R.Martens & Environment

Siddharth Chatterjee siddhart at mailbox.syr.edu
Mon Apr 29 14:22:14 MDT 1996

Recently, Rolf Martens posted a number of messages in which he said that
opposing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is a reactionary bourgeois
plot. Hence, he proposed opposing the de-commisioning of a nuclear
reactor in Sweden basically implying that what the plotters want is
a return to the past. An argument frequently made by anti-environment
and corporate interests is that jobs for people are more important
than protecting the habitat for the "spotted owl"; thus the logging
of the few remaining old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest should

Thus, Mr. Martens' beliefs, in this instance, coincide with those of the
very people he claims to be opposing. A similar pro-nuclear stance is
adopted by followers of Lyndon La Rouche. This does not imply that Mr.
Martens is a supporter of the La Rouche group in every matter. This
issue of enviroment and nuclear power is complicated especially for
the developing countries since the rich ones have access to enough
energy and a near-monopoly on nuclear weapons. However, at the present
time, this issue of the environment and ecology is important. Here is
Frederick Engles in his own words:

"Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our
human conquest over nature. For each such conquest takes its revenge on
us. Each of them, it is true, has in the first place the consequences on
which we counted, but in the second and third places it has quite
different, unforseen effects which only too often cancel out the first.
The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor, and elsewhere,
destroyed the forests to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that they
were laying the basis for the present devasted condition of these
countries, by removing along with the forests the collecting centres
and reservoirs of moisture. When, on the southern slopes of the mountains,
the Italians of the Alps used up the pine forests so carefully cherished
on the northern slopes, they had no inkling that by doing so they were
cutting at the roots of the dairy industry in their region; they had still
less inkling that they were thereby depriving their mountains springs
of water for the greater part of the year, with the effect that these
would be able to pour still furious flood torrents on the plains during
the rainy seasons. Those who spread the potato in Europe were not
aware that they were at the same time spreading the disease of scrofula.
Thus, at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature
like a conqueror over foreign people, like someone standing outside
nature - but that we, with flesh, blood, and brain, belong to nature,
and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the
fact that we have the advantage over all other beings of being able to
know and correctly apply its laws."

						Frederick Engles
						"Dialectics of Nature"

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