We publish below the introduction to the latest publication from Student Socialist Alternative – “Climate Change and Socialist Struggle”. To order your copy today, click here!
36 pages, £2/£3 solidarity price + postage.
Student Socialist Alternative has produced this pamphlet to coincide with the mass mobilisations around November’s COP26 UN Climate Change Summit. From 31 Oct – 12 Nov, Glasgow’s luxury hotels will be booked out to make way for thousands of government representatives eager to whitewash capitalism’s role in driving the world towards climate catastrophe.
The city will become home to a crowd of NGOs, capitalist politicians and ‘green’ businesspeople looking to appear like they are taking action on climate change. As of now, capitalist governments across Europe and elsewhere have used this year post-Covid to sell their ‘green’ credentials to prevent the increased threat of direct action from below by a new generation of young people and workers who are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure we can have a sustainable future on this planet.
Whatever promises the Tories and their counterparts make will be far from enough. While they maintain their fraudulent pledge to ‘build back greener’ in the aftermath of the pandemic, a widespread network of connections continues to exist between this government and fossil fuel industry interests that brazenly choose to prioritise their profits over human and animal lives. After all, the ruling class can always fly by private jet to the safer corners of the world while the poorest and most oppressed of the world face the consequences of their actions.
This finds its worst and deadliest expression in the ranks of the Tory Party. Ruling class ignorance and disregard for the lives of ordinary people were seen on full display just the other week when Viscount Ridley, a multi-millionaire high ranking Tory member of the House of Lords penned an article in The Times arguing that climate change would be beneficial by making the world warmer and thus nicer to live in.
Less blatantly ignorant but just as murderous is the argument from a collection of right-wing Tory MPs who have taken to dismissing net zero carbon emissions as a “fantasy”. Although these deadly forms of climate denial must be exposed, even the ‘mainstream’ Tory position is steeped in climate denialism. The misnamed Conservative Environmentalist Network itself, for instance, argues in favour of paying off giant corporations to achieve ‘net zero by 2050’ – long after we will have passed many catastrophic tipping points.
But nor does the approach of the likes of Starmer’s Labour and the SNP provide anything in the way of an alternative. While capitalism drives the most defining crisis for humanity and animal species in history, Starmer remains concerned solely with eliminating any last traces he can of socialists from the party, including by walking back on even the modest climate pledges of the Corbyn era.
Meanwhile, the SNP, headed by Sturgeon, while talking morally on Twitter about how “all that matters is that COP26 delivers an outcome to meet the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees’ (the window for which will soon be gone and will not prevent a huge amount of already “baked in” climate destruction!), has often acted in much of the same way as any other corrupt big business party.
The SNP in government in Scotland has instead repeatedly refused to implement programmes of public ownership and nationalisation of the energy sector to provide alternative green and high quality employment for workers in North Sea oil and gas, instead promising it will do all it can to prop up polluting industries. The Scottish Greens have recently entered into government with the SNP, but their programme, which refuses to tackle capitalist interests head-on, means the underlying system responsible for this crisis will remain untouched. The Greens’ involvement will unfortunately not mark a serious departure from the SNP’s current course.
All of this highlights more urgently than ever that we need an alternative – one based in struggle against big business interests, one that roots itself in the fight for a society based on meeting the needs of people and the planet, not profit.
This is why the International Socialist Alternative – a revolutionary organisation based in over 30 countries on all continents is making COP26 its chance to raise the need for a bold programme for socialist change.
If you read this and agree with what we have to say, join us in the struggle today, for a socialist world, free of oppression, poverty and environmental destruction! Join Student Socialist Alternative!