Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/266/24587

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 August 2002

Earth Summit: Capitalism is Unsustainable

WORLD 'LEADERS' are preparing a global publicity stunt - the World Summit on Environment and Development.

Manny Thain

From 26 August to 4 September, 65,000 delegates from 174 countries will descend on Johannesburg, South Africa. Security will be provided by 27,000 police.

While talking about 'sustainable development' they will ensure that multinational corporations tighten their grip on world markets, choking the life out of our planet's environment and further exploiting its people.

Tony Blair will show up to smile smugly, shake hands and initial the final declaration. George W Bush will still be on holiday at his Texas ranch to the delight of his oil industry backers who want to rubbish the environmental lobby.

The summit is supposed to assess progress towards 'sustainable development' since the Rio summit ten years ago.

An objective assessment makes grim reading. Rio's Agenda 21 agreed to $125 billion of aid from the wealthy nations, committing them to spend 0.7% of gross national product (GNP) each year. By 2000, the money provided had actually fallen from $69 billion to $53 billion. Britain's contribution remained at 0.33%, with the US on 0.1%. The total debt burden of developing countries climbed by 34% to $2.5 trillion.

Nearly three billion people do not have adequate sanitation and 30,000 people die every day from water-related diseases. The gap between rich and poor is widening. In the 1990s, the number of extremely poor in sub-Saharan Africa increased from 242 million to 300 million.

Multinationals' rule

IN JOHANNESBURG, big business will call the shots. Blair's delegation includes his buddies from multinationals such as Thames Water and Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ), both of which have been accused of polluting the environment, destroying wildlife habitats, and ignoring human rights abuses.

RTZ, the largest mining conglomerate in the world, plans to mine uranium in Kakadu National Park, Australia. Clashes between protesters and police have led to more than 500 arrests. In the 1970s it backed the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.

Thames Water has expanded its operations worldwide on the back of International Monetary Fund diktat that developing countries privatise water provision in return for 'aid'.

This means making the poorest people on the planet pay for one of the essentials of life. Thames Water operated in Indonesia under president Suharto's brutally oppressive regime.

The summit's draft plan calls for the 'promotion of corporate responsibility'. But the multinationals, and the governments which back them, ruthlessly exploit the rest of the world. The World Trade Organisation imposes harsh penalties if poor nations do not open up their markets. But the biggest culprits are the US and European Union.

In 2000 the rich nations spent $245 billion subsidising their own big business agriculture (and that's before Bush's Farm Act this year). These subsidised crops are dumped on the global market forcing prices down. Wheat, for example, is sold by the US at 46% below production costs, and by the EU at 34 %. Small scale farmers from the developing world just can't compete.

In the meantime, an 'Asian brown cloud' two miles thick sits over Asia. It is made up of vehicle and industrial pollutants and minute particles of ash from forest and wood burning.

A different world is possible

The cloud is blocking up to 15% of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface and UN scientists believe it is altering the monsoon rain pattern, causing droughts and catastrophic floods.

The World Summit will provide no solutions. The capitalist system as a whole is responsible for the destruction of the World's delicate ecological balance. A small minority at the top enjoy obscene wealth while a massive majority exists in abject poverty and misery.

But a different world is possible. It is, however, a race against time to implement a system which could provide everyone with a good quality of life in an environmentally sustainable way

In a socialist society - where production is organised for need not profit - the vast majority of the world's workers and oppressed peoples could democratically plan and organise an environmentally sustainable system - but only if power is taken out of the hands of the parasitical ruling class.

For more in-depth analysis, read the new pamphlet Planning Green Growth: A Socialist Contribution To The Debate On Environmental Sustainability by Pete Dickinson. (100k)

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 23 August 2002:

Public Services Not Private Greed

No To War In Iraq

Earth Summit: Capitalism is Unsustainable

Lewisham 1977: Where the Fascists Met their Match


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 August 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Capitalism:

triangleCWI rally: 80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky

triangleFighting to end racism and capitalism

triangleCapitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation

triangleFrom first wave to second? Capitalism's Covid failures

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Capitalism and mental health

Water:

triangleWater shortage warning: nationalise now!

triangleGoing viral: Socialist comments and letters

triangleCuts and climate change cause floods

triangleMajor funding for flood risk management needed

US:

triangleAnniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

triangleCuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo

triangle'First you clap us then you slap us'

Environment:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleThe history of struggle to make the workplace safe

Africa:

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Fire Next Time

Big business:

triangleTesting: Tories' 5bn gift to private sector

Aid:

triangleInternational aid: Johnson's pie in the sky

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

5/8/20

Coronavirus

Tories' obesity plans - blaming individuals not the profit system

5/8/20

Coronavirus

Capitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation

5/8/20

Labour Party

Labour payouts: unions must discuss political representation

5/8/20

Coronavirus

NHS pay: 15% for all now

5/8/20

Coronavirus

From first wave to second? Capitalism's Covid failures

5/8/20

Universities

What would socialist universities look like?

22/7/20

China

Huawei: what's behind Johnson's u-turn?

22/7/20

Coronavirus

Fight for our livelihoods... Fight for our lives!

22/7/20

Music

Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity

22/7/20

Luton

Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

22/7/20

The Socialist

Getting the Socialist over the summer

22/7/20

Coronavirus

Fight for the NHS

22/7/20

NHS

Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more

22/7/20

Them & Us

Them & Us

22/7/20

Steel

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999