So who are the enemies of the climate? What are the political forces that cannot be relied on? Where to find allies to win the survival war? We believe it is important to make a reasoned survey. Imagining finding allies, or even just "references", in wrong representations involves real risks of wasting precious and, by now, terribly scarce time. The reflection should be conducted on the following following political parties:
socialist (classical), popular, liberals, sovereign parties;
Let's take them into consideration.
A] Socialist (classical), popular, liberal, sovereign-populist parties
The four typologies represent the political offerings that have developed since the democratic "stabilization" of politics since the second post-war period. All four represented - and, in one way or another, still represent - the Great Promise (1) of the radiant future that the elites announced and then renewed to the popular masses in four different ways in a span of 75 years.
The socialists ("left" placement) are the first to bring the masses into the political arena by promising a future free from poverty and full of freedom for all. Although they had an important theory behind them, over time they deluded themselves into being able to insert elements of socialism into capitalism to the point of radically transforming society. The result was fatal. It was capitalism that won, first by depriving them of principles, then of hope, so that they politically turned into larvae in progressive decline.
However, their values, which have become generic, have poured into the popular parties (location "in the center") that have long renewed the Great Promise to their electorates: popular parties would have achieved generalized and widespread states of well-eing, and not the Social-Communists.The failure of the left had to be attributed to state policies, unable to determine the correct way to meet supply and demand, with the result of causing enormous waste and the weakening of the economy. However, at the end of the 1970s, a whole series of crises hit the western states, which thus underwent a radical transformation. The difficulties began to crack the solidarity established after the Second World War and an individualistic and selfish culture has spread that has accompanied the birth of the third wave parties.
Thus came the hegemonic moment of the liberal parties ("right" position), which, being reinforced by (and reinforcing) the new social climate, have once again proposed the Great Promise, but transferred to a different terrain, that of meeting needs of the individual instead of the community. In fact, the "company" (understood as a community of shareholders) has even been declared a misleading idea (see note 4). Now society had to be viewed as a network of competing individuals But after twenty years something has gone wrong again and the Great crisis has appeared. The effect was shocking: the Great Promise, continually postponed, became the cause of the development of an unstoppable social anger that eventually paved the way for the fourth wave.
Here she is! On the push of social anger, therefore, the national-populist parties were born, which surround the masses renewing the Great Promise of future well-being. They theorized that the failures of the previous attempts were due to the lack of attention towards the people by the succubus policy of the powerful "Judeo-Masonic plutocratic forces" that have always conspired for a cosmopolitan governance in favor of the rich. Populists are the latest (de) generation of politics and are already proving that they are unable to fulfill the purpose for which they were born.
Now we have to ask ourselves why everyone has failed or is failing.
Let's try to listen to a political talk-show among the numerous offerings available. The spiel is always the same. Entrepreneurs ask the policy to lower taxes to allow to revive development ("capitalist accumulation" would be a more appropriate expression). The middle class asks for the solidity of welfare and - in honor of the cultural stabilization of a consumerist type - it also asks politics for a tax reduction in order to be able to access those assets that it would like to consolidate forever. Each government finds itself pulled by its jacket. In addition, it must suffer the disturbing attacks by the political groups that lost the elections and that previously, when they were in government, had been accused of the same incapacities that are now addressed to those who replaced them.
The ungovernability of this situation is evidenced by the fluctuation of accusations and counter accusations that manifest themselves in a stabilized and negative situation from which we cannot escape.
Meanwhile: what is the Great Promise based on? Simple answer: a) consolidated welfare and b) growth in private consumption. In turn, both depend on an economic system under development. But economic expansion depends on: c) high profits in the various economic sectors and d) large natural resources on which to make investments.
Standard economic theory relates (a), (b), (c) completely ignoring (d). As long as there is development, things are going well. When development stumbles numerous contradictions arise. For example between (a) and (b). Citizens must be taxed to keep the welfare level adequate or, on the contrary, they can see their taxes lowered at the expense of the weakening welfare state. But if the economic system falters, the profit margins for investments also shrink. Then the state finds itself having to safeguard the engine of the general interest - the economy - by reducing taxes on entrepreneurs. Now the state must play on a subtle balance between (a) and (b) by dissatisfying citizens either as consumers, or as welfare earners, or both. In short, the blanket becomes short, creating total conflict between social actors.
