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

Jose G. Perez jgperez at SPAMnetzero.net
Mon Jun 12 09:21:53 MDT 2000


>>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.<<

Louis,

    You have a tendency to equate worshipping at the shrine of the global
warming hypotheses with being concerned about environmental issues. That is
not the case. In fact, I contend that among certain bourgeois currents,
"global warming" is regularly used as a pretext and a dodge to do nothing
about specific, concrete environmental concerns.

    The debate is not about concern for the environment in general, but with
the theory of global warming as science and its implications for political
action.

    Consider the kind of material you and others have been posting on the
list for our edification. Mark posted a scientific summary of some of the
literature, which careful reading shows argues against those who believe
that CO2-induced global warming has been proven. As that article itself
reflects, the science is not there yet.

Then there was the article about "The Heat is on," which quite logically
subordinates everything else to global warming.

>>If you ever lie awake at night wondering how fast we're destroying the
planet, you have plenty to worry about. As long as you're up, don't miss
the chance to read The Heat is On. It will tell you in no uncertain terms
how little time we have left to halt our dependency on fossil fuels.

>>The book charts global warming's fatal course and tells us how we can-and
must-choose another path. Now. Not after we have found a cure for AIDS,
brought peace to the Middle East, or elected the next president, but now.<<

Shortly after you brought us the musings of the scientific virgins of
Rachel's weekly, who have not discovered that the MAIN greenhouse gas in the
earth's atmosphere is water.

This means, among other things, that they are relying on third, fourth,
fifth or tenth-hand accounts from the bourgeois press. If they had actually
READ some of the U.N. panel's report, or looked at scientific commentary on
it, for example, they could not have been so ignorant, for the main
mechanism posited for the big rise in temperature is a smaller CO2-forced
warming leading to increased water vapor in the air leading to even more
warming, and one of the main uncertainties, among defenders of the global
warming hypotheses, is to what degree this positive feedback will occur.

This leads to the debate constantly being polluted by pseudo-science,
speculation presented as "proof,"
tendentious and one sided presentation of facts, etc.

Then when someone points out that this stuff if all wet, you say the
discussion in drifting to too technical a level.

José


----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2000 9:12 PM
Subject: Re: Ecology and Political Strategy, was Re: Forwarded from Hans
Ehrbar


Carrol:
>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
Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org/


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