By x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 15, 2015
Paris, France: COP21 has concluded, and the results could be summed up as less-than-inspiring, but just about what many of us in the green unionist movement (small thought it still is) expected: a complete and total capitalist greenwash designed to make it look like more business as usual was somehow a change from business as usual. Without going into all of the gory details, the so-called "agreement" which took two weeks to hammer out doesn't even rearrange deckchairs on the Titanic. It rearranges the fabric on the deckchairs on the Titanic while at the same time proclaiming to seal the breach in the hull and pump out all of the water, yesterday.
In short, the backers of the deal (capitalists, politicians, mainstream Big Green environmental NGOs, and all of the fossil fuel capitalists pulling the strings) are proclaiming that somehow this "achievement" is "groundbreaking" because it advises, suggests, or pleads (depending on which part of the thesaurus one chooses) that the capitalist class voluntarily reduces the world's GHG emissions to a point "substantially lower than" 2°C (but doesn't even specify what many believe to be the needed limit of 1.5°C).
Of course, there are no hard limits, no enforcement mechanisms, no penalties for "ignoring" the suggested reductions. Worse still, the agreement removes all references to the rights of Indigenous peoples, does not address the disproportionate effects of capitalist GHG emissions on the Global South, women, or the working class. The excessive hoarding of wealth and disproportionate emissions caused by the Global North are not referenced. No mention is made of agroecology (thus paving the way for capitalist driven "climate-smart agriculture" (read "privatization")). No limits are to be placed on air travel. Nothing is said of energy democracy or just transition.
Worse still, all of this deal making took place in the shadow of what has become a fascist police-state atmosphere in Paris, France, in response to the tragic bombings and attacks that took place on November 13, 2015. While capitalist delegates and their enablers were allowed to seal the fate of the rest of us with near impugnity, dissent was smashed by placing restrictions on where protesters could demonstrate, and several clmate justice leaders were placed under house arrest (though, at the end of the two week clusterfuck, many defied the bans anyway, but only after many of the NGOs had demobilized the 100,000s more that would've joined in had the ban not been in place). Meanwhile, other events that had nothing to do with protesting COP21 were allowed to happen with little or no restriction.
While this is not the worst possible outcome one could have envisioned, it still leaves an enormity to be desired, and all of the self-congratulatory fawning over it by Big Green and the capitalist class won't change that.
Fortunately, this is not the end of the story. In spite of the capitalist greenwashing attempts, most climate justice activists are not buying the official line, and have declared, rightly, that the struggle doesn't end here. The power does not lie in the hands of the capitalists or their enabling delegates. It does not lie in the halls of state or the inside-the-beltway offices of the Big Green NGOs. It belongs to the many who make up the noncapitalist class of the world, and when we realize it, organize, and act accordingly, this sham of a deal, and the capitalist system that spawned it can be banished to the dustbin of history where it rightly belongs, and replaced by a truly effective and tranformative framework for achieving the systemic change that is needed. An essential part of that change will involve the workers of the world organizing as a class along industrial lines. While this is not the only part of the strategy, it is nevertheless an important one.
There are many stories to be told about COP21, and they simply cannot be summarized into a single article, certainly not without much reflection.