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John Passant

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Global warming:the failure of capitalism

The putative leader of the opposition in Australia,  Malcolm Turnbull, has threatened to resign if his Liberal Party does not support amendments to the Labor Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. 

Let’s put this in context.  The CPRS is a massive wealth transfer from working people to the big business polluters and will do little to reduce carbon pollution in Australia, the biggest per capita greenhouse gas emitter in the world. 

Turnbull and other Liberal leaders want to give the polluters even more of our money. 

Even this is too much for some sections of the Liberal Party and their rural based partners, the Nationals.

They oppose any emissions trading scheme because they don’t believe global warming is occurring, or don’t believe that it has a human cause. All of them believe the scheme will cut profits for the polluters (couched in terms of jobs) or … Well, put in any crackpot reason here.

The Greens will quite rightly vote against the Labor Government’s present scheme as being worse than nothing.

But let’s get a few things on the table. 

Market based solutions to global warming haven’t worked, and can’t work.  The market is the problem, not the solution.

Capitalism is anarchic and unplanned.

It looks for short-term profit, not long term needs.  Even what passes for big business planning is polluted and misdirected to positioning for future short term profit, not meeting human need.

Often long term planning under capitalism is left to the state, but since it is, to put it crudely, the executive committee of the bourgeoisie, it is not always able to rise above its sectional interests to rule for capital against capitalists.

Capitalism is based on a fundamental rupture between humanity and production.

Reinventing that rupture don’t address the essential  and systemic problem – the profit system is fundamentally anti-nature and hence anti-human.

Anthropogenic global warming threatens the very existence of the capitalist system.  But because of the way it is organised it cannot address that without dissolving itself .  That will not happen. 

To misquote Lenin the capitalists will sell themselves the rope with which they will then hang themselves. Labor’s CPRS is part of that slow path to systemic suicide.

The very way production under capitalism is organised, and the momentum of the dead man walking polluting industries, mean that capitalism cannot address global warming.  So the result is a worse than nothing cap and trade system like the CPRS.

It gives the impression of doing something without actuality doing anything.

There is another element to all of this.  Only a global solution can address climate change.

Yet the very essence of capitalism is the competition between capitalists and between national capitals.  No scheme can overturn this competition.

This means the false hope of Kyoto and now Copenhagen will disappear in a tsunami of backbiting and underhandedness in an attempt to get a ‘competitive advantage’ over the rest of the world.  

To quote Lenin in a sightly different but still relevant context: Copenhagen will be a unification (if it happens)  “on paper only; in reality it is a group of beasts of prey, who only fight one another and do not at all trust one another.” 

Because it does not address the anti-human profit system itself Copenhagen will be a  “piece of fakery from beginning to end; it is a deception from beginning to end; it is a lie from beginning to end.”  

It was Rosa Luxemburg who many years ago wrote that the choice for humanity was socialism or barbarism.  Global warming is bringing barbarism closer and closer. 

Only a democratic  and planned society based on production for human need can address the environmental threat challenging our survival as a species. 

As  capitalism slides further and further into the abyss of global warming, the greater the need for international socialism becomes.



Comment from Benjamin Solah
Time October 2, 2009 at 10:21 am

Great post, John. Do you know the full original quote that you took from Lenin? The first one to do with hanging.

Comment from John
Time October 2, 2009 at 10:26 am

Thanks Benjamin. The quote is “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

Comment from Kieran Bennett
Time October 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you. That really was a perfect and succint explanation.

Comment from Bobiscold
Time October 3, 2009 at 3:31 am

Wow the commies turninr on the socialists. Hitler against Stalin. My all of you assholes die!!!

Pingback from Kieran Bennett – Moving on from the Australian Greens
Time October 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

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