The following presentation was made on behalf of the CPGB-ML to the 27th Wanshou forum in Beijing on 28 February 2019. The forum was on the topic of ‘Building a community with a shared future for mankind and the development of socialism in the world’. It was co-hosted by the international department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) and the Renmin University of China.
Comrades, during our visit we have seen the great emphasis China is now placing on developing in an environmentally sustainable way, taking seriously the urgent need to preserve a viable living environment and husband the earth’s resources.
Great thanks are due to the Chinese people and their leaders for these groundbreaking efforts. The work of developing green technology and of greening our existing industry and way of life is a duty that all humanity owes to future generations. At this moment in time, however, China is shouldering the vast majority of that burden alone.
The reason for this is not hard for us to detect. It lies in China’s ability to make and implement long-term plans and to subsidise and prioritise the necessary development. The Communist Party government’s direction of vital sections of the economy, its continued stable rule, and its willingness to put the needs of the masses at the heart of policymaking – all these are key to China’s successes in developing a rapidly advancing green technology sector and in implementing environmental measures in all other areas of Chinese industry and life.
It is clear to us that the Communist Party’s continuing stable rule, its closeness to the people, and its ability to control and plan as much as possible of the economy all need to be defended and advanced as strenuously as possible. Anything that undermines these things – the further development of destabilising capitalist market forces, for example, or the weakening of the party’s connections with the masses – will undermine China’s ability to continue to advance towards a fully sustainable model of ecologically-aligned economic development.
We who live in the western imperialist countries have particular reason to be grateful to China for the strides it is making in developing green technologies. Our countries’ industrialisation and technical advance was made at great cost to the environment and to the oppressed peoples of the world; our peoples continue to soak up a disproportionate amount of the earth’s resources and to contribute disproportionately to environmental degradation andglobal warming.
But although most imperialist governments pay lip service to the idea of taking action to slow down and reverse climate change, they are in practice incapable of implementing a single meaningful step towards that goal – no matter how strong or logical are the arguments that prove they ought to do so.
And this is for the simple reason that we live in societies where profit is the sole motivator of production. To make long-term investments that may not pay off for decades – or which may never be anything other than a drain on profitability – is simply not feasible for the capitalists.
Nor can they plan and coordinate efforts across different sectors in the way that is necessary to tackle climate change. Even creating such a simple thing as a joined up, affordable public transport system to get workers out of their cars faces too many obstacles from vested interests and profiteers to be seriously considered, never mind wholesale changes to industrial and agricultural practices, consumption patterns, building regulations and so on.
This is especially impossible when our rulers are, as now, caught in the grip of the worst-ever capitalist crisis of overproduction – a crisis that is on the brink of a further downward lurch, making anything outside of the cut-throat battle for survival and the quest for maximum profit mere air dreaming.
More than that: the crisis of capitalism is leading inexorably towards ever more and larger wars. In fact, if not stopped by revolution, it is clear that the imperialists are gearing up to wage a third, and even more cataclysmic, world war.
Modern industrial warfare squanders human and material resources on an unprecedented level, and catastrophically pollutes the earth’s land, air and water in the process. If it comes to pass, a third world war is certain to accelerate global warming.
The duty of communists in the imperialist nations is clear. We must redouble our efforts to build the forces that will enable our workers to carry out their own socialist revolutions. There is no third way – capitalism cannot be made sane through reform or persuasion.
Only socialism will enable us to plan production and implement the long-term strategies necessary to end poverty and war, and to halt and reverse climate change. Humanity’s future is socialist or it is barbarism and oblivion.
In the meantime, the workers across the capitalist world will continue to look to China’s leading example, and continue to be grateful for the great strides that China is making in addressing the urgent problems that face humanity.
I hope it will not be too long before British workers are in a position to join them in that effort.