Radio — Towards an anti-capitalist and anti-colonial environmentalism

On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Scott Neigh interviews Chelsea Fougere and Sam Krawec. They are members of Solidarity Halifax, a membership-based, nonsectarian, pluralist, democratic, and anti-capitalist organization based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. And today they talk about their work on its Ecojustice Committee, which aims to bring anti-capitalists and environmentalists together, and to create a space for people to engage in analysis and action that works towards building an anti-capitalist, anti-colonial environmentalism.

Historically, anti-capitalist organizations (in their various ideological flavours) have not always done a good job of taking environmental struggles seriously. Similarly, many environmental groups have historically stopped far short of recognizing the roots of our multiple and overlapping environmental crises in how capitalism organizes our communities and our lives. And neither of them – at least when said organizations are mostly comprised of white Canadians – have a great track record when it comes to appreciating how integral struggles against colonialism and racism are to all of those issues.

Since 2011, Solidarity Halifax has brought together people with a wide range of politics that see capitalism as an unjust way of organizing society and with a wide range of visions for a better world, and created space for respectful debate and political collaboration on a variety of issues and campaigns. The organization has combined ongoing conversations to both build shared understandings and recognize points of disagreement, with a commitment to supportive involvement in broader efforts to build social movements and win concrete gains in a range of struggles. The group has been actively involved in campaigns against privatization, in anti-racist work, in supporting workers’ struggles, in solidarity with Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous peoples, and much more.

This episode is concerned with one of the newer elements of Solidarity Halifax: its Ecojustice Committee. Solidarity Halifax initially hesitated about creating this committee, out of a recognition that there are already several oragnizations in Halifax doing great work around the environment and around Indigenous struggles, but they ultimately decided that it would be a useful contribution to have a group dedicated to environmental issues that was not constrained by being a non-profit or dependent on government or union funding.

The Ecojustice Committee relates to environmental struggles in the province and beyond in a number of ways, in addition to its commitment to dialogue and analysis.

Its members are generally active as individuals in the many related struggles ongoing in Nova Scotia at the moment. Some, for instance, have been involved in starting a coalition called Solidarity with Alton Gas Resistance, to act in solidarity in a Halifax context with the struggle against the Alton Natural Gas Storage Facility Project – resistance that is being led by people living near Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, particularly Mi’kmaq land and water protectors. Individual members of the Ecojustice Committee are also involved in climate change-related mobilizations and in struggles against clearcutting.

As well, the committee as a whole has done things like hold public educational events about environmental struggles in the province. They engaged in public outreach activities last year in solidarity with various Indigenous actions happening across the country to challenge the colonialism of Canada 150.

Overall, they also see the committee’s role as contributing to broader movement building via coordinating and mobilizing support for all of these on-the-ground struggles.

Image: Modified from an image used with the permission of Solidarity Halifax.

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Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada, giving you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show check out its website here. You can also follow them on FaceBook or Twitter, or contact scottneigh@talkingradical.ca to join our weekly email update list.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Hamilton (formerly Sudbury), Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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