Alex Nichols on the energy crisis and socialism

Mark Jones markjones011 at
Mon Dec 2 17:36:49 MST 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-marxism at
> [mailto:owner-marxism at]On Behalf Of Louis Proyect
> Sent: 03 December 2002 00:19
> To: marxism at
> Subject: Alex Nichols on the energy crisis and socialism
> (Alex posted this to alt.politics.socialism.trotsky under the heading
> "Renewable Energy or Khmer Rouge socialism". Since he reads Marxmail, I
> assume that it was in response to our discussion here.)
This posting is full of bullshit but let him come here and argue it, I can't
be bothered otherwise.

Here is a list of the bits which are demonstrably bullshit. Let's see who's
been keeping up enough to fill in the blanks and save me the trouble.

1. a viable alternative is possible and industrial civilisation is not
 essentially, doomed!

2.  Marxists say that socialism will be based on advanced industrial
 and will require production of energy on a huge scale.

3. "Khmer  Rouge Socialists"fatalistically propose a retreat to
 conditions, it's necessary to look at the alternatives to oil.

[Once people start on about Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge (which they
obviously don't know anything about anyway) I put them in my Doug Henwood
killfile and stop answering.]

4. Renewable sources of energy offer the best long-term answer to
> the world's
> energy needs.  Potential sources of renewable energy are more than enough
> to meet the world's energy needs.  Utilising renewable energy isn't
> primarily a technical problem, but a political one.

5. The opening up of the Caspian  oil fields
> means a plentiful supply of cheap oil for the time being.

6.  The exploitation of alternative sources of fossil fuels is of course a
> possible alternative to current sources.

7. Sooner or later, the world will need to move to a situation in which the
> majority of its energy comes from renewable sources. The problem is, that
> private investors and capitalist governments are only engaging in token
> attempts to develop an alternative.
8.  The  most promising alternative being fuel cells, using hydrogen or
> generated from renewable sources.  ...fuel cells
> could significantly reduce the effects of traffic pollution. All
> the major
> car manufacturers have fuel cell prototypes, but there is no economic
> incentive for them to put them into mass production and no fuel supply
> infrastructure.

[clue: this is because they don't fucking work, I mean fuel cells, and yeah,
I know about Ballard and the fucking buses]

8.  Even if the technology to realise the potential of renewables is
> yet to be
> fully developed, nothing in principle prevents this.

The above 8 statements culled from Alex Nichols post to APST are IMO
demonstrably wrong. Some of his other remarks about atmosphereic
carbonisation are highly relevat however and very welcome.

I repeat that I consider talk about Khmer Rouge socialism to be an ad
hominem attack, redbaiting and poisoning the well of discourse and I'm not
gonna discuss the issue in those terms.


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