The Fight Against Climate Change Is An Anti-Colonialist Struggle by Rainer Shea + The Amazon is Burning at a Record Rate

The Fight Against Climate Change Is An Anti-Colonialist Struggle by Rainer Shea + The Amazon is Burning at a Record Rate

Screenshot by Dandelion Salad via Flickr
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by Rainer Shea
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Rainer Shea: Anti-Imperialist Journalist, Aug. 27, 2019
August 30, 2019

With this month’s burning of the Amazon as a result of the actions of the fascist Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, the first world has gotten a glimpse of the horrors that the world’s poor and indigenous people have long been experiencing at the hands of capitalism and colonialism. Because the Amazon’s existence is crucial for preventing climate apocalypse, the world outside of the region’s indigenous community now feels threatened by the consequences of profit-motivated white supremacy.

Essentially, this assault on the climate is an act of colonialist violence against the entire world. The global capitalist class, which has welcomed Bolsonaro’s neoliberal presidency, is turning the earth into one big sacrifice zone. Climate change is going to create what a recent U.N. report has described as “climate apartheid,” where the world’s entire population aside from an insulated global elite are pushed into poverty or made into refugees amid the environmental collapse. As the middle classes within the core imperialist nations become part of the victimized population in this emerging dystopia, they will experience the same loss of stability and dignity that the colonized people have.

What do we do now that this is happening to us? We build social movements in the same vein as those of the indigenous leaders who’ve liberated their people. This will require us to unlearn the cultural conditioning that capitalism has instilled in us which prevents us from seeking out radical solutions. One aspect of this conditioning is green capitalism, a narrative that teaches people to believe that reforming capitalism will solve the environmental crisis. In this quote, artist Hiroyuki Hamada laments the ways that green capitalism, through its purveyors in pro-capitalist NGOs and the mainstream media, convinces society to stay complacent as capitalism kills the planet:

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

To transcend this false view of the relationship between capitalism and the environment, we’ll need to be skeptical of green capitalist climate “solutions” that are being pushed in the media-like the Democratic Party’s corporatist Green New Deal and the capitalist energy initiatives that Greta Thunberg’s powerful promoters want to carry out-and help movements that seek to implement an ecosocialist revolution.

Where are these movements? They’re not to be found within the leadership of Extinction Rebellion, which claims that the solution to climate change is a return to the Keynesianism of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the other mainstream left-leaning figures who propose this reiteration of the New Deal, these leaders are advancing the ambitions of the capitalists who want to use climate change to make more money. Entities like the tech startup We Don’t Have Time, which has used Thunberg’s climate crusade to boost its brand, aim to exploit the climate crisis by facilitating profit-motivated “green” initiatives and by selling their products and services.

Is this the future that we want? Corporations carrying through a “green” marketing gambit while the planet is crushed by the unsustainable industrialism that capitalism entails? If we want survival, if we want vitality, we’ll stop believing the false promises of the corporatocracy and rise up against capitalism and colonialism.

“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness,” concluded the Burkina Faso Marxist revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. “In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future.”

There are institutions in America that are working to apply Sankara’s solutions to our current crisis. The Black Alliance for Peace is fighting imperialism through a combination of acting in the realms of antiwar organizing and social justice; the Party for Socialism and Liberation is building power for principled socialism while organizing protests against America’s illegal interventions in countries like Venezuela; the Socialist General Defense Committee is teaching marginalized groups how to become armed and trained so that they can protect themselves from right-wing violence. These are just a few of the organizations that I recommend becoming involved in because of their alignment with the cause of liberating oppressed people from capitalism and imperialism.

What distinguishes these groups from the pro-capitalist reformism of the mainstream climate movement is that they intend to defeat the system that’s killing us. They understand, like the leaders of history’s successful anti-capitalist and anti-colonialist revolutions have, that the people can’t be freed unless the capitalist and colonialist power structures are upended.

We in the core imperialist nations can apply this revolutionary logic to our own situation by working towards decolonizing the epicenters of colonialism. Though advancing our agenda through the electoral process isn’t without value, we ultimately shouldn’t recognize the United States government or the other capitalist states as legitimate. We should resist the pressure to vote for Democrats because they’re our “only viable option,” and instead build power for the socialist and anti-imperialist strains which are working independently from capitalist entities. By learning to operate outside of the ideological constraints that the capitalist class has created, we’ll gain the power to free ourselves.

The prospect of an American socialist revolution isn’t a wild fantasy. It’s a scenario that’s been speculated about by the leaders of successful socialist revolutions who’ve wondered how capitalism can be defeated within the central colonizer nations. Che Guevera said that “I envy you. You North Americans are very lucky. You are fighting the most important fight of all—you live in the belly of the beast.” Even as America is being overwhelmed by rising fascism amid an accelerating climate collapse, we have the potential to strike at capitalism from the very center of imperial control.

Look at how 200 million people in India carried out a strike this year under the banner of communism. Look at how the Venezuelan people have spent the last generation bringing a socialist revolution to power while successfully resisting U.S. imperialism. Look at the resiliency and growing power of China’s socialist revolution. The global capitalist order is under threat, and the climate crisis needs to be what provokes us into launching these kinds of uprisings within the colonizer nations.

Rainer uses the written word to deconstruct establishment propaganda and to promote meaningful political action. His articles can also be found at Revolution Dispatch.

If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.

[DS added the video reports.]

