The long-anticipated COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow is not very promising for our human civilisation. The well-established data of the realities of global warming is now very clear. The issue isn’t the science, it’s now the politics and the economics.
Saving the environment must also go hand in hand with the rights of capitalists and nations to make profits, we are being told. Policies must remain cheap enough for businesses to change. Despite all the evidence, proven time and time again, that it is capitalism, a rapacious economy, that is destroying the planet, those who profit from it remain unwilling to admit that it is that system which is the cause, and refuse to accept the only solution is socialist revolution.
The climate crisis presents an unprecedented opportunity for profound change for all humanity. Global warming and the climate movement has become one of politics’ top priorities. The inability of capitalism to make the economy sustainable has never been clearer. The features of capitalism – its drive to expand, to acquire private ownership over natural resources, its production for profit rather than social good, make it inherently ecologically damaging. Consumption of resources is, of course, an important issue but an overemphasis on lifestyles and individual consumption distracts from industrial and commercial consumption. Corporations and the military are the reason for a disproportionate share of resource depletion, carbon emissions, waste and pollution. These powerful actors should be held responsible for their actions. Capitalism fosters competition and individualism because that is what makes capitalists prosper.
Only with a socialist society can the environmental problems capitalism creates be solved. The World Socialist Movement continually emphasise the necessity of transcending capitalism and creating a new society based on democratic control of resources and production. Reforms and regulatory legislation may offer minor temporary concessions but socialists want to change the system itself. Socialists recognise corporations place commercial success above social responsibility. Business success means ever-increasing profits. A socialist system would alter who owns and controls the means of production. We are part of building a mass world socialist movement, which is our only guarantee to replace capitalism with a world worthy of humanity and the rest of nature. In order to replace capitalism with a steady-state society, we need a revolution.
In the eyes of many within the green movement, a socialist revolution is a pipedream. What is needed now, we are always told, is practical pragmatic policies to be passed by politicians. But the proposals to mitigate climate change prove to be unachievable and utopian. All the various green new deals expect that capitalists will slit their own throats by supporting laws that act against their interests. This is indeed the real pipedream, asking capitalism not to be capitalist and to use their capital, not for profits but to repair and rebuild the devastation they themselves have wreaked upon the Earth.
It is crackpot reformism. The capitalist economy is based on the pillage of nature which leads to global warming. Fossil fuels and remains intrinsic to the operation of capitalism in many of the developing nations across the world. Capitalism is the reason our eco-systems are falling apart and the only way humanity can thrive is by ending capitalism.
Even if some capitalists hold a longer-term view, looking at the prospect of future profits, their course of action is curtailed as they are constantly required to keep an eye upon their rivals and will not spend or invest if they think this will undermine their ‘competitiveness’. The fear of every capitalist is losing their competitive edge in the market. If that means risking losing long term ability to make profit, so be it. CEOs stick to their faith that “Accumulate, accumulate! This is Moses and the Prophets!” as Marx’s Capital expresses it, regardless that people or nature, will be sacrificed at the alter of Mammon. And no government or politician dare defy this dogma for fear of the full fury of their puppet-masters, their financiers and party donors’