Plastic world: the manifestation of anarchic capitalist production

 plastic pollution crisis

It sounded like a grand and radical plan, and not before time. On 11 January 2018 Prime Minister Theresa May launched a 25-year war on plastic waste, calling it ‘one of the great environmental scourges of our time’. It is, of course, a global crisis. The amount of plastic produced each year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. 8.3bn tonnes have been produced since the 1950s, with the majority ending up in landfill or the ocean. One study warns that the plastic crisis threatens the ‘near-permanent contamination of the planet’. Plastic takes hundred of years to decompose but ‘microplastic’ particles are already contaminating our food and drinking water. Imperialist nations export the after-effects of throwaway consumerism to poor countries, where impoverished children scavenge for valuable recyclables. As Pope Francis said in 2015, ‘the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth’. Urgent and sustained action is required. But predictably, for Britain’s part, May’s plan barely touches the surface. Brian Henry reports.

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Welsh Labour welcomes EDF’s radioactive waste

Welsh Labour Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths

When the French energy corporation EDF needed somewhere to dump radioactive mud from the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset, Welsh Labour was only happy to oblige, permitting it to dump 300,000 tonnes in the Severn estuary near Cardiff. True to form, this was after explicitly stating in 2015 that this would never happen on their watch.

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Video: Ecosocialism or ecocide!

The pollution the imperialist nations pour into the atmosphere is fuelling runaway global warming.
The average US citizen emits more carbon than 500 citizens of Ethiopia, Chad, Afghanistan, Mali, or Burundi.
And just 100 companies, mainly multinational corporations, are responsible for 71% of all emissions.
The growth in global carbon emissions has accelerated from 1% a year in the 1990s to 3% a year in the 2010s.
Even if the Paris Accord is honoured, annual CO2 emissions would rise from 50bn tonnes to 55-60bn tonnes by 2030.
Climate scientists say they must be cut by at least 36bn tonnes to avoid a catastrophic 2°C temperature rise on pre-industrial times, which we are on course to hit by 2050. A 3.5°C rise is considered to be ‘the extinction point’.
Meanwhile, the profit motive necessitates deforestation and the destruction of the environment.
The pace of change to renewable energy is slow because it is insufficiently profitable. Under capitalism, moving away from fossil fuels, which still supply 85% of the world’s energy, would threaten the solvency of banks and pension funds.
With its infinite need to raise productivity, its predatory need to consume territory and natural resources and its necessary tendency to overaccumulate, capitalism is a runaway train approaching a cliff edge.
The only system capable of marshalling the level of organisation necessary for a sustainable future is planned ecosocialism.
This is proven by socialist Cuba. According to the United Nations’ 2016 Human Development Report.
Cuba is one of just a few countries that has improved the wellbeing of its citizens while developing sustainably.
As Marx foretold: Revolution or ruin!

The ‘sixth mass extinction’ is a product of capitalism – not population growth

capitalism killing the planet

‘Every particular mode of production has its own special laws of population, which are historically valid within that particular sphere. An abstract law of population exists only for plants and animals and even then only in the absence of any historical intervention by man’ – Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 25, pp783-784

‘You don’t need to be a scientist to know what’s causing the sixth mass extinction,’ began Professor Paul R Ehrlich in a Guardian article on 11 July. Given the ‘developed’ imperialist world’s throwaway consumerism and the well-documented destruction of the environment by multinational corporations, it should indeed be fairly obvious. Ehrlich however names one main culprit: population growth. His solution? Some unspecified form of ‘humane’ population reduction. Apparently the reason you don’t need to be a scientist is because the pseudo-science of eugenics suffices. Ehrlich must be refuted with science – the science of Marxism. It is capitalism’s need for infinite economic growth that is destroying life on earth. BARNABY PHILIPS reports.

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In Memory of Richard Levins

Professor Richard Levins died one year ago on the 19 January 2016, aged 85. Levins was a renowned dialectical materialist, Marxist biologist and political activist. He spent 40 years working at Harvard University where he was John Rock Professor of Population Sciences at T H Chan School of Popular sciences. He was renowned for his specialisation in ecology.  

Levins wrote many papers and essays, as well as books, including The Dialectical Biologist (1985) and Biology Under the Influence (2007) both of which were compilations of his own and co-author and fellow Marxist biologist, Richard Lewontin’s essays. The pair compiled their essays collectively and neither scientist's name is put to any essay where it appears in the books.  Both scientists were influenced by Friedrich Engels’ natural science works.  They dedicated The Dialectical Biologist to Engels. They dedicated Biology Under the Influence to the Cuban 5 and ‘to the people all over the world struggling for their release’ at the time of publication the 5 where still imprisoned by the US.

Of the Cuban 5 they said ‘From their cells they have been active both in helping to make prison life more bearable for the other inmates in their immediate community and continuing to be full participants in the life of the Cuban revolution. We admire their steadfastness and creativity in resistance’. As well as this dedication they pay tribute to the Vietnamese communists and the late Black Panther Fred Hampton.

Levins played a crucial role in combating the bourgeois scientific concept of Cartesian reductionism through development of and advocacy of dialectical materialism as a useful tool in gaining understanding of nature. He praised Cuba’s approach to ecology and science highly while others chose to ignore or deliberately obscure it. On this the first anniversary of Levin’s death, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! honours his memory and his contribution to the world.  His death was a loss to progressive science.

Cal Shaw