Sep 142023

Capitalism is destroying the planet – the alternative is socialism

The Communist Party of Canada welcomes the historic global mobilization on Sept. 15 to 17, to demand a rapid, just, and equitable end to fossil fuels. Our members will be in the streets across Canada, and we urge full support for this student-driven campaign, before world leaders attend the UN Climate Ambition Summit starting on Sept. 17 in New York.

This summer’s droughts, record heat waves, flooding, and huge storms are not some temporary anomaly. The alarming trend towards more frequent and severe weather events confirms the scientific consensus about the imminent threat of runaway climate change; if anything, warnings about this danger have been understated.

Human civilization is rapidly approaching a crossroads. Unless we choose to end carbon emissions, the consequences will be profoundly disastrous. The clock is ticking, but a change of direction is still possible. Every measure large and small to cut emissions is important, and scientific research may yet offer useful strategies. However, gimmicks like offsets, carbon capture and storage, or geoengineering are not solutions to the climate crisis. Waging imperialist wars to seize natural resources in other countries, such as lithium for batteries, is a violation of climate justice.

The reality is that the capitalist economic system, based on maximization of private profits, is fundamentally incompatible with survival of humanity and most other species which live on Earth. An economic model driven by the exploitation of human labour and the extraction of natural resources cannot be reformed into “green capitalism.” Simply criticising capitalism is not enough; we must struggle to replace the for-profit system, with a socialist model based on prioritizing the needs of humanity and the natural environment. To finance a just transition away from fossil fuels, we must slash the world’s $2 trillion annual military spending. Environmental movements need to put demilitarization front and center in their demands – there is no future for life on earth without ending the arms race.

The Communist Party stands for:

1. Public ownership of energy resources, to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and to put the interests of people and the environment ahead of private corporate profits.

2. End corporate driven energy extraction and export policies which boost profits at the expense of Indigenous rights and the health and safety of people. Cancel all pipeline projects to maintain and expand tar sands extraction, and halt all fracking operations. Guarantee jobs at equivalent wages for energy workers in the renewable energy sector and other sectors of the economy.

3. Replace cap-and-trade and carbon tax schemes with strict legal limits for pollution and hard caps to reduce emissions to zero by 2050. Heavy fines for corporations which break the law, including jail time for corporate executives.

4. Cut Canada’s military spending by 75% – end the huge carbon footprint related to deployment of fighter-bomber jets, the naval fleet, and other military purposes.

5. Create an overall green jobs plan to tackle social, economic, transport and environmental priorities. Invest in sustainable industrial processes, and expand renewable energy sources, especially solar, wind, hydro and geothermal power.

6. Build and deliver free urban public transit, and affordable interurban rail transit and bus services. Set much higher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles built and sold in Canada; establish a Canadian automobile industry to build affordable and fuel-efficient electric vehicles.

7. Build one million units of rent-geared-to-income at 20% social housing, under democratic control using green technology. Upgrade and maintain existing housing units to be safe, secure, affordable, accessible and environmentally sound.

8. Transition to a zero waste economy, set higher standards for product design, reduced packaging, labelling and collection after use to improve waste diversion rates.

9. Reduce energy costs by promoting sustainable domestic agriculture and farmland preservation.

10. Build an east-west power grid – publicly-owned and democratically controlled provincial electrical utility systems that include production, distribution, transmission and bulk electricity system market, to ensure affordable, safe and reliable power supply for industrial and residential use.

A successful struggle to implement these policies requires building a powerful coalition of people’s movements, including environmentalists, the trade unions, Indigenous peoples, and all those who defend the interests of people and the planet. Such a “People’s Coalition” could lead the fight for decarbonization and other reforms, with the potential to help build a broader political challenge against the domination of big business and pro-corporate political parties. By winning a majority in Parliament, a People’s Coalition could open the door to fundamental changes, including economic and social reforms to shift from private ownership of wealth and resources, towards a socialist society based on democratic public ownership and working class political power. This is the way to tackle the climate crisis and to win a world of peace, freedom and social justice.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada