END MONOPOLY CAPITALISM
TO ARREST CLIMATE CHANGE
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples' Struggle
7 December 2009
Human societies have created the bases of our survival, sustenance and
advancement through the use of our natural resources in production with
rudimentary tools and rising levels of science and technology. Yet in no
time in history has environmental destruction been systematically brought
about in most parts of the world.
The people of the world face today global poverty, economic wars and
environmental crises. They are confronted by an escalating, more rapacious
and vicious campaign of plunder by monopoly capitalism. This aggravates
the already devastated and polluted natural environment.
The massive dumping of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere by the
operations of monopoly capitalist firms in the energy industries,
manufacturing, transportation, industrial agriculture, mining,
construction, etc. is now generating climatic changes that are causing
massive devastation and loss of human lives around the world.
The unprecedented rise in GHG emissions coincided with the onset of the
capitalist system at the industrial revolution and its attendant intensive
use of machines, fossil fuels for transportation and energy. The anarchic,
wasteful and pollutive capitalist production for profit has put our world
into the brink of destruction. Under a system where profit is the primary
objective of social production, the environment and our ecosystems are
reduced to being a source of raw materials and dumping grounds for
Plunder and pollution of the environment have made victims of poor
communities many times over. These are the same communities that are also
the most vulnerable to environmental backlashes, which come in the form of
floods, droughts and other occurrences triggered or heightened by the
prevailing imbalances in the ecosystem. Women and children shoulder the
greater cost of these circumstances because of wider risks to their
health, and added complications to their productive and reproductive
The trend of rapid environmental changes both at the global and national
level is expected to bring about even more massive devastation and loss of
human lives in the future. It is clear from the 2007 Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, and subsequent
studies, that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now
evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean
temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global
average sea levels.
The increase in global surface temperature has made the past decade and a
half the warmest years since the 1850s. An increase of 0.75 degrees
Celsius in the past century was observed over the world. Rates of sea
level increase have leaped from an average of 1.8 mm annually (from 1961)
to 3.1 mm/yr (from 1996). The rate of shrinking of ice cover in the Arctic
was observed to be 2.7 % per decade, which more than double in summer to
7.4 %. Recently, the Northwest passage was clear throughout the Arctic
circle. Increased incidence of intense tropical cyclones and sea level
rise has been observed putting coastal areas at risk.
The climate has been altered by changes in greenhouse gases (GHGs),
aerosols, land-cover and solar radiation input. It was clear in the Nobel
Prize winning report of the IPCC that GHGs have increased due to human
activities with an increase of 70% in the last 3 decades. CO2 emissions
have increased 80% in the same period.
While global warming has already brought extreme impacts on livelihood and
survival, especially on vulnerable communities, “free market”
globalization policies have opened up the rest of the world to the
unhampered entry, control and exploitation of raw natural resources and of
people by monopoly capitalist banks and firms. Atrocious campaigns of wars
of aggression have been waged especially by US monopoly capital to expand
its economic territory and gain direct or tighter control of land and
Systematic and unabated deforestation through rampant industrial logging
has multiplied at ever increasing rates. The destruction of the world's
forests has also led to the conversion of agricultural plantations for
export-oriented crops, farms for cattle raising or monoculture tree
plantations. The relentless extraction of mineral ores and wanton
destruction by mining multinational corporations (MNCs) in Asia Pacific,
Latin America and African countries that are naturally endowed with rich
mineral deposits persists while they leave massive environmental
destruction and pollution, widespread landlessness and displacement, loss
of livelihood, distortion of local culture, and rampant human rights
violations to the peoples of these regions in their wake.
Asia, which holds more than half of the world's population, has less than
36% of the world's water resources and almost half of the population in
developing countries are exposed to polluted water sources. The
contamination of air, water and land brought about by products and
production processes mainly from the industrial and manufacturing plants
of MNCs continue. These large-scale factories remain the top contributors
of significant pollutants such as toxic and hazardous wastes in the world.
More and more underdeveloped countries (including India and China) have
also become major dumping grounds for the wastes of industrial countries.
The dumping of toxic and hazardous wastes are mounting and alarming.
Additionally, chemicals and obsolete technologies proven to be harmful to
the environment and/or human health and that are already banned in the
industrial countries are continually foisted on underdeveloped countries.
