•The following is a discussion piece written by a member of Anti Imperialist Action Ireland•
It is by now clear to anyone with their eyes open that imperialism and its system of industrial capitalist is murdering our planet. The continuation of that system is an existential threat to all. The fight for socialism today, therefore, is not just a fight for the liberation of the working class but a life and death struggle to save the planet- Socialism or Extinction.
For too long what passes for revolutionary movements in Ireland have ignored the environmental question. Today, the question is impossible to ignore and those who do not seek to make the solution of the environmental crisis part of their strategy become part of the problem.
This discussion piece will look at the need to develop eco Socialist Republicanism as the revolutionary movement in Ireland that mobilises the masses to defeat imperialism and to save our world. Because environmental destruction is an inbuilt part of imperialism and industrial capitalism, the solution can only be found within the militant anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements of the world. Put simply only the complete overthrow of international imperialism can save the world.
In Ireland, Socialist Republicanism is the only force capable of making this happen. It falls to Socialist Republicans to defeat imperialism, to bring the working class to power and to save the environment.
Reject Reformism and Green Capitalism!
The growing environmental crisis has given rise to several reformist movements that are issuing demands that amount to a papering over the cracks of the wholesale environmental destruction of capitalism. Indeed, on the back of this, many of the opportunist managers of capitalism based in leinster house from the Green party and Sinn Féin to People before Profit and Rise have begun to build environmentalism and even ‘eco socialism’ into their programmes.
But this is not enough enough. We will not be bought off by a Green Capitalist wave by the political establishment. To paraphrase Sean MacDiarmada- Damn your concessions! The environmental crisis will not be solved by the forces of social democracy attempting to put a nicer face on the capitalist exploitation of our people and our planet and resources.
Only a militant Socialist Republicanism can lead the fight against the environmental crisis in Ireland.
Scientific Socialism and the Class Struggle
The environmental struggle is a key part of the class struggle.
This has always been recognized, if often overlooked, since the foundation of Scientific Socialism. Karl Marx did not ignore ecology as is often claimed and he set the environmental fight firmly within the class struggle. It is through the waging of militant class struggle that the environmental crisis will be defeated, there is no other way. Marx saw human beings not as separate from nature, but correctly as an inherent part of the natural world and described the process of human production as a part of the ‘universal metabolism of nature’. Arguing for a socialist ecology in Capital, Marx states ‘even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations.’
Karl Marx was unquestionably clear then that a genuine scientific socialism would be an eco-socialism. Not in any reformist manner as put forward by various Trotskyite sects, but as a fundamental part of the revolutionary process for the defeat of the capitalist system and the transformation of society.
It is here, with Karl Marx, that we anchor our eco Socialist Republicanism.
For an Eco- Socialist Republicanism
Socialist Republicanism is both the revolutionary ideology and movement in Ireland. It is the application of the Marxist Revolutionary Method to the concrete conditions in Ireland.
To be relevant to the working class and mobilise them into the struggle for National Liberation and Socialist Revolution, Socialist Republicanism must provide the answers and the method of struggle for the working class to resolve the contradictions they face under imperialism.
One such contradiction is the environmental crisis. The environmental crisis is a class struggle because it is the imperialist elite destroying our planet and it is the working class and the oppressed people who suffer the most because of it. Young people in Ireland are overwhelemingly opposed to environmental destruction. It is the duty of Socialist Republicans to demonstrate that it is the revolutionary movement alone that can solve this question as part of the wider class struggle.
Many of these young people, motivated by fighting the environmental crisis risk being sucked into green capitalism or reformist Trotskyite sects, if a militant eco Socialist republicanism is not developed across the country.
The garrison class will never act to address the environmental crisis. The most they will do is issue fines and condemnation against the biggest culprits. A green wave of capitalism will attempt to use the popular opposition to the environmental crisis to introduce carbon and domestic water taxes that will punish the working class and must be opposed by Socialist Republicanism.
The reformists and revisionists will attempt to lead the youth up the hill demanding change, but trapping them within the cul-de-sac of electoralism and parliamentary cretinism.
Socialist Republicanism must show there is another way.
While the garrison class will refuse to act because they profit from the environmental crisis, the working class can act ourselves. While this is not the place to discuss specific tactics or actions, Socialist Republicanism can give leadership to our class by taking direct action on environmental issues and by highlighting the class nature of the environmental fight.
Such actions can capture the imagination of the youth and win them to Socialist Republicanism, strengthening the revolution and the movement.
As Socialist Republicanism continues to grow across the country it can be made all the more relevant to a new generation by taking up the environmental fight. Let’s build the struggle for National Liberation and Eco-Socialist Revolution!