ANTI-CAPITALISM IN CRISIS Analysing Climate Justice Action’s response to the urgency of climate change
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Since the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark, a global movement for climate justice has begun to emerge from the previous round of the global struggle against capitalism. Acting within the discourse of climate justice presents a new set of priorities, and contradictions for groups like Climate Justice Action (CJA) – a network dedicated to taking direct action to address what it perceives to be the structural causes of climate change. Employing an ideologically structured action framework, this research will demonstrate that a tension has surfaced between those who wish to immediately address climate change and those who advocate for simultaneous systemic change; this tension has led to contradictions between the movement’s anti-capitalist desire and the urgency of the climate crisis. In an attempt to mitigate this tension, CJA has responded in three ways that distinguish it from the previous round of anti-capitalist struggle: it has articulated a set of concrete demands; it has begun to reconsider the role of institutionalism; and it has built an explicitly anti-capitalist climate justice discourse based on its own ideological principles. These changes point to a maturation of the global anti-capitalist movement, and a willingness to make compromises in the context of a global crisis. As CJA moves toward a more pragmatic approach to anti-capitalist politics, how does it ensure that its actions remain antagonistic enough to distinguish them from other reformist actors who use similar tactics? CJA’s strategy is currently concerned with building and defending a climate justice discourse, and has applied this discourse to its upcoming Global Day of Direct Action for System Change not Climate Change.