3 Mar 2010

Kassel Conference for Ecology & Socialism

German ecosocialists are organising

(acknowledgements to Gareth Price-Thomas)
Saturday 13th to Sunday 14th March 2010

Location: Region Kassel Volkshochschule hall, Wilhelmshöher Allee 21, 34117 Kassel

Organised by the SALZ Education Association in cooperation with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the latter being the think tank of the German socialist party ‘Die Linke’ (‘The Left’). The two main organisers are Dr. Michael Rieger and Peter Schüren.

Talks include ‘The International Situation from an Ecological Perspective’ (Dr. Bruno Kern, co-author of Ecosocialism or Barbarism, available at http://www.ecosocialistnetwork.org/Docs.htm), ‘The Environmental and Climate Crisis as Part of the Global Economic Crisis’ (Dr. Winfried Wolf), ‘Is there an Ecological Planned Economy?’ (Dr. Klaus Engert), ‘History, Significance and Perspectives of the Anti-Nuclear Movement’ (Thies Gleiss), ‘The Belem Ecosocialist Manifesto’ (Dr. Manuel Kellner) and ‘Quality of Work and New Conceptions of Work’ (Dr. Jürgen Klippert).

To book tickets (€25 when paid in advance), or for more details, please send correspondence to salzkreis@yahoo.de.

Prof. Karl Hermann Tjaden, teacher of political economy and economic sociology at the Gesamthochschule Kassel, writes:
“If the word ‘globalisation’ means anything at all, it signifies the now global nature of capitalist destructivity.

Even ruling-class politics acknowledges the issue of climate change. However, it disputes the connection between capitalist production and lifestyle and the ecological catastrophes which threaten us all.

But while intergovernmental conferences are taking place, NATO is making rather more concrete preparations: the expected floods of immigrants from new drought or flood zones are being classified as a danger to European stability, and will in the event be pushed back by military force. As in a pressure-cooker, social contradictions are heating up and intensifying on an international level – quite literally, in an ecological sense – and it becomes increasingly clear that the interests of the ruling class contradict the interests of the human race.

The direct ecological consequences of climate change are engendering massive global socio-political consequences which we can only tackle on a global level. What we need is a new internationalism.

The goal of our conference is to develop concrete demands and strategies out of the cooperation of different left, anticapitalist, socialist and communist tendencies, movements and parties, in order to act internationally against the continuing destruction of our natural resources as well as the capitalist build-up, the corollaries of which include a development of the surveillance state as well as cuts in social welfare. We want to search together for starting points for international democratic collaboration similar to what was laid down in the Belem Ecosocialist Declaration. The bourgeois ideological obsession with technical productivity ignores the need for a change in social relations. What is required is a world-wide programme of demands developed in concordance with the social and ecological movements, the trade unions and the anticapitalist organisations.

The social dimension of the ecological crisis demands international solidarity from below in order to push back capitalist globalisation from above. This solidarity must be based on a new rapport between economy and ecology, and can only be achieved with the end of the irresponsible, profit-driven capitalist dominance over nature and humanity. For this we shall need new understandings of work and productivity which respect the relationship between work and life and the effects of employment on the health and wellbeing of humankind.

We are headed for ecological crisis, but what can be done politically to steer us away from this and towards a dignified human existence in accordance with nature? How can this challenge, to develop new forms of international solidaristic cooperation, be put into political practice?”

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