Rise Against the Climate Collapse!

The Adelaide Hills bushfire from afar. Image from abc.net.au

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.[1] 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

  1. PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF THE BANKS, TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
  2. A WORKERS’ GOVERNMENT

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/no-safe-level-pollution-labelled-a-public-health-emergency-20191215-p53k5d.html (16-12-2019)

 

XR: False Friends of a Safe Climate

Image from the Queensland Times

XR: False Friends of a Safe Climate

15-12-2019 – Australia is on fire. During November, even before summer began, raging bushfires razed parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. New South Wales was the worst hit, with six people losing their lives, and over 600 homes destroyed.[1] It is undeniable that the fires have been fueled by catastrophic conditions related to the drought conditions, which in turn are related to the rise in temperatures due to global warming. Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are the main culprit, a fact effectively denied by all Australian governments to date – which not only have failed to act, but enabled the acceleration of carbon emissions, through the approval of new coal mines. What is particularly alarming about this year’s bushfires (they now happen every year) is the occurrence of rainforests burning – something previously thought to be impossible.[2]

Climate action, however that is defined, is a dire and urgent necessity. The question is what type of climate action should be taken, and by whom. Into this breach has stepped Extinction Rebellion (XR), with XR activists in Brisbane organising and calling for a shutdown of the Go Between Bridge on December 13, during morning peak hour.[3]  XR effectively claim that due to the recent bushfires, their hand has been forced, thus they are impelled to shut down business as usual. Yet XR’s misguided attempts to attract attention to the need for climate action may very well lead to even less climate action than current conservative governments and corporations are doing now – which is almost zero.

Working people need to be won to climate action

The most counter-productive effect of blocking major bridges in peak hour is that working people, the overwhelming majority of whom support climate action, could be turned away, and even turned against climate activism if they find themselves blockaded on the streets by people waving the XR insignia. The careless attitude of XR towards working people getting to work or going about their daily lives exposes XR’s anti-working class tactics. Anti-working class tactics flow from anti-working class politics – something XR demonstrate in spades. Their open support and backing for the police who arrest them at actions is but one expression of this. Their reporting of some fellow “rebels” to the police for pickpocketing – who were subsequently subjected to immigration checks[4] – is another.

Many in the climate movement, such as it is, demand a cross-class climate movement, even if they don’t use such terms. That is, they imagine that everyone from all social classes (workers, small business owners, capitalist magnates) can all work together on climate because “everyone” is affected. The climate movement is different, they claim, from a workers’ struggle for improved conditions, so it is not an “us and them” scenario. This is radically false, but XR exemplify this, being a classical movement of the despairing petty-bourgeoisie. It is an elementary Marxist tenet that the petty-bourgeoisie (small business owners, start-up entrepreneurs and so on) cannot lead and independent struggle against capitalism, by virtue of their class position. Some layers of this class can be won to an anti-capitalist struggle for socialism under certain conditions and for certain periods. But essentially it is only the working class which has a material interest in the overturn of the private ownership of the means of production – the main source of the imminent climate danger.

Thus it is imperative that working people be won to climate action. Yet the XR cavaliers do not even aim at winning the majority of working people to climate action, let alone leading them to a struggle for the public ownership of the means of production. In fact, XR are priests of anti-socialism. Irrespective of their rhetoric about a “toxic system”, they see little wrong with capitalism, just that it is led by the wrong people – the politicians in parliament. Replace these politicians with those who are prepared to “do something”, and the climate problems can be addressed, or so they imagine.  Attempting to solve inherently social political problems with individual solutions is a hallmark of the world outlook of the small proprietor.

The right to protest is limited under “liberal democracy”

XR’s lack of a class analysis feeds their stunning naivete of the nature of the capitalist state. The right to protest under capitalism is a result of a historical balance of class forces between labour and capital. It is not an absolute right that the establishment is bound to uphold. It can be taken away at any time the ruling class feels the balance of class forces tip in its favour. That is, when they sense that the working class will not (yet) act to prevent the ruling class increasing its power over them. Already, XR in Brisbane have played with fire by repeatedly disrupting traffic, resulting in the Palaszczuk Labor government passing “anti-protest” laws. In fact, these laws only ban lock-on and similar devices,[5] but they could well empower police to expand their “stop and search” powers.

XR protested the introduction of these laws, seemingly oblivious that their actions themselves had provoked the ruling class into putting them in place. If XR continue to defy the bourgeois state without the majority of the working class actively (or at the very least passively) backing them, the ruling class could well decide to ban all climate protest altogether. This may lead to a banning of all protest, and a return to days similar to the Civil Rights movement in Queensland in the late 1970s, when former National Party Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen banned street marches. It is possible that a Labor or Liberal government could enact such a ban, because the majority of the working class right now does NOT endorse the appalling tactics (provocative bridge and road blockades) of XR even at the same time as they understand and support the need for climate action.

XR are entitled to put forward whatever their ideas are in amongst the climate movement – or what passes for it currently. If they wish to argue for mindless traffic blockades, they are welcome to do so. However, like every other political organisation or group, they must be subject to a critical appraisal of their tactics and their proposals by all concerned, and most especially by working people. XR must not be allowed to monkey with the right to protest under capitalism. At this stage, workers cannot afford to lose that right, as temporary as it might be under bourgeois democracy. If this occurs, next to no climate demands will be put forward, and thus no “climate action”. And XR will be to blame.

Intelligentsia for climate?

As if to underscore their commitment to the political rights of the middle classes, XR in Brisbane have organised a “Graduation March” specifically appealing to “graduates, academics and professionals”. XR bill this as a supposed action where emerging professionals will declare they will not sit idle while the climate crisis looms, but will “approach their lives with the health of the planet at the forefront of their minds”.[6] Decked out with academic gowns and mortar boards, this spectacle march is no doubt intended to show that young graduates are “woke” with the urgent need for climate action. It is true that XR is not a political party per se, but XR defends the rights of the petty-bourgeoisie arguably better than a real one. Elementary Marxism, however, stresses that the educational institutions of any society are always controlled by the class which holds state power. Right now in the Western world at least, capital rules, and therefore their Universities will ultimately reflect the interests of its benefactors.

While it is true that some genuine dissidents emerge from the halls of Universities, as a general rule academics will ultimately justify the rule of capital, even if only because their income is dependent on a state stipend. Here, though, XR is also encouraging young people with University degrees to become small-business owners, as consultants, private practice physicians, marketers and so on. These new professionals will carry on the “business as usual” that XR crows about the need to stop – but this will presumably be enlightened small business as usual. Business as usual “for the planet”, that is. Needless to say, small business engenders big business. The professionals who engage in small capitalism spontaneously engender big capitalism, but it is the entire capitalist system which must be overturned if we are to have a chance of preventing ecological collapse. No matter how aware highly trained professionals are about the need for climate action, the very process of privately owned business seeking private profit grates against it.

The urgency of the climate crisis requires not millions of small businesses competing with each other (and with big business) to increase their market share, but public ownership of the means of production, and state ownership of industry, banking, finance, telecommunications, transport – so as to serve the needs of workers, not small proprietors per se. A single economic plan needs to be drawn up, which uses all available resources for economic goals and priorities decided upon by working people themselves. In other words, a government of workers’ councils administering a workers’ state. Social production must be brought into correspondence with social ownership. In the transition from climate destroying capitalism to socialism, some degree of small enterprise may be required – but this would need to be strictly controlled, to prevent the re-emergence of capitalism. Professionals and academics will also be required, not for careers in themselves, but to build a society without exploitation of labour and the environment.

XR remain silent on imperialist war

Small business, on its own, is always nationalist, and therefore pro-imperialist. The petty-bourgeois XR strut like bulls on parade, in an ostentatious display of their supposedly progressive credentials. Yet with one mention of imperialist war, and XR reveal themselves to be downright reactionary. At the height of the ultra-violent US/UK government backed pro-capitalist Blackshirt terror in Hong Kong, some representative of XR openly claimed to be using “Hong Kong” style tactics for the climate.  We perhaps should be thankful that, so far, XR have not emulated the anti-socialist and US flag waving Hong Kong separatists to the extent of setting people on fire, beating up bystanders who disagree with them on the street, burning and destroying train stations, or using bows and arrows to fire on police. The last one might be too much even for the pro-cop XR.

From pillar to post, XR remain dead silent on the US war machine, even as it has gone into overdrive in the last ten years. It has become mainstream news that the US military emits more greenhouse gases than 140 countries.[7] The US global military empire uses more ships, trucks, bombs, cargo planes and other materiel than any other, all literally fed by fossil fuels – with the possible exception of nuclear powered aircraft carriers. Washington has occupied Afghanistan, invaded Iraq, bombed and destroyed Libya, and waged internecine war on Ukraine and Syria over the last 17 years. This has been backed to the hilt by London, Paris and Canberra, amongst others. Imperialist war is, needless to say, devastating for the environment, and not just in terms of carbon emissions. Yet XR’s lips remain sealed. The potential world war machinations of Washington and the West against Russia, China and Iran also merit not a word from the pontiffs of XR. Here, silence really is consent.

It may seem a contradiction that some parties that call themselves socialist – such as Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance – remain card carrying members of XR despite XR’s avowed anti-socialism. XR allow these  parties to take part in their actions because they agree on the “need” for imperialist war against China, Russia, Syria, Iran the DPRK (North Korea) and so on. The twin SAs may complain about war in general, but they loudly back US led destabilisation attempts in Hong Kong, Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and on and on. Needless to say, the governments preparing imperialist wars and imperialist backed subversion cannot be allies in the need to take action on climate change!

