L-I: Ecology and Political Strategy

Hans Ehrbar ehrbar at SPAMecon.utah.edu
Sun Jun 11 04:59:02 MDT 2000

Capitalism makes profits by the exploitation of labor.
Those who create all the surplus value, on which capital
depends in order to function, see their lives reduced to
drudgery, without enough time or money to care for their
children, without access to proper medical care, see their
neighborhoods blighted, their youth terrorized by police,
denied their life chances and a decent education, driven
into drugs.  Every day they are reminded of the contempt the
system has for their lives and everything that is dear to
them.  These people get to the point where every molecule in
their body hates the system.  They are also the ones that
can overturn the system, because capital needs them,
organizes them, teaches them hard work and discipline, and
at the same time makes implacable enemies out of them.  They
are willing to face bullets and torture and their own deaths
and continue fighting after 1000 defeats.  This is what it
takes to overturn the system.  This is the vanguard which
needs to organize itself world wide, even if they are a
minority in countries like the USA.

Capitalism also silently destroys the ecosphere.  This side
effect is worse than the human suffering of the workers,
because it threatens to end all human civilization.  It
alarms lots of people of all classes, their numbers will
eventually be greater than the minority I just talked about,
and it drives some of them to heroic deeds.  But being an
external contradiction, it is not experienced by millions on
the same gut level as exploitation is.  On the contrary,
many environmental fighters live under a huge cognitive
dissonance: their own lives are bearable or even comfortable
but they know that the Titanic they are traveling on is
about to sink.  They see the destruction of the environment
but they can never be sure whether it is really necessary to
overturn capitalism, which has treated them tolerably, to
save the planet.  The capitalists will do everything to get
them on their side with empty promises to clean up, and when
it will be apparent that this is an illusion it will be too
late.  These people are the best humankind has to offer;
they are valuable potential allies of the communists, and we
should cherish their sensitivity and try to earn their
respect, but we cannot expect them to doggedly and
instinctively fight against the capitalist system against
all apparent odds.

This is why we have to prepare for a revolution led by a
determined minority.  The environmental beautiful souls will
be our allies as soon as they see that we can be strong
enough to make a difference.  But in order to gain this
strength we have to develop a core of dedicated and steeled
working class fighters which has cleansed itself of all
opportunists.  Instead of contempt for the "sects" because
of their small numbers we have to learn from their mistakes.
How can you be a minority ready to fight in a sea of
passivity and false hopes, and maybe wait for decades for a
constellation where revolution is possible, without going
insane?  This is a problem which many organizations are
faced with, and these are the issues which the concentrated
brain power of a list like LP's marxism list or
leninist-international should be addressing.

Hans Ehrbar

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