Sunday, October 18, 2015

The future is ours

The situation facing people around the world today is as grave as at any time in history. In its world-wide rush for profit and power, capitalism has ravaged the resources and environment of the Earth.  Widespread pollution of the air, soil, rivers, lakes and seas is but one of the consequences. Global warming and its ‘greenhouse effect’ threaten a greater incidence of climatic instability, crop failure and flooding. Destruction of the rainforests is driving plant and animal species to extinction. Ozone depletion, acid rain, deforestation and desertification present the world’s peoples with new and additional dangers. Climate change is perhaps the most urgent global issue of the day. Capitalism is unable to feed, clothe, house, provide work for or meet the needs of the people of this planet. The drive for profit is an in-built obstacle to environmental protection. It regards ‘green’ policies as a drain on potential profits and dividends. It leads to the wasteful levels of consumption of raw materials seen today in the highly industrialised world. Workers of the world now have a choice. Go down with the ship or construct something new from the wreckage and strike out for a real worthwhile future.

Expecting the capitalist market system not to pollute too much is like expecting a lead balloon to float. Most in the Green Movement are not interested in socialism. But if socialists do talk to people involved in the environmentalist organisations, we should carry the socialist message to a group of people who are fighting against what is objectively one of the most serious evils of modern capitalism. Whether we like it or not, climate change is affecting U.S. food security. Changing climate means added risk.

1) Temperatures are rising. Average temperatures across the American Midwest region have risen steadily over the last several decades. The average temperatures since 1990 have been consistently higher than the 1901–1960 average. And the period since 2000 is the warmest on record.
2) The growing season is longer. The growing season in the American Midwest is now on average about one week longer than it was in the 1960s and 1970s.
3) Extreme weather events are more common. The number of one-day, once-in-five-year storms has increased by 4 percent per decade since the beginning of the 20th century.

Hotter temperatures and a longer growing season could fundamentally alter the crops we grow and the way we grow them. It will have an impact on yields and create wide swings in production, which will in turn affect food prices here and around the world. Plant and insect pests that thrive in hotter areas of the country will pose greater concerns here. We could experience more “flash drought,” like we saw in 2012 (just one year after record flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers) when all of Missouri was declared an agricultural disaster area. Water resources will be more at risk.

Foreign corporations and sovereign funds are buying up more food infrastructure, like the Chinese purchase of Smithfield Foods, because food availability and price volatility threaten governments and world stability. Wealthier, food stressed countries are land-grabbing arable land in places like South America and Africa, even though people who live there are hungry now.

Global warming and the environmental crisis is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity.  A very large number of left-wingers of all sorts have flocked into the Greens. The uncontrolled exploitation and gross waste of resources typical of capitalism. Shortsighted hunt for profit, neglects and abuse of science under capitalism destroy the world’s environment at an accelerating speed. Science, technology and industry can be positive and beneficial to society, but private property and the priorities of the elite and the ruling class create great problems. Capitalism today leads to people and nature being alienated. Our answer is that the working class, must organise to overthrow those who threaten the existence of the people of the world. Only a planned socialist economy has strength to remedy a future climate catastrophe. Production will be planned on the basis of what serves society, not what yields the most profit. The producers themselves, the workers, will decide what to produce and how – not “the market”. The working class is the only revolutionary class under capitalism. It is the historical task of the working class to put an end to capitalist exploitation and oppression. Socialism is the power of the working class.

Replacing private ownership of the means of production (land, workplaces, power, machinery, raw materials) with common ownership will not only put an end to exploitation. It will also ensure that production takes place in order to meet society’s needs, not in order to maximise private profit. The democratic planning of production would enable the full use of scientific and technological advances to eradicate poverty, raise living standards and put an end to the massive inequalities of wealth and power. The guiding principle of socialism would be: ‘from each according to their ability to each according to their needs’. Socialism would make possible the creation of genuine democracy and participation in all areas of society, allowing the only hope of saving our planet’s ecological balance from irreparable damage.


Mike Ballard said...

Imagine common ownership and democratic control over the collective product of labour. Imagine a world without commodification where we produce wealth purely for use and distribute it on the basis of need.

ajohnstone said...

Well put, Mike