Ecosocialism II

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Ecosocialism II

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

There are three ecosocialist groups on Facebook if anyone wants to have a continuing dialogue besides here on babble. Just type ecosocialism into the FB search engine. I think I might still be a member of one of these groups but I haven't checked recently. One of these groups is closely aligned with the global Greens.

[ 09 January 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article1311]Savage Capitalism: The Ecosocialist Alternative[/url]
- from the British group Socialist Resistance

quote:

Our strategic approach will be governed by the following guidelines:

• We seek to build a broad ecosocialist, anti-capitalist, current in the labour movement and the left, among young people and among environmentalists, including the Greens.

• We fight to win the labour movement to campaigning against environmental catastrophe as a central concern and priority.

• We fight to win environmentalists and youth to an understanding that ecological sanity is incompatible with capitalism and that an eco-friendly world means socialism.

[b]What does it mean to call Socialist Resistance ‘Ecosocialist’?[/b]

To define ourselves by the term ‘ecosocialist’ does not mean dropping our commitment to anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism, feminism and the rights of the oppressed, anti-racism, and so on.

Nor does it mean a radical version of the Green Party: rather it is a recognition that capitalism cannot solve the problems posed by climate change and global warming as, by its very nature, it is based on production for profit not need, regardless of the impact on the planet.


[ 27 October 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Thanks for the top link, M. I have downloaded it and I will read it over. But for a moment, I would like to address a quoted item in your last post:

quote:

... a progressive comprehensive climate strategy in both the North and the South must reduce growth and energy use while raising the quality of life of the broad masses of people. This will mean placing economic justice and equality at the center of the new paradigm.

The transition must be one not only from a fossil-fuel based economy but also from an overconsumption-driven economy.

The goal must be the adoption of a low-consumption, low-growth, high-equity development model that results in an improvement in people's welfare, a better quality of life for all, and greater democratic control of production.


What does that mean? How would I know a "high-equity development model" if I saw one?

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Thanks for the info and links M. Spector. Though I both like you and dislike you right now. I need to get some actual work done! In giving the pamphlet and site a brief scan, and nodding my head over and over at many of the points it brought me back to when to my academic days when studying ecology, ecological ecomonics and the theories of steady-state economies. Got waylaid by other issues, though I see from the pamphlet they are connected.
My interest is in the political and social aspects connected with yes, capitalism and it's 'endless growth' model' vs basic ecological principles (which makes endless growth impossible, in the way it's conceived now) and whatever overarching political and social structures are needed to bring true 'sustainability' about.
I can see much similar discussion here. So thank you. I have much reading to do, but an unthank you because now I have to decide whether to spend the day reading or cleaning the house and planting seeds. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


I think he's talking about social equity, rather than equity in its financial sense, if that's what's bothering you.

I suppose what is "bothering" me, if anything, is an inability on the part of the left to articulate a culture that isn't consumer capitalism based. It is not a specific criticism, because I can't do it either. But I know we must find a way to compete with the allure of shopping and television.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Speaking at the United Nations yesterday, Bolivian president Evo Morales proposed 10 commandments to save the planet, life and humanity:

1. Putting an end to the capitalist system
2. Renouncing wars
3. A world without imperialism or colonialism
4. Right to water
5. Development of clean energies
6. Respect for Mother Earth
7. Basic services such as human rights Treat basic services as human rights
8. Fighting inequalities
9. Promoting diversity of cultures and economies
10. Living well, not living better at the expense of others

- Thanks to [url=http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=401]Climate and Capitalism[/url]

[url=http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/17251]More detail on Morales's speech[/url]

[ 24 April 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

Michael Hardner

"Who will bell the cat ?"

(I never hear that expression any more.)

Also, this doesn't make sense:

"Basic services such as human rights "

Rights aren't services and services aren't rights. Our rights are attributes that we, as a society, decide that we all have individually, and as a group, when we're born.

RosaL

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]
"Basic services such as human rights "

Rights aren't services and services aren't rights. Our rights are attributes that we, as a society, decide that we all have individually, and as a group, when we're born.[/b]


Perhaps the translation is faulty and the meaning is that basic services should be considered rights - things like water, health-care, and education, for example.

[ 22 April 2008: Message edited by: RosaL ]

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]

Also, this doesn't make sense:

"Basic services such as human rights "[/b]


Morales probably means social services the likes of which, for example, were once privatized in Chile by the U.S.-backed Pinochet dictatorship.

eta: Although I think RosaL and M Spector gave better, more inclusive explanations

[ 22 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

jeff house

A "right" is something which can be enforced, even when the state would prefer not to provide that right.

