Revolution #189, January 17, 2010

Readers Respond to Revolution's Coverage on the Environment...

  Previous Posts:
    December 20, 2009
    November 15, 2009
    September 6, 2009
    June 28, 2009
    May 24, 2009
    February 1, 2009
    December 6, 2008

The following letters were submitted by readers who read Revolution's coverage on the environment, global warming and the Copenhagen summit on climate change. We are posting these as part of promoting debate and wide-ranging discussion about how to understand and deal with the urgent environmental crisis in the world.


This is my understanding of the economics behind global warming and pollution. Let's first look at the larger contradictions that we are dealing with. When we are talking about capitalism, we are talking about a mode of production that exists within an historic framework where the means of production are huge. And, this issue of global warming, is a great example of how the productive forces needed to be recast into a completely different framework. But more on this later.

Capitalism, as a mode of production has two major aspects that need to be understood in their interpenetrating dynamics 1) The anarchy, organization aspect of capitalist production and social organization, and 2) the contradictions related to the exploitation of the proletariat by capital (and the source of surplus value).

In this paper I will focus on the first aspect of this contradiction: namely the contradictions related to the anarchy of capital on a large scale.

First off, we start with a fundamental aspect of commodity relations: value (what a commodity is worth) can only be understood as a certain approximation of labor time. Marx called this the labor theory of value. In essence, commodity relations are in fact production relations. If something (bread for instance) is produced—that production can be organized in any of several different ways. Production of bread under communism will be production based on a common understanding that bread is needed. In this case—the "value" of bread will be its use value (usefulness) from beginning to end. But under capitalism, bread is produced for exchange as a commodity and thus bread is an exchange value. (Real bread for money bread.) The point is that all value represents a certain quantity and quality of the labor (production) process. And that every society must organize how that production will be organized (the property relations, the division of labor, exchange of what is produced etc.)

A society where production is based on the private production of commodities—is a society lacking a soul that understands overall social need. Under capitalism, there are two aspects to commodity relations. 1) Everything must be put on sale after it has been produced. (All things "enter the market.") 2) Every capitalist enterprise is working within a framework of money accumulation. In this relationship, the capitalist is put into a position of trying to accumulate more money at the end of the day in order to compete with other capitalists. Now, it is the commodity aspect, above, that makes for the anarchy of this society. Why? Because, if production is fundamentally production purely for exchange value (more money), and not use value (a useful social product), any commodities not sold in the market place becomes worthless. For example, if the baker makes a ton of bread, but only half of his bread is sold, then a half a ton of bread is left to rot even as people go hungry around him. So under capitalism—the watch word is sell-ability and not usability*. If it doesn't sell—it is worthless. (Another example of this anarchy in action is in large-scale unemployment. In this example, it is people looking for work, and not bread, that is "oversupplied" in the "labor market" place.) So "market forces easily create both over production and under production because there is little coordinated plan. In commodity relations, planning is secondary to selling and it is at the expense of other commodity producers who are trying to calculate how much to produce.

And it is the constant reproduction of the production process that creates new levels of this anarchy. For example, if a new and better and cheaper form of product [is developed]—cell phones come to mind—then all of the producers of cell phones will have to refit their factories or face failing in the market place. (And, it is precisely through piling up profit that a capitalist can invest and hope to compete in the ever changing world of competitive production.) But where in all this does planning to stop green house gasses come in? - obviously nowhere.

Let us make clear, that this is the real world - the world of an internationalized and monopoly hyperized markets - and not a fictitious "people serving democracy" marketplace. Today, because of the anarchy of competition– sell-ability trumps curbing global warming or any other attempts at making a greener world. Gas cars sell more than electric cars, that is a simple fact, and if you make cars you are constantly watching the bottom line because the next car company over may well drive you out of the race.

Why the reformist "democracy" models don't work.

