World Federation of Trade Unions Statement


August 12, 2021


On the occasion of the wildfires that occur every year worldwide, a wide debate has opened around so-called climate change and its tackling, also this year. According to bourgeois columnists and scientists, it is responsible for floods, fires, and all kinds of natural disasters, hiding the responsibilities of governments and business interests behind it.

Fires have always  occurred, especially in large forests, as part of the life cycle and the regeneration of the forest itself. But this is not enough to justify the same phenomenon in the same parts of the world.

They talk about “anthropogenic climate change” and show that the main factor is human activity in general. The logic of individual responsibility is deliberately cultivated here as well. But the only factor that can really contribute to or accelerate the climate change is the very action of monopolies, capitalism itself. For example they mark the plastic water bottles as responsible for the pollution at sea and try to leave out the No. 1 responsible for marine pollution, which is of course none other than the shipping companies.

We follow the scientific debate and conflicting views on both the extent, depth of the problem, the development rates of these changes, and the scientific tools for accurately identifying them. There are divergent estimates and predictions. We are also wary of predictions that either tend to be catastrophic or complacent, of “nothing is going on”. Because many of these surveys are funded and the data are presented according to the interests of large groups of monopolies, capitalist states and imperialist associations that often construct them according to their priorities and aspirations for where they want to “push” capitalist production in order to displace their competitors.

Within a week 6,900 wildfires were observed in Angola and 3,400 in the D. R. Congo. In these parts of the world, in contrast to Europe, why is there not the same mechanism of support between states that exists in Europe for the protection of the people and their property? In any case the response is in line with the dominant business interests. The answer is deeper and needs collective study by the class oriented trade-union movement. In our opinion the cause of the different response is in the use of the land. In the mineral-rich African region, forests are “unnecessary” for multinationals to build their mines, so fires are extinguished by themselves when they encounter a river or sea; in Europe the wildfires “are needed” as much as hotels can be built, but also not to destroy the beauty that will attract tourists.

In any case, this debate and struggle is open and the representatives of the class-oriented trade union movement participate in it responsibly, highlighting the popular interests that  coincide with the real rescue and protection of the environment, revealing that business groups and environmental protection are incompatible concepts, that only a society in which the natural wealth belongs to the people can ensure the protection of the environment.

The WFTU and the international trade union movement have to mount a daily struggle to increase the concern and interest of all workers in the protection of the natural environment in their region, in their country, in their continent and worldwide. To repel the crimes of the monopolies against the rivers, the forests, the sea, the mountains, the air, the flora and the fauna, we must expose the hypocritical interest of the capitalist states, which ostensibly sometimes agree and sometimes withdraw from international treaties that remain in words and on paper.

Only the struggle of the workers and the masses will protect the environment at all levels.