Ice melt doesn’t mean we can’t fight climate change
News that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun to disintegrate (Socialist Worker, 17 May) should alarm everyone.
Scientists who reported on the melting used terrifying language. One described the ice as being in “irreversible retreat” and another said it had “passed the point of no return”.
The melting implies that one of the feared “tipping points” for global warming may have been passed. Another recent study in the journal Global Environmental Change argues the situation is far worse than has been reported.
Whether or not a point of no return has been reached for climate change will require further scientific research. Certainly this will lead to significant sea level rises. Humanity cannot stop this ice melting but we can, through urgent action, stop further catastrophic changes.
We need a massive shift from fossil fuels to renewable energies, and an end to the further expansion of these industries. That means in Britain we have to stop fracking in its infancy. We need a shift to public transport and energy reduction schemes.
All this could be completed fast by the creation of hundreds of thousands of climate jobs.
We will also need governments to spend money on flood defences and schemes to protect people from worsening weather. Socialists will have to be at the forefront of demanding this.
The Campaign Against Climate Change is putting together a “Time to Act” campaign. It demands action in the run-up to the general election and towards the next climate conference in Paris in 2015.
All this underlines the irrationality of capitalism. Socialists must fight for action, but we must also point out that capitalism creates climate chaos. Securing the long term future of people and planet needs fundamental, revolutionary change.
Martin Empson, Treasurer, Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union group (pc)
Let’s steer lost voters away from racist Ukip
I joined a recent protest against Ukip in London and found myself up close and personal with the attendees. The provocative cover of Socialist Worker—Shut it Ukip!—was a great icebreaker.
Aside from the ex-National Front members and wealthy-looking old-timers, there were a lot of young people there out of curiosity. Some were happy to stop and have a discussion.
A lot were disillusioned with the political system and look to Ukip as some kind of alternative. And with the left’s voice so quiet in the media, this was the first time some had heard any alternative to austerity.
Some bought a paper and someone swapped contact details with me to hear more about what the party had to say.
James Pettefar, by email
Diamonds from Israel are dirty too
Digging the dirt on diamonds was an excellent article (Socialist Worker, 10 May). I imagine space was limited, but you might perhaps have referred to the Israeli cutting and polishing industry.
One Israeli economist gave evidence to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. They said every time someone buys a diamond from Israel, some of the money ends up in the Israeli military.
The Israeli diamond industry contributes about £600 million annually to the Israeli military. Diamonds cut and polished in Israel must also be regarded as blood diamonds.
Jenny Flintoft, by email
Council homes and crowbars
Sarah Ensor is right—people only sleep rough because there are not enough homes available to live in (Letters, 17 May). But her call for “affordable” homes and Socialist Worker’s use of the term “social housing” need clarification.
“Affordable” refers mainly to shared-ownership schemes requiring tenants to borrow expensive mortgages. “Social housing” refers to housing associations run for profit. The only answer to the housing calamity is to create and maintain decent, accountable, secure-tenancy council housing—and rent controls.
There is an immediate solution too. There are about four times as many empty homes as there are homeless households.
Nicola Field, South London
Beat stress, strike back!
I recently spoke at my union meeting about the stress caused during a battle over restructure. Afterwards, one member showed me scarring and skin rash on her arms caused by weeks of worry. I was shocked.
The meeting voted for strikes if anyone is made redundant and to support Care UK strikers. Collective action can give us all confidence to resist.
Mike Killian, Manchester
The hashtag hypocrites
I’m sick of Western politicians publicising the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign. Even the likes of David Cameron and Michelle Obama have joined in. They promote policies that condemn poor women to poverty and violence the world over.
Katy Leaper, Sheffield
A new feed to promote ideas
Buzzfeed lists are taking social media by storm. They compile information into easily digestible material. Unfortunately this lowers its scope and complexity. But socialists should engage with them. One Buzzfeed article opposing Ukip received nearly 130,000 views in one week.
Fran Manning, West London
I’m not proud of inequality
Edwina Currie said we should be proud of the fact that over 100 billionaires live here. I’m so proud that I’m going to hold a street party. After that I shall remember the hundreds of thousands using food banks and all those on zero hours contracts.
Martin Webb, Swindon
Can’t you all get together?
A number of trade union, socialist and anti-EU candidates are standing in elections on 22 May. I fail to understand why the two main socialist coalitions cannot unite.
Mervyn Drage, Manchester
We must save poor Scotland
The strongest argument I hear against an independent Scotland is that it could not survive economically if cut loose. Normally bosses, politicians and bankers outsource anything that might lower profits. I applaud this new attitude.
Mark, The Netherlands