No. 15September 19, 2019
Youth take to Parliament Hill for Student Climate Strike, March 15, 2019.
This week, youth the world over are engaging in actions to express urgent demands for what is required to safeguard the natural environment and defend it from the consequences of the pillage, plunder and devastation caused by narrow private interests. These actions coincide with the International Day of Peace declared by the United Nations Organization General Assembly in 1981. The theme this year is “Climate Action for Peace.” The UN website says it seeks to “draw attention to the importance of combating climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.” The UN highlights problems of access to and shortages of resources such as agricultural land, drinking water and energy and says this is increasing tensions around the world and causing serious conflicts. “Climate change causes clear threats to international peace and security,” the UN website writes.
Nothing is said about the stranglehold of the international financial oligarchy which has usurped control of not only the resources of Mother Earth but also the decision-making processes and war-making machines which enable it to make the rich richer, and to hell with the everyone and everything. This is the root cause of the destruction of the environment and it cannot be ignored. The essence of the platform of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada is to humanize the social and natural environment and the Party supports all those who take practical measures which contribute to making the world sustainable.
In 2015, UN member states established 17 Sustainable Development Goals covering those issues the UN says are crucial. This include “poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, environment and social justice.” The 13th goal is climate action. This year, on September 23, the UN is holding a Climate Action Summit on the theme, “Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.”
On this occasion, high school students across the world are taking matters into their own hands by organizing the next world-wide School Strike for Climate (SSC). SSC is an international movement of students who skip class to organize demonstrations to demand action on global warming and climate change. The first world-wide strike took place on November 30, 2015 on the first day of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Other world-wide and area-focused strikes have followed.
School Strike for Climate has announced two major global strikes for September 2019. One is on Friday, September 20, three days before a UN emergency climate summit being held in New York, and the other is on Friday, September 27, the 57th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Individual countries and cities will organize strikes on one or both dates.
Organizers are optimistic that these latest strikes will have the largest turnout of any climate strikes thus far, by including workers, university students, retired people, and all others who are concerned, in addition to the school students who led previous strikes. Everyone is called upon to get out to these important events and to support the youth in their aim to make the world better.
— Dougal MacDonald —
The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and its member organizations, in the context of the federal election, wrote the MLPC for responses to a set of questions about the role the party foresees for Canada in the world — and how our party, if it were the government, would pursue that objective.
If elected, would your party deliver on the commitments Canada has already made in the Copenhagen Accord and the Sustainable Development Goals, to contribute its fair share of $100 billion per year in international climate finance by 2020 — balanced between adaptation and mitigation and with at least 15 per cent of adaptation support focused on gender equality?
The Copenhaguen Accord and Sustainable Development goals sound positive. However, to say that Canada or any other country has a commitment to a “fair share” is meaningless because there is nothing in either agreement which specifies what that might be or how it might be calculated. In essence, Canada has promised nothing so there is no actual promise to keep. A fair share of nothing is still nothing.
As an agreement, the Copenhagen Accord has not only been mightily criticized by peoples the world over but also by a number of countries, mainly on the basis that it was hijacked by the U.S. and its allies, that it was undemocratic, that its final decisions were made behind closed doors, that the final document was produced without consultation, and that the amounts of money “promised” by the rich countries were paltry compared to what they spend on aggressive war. The final document itself only expresses a general aim of limiting global warming increase to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, well above the targets most delegations were calling for.
As for the sustainable development goals, they are set to be accomplished by 2030 — eleven years from now. Despite the current state of the world, where the rich rule and the poor are getting poorer, we are told to believe that in eleven years the world will be secure, free of poverty and hunger, with full employment, access to quality education and universal health coverage, the empowerment of all women and girls, and an end to environmental degradation. This is not serious when the richest and most aggressive military power, the U.S., to assert its hegemony over competitors in Europe and Asia, is trying to capture control of the resources and labour of the entire world by conducting wars in a number of countries and trying to subvert the governments of many others.
It should also be pointed out that both the Copenhagen Accord and the commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals are giant pay-the-rich schemes. The private monopolies and oligopolies have damaged the environment in their unrelenting pursuit of profit, but it is the governments of the world who are told to use public funds to repair the damage. For example, Alberta has thousands of “orphan wells” — wells abandoned by the energy corporations which need cleaning up. Estimates of the amount of money required vary from $40 to $70 billion dollars. The problem exists because the foreign energy monopolies took their profits and ran and now expect the people of Alberta to pay to clean up after them.
This is happening all over the world. In Africa, numerous abandoned mine-sites are polluting the land and water and endangering people’s health. Is it the mining corporations like Rio Tinto and Anglo-American who created the mess who are going to clean them up? No, once again the burden is put on the people to pay. This is the problem. Unless this problem is addressed, how can the world be made sustainable?
Canada has made no real promise so there is no promise to keep. Neither will the policies of the parties which form the cartel party system to keep the rich in power address, let alone solve, the problem of sustainable development goals or deal with environmental degradation. All of them are pay-the-rich schemes which result in the aggravation of the problems and delay the implementation of known solutions.
The MLPC is an integral part of the people’s movement to humanize the natural and social environments. It thinks that the crucial element which is missing is for the peoples of the world to be able to control the decisions which affect their lives and life on planet earth. Its call to humanize the natural and social environments requires putting decision-making power in the hands of the people, not the rich. In other words, desirable goals can be accomplished only to the extent that people empower themselves. The monopolies and oligopolies which nowadays have seized control of the decision-making power of most states use any and every process and technique to maximize their profits and to hell with the environment. They are the ones responsible for the destructive effects of climate change through their use of fracking, clear cutting, detrimental mining methods, contamination of lakes and oceans, the privatization of water, fraudulent environmental assessments and the dispossession of the rightful holders of the land and all the other abuses which are increasing as a result of neo-liberal anti-social and anti-national agendas.
