”It’s the energy, stupid!”

Posted on February 11, 2010

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An email from the Dag Hammarsköld Foundation in Uppsala with an invitation to attend a presentation titled, “Climate Justice after Copenhagen, or “It’s the energy, stupid!”” drew me to the university hall on Wednesday evening. The lecturer was Tadzio Müller from Berlin. I received the following information on Tadzio Müller:

Tadzio Müller lives in Berlin, where he is active in the emerging climate justice movement. Having escaped the clutches of (academic) wage labour, he is currently writing a report on ‘green capitalism’ for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. He is also an editor of Turbulence-Ideas for Movement.

What attracted me was the alternative title, “It’s the energy, stupid!”. To simply the following discussion I have chosen to include below the summary of the presentation that Tedzio Müller used to attract an audience:

“Copenhagen was a bit of everything. From the perspective of the UN climate negotiations, it was an abject failure. From the perspective of the Danish police, it was a resounding success. And from the perspective of the climate justice movement, it was… something in between. What we lacked in successful agenda setting, we made up for in creating new connections and alliances that will be at the heart of the future struggle for global climate justice. But where will this struggle be fought, and what form will it take?

The answer to the first question is: in the energy sector. It is in the fossilistic, capitalist energy sector that the climate crisis is primarily produced, and where we need to fight it first and foremost: we need to prevent the construction of the many new coal-fired power plants that are being planned and built in Europe and throughout the world; prevent the so-called ‘renaissance of nuclear energy’; and fight for a just, socialised and decentralised energy sector.

This struggle will of course take place on many levels, and take many forms. But after Copenhagen, the question of civil disobedience stands out: while the failure of the COP highlights ever more clearly the need for collective rule-breaking, the very space for this necessary activity is shrinking fast. How to keep open the space for disobedient action, how to expand it, and how to act within it will be one of the central questions that the climate justice movement will need to answer.”

It was apparent that we would experience an attack from the left. Quite correctly, the presenter first declared that he was a leftist socialist and that, before the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen, he had worked actively to interest activists of the left in coming to Copenhagen. The highpoint was the “climate march” that ended with police actions and more. He considered Copenhagen to be a failure but also the beginning of something new. What he discovered was that economic growth and emissions of CO2 are connected, something that is well known from (among others) the International Energy Agency and their yearly publication the World Energy Outlook. He saw the fact that the current economic crisis has reduced emissions of greenhouse gases by several percent as the beginning of a new strategy. One would actively oppose economic growth. He saw a possibility to ”open the space for disobedient actions”.

The conclusion of this part of the presentation was that those places in Europe where they plan to build new coal-fired power stations and new nuclear power stations will be subjected to “disobedient actions”. That message was clear. Then he addressed that which, in Marxist terminology, is abbreviated as MPM, money-production-more money.

In connection with the presentation the Dag Hammarsköld Foundation distributed issue number 6 of the journal, Critical Currents”. The theme for this issue was ”Contours of Climate Justice – Ideas for shaping new climate and energy politics”. One of the four editors is Tadzio Müller. In his contribution in that issue, ”Green capitalism and the climate: It’s economic growth, stupid!” he addresses MPM under the subheading, “Capitalism and the climate: it’s economic growth, stupid!”. He asserts that MPM requires labour, raw materials, machinery and energy. His contribution was published before Copenhagen and it stated that, since capitalism and growth are bound together, one should oppose growth. The lesson of Copenhagen is that growth and energy are bound together. Thus one should fight capitalism by attacking the units producing energy.

Correct me if I am wrong but labour, raw materials, machinery and energy are, of course, also needed in a socialist society. From what I currently understand, energy efficiency was far worse in the Soviet Union compared with e.g. Sweden. The difference was that the people owned the means of production. Thus they collectively supported increased emissions and collectively benefited from the profits. In Sweden the responsibility rests with those that own the production. We can tax the production to raise capital for activities benefiting society while simultaneously enforcing regulations. To enforce regulations on oneself in a socialist system is difficult. Again – look at the Soviet Union and the greenhouse gas emissions they produced there. The target for Tadzio Müller was to reduce emissions by all possible means.

