The Disaster in Australia and a World on Fire—What Is To Be Done?



Wildfires unprecedented in their ferocity and size have been ravaging widespread areas of Australia. The fires have burnt an area larger than the countries of Belgium and Denmark combined. The largest of the fires measures 1.5 million acres—and this is just one of some 135 separate wildfires now burning. At this writing, 28 people have died in these fires, thousands of homes have been destroyed, and an estimated one billion animals have been killed, including one-third of the koalas in the state of New South Wales. Smoke from the fires has caused air quality to reach 11 times the “hazardous” level in large parts of Australia, including some major cities.

Australia has been going through one of its worst droughts in decades. In a record-breaking December heatwave, some places reached 113-120 degrees Fahrenheit. All this is definitely linked to global climate change, which is fueled especially by the massive emission of greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide, or CO2) into the Earth’s atmosphere under the capitalist-imperialist system. As environmental scientists have been warning with increasing urgency, climate change is already causing more frequent and violent extreme weather events like droughts, monster storms, and killer heatwaves—and myriad other types of environmental damage.

The wildfires in Australia conjure up the nightmarish image of a “world on fire”—literally. It’s a preview of much, much worse to come—if the way human society is organized now remains fundamentally the same as it is. We are facing a crisis of existential dimensions—threatening the ecosystems of the planet and life itself.

A Regime Plunging Humanity Toward Disaster

As Australia burned, the Trump/Pence fascist regime—heading up the country that is historically the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases among the world powers—announced a major attack on clean air and water protections. The regime intends to gut a 50-year-old “landmark” environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act. Trump’s move would free major infrastructure projects—highways, bridges, pipelines, and other big federal construction across the country—from environmental review. This is on top of nearly 100 environmental “rollbacks” since Trump became president—and his withdrawal of the U.S. from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

If the fires engulfing Australia are a preview of rapidly approaching “hell on Earth,” the U.S. under the Trump/Pence regime is acting in a way that will get us there even faster.

The Democrats Have No Answer

And what about the supposed would-be saviors of the Democratic Party? Nancy Pelosi announced a day after Trump’s move that “the House is taking action” to protect the environment. In actual fact, the Democrats in the House had voted to pass things like major funding bills and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) revisions, while agreeing with Republicans to take out even minor environmental-protection provisions from the bills. This caused even supporters and congresspeople within the Democratic Party to break ranks.

In fact, relying on the Democrats to get to the heart of the problem is a toxic illusion. The Democrats have no actual solution—because they are also representatives of a system that is driven by the competitive pursuit of profit and more profit and by the rivalry between great powers for global control and dominance. As Bob Avakian says in BAsics 1:29:

This system and those who rule over it are not capable of carrying out economic development to meet the needs of the people now, while balancing that with the needs of future generations and requirements of safeguarding the environment. They care nothing for the rich diversity of the earth and its species, for the treasures this contains, except when and where they can turn this into profit for themselves....These people are not fit to be the caretakers of the earth.

The Need for Another Way

In fact, humanity needs—and urgently needs—a whole other social system to deal with the existential threat of climate change. The framework for this is the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian. We invite and challenge all who feel the seriousness and urgency of the situation to grapple with the excerpts of that Constitution, here.

In this December 30, 2019, aerial photo, wildfires rage under plumes of smoke in Bairnsdale, Australia, east of Melbourne. Smoke from the ongoing firestorm in Australia is obscuring skies halfway around the world. The fires have pumped hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into Earth's atmosphere. Photo: AP

More than 1 billion animals have been killed in Australia fires. Photo: AP

In the past few weeks, massive fires have turned Australia into a vision of hell, and the Trump/Pence fascist regime has moved to gut one of the main environmental protections within the U.S.…while the Democrats have done nothing but posture. But there is a real way out. Watch here:

Bob Avakian on the destruction of the planet by capitalism-imperialism...AND the solution

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CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America
(Draft Proposal)

Authored by Bob Avakian, and adopted by the Central Committee of the RCP

Read and Download the Constitution (PDF)

“How Would a Revolutionary Socialist Society Address the Environmental Emergency?
Excerpts from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

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