The more the youth and all sectors of the people say No! to unacceptable practices and work to set the direction of the economy themselves, the closer we will be to turning things around in the people’s favour.
It Can be Done! It Must Be Done!
Dr. MacDonald is the MLPC spokesperson on matters related to the environment and climate change. He is also the MLPC candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona.
— Discussion on the MLPC Platform —
The world is coming together to demand that proper attention be paid to Mother Earth. Measures must be taken to overcome the destructive effects of climate change and end the pernicious practices of the monopolies and oligopolies such as fracking, clear cutting, detrimental mining methods, contamination of lakes and oceans, the privatization of water, fraudulent environmental assessments. An end must also be put to the dispossession of the rightful holders and defenders of the land and to all the other abuses which are increasing as a result of neo-liberal anti-social and anti-national agendas.
The urgent need is to reverse this alarming deleterious trend. All over the world this is being done by the peoples’ struggles which restrict and successfully deprive the monopolies and oligopolies and governments in their service of their ability to pollute, destroy, super-exploit, trample on the sovereign rights of Indigenous peoples, and wage war for self-serving aims. The working peoples’ striving for empowerment unites people from all walks of life to become an organized force which takes stands in defense of the rights of all.
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada states clearly that the natural and social environment cannot live in harmony unless we oppose government pay-the-rich schemes as is taking place from coast to coast to coast. The MLPC specifically opposes the use of the serious issues of the environment and the economy to justify expropriating the Indigenous peoples and going against the expressed desire of the people on projects such as the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline construction, especially when these are done in the name of “national interest.” This association is to make sure the people play no role in determining the outcome of the decisions which affect them and so that the issue of climate change is also not sorted out in favour of humanizing both the natural and social environments.
There is no Chinese wall between the interests of the environment and the economy but they cannot be harmonized by continuing the expropriation of the Indigenous peoples who are the stewards and protectors of Turtle Island and holders of sovereign rights to this vast land. The Indigenous peoples have never relinquished their sovereign hereditary rights and bravely continue to defend Turtle Island from the indignities of colonial pillage and ruin. Let everyone demand that governments enter into new arrangements that honour Indigenous peoples’ sovereign rights to their ancestral lands.
Mother Earth can only be defended when the dignity of labour and rights of all are also upheld. Modern society cannot be made sustainable without consciously upholding its duty to humanize both the social and the natural environment. Harming Mother Earth, working people or Indigenous peoples or the future of the younger generations leads to ruin. Any government which does not uphold its duties on these fronts is superfluous. It is not fit to govern.
Activating the human factor/social consciousness to negate the anti-human factor/anti-consciousness is the order of the day. Only if working people themselves have a say-so and control over the production and distribution of social product can the serious problems facing Mother Earth and our societies be provided with solutions.
It is also imperative to denounce the U.S.-led wars of aggression and occupation, and the U.S. war industry which is the biggest polluter in the world. The U.S. Department of Defense is the government body with the highest use of fossil fuel in the world. The daily fuel consumption of the aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and facilities of the U.S. military surpasses that of entire countries. Add to this the environmental impact of the use of depleted uranium munitions and chemical weapons such as defoliants as used during the Vietnam War, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. We also need to oppose Canada’s deployment of men and women of Canada’s military to participate in the U.S. wars of occupation and NATO and UN missions carried out in the name of humanitarian aid, peace, freedom and democracy.
Federal and provincial governments, no matter what party is in power, have shown that they fully identify with the narrow stance of private interests and the demands of the war government in the United States. To serve these interests and speak about concern for the environment in the same breath is absurd. Such is the case for example of the grandstanding of the political parties which form a cartel party system to try to convince the people that they are protectors of the environment. They try to divide people between those who favour a carbon tax and those opposed to a carbon tax and yet buy a bitumen pipeline which many people decry as a danger to the environment. The ruling elite and their media and political parties have been trying to frame “new green deals” and anti-new green deals for the 2019 federal election. To divide the people on the basis of pro and con carbon taxes or pro and con “green deals” or pro-jobs and anti-consent and other bogus ways to pose the problems is to keep the people spinning and counterspinning so that they cannot work out what they themselves need and want. How to make the environment sustainable is not the problem of the 21st century. The problem the people are tackling is how to be the decision-makers so as to make it so.
It means that concern for environmental degradation and ruination of Mother Earth must be consciously expanded into a movement to empower the working people, to put them in the forefront of all economic, political and social decision-making.
The MLPC supports all the actions of the youth, working class, people and Indigenous peoples which restrict the monopolies and oligopolies in their claims and in their ruinous activities. The secret agenda of the monopolies, oligopolies and governments in their service in the socialized economy and for war are exposed when people fight for what is just. Everything regarding the socialized economy is brought out in the public domain when people fight for what is right. Only once it is exposed for all to see and evaluated can they set their line of march to bring those who are up to no good to account. This is why the MLPC calls on all working people, women and youth to persist in speaking out about their concerns and demands. This is the first step to establishing a real hold on political and economic power which can bring to the fore the human factor/social consciousness and realize the aim of humanizing the social and natural environments.
The people must become the decision-makers and set the direction of the economy in a manner that protects the environment and affirms the right to be of the peoples of the entire world.
All Out to Humanize the Natural and Social Environment!
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