During the question period I introduced food production as a parameter into the conversation and another member of the audience took up population growth. That around 30% of our fossil emissions can be attributed to putting food on the table for 6.8 billion people was a little surprising to Tadzio. That population growth could be coupled to economic growth and increased emissions was something that he could not agree with. There is much more to discuss but the hour is late so why not sleep on it.
…….

Later, when I had slept on it, I decided to do an internet search on Tadzio Müller and I found that he had really been active in Copenhagen. At that time he was the spokesperson for the network Climate Justice Action. Here is his plan from before the Copenhagen meeting – namely that 15,000 activists would storm the climate meeting.

“We want to take over the summit space to set the global agenda away from false, market-based solutions, towards an agenda of social justice,” said German activist Tadzio Müller to The Guardian.

After a press conference in Christiania on 11 December Tadzio Müller was arrested by a plain-clothed policeman – “We are holding him under § 119 and § 134 that concern attempted violence against police and incitement to riot in the city”, said police inspector Svend Foldager to the online edition of the newspaper Politics. According to Sven Foldager tomorrow morning the police will request that the court order Tadzio Müller to be detained for 14 days.

By reading additional articles it is apparent that he was released on 20 December.

That Tadzin Müller now declares that they should direct their activities against energy installations is something that we should take seriously.

(Swedish)

Ett e-mail från Dag Hammarsköld Foundation i Uppsala med en inbjudan att komma till ett föredrag med titeln “Climate Justice after Copenhagen, or: “It’s the energy, stupid!” lockade mig till universitetshuset på onsdagskvällen och föreläsare var Tadzio Müller från Berlin. Om Tadzio Müller fick jag följande information:

Tadzio Müller lives in Berlin, where he is active in the emerging climate justice movement. Having escaped the clutches of (academic) wage labour, he is currently writing a report on ‘green capitalism’ for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. He is also an editor of Turbulence-Ideas for Movement.

Vad som lockade mig var den alternative titeln “It’s the energy, stupid!”. För att underlätta den fortsatta diskussionen väljer jag att ta med den sammanfattning av föredraget som Tedzio Müller ville locka med:

“Copenhagen was a bit of everything. From the perspective of the UN climate negotiations, it was an abject failure. From the perspective of the Danish police, it was a resounding success. And from the perspective of the climate justice movement, it was… something in between. What we lacked in successful agenda setting, we made up for in creating new connections and alliances that will be at the heart of the future struggle for global climate justice. But where will this struggle be fought, and what form will it take?

The answer to the first question is: in the energy sector. It is in the fossilistic, capitalist energy sector that the climate crisis is primarily produced, and where we need to fight it first and foremost: we need to prevent the construction of the many new coal-fired power plants that are being planned and built in Europe and throughout the world; prevent the so-called ‘renaissance of nuclear energy’; and fight for a just, socialised and decentralised energy sector.

This struggle will of course take place on many levels, and take many forms. But after Copenhagen, the question of civil disobedience stands out: while the failure of the COP highlights ever more clearly the need for collective rule-breaking, the very space for this necessary activity is shrinking fast. How to keep open the space for disobedient action, how to expand it, and how to act within it will be one of the central questions that the climate justice movement will need to answer.”

Det var uppenbart att vi skulle få vara med om en attack från vänster. Mycket riktig deklarerade föredragshållaren att han var socialist på vänsterkanten och att han inför COP15 i Köpenhamn aktivt arbetat för att intressera vänsteraktivister att komma till Köpenhamn och höjdpunkten var ”klimatmarschen” som slutade med polisingripande mm. Han ansåg att Köpenhamn var ett misslyckande men också början på något nytt. Vad han upptäckt var att ekonomisk tillväxt och utsläpp av CO2 kunde kopplas till varandra, något som är välkänt från bland annat International Energy Agency och deras årliga skrift World Energy Outlook. Det faktum att dagens ekonomiska kris minskat utsläpp av växthusgaser med flera procent såg han som början på en ny strategi, man skulle aktivt kämpa mot ekonomisk tillväxt och han såg en möjlighet att ”open the space for disobedient actions”.