For now, we will stick to economics and avoid the political class issues involved to get at the deeper systemic nature of the problem Let's ask the question: Why can't capitalism allow a "non- competitive" sector where things like global warming are addressed outside of the commandments of the marketplace? The problem is, schemes that create "non-competitive" sectors either drain capital away from competitive sectors or compete with the competitive sector. Solar power, for example, might someday compete with carbon based fuels, but for now, all development (capital investment) of solar power is development (capital investment) that could go into oil and coal exploration. And because oil and coal are still much cheaper to produce than solar energy, oil and coal are the obvious winners in any economy that is trying to "control its costs."

But beyond this—let's retrace our steps here: 1) All commodities are produced (in today's world) as values. Commodity for commodity, (value for value). 2) Because all commodities face competitive pressures in the market place "externalities" such as pollution—are not a priority compared to facing the bottom line. 3) Any attempt at changing this is a pipe dream until the basic production relationship is addressed (that is communist revolution). If for example, you are trying a "European social democratic" model, commodity relations will remain intact. (Don't the Europeans build cars, watches, cheese and so on AND SELL THEM!) And then if you ask these Europeans if they would be willing to give up the all mighty "value" on their investment for the sake of world climate control—what will be their answer? "Hey, we need to compete with the American's and Chinese!"

Competition ='s Anarchy ='s Disaster.

There is a certain logic to the capitalist "Efficiency" mind set. However, from a global perspective, this is a horror show. Mindless production of gadgets, junk food and endless consumer waste, is destroying the planet. From the destruction of the rain forest for cattle production, to the trillions of watts of electricity that is wasted every night at Las Vegas style casino's around the world—we are killing the only environment we are able to live on. But people need to understand why this is the case at the deepest level. Capitalism cannot stop this—because capitalism is at it's very essence a system out of control.

It is precisely this out of control struggle to "win all" that has spurred on the vastness of the productive forces. But it is these same huge productive forces that now menace the world climate and eco-system.

To make an analogy, let us think of the bull and the bear of the stock market. And let us think of the planet as a china shop (a shop full of delicate silverware and ceramic pots.) Now we let the bull and the bear loose in the china shop, what will they produce? A very large mess. A mess, that it now falls on us to do something about.



The revolutionary fervor of Revolution newspaper encourages me to submit this article I wrote on climate justice. Please let me know if you can consider it for publication.


S. Sinha


The Human Crisis

S. Sinha

On December 18 2009, the most significant and biggest United Nations Climate Change Conference COP15 (15th Conference of Parties) in Copenhagen, Denmark came to a close. The venue of the conference at Bella Center witnessed representatives from government, business and civil societies spanning 192 countries around the world. It was a continuation of the international efforts initiated at the "Earth Summit" in 1992 in Rio, which was attended by 172 countries and resulted in the first international agreement to limit emissions of greenhouse gases: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 1997 the convention was expanded to include the Kyoto Protocol, which for the first time set binding targets for the greenhouse gas emissions of 37 industrialized countries by 2012. These targets amount to an average decrease of 5% against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012. The Protocol placed a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities." For the years following 2012, the 13th annual conference of member countries (COP13) in Bali came out with the Bali Action Plan aimed towards a new agreement to be negotiated at the 15th annual conference COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. Through COP1 held at Berlin in 1995 to COP 14 held at Ponzan in 2008, technical details were resolved; responsibilities for each country, penalties/sanctions for non-cooperating countries, and modes for further actions were worked out. The meetings were often marked by vehement political discussions triggered by the U.S. stand on climate change and its complete rejection of Kyoto protocol. The U.S. remained the single biggest hindrance in all climate talks, especially since President Bush came to power.

