‘The stewardship of land and labor falls to the working class’

By John Steele
and Joe Young
October 21, 2019

MONTREAL — Pierre-Luc Filion, Communist League candidate in the Montreal riding of Longueuil-St. Hubert, and Steve Penner, CL candidate in the federal riding of Papineau in Montreal, and a number of supporters went to the “climate crisis” rally here Sept. 27. They spoke with workers and students about how rapacious capitalist competition for profit is the driving force behind damage to the environment, and that the working class is the only force capable of ending it. 

The event had all the trappings of a government-sponsored affair. The school boards closed schools and many students were organized by teachers to attend the event, in some cases receiving free lunches. The city provided free public transportation. 

“They have to do something,” Nicole Biernocik, a student from Concordia University, told Filion. “The situation is irreversible.”

“It isn’t irreversible,” replied Filion. “The bosses and their profit system are responsible. It’s not in their class interests to stop attacking workers and nature. We can do something — the working class can organize and build unions to fight for workers control of production. This is the road both to safe working conditions on the job and to take steps against the rape of the environment. To end it once and for all working people need to take political power.” 

Komal Mohite, a McGill University student from Mumbai, India, said she agreed when Penner explained, “It’s not possible to wage an effective fight against capitalism’s poisoning of the earth’s land, water and air unless the world’s toilers unite in an international movement.

“It can’t be done on the basis of the reactionary call by the Climate Strike Canada organizers to ban fossil fuels,” said Penner. “This would mean turning our backs on the over 800 million workers and peasants in Asia, Africa and other areas underdeveloped by imperialism that need energy to develop electricity, modern industry and open the door to culture and politics.”

Mohite said, “There are hundreds of millions of people in India alone in exactly that kind of situation.” 

Communist League campaigners featured New International no. 14, which includes a statement by the Socialist Workers Party, “The Stewardship of Nature Also Falls to the Working Class: In Defense of Land and Labor.” It explains how these questions developed historically and outlines the SWP’s program.

“Green politics,” it says, leads “away from the fight for independent working-class political action and the conquest of power by workers and farmers — the only road to peace and to the effective defense of labor and the earth’s land, waters and atmosphere.”