Ende Gelände to profit, exploitation and climate change!

Interventionist Left is calling for participation in the action days of Ende Gelände! from 3rd -5th .11. in Rhineland

In April 2015, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has reached the highest level since about a million years. The “turning points” in the climatic system, during which climate change enters a phase in which it grows in strength and speed, are approaching. However, political consequences are not in sight. Governments and corporations, driven by profit and growth-oriented constraints spend more time talking than acting. They dream of a green capitalism and keep strengthening the wheels of profit for as long as they can further benefit the “will of the market”. We refuse to become bystanders as annual climate conferences only lead to vague compromises resulting in zero obligations. We know that the fight against climate change can only be won with the immediate dismissal of coal substances. We have therefore decided to take the fight against the use of lignite into our own hands. Thousands will gather in August and November to enter the Rhenish coal reservoir to block trains, power stations and diggers. Our message is clear: System change, not climate change! We will arrive to confront the social question of the 21st century, which can only be a global social-ecological one.

The social question of the 21st century

The ecological crisis is not only impending, it has long arrived. Most of all it cannot be seen as a mere accident or an unfortunate side effect of an otherwise well-functioning system. The ecological crisis is a direct result of the capitalist “more and faster”-logic. Former colonies are still subject to exploitation; however, the final limitations of the growth machinery are found in the limitations of our planet. As the catastrophe proceeds, it starts to threaten the entire planet. Capital is not interested in the well-being of the workers or of the environment. Given that it can only face the ecological crises with the familiar logic of expansion –be that through the means of war, the development of new technology or the economic exploitation of territory currently unmarred by capitalism.

We are now facing a situation where about half of the known animals and plants have already been subject to extinction as a result of industrial agriculture, the destruction of forests and the ever-growing pollution of water, air and ground. Sustainable ground and fresh water are becoming rare goods in most of the earths regions. Hundreds of millions of people, who are dependent on subsistence farming, have become victims of climate change, cheap imports or forced expulsions as entire districts are disrupted to make space for gigantic coal mining projects. The impacts of climate change and of ecological destruction are forced upon those who have already suffered the greatest from capitalist expansion. A large part of the population must live under desolate ecological conditions, amongst other things while their ecological systems are being corrupted to fit the needs of the life style of the global north. A result of this system of transformation from living, life-sustaining nature to dead, amassed capital is a global environment proletariat.

Our solidarity is therefore extended to every movement, which fights against the destruction of our nature and the exploitation of fossil resources, such as the indigenous groups of North America who are waging their battle against the Keystone XL pipeline. Ende Gelände! wants to set a strong sign for climate justice – in the heart of the capitalist growth regime, against climate change and its benefactors and against the current status quo.

Omnia sunt communia! Everything for everyone!

Even if the outlook is grim and the looting of the grounds of our livelihood appears to be unpreventable, we are strongly determined to fight for the sheer impossible: for a revolutionary rupture and a society based on solidarity. Facing the 500th anniversary of the day of the farmers’ insurrection, Thomas Müntzer’s motto is as timely as ever: Omnia sunt communia. Everybody is the same. Everything belongs to everyone. Everyone shares the same responsibilities. The earth is a common good and must be treated as such. But for this to happen we must strip the capital and the capitalists* of their power. It is in this spirit that we want an ecological, feminist and global communism. We want freedom, equality, and solidarity instead of authoritarian hierarchy and competition. We want an economy, which serves people’s real needs, rather than providing profit incentives and promoting consumerism - an economy that respects our planet’s limits and maintains our livelihoods. We want climate justice and a better world for all.

Our demand for climate justice is legitimate but it is being increasingly criminalised. We are witnessing the tightening of laws aimed at intimidating us and deterring us from taking this struggle to the streets. Criminal charges and injunctions are supposed to force us to abandon our fight to protect the climate and the biosphere. We shake our heads at the oppression exercised by the very same people who use their power to destroy the planet.

System change not climate change!

A coal blockade alone is not yet a political programme. Ending coal is not yet a revolution. The society that we dream of will be fought for on many fronts. Be it the socialisation of energy firms, free local transport, or worldwide agrarian reforms to empower small farmers. Be it the self-determined use of land, a huge reduction in working hours as well as income equality, and care for those who need extra support. Be it the democratic shaping of a just transition in the affected lignite coal regions, together with workers, not against them. These disruptions will individually not bring about revolution, but they are steps on the long way to a radical transformation, to allow for a decent life for all. Social and ecological questions belong together, and cannot be answered without addressing power relations.

In this way, Ende Gelände! represents to us an important next step. It is also thanks to the success of Ende Gelände! that the words: “no future with coal!” have become widespread. The lignite coal industry is feeling the tide of public opinion go against them. Their stock market prices continue to crash and their revenues are drastically falling. It is getting increasingly lonely on their sinking ship of lobbying crew, as the burning of coal is regarded by ever more people as an unacceptable mistake. Importing coal from other regions of the world, under even worse conditions, is not a solution. With Ende Gelände!, we are intervening in this social bargaining process – together, determined and with a clear sign of global solidarity.

Ende Gelände! is part of a transnational movement for climate justice, and an important focal point for the coming together of the European climate movement. The success of last year, where 4,000 activists blocked the Lusatian coal mine, was a milestone in the young history of our movement. Let’s build on this success in 2017! Come together with us in the Rhineland lignite coal region from 24th to 29th August, and 3rd to 5th November during the UN climate conference, under the slogan “We will create a just climate!”. We want the system change in order to stop climate change!