Friday, December 20, 2019

Our Green Credentials

Soon we will all be at a turning point in human history. Scientists project that we have until perhaps 2050 before the multiple and massive environmental problems we face will become irreversible. After that, the planet will not support the existing global civilisation. This unfolding environmental emergency makes the ecology movement a crucial arena for the Socialist Party to present its case for socialism, a steady-state zero-growth cooperative commonwealth, a free society of associated producers. The enormity of the climate crisis must be confronted. A serious critique of capitalism is essential to adequately explain the current world environmental crisis. The destruction of our eco-systems industrial and agricultural activity can no longer be a secondary concern to the socialist movement. We must now offer a vision of a future society in harmony with our natural surrounds and not in conflict with nature. The Socialist Party’s traditional promise of the egalitarian distribution of the planet’s wealth is now also to offer a more meaningful sustainable relationship with the world. We expose the inherent logic within capitalist economics that necessitates the pillage and plunder of the planet. We refute the argument that all that is needing is only the enlightened regulation of the state and management by the corporations to curb its excesses and mitigate its shortcomings. 

Capitalism operates independently of the personal views of politicians or the ethics of CEOs. Neither will sacrifice profit or lose market share to the competitor who can undersell at a cheaper price in the marketplace by disregarding the costs of pollution controls. Business pressures from the competitive market inevitably impede voluntary "green capitalism" initiatives. As capitalism proceeds down its road to Armageddon, resulting in the increasingly vast divisions between wealth and poverty, and growing economic insecurity for the majority of working people. An alternative post-capitalist society is essential which serves the interests of everyone, everywhere.

Only the suicidal rejection of the socialist future will lead to climate chaos. These are not the prophets who will lead the peoples of the world into a world “flowing with milk and honey.” Only with world socialism will the benefits of agriculture be given to all of the peoples of the world, because only a socialist economy can permit the rational planning of food production and sane allocation of resources. It is not surprising then that mainstream environmentalism tends to divert attention away from capitalism and the corporations and place the blame for climate change back on to an individual’s consumption life-style.

Many in the environment movement call for the world’s population to be reduced, this despite the fact the global trend is towards a lower birth rates with smaller family sizes. It appears they are pushing against an open door with their demands. The mainstream media is usually sympathetic to the call for population control. After all, it avoids the need for collective action for revolution. Such policies blind people blind to both facts and prospects of social change that promises to alleviate the present situation. Their evaluation of world food supplies and natural resources is both pessimistic and myopic. Only economic progress and prosperity will stabilise, slow down and reverse the birth rate. A declining birth rate is an effect, not a cause of economic progress.

Mankind can greatly increase the carrying capacity of the land through the wiser choice of crops to be grown and the proper use of those plants. Shortages of calories, proteins, fats, minerals or vitamins; or agricultural labour; or a combination of any of these could be ironed out through a scientific selection of crops and improved farming techniques.

Friedrich Engels pointed out as far back as 1865:
Too little is produced, that is the cause of the whole thing. But why is too little produced? Not because the limits of production – even today and with present day means – are exhausted. No, but because the limits of production are determined not by the number of hungry bellies but by the number of purges able to buy and to pay. Bourgeois society does not and cannot wish to produce any more. The moneyless bellies, the labour which cannot be utilised for profit and therefore cannot buy, is left to the death-rate. Let a sudden industrial boom, such as is constantly occurring, make it possible for this labour to be employed with profit, then it will get money to spend, and the means of subsistence have never hitherto been lacking. This is the vicious circle in which the whole economic system revolves. One presupposes bourgeois conditions as a whole, and then proves that every part of them is a necessary part – and therefore an “eternal law.” ” (Letter to F.A. Lange)

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