Peter Grimes interview on Indymedia

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Nov 4 09:47:02 MST 2003

>There is no shortage of water in Las Vegas. On our watery planet, access
>is governed by bourgeois
>property. Shifts in water tables and flow is not a shortage.

Comrades really have to make an effort to stay on top of this information,
much of which is available on the Internet. I have many relevant links
gathered together in the ecology section of For example, I include Peter
Gleick's website at:, which is based on his book
"The World's Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources". The
problem is that current practices--centered on industrial farming--are
environmentally unsustainable. This makes no difference if there is
capitalism or not. For example, the Soviet Union destroyed the Aral sea by
cultivating cotton in the surrounding arid regions. Irrigation led to
salination, which means that water is no longer available for drinking or
to sustain fish and other marine life. It is an ecological disaster on the
scale of Chernobyl. You can describe this as a failure of the bureaucratic
system, but there are obvious failures across the board in understanding
the problem as evident in Trotsky's hymn to hydroelectric dams in "If
America Should Go Communist".

>Agricultural production driven by exchange - not simply the bourgeois
>property relations but also the evolution of the commodity form and its
>domination in
>social life, creates a set of problems that appear as "negative waste"
>increase in the final phase of production. Most agricultural production
>should be
>tied to local and regional markets and the entire infrastructure
>relationship we
>call the "city" is a product shaped on the basis of bourgeois property.

Well, I agree with this.

>Even if there was a shortage of oil, the law peculiar to commodity production
>and then, the bourgeois property relations - reproduction of expanding value,
>would remain in force and this shortage would express itself in the price

Of course. Capitalism will price goods based on the law of value. On the
other hand, there is no "socialist" solution to the energy crisis. Global
warming will be produced just as much by socialist greenhouse emissions as
it will by capitalist. That is Grimes's main point. He is correct.

>Dms is more correct because he limited his fire to the law of political
>economy - as bourgeois property, and then the "law" of "sustainability"
>and entered
>into the question from a strictly materialist standpoint.

Did he? I must have been paying attention elsewhere.

>There is no shortage of water on earth, nor can there be such a shortage
>without a fundamental crisis on earth that threatened our existence as a

I would qualify this. There is no shortage of water, but society will have
to be radically restructured in order to make use of it intelligently and
to husband it for future generations.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

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