Friday, November 29, 2019

Vote and Strike for Socialism

This Friday, protesters from various cities and countries across the globe issued calls for swift climate action

According to Fridays for Future more than 3,200 strike events were planned around the world Friday. Climate activists are planning another campaign of strike for Friday, December 6th, focused upon Madrid's 12-day COP 25, starting on December 2nd.

In an article co-authored by by Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer and Angela Valenzuela, they point out that despite scientific projections and growing activism recognising the severity and urgency of the climate crisis, nothing has been done.

We have watched a string of United Nations climate conferences unfold. Countless negotiations have produced much-hyped but ultimately empty commitments from the world’s governments – the same governments that allow fossil-fuel companies to drill for ever-more oil and gas, and burn away our futures for their profit. Politicians and fossil-fuel companies have known about climate change for decades. And yet the politicians let the profiteers continue to exploit our planet’s resources and destroy its ecosystems in a quest for quick cash that threatens our very existence…world leaders, too, say that they have heard us. They say that they agree with our demand for urgent action to tackle the climate crisis. But they do nothing. As they head to Madrid for the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, we call out this hypocrisy.

The Socialist Party understands why there has been inaction by governments. Capitalism depends on the drive for profits, which must take priority over everything else. Capitalists compete with each other in the market place and have to keep their costs to a minimum, otherwise they may lose out to their competitors and their businesses may fail. Green measures that may increase business costs will have to be ignored. Nation-states face the same pressures, as they compete on global markets. Governments, which look after the interests of their respective capitalists, seek to protect their lucrative extractive industries. Seen from this context, prescriptions by environmentalists for people to change their lifestyles – to  reduce their consumption of meat, to use public transport rather than private vehicles – will not resolve the crisis. 

 If we are to have an environmentally sustainable future and avoid ecological catastrophe, we cannot rely on the capitalists and their governments to achieve this for us, we, the working class, must organise quickly to rid ourselves of capitalism and establish a society of common ownership of the means of living where we will be to plan production in a rational environmentally friendly way according to human need. We strongly urge workers to join us in this urgent task.

It is because politicians and even scientists cannot conceive of a world unlike this one; and so cannot countenance the idea that it has to change. Essentially they grasp that this system and environmental degradation are synonymous but that this system is the only means to support the world view they have and therefore this system of consumption must be defended at all costs, even if that involves bringing down everything with it. Like a crazed old dictator who would rather the entire empire collapsed than relinquished power, the capitalists would rather have it all smashed to smithereens than share any of it. Classic dog in a manger attitude, but with far worse consequences. Corporations will seek to distort the facts of the matter so they can carry on as usual.

Ultimately the issue of the environment is an issue of power: who has the power to determine what happens to this planet? Only in a society where we have the power to determine what can and cannot be done will we be able to stop this headlong rush to environmental devastation. That means a world of common ownership and democratic control. Anything else which anyone offers is merely using an Elastoplast to seal a volcano. Only socialism can deliver on the environment.

 W e repeat, the government of a country exists primarily to ensure optimal conditions for the accumulation of national capital – the wealth (value) owned by that country’s corporate and state capitalists – in competition with other national capitals. The process of capital accumulation is endless and serves no purpose outside itself.

A government that defies the imperative of capital accumulation in any significant way immediately comes under pressure so intense that it is forced either to change course or to resign. This is probably what would happen to any government that demanded fossil fuels be left in the ground, however profitable extracting and selling them might be to the companies concerned. Only extremely strong and persistent popular counter-pressure might give a government some room for manoeuvre.

A choice has to be made. It is no longer a matter of ‘socialism or capitalism’ or even ‘socialism or barbarism’. The choice now is between world socialism and global catastrophe.

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