Saturday, December 12, 2015

COP21’s Empty Words

People from around the world plan to march in the thousands today in Paris to register their anger at politicians' failure to strike an ambitious draft climate deal. With COP21 we are seeing that the few control the many. The draft Paris climate agreement released on Thursday night could allow for carbon emissions to continue until 2099. It also leaves the door open to false solutions such as unproven Carbon Capture and Storage techno-fixes and carbon markets. The sad truth is whatever deal comes out of this conference it's not very likely it will ever be implemented anyway. If anything is to be done we're going to have to do it ourselves instead of hoping that the World's leaders and elites are ever going to. The simple truth is they have no intention of ever doing anything more than talking. The capitalist elites left us with no voice. Those with visions of the future have been excluded. Socialist visionaries threaten the wealthy with change. We are a clear and present danger.

"Once again, world leaders have shown they lack the political courage, decency, and integrity to stand up for the needs of the most impacted communities around the world in the biggest ecological crisis of our time," Ananda Lee Tan, a Vancouver-based organizer with Climate Justice Alliance, told Common Dreams. "Our assessment is that, again, it is left up to us," Lee Tan added. "We know it is people and communities that have to lead us out of this ecological crisis…"Tomorrow we will step it up on the streets of Paris, but we need to continue to get more people on the streets—block by block, community by community—to fight this global confluence of governments and corporations."

"Rich countries have moved the goal posts so far that a just deal in Paris is inconceivable," said Lucy Cadena, Friends of the Earth International climate justice and energy coordinator, in a statement responding to the latest draft. "If this text indicates what will be agreed here, we will be left with a deal that fails humanity."

“We must also say "yes" -- yes to the world we want…We must imagine a world that is both radically different and radically better than the one we have right now…Now is not the time for small steps. Now is the time for boldness. Now is the time to leap.” Naomi Klein explains

The World Socialist Movement offers just that promise. Socialism has unfortunately been presented as a system not of abundance but of scarcity, as a system not of increased leisure and comfort, but of unusual sacrifice and back-breaking toil. The transformation of capitalist property into common property, however, will create social well-being. This is the goal of the Socialist Party. The anarchic production of capitalism which only knows how to engender the poverty will be replaced by planned production, calculated according to the needs that are to be satisfied. New and improved technology, no longer serving to enrich a few individuals, will increase the means of leisure and enjoyment of all members of society. Capitalism has only known how to cause humanity misery.

 In capitalism, exploitation is hidden behind a veil. In, say, feudalism, exploitation was transparently a matter of give-and-take (the peasants gave, the lords took.). But in capitalism it appears that everyone is equal and free. Each worker is free to work for a particular employer or not, free to live his or her own private life. But the world of the ‘free’ labour market is not the place where exploitation happens: exploitation occurs in the ‘private property’ of the capitalist, in: the – workplace, where it is hidden behind: the illusion of ‘a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’. Employers enter ‘fair and free’ contracts with workers, and end up with their wealth expanded; while workers end up no better off at the end of the process than at the beginning. The everyday procedures of capitalism disguise and mystify the realities of exploitation.

Similarly with the state. The prevailing misconception is it is not constructed around the fundamental antagonisms of capitalist exploitation, as an agency of open class oppression but appears as the state of the ‘citizens’, of the individual free agents of the labour market, who appear to be equal. The state relates to these ‘free and equal’ individuals, and reinforces these relations of freedom’ and ‘equality’. The state does not relate to us as members of classes, indeed it does not recognise classes. Rather, it treats us as fragmented, individual roles: as ‘voters’, ‘taxpayers’, ‘consumers’, etc. All the procedures the state lays down for dealing with us, and for meeting some of our needs and problems, atomise us and conceal the class character of our needs and problems. The welfare state appears as ‘our’ welfare state. All too often, the experience workers have with welfare agencies is of a set of authoritarian, alien institutions, where they are bossed around, spied and checked on, insulted and demeaned, in return for needed but meagre benefits. A high price is demanded for the state’s miserable provision of needs.

We are gambling with the future so that profits can continue to be made in a system incapable of meeting its minimum responsibilities to humans and to nature. A grim future will give the world drowned coastal cities, parched crops, millions of refugees and failing ecosystems. These very real and very large long-term disasters are looming on our horizon. Nobody really knows what would remain of civilization, as we know it. The suffering we’re witnessing because of loss of land, culture, ways of life, and identity in many regions of the world may portend what is to come for all of us. Now is the time to come together and decide how we will respond. Let’s make sure it’s the best humanity has to offer. With time short and the clock ticking down, the pressure is growing to declare a visionary change in the process. But, we can’t blame the politicians for everything. We are responsible too! We are either unaware, indifferent, or we do not want to step out of line to do anything about, or protest the goings-on around us, while we continue to destroy life on the planet. We are therefore complicit in its destruction. We must realise the larger effects of our acquiescence to short term political decisions. We must stand up for our planet. We must make our voices heard in whatever forum we can. Everything is connected. Everything is interdependent. If the market economy cannot solve the climate crisis, it is the economy that will give way. We must unite behind world socialism that will actually work in the real world to preserve the planet’s life support systems as well as the best of what we enjoy as modern humans.

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