NZ socialists endorse Bolivia's call for a world referendum on climate change

Socialist Worker-New Zealand statement to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in Bolivia April 19-22, 2010

April 19, 2010 -- Socialist Worker-New Zealand agrees with the statement made by Bolivia's President Evo Morales in his invitation to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that “climate change is a product of the capitalist system”.

The pursuit of growth and profit is hard-wired into capitalism. Corporations and politicians wedded to capitalism cannot bring about the urgent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions we need to avert catastrophic climate change.

Therefore the transition to societies living in harmony with nature requires fundamental system change. The way we use resources, the way we produce things, the way we live has to change. This is the challenge that climate change, peak oil and other looming global crises place on the shoulders of all of us living today. Yet too many of our leaders are shirking their responsibilities, not only to those they claim to represent, but to future generations.

The pollution trading schemes and other market “solutions” promoted by the global elites will give even more profits and power to the very corporations that are the greatest source of pollution. Around the world grassroots people will carry the costs, as the price of fuel, power and other goods go through the roof. “Business as usual” will, as usual, leave the rich richer and the rest of us worse off.

System collapse

Because capitalism exists within a complex totality of social, political and environmental factors, it cannot escape the destruction it is wrecking on the planet. Socialist Worker-NZ believes that for the first time in capitalism’s 500-year history a perfect storm is beginning to engulf the world system.

The main elements are crises of profitability, ecology, resources, imperialism and legitimacy. Their concentration and intensification look set to trigger world system collapse within a historically short time period. (See: “Beware! The end is nigh”: Why global capitalism is tipping towards collapse, and how we can act for decent future".)

To survive the chaos of world system collapse, the Earth’s citizens must act collectively to build a decent future. We need concrete strategies for the world’s grassroots people to take up and use.

World referendum

In this spirit, Socialist Worker-NZ welcomes the proposal for a World Referendum on Climate Change, which according to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change blog will ask five “Yes or No” questions of the people of the Earth:

1) Do you agree with reestablishing harmony with nature while recognizing the rights of the Mother Earth?

2) Do you agree with changing this model of over-consumption and waste that represents capitalist system?

3) Do you agree that developing countries reduce and reabsorb their domestic greenhouse gas emissions for temperature not to rise more than 1 degree Celsius?

4) Do you agree with transferring all that is spent in wars and for allocating a budget bigger than used for defense to climate change?

5) Do you agree with a Climate Justice Tribunal to judge those who destroy Mother Earth?

An international campaign in support of such a referendum would establish stronger global links between environmental organisations, Indigenous people, trade unions, social justice campaigners and other peoples’ organisations. A  world referendum, like the World People’s Conference itself, could be another important step towards the mass grassroots action necessary to put humanity on a path to sustainability, justice, equity and peace.

Socialist Worker-New Zealand sends our solidarity and best wishes to the conference attendees and look forward to the outcomes of your collective discussions.

In solidarity,

Socialist Worker-New Zealand