Entrepreneurs will be happy if they are relieved of part of their taxes, but since investments become convenient only when conditions in the global market allow it, since today these conditions are lacking (later we will see why ...), they translate into personal savings and purchases in the luxury sector.
Therefore, the "managers of the polis" are required to play a subtle game that increasingly resembles the squaring of the circle to allow the survival of the social engine (the economy) in a framework of welfare which in the West consists of the conditio sine qua non for the purpose of legitimization of politics.
Where is the crux of the matter? It's trivial! In money? It's not a chance. There is as much money as you want. In the savings of the middle classes and, to a greater extent, in the pockets of the wealthy classes; then in banks and tax havens. We must ask ourselves why money does not flow into investments as in the past. If for some glorious mystery it was discovered that Agarthi, instead of being a Nazi reverie, was a new virgin and rich land in resources, he would become an attractor of all the money existing on Earth and would revive a new phase of development tending to absorb the new free natural resources , as has been done in the past in the face of virgin lands and new geographical spaces. Furthermore, savers would happily see substantial rates of return on their savings. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) There are no underground continents to go and plunder by prolonging the agony we are experiencing...
This tells us one important thing: factor (d), that is, the free availability of new natural resources, has definitely run out. The economy has entered a saturation phase that does not allow for further substantial developments. Unless you continue to do - and in increasingly difficult terms - what our species is currently doing all over the world: grinding the primary resources (increasingly scarce) that make up that safe of life that we are stupidly emptying. Mainstream parties and economic institutions do not understand the fact that while money can be multiplied by many (even virtual) devices, material economic resources set an objective limit. Do we remember that equality seen a moment ago?
F = BC
This relationship cannot be broken even by domineddio (2). When it comes (as in our case) to:
F >> BC
(">>" = "much greater than")
the situation is so serious that it should impose a sudden enlightenment in the minds of politicians and economists. Why does the light of reason go out in the minds of the characters to whom we have entrusted our future?
The reason is called "ideology". The ideology consists of an obstinate stiffening of a world view that does not correspond to the truth of things. It is formed in moments in which it seems to have a strong plausibility. At that point it stabilizes, strengthens and becomes stable like a mountain enjoying an inertia that sometimes continues over the centuries. The world's elites have been infected by classic economic thinking that seemed to work when the human impact was (or rather, it seemed) far from the limits of available resources. Today the limit has become evident, but those who live in the developmental ideology cannot accept it yet. At best, if any worried whispers reach their ears, they surpass it by imagining that new technologies, the circular economy, ecological reconversion, "geoengineering" and other similar amenities allow to continue the destruction of the world.
Ultimately, the Great Promise that spread to modern humans was a false perspective from the outset. It has established itself because of the ignorance of the mother rule to which our species, being technological, is subjected: access to primary resources (humus, forests, waters, etc.) must be carefully calculated and evaluated in order not to damage the primary needs of living humans and those of subsequent generations, as well as the biotic community on which humans themselves depend.
The "classical political families" have broken with this fundamental rule and therefore cannot be considered interlocutors.
B] The environmental parties
Green parties, which in some European countries have gained significant consensus, have a strong level of ambiguity. They, placing themselves as champions of eco-environmental issues, risk attracting important political resources decisive for the salvation of the Earth to drag them into wrong perspectives. If you closely observe their proposals, you will notice that they are inscribed within the current system, deemed correctable with new political and productive guidelines.
The ineffectiveness of the proposals of the green parties can be measured by the deepening of issues that have already been brought to the attention by discussing around the Third question, namely "How to achieve the objectives". Generally they will refer to the circular economy, to intangible economies, to the potential for technological developments, to various ecological reconversions etc.
here is often a great honesty in the supporters of these theories, but as long as they continue to open the dream book they risk leading important human resources to the wrong theoretical places, and contribute to making more extreme the solutions that will have to be taken later.