The occupation of Iraq by the US (and the 'Coalition of the Willing') has
given the latter direct control over the vast oil resources of Iraq and
has consolidated US domination over the world's oil resources. After
toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the US has gained more
political foothold in Central Asia and South Asia and further access to
the oil and gas resources in these parts of the world. The US launched its
"second front against terrorism" targeting the Philippines, Indonesia and
Southeast Asia-- a region known for its oil, natural gas and other natural
resources. It has unceasingly undermined the government of Venezuela,
which has the biggest oil resources in Latin America and is continuously
expanding its influence in other Latin American countries (Colombia) and
several African countries to tap potential oil and other mineral
Foreign direct investments in energy all over the world are increasing and
control over these resources are transferred from nations to a few energy
companies. Even the technologies needed for the use of alternative energy
in solar and wind are limited to industrialized countries. The drive for
biofuels has raised concerns over its long term sustainability and actual
contribution to climate change. Large tracts of forests have been lost in
Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia due to conversion of forests to oil-palm
plantations and more biofuel plantations have been earmarked in other
countries like the Philippines.
The recent wars of aggression of the US and its allies have not only
increased the production, sale and use weapons of mass destruction but
have also caused the massive destruction and contamination of human
property, health and environment (i.e. use of depleted uranium, etc.) in
the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and other war-ravaged countries. Forest
clearings and land conversions necessitated by continued military
exercises in different parts of the world led by the US pollute the
environment and the destruction of natural habitats. Toxic wastes from
current and previous US military bases continue to wreak ecological havoc
in the surrounding areas. US military joint exercises bring with them not
only direct US military aggression but the dangerous weapons and waste
from these activities.
The United States is currently the number one producer of GHGs, emitting
more than 28% of all the historical GHGs emitted since 1840 worldwide.
About 84% of US GHG emissions arise from the petroleum related energy and
electrical power sectors. The US is also the biggest processor and
unregulated user of oil and petroleum products all over the world.
Yet the US government has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, an
international treaty signed by 169 countries which aims to reduce global
levels of carbon dioxide and five other GHG emissions by 5.2% from their
1990 levels. It is also the US that remains adamant in refusing to commit
to long-term and rapid reductions of emissions in the ongoing negotiations
for new commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen.
Primary emitter countries such as the US and G8 countries have the
principal responsibility to change their production activities and
consumption of energy for genuinely sustainable solutions to the
ecological crisis. At the same time, they must also bear the cost of
reducing GHGs and building the capacity of vulnerable communities in poor
countries to withstand climate change impacts which they have caused.
Developing countries still require adequate energy and infrastructure for
the basic needs and social development of their people, hence, should not
be denied genuine sustainable development and must not be forced to carry
the burden of meeting carbon emission reduction targets for the world
while industrialized countries refuse to do so.
Instead of pursuing comprehensive mitigation of their emissions by
engaging in changes in social production, industrialized countries use
carbon offset mechanisms and emissions trading projects that offload the
burden of carbon mitigation and reduction towards developing countries.
These distort development activities in these countries while maintaining
the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production activities of
industrialized countries. Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) and carbon
trading effectively marketize carbon emissions and essentially shuffles
around responsibility to curb emissions.
International financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank (WB)
and other regional banks are becoming more aggressive in pushing for “free
market” and business-friendly false solutions to climate change related
problems. Programs such as the Climate Investment Fund of the WB do not
differ from their previous so-called development projects that have
violated human rights, displaced communities, destroyed the environment
and supported militarization in the past. These initiatives of the IFIs
also give them leverage to influence the outcome of the UNFCCC
negotiations in Copenhagen to provide new opportunities for profit-making
by monopoly capitalist firms who want to take advantage of the climate
These include proposals such as massive geo-engineering solutions that do
not address the root cause of the emissions and instead push untested and
unproven but potentially profitable technologies without due consideration
of their ecological and social consequences. On the other hand, personal
and individual reduction of carbon emissions such as shifts to compact
fluorescent light bulbs, switching to biodegradable products are mere
token responses and short sighted if they are not framed within larger
political and economic conditions which have vastly accelerated the rate
of global warming. In any case, poor communities would not have the
capacity to engage in these actions unless their immediate economic and
social problems are first addressed.
