Environmental Protection: Anarcho-Syndicalism

Environmental Protection: Anarcho-Syndicalism

The state, props up the capitalist system, and while it is largely powerless to alleviate environmental destruction it in itself is also a major cause of ecological degradation, funding huge environmentally destructive projects such as dam buildings or weapons manufacture and testing.

Environmental Protection: Anarcho-Syndicalism

AKM Shihab

Capitalism, in its quest for profits, has led us to a point where there are several global environmental catastrophes on the horizon: global warming, dead zones in the oceans, mass extinctions, etc. Capitalism is the problem, not the solution to environmental problems. Capitalism is pushing the planet’s ecosystem to the brink of destruction.

The state, props up the capitalist system, and while it is largely powerless to alleviate environmental destruction it in itself is also a major cause of ecological degradation, funding huge environmentally destructive projects such as dam buildings or weapons manufacture and testing.

The state is a structure created to allow the minority of bosses and rulers to dominate and exploit us, the workers. The state will not willingly enforce strong environmental protection laws against the bosses because it does not want to cut into the profits of the bosses and into its own tax revenue. In addition, the rulers of the state are afraid that strong environmental laws will chase away investors.

We reject the idea that the environment can be saved by means of the state, or by electing a Green Party. Green Parties always talk radical when in opposition, such as in the UK, but act the same as other parties when in power, as can be seen in Belgium, and also Germany where the government of which the Greens were a part backed nuclear waste transports and mobilized 20,000 police against protesting residents.

Capitalism has created a situation where the minority benefits by the massive exploitation of the vast majority of humanity. The continued existence of the richest class is one of the main problems facing the planet. The lifestyles maintained by the vast majority of richest Class people are incompatible with humanity’s continued ability to inhabit this planet. The eco-footprint of Richest Class populations is many times that of Poorest Class populations. Because production is concentrated in the Poorest Class, it is the people there who suffer most from poisoned environments. The Poorest Class pays the price for the consumption and waste of the Richest Class. Capitalism, and the continued existence of the Richest Class, is incompatible with the survival of the planet. This is yet another reason to wipe the Richest Class off the map. Our survival necessitates revolution.

What kind of revolution?

A positive, radical reorganization of society is not going to happen under capitalism. Also, utopian schemes like state based socialism and Greenism, while well-meaning, are completely ineffectual and unrealistic. It is only by resolving the principal contradiction between the Richest Class and the Poorest Class in our favor that we can move to resolve other contradictions. The struggle against the Richest Class by the Poorest Class masses is the only struggle that can unleash the social energy to make social revolution and environmental revolution possible. The anti statism and Capitalism struggle is the key that unlocks other movements. This has been shown over and over again in the last half-century of revolution.

The only realistic way to achieve fundamental, lasting environmental change is to defeat Capitalism and abolished state power system. Then, the Anarcho-syndicalism can push forward with social and environmental revolution. Libertarian Communism is the path to communism in the current epoch. Thus, Libertarian Communists are the real environmentalists. No movement is objectively greener than Libertarian Communism. Those whose concerns center on environmental issues should support the libertarian Communist global mass movement against the Richest Class as the best vehicle for addressing their concerns.

In the past, revolutionaries did not fully understand the role that environmental revolution played in socialist construction. Socialist societies have a mixed record on the environment. Socialist societies had successes as well as failures. Like capitalism, past attempts at socialism were dominated by a productionist outlook that pitted humanity against nature. This outlook saw greater and greater production, greater domination of nature, as the key to human happiness. This outlook is connected to the revisionist Theory of Productive Forces that sees socialism as mainly a matter of development of productive forces, particularly, advances in technology. The Theory of Productive Forces is also the theory behind Richest Classism, the various theories that claim that there is a Richest Class proletariat. Libertarian Communism rejects the Theory of Productive Forces, including the view that human happiness is connected to dominating an enemy, hostile natural Class. Instead, libertarian Communism understands human society as a part of the natural Class, not something that is separate, above and opposed to nature. Libertarian Communism understands that protecting natural systems, sustaining the natural Class, will be a part of any future socialist construction. The Anarcho-syndicalism involves sustainable development, and protecting and preserving nature. After all, the survival of the human species, including proletariat itself, is linked to sustaining our environment.

A libertarian communist society will help the environment in three ways. First, the capitalist/state system that was the main cause of environmental problems, a system oriented to profit and power, will be replaced by a society based on need-satisfaction and grassroots democracy. Secondly, the excessive levels of consumption by the ultra-rich will be eliminated altogether, as will the idea that happiness can only be gained by buying more and more useless commodities. Finally, the workers will be able to install (and further develop) the ecologically sustainable technologies that the bosses currently suppress.


The Earth is facing a serious environmental crisis with potentially catastrophic results. The environmental crisis has been created by the twin institutions of capitalism and the State. The working class has a direct interest in fighting to halt the environmental crisis as it the main victim of this crisis. By contrast the capitalist class profits from the crisis, and capitalist businesses are forced to continually expand and destroy the environment since if they did not, profits would fall and they would be bought up or go bust. Mass action against the capitalists and the State is the only effective way to fight the environmental crisis in the short-term. The only effective long-term solution to the crisis is the replacement of capitalism and the State by a society where production is organized not for profit, but democratically in the interests of all people and the planet – by a libertarian communist or anarchist society. General workplace and community organization will play a central role in fighting and winning the battle to end the environmental crisis, and its causes. Because, Anarcho-syndicalists see the world as their country, humanity as their family, they reject all political and national frontiers and aim to unmask the arbitrary eco-violence of all governments.

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