The Paris meeting of national officials united to save capitalism by rebranding climate change was challenged by outside demonstrators from all over the world calling for system change. The people were way ahead of their governments. Whether called revolutionary by supporters or disastrous by opponents, what should rightly be called COP-OUT 21 came to a final agreement that means business as usual. Private profits continue to come before any consideration of public loss and that is the root of the problem for humanity.
By slightly slowing the pace of earth drowning under carbonation through “advising” less carbon creation offered as much a solution to our problem as continued pouring of raw sewage into our drinking water offers planetary health as long as we slow the rate at which diseased slop oozes into our reservoirs.
While the world’s foremost polluters figure out how to continue sucking fossil fuel out of the earth and only change its market pricing structure as an effort to slow down its use, outside demands for leaving that fuel underground and switching to alternative energy sources grow in passion, logic and necessity. Switching from fuel burning energy to wind, geothermal and solar power spells calamity for financial empires built on coal, oil and war, but means salvation for our race. The ruling powers of finance capital won’t stand for that but we can’t tolerate anything less, no matter what mental and physical havoc their media and military minions help them carry out. We cannot go on this way, and it isn’t only the recently arrived problem of climate change—it’s actually been around and criticized for generations—but all the negative things this anti-democratic economy does, which have also been criticized for generations.
The future of humanity calls for an end to the system of private profit and public loss that has brought wonderful lives to many—as did feudalism and slavery—but misery and deprivation to even more, with the number of humans carrying the loss rising dangerously as profits grow for an ever smaller population.
In less than a generation, we have gone from worshipping a millionaire minority and relying on their philanthropy, rather than taxing them, to help majorities with much less, to groveling before a much smaller billionaire minority and relying on their philanthropy to help even greater majorities with much less, rather than taxing them. This staggering progress in our democracy is very much like the tremendous gains we have made in falsely identifying people by race and moving from calling some fellow humans “colored people” back in the dumb 20th century to calling them “people of color” in the brilliant 21st. And interestingly, far more “people of color” are locked up in our penal colonies and have been shot dead by our police than was the case when they were lowly “colored people.” Progress for some who jumped into a few openings in the upper middle class was accompanied by far more sinking into worse poverty and social exclusion than was the sordid case before. Affirmative action indeed, but for how many? And at what cost?
That is how this system works at all times. Some profit while others lose. Always. We’re told it’s nature but we were once ignorant enough to think slavery was also natural. We at least seemed to learn that wasn’t the case. Now, we have to learn to understand all the contradictions of running society according to these warped rules of minority domination or we will lose society itself, for everyone.
The exact same economic process has been at work for “people of no color,” though even without skin tone bigotry it is almost bizarre to attribute privilege, as in “white privilege,” to all who share one or another complexion with little notice to the size of their bank accounts and their social stratification. Economics rule the nation and economic privilege is enjoyed by a minority, with bigotry and injustice dealt out with meaner outcomes to various groups but with full equality of divide and conquer rule that assures minorities acting for minorities means the smallest minority—the rich—maintains power and control of everything that matters. Especially humans reduced to powerless pawns, only able to operate for some members of one or another identity group, but never able to work together as a functioning democracy in deed and not merely word.
This system has created abundant comfort for many and incredible amounts of lethal garbage for most, inconceivably increasing financial fortunes for a dwindling-in-number class of royal rich and a fast expanding number of poor with rebranded as middle class workers sinking into categories of working poor, unemployed and homeless.
This has been going on since long before science “discovered” climate change, enlightened capital figured out how to use it to make money, and the reactionary pinheads, boneheads and brain-dead used their opposition to organize the innocent. But 150 years ago Karl Marx did an extensive analysis of this system. He spoke of all its positives and mostly negatives, calling attention to what capitalism was doing and would do to people and the earth if it wasn’t stopped. Think about chemicals in our food “products,” imported cheap labor, exported jobs, unions reduced to a tiny segment of the population, increasing poverty and all the present talk of threatening environmental factors, and consider this:
“Capitalist production . . . disturbs the metabolic interaction between man and the earth, i.e., prevents the return to the soil of its constituent elements consumed by man in the form of food and clothing; it therefore violates the conditions necessary to lasting fertility of the soil. . . . The social combination and organization of the labor processes is turned into an organized mode of crushing out the workman’s individual vitality, freedom and independence. . . . Moreover, all progress in capitalist agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the worker, but of robbing the soil; all progress in increasing the fertility of the soil for a given time is a progress towards ruining the more long-lasting sources of that fertility. The more a country starts its development on the foundation of modern industry, like the United States, for example, the more rapid is this process of destruction. Capitalist production, therefore, develops technology . . . only by sapping the original sources of all wealth—the soil and the worker.”
That’s a very brief quote from a three-volume work. Much too long for a tweet but hopefully understandable to anyone but a twit. Capitalism is an old, outmoded, abusive system that needs to be changed for the salvation of humanity. Marx could see that fact a long, long time ago. We’d better learn and act on it, now, before it’s too late.