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Counting down to civilization's collapse

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System Change Not Climate Change
System Change Not Climate Change
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As I've watched young people around the world take part in the climate actions of the last few weeks, I've gotten the sense that I'm watching a spectacle which has been orchestrated to create the illusion that we're still in an earlier, more stable time for the planet's climate. Legitimate as the passion and commitment of this generation of teen climate activists is, their efforts are being packaged by the political and media establishment in a way that encourages denial about our situation. These ruling institutions neither want us to recognize the real solutions to the crisis, nor to see the irrecoverable and massive damage that's already been done to the climate.

We're told that if we restructure capitalism with the help of the "green" corporations and NGOs that are backing Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, a catastrophic outcome will be prevented. Supposedly radical politicians like Bernie Sanders promise that by making an appeal for corporations to partially reduce emissions within a capitalist framework, we can save the world. People want to believe the claims of these "green" capitalists because they want to believe that our living arrangements won't fundamentally need to change in order for humanity to survive.

These sources of false hope let Western capitalist society continue to ignore the primary role that imperialism and militarism have in the climate crisis, to view the capitalist governments as legitimate, and to not try to break away from the philosophy of capitalism and endless growth. The lifestyle tweaks that we're told will save the planet-eating less meat, carpooling, flicking off the light when you leave the room-won't be able to solve the problem even if society were to largely adopt them. The climate solutions that the capitalists present to us are designed to make us feel better while we keep letting the system move us closer to apocalypse.

To survive, we must recognize two truths about this crisis: that it's no longer possible to avert a substantial catastrophe, and that global capitalism must be toppled in order for the human race to have a future. Once we understand the former fact, it becomes easy to accept the latter.

When you objectively examine the state of the world, it becomes clear that something needs to drastically change. Extreme inequality amid neoliberal policies and rampant corporate power has made the Western countries in many ways become part of the Third World. As American power declines, the imperialist wars are continuing and tensions between the major countries are escalating. Another global recession looms at the same time when a stable and comfortable life has become impossible even for most Americans to attain. Refugees are fleeing the worst dangers in their home countries, and are being met with inhumane treatment by the reactionary governments of the core imperialist nations. All of these capitalist crises are intertwined with the climate collapse that's threatening the foundations of civilization.

The goals of the Paris climate agreement, which require reducing emissions by around 45 percent before 2030 so as to avoid a 1.5 degree Celsius warming, most definitely aren't going to be met. Global greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high in 2018, indicating that we'll 1.5 by 2030. The climate feedback loop will quickly turn this into 2 degrees in the following years, which will turn into somewhere between 3 and 5 degrees by 2100. It's estimated that with just 2 degrees of warming, sea level rise will engulf 280 million people, earthquakes will kill 17 million, and over 200 million will die from droughts and famine.

Just ten years from now, this transition will be far enough along that the basic structures of capitalist society will no longer be stable. In June, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights issued a report which said that more than 120 million people could be forced into poverty by 2030 due to the destroyed property and resource scarcity that climate change-related disasters will cause. In response, more social services will be cut, society will become more militarized, and more immigrants will be deported, imprisoned, or left to die in disease-riddled concentration camps.

Such cruelties against the victims of climate change are realistic-and are all already being carried out-because in a world that's falling to pieces, the feeling of desperation drives a survival instinct that makes people devalue the lives of their fellow human beings. Capitalism, with its fixation on competition, is the driver behind this impulse to exclude and eliminate the immigrants who seek to share in the West's relative stability. This is why Philip Alston, the author of the U.N.'s June report, said that barring radical systemic change, "Human rights might not survive the coming upheaval."

As the warming continues, increasing food and water scarcity, flooding, deadly heat waves, epidemics, and inequality will set off wars and civil unrest. Where stable states still exist, the prevailing paradigm will range from heightened government vigilance to outright martial law. Otherwise, borders will become less clearly defined and the existing governments will lose their power, making for a global version of the Middle East in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Syria. The vacuum will be filled with militant groups. In the Arab world these new monopolies on violence have been ISIS and Al Qaeda, and in North America they'll be white supremacist paramilitaries.

None of this can be prevented by voting for Democrats, or changing one's personal lifestyle, or participating in climate demonstrations that are sanctioned by the corporatocracy. The momentum of the climate's destabilization is unstoppable, and the fascistic political forces that have emerged amid the crisis aren't going away. However, my message with this essay isn't to become apathetic in the face of what's happening to us, but to embrace a worldview of realism that allows us to actually combat the problem.