Indeed, climate change already aggravates other environmental problems
that poor communities have to face as a result of imperialist
globalization's ever increasing destruction of our ecology. It is no
longer a question that human activity has produced dangerous climate
interference but on how to avoid catastrophic effects that could affect
more than half of the world's population that are most vulnerable to
climate change. Industrialized countries should commit to real targets and
not shift the burden to underdeveloped countries. The capacity of local
communities to respond to disasters should be strengthened.
Community-based disaster response, monitoring and mitigation should be
undertaken and livelihood should be provided for those who are vulnerable
to climate change impacts.
Great advances have been made in information technology, robotics,
genetics, agriculture, and medicine, yet are not being applied towards
solving fundamental problems of humankind, such as the breakdown of health
systems, famine and hunger, ecological destruction, and social decay and
disintegration. Instead, unbridled monopoly capitalist globalization has
opened up third world resources for the use of TNCs extracting raw
materials while leaving their pollution and emissions to the host
The rapid destruction of the environment is a direct result of the rapid,
unchecked appropriation of the world's resources for the benefit of a few.
Increased pressure for the quest for wealth places increased pressure on
the environment and environmental destruction. The poor, who are most
vulnerable, are subjected to these environmental impacts while trying to
provide subsistence level production for themselves. Existing
environmental and social problems aggravated by global warming will not
abate until the plunder of the world for monopoly capital's greed for
In order to preserve the world's intrinsic and practical value for human
development, we need to fundamentally reorient production and consumption
based on human needs rather than for the boundless accumulation of profit
for a few. Society must take collective control of productive resources to
meet the needs of sustainable social development and avoid overproduction,
overconsumption and overexploitation of people and the environment which
are inevitable under the prevailing monopoly capitalist system .
We have seen how communities throughout the world have remain resolute and
determined to struggle for their rights and defend their natural resources
because it is not only their present but also their future at stake. The
oppressed peoples and nations are more determined than ever before to wage
revolutionary struggles for national liberation and democracy and look
forward to this socialist future. As the imperialist powers scrambling to
preserve global capitalism, we, the people, must struggle harder and be
more effective in waging militant anti-imperialist struggles for greater
freedom, democracy, social justice, development, ecological
sustainability, solidarity and peace.
To arrest climate change, we need to put an end to this systematic plunder
of the environment for the superprofits of corporations in industrialized
countries. To arrest climate change, we need to organize and defend our
future against this parasitic and moribund system. To arrest climate
change, we need to end monopoly capital's dominance over our lives and
build a socialist future.###
From John Bellamy Foster, Marx's Ecology in Historical Perspective,
MARX ON ECOLOGY
Marx's concept of the metabolic rift is the core element of this
ecological critique. The human labour process itself is defined in
/Capital/ as 'the universal condition for the metabolic interaction
between man and nature, the everlasting nature-imposed condition of human
follows that the rift in this metabolism means nothing less than the
undermining of the 'everlasting nature-imposed condition of human
existence'. Further there is the question of the sustainability of the
earth--ie the extent to which it is to be passed on to future generations
in a condition equal or better than in the present. As Marx wrote:
standpoint of a higher socio-economic formation, the private property of
particular individuals in the earth will appear just as absurd as
private property of one man in other men. Even an entire society, a
nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not
owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries,
and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations
as *boni patres familias* /[good heads of the household].^11http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj96/foster.htm#11
The issue of sustainability, for
Marx, went beyond what capitalist society, with its constant
intensification and enlargement of the metabolic rift between human beings
and the earth, could address. Capitalism, he observed, 'creates the
material conditions for a new and higher synthesis, a union of agriculture
and industry on the basis of the forms that have developed during the
period of their antagonistic isolation'. Yet in order to achieve this
'higher synthesis', he argued, it would be necessary for the associated
producers in the new society to 'govern the human metabolism with nature
in a rational way'--a requirement that raised fundamental and continuing
challenges for post-revolutionary society.^12http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj96/foster.htm#12
In analysing the metabolic rift Marx and Engels did not stop with the soil
nutrient cycle, or the town-country relation. They addressed at various
points in their work such issues as deforestation, desertification,
climate change, the elimination of deer from the forests, the
commodification of species, pollution, industrial wastes, toxic
contamination, recycling, the exhaustion of coal mines, disease,
overpopulation and the evolution (and co-evolution) of species.
