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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

Earth Day: General Strike Now!

The Industrial Workers of the World is a union that embraces Green Unionism. We believe that the struggle in the workplace not only is pivotal to the freedom of regular working people from exploitation and toil, but only through that same ground up freedom is it possible to turn the tide on climate change. John McConnell first envision Earth Day as a celebration of peace and the recognition of earth as a home to all people and creatures. The first celebration of it on April 22nd 1970 would have not happened were it not for organised labour. The United Auto Workers (UAW) spent a great deal of money and ensure that first formal event went ahead.

But as environmentalists and trade unionist should each recognise, the situation since the 1970s has not gotten better for either labour or the environment. Global climate change, species extinction, ocean acidification, pandemics; this all lay at the hand of Capital. It also should not come as a surprise that at the same time labour rights have experience rapid degeneration (as a result of the post 1970s rise of "neoliberalism") the environment too now finds itself in its worst state. All around the globe governments and corporations will pay lip service today to what lay ahead with global climate change. But it is not the state, corporation or the rich oligarchs that sit atop of global capitalism that will feel the burden of extreme weather events. It was and is the working poor all over the world. Only now that climate change is starting to be felt in the heart of empire that is the United States or fortress Europe that "something must be done".

Unfortunately for us all, it would seem John McConnell ideals of peaceful resistance is and never was tenable. All throughout the world the capital class is at war with the working class. It is just that we never recognise the the bosses actions as violence. And in that same vein they are at war too with nature. COVID-19 itself, much like the so-call "Spanish Flu" of 1918 stem from the same issue. Extractive capitalism. An insatiable appetite for raw materials that ultimately involve the destruction of ecosystem that results in an explosion of zoological diseases.

It is not the workings classes fault that capitalism requires infinite growth to survive. The working class did not decide to clear cut the Amazon for beef exports and to grow soybeans. It is not the working class that decided to do extensive research on the nature of CO2 emissions throughout the twentieth century only to cover it all up. So today when you see celebratory tweets, press releases, smiling faces and cute drawings making arguments about how it is you and your choices that are to blame for this and the coming crisis. Don't buy it!


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