By Ragnar V. Røed.
Translated by a contributor for TFM
In hatred and despair of the devastations of capitalism, one may be tempted to prophecize the end of the world when agitating for struggle and resistance. But the notion of a doomsday is not revolutionary. Quite contrary it is a legitimization of pacifism and reformism. Also, it is false and unscientific. Mankind is not wandering towards its doom. We are marching towards a bright future, towards communism!
From doomsday-thinking to pacifism and reformism
We stand in the midst of a high tide in the environmentalist movement. Focusing on the climate destructions, especially caused by CO2 emissions, it mobilizes in perhaps bigger numbers than ever before. Though we should not spurn its mobilization powers through the 80s and 90s. These were the glory days for many of the foremost elements in today’s movement, for instance Nature and Youth in Norway or the Green Party in Germany.
The struggle against the destruction of the enivironment is obviously a good thing for the masses. The climate crisis is precisely an expression of what Marx in his days explained as one of capitalism’s big paradoxes: that in the development of capitalism, productive forces becomes forces of destruction. At the same time the source of wealth becomes the cause of poverty. With enormous powers, as follows from the technological development, there is also a bigger responsibility, a responsibility which the capitalists are not at all willing to bear. Their only concern is profit. People and the environment must suffer.
But despite the positive content, the environmentalist movement today is also led straight into reformism and doomsday-thinking. None of these play any positive part. On the contrary, these are the characteristics of the environmental movement as we know it historically, and characteristics which it also shares with “the Peace Movement”.
The Peace Movement is far weaker today, but through some decades it had an enormous force. Especially Soviet Union under revisionist command and their european allies, promoted The Peace Movement and “nuclear disarmament”. This was big and mobilized many, especially in the 1980s, but also earlier. In Norway we know the movement from groups against nuclear weapons, for peace and against NATO.
Two fundamentally wrong theses
Within both the Green Movement and the Peace Movement there grew strong currents against nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Shutting down nuclear power plants and full nuclear disarmament was put forwards as slogans for huge demonstrations and organizations.
These movements has put forward in particular two theses, which breaks fundamentally with a marxist analysis. Firstly they have put forward the thesis that mankind and the environment faces immediate threat of complete extermination. Which means that we stand in immediate risk of full apocalypse, either caused by global warming or nuclear holocaust. Secondly, as a direct consequence of the first thesis, all other political regards must be completely subordinated in order to quickly safeguard peace or the environment. It means that all other principles must be put aside, and that all compromises are valid. Not only are they valid, but one must do anything in ones power to stop the doom which is lurking right around the corner.
Mao Zedong ideologically unmasked the Soviet revisionists on the question on peace. He knew that they were warmongers in reality, but also that the propaganda regarding the danger of nuclear war served the interests of the revisionists. With warnings about this, they could fail liberation movements because “peace is the most important”. Such a movement disarmed revolutionaries and advocated pacifism and reformism.
The Environmentalist Movement has had the same function. Anger and struggle against the destructions of the environment was channeled into parliamentarism and green parties. Those most dedicated and willing to fight could be channeled into green direct action, instead of revolutionary class struggle.
Not threatened by complete extinction, but such notions will legitimize class collaboration
Ideologically the threat of apocalypse works to legitimate class-compromise, but is without any base in reality. Neither nuclear war nor climate crisis, no matter how terrible war and environmental destruction is, threatens in reality our existence. It threatens the social order, and will lead to a lot of suffering, but neither the planet or mankind is actually threatened by obliteration.
The planet has survived a range of disasters. All of the ecological environment as we know it has not only prevailed, but developed the way it has partly because of enormous upheavals and crisis in past environments. The environment of today is in fundamental areas unrecognizable compared to 1 million years ago.
Humanity on the other hand, has by now spread to all continents, and to the most extreme corners of the the continents. Humans live in the Arctic and in the Sahara, as well as in the deepest jungles and the most overcrowded slum cities. Humans lives in landfills and in the wilderness. And there has never been more people than today. It is not science that motivate some to claim that extinction of the entirety(!) of mankind can be near.
The threat of apocalypse is rhetorical, not a reality. And it is rhetoric that serves certain political agendas, even though they are often put forward by people who do not see this agenda.
The disaster is a reality here and now, but the future is bright!
On the other hand, the disaster is already here. It has been here for a long time. The disaster is the imperialist system itself. A rotten and reactionary capitalism which has cost hundreds of millions of lives, and has crippled billions of human lives through the last 100 years. Wars for profit and power, famines in a world which produces enough food, counter-revolutionary oppression, patriarchy, chauvinism, genocide, environmental destruction, pollution of the air that the masses breath and the water they drink and so on.
This is the reality here and now. The sufferings and madness does not belong to a nightmarish like portrayal of the future, it has been an integrated and necessary part of capitalism since its conception. It emerged partly smeared by slavery and colonialism. And this is still a part of the foundation the system is built upon. The forms it takes has changed, but the exploitation and suffering remains.
But the future is bright! Just as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels proved, capitalism has created in the international proletariat its own executioners. Not only the biggest and strongest class in history, but also the class which is condemned by its development to abolish all classes forever by socialising production and create a communist world.
