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A Call For Social Insertion in the People's Climate Change March

category international | environment | opinion / analysis author Monday September 22, 2014 13:58author by Jane Smith Report this post to the editors

A call for anarchist social insertion into the People's Climate Change March and related movements, to make anarchism the leading idea.

Anarchists must involve themselves in the People's Climate Change March, and make their ideas the leading idea of the movement. [Italiano]

On September 2nd, 2014, Noam Chomsky penned an article titled "The End of History?" Part of the article read,

The likely end of the era of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the generally conservative monitor of what is happening to the physical world.

The report concludes that increasing greenhouse gas emissions risk “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems” over the coming decades. The world is nearing the temperature when loss of the vast ice sheet over Greenland will be unstoppable. Along with melting Antarctic ice, that could raise sea levels to inundate major cities as well as coastal plains...

... The IPCC report reaffirms that the “vast majority” of known fuel reserves must be left in the ground to avert intolerable risks to future generations. Meanwhile the major energy corporations make no secret of their goal of exploiting these reserves and discovering new ones...

... One of the most feared consequences of anthropogenic global warming is the thawing of permafrost regions. A study in Science magazine warns that “even slightly warmer temperatures [less than anticipated in coming years] could start melting permafrost, which in turn threatens to trigger the release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases trapped in ice,” with possible “fatal consequences” for the global climate...

Bearing this fresh reminder that climate change will bring about the collapse of civilization as we know it, it is uplifiting knowing that in the last weekend people from one hundred sixty six different countries marched under the banner of the People's Climate Change March to bring attention to climate change and the looming ecological crisis.[2] These mobilizations were not without concerns, however.

As anarchists, we know that under capitalism, a system based on infinite growth with disregard for the future, climate catastrophe is inevitable. We know that there is only one solution to climate change: Social revolution. We must abolish capitalism, and in its place build an ecological society based on mutual aid and equality. We will never stop climate change under capitalism. With this understanding, anarchists and socialists of any variety should find concern in the speculation that non-governmental organizations such as and Avaaz, which have been heavily involved in the People's Climate Change March, may co-opt and capitalize in this newly developing movement.[3] To me, this risk of "green" capitalists attempting to, in one way or another, profit off of a budding movement like the People's Climate Change March seems as real as the potential for a capitalist to try to profit in general. That is, it is inevitable.

Concerning as this very real danger is, attending the People's Climate Change March is reassuring in that there are strong anti-capitalist sentiments coming from the grassroots level. Anyone who has attended these marches this last weekend will have seen booths set up by many different anarchist, marxist, and various socialist organisations amongst the booths set up by capialist NGOs. There is a noticeable anti-capitalist undercurrent. The People's Climate Change March presents a unique opportunity for raising consciousness that capialism means climate catastrophe, and that there are alternatives.

This short article is a call to action. Anarchists must begin to practice social insertion in the People's Climate Change March and related movements. We must involve ourselves and make anarchism the leading idea, while exposing the environmental devestation inherent to the capitalist system. As Naomi Klein conveyed in her recent book "This Changes Everything", it is only grassroots movements that can prevent climate change. Not the ruling class.[4]

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