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Contribution of Swiss Communist Party

Jan 15, 2024

Dear comrades,

We have another opportunity to salute the member parties of European Communist Action and to congratulate in particular the work of coordination done by the Secretariat.

We are meeting today in a teleconference to draw up a common position on the following subject: "Reject the parties of the EU, capital and "green" exploitation. The hope of saving the environment is red". Starting with this title, we will begin with a critique of political ecology and its deviations, treating the question from a materialist and class point of view. We will also discuss the instrumentalisation of the ecological factor in inter-imperialist confrontation. At the end of our intervention, we will put forward a few proposals.

The subject of ecology in general can be a mishmash of ideology, science, politics, philosophy, beliefs and so on.

We feel it is important to begin with a critique of political ecology. First of all, the question of political ecology has an impact on the dominant ideology. It is not just a political programme of sustainable development measures. Even before being concerned about the environment, political ecology has a conception of Man and his relationship with nature. This raises philosophical questions.

In this respect, the role of communists is to defend our conception of Man and his relationship with the physical world: dialectical materialism and historical materialism. This is a very important element, because many of the issues at stake require a transformation of social relations, which can either go in the direction of the dominant class or, on the contrary, express the interests of the working class.

In much environmentalist discourse, it is possible to detect a reactionary and nihilistic inclination that designates human beings as such as a burden on the planet. We need to take a very firm stand against this kind of rhetoric. But without going that far, there are other problematic examples. In a debate that generally excludes the class conception of society, it is individual responsibility that mobilises the core of the ecological solution. This means that the working class and the grassroots should bear the full cost of the ecological transition, with additional taxes, particularly in the area of transport, but not only, also in waste management, for example.

In Switzerland, the ecologist party, which has historically come from the far left, is seeking access to the Federal Council, the executive body at national level, at all costs. It is constantly giving evidence of good capitalist management in the municipal and cantonal executives. In recent years, the bourgeoisie has produced a new party: the Green-Liberal Party. And the conservative UDC party on the far right also has proposals. In particular, it seeks to combine its xenophobic rhetoric about limiting the immigrant population with a supposedly environmentalist argument.

Obviously, not everyone involved in political ecology is a reactionary. But political ecology does have its share of deviations. It's a nebulous concept that mainly serves to mask class interests in general, as well as the interests of the various imperialist alliances currently in competition.

In reality, political ecology on all sides manipulates ecology as a science in order to avoid the confrontation of interests that is expressed in the application of this or that policy. In fact, scientific research into ecology, and into all other fields, cannot in itself decide how the knowledge acquired should be used to solve political problems. Public policy is necessarily the expression of the interests of a class, whether or not it is inspired by science.

There is a form of scientism in certain sectors of political ecology which excludes the human factor, and in this case for us communists, the class factor. Scientific research on ecology cannot therefore spare sincere ecologists, all the more so communists, from clearly positioning themselves in favour of one class or another. It is even the fundamental   condition that will determine the content of the transformation of the social relations of production.

We are in a period when the ideological reproduction of capital cannot be satisfied with the propaganda of a consumerist way of life. To put it more simply, capital can no longer reproduce the American way of life. In the current conditions of its crisis, capital needs a Green Deal which preserves, extends and develops the exploitation of labour, the new information technologies and natural resources, in the context of growing inter-imperialist competition.

In this respect, the international summits on the environment and the resulting international agreements are essentially a framework for inter-imperialist competition for access to energy resources. The prioritisation of the question of CO2 emissions and their replacement by alternative production and resources is a clear demonstration of this.

The forces of capital in Europe are pushing ahead with a supposedly green agenda. Their real aim is to increase their economic competitiveness for energy efficiency in the inter-imperialist conflict. If capitalist governments adopt or abandon an energy source (fossil, nuclear, renewable), it is only in the interests of the reproduction of capital. This can also lead to the integration of new green political forces into capital's modernisation plan. Thirdly and finally, the forces of capital in Europe absolutely must provide justifications for their increasingly harsh policies towards the working class and the grassroots.

Does this mean that we are denying the ecological problems? Absolutely not. The point here is that we do not recognise ourselves in the green policies of capitalist governments, nor in the catastrophist rhetoric of political ecology, nor in the content of international agreements on the subject.

On the question of ecology, we need to develop ideological, scientific and cultural work to firmly confront those who want to destroy the materialist conception of Man. To this end, we must use a clear concept to describe the ideological alienation represented by the Green Deal and its derivatives on all sides.

We must unmask capitalist governments that pretend to implement virtuous ecological policies and reveal the real interests that are being served. All these policies involve public-private partnerships, in other words the privatisation of technologies and services.

Moreover, the green energy strategy currently being rolled out in Europe will only increase inter-imperialist competition and the imposition of a war effort that is leading us towards a general military conflagration.

We need to evaluate the achievements of socialism in the field of ecology, particularly those of the Soviet Union, and defend the works that have been positive, particularly in terms of agro-ecology or the Soviet way of life. Socialist-communist administration of the environment is perfectly suited to satisfying the modern needs of the working class and the grassroots.

There are some very important issues ahead of us. It is very important that, in the class confrontation, we impose the communist narrative on ecology in particular. Socialism-communism has the general instruments to enable humanity to make a significant qualitative leap in its social, economic and cultural evolution: the abolition of capitalist appropriation through the socialisation of the means of production, the abolition of competition through the introduction of planning, and the abolition of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie through the constitution of a workers-popular power.