Public ownership key

Life threatening climate collapse is here now – only a few inconsequential cranks now deny the need for climate action. Unfortunately, XR build dangerous illusions in the very political and economic system which is the largest driver of extreme climate. Despite their seeming appearance as radicals, XR still limit themselves to placing demands on “the government” which they imagine is “ours”. XR reject the very element which has the possibility of saving us from extinction – a socialist revolution. Without the public ownership of the major means of production – the banks, strategic industry, transport, telecommunications, road, rail and port infrastructure – linked to a planned economy based on priority decisions made by workers themselves, “climate action” is impossible. Workers need their own government, and their own state, which would seek to link internationally with all workers across the globe. With the corporate magnates expropriated, the vitally important work of reversing climate catastrophe, imperialist war and economic collapse can begin in earnest.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/22/australia-bushfires-factcheck-are-this-years-fires-unprecedented (01-12-2019)

[2] https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/why-are-our-rainforests-burning (01-12-2019)

[3] https://www.facebook.com/events/481665399120050/ (01-12-2019)

[4] http://gal-dem.com/this-is-what-extinction-rebellion-must-do-to-engage-with-people-of-colour-on-climate-justice/ (01-12-2019)

[5] https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/dangerous-protest-devices-banned-as-laws-pass-queensland-parliament-20191024-p533vs.html (01-12-2019)

[6] https://www.facebook.com/events/767281987070381/?active_tab=about (07-12-2019)

[7] https://www.newsweek.com/us-military-greenhouse-gases-140-countries-1445674 (12-12-2019)

XR Threaten Workers’ Democratic Rights

Extinction Rebellion activist blocks a bridge in Brisbane with a tripod. Image from http://www.abc.net.au

XR Threaten Workers’ Democratic Rights

20-10-2019 –  The Queensland Parliament’s determination to fast track laws designed to impede climate protests are potentially a dangerous precedent. Even though they are ostensibly aimed at preventing climate blockaders from using “dangerous devices”,[1] they could quite easily be used for much more. These moves are a response to the provocations of Extinction Rebellion (XR), who have repeatedly organised actions including the deliberate disruption of peak hour traffic in order to supposedly raise awareness about the urgent need for climate action. While there is little or no debate amongst working people that urgent measures to address the potential climate collapse are desperately needed, the majority are overwhelmingly opposed to the tactics of XR. Workers keenly feel that obstructing working people going about their daily lives is not the right way to push a political issue – even one as important as climate distortion.

Class nature of the state

While it is true that Australian Labor Party (ALP) Premier Palaszczuk has provided no evidence that XR protestors have included dangerous devices such as butane gas in lock-on equipment, XR has clearly given the capitalist state the ammunition it needs to potentially pass laws criminalising all protest activity. The right to protest under capitalism is a right fought for and hard won, but as with any concession the ruling class allows the workers, it can be taken back at any time. Even conservative Union bureaucrats, who should be organising a working class intervention into the climate movement, are aware that the Queensland anti-protest laws could very easily be used against any political action taken by workers and their Unions.[2]  Such anti-protest laws are unlikely to be confined to Queensland, and could spread fast across Australia. XR, with their misguided zeal, could be responsible for the removal of the right to protest about anything, let alone the climate.

XR effectively claims that it is “neither left nor right” politically, and is therefore ambivalent on the question of capitalism and socialism. Anyone or any group claiming to be “non-political” while taking political action, inevitably comes down on the side of conservatism. At this stage of history – at least in the West – this means defending the capitalist for profit mode of production, with all of its attendant superstructure. XR do not deny it, and often openly dissuade any participant in XR actions from raising even anti-capitalism, let alone socialism. This is “off message”, according to them. This is an emergency, they say, and questions about politics and capitalism and socialism have to “wait” until later. But “later” never comes.

In Queensland history the state does have a past of removing democratic rights to protest. The National Party Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen did just that in the 1970s, banning the right to march. In practice, this gave the Queensland police the authority to smash up ANY protest action, not just marches. A heroic Civil Liberties campaign had to waged to restore the basic right to protest in Queensland. This was eventually won, but it took a determined struggle over a number of years which involved mass street fights with police, mass arrests, and eventually the intervention of Unions on the side of the protestors. At that time, protestors had to put their bodies on the line to regain what should be an elementary democratic right under capitalism. Today, XR, through their wildly misinformed and provocative actions, risk bringing the full weight of ruling class down against the entire working class, not just themselves. If this happens, the memory of XR being responsible for the removal of the very limited democratic rights workers have under the rule of capital, will be burned deep. This risks turning workers away not only from the issue of the climate emergency, but from the very idea of activism and protest itself.

Appeal to workers, not politicians

XR’s class basis is petty-bourgeois. Small time capital owners, by virtue of their class position, try to steer a path between the workers and that of big capital. In practice however, this is not politically possible. There are only two decisive classes involved in production – labour and capital – and therefore only two decisive classes in politics. The petty-bourgeois XR imagine, falsely, that they are not political per se. Yet this is exposed as soon as their anti-socialist, and therefore anti-working class, basis becomes known. The working class, NOT the petty-bourgeoisie, is the only revolutionary class under capitalism, because only it has NO material interest in the maintenance of the private ownership of the means of production. The petty-bourgeois XR wants to solve the climate crisis without touching on the question of socialised or privatised production. Since this is not possible, they fall down on the side of the corporate magnates, despite themselves.

This is the basic reason why XR appeal to the capitalist politicians to “take action” – even while recognising that these same politicians have done little or nothing for 40 years about climate distortion. But XR, as patriotic petty-bourgeois elements, have nowhere else to go. The working class, on the other hand, can rely on its own strength, its own organisation, and its own political leadership – even if this has not yet been created. Proper working class leadership would appeal to workers to mobilise and take action to win urgent demands against and in spite of the capitalist state (especially their politicians), NOT by grovelling to them. This is because ultimately the working class needs to establish its own government and its own state – in the process of overturning capitalist rule, and initiating the collectivised and planned socialist order.

To begin this struggle, the working class needs its bourgeois democratic rights NOW – they cannot afford to have them taken away by the misguided individualism of XR. Some workers have already turned against XR adventurism, such as those at Canning Town in the UK who physically turned against XR protestors who were attempting to stop peak-hour trains.[3] XR can consider themselves lucky that this is not even more widespread. Workers can be won to the necessary activism for climate and social justice, but by inspiring them, not annoying them. Working people, not politicians, can provide hope.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-09/extinction-rebellion-protest-brisbane-annastacia-palaszczuk-laws/11585826 (20-10-2019)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/11/queenslands-proposed-anti-protest-laws-a-slippery-slope-to-suppress-unions (20-10-2019)

[3] https://metro.co.uk/2019/10/17/angry-commuters-drag-xr-protesters-off-tube-try-glue-10933003/ (20-10-2019)

 

XR: The Faux Rebellion

XR: The Faux Rebellion

 

07-10-2019:  Extinction Rebellion (XR) are hitting the streets again, with a week of action throughout major cities in Australia – their so-called “Spring Rebellion”.[1] We are in a climate crisis, they claim, and the time for action is now. Almost no one disagrees. Yet in reality XR are not leading a “rebellion” and they are not, in the final analysis, “rebels”. To be genuine rebels would mean to stand opposed to the profit system – the domination of privately owned capital over social labour and over the environment. The XR charlatans make no pretence of opposing even one corporation, let alone the system which allows corporations to freely pollute the land, sea, air and water humanity requires for life on earth. XR, and their semi-religious self-righteousness, need to be exposed.

From politics flow tactics

Those who place demands on the capitalist state, in the same manner as any politician or any liberal, or any lobby group, cannot be described as “radical” in any way. XR are making repeated demands for “the government” to “do something”. The same politicians who have overseen climate destruction despite repeated and ongoing warnings, can now, XR aver, be made to change their spots if only we – disrupt business as usual. XR whine that we have had years of marches and rallies, for no result. There has been no result so far because almost all climate politics has remained within the sphere of liberalism – plaintive cries to those in power. Despite XR adopting slightly different tactics, the politics of XR remain just as liberal, if not more, than those that have preceded them.

XR imagine that by changing the tactics of climate protest, the politics will follow, and demands will be met. XR have things precisely upside down. The politics are paramount, and if the politics are sharp enough, the tactics themselves become less important. Yet XR’s politics are woefully inadequate – even if the aim is to wrench a few small reforms from the capitalist state. XR are not anarchists per se, but they share the petty-bourgeois political approach of anarchism, which is shared with all elements of the petty-bourgeois “democracy” – the Greens, some intellectuals[2], small business owners and centrist “left” parties. Russian revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin, more than a century ago, wrote…”The philosophy of the anarchists is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out. Their individualistic theories and individualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism.”[3]

XR’s bourgeois philosophy turned inside out is revealed as soon as one tracks the corporate and capitalist government links of its spiritual founders Gail Bradbrook and Farhana Yamin.[4] Granted, many of those attracted to XR actions do not themselves have high level links to government or the corporations they act for. XR, however, is simply appealing to the government – which under capitalism, is a “government of persons”. Whatever criticisms XR may have of all politicians for not “doing something” about climate collapse, they still firmly believe that the capitalist government is “theirs”, or indeed, “ours”. This reflects a purely petty-bourgeois outlook, which cannot see outside their class position.

Due to their class position, the petty-bourgeoisie is incapable of coming to a position of class independence from big capital. That is why they are not able to politically lead a struggle against the capitalist system. This role must be played by the working class and its special historical product – the Marxist vanguard party. But XR are not only light years away from socialism – they occupy a different universe to the working class. Hence their arrogant disregard for working class folk who may be blocked in traffic by a disruptive XR stunt. Working class people – many of whom overwhelmingly support urgent action to address the climate calamity – should not be prevented by self-appointed XR scions from driving to or from work, picking up their children from schools, or trying to go about their daily lives. Workers certainly can be won to supporting political action to address climate distortion – up to and including strikes against corporations and “their own” government – if they are given the opportunity to discuss and decide on the tactics of the movement in which they take part.

Workers must lead and decide

Yet this is precisely what XR denies the working class – or anyone else. XR explicitly deny the right of anyone who takes part in their actions to question their principles, their positions, their politics or their tactics. XR refuses, point blank, to work alongside other climate activists. Sure, they attend things such as the Climate Strike to wave their flag. But once XR is holding an action, ALL participants must subordinate themselves wholesale – in brain and body – to the high priests of XR. No one is permitted to question the framework of activity, its direction, or to question XR’s holy principles.[5]  Each one of these principles, at their core, is wholly compatible with capitalist imperialism – which is why XR expressly deny the right of socialists to question them. Anyone or any group proposing anything in politics must have their positions examined by the workers – no one is above criticism. XR is no exception.

In fact, XR must be criticised for one of its deadliest shortcomings – its support for the police of the capitalist state. Although some XR members and branches claim that they do not support the cops, it repeatedly returns to the surface. Recently XR VIC attempted to prevent XR members from calling cops “pigs” as they arrested one of their organisers.[6] XR’s strategy of mass arrests first, which supposedly leads to political change, is a galling example of their base misunderstanding of the class nature of the capitalist state. Again though, the petty-bourgeois class does not have to face the cops too often in battle, unlike workers on strike, or Aboriginal people. Largely white middle class XR leaders can cope with being arrested, held for a few days and released. This is even their aim.

At the least, workers need to reject those who claim infallibility on climate protest tactics and aims. XR must be forced to argue their positions inside the climate movement like everyone else – there should be no special exceptions. There, workers should counter the lobbying of compromised politicians by putting forward such demands as:  a 30 hour week with no loss in pay, an end to coal mining and the collective ownership of the means of production.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

PO Box  66    NUNDAH   QLD    4012

[1] https://ausrebellion.earth/get-involved/spring-rebellion (07-10-2019)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/sep/20/we-declare-our-support-for-extinction-rebellion-an-open-letter-from-australias-academics (07-10-2019)

[3] https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/nov/24.htm (07-10-2019)

[4] https://redfireonline.com/2019/08/07/whats-wrong-with-extinction-rebellion/ (07-10-2019)

[5] https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/about-us/ (07-10-2019)

[6] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/xr-vic-debates-stance-police-friend-or-foe (07-10-2019)

Climate Mayhem: Capitalism Must Fall!

Climate Mayhem: Capitalism Must Fall!

20-09-2019 –  The planet is burning alive. On September 10, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast were on fire, as were parts of northern New South Wales.[1] Summer is still three months off, but the “bushfire season” starts earlier and lasts longer each year now. It is nothing like a “bushfire season”, or a “storm season”. It is clear that global warming tipping points are being approached, if not surpassed. Australia and the world face a climate meltdown which is already underway. World governments have been warned for 40 years that without serious moves to avert carbon emissions, ecological collapse is immanent. With the partial exception of some socialist states such as Cuba and China, they have done little or nothing. In the case of the Queensland government, by approving the Adani mega coal mine,[2] they are virtually cranking the gas burner up to high, and disconnecting emergency sprinkler systems.

Strike for Climate

Like never before, student and worker strikes for a safe climate are desperately needed. Yet every strike has a political leadership, which attempts to direct it in line with their material interests. The September 20 Strike for Climate is no exception. Its political leadership, unfortunately, are not the young students themselves, even as they defy school authorities to attend. Behind the scenes, the strike is organised and led by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), in essence an arm of GetUp! – who in practice are the foot soldiers of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). The political demands have been watered down so as to assist the ALP back onto the parliamentary benches in Canberra. GetUp! and the AYCC work for the ALP, no matter how strenuously they deny it in public. The demands of no new coal mines, renewable energy by 2030, and re-training for workers in fossil fuel industry  – should not be opposed per se (even though “renewable energy” is largely a furphy). However, they are so moderate that they make a mockery of pretensions to radical climate action.

In addition, the Strike for Climate is a double lobbying act. It is timed to occur just days before the United Nations (UN) “Emergency Climate Summit”. So working people in Australia are being asked to not only lobby parliaments on these shores, but to lobby the “world parliament” of the UN. Pleading for crumbs from the global and local political arms of capitalist imperialism is not only fruitless – it entrenches submission to the profit system responsible for ecological collapse in the first place. The Climate Strike organisers even boast about how many for profit businesses have now backed the “strike” in some way, even by allowing their workers leave to attend.[3] To say this is class collaboration is vastly understating things. Conservative Union officials, masters at encouraging class collaboration amongst workers, are not to be outdone. Many have endorsed the Climate Strike, and some have even asked employers themselves to join in. To say the least, if workers march alongside employers, the “cause” is false.

Climate is a class issue

Even if climate collapse affects everyone – meaning both labour and capital – the subordination of the workers to direct agents of capital in the name of “climate action” is the highest political crime. The struggle for a safe climate cannot be separated from the overall struggle for human liberation. In the current period, human liberation is entirely bound up with the workers movement for socialism. Global warming induced bushfires burning closer and closer are linked to the lowest wages in history, wage theft, unemployment, homelessness and crushing poverty. Extreme weather events are also linked to US imperialism’s drive to nuclear war against China and Russia, and endless regime change wars against smaller states. The 700 odd businesses endorsing the climate strike are also responsible for the catastrophic decline in living standards, as they drive down the wages of their own workers – no matter how “enlightened” they may be. Marching with them for the “climate” is an illusion of colossal scale.

The Climate Strike is yet another attempt to subject the workers to the ideological forms of bourgeois democracy – as if there can be any “democracy” between workers and business owners. Unquestionably, there must be many strikes for a safe climate, but these can only raise class awareness if pro-working class elements are able to depose liberal leadership, and forge their own path. To save the earth and humanity, all those bound up with private capital – AYCC, GetUp!, the conservative Union officials, business owners themselves – must be ruthlessly driven out of the climate movement. If nothing else, these are the same forces that aid and assist the Pentagon’s drive towards imperialist war. If they are not on the side of workers in war, they cannot be allies for “climate”. The climate movement must be based on a pro-working class axis, which can then gather behind it other strata of society which are not antagonistic to the workers’ interests – e.g. left-wing students, pensioners, retirees, unemployed youth and so on. Vital demands which could assist this include:

  • For a 30 hour work week – a six hour day.
  • For the formation of workers’ councils, comprised of elected workers from all industries.
  • The workers’ councils to organise not only strikes but workers’ occupations of key industries – the banks, mines, railways, transport, telecommunications.
  • The workers’ councils to elect regional and national representatives – the basis of a workers’ government.
  • The workers’ government to declare the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production, and the constitution of a single economic plan.

The most advanced workers must forge a vanguard party to lead this process. There is no time to waste – there is no disagreement about that. To save civilisation, capitalism must go, and socialism must emerge.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/queensland/2019/09/10/queensland-bushfires-peregian/ (11-09-2019)

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-22/adani-approvals-removal-environment-department/11138140?pfmredir=sm (11-09-2019)

[3] https://www.mybusiness.com.au/management/6198-notbusinessasusual-businesses-urge-support-for-climate-strike (14-09-2019)

 

A Real Climate Strike Means Class Against Class

Logo for the Global Climate Strike. http://www.globalclimatestrike.net

A Real Climate Strike Means Class Against Class

14-08-2019 – On September 20, young students will walk out of class, encouraging older workers to walk out of work and join them, in an inspiring continuation of the worldwide movement for urgent action on the increasingly dire warnings of climate collapse. Following the lead of Greta Thunberg, these climate strikers will send a message to all governments that they cannot be ignored any longer. Or so we are told. As in all things political, however, the truth lies somewhat beneath appearances. In this case, the ugly truth is one which should be repellent to workers with elementary class awareness.

The September 20 strikes are being primarily organised by SS4C (School Strike for Climate). Who are they? The real organisers are hidden, because if they were honest about who they were, they may not be welcomed. SS4C hide their tracks very well, so definite proof is hard to come by. But one glance at the politics they are trying to shoehorn everyone into coming behind reveals, within a few degrees of accuracy, forces whose ultimate aim are seats in parliament, not “climate action”.

Circle of reaction

Three organisations are key to understanding the dark forces behind the September 20 walkouts. SS4C is one, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC – or “Baby GetUp!”) is another, and the other is the Australian Labor Party (ALP). In reality, the first two are trustees of the ALP, the allegedly moderate front of capital in the wide brown land. When questioned, SS4C/AYCC deny their connections to the ALP – yet they remain in plain sight. SS4C have even altered their demands in a vain attempt to claw back their federal election defeat in May by the Liberal National Party (LNP), an election which should have been a shoe-in for the ALP.[1] The federal election swung to the LNP largely on the basis of regional Queensland, where sky-high unemployment led some workers to view that the ALP would stop the construction of the Adani mega coal mine, leading to the end of desperately needed flow on jobs. In reality, the ALP was never opposed to Adani, but had to equivocate in the face of the Stop Adani campaign.[2]

The parliamentary fixation of SS4C is plain to see. They speak of “our” [!] politicians, and “politicians can show they care” [!] by meeting our demands.[3] To say this is parliamentary cretinism is an understatement. Workers should be aware that capitalist parliaments are the key institution used by the ruling class to fool the masses into believing that there is some institution which represents them, albeit with some limitations they admit. The Australian federal parliament, like all parliaments under bourgeois democracy, is a den of corruption and deceit. Moreover, it is a class weapon brandished by the corporate elite against the workers and the poor. It cannot be used as a staging post for climate action any more than it can be used to advance housing for the homeless. For SS4C and AYCC, on the other hand, parliament is their holy grail, and their universal solution – for their own careers.

Perhaps the greatest crime of SS4C and AYCC is their deceitful use of young people to advance the careers of (ALP) Members of Parliament. The young primary and secondary school students are wise enough to understand the eminent danger that global warming poses, and they indeed should be congratulated for taking a brave stand, in some cases resisting principals and school authorities. Yet without sufficient political experience, which can only be gained over some years, these young people cannot be expected to see through the Machiavellian scheming of the SS4C/AYCC agents. They cannot be expected to understand that the AYCC’s raison d’etre is not climate action per se, but to be a youth front for the ALP, and thus for the very profit system which imperils human civilisation.

