1 Dec 2009

We can't shop towards ecology!

Copenhagen has already failed. Its failure was declared in advance. It is a victory for the powers that be, who are concerned more with capitalism than the planet. But it may be a Pyrrhic victory because it will signal to the world that what we need is not an elite-led process but an ecological revolution, i.e. a world mobilization from below.

We are still being fed the illusion that these problems can be solved by technological fixes and market mechanisms without a fundamental overturning of our whole system of production and accumulation. But the reality is that the leading capitalist powers and the vested interests have no intention of addressing the problem on the scale necessary. So the issue has to be forced from below. I have been impressed by the recent meteoric rise in climate justice mobilization, much of which is willing to question the system itself. A merging of climate justice and socialist struggles is crucial. All of this suggests that the leadership in the climate struggle has to come from below.

Right now we need to find ways to keep most of the remaining fossil fuels (especially coal) in the ground. Government regulation of carbon dioxide emissions also has to be considered. Internationally, there has to be a recognition of carbon imperialism and ecological imperialism in general, and measures taken to alleviate the devastating burdens on the global South.

Longer-term solutions mean ecological (and socialist) revolution. They are likely to emerge first where the human and environmental devastation is greatest, in the global South, but also becoming universal, with climate justice struggles hopefully expanding in the global North as well. Marx called for the rational regulation by the associated producers of the metabolic relation between human beings and the earth, in such a way as to conserve energy and promote the full development of human beings. Ultimately, there is no other way.

More here from John Bellamy Foster

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