Enid Riemenschneider (Denmark) – Capitalism has reached that point which gives truth to the slogan: Socialism or Barbary!
On behalf of Danish Communist Party I am conveying a warm thank you! to the Prague section of the Communist Party of Bohemia-Moravia for inviting us to this event, and discussion.
In a couple of days the rulers of Europe and all the corporate owned mass media will go completely overboard celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the “Berlin Wall”.
We see it as the temporary set back of Socialism in Europe.
However, these historic events certainly had great impact on the power relations between Capital and the European working class, and – since they were followed by the implosion of the Soviet Union – they had great impact in every corner of the world.
In Europe it fuelled neoliberalism – understood as a set of economic policies and as an ideology – that already was working in the USA, and heavily brought on Great Britain by the Thatcher-regime.
The results were privatisations, deregulations, and budget cuts deteriorating public welfare, free educational systems, health care, you name it – and in the former socialist countries, wild capitalism.
The ideology of neo liberalism is embedded in the old Danish proverb: “I am the smith of my own prosperity”, and in slogans like the old “the money are best kept in the citizens pockets”, and new ones like: “you must be responsibly for your own learning – for your health” – and so on.
I am sure, every country has its own versions of this propaganda.
A year ago, the casino economy exploded, and the financial crisis slit open – for everybody who wants to see – the universal, and global crisis of capitalism.
Today we are celebrating the 92nd anniversary of the Great October Revolution, and it is a great honor on this particular day to take part in this international discussion in company with so many friends and comrades.
It is the task of us, the communists to help secure that the serious and damaging set back for Socialism and for Humanity is just a temporary one.
It is our pressing task to secure the growth of Socialism, because capitalism has reached that point which gives truth to the slogan:
Socialism or Barbary!
I shall now turn to a recent theoretical-political achievement of our party: the creation and adoption of a program for a sustainable and democratic development.
In Denmark, the media’s focus is on energy issues, on climate warming, and questions concerning the emission of carbon dioxide.
Not surprising – since the international Climate Summit in December will be held in Copenhagen.
Also in Denmark, dozens of NGO’s and popular movements are preparing activities before and during the summit, and in the face of this it is essential for our party to contribute with up-dated Marxist analyses, political issues and demands, as well as arguments.
Last November, our second party congress decided to continue the work on policy programs, and of course the first choice was to meet this particular challenge.
>From the beginning we understood, that climate change could not be the starting point of a Marxist analysis. We turned to the relation between man and nature, to man’s metabolism with nature, to man’s work and production, to the capitalist way of production – in short, we used the tools which Marx and Engels have given us.
Many scholars – even Marxist scholars – are just recently realizing that not only has Marxism given us the tools for analysing – but Marx and Engels understood fundamental features of what we today know as sustainability.
Marx studied Justus Liebig, his contemporary, a German chemist who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry. He described nature´s own metabolism.
Marx found Liebig more important than all economists.
Buildding on his work, Marx was able to identify human labour as a “proces in which both man and nature are parts, and in which man on his own initiative starts, regulates, and controls his metabolism with nature”.
Marx and Engels were concerned with the existing phenomenon of soil exhaustion. They observed how thousands of people left agricultural life to settle in the cities. One of the consequence was that the organic waste was not returned to the soil, but turned into pollution in the cities. Artificial fertilizers were introduced, resulting in worsening soil exhaustion.
They realised that man’s metabolism with nature already had been damaging to nature, and they noted that the capitalist way of production showed a ruthlessness toward nature and men which could turn into perversion.
Now, I shall turn our program – which we call Socialism – a sustainable alternative, founded on solidarity. In the preamble we say – and I quote from it:
“The goal of capitalism is profit … man and nature are just its means. Class society, inequality, and ruthless exhaustion of men and nature are the condition for Capital’s maximum profit.
Capital-ruled growth has changed the metabolism with nature to such a degree that many of the eco-systems of the planet are breaking down. This is a serious threat to the maintenance and development of human civilization.
Today, the ecologic crisis is one of several crises for a civilization building on the capitalist way of production, which is characterised by its anarchy in production, and the private-capitalist acquisition of socially produced assets….
The systemic crisis [of capitalism] includes an economic and financial crisis, an energy crisis, a food crisis, a military crisis, and an ideological and moral crisis.
The goal of a communist policy for the environment is to secure the basis for the continuous development of mankind on the foundation of solidarity…
To obtain this goal we need to establish a rational metabolism with nature so that the productivity and the rich … diversity .. of the ecosystems can be sustained … in short: our metabolism with nature must become sustainable.
[Many of the tools that] could secure this goal are already developed, but under capitalist rule they cannot be put to work to the needed extent.
The capitalist way of production must be confronted, and a socialist way of production established.”
The program then deals with the problems of the disturbed balance of the ecosystems, the problems of the air, the water, the soil, the enormous waste – not forgetting the gorging waste of militarization and wars.
It discusses the question of a “green” capitalism, and presents the arguments which rebut this illusion.
The program presents the alternative, the communist alternative, and the necessary means to avoid a global, environmental catastrophe – the alternative which at the same time must secure sustainability as well as a new civilisation.
We point to the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights which establishes the right of all human beings to Life. Under the impression of the development since then, and the state of the planet, we express our conviction that the right to Life must mean the right to a life in a healthy and safe environment..
We therefore proclaim the right to a safe and healthy environment as a human right.
To be struggling for the environment, means to fight for clean water and air, for sustainable energy sources, for healthy food – it means to confront several parts of the systemic crisis of capitalism.
How to bring that about?
The strongest possible popular movement is needed. An alliance between the movement for the environment and the trade union movement is essential. Such an alliance will give the fight a boost, and strength, and above all – a relevant focus, a working class focus, and a perspective.
Those two movements have too often been on opposite sides in their struggle, and that has been harmful to the struggle of both, and to their possibilities of success.
In its environmental program, the CP of USA describes the problem like this:
“The capitalist class asks us: What do you want: A job – or clean air and clean water?
We must ask: What kind of a system forces us to make choices like that?
It shows that the system is rotten, corrupt and dying – and needs to be replaced.”
This trap of job versus environment must be avoided, and the fight of all popular forces must be for clean jobs in a sustainable production.
A break through, as well as an example was seen recently when the windmill workers of the Vestas plant in Newport, Isle of Wight in England, and their union joined forces with environment activists. They lost the fight, but we can be sure that everyone engaged in the fight has learned something important to pass on.
It is our conclusion – as already mentioned – that the struggle for the environment – if it shall be a successful one – must go hand in hand with the struggle for socialism.
About the upcoming Summit: Will anything useful come out of it? No!
The rich countries will point to the crisis and say that they can’t afford to do much.
That is another trap that we shall not be caught in. Capital’s crisis must not stop us.
We have higher goals.
Shortly, our party shall distribute our environmental program in English to the international communist movement. We shall attach information on important events in Copenhagen during the Summit. The two most important are the following:
On December 12th tens of thousands of NGO’s will rally for a sustainable agreement on climate. Danish Communist Party will form our own block, and we invite our sister parties to participate with us.
On December 17th , organisations with the Danish Cuban Society in front are calling a mass rally in Copenhagen. As guest speakers the presidents of the ALBA countries are invited, and we have good hopes to see them there.
We hope that President Chavez and his colleagues will give all the young and progressive forces gathered in Copenhagen a lecture to take with them home on what popular forces can bring about, not least for the environment, and even under critical conditions.
Dear comrades, we hope to see you, too, in Copenhagen, come December.