Dishonest climate campaign

SS4C proffer their campaign descriptors as “school student led, decentralised, grassroots, non-partisan, inclusive, non-violent, mission focussed, ambitious, creative”.[4] The only one of these that has a partial ring of truth is “inclusive”, in that all are invited to take part in the climate strike. This is the reason why workers can attend, stop work, and encourage Union members and officials to do likewise. Yet it must be with the aim of undermining and eroding SS4C/AYCC leadership – which, if left unchallenged, will lead the climate movement into parliamentary paralysis. It is false to claim that school students are leading this movement – the AYCC does the work on the ground. Decentralisation is fallacious – the ALP knows that every campaign must have a centralised leadership. Grassroots is mendacious – as politicians are anything but. Non-partisan is a furphy – they are non-partisan only towards the ALP and perhaps the Greens. Left parties are only welcome IF they politically submit to liberalism. The non-violent moniker is a pledge of fealty to the police forces of the capitalist state. In short, SS4C operate on a pack of half-truths.

Moreover, SS4C submit three demands: 1. No new coal, oil or gas projects, including the Adani mine. 2. 100% renewable energy generation and exports by 2030. 3. Fund a just transition & job creation for all fossil fuel industry workers.[5]  These demands are pitifully moderate, and could just as easily be asked of the ALP – and this is the giveaway that that is the aim. Consciously, there is zero in these demands which would even eat into the profits of capital, let alone threaten their existence. In practice though, workers should not oppose demands 1 and 3. Demand 2, on the other hand is problematic. IF it demanded 100% zero carbon energy generation, it would be rational. However, the 100% renewable energy demand remains seriously impractical if it was actually possible, and if nuclear power was excluded.[6]  It is a sop to the mistaken environmental movement whose anti-nuclear stance has effectively accelerated the burning of coal since the 1970s. There is evidence that some fossil fuel corporations have funded the anti-nuclear movement in order to ensure zero carbon nuclear fission does not replace them.[7]

The fraud of Greta Thunberg

As we have written previously,[8] the aura around Greta Thunberg is fraudulent. Greta Thunberg the brand is backed by some of the largest corporate players on the planet, and hence focuses on politicians not doing the right thing. This lets the corporations – and the capitalist system – off the hook. Raising no objections to capitalism leads to advocacy of the worst excesses of imperialism, which Greta displayed in spades when she tweeted, “Let Russia and Hong Kong strike for climate”.[9] Here is prima facie evidence that Greta is the anointed figurehead of what is essentially a pro-war “climate” movement. The US Empire is currently up to its eyeballs in hybrid war provocations for regime change against Russia and the People’s Republic of China, which are the harbinger of a nuclear holocaust arguably far more dangerous than extinction through ecological malfunction. Washington has already waged proxy wars against Russia in the Ukraine (by arming Nazis)[10], and against Syria (by arming Al Qaeda).[11] Washington is currently waging an attempted war to dismantle China through direct funding to “NGOs” who employ thousands of violent pro-capitalist Hong Kong yahoos, under the ruse of “independence”.[12]

In fact, the reality that the climate strikers never refer to Pentagon launched imperialist provocations and actual and potential wars is revealing. One could plausibly argue that the climate strike movement is thus not really about the urging of governments to seriously address anthropogenic global warming. It is more about aiding and assisting the First World governments of the US, Europe and Australia in regaining their credibility with “their own” people – by making at least cosmetic efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The climate strike leaders, from Greta Thunberg to SS4C to AYCC, ultimately desire the restitution of imperialist liberal democracy in the eyes of working people. And what better way to do this than by shepherding workers behind a US/EU launched war of “democratic” imperialism against the “totalitarian” states of Russia and China?

Left parties alibi climate parliamentarism

Some Australian left parties help build what they see as climate activism, without pausing to consider its content. While they may grumble about the SS4C climate movement needing more pro-worker positions, they effectively only call for a slightly more progressive movement. The Socialist Alliance appears to have few grumbles at all, and reproduce press statements from SS4C verbatim.[13] They are joined as disciples of Greta Thunberg by Socialist Alternative, who likewise endorse and take part in the “new activism” of Extinction Rebellion (XR).[14] Although XR are not organising the September 20 strikes, XR’s class basis of petty-bourgeois radicalism[15] dovetails squarely with the classical reformism of SS4C and AYCC. Solidarity correctly highlight the beginnings of some trade unions endorsing and taking part in the September 20 walkouts.[16] Yet there is no mention from them of the dangers of workers and their Unions obediently mobilising once again behind the abject parliamentarism of the SS4C/AYCC leadership of the climate strike.

After the disaster of the “Change the Rules” campaign, which saw Unions mobilise for two years in support of a failed attempt to elect an ultra-conservative ALP to federal government, one would think some lessons about electoral campaigns masked as movements might be learned. Yet the link between the parliamentarism of SS4C/AYCC, imperialist war and the misguided left are apparent. Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity are strident opponents of Russia and China, as are SS4C/AYCC, as is the Australian ruling class. These left parties do not imagine themselves to be parliamentarists, even while marching in lock step with capital’s hand-picked parliamentarist lieutenants.

Climate struggle is class struggle

The assault on the climactic conditions necessary for human survival is one more assault on the living and working conditions of the masses. While the industrial revolution was necessary to prepare mass production, the private capital which fostered it was never going to be able to regulate itself to any degree of environmental sustainability. For that, private capital must become social capital. In other words, the major means of production must pass from private hands into those of the working people who set it in motion. Yet even though climate science is issuing more and more shrill warnings almost on a daily basis, the climate crisis in itself cannot be separated from the struggle for working class emancipation.

Finance capital is plunging human civilisation into a double-barrelled Armageddon – the slaughter of imperialist war and imminent climate collapse. The parliaments that defend finance capital – and therefore facilitate climate destruction – cannot change their course. In the course of their struggle for decent working and living conditions, and for a safe climate, working people do not directly confront the ruling class itself. Workers instead confront the agents of finance capital within the (sometimes contrived) social movements. Through all manner of subterfuge, these agents attempt to herd workers and youth back into a purely lobbyist perspective. They attempt to paint begging for different policies from politicians who have diametrically opposed material interests, as “radical climate action”. It is a very small step from rehabilitating a capitalist parliament in this way, to a blanket endorsement of imperialist wars against an “other” – be it Russia, China, or whoever. There is little doubt that this is the aim of SS4C and AYCC, who drag along the moderate left parties behind them.

Thus, for the September 20 climate strike and beyond, working people and leftists need to participate with the express aim of breaking workers away from the political designs of the pro-ALP, pro-imperialist leadership which will not and cannot provide even the first steps towards a safe climate – or a safe world. Rather, what is required is a fight for demands such as: the expropriation of the major means of production, transport, banking and finance which could be administered by workers’ committees in the interests of working people. A left-wing climate movement should demand elected workers’ councils to administer a socialised and planned economy. Here, the leadership of a Marxist vanguard party is crucial. The horrors of potential climate incineration, imperialist war and wage slavery can only begin to be addressed through workers’ rule in the transition from the profit system to human liberation.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://redfireonline.com/2019/05/19/liberalism-at-a-dead-end-alp-loses-the-unlosable-election/ (10-08-2019)

[2] https://overland.org.au/2019/06/why-adani-happened/ (10-08-2019)

[3] https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/about (10-08-2019)

[4] Ibid, 3.

[5] Ibid. 4.

[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032117304495 (11-08-2019)

[7] https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2016/07/13/are-fossil-fuel-interests-bankrolling-the-anti-nuclear-energy-movement/#4bef933d7453 (11-08-2019)

[8] https://redfireonline.com/2019/03/13/for-real-climate-action-expropriate-capital/ (11-08-2019)

[9] https://twitter.com/gretathunberg/status/1128344612186279937?lang=en (11-08-2019)

[10] https://consortiumnews.com/2018/11/17/blowback-us-funded-ukraine-neo-nazis-mentor-us-white-supremacists/ (11-08-2019)

[11] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/cihan-celik/us-turkey-realize-al-qaeda-threat-in-syria–a-bit-late-61834 (11-08-2019)

[12] https://www.mintpressnews.com/hong-kong-protests/259202/ (11-08-2019)

[13] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/why-school-climate-strikers-are-demanding-just-transition-and-job-creation (11-08-2019)

[14] https://redflag.org.au/node/6855 (11-08-2019)

[15] https://redfireonline.com/2019/08/07/whats-wrong-with-extinction-rebellion/ (11-08-2019)

[16] https://www.solidarity.net.au/highlights/workers-and-unions-organise-to-join-climate-strike/ (11-08-2019)

 

What’s Wrong with Extinction Rebellion?

Extinction Rebellion block traffic in Brisbane. Photo from http://www.newcastlestar.com.au

What’s Wrong with Extinction Rebellion?

04-08-2019 – Extinction Rebellion (XR) formed as an organisation in late 2018, and has since expanded into some 400 chapters around the globe. In April, XR burst onto the scene by blockading parts of London, with some participants in costumes, and topped off by a pink yacht.[1] Calling for urgent action to address the increasingly dire climate warnings, XR has drawn in many who are rightly fed up with the blatant inaction of politicians, and are willing to take action which disrupts “business as usual”. XR is correct about one thing: if immediate and drastic steps are not taken to eliminate carbon emissions and withdraw carbon already in the atmosphere within the next ten years, humanity itself will die a horrible death. However, XR display the wrong tactics, with the wrong strategy, which flows from wrong politics. So wayward is XR (the organisation – as distinct from XR members and supporters), we urge workers to stand clear and seek better methods of struggle, despite the critical importance of politically inspired climate action.

Anti-socialist action

Although one of XR’s slogans is “beyond politics”, they are very political – but not in a good way as far as working people are concerned. One of the core positions of XR is being against socialism – or at least their misunderstanding of it. Some XR organising sessions have warned participants against carrying placards saying “Down with Capitalism”, lest the action be interpreted as being organised by socialists!!  Explicit anti-socialism was on show with the now infamous XR training video, where a talk given by XR founder John Hallam identifies 20% of those who take part in political demonstrations as “obstructionists”, who have to be bypassed to get to those who are supposedly not as political. Hallam is referring to socialists who allegedly bring everyone down by denouncing capitalism. He states the solutions need to be a balance, “not socialism or anything”.[2]

From the off we can see what the XR leadership mean by “no politics”. They really mean “no socialism”. The most advanced workers would be aware that there is no other systemic alternative to capitalism other than socialism. It cannot be any other way in a society divided by the two major classes which are involved in production – capital and labour. In rejecting labour, the XR leadership consciously choose capital – no matter how radical they make themselves out to be. In choosing capital, they are choosing the very force responsible for impending human extinction, despite themselves.

It’s a contradiction, for some of those drawn into XR actions could easily view socialism quite favourably. But just a glance at the bios of two of the XR founders is revealing. Gail Bradbrook is one, who has reportedly spent the last 18 years in the pay of both NGOs, charities and some of the world’s largest corporations including Shell, BT, Microsoft, Panasonic, BAE Systems and Goldman Sachs.[3] Many of these roles has been as “advisor” – to the very governments she now implores people to lobby through XR “non-violent” action. Farhana Yamin has been an environmental lawyer and “advisor” on climate change “development policy” to the United Nations and the governments of other countries for 20 years.[4]  Ms Bradbrook and Ms Yamin, if nothing else, are clearly connected to the very capitalist governments and corporations which are responsible for the burning of the planet in the first place. We can scarcely believe that their new XR creation will therefore be anything other than another lobby group trying to get the ear of big capital and big parliaments. Far from rebellion, the XR leadership are after a seat at the table.

The 3.5% colour revolution

XR’s anti-socialism can only lead to open advocacy of capitalist imperialism, and their “theory” does likewise. The elite XR leadership state their agreement with the “3.5%” thesis – that only 3.5% of the population has to be mobilised in non-violent action to achieve fundamental change, even “revolution”. Which “revolutions” allegedly occurred this way? The 1986 “People Power” actions in the Philippines, which deposed President Marcos (but left the ruling class entirely intact), the “Rose Revolution” in 2003 in Georgia, the “Singing Revolution” in Estonia in the late 80s, and the “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia in 1989.[5] The last three were not “revolutions” in any progressive sense, but full-throated counter-revolutions against the distorted socialism which came through the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazified fascism in World War II. In the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, despite political power being monopolised by conservative bureaucratic castes, workers held state power which ensured basic economic security – jobs, healthcare, education – for all. For its part, Wall Street never wavered in its determination to bring down these admittedly imperfect workers’ states, yet decades later, the bishops of XR hail the restoration of free-market capitalism in Georgia, Estonia and Czechoslovakia as a “revolution” !!

The XR VIPs share the aim of US backed “colour revolutions”, which were not only used to bring down the Soviet bloc, but are now used to destabilise Russia itself and all of the countries it once had influence over.[6] This includes the relentless funding of imperialist fronts posing as NGOs in a vast network of countries throughout Eurasia. These deadly moves by Washington threaten to unleash a series of wars, or even a nuclear war, against Russia. XR has no objections though, not least because the leadership see themselves as a type of NGO. Tellingly, XR also says not one word against imperialist war in general – a major driver of climate collapse.

By attempting to ignore the working class, the elite XR leadership attempt to embrace all classes – and thus fall into the same nationalist fictions that imperialist governments constantly try to reinforce. That is, capitalist governments are “ours” and “we” are all a part of it. In fact, they insinuate that “we” are all responsible [!] for the climate crisis and therefore it is everyone’s [!] responsibility to do something about it. Such classless nonsense would be laughed out of even the most reformist Trade Union. Even if workers themselves are not yet class conscious in a Marxist sense, they know and feel instinctively that they are up against a force which is counterposed to their interests, and that collective action must be used in order to defend all those who labour for a living. Even if they do not yet see a way around it, workers see and feel, from their own experience, that highly paid managers, corporate executives and self-serving politicians are an obstacle to basic justice – and that includes urgent action on the climate crisis.

XR and the cops

By far the most dangerous approach of XR is its embrace of the police of the capitalist state as allies. In the UK, the blocking of intersections in London with a yacht and a truck for a week can only have been done through extensive consultation with the police,[7] which were likely carried out by the unaccountable leaders of XR, rather than those who attended the action. What is more, one of the core strategies of XR is actually to get people arrested, and there is evidence of the XR leadership actively assisting the cops to do just this.[8] It hardly needs emphasising that the police are the core security force of the capitalist state, which uses extreme violence against the working class and the poor in order to secure the wealth of private capital. Any organisation which advocates working directly with, or assisting, the cops, is plainly a deadly enemy of all working people. Directing workers to assist the cops in any task – not to speak of your own arrest! – is not only the most serious form of class treachery. It physically endangers workers, Aboriginal people, migrants, women, and all others who attempt exercise their political rights – which ultimately are very limited as long as capitalism remains economically stagnant.

The elite XR leadership’s willing embrace of the murderous core repressive forces of the capitalist state are a reflection of its political program. They are an example of the enraged petty-bourgeoisie, who cannot understand why big capital does not see its own extinction by continuing fossil fuel “business as usual”. The petty-bourgeoisie encompasses a whole range of political forces which stand between capital and labour by virtue of their class position. Their rejection of the working class and its aim – socialism – leads them into desperately tying themselves to big capital, but in the form of begging for reforms. Capital has no intention of granting them, which then drives the petty-bourgeois XR leadership further into a frenzy. It thus organises “radical” actions such as blockading traffic, and removing their clothes in parliamentary galleries, in a desperate attempt to shock the ruling class into change.

The ruling class, of course, cannot be changed. It must be overthrown, and by the only class which does not have a material interest in the maintenance of the profit system – the proletariat. As long as XR rejects the proletariat and its struggle for its own government and its own state power, it will be reduced to placing plaintive demands on the very forces responsible for the imminent climate collapse. And any political movement which simply asks its overlords for mercy cannot be described as “radical” in any way. This also explains why XR’s demands display a staggering combination of utopian liberalism and reformist populism. For example, XR demand that the government and the media “tell the truth” [!!] about climate change, while calling on the government of the capitalist profiteers to convene a “citizen’s assembly” [9] !! The petty-bourgeois democrats, materially and/or politically beholden to their class interests  (small scale capital), are incapable of a political course independent of the stock markets, the banks and the giant Western corporations, and therefore remain in thrall to the entire political state of the big bourgeoisie.

Bandwagon jumping left parties adapt

Some Australian left parties have simply adapted to the anti-socialist XR movement, by “temporarily” folding up their socialism and placing it in their back pocket. Never one to pass by a chance to jump on a bandwagon, the Socialist Alliance claim that some members of XR agree with an anti-capitalist approach, even if the XR platform does not.[10] Socialist Alternative avoid mentioning the XR platform, but claim that the major positive of XR is their focus on militant direct action, and urge these actions to grow.[11] Both these parties play out the fantasy that ANY movement can be “pushed to the left” if only socialists take part in it. They make the mistake that any movement can be a vehicle for progressive change. Even if XR has a pro-capitalist leadership, all that is supposedly needed is for the left to “relate” to left wing elements within them. Never tiring of tailing after the “left” wing of the ruling class, such tactics in fact tie workers to “their own” capitalist governments, for an indefinite period. Meanwhile, such waylaid left parties forever claim that they are only “working with” allegedly progressive bourgeois layers. Clearly, they are instead working for them, and by extension, for the bourgeoisie itself.

The XR leadership proffer the radically false theory that everyone, from a minimum wage earning seamstress right up to billionaire corporate magnates, are all affected by climate collapse so “everyone” has an interest in doing something about it. In reality, all strata of the capitalist class, right down to the small time business owner, would rather see the earth incinerated than be stripped of their “right” to exploit the labour power of the workers who produce their profits. Allowing for historical variations, this is just as true for the modern day capitalists as it was for the slave owners who pre-dated them, and the biblical kings before them. While the pre-capitalist ruling classes did not face civilisation ending threats, they also would have preferred to see the world burn rather than lose their social power over the toiling masses.

The only way for slaves and serfs to change their conditions of life was to band together to overthrow the slave-owners and medieval monarchs. This eventually occurred, but now the task falls to the modern day working class to liberate humanity from the tyrannical rule of capital. The issue of impending ecological collapse does not invalidate this historical task, but only makes it more urgent. The capitalists and their state, and their governments, cannot be made to “see reason”, no matter how much traffic or business as usual disruption is organised – though different forms of mass action will certainly be needed. What is required is the organisation of the most class-conscious into a Marxist vanguard party, which can lead the working class in a struggle for the seizure of the major means of production. Workers’ control of production, and society itself, will greatly increase the chances of humanity avoiding extinction through the rational application of science and technology. The crusade for a workers’ state and a workers’ government is, in the final analysis, the only real rebellion.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012
www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/16/eco-protesters-armed-pots-pink-yacht-blockade-capital/ (29-07-2019)

[2] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/05/06/extinction-rebellion-training-or-how-to-control-radical-resistance-from-the-obstructive-left/ (31-07-2019)

[3] https://www.vigiliae.org/dr-gail-marie-bradbrook-compassionate-revolutionary-for-hire-by-un-extinction/ (31-07-2019)

[4] https://www.bond.org.uk/person/farhana-yamin (31-07-2019)

[5] http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world (03-08-2019)

[6] https://www.globalresearch.ca/coups-and-color-revolutions-us-wages-geopolitical-warfare-against-russia-in-central-asia-and-caucasus/5441969 (03-08-2019)

[7] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/04/24/extinction-rebellion-socialist-revolution/ (03-08-2019)

[8] https://libcom.org/blog/extinction-rebellion-not-struggle-we-need-pt-1-19072019?fbclid=IwAR1-PgvdDKz1NpAWnow8rkgtIzxfG5HC67gIw07ffmotFZ_xZThnfDuEwOg (03-08-2019)

[9] https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/ (03-08-2019)

[10] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/what-kind-rebellion-will-it-take-save-humanity-extinction (04-08-2019)

[11] https://redflag.org.au/node/6812 (04-08-2019)

Jobs for All Workers and…..Stop Adani!

