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Climate and environmental justice

Our planet is in the midst of an unprecedented ecological crisis brought on by the capitalist system. As Marxists we understand that capitalism’s inherent reliance on exploitation extends not only to people but to the earth itself. Its insatiable reliance on ever-expanding profits cannot be sustained on our finite planet.

The capitalist mode of production relies on endless waste in pursuit of short-term profits. This couldn’t be more apparent now for growing numbers of people. We see a surge in the energy and extraction industry at the time as growing numbers of scientists are instructing us to reduce carbon emissions to prevent further global warming. Instead the ruling class, both the Democrats and Republicans have adopted the “drill baby drill” policy as the rest of the elites of the world jockey over the last drops of this natural resource.

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the nuclear disaster at Fukushima and the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster all serve to highlight what ecological calamities ensue under the everyday disaster for working people that is capitalism.

Hurricane Sandy put a national spotlight on the devastating and unequal impacts of climate change, as did the emergency response seen after Hurricane Katrina. Both superstorms also exposed the country to the effects of environmental racism—the racist practices in urban under-development in communities of color, and how class issues, like cuts to social services and attacks on public sector workers, connect austerity to climate change.

In order to prevent future ecological nightmares and preserve our planet for generations to come; a planned, democratic, and sustainable society in which the working class empowers itself—a socialist society—is vitally necessary.

The ISO is fighting for that future today as we build a movement and struggle for climate justice.

Participants in the Powershift conference march in Pittsburgh in 2013 (Shadia Fayne Wood | Project Survival Media)

The ISO organizes with System Change Not Climate Change (SCNCC). We have helped lead the fight to shut down the Vermont Yankee and Indian Point nuclear plants and have organized protests and direct actions to halt the Keystone XL Pipeline and prevent hydraulic-fracturing. Recently we marched with 300,000 people in the People’s Climate March.

We understand that it is working people, especially the poor and communities of color, that suffer the worst immediate impacts of the environmental degradation, contamination, and waste stemming from industrial processes—not to mention these workers are in some of the most highly polluting and dangerous industries.

This is why we believe we need to build a movement that connects the fight against environmental racism and climate justice, to a fight for social and economic justice for the entire working class.

We have helped organize alongside community activists in the struggle against petcoke pollution in Detroit and Chicago, and we are in solidarity with the Idle No More Movement and other indigenous struggles against the new plunder of native lands. Student ISO members have organized with other students or coalitions on their campuses to pressure their university to divest from fossil fuels.

While we have immersed ourselves in these immediate struggles we understand our environment will never truly be safe from the pilfering of capital until the working class emancipates itself. This crisis is global and the problem is systematic, so a fight for climate justice is in all our interests — especially the vast majority of us all over the world who currently don’t have a say in what we produce and how we produce it.

Ecosocialism is a central component of understanding how and why we are fighting for this sustainable, just, and democratic future. Please join us in this fight!