Given this brief background, COP15 was an effort to create common ground to further substantially cut greenhouse gas emissions, explore methods of changing the way the world uses fossil fuels and possibly moving away from them significantly in the coming future. Since the UN adopted its convention on climate change in Rio in 1992, global carbon emissions have risen by 30 percent, a disturbing trend that the UN wants to reverse. COP15 was held to address this dire situation by coming up with some effective and immediate action plans. The goal of the UN is that by 2050, CO2 emissions, the principal greenhouse gas (other greenhouse gases are water vapor, ozone, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride and methane) should be halved compared to their 1990 levels. It also wants the planet to be no more than two degrees centigrade warmer than it was before the Industrial Revolution (a period between the 18th and 19th century). COP15 was supposed to bring the member countries together into a binding agreement like Kyoto Protocol to achieve these goals.

UNFCCC recognizes that the developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity. It also notes that, "Carbon dioxide is responsible for over 60 per cent of the 'enhanced greenhouse effect' (warming of earth's surface and lower atmosphere). Humans are burning coal, oil, and natural gas at a rate that is much, much faster than the speed at which these fossil fuels were created. This is releasing the carbon stored in the fuels into the atmosphere and upsetting the carbon cycle, the millennia-old, precisely balanced system by which carbon is exchanged between the air, the oceans, and the land vegetation. Currently, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are rising by over 10 per cent every 20 years." UNFCCC is essentially saying that we will have to depart from the culture of burning fossil fuels sooner than later. It is not hard to see which country burns the most fossil fuel.

The consequences of a warmer planet can be seen and felt from the melting polar ice caps to the drying sub-Saharan Africa. In countries such as Kenya, as the desert expands, the chances of nomadic farmers finding water for their cattle shrink and hence their main source of sustenance is threatened. In a country where famine threatens up to 10 million lives, crop shortages have devastating effects. In countries like Kenya, Cameroon, Swaziland, Malawi, Benin etc. indigenous people are solely dependent on forests which are quickly disappearing. Famine, drought, scarcity of water and food, and dying livestock constantly threaten these countries. In other countries like Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda etc. many coastal cities will disappear by 2050. Famine can soon be a threat to India too, with its melting Himalayan glaciers and shifting monsoon patterns. As in Africa, the Indian subcontinent can soon have climate refugees with rising hurricanes in coastal areas and flash floods in the Himalayan regions that have already contributed to the migration of a significant percentage of the local population. Further from mainland, Island nations like Tuvalu, Maldives, New Caledonia, Soloman Islands, Samoa and others in the Pacific and Indian oceans will be virtually wiped out from the face of the earth before the turn of this century if the biggest polluters like the U.S. do not pledge to cut down their emissions by 40% from 1990 levels. 80% of Maldives has an elevation less than 3 feet above sea level and the island nation of Tuvalu has a maximum width of only 5km; the threat of extinction for these countries is more real than one can imagine. The same threats exist for the Phillippines, Fiji, islands of Hawaii, many other island nations in the Pacific Ocean and archipelagos north east of Australia. Even the U.S. faced the devastation from Katrina, and recent snowfall in Oklahoma and Dallas, which shows that no country is isolated from climate change. The environmental group Germanwatch issued a report ranking the countries hardest hit by extreme weather based on socioeconomic data. For 2008, Burma topped the list, followed by Yemen and Vietnam. The United States ranked fifth, higher than any other industrial nation.