"Rights" differ from "slogans" in that there is an actual place in which a citizen may appear, and successfully demand that the right be observed.

Social rights, such as several on Morales' list, have been absent from "capitalist" Constitutions.

A movement has existed for quite a while to change that. It ranges from Cass Sunnstein [url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_/ai_n6332297]of harvard Law School[/url]
to the Constitutions of South Africa [url=http://www.info.gov.za/documents/constitution/1996/96cons2.htm.]http://w...

In these cases, a legal framework exists to enforce the articulated rights, at least to some extent.

This is different from the Soviet style Constitutions of old, which sounded great, but had no enforcement mechanism whatsoever.

Even Bob Rae's government supported a "Social Charter" to add to the traditional procedural and political freedoms in the Charter as it is.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by jeff house:
[b]This is different from the Soviet style Constitutions of old, which sounded great, but had no enforcement mechanism whatsoever.[/b]

They had freely accessible child care services and affordable housing in 1930's Moscow, a time when we in the west were still using backhouses and shying away from visits to the doctor because our grandparents couldn't afford medical bills.

Michelle

Oh lordy...let's try and stay on the topic of ecosocialism, okay?

It's Me D

On the topic of ecosocialism:

In the earlier thread on this topic Michelle gave an excellent introduction to the ecosocialist conception of land and resources and how this differs from the standard capitalist worldview. Also in that thread sknguy proclaimed that an ecosocialist system would need to "resolve man's status and relationships within the environment in order to function." Additionally Michelle quoted from a yahoo.com discussion that "there is no meaningful response to climate change without massive social change." I'd like to offer my input on what is entailed in the massive social change needed to resolve man's relationships within the environment inherent in the ecosocialist conception of land and resources (though I may be straying into the territory of green anarchy, anarcho-primitivism and similar ideas). I hope those contributors to this discussion to whom I have referred above do not object to my references.

Ownership of land and resources is central to capitalism and its accompanying individualist worldview. Individual consumption and accumulation of land and resources in capitalism over-uses the earth's wealth but how is this to be undone?

In my opinion it will not be undone through the socialist removal of private ownership of land and resources if the reality of private control over land and resources remains; it remains through state bureaucratic control, through exclusive private and semi-private homes and lands (and lives), and through the administrative hierarchies of state/business enterprises. In this way past and existent socialist states emulate capitalist accumulation and consumption. To me ecosocialism demands a rejection of the individualist worldview (with its attendant over-consumption) and its replacement with a communal worldview and restoration of local non-monetised communal means of production.

As mentioned in the Wikipedia entry on ecosocialism capitalist globalization has worked to eliminate non-monetised communal means of production through removing access to the resources that sustain ordinary people across the globe. Restoring that access requires not only removing private ownership of land and resources but also de-linking resources and land from private control altogether (which socialist states have failed to do thus far).

Ecosocialism for me requires a communal approach, not just to property ownership, but also to our understanding of space. Truly communal space and communal relations with the environment reverse the capitalist/individualist worldview's flawed understanding of those relations which has inflicted terrible harm on the earth to derive individual benefit and feed individual accumulation and consumption.

What is demanded is taking on a communal view of society and the environment, rejecting the life-model of consumption, abandoning it and building a new model; a semi-nomadic communal model built on non-monetised communal means of production. It is essential that the concept of ownership as a right to maintain exclusive space (or an exclusive relationship with the environment) be destroyed; to fail at this would mean that the individual basis of society remains, its consumptiveness will not be diminished, and the earth, as Michelle stated in the previous thread, is doomed.

Any thoughts?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

DRAFT: FOR DISCUSSION PURPOSES ONLY
[url=http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=402]How to participate in preparing the Final Draft[/url]

[b]The Second Ecosocialist Manifesto[/b]

“The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change, and the disease is the capitalist development model.” — Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, September 2007

[b]Humanity’s Choice[/b]

Humanity today faces a stark choice: ecosocialism or barbarism.

To the barbarities of the last century — 100 years of war, brutal imperialist plunder and genocide — capitalism has added new horrors. Now it is entirely possible that the air we breathe and the water we drink will be permanently poisoned and that global warming will make much of the world uninhabitable.

The science is clear and irrefutable: climate change is real, and the main cause is the use of fossil fuels, especially oil, gas, and coal. The earth today is significantly hotter than it was a few decades ago, and the rate of increase is accelerating.

