Cotton and Scarcity

David Schanoes dmsch at
Wed Jan 15 16:21:18 MST 2003

In your responses to my points, Louis, I've noticed a tendency for you to
lose focus and rather than apply a different analysis to a situation, i.e.
WWII, short term needs of capital, the end of slavery, you go off on some
other path referring ecosocialism, the failure of Soviet agriculture,in very
non-specific terms.
I'm not scholarly, but I can be specific.  In the discussion of depleted
resources, you argued that an oil shortage was a source of WWII, causing
Hitler to attack the Soviets and drive to their oilfields.  When I
challenged you on that, you turned back to page 1 of your hymnal and sang--
"Capitalism is the source of all war.."  And you accuse me of teaching an
ABC?    Saying capitalism is the source of all war will bring you a couple
of "amens," but won't do much for any specific analysis of any specific

When I propose a hypothetical discussion with a capitalist to show how the
short-term needs are  behind capital's worries and actions, you tell me I
missed the point because as ecosocialists we have to convince people to
think in the long term. Good luck  convincing capitalists to think in the
long term, Louis.  You missed the point.

And now this:  I realize, with the help of others, and Vol 3. that the
scholarly submission of MJ regarding Marx and resource depletion, is most
definitely not about resource depletion.  It's about overproduction, and the
fundamental clash of different organizations of property and production.  No
comment?  not surprised.  But you do have a comment when I suggest that the
end of slavery was contained in its very structure of property and
production.  You claim, if my unscholarly reading is correct,  that it's a
reductionist tendency reducing history to the straight jacket of production
and technology.  Not so, Louis, read it again, I said the relations of
production, {and these are social relations, not techical. The relations are
the ownership of slaves.} did not and could not support its own survival in
the face of Northern growth.  I think that is the formulation that gives us
the clearest insight into the US Civil War, which was a property war, and
also into the decline of slavery in the Caribbean.   If you have another
explanation for this event and also for the decay of slavery in the
Caribbean, you provide it.  But you don't.  No surprise again

Instead you say industrial techniques when applied to agriculture do not
work and we must restore some natural balance between crops and organic
fertilizers.  And by the way Marx called for the unification of town and
country not to provide the farms with the  untreated sewage of London or
bigger and better compost heaps, but separation of town and country was the
sin qua non of  private property in agriculture and the beginning of
wage-labor and  condemned both town and country to cultivation of poverty.
And Marx also loathed the "idiocy of rule life."

But nothing I said about slavery being inadequate to the social needs (which
involve production) of a human economy implies a technological formalism.
It's about developing the relations of production that meet the needs of
all, including the need not to scorch the earth.

And one more thing, having been exposed to various hazardous chemicals in my
life, including Agent Orange, I understand the price farm-workers are made
to pay in the exposure to pesticides, herbicides, etc.

You know Louis, if I wasn't such an insensitive, unscholarly, dim, thick
skinned son-of-a-bitch, I might take this personal and think you don't like
me.  But I know that's not true.


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