The problem with anti-capitalist demonstrations

David Welch welch at
Tue Dec 7 07:00:16 MST 1999

Well I think that I may well agree with you then. In fact what you're
written is similar in many of its criticisms to the Mark Hume article,
perhaps that's why you find it so distressing.

However the difficult in addressing your 'Marxist analysis of green
issues' is its shallowness. Having noted the absurdity of 'urging a "back
to nature" solution upon people suffering from a lack of economic
development', you don't then ask why a movement organized around such
beliefs has achieved such prominence, nor why it has found such favor
with our ruling classes (environmental issues are a mandatory part of the
school timetable in Britain). I don't agree with everything in LM, I
certainly don't think abandoning political activity for deep entry in
bourgeoisie organizations is a good idea, they have theorized the green
movement in way that Real Socialists(tm) seem unable to do. No marxist
would consider themselves satisfied with noting that trade union leaders
or politicians had mistaken or reactionary ideas, they would want to know
why. For example, this was the efficacy of Lenin's critique of opportunism
in the workers' movement, he didn't confine himself to pointing out their
break with marxism, he tracing back the growth of opportunism to the
possibility of sections of the working class sharing in the profits
of imperialism.

On Mon, Dec 06, 1999 at 06:39:42PM -0500, Louis Proyect wrote:
> You know something, David. There are other political tendencies in the
> world that have a position on the WTO besides Vandana Shiva and Mick Hume.
> They are socialists. They are found on this mailing list. Jim Craven wrote
> a critique of the protests from a Marxist perspective, as I did the very
> day they started. I have also written thousands of words against the "small
> is beautiful" perspectives of Shiva, Jerry Mander and this crowd. I was at
> the very first conference when the International Forum on Globalization was
> launched. I attended one session which is about all I could handle without
> throwing a molotov cocktail. After Kirkpatrick Sale spoke, I took the mike
> and said that while it was good to defend the right of Yanomami to live in
> peace without being raped and murdered by ranchers and miners, this did not
> address the needs of millions of Brazilians who live in the city and who do
> not have the option of going "back to nature." I said socialism was
> necessary. I identified myself as coordinator of Tecnica that sent hundreds
> of computer programmers to work in Nicaragua and Southern Africa in order
> to make high technology available to people in struggle.
> The thing that pisses me off more than anything about the LM crowd,
> including fellow travelers like yourself, is that you don't address Marxist
> politics on such questions. I posted a long review of Paul Burkett's book
> here and all you folks remained mum. Then I crossposted a review of another
> new book by Howard Parsons that contained the following quote from Marx:
> "Excretions of consumption are the natural waste matter discharged by the
> human body, remains of clothing in the form of rags, etc. (These) are of
> the greatest importance for agriculture. So far as their utilization is
> concerned, there is an enormous waste of them in the capitalist economy. In
> London, for instance, they find no better use for the excretion of four and
> a half million human beings than to contaminate the Thames with it at heavy
> expense."
> Again, the silence was deafening.
> The problem with you people is that you lack the intellectual background or
> even the curiosity to familiarize yourself with what is now 20 years of
> Marxist analysis of green issues. It is much easier for you to make banal
> observations about Greenpeace and talk about the need for progress. This is
> not Marxism. It is superficial kibbitzing that is a travesty on Marxism.

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