The Deadly Breath of Imperialism

Pollution caused the Death of 9 Million People in 2015: It is Urgent to Save the Lives of our Brothers and Sisters in the South! It is Urgent to Rescue Planet Earth!


Commentary by Almedina Gunić, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 23.10.2017,




In Ancient Rome people said: “Aegroto, dum anima est, spes est” - “As long as the sick can breath, there is hope.” But what if people become sick because they breathe? Air pollution as well as water pollution are the main causes for the death of more than 9 million people in 2015! This is the result of a new study by the Lancet Commission published on the 19th October this year. The number of premature deaths by pollution is 16% of all deaths worldwide. It is estimated that these numbers will increase by at least 50% until 2050.


Furthermore, it is not surprising that nearly 92% of the 9 million dead lived in so-called low- and middle-income countries. These are mainly the semi-colonial countries - the poor, exploited and oppressed in the current world order. In some of the affected countries, pollution is the cause for more than one in four deaths. The urban and rural poor living in China, and the youngest of the imperialist states, are highly affected as well. Hence, it is not surprising that the pollution is causing such a high number of annual deaths facing the extensive exploitation of the Earth by the capitalists of the imperialist countries. The biggest emitters per capita are USA with 19.8 tons per year, Russia with 16.22 tons and Japan with 10.54 tons. Emissions are the reason for both massive air pollution and global warming.


Multinational corporations are the big beasts in polluting the earth and damaging our health. 12.5% of worldwide industrial carbon pollution since 1854 is caused by Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, ExxonMobil and Shell alone. However, it is not the people living in the United States or in Europe who suffer mainly from the pollution caused by these American or respectively European corporations. The case is different in China which is damaging its own population far more than the older imperialist countries are damaging their populations. No wonder then, that smog masks are so omnipresent that Chinese designers created various styles of them for fashion shows. But it is not only air pollution that caused the 9 million dead in 2015, it is also the pollution of water.


Black Africa has the highest share of deaths due to water pollution worldwide with Niger, Chad, Somalia, Central African Republic, Eritrea and the Republic of South Sudan leading this specific death poll in the continent. Pollution of water is mainly caused by tons of sewage and other effluents as well as industrial and agricultural wastes draining into the drinking water resources. It is estimated that half of all hospital beds in the world are filled with people being sick because of unsafe water resources.


The imperialist epoch as the last stage of capitalism is nothing else than a brutal mass murderer of billions of people since more than a century. It is only a question of few years until it reaches a new quality as the climate catastrophe is nearing. While our brothers and sisters in the South are the main labor force which creates the capitalist value of global production, they are super-exploited by the parasitic imperialist rulers. In addition, they are and will be mainly affected by health damaging effects of pollution and climate change caused by the capitalist production.


It is highly urgent that all authentic revolutionaries join forces to fight for the rescue of the lives of all oppressed and the planet Earth as such. As part of the revolutionary program to save our lives and the Earth, we need to fight for the following demands:


* Immediate expropriation of all polluting multinational corporations without any compensation for the owners and managers! These corporations must be put under workers control and their production restructured to stop polluting the environment. A jury elected by the labor movement and all people affected by the polluting corporation should decide on reparation payments by the expropriated owners and managers for all the damage they caused.


* Immediate cancellation of all “debts” of the semi-colonial countries towards the imperialists and their institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank! For massive reparation payments from the imperialist countries and multinational corporations to the semi-colonial countries!


* All industrial and agricultural methods must be based on a minimum use of water and other resources. Sustainable production must be developed and implemented in all areas. Scientists, trusted by the workers and oppressed should elaborate concrete measures in collaboration with the workers in the factories and in agriculture in order to establish a sustainable production the most effective and fastest way.


* For a worldwide public campaign to establish free and sufficient access to clean water resources for all people financed by the expropriation of the ruling classes! In addition safe and sustainable sewage as well as waste recycling systems need to be implemented.


All these and many more important tasks can only be fulfilled if the imperialist system, and with it, the capitalist production, is smashed by the armed uprising of the workers and oppressed. Only socialism can save humanity and planet Earth!






“The Lancet Commission on pollution and health”, The Lancet Commissions, October 19, 2017,


“Water Quality”, United Nations, October 23, 2014,


“What makes clean water so important?”, Blue Planet Network,


“India to submit `climate action plan' to UN today”, by Vishwa Mohan, Times of India, October 01, 2015,


“Largest Producers of Industrial Carbon Emissions”, Union of Concerned Scientists, December 9, 2013,


“China Fashion Week: Yin Peng Sports Wear Collection”, English People's Daily (China), October 29, 2014 ,