This piece by Derek
Johnson was originally delivered on the Where’s My Jetpack
will be printed in Fightback’s upcoming magazine issue on
Climate Change and Ecosocialism. To subscribe with PayPal or
credit card, click here.
A study by the United
Nations has found climate change could drive 122 million
more people into extreme poverty in the next 15 years, in
part due to the impact it is already having on small-scale
farmers. We now know that for decades, beginning in 1977,
Exxon concealed its own findings that fossil fuels cause
global warming, alter the climate and melt Arctic
Hindsight is 20/20, but if not for Exxon’s cover up
NASA and others could have brought proof and the importance
of climate change to our governments to do something in the
Talking about climate change can be
nihilistically depressing because for the first time in our
planet’s history, we are a species aware of its impending
extinction. We are living through the sixth extinction.
I’m going to get to the brass tacks and the suicidally
depressing roots and propose an optimistic solution.
U.S. presidential race is off the rails again. Politicians
and the media are in panic mode, because of progressive
candidates who might improve lives, not because Trump is a
fascist who needs to be removed immediately and cannot serve
a second term. As much as I like to see them all lose
control, they are turning the screws on us.
Trump must go,
but beyond that, I don’t care who the next president is and
I don’t want anybody to be president. We need to stop having
presidents. They don’t know what to do anymore and the
schisms are showing. The economy is about to tank again like
2008 and the government and capitalists and their political
class are flipping out in panic. This election scam is a
symptom of systemic problems with Really Existing Capitalist
Democracy or REC’D as Chomsky calls it.
The most pressing
issue of our time—our own fucking possible extinction – is
only mentioned because of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez at least, but overall the political class and
MSM are ignoring the fire outside as California literally
burns down. They all know deep down that capitalism has
killed the habitability of this world.
They fucked up and
killed us all. We all have to get used to struggle. We are
in the struggle of our fucking lives now. It looks like
things are going south quicker than we will ever have a
revolution to overthrow this shit and save our species, but
I hope not. The planet is going to survive, but it’s going
to be uninhabitable for human life. This is beyond
Going slow about changing our economy and
using oil is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,
while us radicals warn about the iceberg. We have to get
used to endless struggle. Even something like a Green New
Deal is being violently resisted.
Demagogues right and
left are going to try and convince people that its a
Malthusian overpopulation problem. Malthusianism has long
been debunked and technically we already live in a
post-scarcity civilization, but scarcity is enforced by
markets and the state.
The problems of “overpopulation” –
habitat destruction, famine, drought – are the direct result
of our economic system which needs false scarcity and
planned obsolescence to function.
We have enough food,
shelter, and medicine for every person on the planet, but
resource/”wealth” distribution is dictated by a system with
no ability for long term planning.
We live under a system
that allows for-profit medicine/healthcare and – based on
the statistic I can’t stop pointing out—America has not
only enough money to feed the hungry and house every
homeless person, but there are enough empty homes that every
homeless person would get 6 houses each.
I agree that we
need to stop focusing on neoliberalism as a new strain of
capitalism, but see that it has actually given way to the
return to a more raw and predatory capitalism – as it used
to be and always was. I think, now, we are entering a new
era of naked capitalism. We often have to ask ourselves when
confronted by rulers who see the threat and choose to do
nothing and hasten it.
Global warming is in progress and
now irreversible. I don’t want to get into conspiracy
theories, but it is a reasonable hypothesis that past a
certain point, the ruling elite intentionally planned to do
nothing, knowing it would get locked in and all the people
This is looking to be by design. Not that the
rich created climate change to kill us all, but rather they
are adapting to it and exploiting it rather than doing
something about it. Perhaps what we’re witnessing in global
warming is an improvised planned genocide of many global
south nations that will make prior genocides seem quite
small in comparison.
Global warming denialists are
Holocaust deniers in their own right and should be treated
as such. I’m afraid that, rather than combat climate change
the powers that be can enforce walling in countries, closing
immigration/migration and starve out and kill people with
the elements and act like they didn’t do it on purpose. It
really looks like rather than doing anything, they are
planning to just build walled- in cities and let the poor
They can cull the populations like never before.
Under this unleashed raw capitalism, they get to wipe out
the so-called “developing world” and surplus labor here and
there. The weakest and poorest are intentionally being left
to bear the worst brunt.
This may technically be genocide
by proxy through economic policy if you will, but
intentional inaction is ethically no different than
intentional planning/action. It really looks like rather
than doing anything, they are planning to just build walled
in cities and let the poor die. This is essentially
genocide. This is no different than what Stalin did to
Ukraine except on scale.
The proper term is
This term was revived and redefined by the
political scientist R. J. Rummel as “the murder of any
person or people by their government, including genocide,
politicide and mass murder”. For example,
government-sponsored killings for political reasons would be
considered democide under Rummel’s hypothesis.
can also include deaths arising from “intentionally or
knowingly reckless and depraved disregard for life”; this
brings into account many deaths arising through various
neglects and abuses, such as forced mass
Rummel explicitly excludes battle deaths in
his definition. Capital punishment, actions taken against
armed civilians during mob action or riot, and the deaths of
non-combatants killed during attacks on military targets so
long as the primary target is military, are not considered
According to Rummel, democide surpassed war as
the leading cause of non-natural death in the 20th century.
Rummel estimated that there have been 262 million victims of
democide in the last century. According to his figures, six
times as many people have died from the actions of people
working for governments than have died in battle.
destroys Stephen Pinker’s thesis that less people are
dying from war, conflict and violence because of strong
states, thus justifying states and ultimately capitalism.
His calculation only works if you ignore democide and
In my opinion, I feel as if, in
scorched Earth fashion, capitalists are literally making
sure there is no alternative if they collapse the economic
order or are overthrown. We may get eco-socialism or full
communism—but in a Mad Max wasteland.
We need a
fundamentally new society because the status quo can no
longer hold. Martin Luther King said it best: we need a
revolution in values.
We need a social revolution. Our
task now is to hasten such a global socialist revolution, to
forge an eco-socialism for an actually free and sustainable
future. We may have to go down trying to build that better
society or we are going to live in Mad Max. It’s
“Communism or barbarism” as Rosa Luxemburg said,
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