Left unchecked, global warming will have catastrophic impacts on human, animal, and plant life. Crop yields will drop drastically, leading to famine on a broad scale. Hundreds of millions of people will be displaced by droughts in some areas and by rising ocean levels in others. Chaotic, unpredictable weather will become the norm. Epidemics of malaria, cholera and even deadlier diseases will ravage the poorest and most vulnerable members of every society.

The impact will be most devastating on those whose lives have already been ravaged by imperialism many times over — the people of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and indigenous peoples everywhere. Climate change has justifiably been called an act of aggression by the rich against the poor.

Ecological destruction is not an accidental feature of capitalism: it is built into the system’s DNA. The insatiable need to increase profits cannot be reformed away. Capitalism can no more survive limits on growth than a person can live without breathing.

Under capitalism, the only measure of growth is how much is sold every day, every week, every year – including vast quantities of products that are directly harmful to humans and nature, commodities that cannot be produced without spreading disease, destroying the forests that produce the oxygen we breathe, demolishing ecosystems, and treating our water and air as sewers for the disposal of industrial waste.

Capitalism has always been ecologically destructive. From power plants in the U.S.A. to the forests of Indonesia; from tar sands in Canada to oil wells in Nigeria, the global drive for profit has caused untold damage to nature.

In our lifetimes, these assaults on the earth have accelerated. Quantitative change is giving way to qualitative transformation, bringing the world to a tipping point, to the edge of disaster. A growing body of scientific research has identified many ways in which small temperature increases could trigger runaway effects – such as rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet or the release of methane buried in permafrost and beneath the ocean – that would make catastrophic climate change inevitable.

If capitalism remains the dominant social order, the best we can expect is unbearable climate conditions, an intensification of social crises and the spread of the most barbaric forms of class rule, as the imperialist powers fight among themselves and with the global south for continued control of the world’s diminishing resources. At worst, human life may not survive.

Capitalism is the primary enemy of nature, including humanity. Abolishing it has never been more urgent.

[b]Capitalist Strategies for Change[/b]

The world is awash with strategies for contending with ecological ruin, including the ruin looming as a result of the reckless growth of atmospheric carbon. The great mass of these share one common feature: they are devised by and on behalf of the dominant global system, capitalism.

It should not surprise that the same system which drives the ecological crisis also sets the terms of the debate about the ecological crisis. For capital commands the means of production of knowledge as much as of atmospheric carbon. And just as it would be inconceivable for capital to awaken and turn itself into an ecologically rational system of production, so must it pretend to be able to heal the wounds it has inflicted on the earth. Accordingly, its politicians, bureaucrats, economists and professors send forth an endless stream of proposals, all variations on the theme that the world’s ecological damage can be repaired without disruption of the free market and of the system of accumulation that commands the world economy.

But a person cannot serve two masters, here, the integrity of the earth and the profitability of capitalism. One must be set aside, and since money rules our world, the needs of mere nature – and therefore of human survival — will be deferred under capital so that accumulation may continue. There is every reason, therefore, to radically doubt the established measures for checking the slide to ecological catastrophe.

And indeed, beyond a cosmetic veneer, essentially equivalent to the plantings in the atria of corporate headquarters, the reforms over the past thirty-five years have been a monstrous failure. Individual improvements do of course occur. Yet these inevitably become overwhelmed and swept away by the ruthless expansion of the system and the chaotic character of its production.

One fact can give an indication of the failure: in the first four years of the 21st Century, global carbon emissions were nearly three times as great per annum as those of the decade of the 1990s, despite the appearance of the Kyoto Protocols in 1997.

Kyoto employs two devices: the “Cap and Trade” system of trading pollution credits to reach certain reductions in emissions, and projects in the Global South--the so-called “Clean Development Mechanisms” (CDMs)--to offset emissions in the industrial nations.

These instruments all rely upon market mechanisms, which means, first of all, that atmospheric carbon directly becomes a commodity, hence under the control of the same class interest that created global warming in the first place. Capitalists are not to be compelled to reduce their carbon emissions but in effect, bribed to do so, and in this way, allowed to use their power over money to control the carbon market for their own ends, which needless to say, include the devastating exploration for yet more carbon resources. Nor is there a limit to the amount of emission credits which can be issued by compliant governments under the control of capital.

