Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Mon Nov 20 07:39:50 MST 2000

Brian James:
>Another layer of the ruling class that's not being examined here is the
>powerful class of rentier capitalists: descendants of European
>monarchies, wealthy landlords, rich family dynasties, who clearly have
>an interest in slow economic growth. They contribute heavily to the
>environmental movement. It is largely their creation.

This is false. The environmental movement in Europe got started the same
way it got started here. People were upset about nuclear power plants, acid
rain, global warming, flora and fauna extinction, air and water pollution,
etc. In the United States the first important statement of the
environmental movement was Barry Commoner's "The Closing Circle", a book
with a decidedly socialist tilt.

It is true that Prince Charles has taken a positive stand on issues like GM
food, but we have to judge the merits of GM on its own rather than who gets
behind the cause. All social movements in the USA tend to attract the
support of wealthy and politically compromised elements for reasons almost
too obvious to state here. But since this list does tend to attract
homeless sectarians, let me remind them why this is the case.

All democratic movements overlap class lines. As Jim Blaut pointed out in
the post forwarded by Richard Fidler, in almost every instance sections of
the bourgeoisie in a "peripheral" country find themselves in a
confrontation with the imperialists. Nasser, Kemal and Peron are historical
examples that spring to mind as does Chavez in Venezuela today.

Lenin's comments on this are not only a guide to understanding multiclass
alignments in the national struggle, but to social movements in general:

On May 9, 1916, there appeared, in Berner Tagwacht, the organ of the
Zimmerwald group, including some of the Leftists, an article on the Irish
rebellion entitled "Their Song is Over" and signed with the initials K.R.
[Karl Radek]. It described the Irish rebellion as being nothing more nor
less than a "putsch", for, as the author argued, "the Irish question was an
agrarian one", the peasants had been pacified by reforms, and the
nationalist movement remained only a "purely urban, petty-bourgeois
movement, which, notwithstanding the sensation it caused, had not much
social backing..."

To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small
nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a
section of the petty bourgeoisie WITHOUT ALL ITS PREJUDICES [italics in
original], without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian
and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the
church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc.--to imagine all
this is to REPUDIATE SOCIAL REVOLUTION. So one army lines up in one place
and says, "We are for socialism", and another, somewhere else and says, "We
are for imperialism", and that will be a social revolution! Only those who
hold such a ridiculously pedantic view would vilify the Irish rebellion by
calling it a "putsch".

Louis Proyect
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