[Marxism] White chauvinism and the list
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jun 18 07:18:44 MDT 2004
Jose G. Perez wrote:
> Right now there's a lot of white racist "yellow peril"
> pseudo-environmental crap floating around the imperialist media. Oil
> prices are rising because of growing Chinese demand. The United States,
> which is 5% of the world's population accounts for 25% of oil
> consumption, whereas China, which is 25% of the human race, accounts for
> little more than 5% of oil consumption and the problem is, of course,
Yes, there is. But the dominant voice of the bourgeoisie is to
accelerate the capitalist transformation of the Chinese economy and to
throw ecological caution to the wind. There has not been a campaign to
stop construction of the 3 Gorges Dam, for example. Even the liberal
Guardian has been running articles like this:
The Guardian - Final Edition
October 30, 2003
Life : Cover Story: After the flood: The water has risen, 700,000 people
have been relocated, and the Three Gorges dam is finally producing
electricity. So is it the disaster everyone predicted?
BYLINE: Jonathan Watts
Of the millions of lives turned upside down as China undergoes one of
the most dramatic bursts of development in history, few can have changed
as suddenly and totally as that of Huang Zongjin.
Until recently, Huang was scratching out a living by cultivating rice
and vegetables on the banks of the Yangtze river near Wushan town. Like
the majority of China's 1.2 billion population, he lived the poor but
predictable existence of the Chinese peasant, which had been almost as
immutable as the landscape for hundreds of years.
But, then came the order to move. The engineers and the politicians
decided the old landscape - famous around the world for its beauty - was
not good enough to satisfy the needs of a resurgent new China. In the
most ambitious hydro-engineering project ever undertaken, they started
to dam up the Yangtze, the world's third largest river, just downstream
from the Three Gorges. Huang and more than 700,000 others had the choice
of leaving or being submerged along with their homes, fields and
temples, as the waters of the Yangtze, known in China as "the dragon",
began to rise.
So Huang the farmer has become Huang the boatman. Instead of working the
land to grow food for his family, he hustles the busy portside to take
tourists on unlicensed boat trips up the Yangtze - and over his old
home, which disappeared beneath the water this summer.
With the compensation money he received for relocating, he and his
family bought the dilapidated 15-metre skiff they use for tours and
whatever haulage jobs they can find. The govern ment has built the
family a new, far bigger, hillside home. It commands a spectacular view
of the river and the new city of Wushan, but as yet has no running water
or electricity. Although they grow a few vegetables, the land is too
steep to be cultivated. But Huang is sanguine. "I may float over my old
home every day, but I never think about it. What's the point?" says the
32-year-old. "We can't change anything. And besides, life is better now.
We have a new home, more space and more money. The dam has been good for
> Because a tiny, mostly white minority driving around in 3-ton hummers
> that get 9 miles to the gallon is perfectly sustainable for many
> decades, but 1.26 billion Chinese having something a little better than
> shoe leather to get around on is an unsustainable natural catastrophe.
Actually, Paul Roberts, the author of one of the books reviewed in the
Chronicle that set off this controversy, is mainly concerned with how
energy is used in the industrialized west. He is not interested in
scapegoating the Chinese. He is simply calling attention to the clash
between the reality of depleting energy resources and the ferocious
drive to remake the Chinese economy in the image of the G8 nations. None
of this is sustainable. Karl Marx wrote, "The country that is more
developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of
its own future" in the Preface to V. 1 of Capital (1867 German Edition).
Unfortunately, that image is one of ecological destruction. In any case,
here is what Roberts says about our own energy use:
It’s so bad and so systemic I’m not sure it can be fixed. Most Americans
and, increasingly, consumers in other economically advanced nations have
very little idea how much energy they use, where it comes from, or the
way it impacts the world. The mark of advanced society is that consumers
don’t need to trouble themselves over every little detail. We aren’t
hunter-gathers looking for firewood; we want an energy system that is
seamless, transparent, and so cheap we needn’t pay attention, like
banking or phones.
The problem is that such transparency has created energy illiteracy and
effectively removed Americans from any real energy decisions. We have
little idea how much energy we use, and thus little sense how that use
is changing. We can’t see that the larger cars and houses, the new
appliances that are all part of the American Way are requiring more and
more energy. In theory, you can fix this by making energy more expensive
and then by giving consumers choices. For example, a hefty tax on
gasoline would tend to discourage driving and thus reduce consumption,
as it has in Europe and Japan. Frankly, it’s hard to see that working in
America; energy taxes are political suicide. To make a change in driving
behavior, you’d need to tax gasoline by at least $2, yet when Clinton
tried to enact an energy tax of just a few cents early in his term, he
was nearly crucified.
> I think Louis's stance on this is a *political mistake.* Much more is
> involved than comity and civility, essential as those may be to the
> functioning of a list like this.
I would be happy to debate out these questions with you or anybody else.
The Marxism list: www.marxmail.org
More information about the Marxism