When we add to this the literal impossibility of verification or of any uniform method of evaluation of results, it can be seen that not only is this regime incapable of rationally controlling emissions, it also provides an open field for evasion and fraud of all kinds, along with the neo-colonial exploitation of indigenous people as well as their habitat. As the Wall Street Journal put it in March, 2007, emissions trading "would make money for some very large corporations, but don’t believe for a minute that this charade would do much about global warming." The Journal called the carbon trade "old-fashioned … making money by gaming the regulatory process."

And yet this worthless system remains the chosen path. All of the U.S. Democratic Party presidential hopefuls affirmed the Cap and Trade model in a recent debate. And in December, 2007, at the Bali interim climate meetings held to prepare the way for the replacement of Kyoto, which expires in 2012, opened the way for even worse abuses in the period ahead. Bali avoided explicit mention of the drastic goals for carbon reduction put forth by the best climate science (90% by 2050); it more or less completely abandoned the peoples of the South to the tender mercy of capital, giving jurisdiction over the process to the World Bank; and made offsetting of carbon pollution even easier. In sum, Bali was an orgy of neoliberalism, as no fewer than 300 corporations registered as NGOs in to gain access to the trough of pollution credits.

A tremendous world-wide radical response to the predatory system of climate regulation, and to all aspects of the life-threatening ecological crisis, is underway. It has made itself felt at Bali and elsewhere, with the simple, and life-affirming principle that the only rational and just solution to the climate crisis is to keep carbon in the ground in the first place.

Beyond the great range of valuable interventions proposed by this “movement of movements,” one singular and overarching perspective is beginning to be discussed: that in order to affirm and sustain our human future, a revolutionary transformation is needed, in which all particular struggles are to be seen in the light of a greater struggle against capital itself. This larger struggle cannot be merely negative. It must announce a different kind of society, and this we name ecosocialism.

[b]Stop Capitalist Ecocide! The Ecosocialist Alternative[/b]

Capitalist attempts to solve the ecological crisis have failed: only a profound change in the very nature of civilization can save humanity from the catastrophic consequences of climate change.

The ecosocialist movement aims to stop and reverse this disastrous process. We will fight to impose every possible limit on capitalist ecocide, and to build a movement that can replace capitalism with a society in which common ownership of the means of production replaces capitalist ownership, and in which the preservation and restoration of ecosystems will be a fundamental part of all human activity.

In other words, ecosocialism is an attempt to provide a radical civilizational alternative to the capitalist/industrial system, through an economic policy founded on non-monetary criteria: social needs and ecological equilibrium. It combines a critique of both “market ecology,” which does not challenge capitalism, and of “productivist socialism,” which ignores the earth’s natural limits.

The aim of ecosocialism is a new society based on ecological rationality, democratic control, social equality, and the predominance of use-value over exchange-value. These aims require both democratic planning that will enable society to define the goals of investment and production, and a new technological structure for humanity’s productive forces. In other words: a revolutionary social and economic transformation.

Emancipation of gender is integral to ecosocialism. The degradation of women and of nature have been profoundly linked throughout history, and especially the history of capitalism, in which money has dominated life. To defend and enhance life, therefore, is not just a matter of restoring the dignity of women; it also requires defending and advancing those forms and relations of labor that care for life and have been dismissed as mere “women’s work” or “subsistence.”

In order to stop the catastrophic process of Global Warming before it is too late, we must introduce radical changes in:

1. the energy system, by replacing the fossil fuels that are responsible for the greenhouse effect (oil, coal) with clean [url=http://www.becomenatural.com/blog/2007/03/wind-energy-eolic-energy/]eoli... and solar, sources of power;

2. the transportation system, by drastically reducing the use of private trucks and cars, replacing them with free and efficient public transportation;

3. present consumption patterns, which are based on waste, inbuilt obsolescence, and conspicuous competition.

To avoid endangering human survival, entire sectors of industry and agriculture must be suppressed (nuclear energy, armaments, advertising), reduced (fossil fuels), or restructured (automobiles) and new ones (solar energy, ecologically-sound agriculture) must be developed, while maintaining full employment for all. Such a change is impossible without public control over the means of production and democratic planning. Democratic public decisions on investment and technological change, must replace control by banks and capitalist enterprises in order to serve society’s common good.

Far from being “despotic”, planning is the whole society’s exercise of freedom: freedom of decision, and liberation from the alienated and reified “economic laws” of the capitalist system, which has controlled individuals’ lives and death, and locked them in what Max Weber called an economic “iron cage.”

