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Ecological crisis and the role of workers

In the comment above, Mazin remarks that he discussed with a friend the strategic importance of the ecological struggle in the overthrow of capitalism and mentons that his friend was wondering what is its similarity "to the strategic importance of, say, industrial production workers or port/dock workers."

I'd like to try to answer that as a retired autoworker who is active in a caucus raising the destructive role of fossil fuel extraction and usage. You can say that a great deal of the industrial and military legacy of the 20th century has brought us to today's ecological crisis.

So we demand the conversion of industrial production to 21st century needs! We say let's retool for mass transit and production for wind, thermal and water power. In beginning the educational work around this, we say that if corporations won't do this, then workers and communities can.

As industrial workers, we suffer from deteriorating conditions within the plants (speed up, back-breaking work schedules, health and safety problems) as well as declining wages and benefits. If we were planning for what society really needs, and taking into account the social costs of production, we'd reorganize and retool differently. That is, our self-organization would raise questions we could take up (what we should plan to produce, how we can produce it, the length of our work day, how to organize child care, etc.)

In fact, I don't see how we can overcome the ecological crisis as long as workers keep our noses to the grindstone and continue to go along with destroying the environment.


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