Ecology and Political Strategy, was Re: Forwarded from Hans Ehrbar

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Jun 10 19:33:14 MDT 2000

>A certain proportion of intellectuals ought always
>be devoting their time and energy to matters of scholastic
>interest only -- at the very least such matters have the legitimacy
>of public parks or museums, and they also have shown a
>tendency over the millenia to suddenly display links to
>matters of other than scholastic concern. But by their
>very nature scholastic concerns are the concern of only
>specialists and it is silly for the specialists to insist that
>others share their interest unless potential relations to
>action can be shown.

Sigh, you just don't get it. Everybody understands that the Seattle
protests were signs of an incipient radicalization. What do you think got
those young people in the streets? The most militant protestors were those
who had been involved in defending old-growth forests in the Pacific
northwest for most of the 1990s. What do you think gets people to chain
themselves to a Redwood tree or to sit down in front of a bulldozer?
Reading Althusser or Lukacs? No, most probably reading stuff like Bill
McKibben's "The End of Nature", a passionate call to action against global
warming, that like Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" appeared originally in
the New Yorker magazine.

You and Hans and Jose have absolutely nothing to say to these activists.
Your Marxism is totally unfeeling when it comes to these kinds of issues.
It is a sign that books like John Bellamy Foster's "Marx's Ecology" and
Paul Burkett's "Marx and Nature" are urgently needed. Unless the ecological
dimension of Marx's thought is restored to its proper place, we will be
seen as utterly irrelevant to this new generation. I have no intention of
cutting myself off from them.

Rosa Luxemburg:
What am I reading? For the most part, natural science: geography of plants
and animals. Only yesterday I read why the warblers are disappearing from
Germany. Increasingly systematic forestry, gardening and agriculture are,
step by step destroying all natural nesting and breeding places: hollow
trees, fallow land, thickets of shrubs, withered leaves on the garden
grounds. It pained me so when I read that. Not because of the song they
sing for people, but rather it was the picture of the silent, irresistible
extinction of these defenseless little creatures which hurt me to the point
that I had to cry. It reminded me of a Russian book which I read while
still in Zurich, a book by Professor Sieber about the ravage of the
redskins in North America. In exactly the same way, step by step, they have
been pushed from their land by civilized men and abandoned to perish
silently and cruelly.

Louis Proyect
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