Rise Against the Climate Collapse!
20-12-2019 – The climate collapse is no longer only the content of Hollywood disaster films, but is a lived reality. Australia, the driest continent on earth, is burning alive, and Sydney is being blanketed in smoke and ash which is hazardous to human health. Last Monday, the Climate and Health Alliance released a statement declaring the smoke haze covering Sydney to be a public health emergency. The statement urges New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to show leadership and implement measures to alleviate the climate and health crisis. The Liberal Party of Berejiklian and Morrison is stacked with climate deniers, but in reality, ALL government parties and politicians have failed to act on the urgent necessity of climate collapse over a period of some 40 years. Labor and the Greens call for climate action in words but they are bound to the same parliaments as the Liberals and Nationals at whom they wave cardboard swords. And these parliaments are but appendages of the rule of the privatised banks and finance capital, set against working people and those without property.
One part of a system in crisis
Ecological breakdown is now so severe that it is a clear and present danger to the survival of humanity. The sheer volume of carbon emissions also threatens to cause catastrophic malfunction of the basic ecosystems needed to sustain most animal and plant life. As serious as it is, workers need to be aware that the collapse of a habitable environment is but one symptom of the crisis of capitalism, which is linked to other major crises. It is linked to the lowest real wages in history, to the rampant wage theft of countless workers. It is linked to the attempt to illegally collect large but completely false “robodebts” from welfare recipients. It is linked to mass unemployment, unaffordable housing and thus relentless increases in the number of homeless people. It is linked to never-ending attempts by all governments to restrain what remains of workers’ Unions. It is linked to the shredding of basic democratic rights and civil liberties. It is linked to the repeated imperialist wars and attempts at regime change against any country deemed too independent from Washington. It is linked to the insane provocations by Washington, Canberra and London against Russia and China, which if triggered could mean an unavoidable World War III.
There are alternatives to this nightmare scenario, provided the working class is able to produce leadership which corresponds to their interests. The greatest illusion is that a cross-class climate movement, a movement of “everyone” is the way forward. Such movements of “everyone all together” is precisely what has led to the current political impasse. The “climate strikes” of recent times have mobilised millions of people, but they have only passed on plaintive pleas to the very self-serving politicians who have a material interest in sitting on their hands. After 40 years of inaction, after 40 years of dire warnings from the world’s climate scientists, it is clear that these politicians will not act. The bushfires razing Australia currently, and the stark indifference from state and federal politicians is the clearest indicator that the unaccountable elite are no longer fit to rule. PM Morrison is currently holidaying in Hawaii ! This is why it is fruitless for working people to demand these governments act. They are not “ours”, but are paid functionaries of a class alien to the basic interests of workers. Placing demands on these government hacks recognises their “authority” and, in turn, demoralises and disempowers workers, leading to more confusion and despair.
Working class political leadership is crucial
Instead of pleas for the government of the corporate class to provide free face masks to ward off bushfire smoke, what is urgently required is a political leadership which can inspire and arouse working people to take matters into their own hands. A cross-class climate movement which mobilises hundreds of thousands, but then waits powerlessly for corporate politicians to come to their aid does little but assist hand-wringing about how bad things are. The fact is that the world’s capitalist ruling classes, in Australia as elsewhere, would prefer to see the world burn one thousand times over rather than lose a fraction of their wealth and power. They may have their own children, but their material interest of preserving their capital over-rides even family ties.
While political activity which urges action on climate makes a contribution, a climate movement which attempts to be agnostic on the question of capitalism vs socialism will remain trapped in contradiction. The socialist overturn of private ownership of the means of production is no automatic guarantee that the planet will be able to save humanity from extinction, but without it there is little chance. It is impossible for class society to only “take action” on climate change, and leave all other forms of exploitation untouched. A climate movement which confines itself within the parameters of a for-profit economy will not be able to get past first base.
An urgent transition to zero-carbon energy sources, using all available methods to draw carbon out of the atmosphere, to the reversing of soil degradation, to the cleaning out of the seas of plastic and other pollution – none of this can be begun while private capital retains its ownership rights. Paraphrasing Karl Marx, “despotic” inroads into the rights of corporate property are the first step towards not only a society fit for working people, but also to a safe climate. The forging of a Leninist vanguard party to lead this struggle is not only an overarching goal, but a critical and immediate task.
To begin, we urge agitation around the following demands:
1. A SIX HOUR DAY
- PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF THE BANKS, TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
- A WORKERS’ GOVERNMENT
PO Box 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012
 https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/no-safe-level-pollution-labelled-a-public-health-emergency-20191215-p53k5d.html (16-12-2019)