A lot of people are afraid of Communism and Socialism. They feel this way because of the constant stream of anti-Communist propaganda in the mainstream media and people are lead to believe that socialists are out there trying to steal your freedom. In the mainstream media, socialism is equated to dictatorship. To me, that’s rubbish. As a socialist, I stand against the corrupt bureaucracies and oligarchies, e.g. the bureaucracy of the U.S.S.R. and the so-called “Communist” Party of China. I am a Trotskyist. That’s after Leon Trotsky, a man who lead the Russian Revolution alongside Lenin and who was assassinated by Stalin’s goons for daring to speak out against the bureaucracy.
I’m starting this column for educational purposes and to provide you with a political view that you do not encounter often enough. Some say that Dawson students don’t care about politics because, for example, no one shows up to General Assemblies. I think that students actually care; it’s just that the issues affecting us aren’t always being addressed in the correct manner. If you’re a right-winger, I’m probably going to ruin your day, so if you don’t have the stomach for this, you might want to skip this column. In the future, if someone wishes to contribute an article under this title, it is reserved for Dawson’s socialists.
In the spirit of Dawson’s new Environmental Studies Profile, I’ll write my first column on Copenhagen.
U.N. Summit on Climate Change 2009
Pretty useless, wasn’t it? At least that’s the impression I got from reading the news. A document full of hot air called the Copenhagen Accord was written. It’s three pages long and refers to “strong political will” to fight climate change. Minister of Environment Jim Prentice told CBC News, “It is an excellent accord and is good for the environment, and it is good for Canada”. What a pansy. The deal is pathetic. Even the U.S. and other countries admit its failure. The only goal of the accord is to ensure that the average temperature of the planet doesn’t rise by more than two degrees Celsius. I thought this was a given when the scientists told us years ago that warming by over two degrees would lead to global catastrophe.
The biggest show, played up during the summit was the diplomatic clash between the U.S. and China. In reality, both countries aren’t really trying to save the planet as much as they’re trying to save their markets. Seeing that China’s economy is rapidly emerging, you hear a lot about how the U.S. is going to lose it’s superpower status to China, in reality, if that ever happens, it’s just the American ruling class that’s going to lose its influence over the international scene.
At the same time, China is developing it’s capitalist economy the help of coal to supply its energy demands and is therefore reluctant to sign treaties that would be truly effective for the environmental cause. This is the logic under a system of ‘free’ competition, where every country or corporation is forced to not only not protect the environment, but to actively harm it for profit.
Yet, the U.S. and those friendly to it have blaming China and other developing countries for the farce that this Summit became. So, how exactly do we solve the environmental crisis?
I’ve been to some environmental/political events last semester and I heard a lot about how many people are ashamed of our Parliamentary representatives. What else can you expect? We live in a society dominated by people who thirst for profit, even from environmental degradation and the exploitation of natural resources. Now, they are looking to make a profit off the cleanup.
The truth is simple. Capitalism can’t solve a global crisis such as this. Time is against us and the sad part is the technology exists to turn the train around before we go over a cliff. As Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, said during his speech at the Summit “…if the climate were a bank, they would have bailed it out already”, referring to the massive financial bailouts given during the recent economic crisis. As of Jan. 1, 2009, the total amount that banks around the world received or were promised was $8.424 trillion, ‘…enough to end world poverty for 50 years’ said Oxfam.
So far, the best solution that the capitalists have been able to come up with are carbon markets. The carbon markets are meant to put a price on pollution, which is supposed to provide incentives to encourage the capitalists to reduce it.
Instead of trying to convince the capitalists that it’s worth the effort to save the environment through imaginary markets where they can buy the right to pollute, a more straightforward answer comes to mind: take production out of their hands and run it democratically. Nationalize it under a democratically and rationally planned economy where everyone will benefit, not just the chosen few. That’s the socialist alternative.