10 May 2008

In praise of James Caspell

'Israel has made no positive financial contribution to education in the occupied territories. Instead the Israeli state has forcibly closed Palestinian universities, shot and killed Palestinian students and lecturers, bombed a Palestinian school for the blind and consistently harasses students on their way through check points to school. A boycott of collaboration with Israeli institutions remains a proportionate yet powerful act in drawing attention to the fact that those involved in academia around the world will no longer tolerate the atrocities that are being committed by the Israeli state at the expense of the Palestinian people.'

Another ecosocialist going places is James Caspell. He is a Green Party member, Green Left supporter and a shop steward for Unison in Lambeth. I met him first at an LSE debate between yours truly and the Hayek Society on whether capitalism could save the planet. The passage above is from a statement in support of the Israel boycott in an article written with Ziyaad Lunat.

James was one of the key figures who shifted the Green Party to a pro-boycott position. He has done lots of other good stuff and the LSE Greens are one of the strongest political groups at the college, the great Aled Fisher is of course General Secretary of the LSE Students Union.

I am encourage to bump into people like James, ecosocialists need to organise at a grassroots level...he helped put together a meeting last week which I spoke at in support of tenents in Brixton fighting marketisation of council housing.

He thinks it would be a good idea to organise an ecosocialist shop stewards network, there are a fair few shop stewards in the Green Party and I guess more who are ecosocialist outside of the party...we would need a trade union Freedom Bill to legalise green strikes though!

Any way take a look at his excellent blog

Also Lambeth Unison blogspot here

He also has a great new blog La Lutte Continue....

For Greens, the two issues are simply two sides of the same coin - that the world is made environmentally unsustainable and socially unequal through the global system of capitalist exploitation.

Aside from the moral, humanitarian arguments for economic equality, there are environmental ones as well. How can we expect poor and vulnerable people to use public transport instead of cars, when they are paying exorbitant fares which partly go to line the pockets of city fat cats and shareholders?

Capitalism thrives on inequality - it is this inequality that allows those who make the most profit to do the least work by exploiting the dire material need of the majority in the global economic system and forcing them into undesirable work that so exploits their local environment and the eco-system as a whole.

The Green Party as a whole recognises this as an empirical fact, whilst many within it also adopt a theoretical, eco-socialist critique of global capitalism. As such, many Greens see themselves as post- or anti-capitalist, particularly within the Green Left platform.

Therefore many socialists can and do find a natural home in the Green Party, where the combination of direct, member-led democratic control can be harnessed in campaigning for social and ecological revolution - and therefore counter-act the causes and effects of climate change.
is from his debate with the Socialist Party on climate change last year....I guess he is too modest to stick it on his own blog.

Nice touch to include this quote from arguable the first ecosocialist:

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it."
Karl Marx (1845), Theses on Feuerbach (Thesis XI)

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