After having the power and coherence of Marx's analysis of the metabolic
rift impressed on me in this way, I began to wonder how deeply embedded
such ecological conceptions were in Marx's thought as a whole. What was
there in Marx's background that could explain how he was able to
incorporate natural-scientific observations into his analysis so
effectively? How did this relate to the concept of the alienation of
nature, which along with the alienation of labour was such a pronounced
feature of his early work? Most of all, I began to wonder whether the
secret to Marx's ecology was to be found in his materialism. Could it be
that this materialism was not adequately viewed simply in terms of a
materialist conception of /human/ history, but also had to be seen in
terms of /natural/ history and the dialectical relation between the two?
Or to put it somewhat differently, was Marx's materialist conception of
history inseparable from what Engels had termed the 'materialist
conception of nature'?^13 http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj96/foster.htm#13 Had
Marx employed his dialectical method in the analysis of both?
I first became acutely aware of the singular depth of Marx's ecological
insights through a study of the Liebig-Marx connection. In 1862 the great
German chemist Justus von Liebig published the seventh edition of his
pioneering scientific work, /Organic Chemistry in its Application to
Agriculture and Physiology/ (first published in 1840). The 1862 edition
contained a new, lengthy and, to the British, scandalous introduction.
Building upon arguments that he had been developing in the late 1850s,
Liebig declared the intensive, or 'high farming', methods of British
agriculture to be a 'robbery system', opposed to rational agriculture.^6http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj96/foster.htm#6 They
necessitated the transportation over long distances of food and fibre from
the country to the city--with no provision for the recirculation of social
nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which ended up
contributing to urban waste and pollution in the form of human and animal
wastes. Whole countries were robbed in this way of the nutrients of their
soil. For Liebig this was part of a larger British imperial policy of
robbing the soil resources (including bones) of other countries. 'Great
Britain', he declared:
/ ...deprives all countries of the conditions of their fertility. It has
raked up the battlefields of Leipsic, Waterloo and the Crimea; it has
consumed the bones of many generations accumulated in the catacombs of
Sicily; and now annually destroys the food for a future generation of
three millions and a half of people. Like a vampire it hangs on the breast
of Europe, and even the world, sucking its lifeblood without any real
necessity or permanent gain for itself./^7http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj96/foster.htm#7
Venezuelan President’s Speech on Climate Change in
December 17th 2009, by Hugo Chavez
Copenhagen, Kingdom of Denmark
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , Hugo Chávez:
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, Excellencies, friends, I promise that
I will not talk more than most have spoken this afternoon. Allow me an
initial comment which I would have liked to make as part of the previous
point which was expressed by the delegations of Brazil , China , India ,
and Bolivia . We were there asking to speak but it was not possible.
Bolivia 's representative said, my salute of course to Comrade President
Evo Morales, who is there, President of the Republic of Bolivia .
She said among other things the following, I noted it here, she said the
text presented is not democratic, it is not inclusive.
I had hardly arrived and we were just sitting down when we heard the
president of the previous session, the minister, saying that a document
came about, but nobody knows, I've asked for the document, but we still
don’t have it, I think nobody knows of that top secret document.
Now certainly, as the Bolivian comrade said, that is not democratic, it is
not inclusive. Now, ladies and gentlemen, isn’t that just the reality of
Are we in a democratic world? Is the global system inclusive? Can we hope
for something democratic, inclusive from the current global system?
What we are experiencing on this planet is an imperial dictatorship, and
from here we continue denouncing it. Down with imperial dictatorship! And
long live the people and democracy and equality on this planet!
And what we see here is a reflection of this: Exclusion.
There is a group of countries that consider themselves superior to us in
the South, to us in the Third World , to us, the underdeveloped countries,
or as a great friend Eduardo Galeano says, we, the crushed countries, as
if a train ran over us in history.
In light of this, it’s no surprise that there is no democracy in the world
and here we are again faced with powerful evidence of global imperial
dictatorship. Then two youths got up here, fortunately the enforcement
officials were decent, some push around, and they collaborated right?
