Why the climate crisis raises the question of power

An activist documentary that sums up the precarious situation and compares it to a radical ‘utopia’: a revolution starting in Germany in 2024. Photo: Labornet TV

A new documentary presents the premise that the climate crisis cannot be overcome without a revolution and the overthrow of the capitalist system. The movie also shows how this can be achieved.

The Roaring Spring documentary with an interlaced clip from “reflective fiction” is not another film about the impact of the climate crisis. You will search in vain for guidance on how to live in a neutral climate through technical solutions. The subtitle “Together Out of the Climate Crisis” is not a call for more sustainable living practices. The Roaring Spring spreads nothing but the overthrow of the capitalist system, through revolution.

According to the analysis of writer Joanna Schilhagen and those interviewed in the film, eg Andreas Malm, nothing else would make sense. In this logic, “green capitalism” is not part of the solution, but part of the problem, because it cannot slow down the logic of capitalism’s growth and thirst for resources.

The film is 62 minutes long and will be shown for the first time on August 2, 2022 at Cinema Tonneau in Berlin-Weißensee.

There is already a lot of criticism of capitalism from the climate movement, but the climate movement hardly gives any idea how to bring about change in the system. This is the point at which the ‘Noisy Spring’ begins and incorporates elements from different labor movements. Revolution in the Marxist sense means workers’ control of the means of production. This is the only way to stop the destructive overproduction of capitalism.

“As winners, we are forced to participate in an economy that is destroying life on Earth,” says author Joanna Schilhagen. At the same time, human labor is also where the capitalist system depends on the great masses of people. And that’s exactly why it’s so important to bring the climate rebellion into the workplace. Die hier aufgezeigte Idee der Revolution, die von Arbeiter:innen wie sozialen Bewegungen ausgehen und in einer Selbstorganisation etwa in Stadtteilversammlungen und übernommenen Betrieben münden soll, folgt wohl am ehesten postoperaistischen Ideen (einer marxistischen Strömung, die antistaatlich und auf den Kampf gegen die Fabrikarbeit fokussiert he is).

The Labornet TV collective, to which writer Joanna Schilhagen belongs, has produced several documentaries about labor disputes. It often has to do with struggles that arose outside the big unions, such as the organizing of “cyclists” – food delivery workers on bicycles – or the strikes of migrant warehouse workers in Italy.

The current film also makes no reference to the role of trade unions in combating the climate crisis, perhaps because there is not much to say about it and at least German trade unions have always supported the capitalist growth model on which industrial jobs depend. are based.

The writer’s voice accompanies us throughout the film from the beginning and at the beginning explains her personal motives:

I have been photographing strikes and social movements for 20 years and I am long overdue in realizing what the catastrophe of climate change is. When the exchange rate finally fell, I decided I wanted to try to transfer everything I had learned from the striking workers to the climate movement.

The following images from the Paris climate conference, the devastation caused by the mining of fossil raw materials and the severe weather are brief, and there is no need for long explanations here that the world is heading toward disaster.

This quickly raises the question of why governments, if recognizing the problem, would do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – because these have not gone down since the start of the climate conferences, but are up 60 percent. Only a few numbers show how serious the mismatch between statements of intent and action is.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), approximately $200 billion in fossil fuels are extracted annually in the G20 countries alone. Other studies come up with much higher amounts. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), direct and indirect subsidies to coal, gas and oil (including the costs of damage to health and the environment) will reach $5.9 trillion in 2020, money that the country must also raise. Countries. According to the intergovernmental organization IRENA, only $128 billion was made available for renewable energies in 2017. At the same time, states help fossil fuel companies, as evidenced by the example from Colombia, in order to advance projects against the population, if necessary using military force (para. ).

Despite these inconvenient facts, countries are selling the promise of green capitalism and talking about a technological solution to the climate problem. However, green capitalism will not solve resource scarcity, there are new environmental problems and neo-colonial exploitation, says economist and activist Matthias Schmelzer.

Parts of the climate movement, such as “Ende Gelände,” are highly critical of green capitalism and advocate not only lower consumption of fossil energy, but also growth in general. Despite great popularity and public perception, the climate movement has a blind spot, as the author sees it: How to build the power to transform? It is at this point that her view turns to workers, with the initially formulated thesis that labor is the weak point of capitalism.

Prospects for the next climate uprising

At this point, the film moves into a fictional segment, a fictional uprising that takes place in the year 2024. The interviewees are now fictitious as black-and-white animations talking about their role in the revolutionary upheaval. At the same time, these fictitious people seem quite original, not only because they speak different languages, but also because their reports are based on experiences from previous protest movements around the world.

We do not know exactly what caused the revolutionary uprising of 2024. However, in the course of this, a large number of people are giving up their jobs and looking for new and meaningful jobs, for example in hospitals or day care centres. While coal workers initially went on strike, employees of Berlin’s energy supply continued to operate and contemplated restructuring. But first, they are bringing power outages to indebted private households. (Unfortunately, the film lags behind current developments regarding the security of supplies mentioned through long-term gas supply contracts with Russia).

People dedicate themselves to building societal structures such as canteens, renovating empty houses, and reorganizing the food supply, as illegal workers in southern Europe are also drawn to the revolution. Unfortunately, the film only briefly touched on the repression that would inevitably follow the mass uprisings, the occupation of factories, and how to deal with them.

Revolution and thus the restoration of decision-making power are the two prerequisites for the ability to find a way out of the climate crisis. Through this decision-making power, the excessive production of useless things can be stopped and labor can be moved to the areas where under-employment and exploitation prevail today.

But how do we get to the revolution and what does this knowledge mean for the climate movement? Agnieszka Mroz, an Amazon worker who was interviewed, complains that the workers have not yet been able to participate because they only come in after work, but they need that time to reproduce. She calls for regulation in companies so they can discuss the climate crisis. So regulation could be a stepping stone to expanding the climate movement.

Finally, there is the call for strategic thinking. You should know how to organize the local show so that you can take over if necessary. Applications to certain companies may also be placed for strategic reasons. Even the police and the army are not excluded in order to be able to contribute to laying down arms at the crucial moment.

The specific solution may leave many questions unanswered. However, it has become clear that in order to find a way out of the climate crisis, the systemic question must not only be asked, but addressed in an offensive way. In the film, activists from the climate movement and labor struggles speak, movement icons such as human geographer and author Andreas Malm, professor of environmental economics and IPCC author Julia Steinberger, and exiled Argentine anti-fracking activist. Esteban Servat, as well as several whose names have not been mentioned for understandable reasons.

“The Loud Spring” will be shown on August 2, 2022 at the Cinema Tonio in Berlin-Weisensee. Then it will run from 4 to 10 August at Lichtblickkino in Berlin. More performance dates across Europe can be found here.

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