For the UN, these desperate times called for drastic measures that it had hoped to put in place in Copenhagen. However developed, emerging and under-developed economies did not all agree on targets. The biggest polluter in the world, the U.S., contributes to 25% of the total emissions with only 5% of the world population. Despite this disproportionate statistic, the U.S. has offered to cut emissions by 17% from 2005 levels which translates to only 4% from 1990 levels, a target matched by Canada. Along similar lines, the EU offered 20% with Russia and Japan offering up to 25% of 2005 levels. The world's second biggest polluter, China, said it will reduce its "carbon intensity"—or the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of GDP—by between 40-45% compared to 2005 levels by 2020. Similar to China, India says it will reduce its carbon intensity, while Brazil offered a 20% cut from 2005 levels. This shift from 1990 levels to 2005 levels was initiated by the U.S. significantly lowering the bar. Also, the U.S. offer was the least despite being the biggest polluter; China being the second biggest polluter still offered much higher cuts. Then there was the issue of who is going to pay for it. China, India, South Africa and Brazil came together to demand that richer countries share their green technology or pay poorer nations to develop their own. Ecuador which is sitting on a rich gas reserve demanded a compensation to 'keep the oil in the soil'. Miguel Lovera, the chief negotiator for Paraguay who has played a key role in negotiations over the world's rainforests, pushed for a deal for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). African, Latin American and small island nations had more stringent demands of capping the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, over 40% cut in emissions from the U.S. from 1990 levels, and reparations for the damage done to their country, environment and people. They said they are suffering the consequences of a problem they did not create; and hence have a just demand for compensation from industrialized rich nations who created this problem for their own unbridled development. Scientific studies which are unanimous in their opinion show that the current goal of capping temperature increase to 2 degrees and the non-binding proposals by each country, will culminate to a 3-3.5 degree temperature rise in Africa, spelling disaster and wreaking havoc in the African continent which already has climate refugees. In the first week of the conference, the developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that showed that world leaders were to be asked the following week to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations. Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the Sudanese chair of the group of 132 developing countries known as G77, condemned the leaked document. These are only a few examples of disagreements among nations showing a clear rich-poor nation divide and global north and global south divide. As a result, the countries could not come to an agreement and the talks failed.

The failure to achieve a binding agreement among the nations of the world not only shows a deep crisis to save our planet and ourselves, but it also has very profound implications that need to be carefully considered and acted upon. The Copenhagen talks amply displayed the global feudal order existing in the modern world. The so-called 'world leaders' showed extreme apathy and callousness not only towards a dying planet, but also towards fellow human beings whose lives are deeply entangled with the health of our planet. The talks were a tug of war between more than a hundred nations on one side and a few rich ones on the other and the result was quite predictable. It's almost a consensus that the U.S. single-handedly sabotaged the climate conference by flatly refusing to make any significant contributions. It constantly tried to circumvent, shirk and deny the historical responsibility of putting maximum greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, accepting which translates to justice for several countries especially small island nations whose very survival is on the line if the emissions are not controlled in the near future. There was hope in the international community that President Obama might take a different stand and propose a meaningful cut in emissions, but he brazenly reiterated the stand of his administration and climate negotiation team. In fact, just before leaving the UN climate summit, Barack Obama said to his own small White House press corps, "We will not be legally bound by anything that took place here today." The "hope" was shattered. President Obama has proved himself to be a "brown sahib" of colonial India.

As the "leaders" of the world converged in Copenhagen, the civil societies, climate activists and hundreds of other dissidents were barred from entering the premises and their voices were shut out by police crackdown on the most peaceful, legitimate and humane demonstrations. Prominent active organizations banned from the conference were Greenpeace, Friends of Earth, Network to Protect Rainforests, League of Island Nations, African Wildlife Foundation etc., organizations that have waged the struggle to reverse climate change for decades. Several protesters were apprehended by Danish police merely on suspicion and were released long after the conference ended. Governments are supposed to represent the people, but in practice they act exactly opposite with hardly any exception. The rich nations stooped to horse-trading and "dinner-deals" in "green rooms" with several developing nations' leaders to give away as little as they could. A significant example is Ethiopia, which was persuaded by France to reduce their demand from 100 billion in reparations to a meager 1 billion. Australia did everything possible to persuade the island countries around it to cut back their demands. It is rumored that China cut a deal with the U.S. for emissions. The conference was marred with such incidents and the voices of the people largely remained unheard.

