Socialist energy / environment measures (was: arctic ice, etc.) (response to Mark)

Mark Jones markjones011 at
Mon Dec 2 17:15:24 MST 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-marxism at
> [mailto:owner-marxism at]On Behalf Of loupaulsen at
> Sent: 02 December 2002 21:57
> To: marxism at
> Subject: Socialist energy / environment measures (was: arctic ice, etc.)
> (response to Mark)
> I don't think it's a silly idea
> to do some
> thinking about what we, the humans, could do to cope with the
> crisis, short of
> mass suicide, sacrifice of populations, etc.,

The point is actually about *saving* lives not sacrificing them. The notion
of sacrifice for a just cause is implicit in the very idea of armies, to
take just one conventional instance. I'm not arguing for pointless
sacrifice, but merely extending a well understood argument about the Greater
Good. Nobody sees anything intrinsically exceptional about that. Such
sacrifice is generally thought to be heroic, not senseless. It is
conventionally the highest form of heroism and the ultimate expression of
what you are, to give your life for something you believe in. I'm not sure
you are ready to offer people that choice tho, perhaps because you don't
think people will buy it. Your appeal seems to be purely to self-interest,
but nobody dies at the barricades for that, do they?

Before 1789 the idea of self-sacrifice or mass sacrifice for a weird and
wacky notion like 'democracy', which was an absolutely foreign term to most
people, (see for instance Raymond Williams' 'Culture and Society 1750-1850'
(if that's the right title) where Williams describes how before 1750 words
like 'democracy', 'industry', and 'society' either had completely different
meanings than now or were simply not in people's lexicons), was just as
strange as perhaps is the idea of mass sacrifice for ecological reasons to
people today. But that might change, and then the whole political landscape
might look as different as 1790 did over 1788 or 1918 did over 1916. If
people could once be persuaded to fight and put themselves in harm's way for
something as abstract as bourgeois right, liberty and democracy then you'd
think that saving the planet would be a shoe-in, but seemingly not, at least
not according to you. On the face of it you could be right. It's OK to die
and to commit democide and ecocide in defence of the American Way of Life,
according to the polls which show 80% support for Bush among US citizens.
But Kyoto is still a bummer, seemingly. Nevertheless I continue to be
optimistic, more so than you.

Yes all your ideas about bicycles, telecommuting etc are fine, I especially
applaud the idea of drinking fountains spouting beer or whatever it was. But
until you and the WWP DOES take the idea of an ecological imperative really
really REALLY seriously then (odd tho it seems) I don't really think the
masses are gonna take YOU very seriously. People don't like being talked
down to and mollycoddled, they don't like, as it is said in Russia, to have
noodles hung over their ears, they prefer to be told the truth. I think
that's really why so many do support Bush--because he is telling them in a
sharp way, a version of the truth, which is that if the US and 'its friends'
don't destroy all opposition, political and social, to the West in the
Middle East, then capitalism and the AWOL will surely be destroyed instead.
I don't think the WWP or the antiwar movement has really addressed that fact
yet either, because you still seem to think it's just a case of corporate
greed, Republican-right megalomania etc, and there's not OBJECTIVE reason
for what Bush is doing. When you see people like Wolfowitz and Perle on tv
(they have both just been in the UK, frightening the pants off people by
talking in calm quiet tones about the need for genocide in the Middle East),
you can indeed conclude that the only real problem we have is the presence
of certifiably mad people in government in the US. But actually they are not
mad at all. They are in power and they are more extreme than you or me.
That's almost admirable, in a way. Until you are not afraid to tell people
YOUR truth (OUR truth, that is) then we're not gona get very far.


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