Individual consumption or organised resistance?

By Lisa de Leeuw

It’s misleading to give people the idea that the climate problem can be solved by changing what and how we consume or adopting a different lifestyle. In doing so, individuals  with no real political power are accepting the guilt and the responsibility for a problem created by others. An economic system in which polluting the environment is profitable and major corporations are adept at making use of this, that is the real problem. That system must be tackled.

Personal consumption will not take power away from big capital or change the economic  system that’s destroying our earth. Personal consumption isn’t a political act and isn’t political resistance. In fact, it’s counterproductive.  Without addressing the real problem all those good consumer intentions will achieve little. At most it will produce disillusioned people and thus damage the movement for real change.

To solve the climate problem that’s precisely what’s needed: a movement from below for a just economy, one which serves people and the environment, rather than people and the environment serving it.

This short but powerful statement first appeared, in the original Dutch, on the website of ROOD – jong in de  SP , the youth movement affiliated to the Socialist Party of the Netherlands