There are many people outside, you know? Of course, they do not fit in
this room, they are too many people. I've read in the news that there were
some arrests, some intense protests, there in the streets of Copenhagen ,
and I salute all those people out there, most of them youth.
Of course young people are concerned, I think rightly much more than we
are, for the future of the world. We have - most of us here - the sun on
our backs, and they have to face the sun and are very worried.
One could say, Mr. President, that a spectre is haunting Copenhagen, to
paraphrase Karl Marx, the great Karl Marx, a spectre is haunting the
streets of Copenhagen, and I think that spectre walks silently through
this room, walking around among us, through the halls, out below, it
rises, this spectre is a terrible spectre almost nobody wants to mention
it: Capitalism is the spectre, almost nobody wants to mention it.
It’s capitalism, the people roar, out there, hear them.
I have been reading some of the slogans painted on the streets, and I
think those slogans of these youngsters, some of which I heard when I was
young, and of the young woman there, two of which I noted. You can hear
among others, two powerful slogans. One: Don’t change the climate, change
And I take it onboard for us. Let’s not change the climate, let’s change
the system! And consequently we will begin to save the planet. Capitalism
is a destructive development model that is putting an end to life; it
threatens to put a definitive end to the human species.
And another slogan calls for reflection. It is very in tune with the
banking crisis that swept the world and still affects it, and of how the
rich northern countries gave aid to bankers and the big banks. The U.S.
alone gave, well, I lost the figure, but it is astronomical, to save the
banks. They say in the streets the following: If the climate were a bank
it would have been saved already.
And I think that's true. If the climate were one of the biggest capitalist
banks, the rich governments would have saved it.
I think Obama has not arrived. He received the Nobel Peace Prize almost
the same day that he sent 30 thousand soldiers to kill more innocents in
Afghanistan , and now he comes to stand here with the Nobel Peace Prize,
the president of the United States .
But the United States has the machinery to make money, to make dollars,
and has saved, well, they believe they have saved the banks and the
Well, this is a side comment that I wanted to make previously. We were
raising our hand to accompany Brazil , India , Bolivia , China , in their
interesting position that Venezuela and the countries of the Bolivarian
Alliance firmly share. But hey, they didn’t let us speak, so do not count
these minutes please, Mr. President.
Look, over there I met, I had the pleasure of meeting this French author
Hervé Kempf. Recommending this book, I recommend it, it is available in
Spanish – there is Hervé - its also in French, and surely in English, How
the Rich are Destroying the Planet. Hervé Kempf: How the Rich are
Destroying the Planet. This is what Christ said: it would be easier for a
camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the
kingdom of heaven. This is what our Lord Christ said.
The rich are destroying the planet. Do they think the can go to another
when they destroy this one? Do they have plans to go to another planet? So
far there is none on the horizon of the galaxy.
This book has just reached me, Ignacio Ramonet gave it to me, and he is
also around somewhere in this room. Finishing the prologue or the preamble
this phrase is very important, Kempf says the following, I’ll read it:
“We can not reduce global material consumption if we don’t make the
powerful go down several levels, and if we don’t combat inequality. It is
necessary that to the ecological principle that is so useful at the time
of becoming conscious, ‘think globally and act locally,’ we add the
principle that the situation imposes: ‘Consume less and share better.’”
I think it is good advice that this French author Hervé Kempf gives us.
Well then, Mr. President, climate change is undoubtedly the most
devastating environmental problem of this century. Floods, droughts,
severe storms, hurricanes, melting ice caps, rise in mean sea levels,
ocean acidification and heat waves, all of that sharpens the impact of
global crisis besetting us.
Current human activity exceeds the threshold of sustainability,
endangering life on the planet, but also in this we are profoundly
I want to recall: the 500 million richest people, 500 million, this is
seven percent, seven percent, seven percent of the world’s population.
This seven percent is responsible, these 500 million richest people are
responsible for 50 percent of emissions, while the poorest 50 percent
accounts for only seven percent of emissions.
So it strikes me as a bit strange to put the United States and China at
the same level. The United States has just, well; it will soon reach 300
million people. China has nearly five times the U.S. population. The
United Status consumes more than 20 million barrels of oil a day, China
only reaches 5-6 million barrels a day, you can’t ask the same of the
United States and China .
