Just as all the previous conferences were intended to pacify the public with the delusion of “progress,” so will COP21 accomplish nothing. That’s why demonstrating against the moral imbeciles who are its primary participants will also have no impact beyond filling the Paris jails. Nevertheless, the confrontation, useless in terms of fostering change, is enormously valuable for its three primary lessons.
The first and most obvious lesson of Paris is there is no longer any democracy on Planet Earth. Capitalism has destroyed it, either bribing it or beating it into abject submission. Hence democracy – or more correctly democratic process – is nothing more than a bad joke at the 99 Percent’s expense, precisely as the eerily prescient Karl Marx recognized 167 years ago. This tells us, or surely should tell us, that the only solution to climate change – as with all other human problems – is the relentless elimination of capitalism. But given capitalism’s godlike omnipotence – a truly savage omnipotence methodically perpetuated by unimaginably intrusive surveillance technologies and the deliberately sadistic deployment of brute force to reduce all human society to an electronic concentration camp – it is increasingly evident capitalism will rule until Mother Nature herself obliterates it by apocalypse. In that sense we need to start taking dead seriously a bumper-sticker that was popular in the U.S. Pacific Northwest during the late 1970s and early 1980s: “Goddess Is Coming and She Is Pissed.”
The second lesson of the Paris situation – a total ban on demonstrations with at least 200 resistors already imprisoned – is its answer to the question that has troubled so many of us for so long: why did the USian Empire and its innumerable satrapies, which include most of the world’s industrial nations, deliberately re-ignite the infinitely destructive flames of Islamic terrorism – the oldest and most deadly conflict in our species’ known history. The answer, as Ms. Klein implies, is clearly to provide the global One Percent with the rationale it needs to obliterate every vestige of human freedom, thus to impose the slave state that, given the growing shortages of natural resources, is capitalism’s only possible means of self-perpetuation.
The third lesson of Paris is in fact a subset of the first: that no present-day institution, whether governmental or entrepreneurial, can ever again be beneficently reformed from without. This means if we are to recover our species’ former humanitarianism – a trait or rather of constellation of traits that fostered our communal survival until the reversals of reality imposed by the advent of patriarchy some 5,000 years ago – we must do it separately from the extant order. In other words, if we truly want change, we need to be building our own societies – a project made terribly difficult, albeit not (yet) entirely impossible, by the secret police of the total surveillance state. In which context the most important prerequisite is recognition the opposite of community is not chaos but capitalism.