The environmental crisis is not the result of exceptions nor of any aberrations to the market and profit accumulation system of capitalism. The system of capitalism is at the centre of our climate change emergency with its production of commodities for the sake of realising surplus value.
The World Socialist Movement (WSM) exposes the capitalist system’s destructive relationship with nature and its disastrous consequences. Our planet is being poisoned and polluted with the threat to our civilisation, the main factor being the plunder of our natural resources by capitalism. The main impulse of our social system is the quest for profit.
Environmentalists first need more clarity. One lesson they should understand is that there are no shortcuts to a sustainable world without first ending the current economic structure of society. The reluctance of identifying the core cause of our ecological problems has meant socialists such as ourselves lecturing the environment movement from the outside to have our perspective made known. Few ever receive the message that we deliver. Most environmentalists do not provide a full-blown analysis of capitalism and they lack familiarity with the ideas of the socialist tradition represented by the WSM. Many environmental activists feel uncomfortable with our emphasis upon doing away with private ownership and introducing social ownership, the democratic planning of production and distribution. Many Greens simply cannot go beyond reforming capitalism, despite the fact that their goals cannot be reconciled with a capitalist economy
An ecological zero-growth, steady-state harmony between society and nature is not compatible with capitalism’s insatiable and existential compulsion to expand and grow. Capitalism will be forever a barrier to the realisation of their hope of an eco-friendly world. Making what one believes to be radical anti-capitalist and anti-corporate demands should not be mistaken as challenging the essence of the capitalist system itself. Our respective visions are very different. The realisation that humanity faces a critical challenge from global warming brings with it a rising consciousness about other crises and dangers.
With the deepening of the global warming crisis, the WSM will endeavour to persuade environmentalists to embrace our revolutionary socialist platform for a world cooperative commonwealth.
This is a crisis not generated by humanity because capitalism is not motivated by human needs or desires. The only solution to the climate emergency is the creation of a planned society in which the quest for profits has been abolished and the results of our science and technology are used for the benefit of the people. Our ecology problems not only dangerously affects the lives and health of people today. It perhaps threatens life on this planet under the worse scenario. The fact that it may not lead to a mass extinction should not lead to complacency about the urgency of a solution. The environmental crisis has brought into sharp focus the irresponsible practices of the capitalist corporations that ignore all human and social concerns in their drive for profits. Criminal destruction of the environment is not limited to corporations. It extends to government bodies.
What is important? Profits for a few already rich, or an environment in which life on this planet can continue? The incessant drive for maximum profits by the corporate interests has been and is ever more in conflict with the overall general interests of society. This is an inherent characteristic of capitalism. This drive for profits is incompatible with the ability of human society to continue to thrive on this planet and for many species of nature to survive.
Humanity must ask itself “Will it be capitalism or civilisation’s progress?”
Capitalism has never been concerned with human life, launching wars and neglecting health. Why should anyone think capitalism is going to change now? We can continue with business-as-usual to create profits for a few and a disaster. Or we re-programme the system for the well-being of all. Socialism corrects the basic flaw of capitalism. It re-sets human society on a new path where the means of production become the property of the people to operate and produce only to fulfil human needs and not motivated by private profits. A clean, healthy environment is for the common good. Under capitalism, production is for maximum private profit. Capitalism cannot function any other way. The environment’s destruction is unavoidable collateral damage.
Socialism serves society as a whole and prioritises the preservation of the environment as a part of the overall human activity. Socialism rethinks our attitude to the problem of protection of nature and its resources to resolve the problem successfully. It means creating a technology of a new type, without carbon-spewing chimneys or industrial waste, where all the raw materials are turned into products useful to mankind and not armaments, using processes that will not harm living things. The sooner such industry is created throughout the world, the more hope will there be for a good life for our grandchildren. The basic solution to the environmental crises is to put an end to a system that perpetuates exploitation for profits. The basic solution is to abolish capitalism and build in its place a system that does not permit exploitation for profit. It means socialism at the service of all humankind. The WSM’s aim is to create a liveable environment for all.