Both Trump and Greta Thunberg are at the World Economic Forum at Davos presenting their very contrasting views on the environment.
Let us make our goal very clear. It is to achieve a civilisation in which cooperation, not competition, will be society’s code. It will be about sharing our planet with other peoples and also with its other forms of life. This does not rule out a certain amount of economic growth, necessary to end poverty. The issue for socialists is not that there will be no economic growth but of what kind growth. We will apply the appropriate technology, no longer making working people slaves to the machines. Producers and consumers at local, regional and global level will exercise shared stewardship and joint control by over products and production processes. The only things worth producing will be the good for all and neither privilege nor diminish anyone.
Participatory democracy means individuals and communities acting as facilitator, adjudicator, monitor and consensus builder, the dispersal of authority in a wide variety of forms, multi-tiered, with the elimination of all manner of formal barriers to involvement. People will know their participation makes a real difference to their lives, of the lives of other people and to their natural surroundings they are interested in. It means individuals satisfying the need for belonging to, and being part of something bigger than oneself, adding to one’s own significance. People will understand the distinctions and differentiation between centralisation and decentralisation; from ‘think locally and act globally’, to ‘think globally and act locally’; from hard technologies to soft ones – renewable energy sources, solar energy, wind power, not fossil fuels; eco-agriculture not industrial farming; global, regional and local food production and processing; re-use - repair - recycle. Capitalism has now run its course. Without change we might succumb to global inundations, economic and social collapse. Life on the planet might become restricted and reduced.
What about human nature? Aren’t we wired to? Aren’t we born greedy and lazy and seek to acquire a lot of material things? But our other human traits such as empathy and cooperation are historically greater than the desire to compete and dominate. Even today people work together in times of disaster. It is capitalism which encourages competition, over-consumption and individualism because that is what makes capitalism thrive. This is why those aspects of human nature seem to be the only ones. No cure for capitalism’s deadly excesses can be found in capitalism itself. The message of the Socialist Party is that humanity cannot survive if it allows those whose existence is determined by pursuing profit to determine our future—if we want that future to be a liveable one for all species.
The Socialist Party reaches out to eco-activists for a dialogue but more oftener than not it is a monologue. is really a monologue, as most campaigners in the environment movement are not interested in socialism. Our assessment is many greens are not prepared to take their analysis to its logical conclusion in that they propose class-collaborationist solutions with politicians and corporations. They expect the capitalists to act against their own material interests.
The Socialist Party’s aim is to replace capitalism with a society in which common ownership of the means of production has replaced capitalist ownership, and in which the preservation and restoration of ecosystems will be central to all activity. Environment destruction is not an accidental feature of capitalism, it is built into the system. The capitalist system’s insatiable need to increase profits cannot be reformed away. Capitalism’s insatiable need for growth means that it is very unlikely that we will see effective mitigation policies from any major capitalist country. Anything they do will be too little, too late. Capitalist will “solve” global warming, but their solution will be catastrophic for the great majority of the world’s people. It will do what capitalism always does — it will impose the greatest burdens on the most vulnerable, on poor people and subject nations. The most barbaric forms of capitalism will intensify and spread. Climate refugees will be persecuted and untold numbers will die.