Peter Camejo, the Greens, and Independent Politcal Action

David McDonald dbmcdonald at
Tue Jul 22 09:55:43 MDT 2003

"The necessary saving of the foundations of human life. . . demands drastic
changes in the level of consumption of the majority of people in the
industrial metropoles. . . The destruction of the
environment and the situation of Third World countries will demand aspects
of conscious relinquishment."

I see not the slightest problem with this statement. You might quarrel with
the way the observation is presented; perhaps the demand is raised to
working people as something they need to do in advance, to prove their
worthiness and good moral standing. Leaving such questions aside, there is
no doubt that building socialism on a world scale will be different from
expanding the consumption of the rest of the world to levels now "enjoyed"
in the imperialist countries. You have only to imagine China and India with
the density of cars in the United States to take that point.

But more broadly all thinking people need to confront the fact that the
human race, under the impetus of imperialism, is gobbling up habitat at an
unsustainable rate. All populations tend to expand to the limit their
environment allows, and are curtailed by the limits of food supply,
ecological crash, and their inability to move to other habitats. It just so
happens that human ingenuity and especially climatic adaptability has
postponed the day of reckoning for our species to our times, perhaps to our
children's, less likely to our great-grandchildren's. And although this is
now driven by the world market, in which to fail to expand capital is the
only sin, it is by no means a strictly imperialist problem. The earliest
human settlers in North America were responsible for the extirpation of most
of the large mammals of this continent. Did those ancestors of our say,
"Wait! That's the last two mastodons on earth!" No, they did not. They just
moved on. But we as a species are close to the limit of moving on. I would
welcome all those who share this insight into the fight, despite all the
crackpot ideas and moralism they may bring with them. They in turn will
forgive me the crackpot ideas of my youth.

As Jurriaan reminds us with his little cultural ventures into rock lyrics of
the 60's, genuine social hubbub involves an incredibly wide range of ideas,
proposals, takings-off in new and unexpected dimensions, and so forth. It is
these aspects of the French Revolution, for instance, that make it my
personal favorite of revolutions. It is why my daughter shakes her head in
wonder at the unbelievable depth of goood music from my generation (b.
1946). We will need to find and nurture our potential allies among the

David McDonald

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