You are here

System Change not Climate Change: the Anarchist Argument

By collective - Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement, April 2021

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement is encouraged by the alarm over climate change. It has mobilised many people previously uninvolved in protest. We do not want to undermine the important message being brought forward. However, we feel that there is a conversation that needs to be had about what people are demanding.

Pinning your hopes on merely making adjustments to the present system which is destroying our world isn’t enough. The only way to effectively campaign to halt climate change is to impart a true picture of capitalism. Its insatiable hunger for profit is not only undermining the working and living conditions of billions of working people but the basis of life itself.

The future of our planet depends on building a liveable environment and a movement powerful enough to displace capitalism.

We can begin by looking to build ways of living outside this economic system and start building the new world in the shell of the old.

Things such as community gardens, repair shops and truly free markets to exchange goods are all good starts. Nonetheless, avoid thinking you can demand an idyllic capitalism, managed by the state, that can end the destruction being caused to the Earth’s environment.

Don’t see your role as just needing to make enough noise to wake up political and business leaders. A system of private enterprise cannot move towards sustainability and zero growth; it cannot be reformed to become a green system. This way of thinking supposes that things would be fine if we all bought organic food, never took a holiday flight, and put on more clothes in winter rather than turn up the heating. We argue that this completely ignores the way capitalism operates, and must operate. Successful functioning of the system means growth or maximising profit, it means that nature as a resource will be exploited ruthlessly. Not ending capitalism is something that only attacks the symptoms rather than the cause. Green capitalism is not worth fighting for.

We see the need to create a different form of social organisation before the present system destroys us all. The entire thing needs to be replaced with an economic approach which produces for human needs not profit. A sustainable society that is capable of addressing climate change can only be achieved within a world where all the Earth’s resources, natural and industrial, are under the common ownership of us all, as well as being under grassroots democratic control at a local and regional level.

To organise production in an ecologically sound way we can either plead with our rulers or we can take democratic control of production ourselves. The reality is to truly control production we ourselves have to own and control society. So, a society of common ownership and democratic control is the only framework within which the aim of saving the planet from climate change is achievable. In reality if you wish to halt climate collapse, you have to be an anarchist.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author.

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.