The Black-Throated Finch faces extinction if the Adani mine goes ahead. http://www.abc.net.au

Jobs for All Workers and….Stop Adani!

02-06-2019 – The proposed Adani mega coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, beset from the off by a political campaign to prevent it, has now been given a new lease of life. Pumping blood back into the veins of what will arguably be Australia’s greatest environmental crime is none other than the Labor Party. In the immediate aftermath of the federal Labor Party losing the unlosable election,[1] Queensland Labor Party Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk has moved to accelerate the construction of the mine by demanding a definite timeframe[2] for the building of an ecological nightmare. Since then, Adani’s supposed plan for the preservation of the endangered black-throated finch – a smoke and mirrors archetype – has been approved by the state government, weeks after it was initially rejected.[3]

It is blatantly obvious that the Queensland Premier is reacting to the federal election loss by the Labor Party. Voters in central and north Queensland, desperate for jobs after suffering 25% unemployment in areas such as Townsville, swung to the Liberal National Party presumably on the promise that the Adani coal mine would produce at least some jobs which would stimulate the rest of the economy in those areas. Queensland voters will go to the polls in a little over 12 months, and Premier Palaszczuk holds on to a slim margin in government. In fact, the Queensland Labor Party only scraped home in the last election after Premier Palaszczuk during the campaign announced that it would block a 1 billion loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) due to a possible conflict of interest. Her partner at the time was working for Price Waterhouse Coopers, which was involved in Adani’s application for the loan.[4]

This gave the perception that the Labor Party was withdrawing support for the Adani mine – which is hugely unpopular – apart from economically devastated areas of central and north Queensland. This is little more than an illusion. The Labor Party has always been strongly pro-Adani, but has hedged its bets in public statements. For example, aside from the NAIF loan, before the Federal Election the Labor Party ensured Adani received a $400 million taxpayer funded loan, promised to build a $100 million access road, and approved a 60 year unlimited water licence. If this was not enough, the Labor Party has not ruled out extinguishing the native title of the Wangan and Jagalingou indigenous people – who have never approved even the start of the Adani mega mine.[5]

Carbon vortex

It is impossible to understate the environmental damage which will be caused by the Adani mine alone, let alone the other mines slated for construction in the Galilee Basin. The Labor government has approved the use of 12.5 billion litres of water every year from the Suttor River, which compares to 15.4 billion litres of water for all other agricultural users combined.[6] This is on top of an unlimited amount of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin – when of course groundwater is specifically not unlimited. The Adani mine is slated to produce 60 million tonnes of coal per year, all of which will be transported through the Great Barrier Reef.[7] It is estimated that if all of the Galilee Basin coal is burnt, it will release 705 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, which represents 1.3 times Australia’s total carbon emissions.[8] For comparison, the projected carbon emissions just from the Adani mine would be three times the annual carbon emissions from New Delhi, twice those of Tokyo, six times that of Amsterdam and 20% more than New York City.[9]

The Adani corporation itself is a poster boy for the degeneracy of capitalism. It is basically a corporate criminal, which has repeatedly been charged with tax avoidance, environmental damage, and bribery of government officials – not that the Labor Party needed bribing. The Adani corporation has 26 subsidiaries in Australia, 13 of which are owned through the Cayman Islands. Adani mining poisoned a river in Zambia, and then hid this from the Australian government. In 2011, Adani sunk a coal ship off the coast of Mumbai, causing a massive oil spill. Adani made no attempt to clean up the mess for five years.[10] Socialists are aware that ALL capitalist corporations are unscrupulous, to say the least, but Adani takes the cake for its lawless and reckless behaviour.

Jobs illusion

Regardless of the unquestionable scale of the climate emergency, it is acknowledged that working people need jobs to survive as a first priority, to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. It is understandable to some extent that workers will first lend their political support to any party or part of government where they may perceive that more or better jobs will be the result. This is especially the case in regional Queensland, where youth unemployment levels are at stratospheric levels. A national youth unemployment rate of 12% compares to a 67.1% youth unemployment rate in outback Queensland, and 27.7% in Wide Bay.[11] The official, and grossly underestimated official unemployment rate in Townsville is 8.21%,[12] but it is reportedly more like 25%.

In these desperate circumstances, some workers can latch on to ANY economic development that might occur, which MAY lead to the prospect of ongoing employment. Yet the Adani mine will not produce the jobs they are seeking. Adani – and the Queensland Labor government, first trumpeted that the Adani mine will create “10 000” jobs. This was a bare-faced lie. Adani later admitted that the Carmichael mine will only create around 1500 jobs during the construction phase. Recently, National Party leader and backer of Adani, Bridget McKenzie, admitted that the Carmichael mine will only create “around about 100” ongoing jobs![13] Why? Because Adani itself has stated that the mine will automated “from pit to port”. That is, even the trucks transporting the coal will be driverless. In Queensland, coal mining only accounts for 1.1% of the workforce. Even in North Queensland, 96% of the workforce is NOT employed in an industry that is related to coal mining.[14]

The vast scale of unemployment and the climate catastrophe of global warming are linked. Both are outcomes of the current phase of the system of generalised commodity production where there is private ownership of the means of production. The profit system is at an impasse in all countries where the rule of capital has not been overthrown. To combat this, workers should seek to push their Unions into demanding a shorter working week with no loss in pay. Working hours should be reduced as far as is necessary to obtain full employment. A key demand would be for a 30 hour week – or a six hour day. In addition, workers should demand their Unions lead a struggle for a massive program of public works, to build the sorely needed public infrastructure and health care systems working people need. All workers have the right to decent and secure jobs which provide an adequate standard of living. If the capitalist system cannot provide this, then let it perish.

Stop Adani campaign crashes

The fact that the Adani coal mine is now going ahead at full steam, despite overwhelming public sentiment against it, is proof positive that corporate environmental and “activist” NGOs directly achieve the opposite of what they claim to combat. Despite two solid years of effort, and with history on its side, the official Stop Adani leadership organised barely even one mass action that could have begun a process of exerting serious political pressure. Instead, smaller and “targeted” actions were prioritised, many to coincide with the activities of the bourgeois parliament and their elections. Why was this? Even a brief look at their website reveals they are linked to the “Sunrise Project”, another corporate environmental NGO with a staff chock full of ex-company directors and business high-fliers.[15] Their aim is simply to have capitalism switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and that’s it. The plethora of injustices that the rule of the stock market imposes on working people, the unemployed and the homeless mean nothing to them – and why would it? As long as “free enterprise” continues, they can continue to haul in huge salaries as hangers on to big business, albeit one that claims to be fossil fuel free.

The notorious GetUp! also played a similar role, selectively mobilising their supporters for slick photo-ops at selected locations, while avoiding allowing people who wanted to help any say in what was being planned. GetUp!, despite public denials, is inextricably linked to the Labor Party. GetUp! targets the Liberal Party over Adani, while going soft on the Labor Party by organising pleading petitions to them, in the vain hope that Labor Party politicians will change their mind.[16] They were aided in this strategy by “baby GetUp!” – the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), who organised the “Student Strikes 4 Climate” in the lead up to the Federal Election. They explicitly had a whole campaign organised as the “climate election”.[17] They deceive some indigenous people by organising SEED[18] along the same lines.

The campaign to stop Adani did not fail (so far) because the Liberal Party won the Federal Election. It failed because the conservative leadership of the stop Adani campaign – Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC – directed the entire campaign into lobbying the very politicians who had already approved it. But this flows from their politics. Despite the apparent differences of opinion between the Adani corporation and Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC, the fact remains that all of them remain staunch partisans of the capitalist system. The only difference is that one wants to continue to use fossil fuels for energy, while the others wans to use “100% renewable energy” (yet 100% renewable energy is another illusion).

Stop Work to Stop Adani

Despite the fact that it is possible to stop the Adani mine this side of the overthrow of capitalism, effectively anti-capitalist methods will need to be used. Most especially, there will be a need for workers around the country to strike against the construction of new coal mines. Other forms of mass action to involve people, such as large demonstrations, will be crucial also, but workers will be key. The banks can sustain any number of weekend rallies against Adani – as necessary as they are. But the capitalist state does not really view a protest movement as an economic liability until workers are prepared to “down tools”. Then it becomes a matter of who exactly is in charge.

Standing in the way of this are the conservative Union officials, almost all of whom have not uttered a word of opposition to the Adani abomination. An exception is Bob Carnegie, the leader of the Queensland branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, which merged with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU).[19] However, Mr Carnegie has at the same time actively promoted a vote for the Labor Party amongst his members – which grates against working class progress. The fact is that to have any chance of succeeding, i.e., in stopping the Adani mine, the movement will need to split, not unite, with the entirety of the pro-capitalist stop Adani political leadership. This means a political break with the corporate NGOs (Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC/SEED), the capitalist state and all of its parliamentary parties – the Labor Party, but also the Australian Greens. It’s true that the Greens stated opposition in words to Adani – but as parliamentarists they barely contribute to extra-parliamentary action.

