By Nancy Lawrence
Capitalism won at the COP21 in Paris (21st Conference of Parties climate talks). All you had to do to see that is walk into the Climate Generation Space, put aside by the U.N. for ìcivil society, which had workshops on what is the best way to turn nature into a private commodity, Like REDD+, Carbon Offsets, and Cap-andTrade, etc. To be fair, there were also good workshops like those against nuclear power and for indigenous struggles. However, the site was mostly dominated by ìBig Greensî like the World Wildlife Fund. Those of us in the Climate Justice Movement managed to get a small space where we organized ìactionsî which attracted the press, not to mention the security forces
Don’t forget, this conference was after the horrendous attacks in Paris, and France was on lock down, a good way to shut down any revolutionary movement against ecocide and imperialism. That brings up another cause of climate change: the military. The U.S. empire is now increasing their presence in Africa, resulting in more greenhouse gases and land grabs, and this is not being ignored by the rest of the world.
In October, 2015 in Bolivia, there was a major conference, the World’s People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Defense of Life. One of its points of unity is Allocate Resources of the Military Machine of the North to Finance the Actions of the Peoples Against Climate Change. The funds currently allocated to death, militarism, war and the arms race must be designed to strengthen a culture of life. At another point they say develop and implement a Global Action Plan of People’s to promote a new anti-capitalism, anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist world order, based on the Well Living and the Rights of Peoples.
We would do well to listen to those voices and link up struggles against war and imperialism with climate justice. As far as the U.N. Climate Talks go, there was no binding agreement. Recent headlines about how the ratification the agreement is good news for the environment are government, corporate and media lies, since the agreement reached was inadequate, and has no teeth for enforcement. The rich countries will not be putting the money needed in the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries. REDD+ is going forward, and the peoples of the world most impacted, like the island states, among others, will suffer the results of a heating world.
It is hard for 3rd-world countries and peoples to act when there are U.S., U.K., or French bases in their backyards. And don’t think the military doesn’t understand this. They have been studying the climate science and they know the world’s peoples will not sit still forever.
Our battles are many. We need to fight capitalism and imperialism on many fronts in our fight for climate justice. We need to be part of the Global Action Plan led by the Peoples of the Global South, as well as people on the front lines here. To start with, we must demand the return and reparations for the climate refugees of New Orleans and elsewhere. We have to fight against the car culture and for a free, solar-powered, bus-based transportation system, as well as to fight against the police state, among other things. Only then can we start the revolutionary changes needed to save our mother earth.
Nancy Lawrence is active in the Peace and Freedom Party and the Fight For the Soul of the Cities.
By Nancy Lawrence