There are issues to discuss, hopefully we the heads of states and
governments can sit down and discuss the truth, the truth about these
So, Mr. President, 60 percent of the planet’s ecosystems are damaged, 20
percent of the earth's crust is degraded, we have been impassive witnesses
to deforestation, land conversion, desertification, deterioration of fresh
water systems, overexploitation of marine resources, pollution and loss of
The overuse of the land exceeds by 30 percent the capacity to regenerate
it. The planet is losing what the technicians call the ability to regulate
itself; the planet is losing this. Every day more waste than can be
processed is released. The survival of our species hammers in the
consciousness of humanity. Despite the urgency, it has taken two years of
negotiations for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, and
we attend this event without any real and meaningful agreement.
And indeed, on the text that comes from out of the blue, as some have
called it, Venezuela says, and the ALBA countries, the Bolivarian Alliance
say that we will not accept, since then we’ve said it, any other texts
that do not come from working groups under the Kyoto Protocol and the
Convention. They are the legitimate texts that we have been discussing so
intensely over the years.
And in these last few hours, I believe you have not slept, plus you have
not eaten, you have not slept. It does not seem logical to me to come out
now with a document from scratch, as you say.
The scientifically substantiated objective of reducing the emission of
polluting gases and achieving an agreement on long-term cooperation
clearly, today at this time, has apparently failed, for now.
What is the reason? We have no doubt.
The reason is the irresponsible attitude and lack of political will from
the most powerful nations on the planet. No one should feel offended, I
recall the great José Gervasio Artigas when he said: “With the truth, I
neither offend nor fear.” But it is actually an irresponsible attitude of
positions, of reversals, of exclusions, of elitist management of a problem
that belongs to everyone and that we can only solve together.
The political conservatism and selfishness of the largest consumers, of
the richest countries shows high insensitivity and lack of solidarity with
the poor, the hungry, and the most vulnerable to disease, to natural
disasters. Mr. President, a new and single agreement is essential,
applicable to absolutely unequal parties, according to the magnitude of
their contributions and economic, financial and technological capabilities
and based on unconditional respect for the principles contained in the
Developed countries should set binding, clear and concrete commitments for
the substantial reduction of their emissions and assume obligations of
financial and technological assistance to poor countries to cope with the
destructive dangers of climate change. In this respect, the uniqueness of
island states and least developed countries should be fully recognized.
Mr. President, climate change is not the only problem facing humanity
today. Other scourges and injustices beset us, the gap between rich and
poor countries has continued to grow, despite all the millennium goals,
the Monterrey financing summit, at all these summits as the President of
Senegal said here, revealing a great truth, there are promises and
unfulfilled promises and the world continues its destructive march.
The total income of the 500 richest individuals in the world is greater
than the income of the 416 million poorest people. The 2.8 billion people
living in poverty on less than $2 per day, representing 40 per percent of
the global population, receive only 5 percent of world income.
Today each year about 9.2 million children die before reaching their fifth
year and 99.9 percent of these deaths occur in poorer countries.
Infant mortality is 47 deaths per thousand live births, but is only 5 per
thousand in rich countries. Life expectancy on the planet is 67 years, in
rich countries it is 79, while in some poor nations is only 40 years.
Additionally, there are 1.1 billion people without access to drinking
water, 2.6 billion without sanitation services, over 800 million
illiterate and 1.02 billion hungry people, that’s the global scenario.
Now the cause, what is the cause?
Let’s talk about the cause, let’s not evade responsibilities, and let’s
not evade the depth of this problem. The cause, undoubtedly, I return to
the theme of this whole disastrous panorama, is the destructive metabolic
system of capital and its embodied model: Capitalism.
Here’s a quote that I want to read briefly, from that great liberation
theologian Leonardo Boff, as we know a Brazilian, our American. Leonardo
Boff says on this subject as follows:
“What is the cause? Ah, the cause is the dream of seeking happiness
through material accumulation and of endless progress, using for this
science and technology with which they can exploit without limits all the
resources of the earth.”
And he cites here Charles Darwin and his “natural selection”, the survival
of the fittest, but we know that the strongest survive over the ashes of
Jean Jacques Rousseau, we must always remember, said that between the
strong and the weak, freedom is oppressed. That’s why the Empire speaks of
freedom; it’s the freedom to oppress, to invade, to kill, to annihilate,
and to exploit. That is their freedom, and Rousseau adds this saving
phrase: “Only the law liberates.”
There are countries that are hoping that no document comes out of here
precisely because they do not want a law, do not want a standard, because
the absence of these norms allows them to play at their exploitative
freedom, their crushing freedom.
We must make an effort and pressure here and in the streets, so that a
commitment comes out of here, a document that commits the most powerful
countries on earth.
Well, Mr. President, Leonardo Boff asks... Have you met Boff? I do not
know whether Leonardo might come, I met him recently in Paraguay , we’ve
always read him.
Can a finite earth support an infinite project? The thesis of capitalism,
infinite development, is a destructive pattern, let’s face it.
Then Boff asks us, what might we expect from Copenhagen ? At least this
simple confession: We can not continue like this. And a simple
proposition: Let’s change course. Let's do it, but without cynicism,
without lies, without double agendas, no documents out of the blue, with
the truth out in the open.
How long, we ask from Venezuela , Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, how
long are we going to allow such injustices and inequalities? How long are
we going to tolerate the current international economic order and
prevailing market mechanisms? How long are we going to allow huge
epidemics like HIV/AIDS to ravage entire populations? How long are we
going to allow the hungry to not eat or to be able to feed their own
children? How long are we going to allow millions of children to die from
curable diseases? How long will we allow armed conflicts to massacre
millions of innocent human beings in order for the powerful to seize the
resources of other peoples?
Cease the aggressions and the wars! We the peoples of the world ask of the
empires, to those who try to continue dominating the world and exploiting
No more imperial military bases or military coups! Let’s build a more just
and equitable economic and social order, let’s eradicate poverty, let’s
immediately stop the high emission levels, let’s stop environmental
degradation and avoid the great catastrophe of climate change, let’s
integrate ourselves into the noble goal of everyone being more free and
Mr. President, almost two centuries ago, a universal Venezuelan, a
liberator of nations and precursor of consciences left to posterity a
full-willed maxim: “If nature opposes us, let’s fight against it and make
it obey us.” That was Simón Bolívar, the Liberator.
From Bolivarian Venezuela, where a day like today some ten years ago, ten
years exactly, we experienced the biggest climate tragedy in our history
(the Vargas tragedy it is called), from this Venezuela whose revolution
tries to win justice for all people, we say it is only possible through
the path of socialism!
Socialism, the other spectre Karl Marx spoke about, which walks here too,
rather it is like a counter-spectre. Socialism, this is the direction,
this is the path to save the planet, I don’t have the least doubt.
Capitalism is the road to hell, to the destruction of the world. We say
this from Venezuela , which because of socialism faces threats from the
From the countries that comprise ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance, we call,
and I want to, with respect, but from my soul, call in the name of many on
this planet, we say to governments and peoples of the Earth, to paraphrase
Simón Bolívar, the Liberator: If the destructive nature of capitalism
opposes us, let’s fight against it and make it obey us, let’s not wait
idly by for the death of humanity.
History calls on us to unite and to fight.
If capitalism resists, we are obliged to take up a battle against
capitalism and open the way for the salvation of the human species. It’s
up to us, raising the banners of Christ, Mohammed, equality, love,
justice, humanity, the true and most profound humanism. If we don’t do it,
the most wonderful creation of the universe, the human being, will
disappear, it will disappear.
This planet is billions of years old, and this planet existed for billions
of years without us, the human species, i.e. it doesn’t need us to exist.
Now, without the Earth we will not exist, and we are destroying Pachamama
as Evo says, as our indigenous brothers from South America say.
Finally, Mr. President, and to finish, let’s listen to Fidel Castro when
he said: “One species is in danger of extinction: Humanity.”
Let’s listen to Rosa Luxemburg when she said: “Socialism or Barbarism.”
Let us listen to Christ the Redeemer when he said: “Blessed are the poor
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, we are capable of not making this
Earth the tomb of humanity. Let us make this earth a heaven, a heaven of
life, of peace, peace and brotherhood for all humanity, for the human
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much and enjoy your
Translated by Kiraz Janicke for Venezuelanalysis.com