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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/5/20

With the collapse of the climate will come a great escalation of class conflict

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Climate Change: Too hot to handle
Climate Change: Too hot to handle
(Image by John Englart (Takver) from flickr)
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In his 2018 paper Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, Professor Jem Bendell went through the climate data and concluded that everyone who isn't wealthy enough to escape to a special fortified zone should confront the possibility of experiencing severe deprivation as a result of climate change. He said that we should view "collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable and extinction as possible." By collapse, he meant the breakdown of popular access to essential resources, which he described as follows:

When we contemplate this possibility of 'societal collapse', it can seem abstract. The previous paragraphs may seem, subconsciously at least, to be describing a situation to feel sorry about as we witness scenes on TV or online. But when I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life. With the power down, soon you wouldn't have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won't know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.

This year, Abrahm Lustgarten of the New York Times put together a study which anticipates how and when people in the U.S. will experience these kinds of upheavals. He found that in the next 30 years, as the "danger zones" close in on the population, half the country-which is close to 162 million people-will face "a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water." As for longer down the line, the study says that "by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life."

Also consider that in these next few decades, our paradigm of neoliberal austerity will no doubt become far more extreme than it is even now. Due to this last generation's diminishing rate of profits, the capitalist class is determined to maintain neoliberalism as a means for foisting the costs of the system's crises onto the lower classes. Covid-19 will be just the start of the series of virus outbreaks, economic crashes, and exacerbated natural disasters the world will experience throughout these next several decades. And already capitalism is responding to Covid-19 by expanding austerity, privatization, and wage cuts worldwide, with Americans not being spared the harsher plans for social services cuts.

In accordance with what was anticipated in a U.N. human rights warning on climate from last year, these factors are leading towards a climate apartheid, where the ever-growing masses of poor people are pushed to the side as the planet warms. The Pentagon doesn't even make it a secret that it anticipates for these dystopian events to come true; in a report from last year, it observed that a climate-related breakdown of the power grid across the U.S. is likely to happen within the next 20 years unless extensive precautions are taken. Which given the government's austerity agenda isn't likely to happen.

See the pattern that keeps appearing? Due to the way the capitalist class sets up our civilization, the poor find themselves doomed to diminishing resources during a time when humanitarian aid is sure to become a more and more pressing need. The system is designed to respond to the rise of fires, storms, floods, droughts, water shortages, houselessness, and refugee crises with rising dysfunction. And corporations will be able to profit off of each disaster that appears, using them as excuses to enact more austerity and privatization.

The more our civilization breaks down, the more it moves towards the horror scenarios of mass malnutrition and lack of access to basic utilities that Bendell described, the more these capitalist contradictions will grow. Which will fuel class struggle, the cause that can give us the strength to carry on in the face of the inevitability of our society's collapse.

When many people have come across Bendell's paper, they've descended into depression over what the climate collapse will do to them and those they care about. One man said to Vice last year that when he read it, "it felt like I was diagnosed with a terminal illness," and that "it was a mix of heartbreaking sadness and extreme anger." Psychologist Renee Lertzman told Bloomberg this year that when confronted with the reality of near-term ecological breakdown, those same reactions are typical: "It's not like the kind of anger, sadness, and grief that we normally think about when someone passes away. We're already grieving what we understand is going to be gone, based on science's predictions."

By viewing every part of this breakdown through the lens of class struggle, these feelings can be used to make us completely focused on fighting for the defeat of the class which is the culprit. Doing this will require a great deal of studying, because our minds are easily distracted by day-to-day concerns and misleading propaganda can lead us away from the task of class struggle. If you share in these feelings of sadness, anxiety, or anger as related to the climate, I recommend that you read the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, and Che, particularly Lenin's The State and Revolutionand Che's Guerrilla Warfare. These can keep us focused on what need to be our goals: overthrowing the capitalist state, and replacing it with a proletarian-run democratic state which works in the interests of the lower classes instead of in the interests of the corporations.

These goals will require us to attain the tools, combat training, and organizational strength that we'll need to defeat the capitalist state. In addition to reading those books I mentioned, look into lists of the items we'll need for revolutionary survival and seek training from weapons and martial arts experts. Seek out those in your local area who share a commitment to bringing about proletarian revolution, and prepare to carry out the steps that will be required of your group when your area becomes destabilized.

We'll need to put in this work because without a clear plan, all of the people's anger and desire to act will be futile in the face of encroaching disaster capitalism and rapidly growing inequality. The rich are waging class warfare against us. If they win, they'll escape to doomsday shelters while we're left in the sacrifice zones. For the sake of the survival, self-determination, and safety of the lower classes of the world, embrace a lifestyle of revolutionary militancy.

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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. Donate to me on Patreon here:

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