marxism-digest V1 #5242

Mark Jones markjones011 at
Sat Dec 7 13:17:37 MST 2002

Jose G. Perez wrote:

> Mark's "tough choices" catastrophic approach should be rejected by all
> Marxists, not just because there's a tremendous amount of pseudo science
> involved, but because this outlook is essentially incompatible with the
> building of socialism at the mosat bedrock, fundamental level of Marxism.
> "Nothing human is alien to me," Marx once noted, was his favorite saying.
> You cannot rip out the humanist core of Marxism without destroying it.
> First, to deal with the "scientific" aspects.
> This version of Mark's dilemma is based on positing that there is "a
> definite and calculatable risk" of *this* planet becoming completely
> uninhabitable. I say to Mark,  go ahead. Describe the calculation.
> He says there might be "runaway warming (which would boil off the
> oceans and
> make the planet uninhabitable)." I say hogwash, this is
> demonstrably science
> fiction,

Actually it was Stephen Hawking who was quoted in the press two years ago as
being very worried about "runaway global warming."  "I am afraid the
atmosphere might get hotter and hotter until it will be like Venus with
boiling sulfuric acid," said Hawking. "I am worried about the greenhouse
effect."  Runaway warming, so Hawking and others speculate, could happen as
a result of the release of methane from methane hydrates--a frozen form of
natural gas--trapped on the floor of the Acrtic Ocean. This might happen as
a result of the ocean warming and of sea levels rising, because of
anthropogenic climate change. Something similar has happened before in
Earth's history, 250m years ago at the end of the Permian period, when
release of trapped methane raised the climate temmperature by 10 degrees C,
making 95% of all species extinct. It may or may not be remote, but it is a
real possibility and is enough reason to stop poking in the bear's cage
(climatologically speaking) with the stick of human GHG emissions.

I don't accept the substance of your political attack either, namely that :

>> Socialism CANNOT BE BUILT with the philosophical/ethical outlook Mark
proposes. The building of socialism is the task of free men and women, and
solidarity is its most essential value. <<

This is a misunderstanding of what I'm arguing of heroic proportions. I
accept the blame for this, since it is obviously due to a lack of clarity on
my part, as Lou Paulsen and others have poited out. Incidentally, I also
accept Lou Paulsen's suggestion that we not 'go nuts'. That may also be what
you are suggesting. While I'm on the subject, finally let me say of my
not-entirely tongue-in-cheek critique of David Walters, that this is without
prejudice to my support for his political work both in SF and on the MIA. I
want to take this opportunity to restate that I admire David's political
activism and my remarks should be read in that context.

I think I've said enough for a week or two! So I plan to fall silent for a
while, unless anyone starts poking ME with a stick...

Best wishes to all,


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