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(en) Slovakia, priama akcia: Statement of Priama Akcia Union Regarding Climate Strike [machine translation]

Date Wed, 2 Oct 2019 10:28:53 +0300

In the last few months the global climate change movement has made a significant step and approached the workers. One of the first results is the Climate Strike taking place on 20th September. In the struggle against the climate catastrophe, the workers' movement faces a challenge it has to deal with. Although the challenge is not new, it requires greater attention than before. ---- We can already feel the effects of the climate crisis today. In Slovakia, nine out of ten warmest years since 1872 were recorded after 2000. We can already see the temperatures rising, rainfall dropping, more droughts and a lower availability of water resources. ---- If nothing changes, according to the Ministry of Environment, Slovakia will face temperatures rising by 2-4 °C, prolonged periods of drought in the summer and autumn months associated with water shortages, further drop in rainfall and soil humidity in the south of Slovakia and on the contrary a rise in rainfall in the north. We are also threatened by a decrease of soil fertility and agricultural production, a decrease or loss of biodiversity, warmer winters, more frequent winter floods and 30-50 percent less water resources by the end of the century. However, this count is not complete and we have not even mentioned at all the economic, social and political problems that the climate change will bring.

Fundamental Question: What Is The Cause?

If we want to stop and reverse the catastrophe we are heading into, we need to know its causes.

We often hear that "we", "human activity" or "people" are responsible. We understand why these phrases are used - to underline that the current development is not a result of natural processes. On the other hand, however, stating that this is the cause is not enough. It can lead to erroneous notions that if we change "our" customer behavior (and the government takes a few measures), everything will be just fine.

We do not agree with the opinion that humanity as a whole and its way of life, is responsible for the crisis. In our opinion, climate crisis is caused by capitalism as an economic system based on wage labor, private ownership of the means of production (land, factories, machinery, offices...), and production for exchange and profit.

The key in this context is mainly the latter - production for profit. Today, production is not based on needs and desires of most people on the planet. It is based on a vision of profit which is currently chained to the fossil fuel economy. So, capitalism has not only been unable to offer a decent life to a large part of the world population, but it also pushes us faster and faster towards a global catastrophe.

A Question Worth a Million (More Years For People on Earth): What Is The Solution?

It is quite hard to grasp the numerous proposals which are being mentioned. In our opinion, we should focus on those measures which emphasize the broadening, not curtailing of our freedoms, weaken the individualistic approach and promote the collective use of resources. Let's pay attention to the effects of the proposed solutions on power relations, who they favor, who they affect most and if, accidentally, they do not simply serve to save the system based on inequality.

As for ourselves, we do not wish to participate in promoting measures which will eventually backfire on us, working people. Real solutions have to stem from the bottom, from local communities independent from the influence of business and politics.

The September climate strike can be the first real strike people from all over the world join from the position of workers. It reminds us that paralyzing the economy can be a tool to achieve changes related not only to economic demands, but also political, social and environmental. As for the climate strike, some aspects could be criticized but we see it as a test which can open a discussion. This is just the beginning.

Solidarity Workers' Union Priama Akcia,
Slovak Section of the International Workers' Association

Priama Akcia-Direct action is a solidarity association of workers,
which focuses on solving problems
in the workplace and in the community, and on organizing solidarity actions for the rights and requirements of
workers in Slovakia and abroad. Since 2000 it has been a section of the International Workers' Association (MAP), which currently brings together unions and groups from 17 countries around the world.

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