Socialist Worker

LETTERS - Change the whole system for the planet, not what’s on your plate

Issue No. 2667

Change the world to save the planet

Change the world to save the planet (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on humans, land use and a changing climate last week.

Much of the mainstream media focused on the elements of the report that looked at the meat industry.

“Plant-based diet can fight climate change,” said one BBC headline.

And the Guardian newspaper said that, cutting meat consumption “could play a big role in tackling climate crisis”.

The media said that less meat consumption would cut back on food waste. But it’s capitalist food production that produces waste at every stage of the process.

I’m a vegan, but I think it’s good that Extinction Rebellion and other groups haven’t demanded that everyone go vegan.

The first thing to say is that it takes the blame away from fossil fuel companies—which are without doubt the main cause of global warming.

When it comes to fighting climate change we have to take on the big industries, not pressure everyone to go vegan.

And discussions around veganism often don’t address wider questions around diet and food production.

For instance, how much fossil fuels are used for farming, how much water it takes to grow almond trees, or destruction of land and soil erosion.

Industrial farming is a massive problem, and makes a huge constribution to greenhouse gases.

Just advocating a vegan diet doesn’t take up these questions.

We need to confront the big reason we’re facing the current crisis that we are—the use of dirty energy.

The need to make a profit has led to a system where capitalism depends on fossil fuels.

Focusing on individuals’ dietary choices obscures the need to make a clean break with fossil fuel companies.

They’re the reason for climate crisis—and unless we fight them we’ve got no hope of fighting ecological crisis.

Jasmine Fischer, North London

Remember Marikana

In the afternoon of 16 August 1819 at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, the authorities slaughtered at least 17 working class people and left hundreds more injured.

They were peacefully protesting for their rights.

In the afternoon of 16 August 2012 at Marikana, South Africa, the authorities slaughtered 34 striking miners and left hundreds injured.

They were peacefully protesting for their rights.

At Marikana, of the dead miners 16 were shot in the back. Four were shot in the back of the head. Most were shot with machine gun rifles.

At 8am, long before the slaughter, Colonel Klassens telephoned the Marikana mortuary and ordered

four mortuary vans each capable of holding eight bodies.

And at 8.30am the provincial chief of police said at a press conference, “This strike stops today.”

The chief of police was ably assisted by the now president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was at the time a director of the Lonmin mining company.

They were refusing to pay a living wage to the miners. Ramaphosa instructed ministers that the strikers were criminals and urged that action be taken against them.

Lonmin, in an email to a government minister, called for the “full might of the state to be brought to bear” on the strikers.

As of 16 August 2019 no one will have languished in jail for these murders.

Jim Nichol, Lawyer to the families of Marikana

The terrible legacy of the old British empire

British colonialism stinks. Not just historically, but the stench and implications resonate down to modern times.

Numerous conflicts we are seeing now can be traced back to the times when Britain had an empire.

Not only are there riots in Hong Kong but a conflict looks likely in Kashmir.

The British colonial tactic of “divide and rule” in India is at the root of the numerous wars between India and Pakistan.

We have to ask the mainstream British media and political establishment that the curse of British colonialism be recognised for what it is.

The lesson people should learn from history is that no colonial system can be excused—irrespective of whether it was British or otherwise.

They have to stop sweeping it under the carpet and a full apology and historic accountability should begin now.

Name and address supplied

A day of community pride in Govanhill

around 4,000 people attended the Govanhill Carnival last Saturday as part of the Govanhill International Festival in Glasgow.

Govanhill represents one of the most culturally diverse areas in Britain, with over 40 different nationalities and 60 different languages.

The festival first began three years ago, and was organised in response to a rise in racism in the local area.

Roma people were often the target. I remember witnessing violent police raids on the homes of Roma families.

Last Saturday, I saw a very different picture—the wonderfully diverse people of Govanhill gathered in their thousands at Queens Park to march together. The parade also included local LGBT+ and women’s groups, Extinction Rebellion, and a Love Music Hate Racism float.

One reveller said, “I’ve lived in this area for over 40 years, never have I seen such an incredible display of community pride and unity.”

The festival is an example of how increased anti-racist activity has united and strengthened our community against the real criminals. It showed what is possible when we come together.

Lorna McKinnon, Glasgow

Drones show true EU face

I read your article on how new drones were helping to oust migrants (Socialist Worker, 7 August).

It’s so frustrating that Remainers maintain the idea of the European Union as an anti-racist force while it promotes evil like this.

Grant Scott, On Facebook

HS2 will mean loss of nature

HS2 is an environmental disaster.

The plan to plant a tree for every one they cut down doesn’t replace the biodiversity of the forests they will destroy.

Gin Putland, On Facebook

Well done to NHS strikers

I read about the hospital workers in Bradford who are staging a two-week strike against NHS privatisation (Socialist Worker online, 1 August).

Well done to those wonderful people.

We create the wealth and profits and we shouldn’t bow down to them and just wipe the floor of the rich bosses.

Cahit Cetinkaya, On Facebook

Keep up the good work

Good to read about the brilliant anti-fascist demo against Tommy Robinson in London last week.

It can only give confidence to fight against this nasty right wing Boris Johnson government that has no mandate from the electorate.

Let’s keep this up.

Robbie Williams, Haverfordwest

Bosses cook up food profits

I read last week that food companies want the government to suspend laws that stop companies “working together.”

They claim they want to be able to sort out food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

But they’re not fooling me, I know bosses just want to protect their profits.

Janet Dyer, East London

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