[Marxism] Looming Danger of Abrupt Climate Change

shaun may mnwps at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 27 13:38:18 MST 2013

David Walters wrote :
Mark, there were of course exceptions...but they are exceptions to the

*movement* itself. None of these essays had a bit of influence it seems on

the actual workers movement. I think Shaun is pretty much putting forward

an academic definition of socialism that, while perhaps being valid in and

of itself, doesn't mean it was accepted or fought for by *anyone* in the

workers internationals (all three of them). Shaun seems absolutely certain

his vision would of been the results of a victory of the socialist

movement. I think given that the socialist movement didn't take this up, at

least not by any party program and relegated such discussions to a few

essays in magazines (articles promoting vegetarianism, eugenics and all

sorts of things circulated in the socialist movement, but they never

constituted a program of action at all), that the program of every existing

real workers party in this period was continued industrialization under

democratic and workers control. Shaun is really projecting his own view and

not that of the workers movement as it was constituted. Any revolution then

would of been based on those existing organizations, be they Marxist,

Lassalian, or Anarcho-Synidcalist...the results surely would of been the

exact same. There is perhaps zero common ground with him as he consideres

the soviets of the Russian variety to *not* to have been socialist. What

more is there to say?




By plastering a label on a jar, it does not necessarily render the label descriptive of the jar's contents. Twisting and distorting someone's contribution on a socialist public forum does not escape the notice of its list members if they are attentively following the discussion. This forum is not the inner holy of holies of some vile sectarian grouplet where twist and distortion are par for the course.

Such methods are highly characteristic of the sectarian groups (well, those that remain). I wintered and summered them for years. They start to lose their grip or focus on the discussion and then they resort to sticking labels on people. And veer off into areas which serve to cloud and obfuscate the discussion.

What is *an academic definition of socialism*? Please enlighten the list. And then we may be able to discuss whether or not it was *fought for* by any of the four failed Internationals with all their historically-temporal party programmes. The remaining, tiny number of Fourth Internationalists still adhere to the Transitional Programme (written in 1938!).

You mention the *three Workers Internationals* (four actually, not three). They have been a complete, unmitigated and abject failure and disaster. The Fourth International is now a motley collection of rapidly-vanishing, squabbling sectarian grouplets and cults, each one headed by its very own minilenin or tinytrotsky. 

How do we understand the actual historical development of these Internationals? 

Discursively, Trotsky, in an interview he gave to Kingsley Martin, the editor of the New Statesman in 1937, stated unequivocally that the Fourth International would be a massive force in the class movement globally within five years. Yes, five years! What happened? How wide of the mark was that? Whatever happened to the powers of the prophet outcast? 

The other three : The First (IWMA). Marx himself tried to rescue what he could after it collapsed and wrapped it up in New York. The Second International : we all know what happened, degeneration into a servile group of social democratic parties. Total betrayal.  

The Third International : again degeneration into the so-called Communist Parties. The PCF and PCI - massive organisations in Europe - and complete disasters. Eurocommunism and all that nonsense. And then the Fourth International. Well, the least said, the better. Absolute pandemonium. Leaving Milton's Hell in *Paradise Lost* actually looking like paradise. It has achieved nothing and is now in an advanced state of decay and dissolution. For all intents and purposes, Trotsky's International is extinct. But was it ever viable?

We need to look at these Internationals within the locus of the historical conditions of their formation and development in order to understand why they have been so disastrous. This, of course, to inform our coming struggles. 

To return to the original discussion. If you read my posts carefully, and do not twist them for your own purposes, you will see that I was referring to your statement that *The Soviets were the first to introduce central planning and a socialist economy* when  I wrote that I did not subscribe to the *soviets* as *socialist* and that I had already dealt with the question of planning. I was most definitely not referring to the class organisations which the Russian proletariat itself formed in 1905 and 1917. Please address the content of what I wrote and please do not twist it in order to set it up for your own purposes. The whole list can study the unfolding of this discussion and they can verify or refute whether or not you have twisted and distorted my contribution in this regard. I assert that you have twisted and distorted my contribution. The Soviet system was never a *socialist economy* and *central planning* was not and never can be socialist. The *soviets* themselves are, of course, a different matter. It is absurd to use the SU or China or Cuba as models for socialism or socialist planning.  

I understand that we were discussing the impact of capital's crisis on Nature's creation and you have introduced a litany of peripheral material which has veered away from the content of the previous discussion. In so doing, you have become completely detached from the fundamental point of reference which was the character of humanity's relationship with Nature under capitalist and socialist formations and how this relationship must differentially affect Nature's creation, its ecosystems, climate, etc.

I refer you back to my previous postings which, if you feel so inclined, you may wish to address. You propose that technologies developed by both global socialist and global capitalist society would have had, more or less, the same damaging effects on the world's ecosystems and climate. This is a fetishistic conception which abstracts technique from its real social conditions of utilisation and the intermediation of these social relations and the natural pre-conditions of human life. By referring to the Soviet system and Cuba in this regard as *socialist* models on which to focus discussion on this question, you lose a grip on the actual discussion. 
You posed the hypothetical, and I have addressed it. My initial contribution was concerned with the present stage of development of global capitalism. The degree of damage which human society does to Nature's creation is a function of the character of its dominant social relations and the mode within which technology is actually operated and applied in order to wrest our needs from Nature. It is not simply and exclusively a function of knowledge or discovery, regardless of how belated that may be.

Shaun May 
Take it easy  (favourite motto of Engels)
Doubt everything (favourite motto of Marx)



More information about the Marxism mailing list