5 Responses

  1. Robin December 23, 2013 at 4:47 am |

    Agree the above article is simplistic. There is some basis for believing that economic progress is inherently bad for the environment. The post USSR countries reduced their greenhouse gas emmissions when their economies shrank dramatically. But it was USSR, the non-capitalist superpower, which created the pollution in the first place.
    *** During WWII Great Britain looked after citizens to such an extent that “working class people” and the poor were better fed & healthier during the war than before it. During the blockade coupons were issued to ensure some food was available to all. I’m not aware of socialist countries doing any better.
    *** Is Stephanie advocating anarchism with her vision of “classless, mutual cooperation”? Does she want absolute biocentrism or some compromise with anthropomorphism which could allow us to organise our economic activity to cope with the increased human population in the future? An environmental botanist once pointed out to me that if the human population all left our country (NZ) it would not return to the biodiversity of the past. Weeds would take over, many more plant and animal species would be lost and erosion would likely increase.

  2. Tord Björk December 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm |

    Thankyou for your constructive response. You probably right theoretically according to an idea that captial is monolitic and there is one main force against the owners of capital. My suggestion was that there might be some obstacle here in terms of different kind of capital. It is just a suggestion.

    Apart from that there is the empirical side of things. My claim is that at the moment it is Via Campesina which is the leading organization rooted in the struggle of small peasant, rural workers and landless. The trade unions rooted in the proletariat are backward, unable to mobilize the working class, unemployed etc, busy organizing their own defeat at least in Sweden were they once were so strong that few countries could match them.

    What makes me wondering about the left to which I never belonged is the extreme disinterest at looking at empirical facts and have some theory about them. Instead the left dominated the higest echelons of climate international action like SWP did for many years with the sole purpose of destroying the environmental movement concerns against carbon trading replacing it with the kind of simplistic ideology which easily becomes the result from what you say, the workers have to be in the forefront and thús SWP did not allow any antineoliberal demand because the trade unions did not allow it I suppose and as the climate issue was a tool for SWP to influence the working class they did what they could to destroy the emerging alliance between Via Campesina and Friends of the Earth before Copenhagen and replace it with their class conscious alliance with trade unions and Greenpeace. To me the lack of analysing these developments with the overwhelming intellectual capacity there is among left intellectuals shows to me that there is something rotten in the state of the left. The lack of looking at empirical realities of movments in the struggles is a problem. The left have blocked a sharp criticism of the in my view simplistic ways the left have used their idea that trade unions are always the main ally and all others movments are to be opportunistically used in this eternal struggle for linking the left closer to actual working class organizations as trade unions. SWP is certainly not the only example.

    I do not want a specific conclusion, I want the issue to be addressed. Now I understand that your point is different and do acknowledge the need of what you have been doing as well, we also need pedagogic material that have in some way to be simplistic, so good luck and again thankyou for responding.

  3. Stephanie McMillan December 19, 2013 at 8:27 am |

    Tord, thank you for your response.

    I do, actually, spend much effort attempting to incorporate the fact of the environmental emergency into the approaches of various communists/socialists/progressives I communicate with. It goes both ways, I agree.

    And I also agree on the importance of classes other than the working class — the peasantry (and in imperialist countries, service sector employees) in the revolutionary process. It can’t be won with only the working class. Historically that has been the case — in China, Mao identified the peasantry — the vast majority — as the principal force (and the proletariat — a small class at the time — as the fundamental force).

    But it is precisely because those revolutions were *led* by classes other than the proletariat (various fractions of the petit bourgeoisie — small peasants included) that they were unable, ultimately, to offer a lasting alternative to capital, and were recouped by capital. I will exaggerate here to make a point: that even if there is only one worker in a social formation, that worker must lead the revolution against capital or the revolution will be recouped.

    Mao saw the problem and attempted to rectify with the Cultural Revolution, but was defeated by Deng Xioping (who represented the interests of the peasantry, the petit bourgeoisie, inside the party). And in Russia, the communist party — comprised mainly of petit bourgeoisie intellectuals — formed a new bureaucratic bourgeoisie.

    That said, particularly landless peasants and agricultural workers are closer and/or part of the proletariat, and indespensible to world revolution.

    Mainly this piece was addressed to the petit bourgeoisie inside imperialist countries who are concerned with stopping ecocide but have no conception of classes, and thus are easily diverted into political dead ends by the capitalists.

    I do realize the piece is limited and simplistic, but it is an introduction to mainly bring the concept of class struggle into that arena.

    We need to win over as many as possible in all the classes dominated by capital to unite under the leadership of the working class, if we are to permanently wipe out capitalism.

  4. Tord Björk December 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm |

    This was quite superficial. The notion that capital is something monolitic and that there is one working class which is the only one that can change this system biult on this view of a main conflict in society between the owners of thism monolitic capital and the workers.

    From this monolitic view comes the idea that change can only come from the working class and the only alternative to the working class is “the classes that have led these struggles–usually different fractions of the petit bourgeoisie (the “middle” classes)”. In reality it is the peasants that led much of the revolutions the last century and they still do starting in Russia 1902, Mexico 1910, India 1917, China in the 20s and 30s etc. Today we can see clearly how the working class organizations are unable to mobilize against the multiple crisis while Via Campeina and other peasant movements are at the forefront of the struggle and able to not only mobilize for their own cause but also the landless etc.

    Maybe this has to do with the capital has both a non-renewable and renewable form. Those mainly workers building on non-renewable resources sometimes becomes very aggressive against the peasant revolutions like the anarcho syndicalist red militia starting war against the zapatistas in the 10s and how the peasants were treated in the Soviet Union. This text excludes ecology and sees the world only within political-economic terms which is outdated, especially if we talk about solving the environmental crisis.

    The claim that the environmental movement needs to become aware of what this kind of leftist thinking is able to understand and tell the less advanced envrionmentalists is comical. Come back when you have made the members of workers organisations and socialists aware of ecology seeing it as important as economy and you will find that there are quite proportion of environmentalists that have far more advanced ideas and espeically practice than this parolemaking identitykick without tactical or strategic insights.

Comments are closed.