Bolsonaro and Trump to blame for Amazon wildfires?

with Caleb Maupin
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Caleb Maupin (website)
Caleb Maupin (Facebook Page)
August 30, 2019

Caleb Maupin on Aug 28, 2019

As a record number of fires continues to ravage the Amazon – and with weeks to go until the rainy season starts – Brazil’s government is facing a growing international backlash.

Meantime, scrutiny is now also falling on those supporting the Bolsonaro administration in its aggressive push to exploit the rainforest’s resources.

Jair Bolsonaro has been arguing that the attention being paid to the devastation in the Amazon is unwarranted. That’s despite the fact that, this year, an estimated 950,000 hectares of rainforest has been destroyed – much of it for cattle ranching and soy bean cultivation – with the explicit support of his administration.

Caleb Maupin is a radical journalist and political analyst who resides in New York City. Originally from Ohio, he studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College. In addition to his journalism, analysis, and commentary, he has engaged in political activism. He was involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement from its planning stages in August of 2011. He has worked against police brutality, mass incarceration, and imperialist war. He works to promote revolutionary ideology, and to support all who fight against the global system of monopoly capitalist imperialism.

The Amazon is Burning at a Record Rate

TheRealNews on Aug 22, 2019

The fires are the product of Bolsonaro’s policies that prioritize agribusiness over people—especially indigenous people, says Amazon Watch’s Christian Poirier.


Playing with Amazon Fire will get us all Burned

Paul Beckwith on Aug 27, 2019

According to the Wiki on Amazon Rainforest: “In 2018 about 17% of the Amazon Rainforest was already destroyed. Research suggests that upon reaching about 20-25% (hence 3-8% more), the tipping point to flip it into non-forest ecosystems – degraded savannah – (in eastern, southern and central Amazonia) will be reached.” Given 3 recent century scale droughts in the Amazon Rainforest in 2005, 2010, and 2015-2016, and slash-and-burn human practices accelerating again, we are quite literally playing with fire in a game we cannot win.

Please donate at my blog to support my efforts to analyze, and present to you significant developments in abrupt climate change.

From the archives:

Chris Hedges: Extinction Rebellion Has Called For A Global Strike By Workers Around The World

Fires in Arctic Ice, Exposed on Mountains of the Heart by Phil Rockstroh and Kenn Orphan

Some Like It Hot by William Bowles (updated)

The $5,000,000,000,000,000 Question? by William Bowles

To Survive: We Need A Global Awakening Much Bigger Than A “Revolution,” Much Deeper Than Just Ending Capitalism by Eric Schechter

Chris Hedges: Unless We Bring About A Transformational Change By Overthrowing Corporate Power and Establish A Socialist System, All Efforts To Create A Green New Deal Will Be Stillborn

21 thoughts on “The Fight Against Climate Change Is An Anti-Colonialist Struggle by Rainer Shea + The Amazon is Burning at a Record Rate

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  13. 1. The Amazon is NOT burning at a record rate! The stats were fixed. In fact the Amazon is burning in or around the same rate it has been burnt for several years but nobody took a blind bit of notice!!!

    2. The Amazon rain forest is NOT the lungs of the planet. Yes, it does produce around 20% of the world’s oxygen but decomposition within the rainforest absorbs over 10% of it. For the record, minute oceanic organisms produce around 80% of the world’s oxygen.

    3. Just ask yourselves why, all of a sudden is the West, which buys all the crap produced in the former rainforest suddenly so concerned about it? Could it be because it’s after the forest (or what’s left it)?

    I can supply the sources for these stats if you want.

    • PS: Also for the record, we’re not likely to run out of oxygen any time soon, there’s plenty in the atmosphere. Don’t we have enough problems already!

        • And another problem is too much CO2 in the ocean. It’s killing off a lot of marine life, including much of the phytoplankton that formerly converted more moderate amounts of CO2 into O2.

        • I referred to the comment in the piece about the Rainforest being “the lungs of the planet”, NOT about CO2 and I thought that was obvious?

        • Rainer Shea did not invent the term “lungs of the planet.” That description of the Amazonian Rainforest was already widely used on environmental literature. You are correct in pointing out that it is not entirely accurate — what metaphor ever is? — but it does contain a grain of truth: Any large forest does contribute to the process of sequestering carbon, taking in CO2 and putting out O2.

  14. “mutable Earth excerpt: [see the whole piece]

    Perhaps we are in the hallway
    of a great reckoning.

    Mother Earth is old, tired, sick
    of slatternly bastard brats
    pulling her teats, calling rude names,
    fucking her over and over

    Mad Earth grumbles loudly,
    threatens to rescind Her bounty.
    Men of ill will, men of destiny,
    no interest in acting honorably as good
    stewards of God’s Creation,
    proudly proclaim their birthright
    to pillage, to plunder, to prey upon
    chaos, annihilation.

  15. I agree with most of what Rainer says, but I have some little disagreements that I must mention.

    Climate apocalypse is coming bigger and faster than most people realize, because they do not understand how rapidly feedback loops accelerate and how abruptly a complex system (such as the ecosystem) can collapse. I’m expecting famines no later than 2030, and extinction of our species by 2035, if we continue on our present course.

    Consequently, we do not have time for a 10-year plan to build up PSL or the Green Party or some other real left. We have to take over the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders is working on precisely that, despite his being only a social democrat, not an actual socialist.

    And the Green New Deal, though inadequate, is vague enough that it is not etched in stone. It is the best option presently open to us; we must support it now and try to get something better a little later.

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