Why “Green Growth” Is an Illusion
Wishful thinking and tinkering won’t cut it. Nothing short of a mass mobilization for deep de-carbonization across the global economy can avert the looming climate catastrophe.
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Gonzalo Gómez is a Venezuelan revolutionary, member of the socialist organization Marea Socialista and co-founder of the independent left-wing website aporrea.org. He was interviewed by Eva María, and the interview was translated by Alejandro Q. This interview was first published by International Viewpoint on February 6, 2019.
Capitalism not only owns global warming, there’s a big red mitigation arrow pointed at the heart of today’s rampant capitalism, which is eerily similar to the loosie goosie version of the Roaring Twenties, but with a high tech twist.
After all, somebody’s got to pony-up for climate change/global warming mitigation. Who better than deep pocket capitalists?
If I know anything, it is about the people, because just like you, I am a man of the people. I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. I was forged in the heat of popular and union struggles in a Venezuela submerged in exclusion and inequality. I am no tycoon; I am a worker of mind and heart. Today I have the great privilege of presiding over the new Venezuela, rooted in a model of inclusive development and social equality, which Comandante Hugo Chávez forged starting in 1998, inspired by the legacy of Simón Bolivar.
The socialist governments of the Third World plus China have developed popular democracy, with structures that are alternatives to those of representative democracy. Laws and policies are decided by deputies of the people, and not by politicians dependent on the support of corporate and wealthy interests. Let us look at the historical development of the alternative political process in the case of Cuba.
The debate over Trudeau’s so-called “carbon tax” is shaping up to be a defining issue in Canada’s 2019 federal election. Since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined most of the country’s premiers in 2016 to sign a “pan-Canadian” agreement taxing carbon consumption, an alliance of federal and provincial Conservative leaders have made opposition to the carbon pricing plan a central focus of their campaign against the Liberals. Yet the Conservatives’ rhetoric, which evokes concerns over the tax’s impact on the cost of living, only masks the fact that their own policies amount to nothing but corporate welfare—the chief result of which will be to worsen economic inequality without solving the environmental crisis. The hard truth, unmentionable by bourgeois politicians, is that capitalism is incapable of adequately responding to the threat posed by climate change.
Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books—except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books.
Noam Chomsky, Alfred de Zayas, Sujatha Fernandes, Boots Riley, John Pilger, Vijay Prashad and many others oppose US interventionism in Venezuela. The statement is worth the read.
When future historians write about 2018, what will stand out? Some might say the midterm elections that repudiated of the policies of Donald Trump and saw the ascendency of some pretty progressive figures – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who might potentially save our two-party system from the dreaded scourge of centrism. But to me one of the most important stories of the year is also one of the least understood.
Intuitively, it is a stretch to assert that a social system with a wide range of goals of which the development of the productive forces is only one, will surpass a society consumed by the singularity of that goal. The incentive-egalitarian balance highlights that trade-off. And if we accept that the path to socialism will involve sacrifices and choices all along the way, including in its construction, then winning people to the socialist cause and keeping them there will have to be based on their desire for something different rather than the questionable promise of socialism bringing not only more justice, more democracy, more workplace control, but also more growth.