Sent to tle local Shields Gazette
Mr MS (Gazette, 26th March) , criticising my letter on climatic change suggests Socialists are jumping on the environmentalist bandwagon. For the record socialist have been warning about the dangers capitalist production methods pose the environment for 130 years.
In 1875, in Dialectics of Nature, Fred Engels had this to say:
“At every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing over nature – but that we, with flesh and blood and brain, belong to nature and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly. We are gradually learning to get a clear view of the indirect, more remote social effects of our productive activity, and so are afforded the opportunity to control and regulate these effects well. This regulation, however, requires a complete revolution in our existing mode of production…in our whole contemporary social order”
And, Mr MS, there has been no “shift in socialist priorities”, as you say, “from world peace and global poverty, to solar panels and energy-efficient light bulbs.” Our priority remains the same – abolition of the profit system and the establishment of a system of society where the earth’s natural and industrial resources are commonly owned and democratically controlled.
Socialists are no different from others in desiring an envirionment in which the safety of all animal and plant spieces is ensured. Where we differ from our poitical opponents is in recognising that their demands have to be set against a well entrenched economic and social system, based on class privilege and property and governed by the overriding law of profits first.
It has long been our case that human needs can be satisfied without recourse to production methods that aversely effect the natural environment, which is exactly why we advocate the establishment of a system of society in which production is freed from the artificial constraints of profit. We are not talking about nationalisation or any other tinkering with the present system, but rather its entire abolition and replacement with a global system in which the earth’s natural and industrial resources are commonly owned and democratically controlled; a society in which each production processes takes into consideration not only human need but any likely effect upon the environment.
Once the Earth’s natural and industrial resources have ben wrested from the master class and become the common heritage of all humanity, then production can be geared to meeting needs in an ecologically acceptable way, instead of making profits without consideration for the environment. This the only basis on which we can meet our needs whilst respecting the laws of nature and to at last begin to reverse the degradation of the environment caused by the profit system. The only effective strategy for achieving a free and democratic society and, moreover, one that is in harmony with nature, is to build up a movement which has the achievement of such a society as itsobjective.