To register their presence just across the street from Bella Center, civil societies, climate activists and organizations held their own alternate people's climate summit called Klimaforum09. Thousands joined and its massive meetings (at times swelling to 100,000) were addressed by veteran climate activists like Vandana Shiva from India who said, "it is time for the U.S. to stop seeing itself as a donor and recognizing itself as a Polluter, a Polluter who must pay"; Koomi Naidu of Greenpeace; Nigerian Environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey of Friends of Earth who said, "the Global North Owes a Climate Debt to Africa" and has campaigned against Shell Oil's presence in the Niger Delta for nearly two decades; Sarah James, a longtime advocate for the Gwich'in people in Alaska (with the Indian-born photographer Subhankar Banerjee, who has spent years documenting life in the Arctic) said, "erosion, fires, depleting knowledge of land by people as well as animals has generated a tremendous crisis for survival." Kenyan Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai who started the Greenbelt Movement in Kenya mobilizing women to plant millions of trees was also present. Activists from the Pacific island of Hawaii (Kwai) see themselves as an illegal part of the U.S. and blamed the U.S. for bringing the island nations to the brink of survival. Rajendra K. Pauchauri, chair of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UN) commented that the offer for a cut for emissions is at least some progress from the Bush administration which had completely refused to recognize climate change. He also said that if people could give up eating meat just once a week, that would be a significant contribution (7-8%) to the reduction of greenhouse gases. A group of international climate justice activists are still on a prolonged hunger strike. Even before the conference began, protesters took to the streets in Belfast, Glasgow, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and London. The largest protest was in London, where the organizers of the "Stop Climate Chaos" protest estimated the crowd total to be 50,000. Participants in the march included Britain Climate and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband, actor Peter Capaldi and former BBC weather presenter Michael Fish.

Latin American, African and even Asian countries openly lambasted the U.S. stand and criticized it in strongest terms. Hugo Chavez from Venezuela summed it up by saying that if it were banks in need, President Obama would have very willingly shelled out trillions; but when the lives of people are on the line and countries are on the verge of extinction, it is of least concern to President Obama. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa commented on President Obama: "He is now a Nobel Laureate—become what you are". Prime Minister Mohammad Nasheed of Maldives, one of the frontline countries in this conference, made an emphatic and impassioned appeal for climate change promising carbon neutrality for Maldives by 2050. Fifteen-year-old Maldives climate ambassador Mohamed Axam Maumoon in his message to the world said, "On the basis that you know what you are doing is wrong and you can see that the victim is begging for mercy…would you commit murder?" Bolivia's chief climate negotiator, Angelica Navarro said "Twenty percent of the population has actually emitted more than two-thirds of the emissions. And as a result, they have caused more than 90 percent of the increase in temperatures. We are not begging for aid; we want developed countries to comply with their obligation and pay their debt."

The appeals and cries for help went on and on. The Philippines were so vocal for climate change measures that the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had to pay a visit to the Philippines to pacify them (the U.S. invaded the Philippines in 1898 and established and supported an unpopular dummy government for years). After the conference, the Swedish minister openly lambasted the U.S. as the sole culprit for failed climate talks and a constant hurdle to humane and just climate solutions. The other Scandinavian country Norway also faces intense crisis for its indigenous people and their lands affected due to oil extraction.

It was nearly 25 years ago that Bill McKibben founded to educate and mobilize people to put pressure on governments to address the issue of climate change. The number 350 represents the amount of safe CO2 in the atmosphere in terms of parts per million (ppm). We are already at 387. If the emissions continue to increase at this rate, we will be at 770 by the turn of the century and the earth will be virtually unlivable. The cooler [and industrialized] global north will obviously be the last to be affected. This shows that the industrialized nations were aware of their wrongdoings and its possible impacts for a long time and still took no action and continued to splurge energy and resources thereby putting more CO2 in the atmosphere. However, the indigenous people of the extreme north (Alaska and Arctic region) put forth their extreme conditions where melting of glaciers has ruined their lives and source of food. The nations suffering the most today (African and island nations) are not the ones that put such dangerous levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. These nations are therefore perfectly justified in demanding climate reparations from industrialized nations. The EU and other rich countries more or less agree to this concept, but are willing to offer monetary aid and transfer of green technologies only if the U.S. took the lead. As expected, not only did the U.S. not take the lead of any kind, but it also bullied other countries to agree to its terms in which each country (basically the U.S. itself) will conveniently decide upon its own emission cuts [suiting them] and will contribute to a 100 billion dollar fund generated from public and private sources by 2020. It also refused to commit or put anything on the table unless its irrational demand was accepted. The overall offer from rich countries was only 10 billion.

