How To Achieve Zero Emissions, Even If The Federal Government Won’t Help

Prof.dr. Robert Pollin

With Donald Trump in the White House, the prospects for fighting climate change have never been any bleaker in the US. Yet there are options available to state governments to move forward with the greening of the economy even without federal support. This point is made crystal clear in two studies produced recently by economist Robert Pollin and some of his colleagues at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for the states of Washington and New York. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Pollin explains the significance of Green New Deal programs.

C.J. Polychroniou: Bob, two new studies on fighting climate change have been produced by you and two PERI researchers for the states of New York and Washington. How did these studies come about?

Robert Pollin: These were both commissioned studies. For the New York study, the commissioning group was New York Renews, which is a coalition of over 130 organizations in New York State, including labor unions, environmental groups and social justice organizations. For the Washington State study, three important groups within the US labor movement commissioned the study — the United Steelworkers, Washington State Labor Council of the AFL-CIO and the Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education (TMC). Tony Mazzocchi was a great visionary labor leader with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW — [which] has since merged into the United Steelworkers), who fought to link the aims of working people with those of environmentalists.

It is not an accident that my co-workers and I were asked to do these similar studies at basically the same time. In both cases, the groups supporting the studies are advancing ambitious green economy programs within their respective states. It is obvious that nothing good on climate change is going to be coming out of the federal government under Trump. It is equally obvious that we can’t wait around on climate issues (and many other matters) until somebody less awful gets into the White House. We therefore have to take the most forceful possible actions at the level of state politics. This is what the coalitions are doing in both New York and Washington States.

It is also significant that, with both studies, our priority was to show how a viable climate change project can be completely compatible with — indeed, supportive of — a pro-labor agenda. Trump and others on the right have feasted on the divides between labor and environmentalists, claiming that if you are for the environment, then you have to be against working people and their communities. These studies show in great detail (some might even say excruciating detail) that these Trump claims are flat-out wrong.

I will emphasize though that we have to be very careful in making this case (and thus the excruciating detail in these studies). In particular, there is no getting around that, if we are going to stop burning fossil fuels to produce energy — as we absolutely must to have any chance of stabilizing the climate — the jobs of people in the coal, oil and natural gas industries — along with many other allied sectors of the economy — will be lost over time. We need to forthrightly confront this fact, but then advance beyond it, to develop what Tony Mazzocchi himself termed a “just transition” for workers and communities who will be hurt by the necessary environmental transitions. The overarching point of both of these studies is precisely to show how we can stop burning fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are the primary cause of climate change, and to accomplish this in ways that expand job opportunities overall while also creating a just transition for workers and communities that are currently dependent on the fossil fuel industry. Read more

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Merijn Oudenampsen ~ The Conservative Embrace Of Progressive Values. On The Intellectual Origins Of The Swing To The Right In Dutch Politics

To talk of ideology in the Netherlands is to court controversy. The Dutch are not exceptional in that sense. Ideology is known internationally to have a bad reputation. After all, the word first came into common use when it was employed by Napoleon as a swearword. But the Dutch distaste for ideology seems to have taken on particularly sharp features. The country lacks a prominent tradition of political theory and political ideology research and often perceives itself as having achieved the end of ideology. Taking recourse to Mannheim’s sociology of ideas, I have attempted to contest that image and fill a small part of the lacuna of Dutch ideology studies. The book started out with an attempt to formulate – in broad strokes – an explanation for the peculiarly apolitical atmosphere in Dutch intellectual life.

The relative absence of ideological thought in the Netherlands, I have argued, can be traced back to the historical dominance of one particular form of ideological thought: an organicist doctrine that considers Dutch society as a differentiated, historically grown, organic whole. It considers the state and the media as the passive reflection of societal developments, with elites serving as conduits. Organicism is a sceptical, relativist ideology that stresses harmony and historical continuity. Shared by the twentieth-century elites of the different currents in the Netherlands, this ideology has been depicted as the metaphorical roof uniting the different pillars. It has filtered through Dutch intellectual history in complex forms, to emerge in more contemporary manifestations such as Lijphart’s pluralist theory of accommodation.

