Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 51 Number 26, November 20, 2021 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Successful Virtual Meeting on Humanising the Natural and Social Environment

The Ad-hoc Committee "The Things That Make For Peace" organised a virtual meeting on November 13 on this topic which is of crucial importance to the people as a whole at this time. The Ad-hoc Committee had previously organised a number of well-attended public meetings before the Covid-19 pandemic, including on the centenary of World War I, and on the 70th anniversary of NATO, amongst others. The concrete event which prompted the latest meeting was obviously the COP26 conference in Glasgow, in which the political leaders attending clearly demonstrated their inability to provide solutions to the challenge of climate change. Accordingly, the virtual meeting was subtitled, "People need to rely on themselves to confront the crisis of climate change." The meeting was centred around a main presentation illustrated by Powerpoint, with discussion, as well as poetry and music focusing on the topic.

The main presentation, after explaining the background to the COP26 climate conference, illustrating the points with concrete examples of the effect of climate change, questioned what progress had been made over recent years, especially since the Paris Agreement of 2015. Not sufficient, specifically in the case of Britain, is the conclusion. In this context, the speaker said, there is a growing consciousness that the people themselves, particularly the youth, have themselves to take action. During the COP26 itself, demonstrations were held not just in Glasgow, but globally, with a day of action in towns and cities across the world on November 6, and a People's Summit for Climate Justice taking place in person in Glasgow and online from November 7-10. There were daily assemblies in Glasgow to hear reports from the conference and have discussion.

The speaker explained the growing demand for solutions and urgent action, so as to ensure that the natural and social environments are fit for modern human beings. The speaker explained that people have rights by virtue of being human and that human productive forces are themselves a force of nature, crying out to be brought under conscious control. The presentation then focused on the question of the direction of the economy in this context. For a human-centred direction, people need a system of production that works in their favour, and fulfils their material and cultural needs. This requires a complete change in the direction of the economy in order to humanise the natural and social environments. In contrast, with the present capital-centred direction, the environment and a socialised economy is directed to serving competing private interests, with plunder to fulfil the aim of maximising profit, and with complete disregard for sustainability and social responsibility.

The speaker elaborated on the pay-the-rich schemes under which oligarchs view public money as their entitlement, and the role of government is simply to facilitate this profit-making. Under the solutions on offer of global competition, empowering big business to decide and paying the rich the cost of eco-profits, the people themselves have no determining role. Furthermore, war and war production have an especially detrimental impact on the natural and social environment, including the economy. There is a necessity therefore to end the militarisation of the economy, and produce only for those aims which are in the interests of the natural and social environment.

In this present world context of imperialist globalisation, US imperialism is desperate to remain the world's "indispensable" power and reverse its decline, and destroy what it cannot control. Even Britain is integrated into the US war machine, with a "rules-based international order" replacing international law itself.

The question of "who decides" is fundamental. The working class and people themselves need to be empowered to be the decision-makers, rather than being relegated to a pressure group, lobbying parties they do not control. There is a need for effective public authority directed by an empowered populace.

In conclusion, the speaker said, the need is for humanisation, which means bringing the huge productive forces under control in favour of nature, society and humanity. Any agenda of further plunder under the banner of high ideals must be rejected. People need to rely on themselves to bring human-centred solutions to the global crisis of climate change, the speaker concluded.

A number of other short interventions were given in the meeting, including, for instance, on the role of the workers themselves in taking the lead, turning things around and fighting for what serves their interests, not the interests of the oligarchs who despoil the human and natural environment.

After discussion, some pertinent poems were read out, both against war and against the destruction of the environment. A calming, harmonising audio-visual clip of music was relayed, the meeting concluding with a piece written for an earlier symposium and concert of July 1, 2007, on the subject of confronting the crisis of climate change, and the need to pay respects to Mother Earth.

See below for the slide show presentation:


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