We in the Western world must take guidance from the colonized people who are struggling for their liberation from imperial control and the capitalist carbon economy. Our goal should be not to reform capitalism, but to overthrow the capitalist centers of government and replace them with ecosocialist power structures. This is what the Chavistas are in the process of doing in Venezuela, which is moving towards an ecosocialist revolution where the country weans itself off from dependence on oil markets. Bolivia, whose socialist president Evo Morales has given the environment legal protections that are equivalent to human rights, provides further inspiration for the new systems that we're capable of building.

The path to taking over the power of the state and seizing the means of production, as the socialists in these countries are doing, requires building mass movements that aren't co-opted by the influence of the capitalist class. Our objectives need to be unambiguous: an end to capitalism and an end to all forms of imperialism, which entails decolonization.

The people of Venezuela and Bolivia are lucky to have been able to use electoral means to install a government that pursues these goals. In the U.S., where electoral politics are rigged against third parties and a deadly police state has been created, freedom will only be gained by working to usurp the authority of the capitalist state. India's Maoist gurriellas (or the Naxalites) are doing this by taking territory away from their region's government, as are Mexico's communist Zapatistas. These groups are building strongholds for the larger movements to take down capitalism, which gain greater potential for victory the more that capitalism's crises escalate; capitalist regimes that are under threat of being overthrown can already be found in Haiti and Honduras, whose U.S.-backed governments may well soon be ousted through sustained proletarian rebellions.

To replicate these liberation movements worldwide, we must stop denying the extremity of the crisis and fight capitalism with the knowledge that we're fighting for our survival. To commit to their battle against India's corporate fascist government, the Naxalites have had to experience the desperation of living in a severely impoverished underclass that's increasingly suffering from water shortages amid the climate crisis. We Westerners can't be kept complacent by the fact that our conditions are marginally better than theirs.

In the coming years, we're not going to be living out a scenario where capitalism changes itself into something sustainable. We're counting down to the collapse of civilization as we know it, and all that can save us now is the construction of a new ecosocialist civilization in its place.

[My Patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=11988744]

 

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution.

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11 people are discussing this page, with 14 comments  Post Comment


Rena Grasso

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I totally agree with the gravity of this crisis and the fact that we must radically alter our whole way of life-and that includes capitalism and much more. Militancy must come into being on a large scale.

But the wholesale rejection of steps in the right direction leads nowhere. Yes, we have to change our fundamental economy, but simply saying that and criticizing all that doesnt effect that change,-and immediately! is a literal dead end.

Whatever Bernie's shortcomings, for instance, we must elect him to turn the tide in this country, and with that movement continue to dismantle/ and create. Electing Sanders will require a sustainable movement; and that victory would be enormous, opening the door for more progressive impacts.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 4:09:53 PM

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David Wieland

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Still with the climate "crisis"? When will more intelligent people start wondering where that notion came from? Admonishment to "listen to the science" is a demand that we listen to the rhetoric of those who want more control. Far better is to read the scientifically valid data and see the deceitful spin the alarmists want us to believe. The slow changes that are measured aren't stated in numbers by the alarmers, except for the 1° rise in "global" temperature over 150 years always stated as though it should alarm us. When did we become so gullible?

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 5:33:47 PM

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nelswight

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David don't you realize the danger of CAPITALISM, no matter the climate,

bitte.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 10:18:27 PM

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Janet Loughrey

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This is a well written article that does a good job of connecting the dots. Overpopulation is never part of the discussion. There are currently close to 8 billion people; I've read that the Earth can comfortably sustain a billion. We've long passed the point of no return, and those in power will keep us deluded as long as they can to avoid the ensuing chaos.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 5:41:24 PM

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nelswight

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The State of Maine could furnish land and living to a billion, and Alaska

17 times that.

The living style would need to adapt; work the land, it needs to regenerate.

Could people live without being a Mall-Consumer?

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 10:24:09 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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You are right on point, nels. The tired Malthusian crap is just a globalist rationalization for austerity and neocolonialism. Even NatGeo had a series demonstrating that the world has more than enough capability for feeding its curent and future human population if mangaed correctly.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 14, 2019 at 5:24:48 AM

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Lou Pintada

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"The State of Maine could furnish land and living to a billion ..."


Hilarious! And the moon could support trillions of people! Ha ha

Submitted on Friday, Oct 18, 2019 at 4:19:47 PM

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Rob Kall

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Amazon is making malls obsolete, so we'll soon see how people live without them.

Submitted on Friday, Oct 18, 2019 at 8:11:22 PM

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Zef Rose

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Global Capitalism is a Black Hole. It WILL destroy this planet, via the laws of Physics.

