Just Transition is a concept of the state intervening when the private market fails at a scale that it cannot possibly respond in a reasonable time frame. That kind of thing happens all the time and it isn't just when climate policies are implemented.
Some areas of debate exist even within progressive circles of how best to deal with climate change. Investing in and reorganizing current production processes to drastically reduce carbon emissions and build mitigation programs all takes time, energy, overlapping processes, and a heck of a lot of money. But, when we bring all this together, the programs announced are insufficient to get us where we need to be. Here are 10 areas we need to work on.
We are told that Capitalism, at its core, is a crisis-driven economic system. Crises are at the heart of its innovation, transformation of the economy, and are the reason creative destruction is the defining point raised by proponents of this economy-first, anti-social system. However, any reader of history knows that it is only through the leverage and investment of the state that capitalism can find the path around the economic crises it creates. Capital needs to be held-up and protected or -- like most short-sighted adventures -- it runs aground. The alternative is not to hold capitalism up, but to replace it and the response to COVID-19 shows a way forward.
Working people have been dealing with changes in the application of technology in their workplaces since the beginning of capitalism. The recent interest in the subject has largely been driven by the tech industry's promises of automated production and job-destroying robots, which will still somehow deliver a type of techno-Utopia. It is time for workers to take back the discussion and drive an agenda for the future based on clear analysis and the broader community's interests. In this full-length article, we revisit some of the issues and concepts around automation and its affects on workers.
In the US, the Green New Deal has gained deserved momentum because it is being promoted by charismatic elected officials, propelled to power on the basis of their broad left-wing credentials – and not only because of their focus on climate. We cannot bypass this step in Canada. This means that unapologetic socialist elements in our labour party must also be propelled into a position to promote such an agenda.
Several things have happened in the previous few weeks that make it important to review what we mean about Just Transition for workers affected by major changes to employment. 1) The Liberal government has announced the Task Force: Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities. 2) Trade Unions for Energy Democracy have released 'Trade Unions and Just Transition: The search for a transformative politics'. The new paper examines the inadequacies of the current policy development processes on Just Transition.
The criticism of the Leap Manifesto as being too radical or too far to the left falls flat when examined in the context of current policy of progressive energy labour unions. The fact is, the Leap document is not 'radical' in essence, it is centre-left/liberal. This is a problem for those who want to discredit it with baseless name calling. Unfortunately, calling it far-left or extremely radical causes confusion and undermines the broader left program demanding the necessary radical solutions to climate change.
We need reality-based solutions for facilitating and funding a Just Transition for workers. It will require the government to invest in publicly owned productive capacity that will generate the revenue needed to fund the hiring and drive the economic transition in the correct direction. This is not a new idea, but it is one that is proven to work.