The heat is on

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Jun 10 07:02:10 MDT 2000

>    Thank you for this post, which, I think, is exhibit number one in
>demonstrating the POLITICS of global warming.
>    Forget about AIDS, imperialism and everything else. Take hundreds of
>billions of dollars from the public till and hand them over to the
> José

Jose, I already explained to you that Lamont-Doherty Labs at Columbia and
reporters like Ross Gelbspan (Washington Post) and William K. Stevens (NY
Times) are in general agreement with the IPCC findings, but offer solutions
that differ from those given by socialists. If you are in agreement with
the IPCC findings, then there's no reason for further debate.
Unfortunately, you seem to accept the findings to an extent by admitting
the problem of greenhouse emissions while at the same time subsuming their
possible effects in a kind of left-Hegelianism. The notion that people have
always been changing their environment and moving here and there, and will
continue to do so is antithetical to the moral and political posture that
is needed.

We should be inspired by the stance of 90 year old Paul Sweezy, who upon
re-reading for the hundredth or so occasion, said he was struck by the
following famous paragraph:

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class
struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf,
guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in
constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now
hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in a revolutionary
reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending

What could Marx be referring to when he speaks of the "common ruin of the
contending classes?" In Sweezy's view, this eventuality could be the
ecological ruin of the world if capitalism is not overthrown. Such a
catastrophic ending--with the looming threat of global warming, species
extinction, etc.--would not only make life unlivable for the workers, but
the rulers as well. His proposal is that the Marxist movement orient toward
the scientific community in order to join forces against this danger. This
sage's call for a red-green synthesis should be heeded by all of us who are
committed to Marxism:

"Already, a very large section of the world’s scientific community is fully
aware of the seriousness of the ecological threat facing the planet, but
what is not widely recognized is that the cause of the threat is capitalism
itself. Bourgeois economics seeks to hide or deny this fact. No wonder. If
it were generally understood, capitalism would soon be identified for what
it is, the mortal enemy of human kind and many other forms of life on the
planet. In these circumstances, our responsibility is not only to help the
ecologists to get their message across, important as it is, but to convince
the ecologists themselves as well as the public at large of the truth about
capitalism, that it must be replaced by a social system that puts the life
giving capacity of the earth as its first and highest priority. As the
unfolding of capitalism's deadly consequences proceeds, more and more
people, including 'bourgeois ideologists who have raised themselves to the
level of understanding the historical movement as a whole,' will come to
see what has to be done if our species is to have any future at all. Our
job is to help bring this about in the shortest possible time."

Louis Proyect
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