If Global Capitalism must be toppled, then the very first thing that should go is the beating heart of expenditure and destruction, the largest piece of the capitalist pie upon the planet, the US Military.

The US Military is itself Black Hole, amassing destructive power in money-driven growth to infinity and beyond.

And let us not forget that inhumane treatment of civilians by reactionary governments begins with US Military "humanitarian" intervention.

The US Military is the facilitator of Global poverty and despair.

What is always the first step in allocating resources to corporations? The US Military.

The US Military is the very hand of Global Capitalism.

Global Capitalism is impotent without the US Military.

The two are inextricably intertwined.

You cannot eliminate Global Capitalism, unless you cut off the hand that operates it.

And you are that hand, or rather your sons and daughters are. Along with your investment port folio.

Stop supporting it.

Stop enlisting in it.

If you are in it, get out of it.

And, above all, STOP THANKING THE TROOPS.

Unless you are truly grateful for planetary destruction (or one of the corporate elite who are the true benefactors of their "service").

If not, get rid of it.

It must be noted: unlike Venezuela, et al (all the countries we need to destroy) we do not have an electoral system that reflects or even recognizes the will of the people. (Proof of which is that our President "won" the election with fewer popular votes (you know, the people who vote) than the loser.)

We live on the event horizon of total global destruction. And total global destruction is only possible through massive military power.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 5:53:57 PM

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nelswight

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Gawd, Zef, you speak with the wisdom of the prophets (not PROFITS).

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 10:27:29 PM

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Lawrence Klein

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What blinders this commentator has that does not allow him vision. Russia - a "socialist heaven' - has over 24 Oligarchy partners of KGB leader, now 'Democratic Dictator' of one Party Rule - the richest Man on the Planet - 100's of Billions of Dollars, and massive suppression & corruption, killing his opposition!
China's 'Single Party Leader for Life' has encouraged "Capitalistic Communism" that has created the most Billionaires on the planet, while Jailing Millions of "Muslim, & Hindu subversives" in his gulags.
Venezuela's 'Socialist Leader is a legend of Corruption'!
Despots around the Middle Eastern Globe are examples that totalitarian governments are venal and dysfunctional. While examples of Democratic Capitalism with Vibrant and combative legislatures like Israel have contributed to the Science and Health of the World. Look up from your dated and cartoon world and see the reality - The sun is Free - and your PC power doubles annually so we must throw off the chains of Historical Technology, that is destroying our Planet, and Fix Mother Earth, with whatever system can do it - effectively! Certainly the 'Capitalist / Communist' dialectic doesn't mean squat. Embrace Reality or learn to swim!

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 7:05:04 PM

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nelswight

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Hogwash, little one, you may want to go to a kibbutz.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 13, 2019 at 10:33:44 PM

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Muhammad Irfan

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For the said prospects, read my book: Stability in Final Generation Muhammad Irfan

Submitted on Monday, Oct 14, 2019 at 12:41:39 PM

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molly cruz

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The world isn't falling apart, and most of our systems of economic and military engagement have had positive effects over time. What we fail to recognize is that as a species we have to examine our roll here on Earth and it is spectacular, despite our ignorance of its real importance. We have been induced by Nature (I call Her "Ma") to arm ourselves and we have, although the impetus for doing so has been closer to individual greed and self preservation than the actual function, which will ultimately be: saving the planet from a force greater than any army, country, or weapon.

What we have to play with in that regard is our WMD's, which of course we wouldn't have if we hadn't convinced ourselves that one of our contingencies is better and more worthy of controlling worldwide politics/economics than another. Truth is, we're all in the same boat, and the boat is Earth. If there is an enemy in any reality, it comes from outer space and can mindlessly destroy most evolved life on Earth with one big slap. That we continue to fall for the old dynamics that got us here, in the catbird's seat when it comes to asteroids and the like, is a function of limited leadership, local greed, lack of imagination, and simple ignorance.

Our post Nuclear epoch is characterized by the same dynamic that holds at the end of a horse race, when the stressed animal must keep running to "cool down", after the race has been won. We are still mindlessly pursuing one another in a ridiculous "Caucus Race", while the dust settles and we look up at the real source of our dilemma, Heaven. It does seem some God is pissed and out for our asses, but the fact is the Universe is a witless place of great destruction and it's going to take all of us to thwart its intention, its random strays, no matter who wins the blue ribbon down here. Certainly we need to clean it up, make friends, and take care of business. But that won't dissuade the Universe from lobbing something deadly our way. Just ask any archaeologist.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 14, 2019 at 5:34:16 PM

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