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A Truly Green Economy Requires Alliances Between Labour and Indigenous People


A Truly Green Economy Requires Alliances Between Labour and Indigenous People

Harsha Walia

Dozens of social movement organizers recently gathered in Toronto at a meeting convened by the This Changes Everything team to envision a new economy centered on climate justice. With relentless extractions of labour and land harming all life on earth, cross-sectoral alliances are necessary.


Capitalism not only creates the conditions for the expropriation of labour, but also limits what can even be characterized as labour.

Our society primarily defines workers as those producing within the industrial, financial, service or technological economies. Labour outside of these economies is not only devalued, but also unrecognized as productive labour. This includes reproductive and affective labour, land stewardship, and care work. Single mothers, elders, peasants, women of colour, and Indigenous communities, all of whom are deliberately impoverished and stigmatized as “uncontributing,” overwhelmingly undertake this hard work that maintains life itself.

Oh my oh my. This is so utterly ACCURATE and a very clear refutation of that “market based model” extolled by the Capitalists everywhere including that meme spouted by one of the champions of the same on these very boards that VALUE only created when the stuff of nature is USED.

In other words KILL a forest and “value” created under this model, preserve a forest and there no “wealth creation” and by extension , no jobs. A system that kills its way to “prosperity” will soon kill its own posterity.


Indigenous people that have protected our resources and environment for thousands of years have been “civilized”. Former hunter-gatherer societies now have access to modern weaponry, transportation, tools and to most of the destructive technologies and habits of the white invaders.

Because of “civilization”, many native people that could teach us how to live in harmony with nature are losing their knowledge of the natural world. European’s victory has in many ways become everyone’s loss.

Perhaps the best we can do for indigenous people is to treat them as citizens with equal rights and privileges as we are supposed to do with all immigrants and descendants of slaves. And to try to salvage their knowledge of nature, something we will need if we are ever going to learn to live sustainably without destroying our environment.


Racism is rampant. As long as other people think badly of indigenous people, immigrants or former slaves, they can treat them differently. Singling them out or downright ostracism causes them to think of themselves as inferior and demand equal treatment.