No Image

Copenhagen talks lay bare the class conflict at the heart of climate change

22nd December 2009 Socialist Action 0

By Paul Lewis

The failed climate change talks in Copenhagen last week demonstrated how climate change has become a central aspect of the international class struggle.

By failing to agree binding terms to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the capitalist nations, led by the USA, have demonstrated that they are prepared to allow the avoidable suffering of hundreds of millions of Africans, Asians, Caribbeans and Latin Americans, rather than risk a challenge to its model of capitalist imperialism that has dominated humanity for over two centuries. As Muhammed Chowdhury, a lead negotiator of the G77 group of 132 developing countries, explained: “The hopes of millions of people from Fiji to Grenada, Bangladesh to Barbados, Sudan to Somalia have been buried. The summit failed to deliver beyond taking note of a watered-down Copenhagen accord reached by some 25 friends of the Danish chair, head of states and governments. They dictated the terms at the peril of the common masses.”1 

This dynamic demonstrates one of the most basic propositions of Marxism – that a class can only take society forward if it represents not only its own narrow interests but also the wider interests of humanity as a whole. The bourgeoisie is incapable of this. Last week in Copenhagen we saw the inherent conflict between capital’s particular interests and those of the future development of human civilisation.

No butter, just guns

1st December 2009 Socialist Action 0

The international financial crisis is frequently interpreted as being characterised by operations of avaricious and immoral bankers, motivated purely by personal greed, acting with complete indifference to the population of this or any other country, who recklessly operated financial derivates they did not understand within a casino economy, and whose net useful contribution to society has been shown to be less than zero – all of which is true. But this is only the mechanism by which the economic crisis worked itself out – not its cause. Furthermore, if this had been the real driving force of the economic crisis it would be relatively easy to deal with – tough financial regulation and similar measures would suffice.