Sunday, November 18, 2018

Revolutionary Environmentalists

Eighty-five people have been arrested as thousands of demonstrators occupied five bridges in central London to voice their concern over the looming climate crisis. Demonstrators occupied Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges. In the past two weeks more than 60 people have been arrested for taking part in acts of civil disobedience organised by Extinction Rebellion ranging from gluing themselves to government buildings to blocking major roads in the capital.

Gail Bradbrook, one of the organisers, explained, “Given the scale of the ecological crisis we are facing this is the appropriate scale of expansion. Occupying the streets to bring about change as our ancestors have done before us. Only this kind of large-scale economic disruption can rapidly bring the government to the table to discuss our demands. We are prepared to risk it all for our futures.” 

 Too many people do n’t have the slightest idea what overthrowing capitalism means.  Instead, they are intent to replace the present savage capitalist system with one in which markets still have their place. The Socialist Party, however, endeavours to bring home the true scale of the barbarity of global capitalism. Our view is that a sustainable social revolution — an economy that meets human needs without spoiling our soil, poisoning our water and air and emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That revolution is well within the capacity of existing technology, assuming appropriate action is taken by society. In the Socialist Party, we see the structures of society as resulting from social struggles – above all, the class struggle between exploiters and exploited over who controls, and who gets how much of, the surplus created by productive labour. In turn, those class structures strongly condition how well and for whose benefit existing technology is used, along with the possibilities of new scientific and technological developments. Civilisation of any kind depends absolutely on the ability to produce ample food. That means agriculture; contrary to some billionaire fools who salivate at the thought of trillion-dollar expenditures on human space travel, our species will not save itself by space travel and food grown on Mars. If the good news is that humanity is incredibly adaptable to practically every climate and diet available on earth, the bad news is that we’re at the top of the food chain, and therefore vulnerable to disruptive changes. Most obviously, stable temperature and rainfall necessary for growing crops. This reality affects not only farmers on the edge of subsistence in Africa or struggling family farmers in the drought-stricken North American western states or Australia. It pertains even to corporate Big Ag.

The struggle for socialism remains a necessity.  The longer the delay, the worse are the consequences and the greater the restrictions will be required for halting the carbon emissions that threaten our civilisation. To get to the core of the problem, one must take into account that it is profits which motivate the operations of the capitalist economic system. If we overlook this fact, if we believe that appealing to the good-will and humanitarian sentiments of the CEOs of global corporations will change the situation for the better, we will be building upon illusions. There's not a single example over hundreds of years where the rich and powerful have given way to the poor and the ordinary workers, just because they have been good at being subservient and submissive. The meek have never inherited the Earth. To appeal to the common sense of financiers and industrialists is to expect them to be able to abandon their lucrative profits from exploitation and oppression. It brings no results and only the purposeful self-activity of the people themselves can sweep away the polluters. Socialism as shared abundance, like the equality in a family. We've got the abundance - we just have to transform the way we distribute it.  We look forward to the day that humanity might create an agricultural system that provides food for people without exploiting their labour or expropriating their land.

 Climate change cannot be solved by piecemeal palliatives to the existing system of production and consumption. It requires a radical transformation of our social system. Marx described how blind the drive of capitalists to keep ahead of each other is. “In every stock jobbing swindle everyone knows that some time or other the crash must come, but everyone hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbour. Après moi le deluge! [After me, the flood!] is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation.” 

What applies to the economy applies to the environment. Governments and individual businesses may be able to see what will be the result of the increasing greenhouse gases, but not one of them is going to sacrifice their own competitiveness to take the necessary effective countermeasures. It is not capitalism that is going to make alternative renewable energy sources real – it is the struggle against capitalism.  Capitalism is the enemy. The climate change deniers may have become a fringe-like reality, yet few ecologists are fighting for the liberation of humanity from this cancerous capitalist system.

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