Imperialism must pay for its crimes vs. humanity and environment

By ILPS Commission 13 on the occasion of World Earth Day

As different organizations, peoples, governments and institutions celebrate World Mother Earth Day, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle Commission 13 echoes its call for the peoples of the world to resist imperialist plunder and war and to hold monopoly capitalism accountable for its crimes against humanity and the environment.

Imperialism’s unceasing thirst for profits has led to the rapid exhaustion of the world’s natural resources. The world’s richest countries and transnational corporations have appropriated most of the Earth’s natural resources for themselves and subjected it to ever rapacious extraction, production, use, and consumption. The world’s remaining forests are disappearing at an unprecedented rate to make way for monocrop mega-farms, industrial livestock facilities, and large-scale mining operations. Mega-factories and industrial agriculture are rapidly depleting and polluting water bodies that are vital resources to ecosystems and communities. The production centers of monopoly capitalism, along with the gas-guzzling machines that they unleash on the consuming public, are also releasing increasing amounts of toxins and greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere. Each day species are wiped off the face of the planet lost due to the rapacious destruction caused by imperialism to natural habitats.

Meanwhile, U.S.-led wars of aggression, backed by their international partners, have further aggravated the precarious situation of the world’s ecology. These genocidal wars, apart from killing people and destroying life-supporting infrastructures, have directly and indirectly worsened greenhouse gas emissions, environmental pollution, and biodiversity annihilation.

The chronic plunder of the world’s natural resources by monopoly capital, aggravated by war, the impacts of global warming, and pollution, have victimized poor communities many times over. Farmers and indigenous peoples are forcibly evicted from their lands and their domains, their crops and bodies poisoned by chemicals from mining and industrial agriculture. Internal migrants escaping rural poverty become part of the urban poor who are forced to live in cramped, polluted, unhealthy spaces for starvation wages.

For generations to come, peoples and communities will face the impacts of rising global temperatures and climate change. These are the same communities that are most vulnerable to environmental disasters such as droughts and floods. Entire communities and countries are devastated and the lives of billions disrupted. The number of “environmental refugees” fleeing disasters are increasing at an alarming rate worldwide. The waves of disasters generated by the imperialist pursuit of super-profits threaten to tip the entire balance of life on the planet itself.

Profit-driven and market-oriented responses and false solutions to the global ecological crisis have predictably failed to stem the disasters, destruction, and deaths arising from the breakdown of the world’s ecosystems. The Rio Summit in 1992 did not curb monopoly capitalism’s ravaging thirst for resources for its own gains. Poverty, social inequity, and imperialist control of natural resources persist today. The annual Conferences of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 1992 have similarly become showcases to the brazen lack of accountability of the imperialist powers who are the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters.

It is interesting to note that today, nations are set to sign the Paris Convention on Climate Change that virtually gives a free pass to major polluters, namely multinational fossil fuel corporations, the global military industrial complex, and countries like the US, China, European Union, Russia and Japan, to operate under a “business as usual” scenario under voluntary commitments for emissions cuts, climate financing, technology transfer, and policy reforms on climate change.

The worsening ecological crisis and lack of people’s control over lands, livelihoods, and lives revives pockets of resistance and fuels wars for liberation worldwide. Peoples have courageously stood against the invasion of their lands, environmental destruction and imperialist plunder, amid militarization and human rights violations such as extra-judicial killings, illegal arrests and forced evacuation.

This is exemplified by the killings of Berta Caceres and Nelson Garcia, both members of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH) and staunch defenders of indigenous peoples’ lands and rights against imperialist aggression and plunder. Nelson Garcia was gunned down less than two weeks after the assassination of Berta Caceres, a 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize awardee. We demand justice for the brutal killings of Garcia and Caceres and for all those who stood against imperialist plunder of the environment.

The aggressive assault of imperialism against the people will intensify as the global economic and financial crisis is bound to get worse. At the same time, people all over the world will rise in greater numbers against the atrocities, destitution, and environmental destruction caused by imperialist powers and their local reactionaries.

Affected peoples and communities, environmental advocates, climate change campaigners, people’s scientists, and anti-imperialist activists are primed to strengthen and expand global movements, assert people’s rights over our natural resources, resist imperialist plunder, and make imperialism pay for its crimes against humanity and the environment.

More than ever, imperialism is being unmasked as an unsustainable path for the planet and its people. To arrest the unprecedented damage being caused to the planet, as well as the looming impacts of global warming, we need to put an end to monopoly capital’s dominance and replace it with a socially just, equitable, and environmentally sound system that puts people’s needs and the judicious use of resources at the heart of production.