Climate Change? Change the System!
(Australia is burning. Please check https://www.facebook.com/StrikeClimate/ or other sources for local information on events planned for Friday November 29 – Editors.)
The world faces an environmental emergency.
The dire environmental dangers, include:
• rapidly declining biodiversity
• depletion of non-renewable resources
• global warming
• the acidification and plasticisation of the world's oceans
• destruction of the world's forests, and the desertification of vast areas
• melting of the polar ice caps and rising sea levels
• extreme weather conditions leading to devastating bushfires, storms and disruptions to food production and agriculture.
Our current capitalist system is the major cause of the environmental crisis:
• Capitalism is based on the constant drive for maximum profit.
• The system digs up, knocks down, produces and discards whatever resources make a profit, regardless of the consequences.
• The capitalist system cannot plan economic or ecological policies or welfare because the whole system is based on the rush of capital to wherever profit can be made. This inevitably leads to over-production, booms followed by crises, and resource depletion.
• Any environmental planning and technologies are dependent on whether they are profitable, not whether they serve the interests of the people and benefit society as a whole. Environmental inventions are often bought up by big companies and suppressed because they would undermine the profitability of existing products.
• Rampant consumerism, whimsical fashions, and throwaway products with built-in obsolescence create constantly renewing and expanding markets.
• Corporations then rort any environmental protections to make profit. The Kyoto Protocol created a trade in CO2 emissions, supposedly to encourage CO2 reductions. This trade in pollution rights has expanded into another speculative industry as corporations sell their pollution rights, transfer their polluting industries to third world countries with lower or no pollution restrictions (e.g. the European paper industry, and coal-fired power stations). There are now over 10,000 registered traders in pollution certificates in Europe alone.
“The insatiable need for capital to expand has led to over-production that over-tills the land, over-grazes the pastures, over-fishes the rivers and seas, and pours fatal amounts of chemicals and wastes into ground, air, and water, causing irreparable damage to the earth.” (Pao-yu Ching)
And the parliamentary political system merely upholds this corrupt dangerous economic system:
• Politicians bend to the overwhelming power of big business, for example, when the Federal Labor government caved into the mining lobby and abandoned the mining super profits tax, and the Federal Liberal and Queensland Labor governments (spot the difference!) backed the Adani coal mine.
• The current Federal government has failed to challenge the banks over their despicable practices.
• Politicians curry favour with the capitalist media and shock-jocks, and resort to media grabs and throwaway lines in their constant game of point scoring and rivalry to get the top jobs, rather than produce strategies to really address our economic and environmental crises.
• The growing popular political pressure by people around the world on governments and corporations only results in half-hearted measures at best to protect our endangered planet. And often there is complete denial and inaction.
The capitalist system cannot and will not seriously address or solve the looming environmental disaster.
It must be replaced. Urgently
A Better Alternative: Socialism.
Socialism is not a few new policies patched onto the existing capitalist system. Fundamental change is required – a completely new and different system. A socialist system requires anti-imperialist independence with the assets of the big foreign multinationals taken over by the Australian people.
• A real socialist system would involve public ownership and control of the key sectors of the economy – finance, manufacturing, mining, construction, infrastructures, environmental management, big agriculture, communications, vital common resources such as water and power, and public services, such as education, health and housing. The state would own these big resources, and they would be managed by a combination of state and democratic worker control. They would be organised and run for the common good; the benefits shared among the people, not privately seized as under capitalism.
• This publicly-owned system would plan and develop production and distribution according to the needs of the society and the environment, because the driving force and motivation would be people's welfare and environmental sustainability, not profit.
• New political structures and institutions would be thoroughly and genuinely democratic, with guaranteed representation and active participation of all progressive sections of the population. Representatives would be elected without the manipulation of money or the capitalist media, and people could recall and replace their representatives whenever they saw fit.
• Workplaces and communities would also be managed by directly- elected representatives and bodies.
• The socialist institutions will need to be completely new creations, built from the ground up by the people, replacing all the old capitalist society institutions, which served to prop up the old regime. These institutions would include government and administration, police and armed forces, constitutions and law courts.
• The new socialist society would set about creating and supporting new socially-positive cultures to develop and support people's health and welfare.
• Socialist society would be internationalist – it would respect the rights and welfare of other peoples and countries, and, as the world steadily turns socialist, usher in a peaceful, environmentally-sustainable world, free of war, bullying and exploitation.
• Only these broad outlines of a socialist system are possible, as the exact forms and policies would be democratically determined by each people in and for their own country. We believe for Australia that independence and socialism are mutually dependent. We can’t have one without the other.
The race to save the planet is a race against time, and a race against capitalism.
We can only save the world by building a better world.