Sunday, November 18, 2018

Time for greens to think differently

Protesters blocked off five major bridges in central London as part of a so-called "rebellion day". Organisers said thousands gathered in central London to demand the government take greater action on climate change. Demonstrators occupied Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges for most of the day.  6,000 people joined the protests and more than 85 were arrested.
Diana Jacout, of Extinction Rebellion, said the blockages were "not a step we take lightly" but "if things continue as is, we face an extinction greater than the one that killed the dinosaurs. We have tried marching, and lobbying, and signing petitions. Nothing has brought about the change that is needed."
"Climate change is so important, it's coming over so fast and nothing is being done," the participants said.
In face of capitalism failure to embrace renewable energy, unprecedented numbers of people are mobilising in climate marches and engaging in direct action, demanding in their words climate justice. The Socialist Party has a great deal to say about the causes of climate change and it exposes the irreformable nature of capitalism.  What is to be done about climate change? The global warming effect is caused by too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil. The atmosphere traps the heat and when the planet becomes too hot, catastrophe looms. Capitalism possesses no self-correcting mechanism to fix the problem and geo-engineering suggestions have proven inadequate or too expensive to implement.  

The idea of an international legal system to regulate and moderate carbon emissions cannot be seriously considered when the law at the national level cannot be effectively enforced.  To hold such an illusion is to have an illusion in the ability of rival states to work together, much less the capacity of global corporations to circumvent regulations they believe conflict with their basic drive to make profits and to commodify relationships across increasing areas of life around the world. 

 The Socialist Party seeks a steady-state, zero-growth society (this refers to fundamental long-term tendency) understand the material limits that we must take into account, but capitalist accumulation is limitless in its demands. The green movement fails to recognise this anti-capitalist conclusion, to that extent it turns its back on socialism. The destiny of the world socialist movement is central to the future of ecology. The system of capitalism must be placed at the center of their analysis — its basic laws understood as guaranteeing the abuse of nature. 

 Capitalism should not be seen as a mere aberration to the otherwise “efficiency” of the hidden hand of the market. Agriculture u nder capitalism, for example, reveals the system’s destructive and contradictory relation with nature where  the laws of the market forbid it from guaranteeing global food security with disastrous consequences to food production of the expansion of industrialised farming to the detriment of  small producers being driven out of business, off the land and often into starvation.

The Socialist Party see the pressing need for a democratic,  transformation of society, and clear thinking about how this is to happen. It requires the linking of all the different resistances to one universal project of class emancipation so we can begin to build a socialist political struggle. Socialist politics is indispensable to any real struggle against the environmental crisis in how directly the crisis is related to the system of capitalist production. For many people, “capitalism” may be something eternal and of course, we’re not supposed to question capitalism, and this is why it’s off the table at every UN Climate Change Conference despite its direct effects on the environment, due to its inescapable drive towards growth. 

 Capitalism is an economic and social system in which the means of production are privately owned. The owning employing class appropriate the surplus product created by the workers. This appropriation leads to the accumulation of more capital, the amassing of wealth, further investment, and thus the expansion of capitalism. Commodities are produced for the purpose of generating profit and promoting accumulation. Within the capitalist system, individuals pursue their self interests against competition and impersonal forces of the market. 

 Carbon trading schemes, such as cap-and-trade and carbon offsets, and flat carbon taxes, are debates within the capitalist class over which is more effective may be boiled down to tensions between finance capital (favouring carbon trading) and industrial capital (favouring carbon taxes). In either case, corporations will not allow governments to curtail profits. “Green consumerism”, otherwise known as “lifestyle activism,” is based on the flawed notion that consumers are actually in charge of the market, that an enlightened public can simply choose to “buy green” or buy less. This view fails to recognise the role of marketing and its power to affect consumers’ behavior: it’s the corporations that are in charge, not the consumers.

 Green cuts in consumerism end up being at best, little more than a feel-good strategy.  The capitalist system is so addicted to consumerism that nothing short of a revolution can wean it away from their use. As long as Green activists hold to their goals they will confront capitalism’s structural barriers to their realisation. We should go about ending capitalism and we should replace it with the cooperative commonwealth.

 Wars are an inevitable consequence of capitalism and a major source of massive greenhouse gas emissions in addition to their more obvious destructive consequences for the countries that are invaded. The goal of peace cannot be reconciled with capitalism’s competitive struggle for markets, trade routes, resources, and cheap labour.  Inherent in the capitalist system is that capital does not simply exploit labour but exploits nature as well.

1 comment:

Janet Surman said...

Excellent post. Can you put a link to it on this thread on the forum?