Many people wonder why it is so difficult to make progress dealing with the environmental crises which face us, especially climate change. The movement has had many small victories but not enough to make a fundamental difference.
Why is this true? Polling has revealed that in many countries, including the United States, majorities have some understanding of environmental problems, and indicate they favor some type of action to respond to them. But year after year the political will to take on the crises is absent. One big reason is the near-total opposition of the capitalist class, which protects its existing investments unless forced to change course. But part of the reason is the political system in the United States which is totally dominated by two parties, both devoted to the capitalist system. That is not to say there is no difference between the two parties or that a handful of politicians (primarily in the Democratic Party) don’t want to take action. However, these few individuals remain subordinated to the capitalist system by remaining in their political parties. The influence of capitalism even extends into our movement because of the two-party system. The monopoly of the two-party system gives credence to lesser evilism which says the Democrats are the best we can do, the so-called “left wing of the possible.” And if we don’t support the Democrats, the Republicans will win and that will be terrible.
The results of all this are twofold. First, there is an enormous disconnect between the system’s agenda and the policies actually needed to address the crises. Second, the two-party system keep radical voices and fundamental solutions out of the public discourse. For every Bernie Sanders who identifies as a socialist there are 49 Democratic Party politicians who daily pledge allegiance to capitalism, even as it threatens to extinguish the material basis for a decent future on Earth.
There is no question we need an alternative political party that agrees with the radical politics of System Change Not Climate Change, a party that will give voice to those policies and contest for political power on the basis of those policies.