industrialized countries show a continuing trend of rapidly widening income inequality.

      British Columbians are being forced to pay 40 million to clean up the worst mining spill in Canadian history. Imperial Metal Corporations has escaped with no sanctions and no fines for its responsibility for the Mount Polley mine spill. In August 2014, its 40-metre-high tailings dam collapsed, sending 25-million cubic metres of contaminated sludge and mine waste into lakes and rivers.

      In Alberta, an independent assessment found that the vast majority of oil company plans to deal with the extensive toxic ponds that cover more than 220 square kilometres and contain almost 1.2 trillion litres of contaminated water don’t meet government rules. Toxic materials include bitumen, naphthenic acids, cyanide and heavy metals. Alberta’s auditor general has estimated the environmental liability of the tailings ponds at $20.8 billion.

      Within all this absurdity, Justin Trudeau also received a standing ovation and an award this month from 1200 oil company big-wigs in Texas - for his incomprehensible position that developing fossil fuel resources can go “hand in hand” with fighting climate change. This comes after he approved the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines, and was an instant cheerleader for US President Trump’s announcement that the Keystone XL pipeline project was being brought back from the dead.

      The night Justin Trudeau received his gala award in a tuxedo, 35,000 people were homeless in Canada. 235,000 people experienced homelessness in Canada in 2016.

      South of the Border

      Things are looking just as absurd in the United States. President Trump signed an executive order on March 28 aimed at undoing the bulk of any new environmental protections brought in under Obama. The order will instruct federal regulators to the Clean Power Plan rules that curb U.S. carbon emissions, as well as halt other environmental regulations. He has also appointed Scott Pruitt as the Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator. Mr Pruitt is notorious for climate science denial – and he has sued the agency he now heads several times!

      Trump’s justification for getting rid of all the environmental regulations is that protecting the environment puts people out of work. He focused especially on the coal industry and had coal executives and workers play major roles in his press conferences. As usual though – it’s a big deception. Firstly, while coal job is important to 50,000 people in the U.S employed by them, they represent an incredible fraction of the jobs and economy of the U.S. As the Washington Post put it, “Arby’s [the fast food restaurant] employs more people.”

      Coal jobs also aren’t just disappearing because of environmental regulations, companies are laying off workers due to automation. Also, the ever-dropping prices of renewable energy sources like solar and wind make coal and all its associated environmental damage an increasingly expensive and unattractive energy source. It doesn’t make sense to try and push workers towards an unsustainable industry that is clearly on its way out.


      A recent article in the leading US business magazine Forbes opened by stating, “Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.” It then went on to site, “Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years,” and “Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost each year. That’s 14,826,322 acres...”

      The United Nations Development Program conservatively estimates that one in three people globally is malnourished and that one in 10 lives in extreme poverty. “At the same time, the world’s richest 1 percent hold nearly half the world’s wealth.”

      So, What Next?

      Something is not right. Actually, a lot of things are not right. We need solutions to a humanitarian and planetary crisis, but capitalist world leaders like Trump and Trudeau keep trying to force the world backwards and tie the economy and our planet to a system which has shown itself to be unsustainable at best. That’s the reason why protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline has been so strong in Canada – because people understand that these kinds of projects represent long term investments to a kind of world we can’t afford to live in.

      People are fighting back, and standing up to threats, intimations and bribery attempts by governments and their corporate friends.

      After a 12 year, national “No to Mining, Yes to Life!” campaign, El Salvador just voted to become the first country in the world to ban metal mining. People overcame the murders of community organizers and a massive lawsuit by CanadianAustralian OceanaGold Corporation to create this historic victory.

      Before this in 2015, the Lax Kw’alaams Nation voted to reject a 1.15 billion dollar offer by Petronas corporation to give their consent to an natural gas plant and pipeline on their territory in Northern BC. The Gixtan Nation have also continued to organize the Madii Lii camp to block the development, even as the Federal and Provincial governments have tried to force the project through without the consent of indigenous nations.

      Creating a New World

      In 2012, Bolivian President Evo Morales, a socialist and the first-ever indigenous head of state, gave a historic speech at the Isla del Sol. In it he said, “Today the societies and peoples of the developed countries are tragically experiencing the capitalist crisis created by its own market. Capitalist governments think that it is more important to save the banks than to save human beings, and it is more important to save the companies than to save people. In the capitalist system the banks have priority economic rights and enjoy first-class citizenship, which is why we can say that the banks are worth more than life. In this unfettered capitalism, individuals and peoples are not brothers and sisters, they are not citizens, they are not human beings; individuals and peoples are debt defaulters, borrowers, tenants and clients; in short, if people do not have money, they are nothing.

      We are living in the kingdom of the colour green. Green like dollars are the monetary policies, green like dollars are the development policies, green like dollars are the housing policies, green like dollars are the human development policies and environmental policies. That is why, faced with the new wave of crisis of the capitalist system, its ideologues have come out in favour of privatizing nature through the socalled green economy or green capitalism.

      However, the recipes of the market, of liberalism, of privatization simply generate poverty and exclusion, hunger and marginalization.”

      The world needs tremendous changes, and the Trumps and Trudeaus and the Bombardiers and Kinder Morgans of the world are trying to convince us to use the same methods to solve the problems as we used to create them. Imagine if the Canadian government spent 3.7 billion on re-training workers in sustainable industries instead of bailing out failing corporations! Now more than ever we need to stand up to defend the planet and the people. On April 29 people around the world will be mobilizing as part of the Peoples Climate Mobilization. Make sure to join us on the streets to make the reasonable and necessary demand, “System Change Not Climate Change!

      Follow Thomas on Twitter: @thomasdavies59

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