Y2K, global warming, Christian rightwing fundamentalism, Marxist sectarianism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Thu Aug 5 09:09:36 MDT 1999

I'm a big fan of AM talk radio. I'd much rather hear the raw and unmediated
opinions of "Vinnie from Staten Island" on the NY Yankees than the
unctuously professional tones of an FM band DJ. One of my favorite scenes
in the Howard Stern movie "Private Parts" depicts his boss at WNBC trying
to teach him how to enunciate the station call letters. "It's wNbc--not
wnBc, Howard. How many times do I have to explain this to you." Not very
encouraging--in this light--is this critical observation made about the
Texas Pacifica affiliate, a showplace for Mary Frances Berry's notions of
where the network should go, from an activist in the fight to preserve
Pacifica from NPR-ization:

"KPFT is now 'The SOUND of Texas'. All the programmers are required to
repeat this hype slogan every time they ID the station, and we have all
heard it so many times we could puke (knowing what the station once was).
The station has been redefined as a particular format of music, which now
dominates the schedule nearly 18 hours a day - and nearly every day."

I even tune into Christian all-talk radio. Listening to some preacher
explaining what Chapter 4, verse 7 of First Corinthians REALLY means brings
me back to my days in the American Trotskyist movement. Last night, on WMCA
I tuned into an interesting segment of a regularly scheduled show.
Basically, the preacher-host for some months now has been putting forward
conspiracy theories about the Y2K, which he views in apocalyptic terms. He
has, for example, interviewed experts on Freemasonry who are seen as major
conspirators in the broader anti-Christ movement.

Last night was an exceptionally fascinating hour of radio. He was
interviewing a woman (can't recall her name) who had written a book tying
together globalization, the anti-Christ and the Y2K. Much of her rant was
directed against the favorite targets of the Larouchites, such as the
British royal family, the Bilderberg gatherings, the Trilateral Commission,
Zionism, etc. She singled out Prince Charles as a particularly menacing
threat to Christian salvation. It turns out--based on her "research"-- that
Prince Charles is the true power behind globalization. He has convened
secret meetings with Clinton and Blair in order to give them their marching

But what I really found fascinating was her animosity toward the scientific
consensus around global warming. She revealed to her audience that the IPCC
gathering in Rio de Janeiro, which laid down some rather ineffectual
guidelines about controlling greenhouse gas emissions, was really a
conspiracy orchestrated by Prince Charles, who is indeed an
environmentalist of sorts. Alex Cockburn and Jeff St. Clair have sung his
praises in Counterpunch.

And what is the nature of this rightwing Christian conspiracy-theory
monger's opposition to the scientific consensus on global warming? She says
that it is an "earth-based" ideology rather than a "man-based" one. In
other words, the ecologists are concerned with the planet as a whole and
reject the idea that the earth is the gift of god to man, to do with as he
sees fit. What an odd congruence! "Brown" Marxism and Christian
fundamentalism both are hostile to the statement put forward by Engels in
"Dialectics of Nature":

"Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human
victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on
us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results
we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different,
unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first."

And so how do we orient ourselves with respect to environmental issues?
Yesterday we learned that James Goldsmith, editor of the Ecologist, has
been making overtures to the ultraright. Should we, therefore, stake out
positions that are diametrically opposed to his? If Goldsmith believes in
global warming, do we become agnostics? If he argues that Genetically
Modified food is in conflict with sustainable agriculture, do we reply that
we should support Monsanto's initiatives?

It is A MISTAKE to put a plus where the bourgeoisie puts a minus, or vice

The biggest problem with Marxism today is that it has cast itself into the
persona of film critic, reviewing movements for social change as if they
were motion pictures. If revolutions could be made by awarding one or two
or three stars to the mass movement, then we'd have been living under
socialism long ago. No, the imperative of socialism involves a much more
creative dimension, one in which we are compelled to present our own
analysis of how society should be organized and how nature can be used
intelligently to advance humanity's needs. Unless we can break with the
habit of sideline carping, then we will have no effect on the major crises
shaking society today. Our job is not to simply expose the wrong doings of
others, as necessary as that is, but to shape a vision of a world in which
universal reason prevails for the first time in history.

Louis Proyect


More information about the Marxism mailing list