It's a human crisis. It's a struggle to survive, a struggle to save populations from going under, a struggle between global north and global south, a struggle to save the planet and prevent countries from going extinct. Bolivian president Evo Morales directly blamed this crisis on capitalism and demanded an end to capitalism which according to him is reckless industrialization and pursuit of a "better life." He advocated living well rather than living "better," which by its very definition and connotation is at the expense of others. The fight for climate justice is a fight for social justice, it's a fight of poor against rich, it's a fight for equitable distribution of wealth and resources, it's a fight for a permanent end to the exploitation of people and resources, it's a fight to work for the welfare of the people and not industries and adopt green lifestyles irreversibly. Unfortunately, the onus to take the lead in this fight is on the most powerful nation in the world, which happens to be the single biggest contributor to emissions. Such world domination by a single nation, i.e. the U.S., has been unprecedented in history and so the task for the rest of the world to force the U.S. to change its ways becomes extremely daunting. It's a unipolar world now, where the sole superpower is extremely aggressive, hawkish and a threat to humanity.

The unipolar moment dawned with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. With the Soviet deterrent gone, the U.S. suddenly acceded to being the only imperialist superpower in the world. Although some might naively think that moment to be the end of the cold war and end of NATO, which was primarily formed to counter USSR during the cold war, nothing of that sort happened. On the contrary, NATO expanded quickly to eastern Europe dishonoring its pledges to Gorbachev for non-expansion. As it is not hard to guess, the key player in this expansion was the U.S. and it extended his hegemony rapidly. With the collusion of the EU, the U.S. can now intervene in other countries' affairs without fear of any repercussions. In the current unipolar world order, the U.S. is not likely to face situations like the Cuban "missile crisis" that occurred during the Kennedy presidency. As early as ten years ago, the U.S. considered "green" to be the new "red" scare. Jeff Luers, an environmental activist, was arrested in Oregon, U.S. ten years ago on charges of arson in which he and his fellow activist set fire to three trucks without hurting anybody to draw attention to climate change. He was sentenced to twenty-two years in high security prison. The sentence was later cut down to ten years by an appeals court and Jeff Luers was recently released. This shows extreme apathy within the U.S. government and its institutions for the environment and climate change. This is important in the context of climate change. This attitude and apathy gave a free pass to neo-cons operating in the U.S. and its allies (basically rich countries) to expand their operations unhindered into other countries, plunder and exploit resources and people, and thereby bring the world closer to destruction while reaping enormous profits and obscene lifestyles for themselves. The exploitation of resources, people especially in the global south is horrifying. Most delicate eco-systems such as the Amazonian basin, Niger delta, rainforests, and fishing waters have been polluted and destroyed by the corporations of the rich countries in their unbridled extraction of oil and other natural resources. The way for such massive atrocities was paved by wars and proxy wars on fraudulent reasons like security where popular governments were overthrown and proxy governments, hugely unpopular but favorable to the US, were established. It was a suitable condition for "businesses" to grow and expand thereby destroying earth and its indigenous people. Oil companies provide the most chilling and horrendous examples in African and Latin American continents. It is no surprise that Africa with much of its eco-system destroyed bears one of the severest brunt of climate change with no adequate rain, drought, flood, disease and dying livestock.

