Monday, January 27, 2020

Understanding our World

There is a new mood of resistance and solidarity among working people. But we must move from simply anti-capitalism to socialist revolution. We must envision the formation of a truly global movement capable of challenging the most powerful institutions on the planet without succumbing to either Utopianism or reformism.

Famine, AIDS (and now the emerging coronavirus), anti-immigration populism are being hailed as Malthusian "natural" population control to keep in check the high population growth. But what is regarded as a "natural" system is the capitalist system and multinational corporations. There is nothing natural about them other than they currently dominate trade and production, and hence resource use and consumption. Those concerned with environmental destruction must eventually confront the question of the global capitalist market profit system of production.

 Many environmentalists reject traditional politics, since political differences between liberal and conservative have become, for the most part, indistinguishable in practice. The authoritarianism witnessed in the former Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellite countries had discredited socialism. Thus socialist ideas, even eco-socialism, have been marginalised and unable to penetrate the mainstream climate crisis debate. The socialists lack mass influence. The eco-activists have been slow to incorporate Marxist analysis into their views, despite its great potential not only to explain the economic processes leading to environmental destruction, but to change them. A serious critique of capitalism is essential to adequately address the current world environmental crisis. The environmental movement can no longer afford to adapt traditional "liberal" or "conservative" views of the market to its concerns, or ignore the issue altogether by claiming that understanding the market as the central organising principle in modern society is unnecessary. Concepts such as "carrying capacity" clearly must be conceived in their capitalist economic context. The greens must now rethink their vision of a future society. Missing from the eco-activists view of the market is an adequate appraisal of the inherent logic within capitalism that necessitates environmental destruction rather than holding an assumption that the basic system of capitalist production functions more or less efficiently, needing only the enlightened management and regulation by the state to curb its excesses and mitigate its shortcomings. Facing competition from other producers, each firm must minimise or externalise its costs while maximising profit and market share. Like labour, environmental protection appears as a cost in the corporate balance sheet which must be minimised. This fact operates independently of the personal views or ethics of business owners or CEOs. If concerned managers implement costly environmental controls, they either sacrifice profit or lose market share to the competitor who can undersell at a cheaper price in the marketplace. Green tinkering is not enough, nor the best we can hope for. An alternative economic program which serves the interests of the democratic majority is essential.

Socialism’s promises an egalitarian distribution of all the productive wealth capitalism plus a more meaningful democracy, social justice and liberation from alienation. 

The Socialist Party has put forward a convincing ecological future with a credible vision of potential abundance.

 Environmentalists must  ask themselves what kind of a planet they want to live on and what kind of a society they want to do it.

Under the capitalist system, “production of surplus-value is the absolute law of this mode of production” (Marx, Capital). The nature of the capitalist class is to seek fabulous monopoly profits. In exploiting energy resources, the capitalists do not consider the rational use of natural resources but only seek maximum profits.

The current climate crisis while on the surface it may be a question of natural resources, in reality this is absolutely not so. The world’s energy resources, including those of the main capitalist countries, are plentiful. Furthermore, with the development of production and the steady rise of human knowledge, people are discovering and will continue to discover new sources of energy. In essence, the climate crisis gripping the capitalist world is a reflection of the crisis of the capitalist system, an outcome of the sharpening contradictions within the capitalist system, and a result of the capitalists’ ruthless exploitation and plunder of the people.

The decrease and increase of the various energy resources often depend on the amount of profit they give. Capitalism means waste. In the capitalist world, resources are wasted because of anarchy in production and general wastefulness in life. Weapons expansion and war preparations and wars of aggression are bottomless pits in consuming and squandering. They are indeed parasites living on the people of the developing countries. Their wealth comes from their plunder, and the poverty of the developing nations is caused by their exploitation and plunder. The climate crisis is an indication of the great disorder in the world today. It will in turn inevitably make the world situation continue to develop in the direction of upheaval.

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