Low-skilled fracking jobs, divestment, climate debt and neoliberalism

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Great post by Climate Justice Taranaki, a local grassroots group fighting the takeover of our community by the oil and gas industry. In addition to the environmental destruction wreaked by the fracking industry, by luring young people into temporary low wage jobs, it’s destroying our local economy.

Climate Justice Taranaki

As the oil and gas fracking industry spreads across a nation, increasingly high school teens are being lured to drop out and take up low-skilled jobs, as demonstrated in a recent research in the US.  The authors of the study warned, “fracking raises the risk that some workers at the bottom of the skills and education ladder may end up being stuck there, because they made bad schooling choices in a rush to be part of the industry“.

Could this be happening in Taranaki – the heartland of the fossil fuel industry in New Zealand? Do we want to sacrifice our youth’s future to such short-term gains and in full knowledge of the social and environmental damages of this industry, volatile oil prices and widespread divestment movements?

I wasn’t expecting to be swept up in the biggest divestment movement in history – but the snowball is…

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4 thoughts on “Low-skilled fracking jobs, divestment, climate debt and neoliberalism

  1. The fracking here, died out as quickly as it began (or so the story goes), leaving thousands out of work. If the same happens there, these young people will find themselves in another mess: no diploma.

    And the tyranny continues!

    We need to get to the cancer itself, the system/order, and cut it out, instead of only attacking its symptoms: we need to stop following suit with the medical matrix, and cure the disease instead of treating it!

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  2. Well, I guess that’s okay in theory, but in my experience it doesn’t really work out in practice.

    The only way I can think of to stop the cancer itself is to build a movement, something I have been trying to do for the last 34 years.

    Based on hard experience, I’ve learned that it’s useless to ask people to come and join a movement to dismantle capitalism. It’s far easier to recruit people to work on specific issues, such as fracking, TPP, deep sea oil drilling, fluoride etc. Once they learn that by joining together they can stop specific government abuses and crimes, they begin to connect the dots and recognize the whole system is rotten. But without the specific wins, it’s extremely difficult to inspire them to undertake systematic change.

    Most of the long time organizers I come in contact with have similar experiences and use single issue campaigns to build broader movements.

    Sometimes I get annoyed with the theoretical thinkers like Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges who continually bemoan the failure of the US left to organize sweeping movements to dismantle the current system. It’s very easy to be an armchair critic while the real organizers are out here busting our butts to build real life resistance movements.

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    • It is true that it is easier to get people to work on a specific movement rather than a sweeping task such as getting rid of capitalism. Even socialist groups dedicated to ending capitalism tend to carry out their practical work by tackling specific movements. I wish this weren’t so, but it is. The day-to-day problems people face in their immediate lives is what motivates the large majority of those who can be moved to act.

      What we can do is bring anti-capitalist perspectives to movement work and slowly bring more people around to that point of view, and by tying the specific problem a movement is working on to larger issues and other movements, and in time build connections among them so that people more readily grasp the bigger picture and the ultimate causes of their problems. That is a long-term project to be sure. There are no short cuts, no magic wands, and thus no substitute for the hard work of movement building, even when focused on a single issue.

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