Today, members of Unity and Struggle, along with comrades from Sloths Against Nuclear State and Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice * will be engaging in the People’s Climate March in New York City. We wrote a short pamphlet to share with people who are engaging in these struggles, and who are working through questions of reform and revolution in regards to climate change and environmental destruction.
“Climate Change is Not an Environmental Issue”
It’s easy to forget the roots of climate change. For many people, climate change and environmental destruction are synonymous with human society, or population growth. Non-profits, academics, and even some radicals blame environmental destruction on the “anthropocene” and “human intervention.” But we want to call the origin of the crisis what it is. We are not only dealing with an environmental crisis. The same root cause that creates climate change is behind inequality, poverty, many contemporary illnesses, homelessness, and everyday alienation. This root cause is not humans, or “human society” writ large. It is instead a particular form of human social relations: capitalism.
Capitalism is the organization of society around production purely for exchange and profit, as opposed to use. Capitalism requires overproduction, debt, endless growth, and most important of all, inequality. Capitalist social relations are inherently anti-democratic. Whether you work for an NGO or for an energy company, you are working for something that exists outside of your direct control. Without inequality, there would be no workers to exploit, no land to grab, and no rents to raise. Without hierarchy, capitalist production would become obsolete–as the people formerly on the bottom would take democratic control over the means of production, and end exploitation. Inequality, hierarchy, exchange, misery, and alienation are all sources of life for capitalism, and sources of death for working and poor people. The state (congress, the police, local civic bodies, courts) exist to maintain inequality and hierarchy, and work out conflicts within the ruling class. Continue reading Against Climate Exceptionalism