By a commentator for Tjen Folket Media.
In an article in Morgenbladet, Jostein Henriksen (writer, fly-fisher, and editor of the online newspaper Oppstrøms) has written commentary on an exhaustive report from the UN Environmental Programme (IPBES) on the environmental condition. Our readers should read the report in its entirety and the conclusion reached by the UN environmental panel must stir you to action against capitalism.
Henriksen writes that “the loss of the environment threatens humanity,” and that
The most provocative part of the report is nonetheless not the horror story of the earth’s condition that is depicted. [… T]he report is also crystal clear about what needs to be done to resolve the crisis:
Unless we steer away from the paradigm of economic growth, we will not even be able to adjust the course.
Henriksen refers to the report’s findings, and it cannot be read without a certain shock factor. It is rightly true that “everybody knows” that there are enormous environmental problems in today’s world. That’s not news. But this does not have enough consequences. People cannot simply register this and then go on with their lives as before. People must shake off the idea that it is hopeless anyway, and instead thrust themselves into the struggle for the planet and for humanity.
How could we have ended up with politicians that are this near-sighted?
The explanation lies within an ideology that has organized a coup within the environmental movement. The idea that the IPBES report entails has been widespread as early as the 1970s: growth has limits. Consumption must be reduced. Nature must be protected. But as the atmosphere has been filled with carbon during the course of the 90s, parts of the environmental movement chose a new strategy. They narrowed their focus and decided to devote themselves entirely to the climate question. Changing perspectives brought more gains. The problem did not only become smaller, but the solution also became more appealing: in contrast to the rest of the environmental crises, the climate crisis could be solved with technology. Finally, one was able to drop moralistic pleas for a reduction in consumption and living standards and rather speak of the future: solar cells, carbon capture, and electric cars. This was something that could be sold to the public. To get people to stop driving cars entirely is nearly impossible, but who wouldn’t want to drive a Tesla?
Focusing on changing perspectives also had another advantage: for the first time, environmentalism could play on the same team as business interests. In particular, there was a lot of money in green technology and green energy.
The neo-greens were born, and soon, they had nearly taken over the entire environmental movement.
Henriksen’s article can be read as both a warning and a battle cry. But without a Marxist perspective, the “old-greens” do not have a real solution. The ideology that is described as “neo-green” is no more than capitalist ideology that has hijacked the “climate issue”. As Marx maintained, the ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas in capitalism. The bourgeoisie’s perspectives dominate political thought. For them, there is nothing that the market cannot solve. It is a fundamentalism that is nearly religious, but not least it is simply a question of class.
The class struggle is the motor that drives societal change. Class struggle that culminates in political revolution is the only thing that has created great leaps in humanity’s organization of society ever since class societies have existed. And the class struggle and revolution are the only things that can tear today’s system out by its roots.
The environmental fighters in the “Extinction Rebellion” movement talk of war for the environment. And this is exactly what will be needed. But not in the abstracted or rhetorical meaning in which they have framed it. The ruling class is already waging war against the planet and the humanity’s future. Their profit is an expression of their treacherous betrayal against their own species and the planet that has spawned us.
The UN report makes it abundantly clear that capitalism is not compatible with the future of humanity. Capitalism demands economic growth. It is a fundamental characteristic of capitalism. The only alternative to capitalism is communism. Communism is human community, a planned economy, social production and distribution (appropriation). Communism will resolve environmental problems by establishing a harmonic and sustainable production in the hands of the masses, rather than in the hands of a tiny class of parasites.
“Economic growth” is not just a paradigm or an ideal. It is a part of capitalism. A necessary part of it. And since endless growth is impossible, the crises – which are themselves the very expression of these fundamental contradictions in the system – are a part of actual existing capitalism. They are cyclic crises occurring at fairly regular intervals, as well as a consistently deepening general crisis that shows itself within every sphere of society.
This general crisis in capitalism is today not only economic, social, and political, but intervenes in the deepest parts of the people and in our relationship with this world. Yet, the darker the situation becomes, the brighter the future that the proletariat creates with its struggle for communism becomes.
Climate & Capitalism https://climateandcapitalism.com/
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