“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” ― Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach
Capitalist ideas are present in all parts of the society, including education, politics, the media and culture. Thus socialist ideas are rarely feature in political debates. The environmental movement and its books and journals seldom incorporate it within their analysis and the scientific community certainly does not include it in their solutions. While the climate crises requires a political response it is conducted within the parameters of what reformers consider immediately possible. The socialist claims of insolubility of the climate crisis through capitalism is dismissed. The Socialist Party’s contribution to the environment movement’s development is to emphasise that its goals can only be accomplished by the elimination of the capitalist economic system and the transformation to a socialist society. Only in a socialist society can the ecological problems capitalism creates be solved. The Socialist Party continually emphasises the necessity of transcending capitalism and creating a new society based on democratic ownership and control of resources and production. The features of capitalism – its drive for expansion, production for profit rather than social good, the inability to plan, and, ultimately, alienation of humanity from nature – make it inherently ecologically destructive. Our aim is to show the inability of capitalism to manage the economy sustainably or in the general interest and necessity of socialism.
Socialism presents a quandary for many radical greens. While engaging themselves in local grassroots activism and nongovernmental organisations forming transnational networks, this new global citizenship, the challenges to consumer capitalism obscure the continuation of the same old harsh realities that are fundamental to capitalist mode of production. No matter how much the patterns of lifestyles and consumption may change—no matter how decentralised or re-distributed they become—the basic structural reality of capitalism remains the same: EXPROPRIATION AND EXPLOITATION IN THE PRODUCTION FOR PROFIT. Capitalism is still a continuation of the centuries-old process of growth and incessant accumulation of capital through the expansion of world markets and attempt to control material resources and labour beyond national borders. Eco-activists neglect the exploitative process of capitalism—the expropriation of people’s surplus value for profit and thus diverts attention from what is at stake, which is the use of science not for emancipation of humankind from the realm of necessity but for profit. The question is that the resources of the planet can be can be used for meeting the needs of human kind, or it can be used to produce profit. It is not technology that is the problem, rather than capitalism. Equating environmental degradation with industrialisation, or new technology per se lets capitalism off the hook. The solution is not simplistically ending growth, but ending capitalism: ending production for profit and eliminating the exploitation of labour. Much of contemporary environmentalism cannot think the future of humanity outside of capitalism and instead embrace and accept capitalism working within the system rather than transforming it.