By Frank Rotering | October 11, 2019
We – the populace, the masses, the workers, the people – are now in a last-ditch battle for our ecological survival. There is no longer any doubt that our social leaders, who did nothing to avert the crisis and are doing nothing to solve it, will continue their ecocidal inaction as the catastrophe unfolds. Unless we seize the reins of political power and assert our strategic independence, we and much of the living world will perish.
In a previous document, Ecological Survival and Revolutionary Change, I tried to move the environmentally concerned in this radically transformative direction. I pointed to capitalism's over-expansion as the root cause of the crisis, presented the rational response, explained how and why this response was blocked, and proposed a youth-military strategy for the transition to a sustainable world. In an upcoming series of posts I will go further by placing our perilous condition in its deep historical context and by clearly identifying the contending forces on the field of ecological struggle.
Theoretical developments such as this are critically important because the youth movements that have recently appeared are in desperate need of analytical and strategic guidance. These movements hold substantial promise, but in their present form they cannot halt the environment's rapid decline. This is not a criticism - it simply reflects the fact that any new group that undertakes a complex task cannot immediately grasp its numerous complications. When most members are still in their teens, this becomes a critical factor.
Three aspects of the current youth upsurge are particularly problematic. The first and most important is its rejection of solar radiation management (SRM). This is disastrous because SRM is the only measure that can avert runaway global warming and thus buy humankind the time it needs to restore the atmosphere to a safe state. The second is its unquestioned faith that governments can fundamentally restructure the economy despite fierce ruling-class opposition. The odds here massively favor the status quo, as anyone with an ounce of political honesty will readily admit. The third is its commitment to nonviolence. In the case of Extinction Rebellion this is justified through academic studies which show that this is the most effective way to replace an unpopular government. However, as just noted, governments cannot achieve the necessary changes, so this justification is meaningless. I will address these and related topics in detail in the upcoming posts.
My recurring theme as I proceed will be this: Our rulers have seen the future, understand that their expansionary economies cannot long endure, and have abandoned us to our ecological fates. We must therefore accept full responsibility for our own ecological survival, which will require us to militantly assert our collective will. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, we must dare to disturb the universe.
In my next post I will ask why we are existentially threatened. My explanation will focus on the two most significant events in human history: ecological overshoot, which began around 1950, and the subsequent decisions made by the capitalist class as it faced the inevitable end of its historical tenure.