Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Tomorrow will be too late

It has been confirmed that the venue for the November 2020 COP26 will be at Glasgow's SEC. 20,000 official delegates are expected to attend the two week conference, as well as large numbers of lobbyists and activists. The Socialist Party will be conducting a campaign to promote our case for socialism as the remedy for global warming because we need to confront the climate emergency with workable solutions. Putting an end to the capitalist system is the first of our priorities to save the planet.

 We cannot avoid the unfolding climate chaos. The climate crisis is the single biggest challenge to our food, water and people on this planet. Capitalism intends to profit as much as possible from fossil fuels before markets fall under the weight of climate chaos and better alternatives. The fight for climate justice arises out of capitalism’s relentless assault on the natural resources of our planet and its exploitative systems of production and world trade. Our message is clear—we must act now to avoid the worst effects of climate change because all of our lives depend upon it. Capitalism can never go ‘green’ or be ‘ethical. A business, well intentioned or not, cannot escape market pressures. In fact, the capitalist market never creates stable, sustainable relationships. Because it is unplanned and because it is driven by the crude search for profits, the short term interests of particular capitalists will always prevail over the welfare of communities and countryside. If a particular raw material is found to be more valuable on the world market than others there will be a rush to exploit that particular product – never mind the cost to the environment.

The last line of defence for "green" capitalists is the desperate claim that ‘at least they are doing something’. Yet the lifestyle solution promoted by ‘green capitalists’ suggests the environmental problems cannot be cured a genuine fundamental remedy. Capitalism is damaging the environment, its carbon emissions are causing global warming, while profiteers and speculators deplete our vital rain forests. We are on the verge of catastrophe. To avert this outcome, it is necessary to build an alternative model to the capitalist system, based on solidarity not competition; a system in harmony with the environment and not plundering it Capitalism's businesses regard the Earth’s natural resources as a “free gift” to capital. While short-term governments are dissuaded from calculating the human or ecological cost of their policies on the future, to win corporate backing and public votes. The need for sustainable development creates an irreconcilable contradiction under capitalism because it implies obstruction of the profit motive which drives production.

There are solutions to all these problems. Fairly simple measures could be taken to halt the build up of greenhouse gases. Simply growing more trees could absorb the excess carbon dioxide that threatens our future. Decent public transport systems and the introduction of electric cars that have already been developed by many companies would have an immediate impact. The destruction of environmentally important areas of our planet is not caused by scarcity of resources or overpopulation as some experts mistakenly suggest. There is already enough food in the world to sustain the population twice over. In Africa farmland is not sufficiently irrigated, and the amount of arable land there could be vastly increased.Even those people who are opposed to overt racism, and regard themselves as progressives advocate population and immigration controls. Their essential argument is that we are already overpopulated, and that if it continues further, ecological disasters will develop in the not-too-distant future. And to justify their views they toss around various figures and cherry pick statistics.

When environmentalists claim that growth, or even human society itself, is innately hostile to nature, they are wrong. Modern technology is not in itself destructive. This simplistic opposition between "man" and "nature" is meaningless. Human activity has already changed most of the earth’s surface beyond recognition. Human beings have the unique ability to transform the world consciously, according to a plan. The fact that such measures have not been used to abolish hunger and poverty once and for all, comes down to what motivates business and governments – profit. Ordinary people are concerned about the environment. It is us, after all, who suffer most from the fouling of the environment. It is ourselves who live in polluted cities and who face toxic chemicals and contamination But it is we who are excluded from any real control of the environment. We want to live in a safe, healthy world, and to enjoy nature, yet we have no control over decisions that affect our lives. Even in our own workplace we have to struggle to achieve health and safety measures. All production decisions are made by a tiny handful of capitalists, not in the interests of humanity, but purely for profit. Environmental concerns are ignored in the short term pursuit for profit. The market can never be harnessed to develop a harmonious relationship with nature. Because it depends on the exploitation of most of humanity, it must keep us subjected. Because its motor force is profit, it will result in the blind destruction of the environment.

To prevent worsening economic and environmental misery for the world’s population, capitalism must be replaced by an entirely new economic and social order, socialism. The goal of socialism is to create societies that offer full participation to each member and are environmentally sustainable. Human needs will be fulfilled through democratic common ownership of the means of producing social wealth. Consumption patterns must adapt as part of learning a new relationship with planet Earth. This need not result in the continued poverty for working people. What will end will be the culture of throwaway consumerism and needless waste. We can reverse the destruction of the Earth’s ecosystem. To achieve a shift to an ecologically sustainable and socially just economic order, planning of the world economy through democratic institutions and mass participation from members of society is required. This cannot be achieved under capitalism. To avoid ecological disaster it is necessary to develop a system based on solidarity and complementarity and not competition, system in harmony with our world, rather than one that loots its natural resources, a system based on cultural diversity and not the crushing of cultures and impositions of cultural values and lifestyles alien to the realities of our countries and a system of peace based on social justice and not on policies of war. In short, a system that restores the human condition of our societies and peoples, rather than reducing them to simple consumers or commodities. 

The ruling class resists any loosening of their control over the world’s natural and human resources, while their lust for profits continues to drive destructive projects. Working people of the world share common interests in fighting against capitalist exploitation and oppression. Divisions among us along national or racial lines are fostered by the capitalists and serve their interests. Capitalism is destroying humanity and the planet. There should be no illusions, the profit-making drive of capitalism demands that nothing whatsoever is inviolate, certainly not the environment is permitted to stand in the way of exploitation and capital accumulation.

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