The thesis of this book is that this has resulted in a lingering tendency in the literature to downplay conflict, rupture and ideology in Dutch history. And instead to favour more harmonious portrayals of Dutch society developing gradually and continuously as a unity, as an organic whole. When it comes to the Fortuyn revolt, a similar inclination has resulted in depoliticized interpretations of the revolt as the exclusive imprint of secular trends that Dutch politics and media simply needed to reflect. Hans Daalder, the doyen of Dutch political science, argued that there is a political incentive to depoliticize matters in the Dutch political system. In the context of the close relationship between politics and social science in the Netherlands, this has given rise to a paradoxical reality: the more politically involved social science becomes, the more depoliticized it needs to become. Ironically, this means that a more autonomous social science will need to repoliticize its account of Dutch political transformation to some degree. That is what this study has sought to do.



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Studio Meritis MaKOM

Foto: Ilya Rabinovich

Studio Meritis MaKOM (Joseph Semah and Linda Bouws) is aware of the urgent need to add new perspectives to the dominant Western traditional way of thinking in our globalizing world.
The Western world has been predominately manifested by iconic works of art, literature, film, theatre, philosophy, often related to traditional Christianity.
But culture is not static, it is always changing: today’s culture is tomorrow’s heritage.

Seen from this perspective, it is necessary to take a critical look at how Western culture and art are presented and why. It is also important to recognize and accept sources and traditions of other cultures.
We will be searching for new structures and a new conceptual vision which will better reflect the reality of our pluralistic society. This will require thinking out of the box, whereby the artist’s scrutiny on the creative processes in the West will play an important role.

Studio Meritis MaKOM is committed to investigate and encourage different views on the current artistic research into Western culture. New research into the existing way of thinking will lead to new and maybe forgotten information, representations and interpretations. We will develop these, analyse them and provide them with a podium.
Our aim is to stimulate a collective commitment and to make a contribution to the debate on Western art and culture by also including non-Western art and culture.

Studio Meritis MaKOM reflects and provides context for art and culture.

Studio Meritis MaKOM focuses on
– Current global developments and discussions on Western art
– Contextualization of Western art
– The significance, relevance and representation of Western art, culture and politics in a complex world of interculturalism.

© Metropool Foundation International Art Projects

Mob: +31(0) 620132195

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Culture And Identity After Brexit

The United Kingdom’s accession to the European Union in 1973 has always been somewhat of an anomaly. The founding fathers of the European Coal and Steel Community, were it commenced, all had the common objective to prevent the causes that had led to two world wars.
First objective was to create a common market and subsequently increased cooperation and exchange between the peoples of Europe would develop. The UK was actually only interested in commerce and the benefits of a common market. They were only mildly interested in the implicit political objective of an increasing European union.

Initially this deviating position did not stand out; that is until the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. When the European Union was founded, the interests of the then Member States ran more or less parallel. Membership gave access to the common market, thereby bringing each member undeniable great financial benefits. Gradually however it seemed that the United Kingdom found that to be sufficient.
The political commotion they caused over the abolition of their Imperial measurements for the metric measurement system (meters, kilo’s, litres) gave a clear impression of the lack of any understanding of the ‘European ideal’ by the people of this island.

The UK has therefore never joined the Schengen Agreement, let alone the Eurozone. David Cameron has, up to the last moment, strongly opposed more competences to Brussels.
Now that Brexit is a fact, Europe can concentrate on the ultimate objective of the whole project: shaping a continent in which economic prosperity can coexist with progressive development of the democratic participatory process, improve the exercise of citizenship for all Member States and attention for the community of values which do not exist –in this form- in other parts of the world.
The identity of Europe is after all determined by the unique interaction between economic collaboration and democratic development. Read more

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Vrijheid van meningsuiting onder druk. Toneel in Amsterdam 1930-1941

Albert van Dalsum in De beul, 1935. Foto: Kurt Kahle. Collectie Theater Instituut Nederland

In de 20er en 30er jaren van de vorige eeuw schreeuwden intoleranten van allerlei pluimage zonder enige gêne om hun speciale orde en tucht. Voor de kunsten was het een moeilijke tijd. Voor toneel- en cabaretgezelschappen in het bijzonder, die immers met hun kunstvorm een onmiddellijke dialoog aangingen met het publiek. Naast censuur via de overheid en de media en de publieke opinie, voerden ook vele gezelschappen in Nederland zelfcensuur in uit angst een bevriend staatshoofd te beledigen.

