Unless you’re wealthy, and have the luxury survivalism plans that the rich are figuring out, you must come to terms with the fact that the climate crisis will most likely drive you into hardship in the coming decades. This is because as these polar vortex-induced extreme weather events have shown, the climate crisis is the great equalizer among the poor and the more well-off working class people. Everyone in the midst of the destruction besides the rich are experiencing electricity outages or far worse. And as predicted by a 2019 Pentagon report which statedthat the majority of the U.S. electrical grid is unprepared to withstand the natural disasters global warming will bring in the next two decades, the same will soon become the case throughout most of the rest of the country.
There are degrees to this suffering; whereas some have food reserves available, others are having to seek out discarded food in the dumpsters of supermarkets (provoking the bourgeois police to block access to these dumpsters in their cruel and arbitrary mission to protect private property). But the injustice of the system is getting exposed by these events at every level, with recent opportunistic price gouging amid the storms resulting in many Texans getting hit with thousands of dollars in electricity bills. The effect is that of growing conditions for mass radicalization in the class war. America’s ever-expanding population of unemployed and underemployed people, excluded from all social mobility and prevented even from dumpster diving by the capitalist police state, have no option other than to rise up.
This is going to happen to millions upon millions more people in the core of the empire. “Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly one in two — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water,” environmental reporter Abrahm Lustgarten wrote last year. “For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life. The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. And the nation’s federal flood-insurance program is for the first time requiring that some of its payouts be used to retreat from climate threats across the country. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo. Then what?”
Then, as Professor Jem Bendell wrote in his 2018 paper Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, most of us will be faced with the kinds of horrors that the United States has inflicted upon Libyans, Yemenis, and the other victims of imperialist war: “When we contemplate this possibility of ‘societal collapse’, it can seem abstract. The previous paragraphs may seem, subconsciously at least, to be describing a situation to feel sorry about as we witness scenes on TV or online. But when I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life. With the power down, soon you wouldn’t have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won’t know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.”
In the places where these kinds of conditions have already arisen, the masses are getting provoked into waging resistance against the system in spite of all threats of violent state repression. In Haiti, the geography makes it so that 96% of the country’s people live in areas particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, while the very poorest among these people live in coastal areas and flooded zones. This is exacerbating the severe effects on Haiti’s impoverished population that have been created by the economic crisis the country has been experiencing amid the pandemic. So tens of thousands of Haitians are now defying police repression to protest the rule of the country’s dictator, whose presidential term has been illegitimately extended with the backing of the Biden administration.
An equivalent class revolt is happening in Ecuador, where the masses who’ve carried an anti-IMF candidate to victory in this month’s first election round are prepared to massively mobilize should the country’s ruling class try to carry out a neoliberal coup. The austerity that Ecuador’s masses have been suffering under due to recent imperialist IMF assaults ties in with the climatic crises that the country is experiencing. The country’s deforestation, shortages of water, and breakdowns of nationwide river health are addingto the stress which compels a critical mass of Ecuadorians to not back down from the class struggle.
These kinds of uprisings in reaction to worsening conditions are happening in much of the rest of the Third World, with Honduras being another example; due to the dictatorship that Washington has installed within the country, the underclass there is very much faced with the kinds of conditions Bendell warns us about, with many being people forced to migrate due to the environment of horrific violence and scarcity that’s emerged. In this last year, Covid-19 has made life in Honduras even worse, contributing to the recent protests which have sprung up in reaction to a police murder of a student.
In heavily neoliberalism-impacted imperialist countries like France, the U.S., and Greece, protest movements have also been breaking out. As these explosions of dissension expand, the specter of a third wave of revolutions is going to keep coming closer to being realized.
According to Marxist commentator Saikat Bhattacharya, the first wave of revolutions stretched from the first anti-colonial revolutions of the 18th century to the Paris Commune, the second wave stretched from the Bolshevik revolution to the Sandinista revolution, and the third one is to emerge when neoliberalism’s contradictions drive many of the world’s poor people towards a new breaking point. In an article from 2019, Bhattacharya explained what will need to fall apart within the global capitalist structure for such a shift to occur:
If another crisis hits the US economy which is highly likely, the US financial market will be even less important in driving the global demand. Socialist model of Chinese Globalisation 2.0 will start to dominate. Strategists say that China can already defeat the USA in the Indo-Pacific theatre and by 2025, the Chinese navy will be strong enough to flush out the US navy from the Indo-Pacific region. It is then that US soft powers will start to evaporate and many countries across the globe will fall into crisis…The global flow of capital will also fall further after the coming crisis (already falling since 2008 crisis) making it impossible for many countries to finance current account deficit. Thus many economies will be in tatters. Among them, the USA, Russia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia may see a rise of revolutionary politics. While in the USA, the main problem for socialists is to divert resources from Wall Street and Pentagon to infrastructure and household, in Russia it is self-reliance of the economy and destroying the power of the oligarchs that should be taken care of.
Now that these predictions have largely fulfilled themselves, where will the third wave begin? Ecuador will likely be the next place to break away from imperial control, but at least in the short term, this breakaway will only be able to go so far as the country getting a new president who defies the IMF. Until the socialist guerrillas within the country win, the country’s capitalist state will still be in place, and it therefore won’t achieve the same level of self-determination which Marxist-Leninist nations like Cuba have achieved. The struggle to defeat imperialism is a multi-layered one, filled with obstacles that often force the liberation fighters into compromise. Even in Cuba, some of the land is still under the control of the imperialists, with Washington maintaining a military detention camp and a lone McDonald’s restaurant around Guantanamo Bay.
But throughout this struggle, the contradictions in the systems of capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism inevitably produce destabilizing factors which can create openings for liberation movements to win more ground. And the climate crisis is going to be the biggest of these wild cards yet, intersecting with the destructive consequences of neoliberal austerity, imperialist militarism, cold war escalations, and brutal state repression to drive the world’s masses to their breaking point.
Already, India has been seeing a rise of revolutionary politics, with a quarter of a billion Indians having gone on strike in these last few months while red hammer and sickle flags have predominantly appeared in the marching crowds. What if a proletarian revolution happens in India in the next couple decades? Or in the other non-imperialist countries mentioned so far? Will austerity, privatization, and wage cuts really be able to keep sustaining the profits of the imperialist bourgeoisie after such a diminishing of capitalist market hegemony?
We’ll see for how long imperialism can keep turning inwards, how much it can keep compensating for the market losses that it’s already brought upon itself. When the catastrophe that Jem Bendell describes comes into being for us in the core of the empire, a decisive stage in the class struggle will occur; either the capitalist class will manage to hold onto control over the destabilized territories through widespread military occupation, or the revolutionary socialists will manage to take these territories away from the control of the empire. Should we revolutionary socialists be properly prepared for this decisive moment of crisis, and should the latter outcome be realized, a tipping point will come in the fight for global economic leverage between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
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