Freedom Road Socialist Organization stands with working people on the West Coast who are threatened by the massive wildfires that have taken scores of lives. Dozens more are missing and feared dead and thousands of homes were destroyed. We encourage FRSO members in California, Oregon and Washington to assist in whatever way possible in efforts that ensure the safety of your neighbors and contribute to pro-people recovery efforts. It is important to combat the fearmongering around the fires that is happening in the service of a cynical right-wing political agenda.
There is nothing natural about the disaster that is engulfing the West Coast, it is the product of climate change, which in turn has been created by capitalism. A decade of hotter and drier summers, lower levels of winter precipitation and rapid spring melt outs has created fuel for the fires. Large, extremely hot fires are in turn reshaping the ecosystems that they ravage. In some areas even jack pine seeds, which normally thrive on fire, are being killed by the intensity of the infernos. In some places, what was once forest is being replaced by grassland. That means that the trees that are so necessary to clean carbon dioxide from the air will not be coming back, leaving more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to fuel warming.
Big business, in particular the fossil fuel industry, have economic interest in blunting measures that would slow or roll back climate change. Capitalism rewards a greedy few and encourages short-term thinking in order to maximize profits today. The result is a world that is growing hotter, has more extreme weather events, and is posing an existential threat to life as we know it and possibly even to humanity.
In the White House, the main political representative of monopoly capitalism is steadfast in his opposition to science, and blabbers about “raking the forest.” That kind of ridiculous commentary and denial of science is not funny when whole towns are being burned to the ground.
Every progressive person should support government assistance to help the people of the West Coast battle this disaster and rebuild their lives. The wealthy that run this country have plenty of money; they can be taxed and made to pay for this crisis.
Our movements need to insist that government needs to get serious about addressing climate change. Trump has no intention of doing that and that is one of the many reasons he needs to go. That said, we will need to stay in the streets no matter who is elected to force a serious battle against climate change.
Capitalism is a failed system. It is destroying our planet for the profits of a few. There is no hope to stop climate change in the context of the chaotic market-driven forces of capitalism. The sooner the powerful and privileged are overthrown, and socialism – a system where everything is done to improve people’s lives – replaces it, the better it will be.