02-03-2022: As the corporate media narrative suspiciously switches from one fake bogeyman (Covid) to another (Russia), Australia’s East Coast has been swamped by a real threat which is already taking lives – extreme climate change. Over the last weekend in February, 1.5 metres of rain fell over three days, mostly around Brisbane and South East Queensland (QLD), in what was dubbed a “Rain Bomb”. In the consequent rising floods, at least 8 people were swept away to watery graves, some of them being unable to escape their vehicles while attempting to navigate their way home. 18 000 homes in QLD have been fully or partially damaged, with many owners and residents now attempting to clean through the muddy residue left by floodwaters which rose rapidly to submerge parts of their houses. All public transport in Brisbane has been shut down, and while there is a temporary reprieve from the driving non-stop rain, it is expected to return during the week, causing more chaos.
“Rare” Weather Phenomenon?
With the “Rain Bomb” rapidly moving south into New South Wales (NSW), some media outlets are describing it as a “rare weather phenomenon”, while admitting that the current floods are the worst to hit Brisbane since 2011, when that was referred to as a “once in a century event”. Yet many workers can see with their own eyes and through their own experience, that when several or more “once in a century weather events” seem to occur every few years – it is NOT a one-off. Moreover, many are now aware that these extreme weather events are not only more frequent, they are increasingly dangerous and take the lives of innocents each time they arrive. While the politicians act as if nature is simply at work, it is plain to see that the decades of warnings about carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels – alongside other dire environmental warnings – should have been heeded and acted upon long ago.
One doesn’t need to be a climate scientist to understand the dynamics which lead to the increased frequency of flooding. As global temperatures rise, clouds that can hold a lot of rain become more common in a warmer atmosphere. Warmer oceans leads to gigatonnes more evaporation, which leads to more atmospheric moisture, which in turn leads to more intense rainfall. In colder climates, such as parts of North America, this increased moisture can also lead to more intense snow falls. Think of a pot of water on the stove: the more heat is applied, and for a longer period, the more water simply bubbles away through evaporation. A similar effect takes place for the blue planet. During previous ice ages, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were around 200 parts per million (ppm) and was around 280 ppm before the industrial revolution. Yet in 2013, carbon ppm topped 400 for the first time ever, and has continued rising since then. The rise in carbon emissions mirrors the rise in the burning of fossil fuels, which has led many scientists to name a new geologic era – the “Anthropocene”.
Humans not to blame
Yet “anthropogenic global warming” is a misnomer, in that it implies that humans alone are the cause of climate change, which is just one of the pressing environmental emergencies. Environmental degradation is largely caused by industrial development, which is a necessity both of capitalism and its socialist successor. However, it is only with collectively owned, democratic and planned economies that the needs of the natural (including human) environment can be genuinely taken into consideration on its own account. Capitalism, with private ownership of the means of production and anarchistically unplanned economic competition domestically and internationally – can never be constrained by “external” reasons such as a healthy environment for people to habitate. Socialism, on the other hand, based on public ownership and control of the means of production – has no need for cutthroat economic competition, with its resulting extreme disregard for the soil and natural conditions.
Millions across the globe have mobilised over the last two years against the virtual abolition of liberal democracy under the false guise of “fighting Covid”. This movement for freedom correctly rejects the fraudulent claimed basis of a “health” emergency, as Covid repression clearly worsened health outcomes for many workers – with millions losing their jobs. At the same time, many in the freedom movement also reject the concept of climate change, believing it to be another essentially fictional narrative alongside Covid. This is a mistake, though perhaps motivated by healthy instincts. “Covid” as supposedly the most dangerous disease in history has no scientific basis whatever and is a cover for political repression. Yet climate change does have a scientific basis and is confirmed almost universally by climate scientists. However, many in the freedom movement see the same people and the same forces who shrieked about the “danger” of Covid, likewise shrieking about the danger of climate change – and assume both are false alarms.
Liberal politics at fault, not climate science
Covid “health” fascism was driven not by far-right ultra-nationalism – this task was entrusted to liberal capitalist politics. It was reinforced primarily by already existing parliamentary parties who were aggressively backed by the old Trade Union officials alongside civil libertarians, feminists, “progressives”, and many utterly fake “socialist” and “Marxist” parties. The abject treachery against the working class of these layers which claimed for decades to be “revolutionary” has understandably resulted in some in the freedom movement rejecting everything else “leftists” ever stood for – including climate change. While it is true that the liberal left were animated by the danger of climate change, it was only their prescriptions for a solution that were fictitious. That is, it was fantastic to imagine that production could switch from fossil fuels to so-called renewable energy (primarily solar and wind power), switch to electric vehicles – and the system would right itself. Liberal political forces drove the “climate change” movement because they were concerned above all to save the capitalist system. The peak environmental groups were completely tied to the governments of the Western imperialist states, and thus the “climate change” movement could never achieve any of its fundamental goals due to its resolutely cross-class composition.
Just as the Covid left drove the working class into the ultimate cross-class alliance in the supposed interests of “public health”, the liberal left drives working people towards “their own” ruling class on climate, and then complains when people can see that such a movement is going nowhere. The Covid left consciously whipped up support for the police of the capitalist state, the existing parliamentary parties, the armed forces (!), the wealthiest billionaires in history, Big Pharma, Big Tech and Big Media – under the guise of a fake “pandemic”. This open and brazen genuflection before imperialist wealth and power grossly undermined whatever standing they may have had before lockdowns became a part of the vocabulary. Workers could see that this “left” were undisguised servants of the super elite.
The cardinal lesson which needs to be learnt and re-learnt is that the working class cannot ally itself with “its own” ruling class (via capital’s agents of Trade Union officials, liberals and the fake “left”) on Covid, on climate, on NATO’s war on Russia or ANY issue whatsoever! This is largely due to the fact that the war on Covid, the war on the natural environment, the war on Russia, the war on China, the war on Iran etc., is in fact part of ONE war – the war that private finance capital is waging against the international working class for its own survival. The Western imperialist class, as we have seen, will not hesitate to impose fascism (“Covid”) OR to potentially unleash nuclear war against Moscow (over Ukraine or some other trigger). At the very least, this is why they CANNOT be allies in the struggle for a safe climate!! Any climate movement which arises now must break with the liberal political forces which openly collaborates with imperialism on “Covid” and on possible nuclear war.
While climate change is certainly an existential threat to life on Earth, it cannot be separated from the other forms of capitalist exploitation, especially the exploitation of labour power, i.e., working people themselves, and also the scourge of imperialist war. The vegetation and foliage obviously cannot be mobilised in its own interest, so Marxists must concentrate on organising the only real class in society which has no material interest in the maintenance of capitalism, either in its previous form of liberal democracy, or its current form of Covid “health” fascism – the workers. Vanguard parties, linked internationally, can help lead the working class through the dregs of “Covid” and imperialist war to a new society, where those who labour will rule collectively for the true benefit of all.