The latest UN climate summit begins on Sunday. But following the impotence and inaction seen at previous COP conferences, expectations amongst environmental activists are low. Capitalism is killing the planet. We need to fight for revolution.
The ruling classes of the world are indulging once again in that futile festival of greenwashing known as the ‘Conference of the Parties’, or COP.
This year’s iteration of the UN-hosted international climate summit, COP27, begins this weekend in the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
And after much flip-flopping, incoming UK prime minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed that he will attend – but with little to show when it comes to Tory achievements in terms of reducing emissions.
Given that these global elites will spend the next fortnight making yet more egregious empty promises to tackle the climate catastrophe, all while the world burns, this latest round of talks should really be renamed ‘COP OUT’.
The youth in all countries are rightly enraged at the way that capitalism is trashing the planet – and their future. They are demanding real, immediate action from the world ‘leaders’ cavorting at COP27.
But demanding that the capitalist class stop destroying the Earth and its inhabitants is like asking a pride of lions to stop their carnivorous behaviour and become vegans.
This has been seen from the various agreements and accords that are cooked up at every annual climate negotiation. All of these amount to little more than hot air; mere words on paper, which are subsequently ignored by the establishment.
Last year’s COP event, for example, hosted in Glasgow, ended in dismal failure. Despite all the fanfare in advance, alongside repeated stark warnings from environmental scientists, cynical politicians ended up committing to nothing.
Capitalism to blame
The blame for such consistently pitiful outcomes lies in the nature of capitalism itself.
The capitalists cannot be expected to put out the fires that are blazing across the world – as they and their system are the very arsonists responsible for creating this inferno in the first place.
The capitalist system is based on private ownership, competition, and production for profit. The needs of society do not enter into the equation. The profits of the bosses and the major polluting monopolies will always be prioritised over the health of people and the planet.
At the same time, capitalism is an inherently anarchic, chaotic system. Yet tackling climate change clearly requires planning, in order to rapidly direct resources, research, and technology towards this urgent issue.
Finally, there is the barrier of the nation state. Environment damage is an international problem, requiring an internationally-coordinated response. Instead, however, we increasingly see the big imperialist powers coming into conflict with one another, as they attempt to secure markets and profits, and export the crisis to their neighbours.
Taken together, this is a receipt for inertia, inaction, and impotence; in short, for disaster.
Fight for revolution!
Unlike our aforementioned lions, however, capitalism is not a part of the world’s natural ecosystem. It is not a timeless, eternal truth. Capitalism can and will be overthrown – just as old orders and ancien régimes like slavery and feudalism were overthrown before.
UK climate protests are due later this month, to coincide with COP27. Many activist groups’ placards will call for “system change, not climate change”.
Similarly, Greta Thunberg, the teenage face and founder of the #FridaysForFuture movement, recently called for “system-wide transformation” at the London launch event of her latest book.
But Thunberg and others don’t explain what they mean by this. Marxists, by contrast, are the only ones who spell out the problem – the chaotic, crisis-ridden capitalist system – and the solution: the need for worldwide socialist revolution.
To end global warming and the destruction of the environment, we must end capitalism, and fight for a society based on international socialist planning and democratic workers’ control.
Our slogan is: For revolutionary change, not climate change!