Slutsatsen av denna del av föredraget är att de platser i Europa där man planerar att bygga nya koleldade kraftverk och nya kärnkraftverk kommer att bli utsatta för ”disobedient actions”. Budskapet var tydligt Sedan tog han upp det som i Marxistisk terminologi förkortas MPM, money – production – more money.

I samband med föredraget delade Dag Hammarsköld Foundation ut nummer 6 av tidskriften ”critical currents” och temat för detta nummer var ”Contours of Climate Justice – Ideas for shaping new climat and energy politics”. En av de fyra editorerna är Tadzio Müller. I sitt bidrag ”Green capitalism and the climate: It’s economic growth, stupid!” tar han upp MPM i avsnittet “Capitalism and the climate: it’s economic growth, stupid!”. Han konstaterar att MPM kräver arbetskraft, råmaterial, maskiner och energi. Skriften kom ut innan Köpenhamn och då kapitalism och tillväxt hörde ihop skulle man bekämpa tillväxt. Erfarenheten från Köpenhamn är att tillväxt och energi hör ihop så nu skall man bekämpa kapitalismen genom att angripa produktionsenheter för energi.

Rätta mig om jag har fel, men visst behövs det arbetskraft, råmaterial, maskiner och energi även i ett sociallistiskt samhälle. Från vad vi vet idag var energieffektiviteten enormt mycket sämre i Sovjetunionen jämför med t.ex. Sverige. Skillnaden var att folket ägde produktionen och på så sätt kollektivt stod för ökade utsläpp och kollektivt ta hand om vinsten. Här kan man lägga ansvar på de som äger produktionen och vi kan taxera produktion för att få kapital för samhällsnyttig verksamhet samtidigt som vi kan ställa krav. Att ställa krav på sig själ i det socialistiska systemat är svårt och än en gång kan vi se på forna Sovjetunionen och de klimatutsläpp man hade där. Målsättningen för Tadzio Müller var att med alla medel reducera utsläppen.

Under frågestunden förde jag in matproduktion som en parameter och en annan åhörare tog upp befolkningsökningen. Att cirka 30 procent av våra fossila utsläpp kan hänföras till att få mat på bordet för 6.8 miljarder personer blev lite överraskande och att befolkningsökningen kunde kopplas till ekonomisk tillväxt och ökade utsläpp var något som vår föredragshållare inte höll med om. Det finns mycket mer att diskutera men timman är sen och varför inte sova på saken.

…….

Nu då jag sovit på saken beslutade jag mig för att göra en sökning på Tadzio Müller och det framkom att han verkligen varit aktiv i Köpenhamn. Han var då talesman för nätverket Climate Justice Action. Här är hans plan inför Köpenhamnmötet, nämligen att 15 000 aktivister skall stormar klimatmötet i Köpenhamn.

– Vi vill ta över mötesplatsen och styra bort den globala agendan från falska marknadslösningar, mot en agenda präglad av social rättvisa, säger tyska aktivisten Tadzio Müller till The Guardian.

Efter en presskonferens i Christiania den 11 december greps Tadzio Müller av civilklädd polis: – Vi anhåller honom under § 119 och § 134, som handlar om försök till våld mot polis och uppmaning till upplopp i staden, säger polisinspektören Svend Foldager till tidningen Politikens nätupplaga. Enligt Sven Foldager kommer polisen att i morgon inför domstol begära att han anhålls i 14 dagar.

Genom att läsa igenom ytterligare några inlägg framgår detr att han blev frisläpt den 20 december.

Att Tadzin Müller nu deklarerar att man skall rikta sina aktiviteter mot energianläggningar skall vi nog ta det på allvar.

Posted in: Dagsaktuellt