There is still time to stop Adani. Overall though, working people need to draw the conclusion that to have any chance of preventing the civilisation bus careering over a cliff, the economic and political power of capital will have to be toppled. In its place workers will need to erect their own state, administered by their own government, which will socialise the means of production and collectively plan the economy to meet the needs of all those who labour. And this revolution requires the leadership of a Marxist vanguard party.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
PO  Box   66   NUNDAH  QLD   4012

[1] https://redfireonline.com/2019/05/19/liberalism-at-a-dead-end-alp-loses-the-unlosable-election/ (01-06-2019)

[2] https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/everyone-s-had-a-gutful-queensland-premier-wants-time-frame-on-adani-20190522-p51q0r.html (01-06-2019)

[3] http://theconversation.com/adanis-finch-plan-is-approved-just-weeks-after-being-sent-back-to-the-drawing-board-118114 (01-06-2019)

[4] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/palaszczuk-vows-to-pull-queensland-government-from-adani-loan (02-06-2019)

[5] https://redflag.org.au/node/6794 (02-06-2019)

[6] https://junkee.com/adani-river-water-licence/176102 (02-06-2019)

[7] https://junkee.com/adani-ad-coal-fairfax/114375 (02-06-2019)

[8] https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/adanis-ticking-carbon-bomb/ (02-06-2019)

[9] https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/adani-coal-mine-eco-crime-heres-why/ (02-06-2019)

[10] https://adanifiles.com.au/#key-finding (02-06-2019)

[11] http://library.bsl.org.au/jspui/bitstream/1/10573/1/BSL_Unfair_Australia_Mapping_youth_unemployment_hotspots_Mar2018.pdf (02-06-2019)

[12] https://economy.id.com.au/townsville/unemployment (02-06-2019)

[13] https://theaimn.com/bridget-mckenzie-revealed-the-adani-jobs-lie-and-no-one-noticed/?fbclid=IwAR1Oy7S_kT4ChOeIHlWa1BmRJHzqLQvQgr8E6M_LnWms51Iv_3Yf6DCM7iQ (02-06-2019)

[14] Ibid, 13.

[15] https://sunriseproject.org.au/people/ (02-06-2019)

[16] https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/great-barrier-reef–3/stop-adani/stop-adani-s-dodgy-reef-destroying-mine (02-06-2019)

[17] https://www.aycc.org.au/climate_election (02-06-2019)

[18] https://www.seedmob.org.au/ (02-06-2019)

[19] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/queensland-unionist-urges-labor-to-put-climate-action-ahead-of-coal-jobs-20190525-p51r4i.html (02-06-2019)

Liberalism at a Dead End: ALP Loses the “Unlosable” Election

Liberalism at a Dead End: ALP Loses the “Unlosable” Election

19-05-2019 – It’s a cliché to put forward the “Don’t mourn, organise” aphorism after a significant defeat for workers. After the victory of the Coalition (Liberal Party, National Party, Liberal National Party in Queensland – collectively the L/NP) in the 2019 Federal Elections, the working class will certainly need to double down on its organising efforts. But some crucial political lessons will need to be learnt before embarking on much needed organising.

At the time of writing, with around 75% of the vote counted, the L/NP are two seats short of forming a majority government.[1] They will either govern in their own right, or form a minority government with the formal or informal backing of some independents. For the Australian Labor Party (ALP), this was a classic case of losing an unlosable election. Yet again the ALP’s “small target” strategy cost them. That is, the ALP were promising very little, if anything, which was substantially different, let alone more progressive, than the L/NP. The one progressive aspect the ALP were promising was the extremely conditional (and likely false) pledge that they would restore penalty rates which have been taken away from some workers. The ALP was perhaps expecting to limp home into government without doing much at all, because voters would naturally want to get rid of the L/NP. Even within the sphere of bourgeois politics though, unless the majority of voters are offered something substantial by the liberal side, they will stick with the status quo, or even move to the right.

Catastrophe of “Change the Rules”

Working people must be clear. If the ALP had won the Federal Election, the working class would still be subjected to intense attack on all fronts – from low wages, near starvation aged pensions and unemployment assistance, privatisation of health care, cuts to education, worsening public transport and so on. The pace and severity of the attacks may have been slightly lower than under an L/NP government, but that is all. This is because the major parties are the twin parties of Australian capitalism, which is a component part of Wall Street led imperialism. The system of production for private profit is in acute crisis in Australia, Europe, the US and Japan. This is what is driving the relentless austerity, the ongoing danger of US led imperialist wars, not to speak of the imminent danger of potentially irreversible ecological collapse – of which global warming is but one aspect.

For two years, the top officials of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) have been running the “Change the Rules” campaign. This was always code for “Vote Labor”. In fact, at a late stage the careerist officials of the ACTU changed the rules themselves – from “Change the Rules” to “Change the Government to Change the Rules”.[2] It became an explicit “Vote Labor” campaign. But in fact, the politically compromised ACTU officials advised not only a vote for the ALP, but also preferenced the Greens above the ALP in some states for the Senate. In other seats, the ACTU produced how-to-vote cards which preferenced the racist Katter’s Australian Party and the right-wing Democratic Labor Party.[3] After selectively mobilising workers for two years on the vague promise that industrial relations laws could be changed by electing the ALP, the conservative officials of the ACTU, from Sally McManus down, ended up playing preference exchanges with right-wing parties!  And now that the L/NP has been re-elected, the Union movement has been brought back to ground zero.

The fraud of “Vote Climate”

The nightmare of staggering carbon emissions from the Adani mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland triggered a wide campaign against it throughout the country. Yet the “Stop Adani” campaign was always led by operatives of GetUp! – an NGO which repeatedly denies its links to the Labor Party, yet inevitably assists them.[4] This was why the Stop Adani campaign stopped short of doing what was actually needed to Stop Adani – a mass action effort independent of the parliament, the government and its state. The complete opposite occurred – Stop Adani was directed entirely towards lobbying the ALP, lobbying the parliament, and lobbying the government. That is, the leadership of “Stop Adani” was committed to the political forces of capital which began Adani – and indeed all new coal developments in the country. The overwhelming majority support for halting the Great Barrier Reef destroying Adani mine could have stopped Adani – but for the leadership of Stop Adani.

In any case, an ALP government was hardly going to Stop Adani. Yet an ALP or ALP/Greens government was also the aim of the “Student Strike 4 Climate” (SS4C) actions which preceded the elections, and were geared towards them. Again, however, the student strike for climate was organised by GetUp! and “Baby GetUp!” the AYCC (Australian Youth Climate Coalition).[5] Hence, they organised student strikes – outside L/NP electorate offices!  This could scarcely have been a more blatant vote catching exercise. This is light years away from organsing against the profit system which is the prime culprit of environmental vandalism.

The leaderships of some Unions even boasted about linking with GetUp!, despite it being the face of the liberal elite. The conservative officials of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU) hailed its virtual affiliation to GetUp! in its attempt to gain a much needed boost to Newstart (unemployment benefits).[6] To do this, it had to trample on AUWU members who so much as questioned the political compromises required for such an unholy alliance. Ironically, either internal Union democracy, or internal movement democracy, is the very thing which GetUp! and their backers cannot tolerate.

Much more needs to be analysed about this election. But the crucial lesson for workers is that all forms of liberalism – whether in the form of GetUp!, the conservative Union officials, the NGO led “environmental” movement, the ALP and others – offer no way forward. The working class can only advance by making a political break with all the liberal agents of capitalist class rule. Socialism is needed, but the pre-requisite is a Marxist vanguard party composed of the most class-conscious workers. The Workers League seeks to take the first steps on this path, and calls on all who agree to take part.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://tallyroom.aec.gov.au/HouseDefault-24310.htm (19-05-2019)

[2] https://www.actu.org.au/actu-media/media-releases/2019/change-the-government-change-the-rules-nationwide-door-knock (19-05-2019)

[3] https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/actu-puts-greens-ahead-of-labor-on-how-to-vote-cards-in-higgins-20190516-p51o2h.html (19-05-2019)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/23/getup-warned-by-electoral-commission-it-may-be-associated-entity-of-labor (19-05-2019)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2019/03/13/for-real-climate-action-expropriate-capital/ (19-05-2019)

[6] https://unemployedworkersunion.com/join-get-up-auwus-joint-newstart-campaign/ (19-05-2019)

For Real Climate Action: Expropriate Capital!

For Real Climate Action: Expropriate Capital!

15-03-2019 – The 2018 report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued yet another dire warning: the world has until 2030 to limit the rise in pre-industrial temperatures to an average of 1.5 degrees.[1] Failure to do so will risk drought, floods, hurricanes, storms and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Vast climate distortion, with the current 1 degree average rise in global temperatures, is a current reality, with bushfires and floods now a semi-regular feature of Australian “weather”, to say nothing of the extreme conditions buffeting Asia, Europe and the Americas. The demand for ultra-urgent action to prevent the further life-threatening emission of carbon is now almost universal.

In the face of this, students are now following the lead of Greta Thunberg, a 15 year old from Sweden who has taken the initiative of walking out of school on Fridays in a bid to call global leaders to account. Or so we are told. Is it really as simple as that? Not likely. Greta Thunberg was born into wealth and privilege, and the strings behind her lead directly to some of the most powerful corporations on planet earth – which are part and parcel of the very system responsible for the potential termination of the climatic conditions necessary for human survival. The truth must be told – this is a set up.

Compromised NGOs lead climate activists to parliament

The entire game is given away by just a brief glance at the “School Strike 4 Climate”  website. First, the demands purportedly being put forward are 1. Stop Adani (coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland) 2. For no new Coal or Gas and 3. For 100% renewable energy by 2030. Immediately below is an exhortation for supporters to “host a climate change forum for school students in your electorate before the Federal Election.[2] (emphasis added) So the future of the entirety of human civilisation is tied back down to a run of the mill bourgeois election! If this wasn’t blatant and tawdry enough, the website comes replete with tips on “How to get your (!?!?) politician to take some REAL climate action”, including how to “ask for a meeting”, “tell them why you care” and “ask them to make concrete commitments” at the meeting.[3] Despite being incredibly patronising, the NGOs behind School Strike 4 Climate demonstrate that they are cynically using children who are motivated by perhaps the most progressive cause of our time, to bolster and fortify the very system entirely responsible for climate catastrophe in the first place – the rule of private finance capital.

