In the space of a few decades, among universal disregard, the relationship of human societies with the future has been abruptly reversed. Expectations of a progressive improvement in living conditions, brought about by continuous technological progress and economic growth, have vanished.
The trust relationship between people and historical time, born with the contemporary age, has been shattered. Threatening clouds are looming over the future with increasing speed. And among the looming things to come, the list of announced disasters can only be frightening.
Take, for instance, the Larsen B glacier, an ice platform thousands of square miles in size, a piece of the Antarctic continent called by scientists the “glacier of the apocalypse,” which could end up in the sea at any moment, causing an unpredictable rise in sea level. Or the release of methane from the bottom of the oceans due to the warming of the waters—which has already been recorded by experts in the Atlantic—whose general effects no one can predict.
Or the spreading of cyclones in the Mediterranean, the untamable fires in the forests of Siberia or California, the prolonged drought in various regions of Africa and Asia, the scorching summers that are making large areas of the Earth uninhabitable.
So we have entered an absolutely new era. It is no coincidence that our future, for the first time in history, is being monitored by an international scientific institution, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Just as today the various scientific committees are trying to guide the choices of governments in the face of the pandemic.
This is a dramatically new historical phase, into which we are entering with cultures, institutional structures, laws and political organizations that are clearly old, relics of a continent adrift. The various COPs in which states are seeking agreements on the climate come to view as intolerable fictions, if we consider that these same states, while they’re meeting in Paris or Glasgow, are doubling their spending on armaments, fueling wars, financing military groups and fomenting bloody civil conflicts.
And it is worth noting that while the Earth is dotted with hotbeds of war, and today, in Europe, the old cold war of the Americans against Russia is in danger of exploding once again into open conflict over Ukraine, there has been no movement to defend peace for decades, either in Europe or in the US. The extraordinary mass mobilizations that marked the twentieth century, up to the grand planet-level mobilization of February 15, 2003, have almost disappeared.
The reasons for this eclipse are many, but as far as Italy and Europe are concerned, the most important one is under everyone’s eyes: the impotence, the cowardice, the political smallness of European leaders, unable to let go of NATO and to become protagonists of the kind of multilateralism that would be vitally necessary today, and that the US has been sabotaging for years.
Most observers are unaware of the danger that the United States represents today: a world power in decline, torn by dramatic internal divisions, which feels threatened by the rise of other planetary powers, and can be derailed disastrously if it is not nudged and constrained to accept a new polycentrism in world government.
But at home, we can observe how the absence of a left-wing party condemns civil society to inertia, both in the face of environmental threats and of present and future wars. It is no coincidence that the only demonstrations in defense of the climate have been those started by Greta Thumberg. The Democratic Party, which the media, with contrived language, continues to call “leftist,” loyal to NATO, does not dare to move a finger to create a peace movement.
As il manifesto has often denounced, in 2021, this government, with the Ministry of Defense headed by Lorenzo Guerini, allocated €12 billion for rearmament programs. Thus, it is blindingly obvious today that there is a dramatic and urgent need for a party that would represent the will for peace of the majority of Italians, and which would force new government choices through popular mobilizations.
We not only need a party that represents the needs of the people, but also one that would mobilize the social forces, that would organize, as Gramsci said, the collective will. We need to hurry up, we need to get out of the role of mere voters from time to time and take on that of citizen-protagonists. In these days, the news is that the inhabitants of the planet have become 8 billion.
In the coming years, we will have more and more mouths to feed and less and less water, fertile lands, clean and fish-filled seas, intact forests, habitable regions, minerals and energy sources. At the same time, it is highly likely that we will face incalculably large migrations of environmental refugees, unknown pandemics, climate chaos that will affect our agriculture, extreme events that will bring destruction to our cities. Time no longer works in our favor; instead, it is pressing us, and the time scales of the current politics of nations are archaic and against our future.