It is the glaring work of neo-cons that has brought the world and the human race to a near disaster. It's the neo-cons that control policies in the U.S. and accordingly the U.S. wages wars to gain access to new markets and resources and thereby contributing to destroying our planet. According to Karl Marx, given the material conditions and the plight of the people, especially workers, where survival becomes a daily struggle should have culminated in a world-wide spontaneous revolution. But that did not happen. The workers of the rich countries extracted some benefits from the capitalist class and thereby contributed to the fragmentation of what could have been a plausible world-wide movement. Other than the contribution of the labor movements, the benefits were obtained largely due to the destruction of competitive industries in other countries like Japan and Germany during World War II. The workers in the poorer and less privileged countries continued to suffer and re-distribute wealth to capitalist class and workers of the rich countries who became beneficiaries of the imperialist system. However, these benefits don't last forever. The current economic recession in most industrialized countries especially the U.S., triggered by the financial sector in their reckless pursuit of profits did not hit the "banking and business elites" but rather the common people. The government quickly stepped in to bail out the rich capitalist and financial class leaving the workers and common people in a lurch with a significant number of them losing their jobs and homes. Wringing benefits from the capitalist class is not a permanent solution for the perpetual welfare of the working class as when the inherently unstable (as Minsky noted in the early '60s) bubble of capitalism bursts as it did now and many times earlier, the working class will be the first to suffer the consequences. The rising unemployment especially in the automobile sector in the U.S. amply demonstrates this. The workers of the auto sector enjoyed decent and comfortable lives in the last century mostly due to protectionism from competition from other countries. This allowed the owners to make bad and risky decisions solely for profit thereby ruining the industry. In the long run the people who suffer are the workers and not the owners and the business and financial class. It is in this retrospective that it becomes crucially important to see beyond immediate benefits. The future of most people in the world is intricately linked through common welfare. It is not possible to sustain perpetually at the expense of other people. It is this stark fact that people world over especially people of rich countries must realize to unite in solidarity to reverse the most ugly profit making juggernaut of the capitalist class. Marx described such a phenomenon as "internationalism" in terms of unity of labor movement around the world where national boundaries are blurred for common and universal good. The current crisis calls for such unity of action and that is the only means to achieve universal and sustained welfare of people and planet.

The solidarity of nations displayed at Copenhagen is the only strong silver lining to this failed conference. This is quite unprecedented on the stage of world affairs and with right efforts can have profound implications. The failed climate conference has once again thrown a rare and tremendous opportunity for people world over to unite and fight for climate justice, which is actually fighting for social and economic justice. It translates to demanding structural changes in the way the economies are run; and making a clear and definite break from the market and capitalistic economy which is essentially exploitative. It is burying the concept of "business as usual" and the "free market" myth which is simply a tool for the rich nations to intrude into other countries to access and exploit their resources. The "free market" historically has never really existed. One need not be an intellectual to comprehend this when one's daily life is a witness to inhumane and degrading living conditions, worsening day by day and hope for a secure future getting slimmer. The ruling class the world over, whether elected by people or not, by far have given in to the neo-cons and have very rarely represented or fulfilled the aspirations of people. The so-called "world leaders" have again proved this to be true at COP15 where the modern feudal lords prevailed and destroyed the conference.

The progressive left forces in the world remain the only hope for humanity, but they continue to be terribly divided. It is of extreme urgency that they join together with all other progressive and active forces of climate justice and form a world-wide alliance. A lack of unity in purpose among progressive forces has given a stupendous advantage to the neo-cons who were united and clear in their objectives of turning the workforce into serfdom and exploiting the planet for reaping enormous and relentless profits for themselves. The neo-cons instituted a pseudo-democracy with token and farce elections which are meaningless and offer no real choices to people. It's a momentous point in the history of mankind, for people to join hands and fight together. It is also a great responsibility for people of rich countries, especially the U.S. to pressurize their governments to address climate change and hence social justice; justice for one and all, justice for the citizens of the world. A real democracy, communism and socialism will all converge to a single point if the will of the people and their welfare world-over becomes the primary focus in the socio-political process. That is the only way of achieving climate justice and a means to survive. BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) together with G77 need to put economic pressure on the U.S. and the EU to change their ways. Transferring of green technologies has limited relevance; it's the political will propelled by the people that needs to come into action to stop this catastrophe.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond