Climate change is only one of many threats to our future. Life is already hell for millions trying to survive on low wages or no wages at all, who face both environmental degradation and wars over dwindling basic resources. Imperialist powers stoke these into devastating conflicts which force millions to become refugees, kicked from pillar to post, often dying in their search for a secure existence.
Nowhere on the planet is immune from danger. A stagnant capitalist economy that survives on an increasing mountain of debt (like Evergrande in China, which is currently under threat of defaulting) is intensifying imperialist rivalries. The slow death agony of the system is now manifest in so many ways. The post-World War Two order that was imposed by the US in 1945 has been breaking down since the post-war boom ended, which forced the dollar off the gold standard in 1971. Today the increasing rivalry between China and the US stretches from South America, via the Middle East and Africa, to the South China Sea.
The US is determined at all costs to maintain dollar hegemony, the source of its continued dominance of the planet. It was for this reason that they engineered the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi. It is for this reason that the US and China have been facing off in a trade war for years. It does not help that China has openly announced it will replace the US by 2049 as the “global leader”. Trade wars have historically always been followed by shooting wars.
And imperialist war plans don’t take medical time outs. Even during the pandemic an arms race in the South China Sea was intensifying. The recent AUKUS security pact and China’s flyovers of Taiwan only underlines this growing struggle between the world’s most powerful nation states for influence in the South China Sea. The possibility of these tensions boiling over increases with each passing day, and proxy wars, civil or national, will act as training grounds for when the next world war breaks out. And not just for the two main rivals, the alliance systems that are building up will draw more and more states into choosing sides.
The position of the working class in these imperialist conflicts is not about choosing one side or another by comparing who is “better” or who “does the least harm”, much less who is most ‘Green’. When Joschka Fischer was Foreign Minister of Germany in 1999 his Green credentials didn’t prevent him from intervening in Afghanistan and Kosovo (thus reviving German military presence in the world). There is no “lesser evil” here. Workers have no country. The working class the world over has nothing to gain in throwing their lives away to line the pockets of this or that capitalist class. The only way to end the misery will be to oppose the conflict altogether, to oppose the capitalist class, whether from China, the US or any other state, and bring about the abolition of capitalist society itself.
The above article is taken from the current edition (No. 57) of Aurora, bulletin of the Communist Workers’ Organisation.