The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

At the Summit … of Broken Promises

Nov 8, 2021

Excerpts from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

The 26th Climate High Mass began October 31 in Glasgow, Scotland. As always, heads of state with their hands over their hearts and with tears in their eyes will promise and swear to do better tomorrow. But the reality is that they are leading us to disaster.

At the 15th COP in Paris in 2015, they recognized the need to limit global warming at no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Apart from the tiny African nation of Gambia, no country kept its commitments—not France either. So, President Macron has nothing to show off!

Heads of state have been meeting for almost 30 years to fight global warming, and for 30 years greenhouse gas emissions have kept rising. Financial commitments to help countries in the global South cope with climate change were not kept, even while hundreds of billions of dollars were swallowed up by speculation and fat cats’ fortunes.

Commentators call for “from words to deeds.” We also hear, “We share the planet, so we need more international cooperation.” All true.…

In the service of the capitalists, all governments place the interests of their industrialists, their race for profits, and their trade war above everything else. They place them above the wages, rights, and living conditions of workers. And they put them before climate considerations.…

In other words, we should accept decisions made in the secrecy of the boards of directors of the big capitalist groups—the main polluters—even though they are harmful to people and the planet!

As long as the interests of big business prevail, sacrifices will weigh on ordinary people and on workers. All day long we are told that “we are all responsible” and that we consume too much and too many bad things. But this means excusing the officials who run over us.

Most of all this is a way to make us pay for the climate crisis, with measures as unfair as the ban on driving for cars classified as “Air4,” the carbon tax, or the increase in energy prices.

To be responsible requires questioning the capitalist organization of the economy. Any environmentalist policy runs up against the madness of this system and of speculation. One example: with the current surge in gas prices, burning coal to generate electricity is becoming more competitive. The big powers, which blame China for opening new coal-fired power stations, are themselves reviving the exploitation of coal. This year, coal’s share in European electricity production jumped from 14% to 19%.

Politicians boast about low greenhouse gas emissions in France. But we cannot trust them to safely control nuclear production, which is also subject to the laws of profitability more than to safety regulations.

We will not save the planet without stopping the race for profit and without putting an end to this system based on private ownership of the big means of production, on competition and the market—a source of anarchy and incredible waste.

This struggle corresponds to the interests of all workers, who are the first victims of this system. The climate crisis and the need to respond to it can only confirm for us the perspective of expropriating the big capitalist groups, managing them collectively, and planning the economy on a planetary scale. This is the only way to meet the present and future needs of humanity.