Kolya Abramsky: Energy Struggles, Energy Democracy and Energy Socialism

Sonntag, 7.5., 14 bis 16 Uhr, 3. Stock

(Der Workshop wird auf englisch mit deutscher Übersetzung gehalten.)

The protest against the „Murkaftwerk“ in Graz, lead to a widespread debatte on energy, but thinking about energy, and energy transition, requires a class perspective. This is because energy is a key commodity in the world economy, and a key means of production and reproduction. This means that the “energy question” and the “class question” are interconnected. Consequently, the “energy question” and the “capitalism question” are also connected. And, consequently, the “energy question” and the “socialism question” are also connected. This has been true throughout the history of capitalism’s existence and resistance against it, and will continue being true. Capitalism’s global crisis is giving rise to a worldwide resurgence of mass based politics, both from the broad spectrum of the left, and also the broad spectrum of the right. It is also giving rise to new economic and political nationalisms, resurgent imperialisms and an increasingly global war footing. These are the defining features of the global political and economic landscape in which any “energy transition” will take place. Given that energy is a key means of production and reproduction in the world-economy, the “energy transition” will be one of the key lines of class struggle in the world-economy in the years ahead, if not the key line of struggle. National class struggles will intersect with geopolitical diplomatic, commercial and military conflicts between states. In recent years, a concept of “energy democracy” has gained strength in many parts of the world as perspective for thinking about and organizing the energy transition. This presentation will critically explore the concept of “energy democracy”, and its limitations in dealing with the class nature of the state, questions of imperialism and the national question, and poses the question as to whether “energy socialism” may be a more interesting concept for change. It will draw on the past, to understand the present, in order to think about how best to influence the future.

Kolya Abramsky (London) is a freelance researcher, educator and organizer about struggles related to the global energy and minerals sectors. He has spent 20 years working on a wide range of global social, political, economic and environmental justice issues, and the last 15 years working on different aspects of the global energy sector, focusing on ways in which workers and affected communities can shape an energy transition on their own terms. He has formerly worked with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the World Wind Energy Institute and several other organizations. He is the editor of Sparking a Worldwide Energy Revolution: Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-petrol World.


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