C] The unions
Strictly speaking, unions are not a political force. However, they are in essence being able to influence political choices. They are large organizations that, although they have weakened as a result of the evolution of neoliberalism, still play an important role both with respect to the state and to large private production groups. Why include trade unions in our analysis? How should we view them with respect to environmental policies?
Trade unions have played an important and generous role throughout much of the 1900s. His best men fought great battles for the affirmation of workers' social rights and there were many who paid serious personal prices for the actions they led and the ideas that animated them. But the historical function of the unions is also part of the Great Promise. Indeed, it can be said that, together with the classic and popular socialist parties, they were among the social institutions that took it most seriously.
The union, having a closer relationship with its representatives, has a greater interest in safeguarding the interests of workers and citizens. Paradoxically, this position makes the Trade Union more rigid towards the urgent political and environmental transformation today. Although the trade union also submits reasoning regarding the care of the environment, it cannot go beyond those formulations that we have already dealt with and which, at best, are also verbal expressions and at worst - if they were actually implemented - objective obstacles to remediation of the general conditions of the Earth. The right function of safeguarding workers when they risk losing their family's business, dignity and livelihood, induces unions to defend work at all costs and even to elaborate proposals for absorbing unemployment by creating other work and other productions regardless of the social utility possessed. In other words, the current union (which is still the one of the past) has not metabolized the seriousness of the environmental situation and, when it is forced to discuss it, it merely reproposes the generic and never clarified formula of "sustainable development" in which the work and health are both safeguarded. In too many cases, an authentic squaring of the circle!
After the brief discussion of the policy that "resists" the change, and therefore cannot be seen either as an ally or as an interlocutor, the problem arises of understanding how a new subject can be imagined to give a sense to the future. A new political entity is needed that breaks with a tradition that has nothing more to offer and which, if in the past has offered so much, has done so thanks to the resources plundered on entire continents and the cancellation of the perspective for the new generations.
It is not easy to venture into this discourse for a whole series of cultural incrustations that have emerged in recent decades. The unease towards politics has alienated citizens from institutions. Thus, those most sensitive to emancipatory issues have abandoned the very idea of politics in the "party form" to marry that in the "movement form". It was not a good choice, however it must be understood. When waves of new parties succeed each other without anything happening, if not new disappointments, it is natural that in the end that disaffection towards politics that results in "volatile" electorates and in the renunciation of both voting and participation. At that point, the choice to establish oneself in movements seems the most logical thing to break too close contact with a now degraded policy. But let's face the problem trying to reflect on two questions: 1) are the movements the right solution to achieve their goals? 2) is there really no room for a new political-politics?
In the meantime, let's get rid of linguistic uncertainties. In Europe there are many political subjects who initially defined themselves as "movements" and, at a later time, presented themselves in the elections. Beyond the word, these are not the "movements" that interest us.
When we speak of "movements" in the strict sense, we mean the group of citizens and citizens who, interested in solving a problem that they deem worthy of public interest, take action to address requests to political institutions. In the case of groups of active resistance on particular themes, assuming the structure of movement can make sense. However, there are other absolutely improper situations. The movements for peace and disarmament, the movements for the environment, for civil and social rights, when they take on the broad breath of will aimed at fighting the great infrastructure of the economy developer, they are absolute inconsistencies. They ask that their values and strategic objectives be implemented by those who have different values and opposite strategic objectives. Isn't it absurd? A doubt arises: will it not be that the political opponent is granted an inexistent ability to listen and to be available to implement his requests? Or will we not think, perhaps, of bending the political opponent with the force of sporadic demonstrations whose destiny is to die after an adequate number of "protests"?
We leave the problem to the sociologists of the movements and return to our initial question which calls into question the war for the salvation of the climate. In this case we are faced with the problem of problems, the one that more than any other is extraneous to a power constantly striving towards strategies for development. A political power that was explicitly formed on the narrative of the Great Promise. A political power that is kept under blackmail by an economy (and an economic science) whose function consists in the final destruction of the last available resource and in the subversion of that delicate terrestrial film called the biosphere. Let's mentally build a gallery with the many portraits of the lords who govern the countries of the world. Is it so difficult to imagine them as they sing "après nous, le déluge" on the notes of Dies irae in a wild and terminal macabre dance?
