[Marxism] Barry Commoner, Pioneering Environmental Scientist and Activist, Dies at 95

jay rothermel jayrothermel at gmail.com
Tue Oct 2 22:56:35 MDT 2012

Found on the MIA tonight:

....Environmental pessimism is a
classic bourgeois ideology and there is
little written today by Dennis Meadows
or Barry Commoner that cannot be
found in Malthus and Ricardo, who also
believed that natural resource scarcity,
specifically in agriculture, would lead
to zero economic growth. Since zero
economic g row thunder capitalism
means zero growth of profits and ever increasing
unemployment, environmentalist
austerity cannot be an important
political movement. Environmentalism
is limited to an academic
and journalistic pressure group with a
few advocates from the fringes of
political power, like Ralph Nader and
Kennedy's Secretary of Interior Stewart



....Most interesting, perhaps, has been the inability of broader coalitions
on the left to strike fire this year. The most conspicuous failure has been
that of the newly formed Citizens Party headed by its presidential nominee,
environmentalist Barry Commoner. The hodge-podge of Utopian socialism and
unfocused reforms projected by the Citizens Party has little chance of
gaining credibility among the masses. With no significant mass base in any
sector of the working class, without a galvanizing set of burning issues
around which mass discontent could coalesce, and without a sense of reality
in its projection of what it would take to reorganize society, the Citizens
Party is a formation that is hard to take seriously.



....If Anderson has nothing to offer the
working class, the only thing that
ecologist Barry Commoner's campaign
offers is a laugh. "Small is Beautiful" is
the theme of Commoner's Citizens
Party, with a platform of utopian
schemes, small-change gimmicks and
nauseating social-patriotism. The ecofaddist
supporters of Commoner look
back wistfully to the days of free enterprise
capitalism and are fundamentally
anti-technology and just as anti working-
class as the other capitalist
candidates. "There is nothing wrong
with profit, or/with private ownership,"
their founding document insists. The
problem is that corporations are "unaccountable"
and that, while "protecting
the U.S. from aggression is worthwhile,"
some new weapons are "unneeded."
What these petty-bourgeois offshoots
from the Democratic Party offer is an
insanely utopian and backward view of
the world. In fact, the eco-faddists are
simply the petty-bourgeois reflection of
bourgeois austerity. If there's not enough
to go around under the current system,
they argue, then let's go back. Whether
they like it or not, the days of the
windmill and horse-drawn plows are
over. The question posed is which class
shall control and organize production,
for whom and how will technology be
developed? Of course, with the possibility
of a nuclear holocaust facing the
world, the eco-freaks just may get a
chance to find out what "back to nature"
really means.



....We note that Barry Commoner, a
knowledgeable scientist and one of the
gurus of the "ecology movement," in a
recent debate with physicist and nuclear
power proponent Hans Bethe did not
dispute Bethe's contention that nuclear
power is "safe." Instead, Commoner
opines. that nuclear power had been
rendered safe only by massive investments
and auxiliary safety systems making
it therefore too expensive. Revealing
the utopian, petty-bourgeois longing for
a rustic past which is one of the chief
wellsprings of the "ecology movement,"
Commoner instead pushed for
community-operated windmills as an
alternative to expensive, monopoly controlled
nuclear power plants.


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