by John Throne
Capitalism is on the offensive. It attacks working people all over the world. It attacks any and all regulations and controls over production. The free market so called must be allowed to do what it likes. One result of this is that climate change threatens life on earth as we know it. The dominant capitalist forces are all on board with this.
The new chairman of the US Senate environment and public works committee, Republican Jim Inhofe, dismisses the opinion of 97% of the world's scientists saying they "do not live in the same world as the rest of us." So what is likely to happen? If capitalism continues as it is then it will destroy life on earth as we know it. The solution is to overthrow capitalism and build a democratic international socialist world. This is the task of the working class. There is no other solution. International socialism or the destruction of life on earth as we know it.
These are the two alternatives. However this does not mean that in the decades ahead capitalism cannot be forced to make some changes in its way of working. It is possible that the evidence of climate change and the destruction of life and a movement to challenge these problems can become so great that a section of the capitalist class can become convinced that some changes have to be made. These would not be permanent, they would not solve the problem but they could have an affect for a time. However they would be overcome by the mad drive for profit of capitalism and human society would once again be driven down the road towards the destruction of life on earth by climate change.
One example of what would be possible is when US capitalism was faced with the crisis of the second world war and its need to take on and fight the rising power of German capitalism and contain the power of the then Soviet Union. At this time a section of US capitalism led by FDR took action and forced changes on its own system. Roosevelt handed Congress a list of what he wanted produced if the war was to be won; 60,000 planes, 20,000 anti aircraft guns, 45,000 tanks, 8 million tons of shipping. He told Congress the cost would be $50 billion, equivalent to total US GDP at that time. And he wanted it all done immediately. The 3 major US car companies were told to switch from producing cars to producing tanks, jeeps and guns. Steel companies were told how much steel and the type of steel to make. Union leaders imposed - not without resistance, no strike deals. Industry chiefs were drafted into the War Production Board.
The economy was planned and controlled from Washington in a way unknown outside the Stalinist countries. This was accepted by the vast majority of the population. The reason? Because they were convinced of the need to win the war and these measures were necessary.
A similar situation is true today only in a much greater sense. Life on earth as we know it is threatened. Only the international working class by taking power and ending capitalism and taking society forward into its new historical phase of development can solve the problems of society and life on earth. As the crisis worsens there may be a time when a section of the capitalist class makes some gestures, and even more than gestures to try and solve the crisis. However we must not be fooled. For as long as capitalism lasts, life on earth will be threatened. Only the international working class building an international socialist world can give society a way forward. The task is to develop a consciousness in the working class, and a leadership in the working class that understands that this is its responsibility.
At this time of year families in many parts of the world give a lot of their attention to their children. It is important to think about this. The children who are born today or who are in their early years, what kind of future will they have? Life on earth will be collapsing around them when they get to their teens and early twenties. If we are to look after our children, if we are to work to have a future for our children then we have to work to build an international socialist movement which can end capitalism.
This is our parental responsibility.
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- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- The Nature of the New European Left
- Catastrophic Climate Change: Caused by Capitalism
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