From Slovenia to the Czech Republic, Turkey, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the Canary Islands, hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests and houses are now reduced to ashes with all the ecological and human consequences that one can imagine. Even the United Kingdom has seen extensive fires in the London area. Most recently, California has gone up in flames. Yosemite Park and its legendary redwoods are threatened by a giant fire that has burned more than 7,000 hectares. In the Maghreb, in Chad, fires are also multiplying... In short, the world is on fire! If 350 million hectares go up in smoke every year in the world, if the Amazon forest, a large part of Australia and Siberia have already been ravaged by flames, we are reaching new records today!
Clearly, these fires are a direct consequence of climate change around the world: increasingly frequent and intense heat waves, such as the historic heat waves in Europe this summer. In India and Pakistan, temperatures have approached 50°C in recent weeks! A level of heat that is unbearable for the very survival of millions of human beings and which, according to a large part of the scientific world, is becoming the norm. At the same time, deadly floods are hitting Iran. The long-predicted downward spiral is thus becoming a reality.
If the bourgeoisie seeks to conceal the responsibility of the capitalist mode of production in the face of climate change by focusing attention on arsonists, on the deplorable behaviour of this or that billionaire with his or her private jets, on tourists, or on such and such a company, these stories are also a means of concealing its negligence and its total inability to curb the phenomenon, since it is so caught up in the headlong rush towards destruction. In this respect, the so-called "historic agreements" of the many climate conferences are pure hypocrisy, fine words that only produce “small measures” that do not measure up to the global challenges facing the planet.
The incapacity and growing shortcomings of all governments and international structures to deal with and prevent disasters are obvious: the emergency services and predictive technology, under the weight of decades of budget cuts, are increasingly deficient and powerless. Technological capacities, satellite detection of potential outbreaks and weather forecasts, remain unused due to a lack of budgets and financial means. The fleets of water-bombing aircraft (only a few dozen planes and helicopters in France, for example), which are capable of reacting as quickly as possible and effectively countering these devastating fires, are only being strengthened piecemeal due to a lack of resources. They are obviously far from equalling the military air fleets of all the armies, which are acquiring more and more fighters and bombers every day, capable of raining fire on the potential “enemy”: your imperialist competitor.
In the face of fires, firefighters are presented today as the heroes of this “war on fire”, the fighters ready to “sacrifice their lives”, just as health care workers were previously applauded as “heroes of the nation” in fighting the pandemic. However, all of them are paying the price of attacks and the deterioration of their working and living conditions all over the world: “more and more missions, with less and less means”. Many have already lost their lives.
But the defence of nature, of the human species, of life, does not carry much weight in the face of the demands of the law of profit and of capitalist competition between states. For this is the real concern of the bourgeoisie: the defence of its own interests, not those of humanity and its relationship with the "natural world".
These fires of today are not exceptional epiphenomena. They have become a daily occurrence in the capitalist world where devastation is reaching new heights. With the spread of intensive monocultures, massive deforestation, and increasingly anarchic land-use planning guided by immediate profitability, the world’s ecosystems, animal species and biodiversity are being destroyed day after day. The acceleration of climate disruption and the environmental disasters that accompany it are the products of the logic of a capitalist system that has been reduced to implementing a literal “scorched earth” policy that openly threatens the survival of humanity.
The world is today on fire and this is not a mere image. In July 1914, just before the outbreak of the First World War, Jean Jaurès declared: “Capitalism carries war like a cloud carries a storm”. This is still the case today: the ravages of the war in Ukraine bear witness to this, but they are compounded by global warming and climate disruption, demonstrating that capitalism carries within it generalised destruction, secreting it from every pore of its skin. In fact, we can see a clear link between war and the deepening ecological crisis. Most recently, in the name of developing independence from Russian gas supplies, coal-driven power stations in the west, well known for adding to global pollution levels, are having their lives extended. Capitalism sacrifices the planet for the sake of war.
This putrefaction is becoming more and more violent and uncontrollable, and it is clear that capitalism is no longer a source of progress for humanity, but is synonymous with death and destruction. The capitalist world is becoming more and more hostile to life. Only the proletariat can put an end to it by developing its revolutionary struggle, its class consciousness in defence of its living conditions and the establishment of a society without exploitation. The fate of humanity is in its hands.
Stopio, 24 July 2022