So, since this necrotic system still has a small light, why not take advantage of it before the state of exception imposed by the onset of universal calamities turns that off too? If citizens can "freely associate in parties to compete with a democratic method to determine national politics" why not take directly on the liberating function of clearing the field of necropolitics? And around the war for the climate - which requires a different economy, a new right, a new way of being in the world by our species - couldn't all the other battles join? The one for peace, the one for liberation from patriarchy, the one for the defense of human dignity in all its forms? Keep in mind that if the biosphere collapses all the particular battles of emancipation will dissolve into thin air.
Are all those who hate politics hate themselves too? Do they have such low self-esteem that they believe that if they have political leadership skills they would fall into the corruption of today's political world? It won't happen if the targets are kept steady! In general, the limit of the current policy does not lie in the men and women in the command posts, but in the worldview they have adopted. It is this that leads them to the corruption of values and practices, and not their human nature!
Or are they afraid of not being up to it? Well, there is no escape. For those born today or even for those who are still minors, if the immediate measures are not taken, the future world will no longer exist. Whoever wants it, must conquer it. But be careful! The younger generations are waking up, but they can't do it alone. It is loser to take refuge in generational schemes. There is a world of anguished, frustrated adults who don't know where to bang their heads to get out of the bewilderment that grips them. Just as there are millions of disoriented young people. There are many subjects ready to be conquered. So the more conscious old and new generations must strive to win over other people to the cause with the right motivations, the right arguments. And conquer their still sleeping peers, their parents, their children and their friendships. It is need conquer all those who have theoretical, practical, particular or general skills. The army for the salvation of the climate must become an irrepressible and unstoppable democratic avalanche.
It will happen that honest politicians in the face of this alien invasion will begin to understand the absurdity of the paradigm they have always believed in and will participate in the battle for the climate and the salvation of the Earth. There are many individuals competent and capable of contributing to the change of the world, fortunately. Even a renewed union will be able to see reality differently and become a great resource for workers.
In short, slogans are not enough. For two reasons: because the complexity of the programs is enormous and must be thought from scratch; and because the forces to oppose will be extremely powerful, and the outcome uncertain.
So it is not enough to say "we want a future!". Today nobody wants this future. Those who want it - and this is the most legitimate desire that can be claimed - must become a political subject: first of all preparing increasingly refined programs to dismantle the necropolitics and its principal, the necroeconomics; then to implement tactics and strategies to expand one's consensus and reduce the enemy consensus. Today we are in a worse condition than we came out of after the Second World War. Unfortunately, the perception is completely different. At that time you would have seen rubble all around while today we still see the lights of the success of liberalism shining. And true there are more and more degraded suburbs, territories massacred by a greedy development of primary resources, peoples fleeing degraded environments and others anchored in desertified spaces. But the Great Promise - this fatal tale - continues to live within each of us; the gaze is magnetized by the "funeral glow of liberalism" and everyone wants at least the crumbs of so much "success".
But the rigged game must be laid bare and the function of the warriors for the climate consists precisely in indicating to the masses that not only will they not see their prayers or their claims fulfilled, but that they will lose everything in the most terrible collapse of civilization that humanity will never have experienced. It is therefore necessary that new institutions are born thanks to new policies that are still unimaginable. And we must hurry because time is scarce.
1. By Great Promise I mean those optimistic perspectives with a positivistic background that announce the wonderful fate to which humanity would seem destined. One of the most famous examples for emphasis and self-belief is in J. M. Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren. Conference held in Madrid in June 1930. Now in the ninth volume of his Collected Writings entitled Essays in Persuasion
2. In reality, when the ecological footprint (F) is equal to biocapacity (BC), the situation - for reasons that cannot be investigated here - is already seriously deteriorated and should impose radical interventions to impose a sharp brake on economic activity. However, we can take that equality as a temporary simplification of a discourse that will certainly have to be deepened elsewhere.