Socialist Party
| Print

29 January 2020

Trump's trashing of the environment - Dump the capitalist profit system!

Simon Carter

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, US president Donald Trump attacked those calling for meaningful action to halt catastrophic, capitalist-induced climate change as "prophets of doom".

It's easy to dismiss such drivel as the ranting of a billionaire, birdbrain bigot. But Trump's one-line attack on environmentalists is driven by his association with the fossil-fuel industries, who bankrolled his 2016 presidential campaign, and more generally by his unqualified embrace of the capitalist profit system.

Since elected, he has rolled back environmental protection measures, allowing landowners, agribusiness, mining companies and coal-fired power stations, and so on, to dump more toxic waste in the waterways, rivers, streams and aquifers of the USA.

That means more arsenic and carcinogenic heavy metals being poured literally down the drains. Indeed, Trump's administration has removed federal government oversight of a least 60% of US waterways. This, despite the fact that millions of Americans are already exposed to unsafe drinking water.

And Trump's trashing of the environment goes on. He issued an order allowing a huge increase in logging of public forests on the spurious 'scientific' grounds that thinning forests would prevent more damaging fires. So instead of tacking global heating - which is driving more extreme weather events such as droughts, leading to more intensive fires - he promoted the financial interests of the logging industry.

Trump's pro-mining and logging messages are dressed up as 'job creation' measures in order to appeal to working-class communities suffering high unemployment. However, a genuine workers' government could create millions of new jobs through investment in sustainable alternative energy projects.

Trump's removal from office is urgent but the Republican majority in the Senate will ensure that the Democrats' impeachment of him will fail.

The Democrat leadership - with its neoliberal, Blairite policies, representing another branch of capitalism to the Republicans - failed in 2016 to defeat Trump with Hillary Clinton, their establishment candidate. Polls, then, suggested that that only Bernie Sanders with his left-leaning platform could have beaten Trump by attracting enough support from the working class and oppressed. But Sanders, having been outmanoeuvred by the Democrat establishment, backed Clinton instead of running as an independent.

In the upcoming presidential election primaries, Sanders is repeating the same mistake of running for the capitalist Democratic Party nomination. Although enthusing tens of

thousands with his campaign, and polls showing once again that he is frontrunner to beat Trump, he faces an uphill struggle to defeat establishment candidate Joe Biden and liberal Elizabeth Warren.

Whether he wins or loses the Democratic nomination, it's imperative that Sanders uses the platform he has built to mobilise the working class - particularly organised workers in the trade unions and those left activists currently supporting him - to break with the Democrats and forge an independent, mass working-class party, based on socialist ideas, to seriously challenge Trump and end capitalism.

That's the only way the pressing issues of climate change and organising sustainable production can be resolved in the interests of the overwhelming majority.