The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
As progressive organizing surges within and around the Democratic Party, activists looking toward “the left wing of the possible” increasingly turn their gaze across the Atlantic to The Remarkable Rise of Jeremy Corbyn. In the current issue of New Labor Forum, Hilary Wainwright suggests that it is Corbyn’s bold challenge to neo-liberal policies that has won him the support of the youth and a rank-and-file battered by rising student debt, skyrocketing housing costs, increasing precarity, and declining public services.
Reclaiming the value and efficacy of public ownership and economic democracy is among the most audacious aspects of the new Labour Party “Manifesto.” Addressing the Labour Party annual conference in Liverpool in early September, Shadow Chancellor John McDonald announced “We are extending economic democracy even further by bringing water, energy, Royal Mail and rail into public ownership.”
Labour’s plan for public ownership of energy also undergirds it commitment to reach zero emissions by 2050. New Labor Forum columnist and the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy global coordinator Sean Sweeney, under the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, is currently working with UK unions in helping with the development of this plan, recently elaborated at the Labour Party Conference by Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour Party Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She told the conference, “This is not the time for piecemeal measures. We do not have to settle for whatever the market can deliver, and sleep walk into catastrophe. We need a plan of action.” Long Bailey recently addressed a TUED conference in Sheffield where unions debated how the energy system should be taken back into public ownership.
Table of Contents:
1. The Remarkable Rise of Jeremy Corbyn/ Hilary Wainwright, New Labor Forum
2. Labour wants green energy to power most UK homes by 2030/ Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
3. Rebecca Long Bailey speaking at Labour Party Conference today/ UK Labour Party
Compiled by Michael O’Neil for TUED
The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn have released their 2017 manifesto for the June 8th General Election, entitled “For the Many, Not the Few.” The manifesto outlines policies of interest those dedicated to the movements for energy democracy and a just transition away from fossil fuels.
“CREATING AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL”In the section Upgrading Our Economy: Labour’s Industrial Strategy, it states that a Labour Government would ensure that “60 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030.”
This statement was delivered by TUED unions to the Labour Party energy shadow minister Alan Whitehead in the days following the announcement of the general election:
With the announcement of a general election for 8th June, UK trade unions participating in Trade Unions for Energy Democracy are calling on the Labour Party to include a manifesto commitment to extend public ownership and democratic control to UK energy.
UK TUED unions welcome initial Labour Party proposals for energy transition and a vision for energy democracy based on new forms of public and community ownership, putting climate change and social justice at the heart of industrial strategy. This now needs to form part of a clear manifesto commitment to reclaim energy back to the public sphere. Labour should set out an ambition for new affordable, low carbon energy system that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, always emphasising the massive opportunities to create secure, skilled unionised jobs for communities across the UK.
Featured photo by Chatham House via flickr (CC-BY)
From Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, 12/11/15:
The Paris climate summit (Cop 21) is nearly over, and the deal that’s presently on the table falls short in terms of commitments on emissions, financing, human rights, and just transition. The core concerns of unions and social movements remain in the preamble to the Paris Agreement and not the operative articles of the text.
On December 7th, these shortcomings were acknowledged by a capacity crowd of 700 people from the trade unions and their allies at a meeting organized by Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung–New York Office, Global Climate Jobs and the Global Labour Institute Network.
The audience heard inspiring messages from writer and activist Naomi Klein and UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as trade unions involved in TUED in different regions.
The power of these messages is captured in this 17-minute video, produced by ReelNews for TUED. The speakers addressed energy democracy, climate jobs, and the need for a transition that is both just and transformative.
A segment of Naomi Klein’s full presentation can also be viewed here. She urged unions and their allies not to accept a “highly dangerous” deal, and to take to the streets in Paris on December 12.
A video of Jeremy Corbyn’s presentation is here. His remarks on how the failure to address climate has contributed to recent flooding throughout Northern England, Scotland and Wales have been broadly distributed by the media. He urged unions and the climate movement to “unleash the hope” for a truly sustainable future.
Photo Credit: Chris Bentley/flickr/cc