"The world is facing twin disasters in the near future: the coming economic meltdown of the international capitalist system, and the looming climate change crisis", Jim McIlroy told a Green Left Weekly forum on July 15.
Called "The coming economic meltdown ... and the possibilities for fighting back", the forum featured McIlroy and Paul Benedek, both from the Democratic Socialist Perspective and the Socialist Alliance.
The financial crisis, stemming from the US sub-prime mortgage disaster, is now extending into a worldwide recession, McIlroy said. Meanwhile, rapidly rising food prices have already thrown more than 100 million people into starvation or malnutrition, on top of the 860 million already starving.
Oil prices have also escalated to record levels, leading to increased hardship in both Third World and industrialised countries. This only intensifies the global warming threat, which is reaching critical levels.
"The challenge facing the world's peoples is the most dramatic in history", McIlroy said. "The only viable option is to replace the capitalist system with socialism."
Benedek outlined the beginnings of a global fight back by people facing starvation in Haiti, Africa and Asia, and the protests by citizens faced with rocketing fuel prices in recent times.
Benedek stressed that solutions to the combined impact of a capitalist economic crisis and the looming climate change disaster required radical action, not continued reliance on "market forces".
The solution to the crises lay in socialist programs, such as a massive turn to public transport and toward renewable energy sources over carbon-based producers such as coal. A huge people's movement would need to build these radical alternatives, Benedek concluded.