From CPUSA’s program: Capitalism vs. the environment

BY:Communist Party USA| October 1, 2019
From CPUSA’s program: Capitalism vs. the environment

The following excerpted from chapter 2 of CPUSA’s program, which can be viewed and downloaded here in PDF form. Our recent Convention referred the document to newly elected National Committee for final approval and adoption, pending revisions based on Convention discussion.  

We cannot have a healthy humanity without a healthy natural world. Humans are part of nature and rely on the resources of nature for our very existence. We can’t continually harm major parts of the natural world without suffering the consequences.

Climate change is the most far-reaching symptom of the broader imbalance between humanity and the rest of nature. There are many environmental challenges: to water, air, soil, respiratory and reproductive health, to name but a few. We are facing major adjustments to the balance between humanity and nature, 13 which we can plan to address and ameliorate, or else suffer the brutal workings of natural selection and an enraged Mother Earth.

Capitalism is both the major cause of these environmental challenges and the major obstacle to solving them. Environmental struggles rapidly run up against the rule of private property over our collective health and well-being. As activists learn that the economic system must be fundamentally altered in order to meet the growing environmental crises, environmental activism is providing a new pathway to socialist consciousness. Fixing environmental challenges requires social decision-making based on the needs of society as a whole and the environment on which we depend. Private property “rights” and profits must be discarded as the main determinants on which decisions are based.

In addition, if capitalism sufficiently degrades the environment, that will potentially destroy the material basis necessary to build socialism. Environmental issues will grow in importance and play an ever-larger role in electoral, legislative, and public policy struggles. Communities faced with powerful companies dumping toxic waste into their sources of drinking water must wrestle directly with corporate power. They run up against both the capitalist economic system and against politicians beholden to corporate interests. Just as our politics and economy need fundamental transformation, so too does the entirety of the intersection between humanity and the rest of the natural world. We need a transformation not only of energy production but also of agriculture, industrial production, transportation, distribution, waste disposal, and construction. We need immediate changes that can be won or begun under capitalism.

Permanent solutions require an environmentally-conscious socialism. We need to make personal changes as well. First and most important is for millions more people to become organized environmental activists, building alliances between the environmental movement and all other progressive movements they are part of—community groups, religious groups, unions, and more. Other personal changes are most effective when part of mass campaigns that help change the habits and practices of millions of people.

We are not chasing a short-lived personal purity but working for basic changes to the systems affecting millions. Individual changes in consumption and diet can only make a major contribution when linked to changes by millions of people, and linked to changes in our systems of production, construction, and agriculture. The environmental movement is one key element of the massive coalition that must be built to defeat the extreme right stranglehold on too much of U.S. governance and public discourse. Youth especially have a vested interest in finding real solutions for their future, the kind that only socialism can permanently institute.



    The Communist Party USA is a working class organization founded in 1919 in Chicago, IL.

    The Communist Party stands for the interests of the American working class and the American people. It stands for our interests in both the present and the future. Solidarity with workers of other countries is also part of our work. We work in coalition with the labor movement, the peace movement, the student movement, organizations fighting for equality and social justice, the environmental movement, immigrants rights groups and the health care for all campaign.

    But to win a better life for working families, we believe that we must go further. We believe that the American people can replace capitalism with a system that puts people before profit — socialism.

    We are rooted in our country's revolutionary history and its struggles for democracy. We call for "Bill of Rights" socialism, guaranteeing full individual freedoms.

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