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  • SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL

    TRANSFORMATION AND ENERGY POLICY

    IN LATIN AMERICA AND EUROPE

    PAPERS AND THESIS PAPERS

    FOR THE INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR IN

    VIENNA, 11-14 JULY 2012

    July 2012

    Compiled by Ulrich Brand (Vienna University),

    Marlis Gensler (RLF Brussels), and Alexandra Strickner (Attac Austria)

    Contact: Marlis Gensler, [email protected]

    Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels

    Ave. Michel-Ange 11, B-1000 Brussels

    Tel: +32 (0)2738 7660, Fax: +32 (0)2738 7669

    [email protected], www.rosalux-europa.info

    mailto:[email protected] mailto:[email protected] http://www.rosalux-europa.info/

  • 2

    CONTENT

    Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 3

    Introduction to the seminar Socio-ecological Transformation and Energy Policy in

    Latin America and Europe By Ulrich Brand................................................................................ 3

    Energy Struggles in Latin America – Experiences of Socio-ecological Transformation ......... 8

    Struggles against Energy Projects – Experiences of Socio-ecological Transformation

    By Martínez Esperanza .................................................................................................................. 8

    Considerations for the Debate on Socio-ecological Transformation By Oscar Vega .............. 17

    Lithium in Bolivia: preliminary reflections on the current disputes By Isabella Radhuber

    and Oscar Vega ......................................................................................................................... 19

    The Social Struggles Related to the Energy Problem in Ecuador By José Cueva ................... 23

    Analysis of the Energy Situation in the Context of Rio+20 By Pablo Bertinat ......................... 25

    Energy Struggles in Europe – Experiences of Socio-ecological Transformation .................. 28

    Of Energy Struggles, Energy Transitions and Energy Democracy By Tadzio Müller ............... 28

    Shale Gas and Oil Fracking: A Well-Rooted and Increasingly Internationalized

    Mobilization By Maxime Combes .............................................................................................. 35

    The Upper Austrian Chamber of Labour’s Futures Forum: Designing Progress Socially

    and Ecologically By Michaela Schmidt and Bettina Csoka ............................................................. 39

    The New Energy System: The Solar Energy Revolution By Peter Molnar ............................... 42

    Conflicts and Problems – Energy-political Constellations and Global Contexts ................... 45

    Policy and the Energy Matrix in Latin America By Javier Gómez ............................................. 45

    Beyond our Borders - The Energy and Market Grabs Promoted by the New EU Energy

    Policy By Antonio Tricario ........................................................................................................ 69

    Financialisation and Energy Transition By Nick Hildyard ......................................................... 86

    Challenges - Left Governmental and Regional Energy Policy............................................... 96

    Energy Democracy and Sovereignty as Elements of Social-ecological Transformation

    By Alberto Acosta ...................................................................................................................... 96

    The Challenges of a Left Energy Policy in Germany and Europe By Ulla Lötzer ..................... 98

    The Possibilities for an Austrian Energy Policy in a European Context By Martin Reiter ..... 100

  • 3

    INTRODUCTION

    INTRODUCTION TO THE SEMINAR

    SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL TRANSFORMATION

    AND ENERGY POLICY IN LATIN AMERICA

    AND EUROPE

    BY ULRICH BRAND

    Ulrich Brand, Vienna University

    The central issue of the seminar: What does emancipatory social-ecological transformation

    mean concretely, and, in terms of practical policy, particularly in the area of energy resources and

    their production, distribution and consumption – today and in future?

    The goals of the Conference are (a) an analysis of the very dynamic, controversial and often

    contradictory developments and political experiences in Europe and in Latin America, and (b)

    based on that, the medium and long-term development of emancipatory strategies, alliance

    options and actions; for that purpose, the concept of socio-ecological transformation is to be

    defined more precisely. (c) The international networking of relevant stakeholders from various

    spectrums is an additional goal. Here, the purpose is a well-prepared exchange of experiences

    and assessments which are up to date and promise to move us forward politically.

    Below, I will outline the background to this Conference, and suggest a few matters of

    substance to be considered.

    In the current multiple crisis of global capitalism, which is developing differently in different

    regions, a variety of real and potential breaks are emerging, together with search processes for

    ways to handle the crisis. One major factor to be taken into account here is that of the continuities

    – as, in Europe, the still dominant neo-liberal social power relations, the security interests of

    property owners and the model of industrial competitiveness at any cost; or, in Latin America, the

    tendency to continue to cling to a development model based on resource extraction and cheap

    labour.

    The forms of handling the crisis can thus not be conceived independently of historical

    developments and contingencies, of the depth of the economic, political and socio-ecological

    crisis, of social institutions and power relations, or of strategy and struggle. It would hence be

    possible, generally speaking,for politically authoritarian and/or neo-liberal authoritarian and/or

    conservative, social-liberal, social-democratic or emancipatory paths to be chosen and stabilized.

    One thing seems certain: The handling of the multiple crisis will need to provide answers to the

    socio-ecological crisis; in particular the design of the energy supply will be the main focus.

    Answers may differ: One possibility is a further valorization of nature, a prominent example of that

    being the emissions trading for the purpose of climate protection; another possibility might

    involve eco-authoritarian variants, in which internal social policy would be structured to benefit a

    minority; or an international system under which the western model of wealth would be defended

    by armed might, and billions of people would be kept in poverty by authoritarian means; or

  • 4

    proposals for a Green Economy might be implemented, such as in the form of the ‚Green New

    Deal‛ being advanced in Germany, based on a combination of the market, state control and social

    compromise. All these variants share one thing in common: a measure of faith in the capitalist

    global market, in the existing political institutions, and in the technologies developed by

    capitalism for handling these multiple crises.

    This may well be different in different societies.

    By contrast to these potential development options, the approaches subsumed under the heading

    of a socio-ecological transformation see the capitalist and imperial dynamics – including not

    only the relations of production, but also the living conditions of the people – more as the cause

    of the current problems than as their solution. Accordingly, more comprehensive policies have

    been formulated in this context.1

    The concept of a socio-ecological transformatio is first of all a perspective that should not be

    misunderstood as being socio-technological. Whether it can in the coming years develop as a

    pluralist project is currently an open question. It must be substantively formulated, and be borne

    by a broad array of radical reform-oriented forces, must clearly shift the discourse, and must

    change institutional practices. It must be open to the reformulation of interests and values, for the

    settlement of conflicts, and for the critical consideration of experiences.

    Let us illustrate this by reference to the example of energy production, distribution and

    consumption, which is indeed the foundation of all modes of production and life.

    For this, we first of all need thorough knowledge of historical and current developments and

    debates, in order to assess them critically. At this conference, we would like to do that on the

    basis of a well-prepared exchange of experience between European and Latin American people

    from a variety of social contexts– movements, associations/foundations, political parties and

    academia.

    From a critical perspective, the following aspects should be taken into account:

     Energy sources and methods of energy production are not societally neutral, but are

    rather closely connected with capitalist social forms, i.e., the form of value and of money,

    the form of the bourgeois state and of the relevant international i