Trotsky on nuclear power

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Feb 5 10:11:14 MST 2003


Walter Lippmann wrote:
> Trotsky was writing about nuclear power
> back in the 1920s when a considerably
> smaller body of information was available
> about nuclear power, psychoanalysis and
> other matters. I' d like to hope and think
> his thinking would have evolved with the
> passage of time and increased knowledge.

If it were only Trotsky, it would be one thing. But it is really
Trotskyism that I am questioning, since there are many indications of a
failure to grasp some of the underlying issues that somebody like
Bukharin--for example--seemed to have a better grasp of.

For example, Joe Hansen's "Too Many Babies?" was a very good refutation
of Malthusianism, but it placed credibility in the Green Revolution that
  belied any understanding of the contradictions in industrial agriculture.

In the mid to late 1970s, when the environmental movement was targeting
nuclear power, the Militant developed a very odd response, namely that
the movement should get behind coal. Obviously, this reflected the
"workerist" approach that would soon swamp the party, but it also
reflected a very poor understanding of more basic issues of energy
utilization and conservation.

In my opinion, all this is attributable to a kind of technological
optimism on Trotsky's part and a lack of familiarity with the ecological
framework found in v. 3 of Capital, Bukharin's "Historical Materialism"
and other Marxist works identified in Foster's "Marx's Ecology".


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