On the one hand are the big companies, responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and environmental destruction. On the other, we have the state, which keeps the working people ‘at bay’ in the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Who will be held responsible for destroying our common planet?
Contradictions are natural to capitalism
While the phenomenon of denial of the existence of a climate crisis (to which human activity is undoubtedly contributing is slowly fading), a dangerous new tendency is emerging, especially in Western countries.
On the one hand, we see big business, which is hugely responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and environmental destruction. Rather than investing in methods to remedy the consequences of their pursuit of profit, they prefer to pour money into clever marketing that gives companies good PR and puts the blame on the individual – the ordinary working person, their car, pet and stove heater.
On the other hand, we have the state in the service of big business and the oligarchs, which serves to keep the working people ‘at bay’ in the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Why does the state act this way towards its citizens? Exploitation, inflation, senseless wars… But there is another contradiction, natural to capitalism, which is much more existential. It is the aforementioned environmental collapse, which threatens the survival of humanity as a whole. It is the basic human instinct for self-preservation that is being fought against the short-sighted destruction of the planet by capitalists. Only a tiny fraction of the population is reaping the benefits, while the rest are suffering the consequences of their greed.
People are forced to move
Many island states are already sinking with rising sea levels. Their populations will be forced to abandon the homes where generations of their ancestors have lived. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warns that by 2030, rising water levels will displace over 700 million people. Why? Because some rich person in the US, Russia or the EU was not satisfied with having a billion in the bank, but wanted two.
The same fate will befall the populations of parts of tropical Africa and other continents. These peoples and ethnic groups have still not escaped the exploitation by the imperial powers and are being subjected to another unimaginably cruel fate – drying water sources, unusable land and extreme temperatures – factors that make the locations uninhabitable. Again, this suffering is caused by a single social class and the behaviour to which their status naturally drives them.
From public transport back into cars
So what is the state doing to prevent ordinary people from rebelling against their masters and ending a system that not only makes life harder for workers, but also destroys the planet on which the capitalists themselves live? The state has ministries, strategies and plans, subsidies and projects to do this. However, many of them are completely pointless and, at the end of the day, everyone will realise that it was money and human labour wasted. What if the ruling establishment decides to do the exact opposite of what is necessary, in order to at least give the appearance that the bourgeoisie cares about the environment? We can see it before us, right here in Slovakia.
Consider our public transport. It is a very promising way to minimise emissions from travel, save natural resources (car production can be rapidly reduced) and help people who don’t have the money for a car or fuel to travel at relatively affordable prices. The problem is that the government is completely uninterested in this. There is a critical shortage of bus drivers, train drivers and other transport staff, their pay is lousy and lines are cancelled so often we can’t keep track. This can leave people without the ability to get to work or school. At the same time, it pushes them back into cars – the exact opposite of what we need to stop the climate crisis.
Why is the bourgeoisie digging its own grave like this? Why does it not use its political power to create at least the appearance of trying to improve the situation? Because capitalism itself does not even allow it to do anything else. Instead of solutions, it pushes the ruling class to offer pseudo-solutions in the form of consumerism, based on the logic of capitalism itself – the purchase of electric cars, eco-appliances and similar stupidities which, although they make us feel good about ourselves, do not solve the problem at all, and even make it worse. Furthermore, we must recognise that the interests of humanity are not the same as the interests of capitalism. And they will remain different, however fast we rush towards the end. It is an economic system that needs people to behave in order to survive. But this behaviour is incompatible with the continued survival of our species. Therefore, let us reject the propaganda and rebel against this long rotten system, because it is only by working together that we will achieve our own salvation.
deputy regional chairman ‘West‘ of LYF