by Baby Buffalo
March 26, 2011, is the day when many people of the First World will turn off lights and electronic devices that are deemed “unnecessary” for one hour. Earth Hour, an event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF,) is a time to reflect on global class analysis. Earth Hour shows how little the people of the First World are willing to do in order to make a positive change for our planet: Turning off the lights for an hour — big deal. This lengthy and tortuous sixty minutes usually includes, for those few in the First World who even chose to participate, things such as playing Black Ops or checking stocks in the dark for a short while, or perhaps driving somewhere before turning on the lights again. And when the lights come back on, they get to feel good about themselves. They get to congratulate themselves on being green.
Earth Hour does very little to really help the environment; it is insignificant. We must understand the true extent of the problems facing our environment, where these problems comes from, and what a real solution looks like. The problem is that our planet is dying. The capitalist-imperialist system is killing her. The First World is the culprit in this murder mystery. Imperialist corporations and First World consumers are leading us over the environmental abyss. It is no secret that the First World uses a colossal amount of energy, the most on the planet, far more than their fair share. The First World produces the most waste. The First World consumes the most and wastes the most, all at the expense of the Third World. The Third World is paying the price. And this is the tip of the iceberg. For many in the Third World, those who lack electricity, every hour is Earth Hour. This is even obvious to the reactionaries at the Ayn Rand Institute:
“Participants spend an enjoyable sixty minutes in the dark, safe in the knowledge that the life-saving benefits of industrial civilization are just a light switch away… Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about Earth Month… Try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or generators; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible.”
One quarter of the Third World has no access to electricity at all. For most in the Third World, every day is a life or death struggle.
Earth Day is nothing more than a stunt to make people in the First World feel less guilty about their rampant consumption and waste. Its impact in terms of saving the planet is almost zero. At the end of the day, when the lights come back on, the First World continues to rape our planet. The First World continues to consign the vast majority of humanity to utter poverty. The First World continues to make the Third World a repository for the nightmare of massive pollution and waste. Earth Hour is not even a band-aid solution. It is less than that. It is what some have called “sub-reformism.” It does not even rise to the level of reform. It is less about an actual solution and more about elevating guilt. Earth Hour is just another manifestation of the me-centered nature of First World peoples. They are more concerned with their self-image than about finding real solutions. It is similar in this respect to those in the First World who think that “dropping off the grid” is the way to wash themselves of any guilt for their privilege. In reality, “tune in, turn on, drop out,” like Earth Day, out does very little to really address the structural problems of our world. Making changes in our lives can help, but only in conjunction with a broader strategy of global people’s war. The real solution is Leading Light Communism, period.
The people of the First World are too busy double-checking Facebook, too busy shopping in malls, too busy with triviality and too busy spitting on stolen land. The vast majority in the First World will not truly revolutionize themselves to become Leading Lights and contributing members of human society. They will not rise to save the planet. They’re too busy destroying it. Marx discussed the the anarchy of capitalist production. Under capitalism, production is not organized around human need and sustainability. Instead, under capitalism, profit matters, not people. The First World gets rich. The Third World is annihilated. Capitalism and the First World way of life are not even sustainable. The First World owes a huge eco-debt to the Third World. By contrast, production under socialism and communism serve the people. Production needs to be sustainable. Human needs need to be balanced against the needs of our planet. Only Leading Light Communism can solve the madness facing our world.