“Climate migrants”, victims of the capitalist leadership of (…)

The effects of climate change

Four years ago, the newspaper The Guardian revealed that many farmers who depend on small farms, from Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua, fled their country due to chronic drought. In Central America, the focus on drug dealer violence overshadows the bigger picture: Many people have nothing to eat and move because of food insecurity. If social violence and poverty are the factors most often put forward to deal with what the bourgeoisie calls the “migration problem”, the economic and political difficulties that force many people to leave, temporarily or permanently, are more important. Worse further aggravated by climate change and soil degradation.

By 2020, 41 million new displacements were recorded in 149 countries, with three-quarters of departures due to environmental disasters. The previous year was already a record with 1,900 disasters and 30 million displacements in 140 countries. 5 million of them were unable to return to their homes afterwards, according to the report from the Observatory of Internal Displacement Situations (IDMC). Meanwhile, there are half as many refugees in the UN sense. The situation is unlikely to improve, as projected by 2050, which predicts up to 143 million people fleeing the effects of climate change (3% of sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America).

To these data we need to add the diversity of the situation of migrants, not all of which are final. The migrations caused by the rise in sea level under the effect of the melting of the ice, which in itself is induced by the global warming of the oceans, will be final. But people whose cities have been devastated by meteorological disasters, such as the passage of hurricanes, will be able to return to their homes after some time. The unknown remains the period over which these periods of exile are spread, varying according to the context and level of development of the countries where the environmental disasters take place, such as floods, fires and other devastating storms, which are already more and more. more frequently. It is such tragedies that the Pakistanis are experiencing, which this month suffered from heavy rains, which ravaged the infrastructure of the cities and which in mid-July killed more than 150 people. If military orders rise on the Indian subcontinent, the infrastructure to deal with environmental damage is lacking. This is not an exception. Of the twenty countries considered to be most vulnerable to climate change, twelve are in a conflict situation, as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) pointed out when analyzing the situation in southern Iraq, northern Mali and the Central African Republic.

An environmental crisis that is exacerbating social inequalities across the globe

As always, it is above all the poorest populations that bear the full burden of the consequences of climate change. The recent report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services shows that 70% of the world’s poorest people are directly dependent on wild plants and animals for food and heat. The likely extinction of one million species therefore highlights the insecurity of hundreds of millions of people.

The images of “environmental migrants” are often agitated in rich countries such as the United States or EU states to raise awareness of the human difficulties caused by global warming. They are also often exploited by the staff of the bourgeoisie, especially the far right, to boost xenophobic discourse and other nonsense about the “great compensation”. However, if a large number of people are led to leave their homes and seek refuge in another country, this country is often a border country: Migration from countries in the south to countries in the north concerns only a small part of migration flows worldwide. And many other people are in such a precarious situation that they do not even have the opportunity to protect themselves from the effects of environmental damage and are forced to stay put due to lack of funds. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew left 13% of the Haitian population devastated, or 1.5 million people, 800,000 of whom suffered from food shortages for weeks. Only a few tens of thousands have been able to access temporary shelters for security. The climatic disaster has also exacerbated the cholera epidemic. In the future, countries like Haiti will suffer, still as poor, from meteorological disasters that will become more and more frequent due to the impact of climate change on wind and precipitation.

The issue of migration due to climatic disasters and slower climate change processes such as desertification, with all the inequalities that these phenomena highlight, is a class issue. And so far, it is the capitalist class that is managing the climate crisis with the greatest disregard for human life.

Dealing with the environmental crisis will be international and socialist, or it will not be

On the international stage, we can boast of providing solutions, such as the “Agenda for the Protection of Displaced Persons Displaced by Disasters and Climate Change”, adopted by 109 states in October 2015, or the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 -2030. However, the international framework is extremely limited, and the authority with regard to “managing migration flows” lies with the states. Therefore, all these resolutions, which are supposed to improve the preparation and capacity of states to intervene in cross-border disasters in disasters, do not hide the borders represented by borders and state policies aimed at protecting them. This is illustrated by the recent tragedy in Melilla, in which 37 migrants of African descent died during an attempt by almost 2,000 of them to enter the Spanish enclave located in northern Morocco. They died as they tried to cross the iron fences built to prevent them from entering the European Union.

If the existence of borders tenfold the difficulties of migrants, they are more generally a brake on dealing with the effects of climate change in itself. Where the bourgeoisie needs nation states to defend their economic and political interests and ravage the entire planet, humanity needs global coordination to meet the challenge of preserving the environment, ravaged by decades of capitalist exploitation of resources. The nature of the climate problem makes it impossible to solve the climate crisis state by state, as the sovereignists, right and left, want us to believe. In this anarchic context, any “international resolution” can only be parasitized and rendered inactive by the interests of the national bourgeoisie, often the most powerful.

Capitalism at its imperialist stage is sowing war and misery all over the world, and its carelessness in the very survival of mankind in the face of an increasingly serious environmental crisis leaves us with no choice but to overthrow, to put an end to this system that plunders the planet. human and natural wealth. And we have the material basis for coordinating globally in this globalized society, where capital, ideas and goods circulate freely, but where the total freedom to move has not yet been conquered. This lack of freedom of movement forces millions of people to continue living in their home country or to risk their lives to settle elsewhere. More than ever, it remains a priority in the fight for revolutionary militants.

Martin Eraud

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