Last week, while France was hit by a heat wave, several ministers appeared on TV to stress the importance of drinking enough water and of avoiding physical effort. And the Prime Minister was shown visiting an old people’s home. Politicians are experts at blowing hot air in our faces--but how was that supposed to refresh anyone?
The government’s gesturing didn’t have the slightest impact for those who have no choice but to go to work. The government did make “recommendations” but it was up to the bosses, and no one else, to decide whether to diminish work loads and modify schedules.
In sectors where the government is directly in charge, for example in hospitals, nothing was done to help workers cope with the situation, even though most emergency services were still on strike across the country, to protest against the lack of human and material resources.
The truth is that this type of phenomenon can easily be anticipated. Scientists keep warning us of the consequences of global warming, and they have already announced that more frequent heat waves are on the agenda in the years to come.
Experts are concerned that hundreds of plant and animal species might disappear, which would jeopardize the longer-term possibilities of life on this planet. Every year, new reports and international scientific summits point to the failure of a ruling class incapable of taking the radical decisions needed to protect human existence.
Governments are primarily concerned with defending their multinationals. They systematically cater to their interests and are just as powerless to solve the climate problem as they are to deal with the economic crisis.
Capital is free to invest in a polluting coal mine, despite the menace it represents for public health, just as it is free to speculate--despite the risk of causing a financial crisis that would have dramatic consequences for everyone. For capitalists, the only law is the law of maximum profit.
Capitalism has already spread destruction and chaos in the world. Layoffs are fueling unemployment and poverty, whole regions are left derelict or under-developed, with no other purpose than to enrich a minority of greedy and self-satisfied shareholders.
The new depths reached by the crisis lead to intensified competition and fiercer trade wars which are threatening to turn into genuine wars. For years, Middle Eastern and African countries have been subjected to inner conflicts and imperialistic military interventions. In these countries, thousands of women and men have had no other solution than to leave, risking their lives trying to reach European countries--where they are welcomed by barbed wire. And every week, more boats full of migrants sink in the Mediterranean, which has become a cemetery.
The front page of today’s papers carry pictures of people who have drowned in the Mediterranean or have been victims of bombings. Are these pictures showing us what the future has in store for us? For several weeks, there have been rumors of a possible US-Iran showdown in the Arabian Gulf zone. Nobody knows if the present escalation will lead to a major conflict. But to defend their interests, the imperialist powers have created a situation in which the smallest provocation could cause the powder keg to explode.
Only the working class has something else to offer. Placed at the heart of production, workers are able to put an end to the domination of the bourgeoisie and to reorganize the economy on a collective and fraternal basis.
To combat climate change – a phenomenon that knows no borders – and to put an end to the economic crisis, what is needed is a global coordination of the access to natural resources and the management of waste. It would then be possible to meet the needs of every human being and at the same time to preserve the environment and the future of the planet.
By organizing around this goal, workers would become an irresistible force capable of overthrowing capitalism, a bankrupt system that is at present threatening to drag all humans into the abyss.