Mao saw this and understood that, contrary to the threat of apocalypse, it is not empty rhetorics but a truth derived from science. Class struggle has, like Marx and Engels said it would, created socialist societies. Class struggle has kept on marching towards the only logical endpoint, as predicted by Marxism, the complete victory of the proletariat and the abolition of all classes.
Communism solves the problems of war and the destruction of the environment
In this bright future lies not only the solution of the class struggle, but the necessary solution to how mankind can establish a sustainable society in harmony with the planet’s limitations. The question of war and peace is also finally resolved in a communist society, where the material foundation for war disappear as classes withers away. Where war has always been waged as a continuation of politics, war will disappear when politics does. Politics is nothing but a concentrated expression and concretization of classes and interests of the different groups of classes. When classes are dissolved, politics is dissolved as politics. What remains is the administration of community interests, an administration which for the first time can and must take into account and take responsibility for the totality. In such a system there is no basis for war.
A society where it is written “from each according to ability to each according to need” on the banners, war becomes a concluded chapter in the history of mankind. The contradiction between city and countryside can be treated and solved, and the same goes for today’s problems with pollution and way to high emissions.
But the solution does not lay in pacifism and reformism. The solution is not spreading the illusion of apocalypse. On the contrary, these only serve to postpone the solution. They serve to disarm the masses and pacify rebels. As “the Peace Movement” served the Soviet Union’s foreign policy, there is also a certain class policy benefiting in the growth of organizations like the Green Party. Referring to “We need to act now”, where “need to” and “now” are emphasised as heavy as possible, extended building of wind power, climate quotas, promoting electric cars and other measures that actually just increase the productive forces of capitalism, which tied within this imperialist system becomes forces of destruction, are legitimized. Instead of attacking capitalism, which is the direct cause of all environmental problems, stronger “green” enterprise is solely a strengthening of capitalism. A so-called “green change” will only serve to increase capital, increase production and thereby only cause even more environmental destruction.
The strategy for victory is class struggle and revolution
There are many within the climate movement that has understood that the system itself is rotten, but the leaders in the climate movement leads with a system-friendly political line. It is like leaving the question about world peace to the largest warmongers, for example the imperialist leaders in the Soviet Union and the US – precisely what the “Peace Movement” wanted! Or those who believes the solution lies in the UN-system, where five of the strongest imperialists in the world have a veto right! The world’s largest criminals in every category, is applauded as lawmakers and judges (and executioners!). The climate/peace movement use all their forces to appeal to these criminals for a solution. They attempt with both carrot and stick, with pressure and flattery, to drive them towards a successful negotiation.
This is a defeatist strategy. Not only for the leaders of the movements, that in a large degree only serves the interests of the ruling class and thus they do their job as they are supposed to. It is a defeat for the climate, for peace and for the masses of peoples of the world that is suffering right now due to pollution and war. The strategy for victory is the one that was put forth first in “The Communist Manifesto”. It is the revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat, to constitute the class as an independent political subject, as an independent political party, that fights for its political power. All power to this class, to the international proletariat, to their allies in the rest of the working people. This is the bright future that is not only possible, but also an historical necessity. That also includes the solution to the mentioned problems.
The road to victory, to world peace and a sustainable society, does not come through compromises or reformism, but through revolutionary war, through People’s War, under a firm ideological leadership. It is won through tactical maneuvers and protracted struggle, as part of versatile revolutionary strategy, guided by the proletariats own ideology, which is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism.
Don’t fall for the temptation to peddle doomsday prophecies!
The thesis about the coming apocalypse may seem tempting for revolutionaries. It appeals to our intense hatred against capitalism and the bourgeoisie. And it gives apparent rhetorical points to the agitation and propaganda. But in reality this is to shoot oneself in the foot. We are not standing in front of an extreme defeat, but in front of a great new victory. Mankind’s history is not going downward but clearly accelerating forwards. The barbary of capitalism is here already, and has been here for more than one hundred years. There is no need for more or other arguments. There is no need for other “threats” or “shortcuts”. Reality is here and it gives us everything we need to expose capitalism as a system that is condemned to death.
For the proletariat the future is not in the dark signs of the apocalypse, it is enveloped in shining lights of victory. This is the correct line that must guide the movement against those who claims that “everything” – including the class struggle – must step aside for the benefit of compromises for “peace” or for the climate. This line must guide us to not falter for the attempts to undermine our struggle, with apocalyptic beliefs that deeply represent the defeatism of the petty-bourgeoisie in meeting with, from their perspective, an unforgiving historical development.
The classless communist society abolishes the capitalist anarchy. Instead we get a planned development of the production. The productive forces becomes the servant of the masses, and not the opposite like how the masses today are chained to the productive forces. We will get a society where production does not happen for profit, but to serve the needs of humanity and thus we can take all the necessary precautions to our habitat, our environment, the planet we are a part of. And we get a society without rules that not only profits on pollution but also on war.
In short, communism will solve the challenges of climate crisis, destruction of the environment and war. And only communism can solve these problems in a way that’s good for the masses. Communism must be fought for through class struggle and People’s War. Thus pacifism and reformism is a dead end and obstacles that delay the solutions for the problems that the reformists and pacifists, with their failing attempts try to solve.