Wednesday, November 10, 2021

COP’s false hopes


We have a capitalist society where at its heart lies production for profit on which the whole system depends. This fact shapes everything about the world we live in, including the very ideologies and policies of the political parties, the world’s governments and global corporations. History has often revealed that those who rule have often been prepared to see the whole of society collapse into chaos rather than accept the change that challenged their power. Is there any reason to suppose anything different and they will behave any differently to their predecessors in these modern days?

Yes, we can imagine a section of the global ruling class, and some governments taking action and refusing to gamble on the future of civilisation. But we say that there exists a surer path than that hopeful reliance upon the good intentions of a few political leaders and some business executives.

We are required to mobilise the power of millions of ordinary people, and bring down the whole edifice of today’s capitalist society. Capitalism has simply proven incapable of stopping or limiting global warming. The cure for the climate crises involves wresting power out of the hands of those who have it now. Such a transformation is a revolution, with its aim as socialism. Not everyone who recognises the threat to the world’s climate understands the need to change society from top to bottom. The World Socialist Movement has to convey the inherent logic that we must go beyond mere reforms within the existing structures of economic and political power.

Capitalism is driven by its hunger for profits. Such a rapacious system cannot tackle the climate crisis or make rational planned decisions about what to produce that is separate from the bottom line of profits.

Engels was well aware of this when he wrote:

“...What cared the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests on the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertiliser for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees - what cared they that the heavy tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only bare rock..”

Capitalism is the cause of climate change and socialism ie social ownership and democratic planning of production is the solution.Yet many climate activists object and tell us There is no time to wait for the Revolution.” Rather than seeking to overthrow capitalism, they wish an immediate campaign to force governments to act now.

Our answer is concise. “There is no time to wait for you to convince governments and corporations to change policies.”

It is clearly not working and there is no reason to believe it will. Politicians and CEOs run up against and get blocked by capitalist competition which is central to the system: hence the failure. Our solution to prevent runaway climate change is revolution.

Too many environmentalists still stand for the continuation of capitalism complete with commodity production and rival nation-states. By accepting that capitalist production should continue the ecology movement diminishes its credibility despite the best of aspirations. Their manifestos of a controlled reshaping of capitalism managed by governments is an old and failed idea. Nor is it practical to imagine that all sections of world capitalist producers, either as corporations or governments could agree to adopt production methods that were less polluting.

With the abolition of capitalism, in which goods take the form of commodities for sale on the market, and the abolition of the wage-labour/capital relationship, socialism will establish direct co-operation between producers and goods will be produced directly for need. This will eliminate the economic constraints which at present severely limit the use of production methods. Production for use will consciously regulate production and this will include a choice of methods limited only by available technique and practicality. Socialism will also eliminate a vast amount of waste and at least increase the number of people available for useful work many-fold.

Socialism would have no difficulty in applying a principle of sustainable production which would include working with the natural environment in non-destructive ways and within existing natural systems without altering them. It is inconceivable that the life of world society can achieve balance with nature unless it first achieves unity and common purpose within its own organisation.

The continuation of capitalism on its blind and uncontrolled course is a gamble on life itself. This is surely clear to anyone with a serious concern for ensuring stable natural ecosystems in which humanity can enjoy being part of nature.

Who are the ecologists? The World Socialist Movement.


Members of the environmentalist campaigns should join with us now.

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