Black Liberation and the Climate Apocalypse

Christian Gines
Protest against General Iron in ChicagoAmerica is on fire. Yet, at the same time, it has been freezing. The contradictions are becoming barer and barer for the oppressed class to see. Climate change has devastated our environment to the point where Texas was colder than Alaska. The government left people to die. No electricity, no water, no heat, no food. Just each other. We are in the midst of a crisis, on a crisis, on a crisis. A year later, we are still dealing with a pandemic that has left 500,000+ people dead and millions more unemployed, houseless, or struggling to afford necessities. It is time to lose all hope in this system. The government has failed us. We have Joe Biden signing deals with Saudi Arabia, deporting thousands of migrants (predominantly from the African diaspora), supporting a dictatorship in Haiti, and dropping bombs in Somalia and Libya, but doing nothing to solve the crisis at home. His interventions abroad show that Amerikkka cannot function without exploitation and crisis. The imperialist corporations since 9/11 have convinced the world that war is necessary and beneficial. Nothing illustrates this better than the climate crisis. When the Amerikkkan military is a more significant polluter than 100 countries combined, there is an obvious solution to ending Climate Change: Ending the Amerikkkan Empire.

All of the terrors that we’ve seen in apocalyptic movies have already happened. We’ve known the facts. The people before us have known the facts. The corporations knew the facts. Tricky Dick knew the facts, and yet here we are, 50 years later. If we don’t do anything in the next 50 years, then estimates say that by 2070 there will be “2 billion to 3.5 billion people, mostly the poor… living in a climate that historically has been too hot to handle.”  The hardest-hit places will also be where Black people reside. Africa, a place where colonialism and neocolonialism have taken root,  will obviously be the hardest hit by climate change. When we look at the diaspora in Latin America, we see the effects of climate change on the people of Haiti, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. The impact of hurricanes and earthquakes has left colonized countries even more impoverished. In Amerikkka, we see what has happened in New Orleans, Flint, and Jackson, MS. I’m a Mississippian. I grew up just outside of Jackson, and I have witnessed not the mismanagement, but blatant disregard from state officials for Jackson’s problems. The Blackest city in the Blackest state has been subject to harsh conditions for years now. After 3 weeks of silence, it took national outcry before state officials decided they would speak out., Studies show that by 2070, the southern U.S. won’t even be inhabitable. Who resides in the South? The majority of the Black population.

The problems of climate change and ecological disaster will disproportionately affect us. We will have to solve the issue ourselves, even though we never even had a role to play in it in the first place. The “we are all in this together” approach to climate change suggests that we even asked to be part of this project in the first place. The “we” of Black and African people have been dealing with the effects of anti-Blackness via the environment since the dawn of the Western Project, and the concerns have just been pushed to the side or completely ignored. Climate change was activated and advanced by the West through the enslavement and colonization of African people and continued through today’s imperialism and neo-colonization. The “we are all in this together” approach of solving climate change obscures the fact that we didn’t ask to be colonized or enslaved. We didn’t ask to create or be a part of an Empire. All we ever asked for was self-determination, and everywhere we tried to pursue that, especially in the name of scientific socialism, we were invaded or our leaders were killed. Some of us were brought over to Amerikkka and other places in the Global South, and now we are being left to die.

So, where does that leave us? “We are our own liberators.” We didn’t create these problems, and yet we are the only ones able to solve them. Only through scientific socialism can we solve the issue. As the winter storm has shown us, only through public ownership can people have and maintain access to power grids and running water. But what capitalism also shows us is that fossil fuels are not sustainable. We cannot just seize Shell and other multinational corporations, for they only exist to exploit and expropriate. We must end them altogether. We must end the reliance on fossil fuels. The end of capitalism has to mean the end of exploitation for people and for land. We cannot fall into the Imperial Green New Deal trap that perpetuates neo-colonialism abroad by exploiting land in the Global South.t The Green New Deal necessitates exploitation and resource extraction equivalent to what corporations do when extracting oil and wrecking ecosystems, poisoning land, and destroying habitats. The Democratic Party’s Green New Deal is another excuse for the U.S. to expand its military and capitalist Empire in the guise of fighting climate change. Ending capitalism and climate change can only happen if we end the exploitation of the Global South and end the Empire that has ended so many of our people’s lives already.

We must put an end to the Western project once and for all. The model of society that we live in is not sustainable. Since the Industrial Revolution, this was the logical conclusion. We live in the most advanced period in the world’s history, and yet this world only produces satisfaction and protection, and freedom for the very few. We live in a more worried society about trying to find a way to live on Mars than to make this world sustainable. The history of the European World, the history of the West, is a history of colonization and exploitation. Wherever they go, destruction, dehumanization, and degradation follow. As Indigenous and African civilizations have shown us, we are the land, and the land is a part of us. When the land dies, we do as well. That is why when we affirm The End of the World, we affirm the regeneration of the Earth. An Earth free from slave labor, from cis-hetero domination, from imperialism, from multinational corporations, surensumption, and dominance. We see the beauty of Revolution every day in our people. We see it in the mutual aid or de-colonization programs that we participate in. We see the possibilities of a revolutionary Black commune. The possibilities of Pan-African liberation. We cannot let Capitalism, anti-Blackness, and the cis-hetero-patriarchy limit our imagination on liberation and freedom. Destruction comes with building, and what we will build is “countless Afro-Futures.” The Revolution is coming. The Revolution has to come because I don’t know if I will have a future, and yet my future, our collective future, is the only thing worth fighting for. And to the ones fearing Revolution: we either die now, die in the future, or die in the Revolution. But one thing is for certain when we all rise in the name of Pan-African Liberation, Scientific Socialism, and Abolitionism, the world will crumble. And in that apocalypse, a more beautiful world will arise.

Christian Gines is a published student writer, poet, and activist whose writings discuss race within the Black community and its effect on Black youth.