De Amsterdamsche Toneelvereening en De Jonge Spelers
Twee belangrijke Amsterdamse gezelschappen, die zich hiertegen verzetten, waren de Amsterdamsche Toneelvereeniging (ATV) en De Jonge Spelers, beide in 1932 opgericht. ATV wilde “het levend toneel van onze tijd spelen” en bracht stukken, zowel klassiek als modern, met een actuele problematiek en was met De Jonge Spelers, die zich in dienst hadden gesteld van de arbeidersbeweging (een publiek dat deels niet geactiveerd hoefde te worden in de strijd tegen het fascisme), het enige gezelschap dat niet voorbijging aan het maatschappelijke en politieke klimaat. De beide groepen vroegen van het publiek betrokkenheid, vooral ten opzichte van de dreiging van het opkomend nazisme sinds Hitlers machtsovername in 1933.
In 1936 voerden De Jonge Spelers Professor Mamlock van de Duitser Friedrich Wolf op. Het stuk was eerder in Zürich (1935) voor het eerst opgevoerd. Wolf, die geweigerd had te bukken onder het juk van het nationaal-socialisme, had zich genoodzaakt gezien in ballingschap te gaan in Zwitserland en zette daar zijn strijd tegen het nazisme voort.
De joodse Professor Mamlock gelooft in eerste instantie de berichten in de kranten na de Rijksdagbrand in 1933 dat de socialisten schuldig zijn. Maar door de daaropvolgende joden boycot worden zijn ogen geopend en dringt de gruwelijke realiteit tot hem door. Als hij beseft hoe alles anders is geworden, dat hij zijn waarden niet meer kan handhaven onder de dictatuur van het nationaalsocialisme, pleegt hij zelfmoord. De voorstelling van Professop Mamlock in Amsterdam vond plaats in besloten kring, in de toneelzaal van Krasnaplosky. NSB-ers die de voorstellingen trachtten te verstoren werden door de
ordedienst van de SDAP de zaal uitgewerkt.
Ook de ATV wees op de gevaren van het nationaal-socialisme en voerde eind 1935 De Beul op, een bewerking van de novelle van de Zweed van Pär Lagerkvist. Het eerste gedeelte speelde zich af in een middeleeuwse kroeg, het tweede in een moderne dancing. Dit laatste gedeelte, vooral na toevoeging van enkele passages over concentratiekampen, bevatte duidelijke toespelingen op Nazi-Duitsland. De oorspronkelijke negatieve strekking van het stuk paste niet bij de levensvisie van de regisseurs Van Dalsum en Defresne en werd veranderd in een positieve: verlossing van het geweld door de mens. Het stuk werd
toegejuicht in de linkse pers, die zich achter de antifascistische strekking konden scharen.
Maar in andere bladen werd De Beul scherp veroordeeld; sommige recensenten eiste zelf ingrijpen van de overheid. Op 1 december kwam de NSB in actie en met veel tumult en gevechten maakten zij hun bezwaren tegen het stuk kenbaar. Het liep uit op totale chaos. De Amsterdamse burgemeester De Vlugt zag echter geen aanleiding het stuk te verbieden: “Voor terreur ga ik niet opzij, met terreur reken ik af.” Read more

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TED@ BCG Paris ~ Neha Narula ~ The Future Of Money

What happens when the way we buy, sell and pay for things changes, perhaps even removing the need for banks or currency exchange bureaus? That’s the radical promise of a world powered by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. We’re not there yet, but in this sparky talk, digital currency researcher Neha Narula describes the collective fiction of money — and paints a picture of a very different looking future.

Neha Narula is director of research at the Digital Currency Initiative, a part of the MIT Media Lab where she teaches courses and leads cryptocurrency and blockchain research. While completing her PhD in computer science at MIT, she built fast, scalable databases and secure software systems, and she spoke about these topics at dozens of industry and research conferences.

In a previous life, Narula helped relaunch the news aggregator Digg and was a senior software engineer at Google. There, she designed Blobstore, a system for storing and serving petabytes of immutable data, and worked on Native Client, a system for running native code securely through a browser.

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