Radicalize Earth Day

Profits Rise, Nature Dies


Fifth Estate # 333, Winter, 1990

As can be seen in this issue’s “Revolution Against the Megamachine” and past Fifth Estate articles, we support the environmental movement becoming a revolutionary movement. Only through such a transformation can it begin to adequately challenge the ecological and social relationships which threaten this planet. To that end, we endorse the idea of radicalizing the 20th anniversary of Earth Week scheduled for April 16 to 22, 1990. The attempt to fashion it as a domesticated spectacle has already begun with every hack politician, mainstream institution and even notorious polluters declaring allegiance to the 1990s as the “Environmental Decade,” all the while planning business as usual. These fakes are preparing to make it a week of festivities celebrating “concern” for the earth and the system’s ability to fix its problems.

We at the Fifth Estate intend to be active in Detroit asserting the opposite contention: that the wreckage of the biosphere comes directly from the operation of the capitalist system and not from “ill-advised policies,” “lack of information about sound alternatives to pollution” or the like.

Industrial petrochemical production—the cornerstone of world capitalism (even when labeled “socialism”)—is incompatible with an ecologically viable world. Programs of recycling, “corporate responsibility,” or “ecological awareness” will not stop the devastation which is forever increasing across the world. The Megamachine always wants more—more of the rainforests, more oil and ore exploration, more extraction, more production, more building and development—more destruction of the natural world and the transformation of all that is sensuous and wild into a thing which can be bought and sold.

Every moment we wait, more is chopped down and destroyed. Each time we equivocate, we give that much more ground to the logic of the Megamachine. No compromise is possible with the Industrial Monster—each contending side wants it all. Everything must be either on its terms or ours. Industrial civilization’s course will finish off the earth’s capacity to support the ecosystems now existing; ours contains the possibility of a turn towards restoring a natural integrity and the proper balance within nature and between species. Let’s state our desires and clearly say what the earth demands to restore itself. To fight for anything less allows the juggernaut to continue rolling.

The possibilities for radical actions during Earth week are numerous, limited only by the boundaries of imagination. Any variety of demonstration, direct action, educational or cultural campaign that focuses on the financial and government institutions responsible for destroying the environment and maintaining injustice will promote a widening anti-capitalist perspective.

For instance, the national Youth Greens have called for an action to “Shut Down Wall Street” on Monday, April 23 to bring attention to the hub of capitalist finance as the motor force of this deadly system. Although we have our disagreements with the Greens, we support this action and urge people to participate either in New York City or through similar local demonstrations. Contact the Youth Greens at P.O. Box 1737, New Brunswick, NJ 08903.

We urge people across the country to begin planning for the Spring events as soon as possible and in a manner which acts out an anti-capitalist, anti-statist world view. A green world and a free people depend upon it.

War on the Contaminators!