Which NGOs are linked to the School Strike 4 Climate? The website Wrong Kind of Green has carried out an exhaustive exposure of the corporations behind Greta Thunberg and their motivations.[4] They include Avaaz, The B Team, World Resources Institute, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Purpose, TckTckTck, Rockefeller Foundation, Oxfam, Amnesty International and the World Wildlife Fund, amongst others. Al Gore, personally worth around $350 million dollars, is amongst them, as is Richard Branson – fresh from a failed attempt to join with the US Empire to violently overthrow the Venezuelan government.[5] Many have been taken in by a supposedly innocent 15 year old Greta Thunberg, staging a one-out vigil outside the Swedish parliament every Friday. But as the research of Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer shows, Greta Thunberg is linked to Al Gore to Bill Gates to Richard Branson to the “liberal” wings of the most powerful ruling classes in the history of world capitalism. It is clear they demand the impossible – a movement to arrest or reverse global warming which remains entirely within the bounds of the US Empire.

The concept that the very same politicians who have, for over one hundred years, overseen the development of catastrophic global warming, can at the same time be somehow convinced to reverse course and save the world is not only a flight of dangerous fantasy. It reveals the entire political strategy of the liberal bourgeoisie, which in this country is represented most particularly by the notorious GetUp! – founded by the very same people behind Purpose and Avaaz. GetUp! disingenuously claim that they are not linked to the Labor Party, when former and current board members have been prominent Labor Party politicians, including Bill Shorten himself.[6] It is suspected that GetUp! are the concealed hands behind the School Strike 4 Climate, given their heavy promotion of the first one on November 30, 2018.[7] Particularly disorienting is their herding of people back into the parliament, pushing the notion that the politicians there are “ours” and can be made to “listen” to us.

Working people should be crystal clear on this point – politicians from all parliamentary parties in Australia, be they Liberal, Labor, National, Greens, One Nation, Katter’s Australian Party and so on are not “ours” at all. They are politicians of the capitalist class responsible for not only the catastrophe of impending climate collapse, but the decimation of the standard of living for all workers and the oppressed. They CANNOT be allies in any political struggle, and most especially one as important as climate change. Working people need our own party, and our own state – which necessarily must be politically and organisationally independent of all federal and state parliaments. A workers’ government will have no impediments such as private profit standing in the way of rational action to address climate distortion.

Driving the illusion of “100% renewable energy”

The School Strike 4 Climate [or likely the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) behind the scenes] proffers the demands to Stop Adani and for no new coal and gas. These demands are necessary and can be backed by workers. However, the demand for 100% renewable energy – by 2030 or anytime – is a green illusion which hooks most liberals and almost the entire environmental movement. Renewable energy – by which its advocates mean primarily wind and solar power, and to a lesser extent geothermal, tidal or pumped hydro – is nowhere near a point which it could be rolled out to provide 100% of Australia’s electricity needs. Wind and solar are intermittent sources – solar power produces nothing at night, and wind power relies on strong consistent winds. They need backup, which is primarily slated to come from gas, or biomass. The lack of capacity of wind and solar means that the build out for it has to take into account building in overcapacity – which is probably completely impractical. This is an ongoing debate, but there are already comprehensive critiques compiled which supply convincing evidence that the “100% renewable energy” demand is essentially an empty claim.[8] At any rate, using current technology, there is hardly an industry which is willing to switch to 100% renewable energy right now. Industry, as well as a small household, needs baseload and peakload power. Grids set up for the intermittent power of wind and solar have yet to be built, and would involve wasted endeavour trying to devise.

As the intense carbon emissions from coal and gas rule them out as power sources into the future, the best placed replacement for baseload carbon free energy is nuclear power.[9] Yet decades of misinformation and scaremongering from many environmentalists has pushed the development of zero-carbon nuclear power off the agenda. Ironically, being anti-nuclear has arguably contributed to the use of coal, and thus the adding of dangerous emissions to the atmosphere. It is ironic that Australia exports Uranium overseas for use in fuelling zero-carbon nuclear power overseas, but there are laws which prevent the building of zero-carbon nuclear power on these shores.

Red China leads the way

What the GetUp!/Avaaz/AYCC/Al Gore/Greta Thunberg crew cannot mention, due to loyalty to the system of production for private profit, is that it is actually the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which is far and away leading the transition away from fossil fuels and towards zero carbon energy sources. The corporate NGOs lament the wholesale lack of action of any kind of transition to wind, water and solar power in Australia, while simultaneously ignoring the PRC, the world’s largest country by population, where this is actually taking place. The sheer scale of the installation of wind, water and solar power in the PRC dwarfs any of the deliberately half-hearted attempts to do so in the West. Figures from the China Electricity Council (CEC) in 2017 show that there is a marked shift towards zero carbon energy sources on the Chinese mainland. Wind, water and solar power added 51.9% of new capacity, thermal accounted for 42.9% and nuclear for 5.2%.[10]

The 5.2% for zero carbon nuclear power may sound small, but in fact Red China is again leading the way in the operation and construction of reactors. There are now more than 40 reactors operating in China, and another 18 under construction – and that is just for starters. The specialists advising the Communist Party of China (CPC), unlike the Western environmental movement, anticipates that the share of power from renewables will tail off in the longer term, to less than half of the total. In other words, they are aware of the limitations of renewables vis-à-vis the advantages of nuclear generated electricity. Moreover, if China’s rapid economic growth continues at anything like what has occurred since the 1980s, China’s power demands will double by 2040. Hence, China’s Energy Development Strategy Action Plan for 2014-2020 has set a target of 58 Gigawatts (GWe) for nuclear power, with an additional 30 GWe slated to be under construction.

The key here is “plan”. Red China is leading the way on the replacement of fossil fuels, because it has a planned economy. Not only that, China’s economy primarily does not run on the basis of production for private profit. The 1949 socialist revolution in China established a workers’ state which has not been overthrown, despite policy shifts since that time. The major means of production in China are state owned or majority state owned. This is especially the case for the strategic drivers of the economy – such as roads, railways, ports, steel production and infrastructure construction. And this is even before taking into account the fact that all of the largest banks and financial institutions are not only state-owned, but directed by leading members of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In short, China’s socialism allows it to take the lead in combatting climate distortion, whereas the West’s capitalism stands as an immediate and major block to even the first steps.

Left parties unite for climate – across classes

To be sure, workers in the PRC need more political decision making power than they currently have. Nevertheless, workers internationally need to work with, not against, the leadership on climate being shown by the PRC. Grating against this are some Australian left parties, who have fallen hook, line and sinker for the Greta Thunberg roadshow. The Socialist Alliance (SA)[11], Socialist Alternative (SAlt)[12] and Solidarity(Sol)[13] are all building the March 15 Climate Strike as if it is perfectly normal to be working directly with GetUp! and Avaaz and Al Gore and Richard Branson. There is a reason why these ostensibly left parties do not see a contradiction – they all unite as one for imperialist war. SA, SAlt and Sol uniformly joined with GetUp! in its subtle backing of the US/Saudi/UK/FRA/AUST led imperialist war for regime change on Syria. Likewise, they all combine to drive relentless calls for US backed regime change in Iran. And, despite claiming to be “anti-war”, they all spruik about “repression” in China, Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – which indicates they will not genuinely oppose a US led war against these or other countries independent of Wall Street.

Joining this unholy alliance are the top officials of Australian Unions – some of whom have donated Union members funds directly to GetUp! What transpires is a cross-class popular front, where the politics is wholly subordinated to the “left” wing of the ruling class – that part of the elite which can see something needs to be done about catastrophic climate change, but will stanchly resist any challenge to the capitalist system. Workers must be clear – human relations will not be rational so long as the working class has not yet abolished the private ownership of the means of production. Capital – the banks, the mines, major industries – must be expropriated from the obscenely rich and placed in the hands of society, held in trust by a workers’ republic. A pre-requisite will be the forging of a Marxist vanguard party, which could lead workers and all of the oppressed in the consolidation of a collectivised, planned economy – and hence rational action to avoid dangerous climate collapse. This should be the ultimate aim of “climate strikes”.

WORKERS   LEAGUE
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
PO  Box  66  NUNDAH QLD  4012

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report (27-02-19)

[2] https://drive.google.com/file/d/18MtPGabeW5lPQ9asPRQGk26YuRB94te4/view (02-03-19)

[3] https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/blog/tips-for-getting-your-politician-to-commit-to-real-climate-action (02-03-19)

[4] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/02/24/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-a-decade-of-social-manipulation-for-the-corporate-capture-of-nature-crescendo/ (02-03-19)

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/19/maduro-government-richard-branson-rival-venezuela-concerts (02-03-19)

[6] https://www.jimball.com.au/blog/the-getup-setup-brad-norrington-the-australian/ (02-03-19)

[7] https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/climate-action-now/climate-strikes/school-strikes-for-climate-action (02-03-19)

[8] https://bravenewclimate.com/2014/06/02/critique-100pc-renewables-edm/ (02-03-19)

[9] https://nuclearforclimate.com.au/2019/02/05/the-heat-is-on-time-for-nuclear/ (02-03-19)

[10] https://reneweconomy.com.au/chinas-amazing-green-shift-solar-wind-water-power-57490/ (03-03-19)

[11] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/unions-join-students-call-strike-our-climate (03-03-19)

[12] https://redflag.org.au/index.php/node/6634 (03-03-19)

[13] https://www.solidarity.net.au/mag/current/123/editorial-strike-out-morrisons-coalition-of-climate-deniers/ (03-03-19)