Socialist Courier: Blockading Mossmorran – Auto Republish

Socialist Courier: Blockading Mossmorran

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Climate Camps are a growing international phenomenon where activists set up camps over a number of days, providing a space to join the climate justice movement, to organise workshops and training and create a focus for direct action against the fossil fuel industry.

James Glen, Mossmorran Action Group chairman, told BBC Scotland: “We’re very excited that Mossmorran has been chosen as a focus for climate action, and very grateful for the support that this will bring from activists in Scotland and further afield.

“Mossmorran is Scotland’s third worst polluter, an essential link in the manufacture of plastics and a major recipient of fracked gas from the US.

“Despite all the rhetoric about a climate emergency and just transition, the Scottish government has done nothing about Mossmorran apart from rubber-stamping a £140m investment by Exxon. Shell is planning a further 50 years of operation.

Climate Change – Capitalism Can’t Solve It
Capitalism requires perpetual economic growth in order to avoid economic crises. Capitalism requires increasing commodity production, escalating resource extraction, increasing trash and toxic dumping, and ever increasing energy production. Capitalism, by its very nature, must expand unendingly. Capitalism is not only incapable of responding adequately to the environmental crisis, it is the very cause of the crisis and can only make matters worse.

It is not enough just to oppose capitalism. We also need to create something better – an alternative system of human relations – socialism. It is not only desirable, it is imperative. The only way to deal with global warming is to rationally reorganise the economy sustainably and to collectively and democratically plan most of the world’s industrial economies. What is needed is socialisation of the means of production and distribution. All kinds of useless, wasteful and polluting industries must be eliminated. Under pressure from the public, clearly many corporations feel the need to do something but a close inspection reveals how ineffectual their solutions are. It simply involves “greenwash. Global warming, for business policies,  enters the equation only after the fact, and too late, in the form of rising costs and pressure on profitability. Firms must compete to survive, while capitalist states compete in military, economic and political arenas. If abandoning fossil fuels requires investments that undermine a company or state’s competitive position, the pressure to resist change is immense. Inertia is further strengthened by the lobbying and market power of fossil fuel dependent corporations, above all in the energy and vehicles sectors. Accordingly, many measures taken by states and corporations ostensibly to mitigate climate change are cosmetic – they are designed to placate the public. For corporations, much of the climate crisis is a public relations problem to be managed at the least possible relative financial and market loss to themselves. Other companies see it as an opening for further capital accumulation, even if climate change is accelerated in the process. This is not a hopeful scenario.

There is a simple solution to climate change – a drastic reduction in the emission of the greenhouse gases yet the solutions offered usually calls upon individuals to change their behaviour. The Socialist Party has a different approach. We can only begin to address the problem of climate change. We begin by understanding it is a problem rooted within capitalism and that it is the priorities of capitalism is the reason why we see politicians fail to seriously reduce climate change. Capitalism is a barrier to reducing carbon emissions. Capitalism is the greatest threat to the planet’s wellbeing and the greatest obstacle to attempts to save it.

Sadly but not surprisingly, there is so little discussion of capitalism within mainstream environment movement where most people possess only a vague understanding of what we’re talking about. For many campaigners, “capitalism” is seen as something unchangeable, almost part of human nature” so the existence of capitalism is not questioned and it is why it always off the negotiating table at the climate change conferences.

Naomi Klein defines capitalism as follows:

“Capitalism is an economic and social system in which the means of production are privately owned. The owners, or capitalists, appropriate the surplus product created by the workers. This appropriation leads to the accumulation of more capital, the amassing of wealth, further investment, and thus the expansion of capitalism. Commodities are produced for the purpose of generating profit and promoting accumulation. Within the capitalist system, individuals pursue their self interests against competition and impersonal forces of the market.”

This explains its inevitable drive towards growth and why corporations will not allow their profits to be curtailed.

Those activists who focus on changing lifestyles to achieve sustainability based their advocacy on the flawed notion that consumers are actually in charge of the market, that an enlightened public can simply choose to buy green or consume less. This view fails to recognize the role of marketing and its power to affect consumers’ behaviour: it’s the corporations that are in charge, not the consumers. People often have no choice concerning how or whether to spend their money. This individualist “feel-good” undermines the collective solutions required.

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Resident-led action group seeking redress from the long-term social, health and environmental impacts from the Mossmorran facilities in Central Fife operated by ExxonMobil (Fife Ethylene Plant) and Shell (Fife NGL).


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