Friday, September 20, 2019

Climate Strike, Not a Military Strike

Global Climate Actions 20-27th of September: 4638 events in 139 countries on all continent. 

Gather on streets, in parks and at public squares around the World to demand action. 

At stake in this climate emergency is the future of civilisation, at least, as we know it. The people of the world watch as we head towards a scarcely unimaginable catastrophe. Scientists are issuing dire warnings. The Socialist Party offers an alternative approach to the global warming crisis but we accept the reality, very few are hearing and listening to us. The simple answer is a simple one: we will work harder to present our message. We will have to find ways to shape the message, in words and actions, to gain a receptive audience. Our view on the environment emergency must not induce despair and encourage resignation but produce positive politics of social change. We humans face a choice. The world we wish must begin with actually defining what sort of world we want. We can't rely only on the bureaucracies of governments to address the problems facing our planet. We must start doing it ourselves. Workers living in the still relatively developed nations now have to prepare for renewed austerity assaults on their living standards while the more impoverished people in the developing and undeveloped nations now have to prepare for demands that they abandon their dreams for better lives. Such a future is neither just nor sustainable. 

The planet’s ecological problems stem largely from the failure to share. The principle of sharing has always formed the basis of social relationships in societies across the world. We all know from personal experience that sharing is central to family and community life, and the importance of sharing. There exists a growing body of anthropological and biological evidence that human beings are naturally predisposed to cooperate and share in order to improve our collective well-being and maximise our chances of survival. In fact, sharing is far more prevalent in society than people often realise. Charities and co-operatives, self-help and mutual aid organisations abound. We have collaborative knowledge sharing websites like Wikipedia and many other forms of peer2peer information technology. Given the urgency why are we still failing to manage the world’s resources in a more sustainable way? Every year, international conferences take place and endless reports are published but the international community has not remedied the problems we face. Nothing seems to change. We are unable to overcome the vested interests. For too long, governments have put profit and growth before the welfare of all people and the sustainability of the biosphere.

Given the scale of the task ahead it is impossible at this stage for socialists to put forward a blueprint of the specific policies and actions we need to take. But in order to inspire support for transformative change, it is imperative that we outline a vision of how and why changes to production and distribution should be based firmly on the principle of sharing. The first element is for the community to recognise that natural resources form part of our shared commons, and is for the benefit of all. Humanity has to move away from today’s private and state ownership models, and towards a new form of resource management based on non-ownership. Common ownership would embody the principle of sharing on a global scale, and it would enable the all communities to take collective responsibility for managing the world’s resources. Currently, the world still lacks a broad-based acceptance of the need for planetary reconstruction. Without a global mass movement of people that share a collective vision of change, it will remain impossible to overcome the influence of the vested interests of the capitalist class.

Ecological chaos is the outcome of an ill-managed world capitalist system. What socialists seek is a self-organised, decentralised economy, in which ordinary people take advantage of new technologies of abundance. We can only “cure the planet” by establishing a society without private productive property or profit where humans will be freed from the uncontrollable economic laws of the pursuit of profit and the accumulation of capital. Only a world socialist society, based on the common ownership and democratic control of natural resources, is compatible with production that respects the natural environment. In socialism the producers, the immediate users of the common resources, would not be trying to make an independent living for themselves but would be carrying out a particular function on behalf of the community in a social context where the aim of production would be to satisfy needs on a sustainable basis. It is not “humanity” but the capitalist economic system itself which is responsible for ecological problems and the capitalist class and their representatives, they themselves are subject to the laws of profit and competition.

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