The passage to ecosocialism is an historical process, a permanent revolutionary transformation of society, culture and attitudes. This transition will lead not only to a new mode of production and an egalitarian and democratic society, but also to an alternative way of life, a new ecosocialist civilization, beyond the reign of money, beyond consumption habits artificially produced by advertising, and beyond the unlimited production of commodities that are useless and/or harmful. It is important to emphasize that such a process cannot begin without a revolutionary transformation of social and political structures based on the active support, by the vast majority of the population, of an ecosocialist program.

To dream and to struggle for a green socialism does not mean that we should not fight for concrete and urgent reforms now. Without any illusions about “clean capitalism,” we must try to win time and to impose on the powers that be — governments, corporations, international institutions — some elementary but essential changes:

• drastic and enforceable reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases,
• free public transportation
• taxation on polluting cars,
• progressive replacement of trucks by trains
• shifting of war spending to the ecological reconstruction of homes and workplaces.

These, and similar demands, are at the heart of the agenda of the Global Justice movement and the World Social Forums, a decisive new development which has promoted, since Seattle in 1999, the convergence of social and environmental movements in a common struggle against the system.

Global Warming will not be stopped in conference rooms and treaty negotiations: only mass action by the oppressed, by the victims of ecocide can make a difference. Third World and indigenous peoples are at the forefront of this struggle, fighting polluting multinationals, poisonous chemical agro-business, invasive genetically modified seeds, and so-called “bio-fuels” that put corn into car tanks, taking it away from the mouths of hungry people. Solidarity between anticapitalist ecological mobilizations in the North and the South is a strategic priority.

This Manifesto is not an academic statement, but a call to action. The entrenched ruling elites are incredibly powerful, and the forces of radical opposition are still small. But those forces are the only hope that the catastrophic course of capitalist “growth” will be halted. Walter Benjamin defined revolutions as being not the locomotive of history, but as humanity reaching for the emergency breaks of the train, before it plunges into an abyss.
-----

[url=http://www.ecosocialistnetwork.org/Docs/Mfsto2/2nd-Ecosocialist-Manifest... available in .pdf format[/url]

jeff house

quote:


They had freely accessible child care services and affordable housing in 1930's Moscow, a time when we in the west were still using backhouses

Your defence of Stalin is noted, but not taken seriously.

The Soviet Union in the 1930's was primitive beyond belief.

Even into the 1980's, "affordable housing" in Moscow meant two families of four sharing a one bedroom apartment.

The rest of the USSR was far worse, comparable to the worst of native reserves in Canada.

Even Soviet apparatchiks admitted that housing was one of the biggest failures of the regime.

sknguy

We have a habit of removing ourselves from nature. As though we were never a part of nature. Don’t lose site of the fact that we are a part of nature, and that we need to normalise our relationship with it again. Removing ourselves is part of what gives us license to exploit.

We can resolve that capitalism needs to be replaced. And whatever replaces it will ultimately be an expression of our cultural needs. We can blame a lot of our problems on capitalism, but it’s really our culture that created it. A change in culture is central, and it’s entirely possible that capitalism could find expression in some other form if our worldview isn’t effected.

But, even if capitalism is removed from our relationship with the environment, what of other capitalist items? What of things like time and thought? What about knowledge and effort, how will these be treated? Thinking like a capitalist had to begin from somewhere. Whether the seeds of capitalism started by transforming thought and time into property, or whether it was simply more Earthly things, I can’t say. But I don’t think it would be wise to allow capitalism to express itself here either.

I'm still reading through the things you linked, as well as your manifesto M Spector. So, sorry if I've overlooked what may have been dealt with. Thanks for the post.

Michael Hardner

quote:


We have a habit of removing ourselves from nature. As though we were never a part of nature. Don’t lose site of the fact that we are a part of nature, and that we need to normalise our relationship with it again. Removing ourselves is part of what gives us license to exploit.

We can resolve that capitalism needs to be replaced. And whatever replaces it will ultimately be an expression of our cultural needs. We can blame a lot of our problems on capitalism, but it’s really our culture that created it. A change in culture is central, and it’s entirely possible that capitalism could find expression in some other form if our worldview isn’t effected.

But, even if capitalism is removed from our relationship with the environment, what of other capitalist items? What of things like time and thought? What about knowledge and effort, how will these be treated? Thinking like a capitalist had to begin from somewhere. Whether the seeds of capitalism started by transforming thought and time into property, or whether it was simply more Earthly things, I can’t say. But I don’t think it would be wise to allow capitalism to express itself here either.

I'm still reading through the things you linked, as well as your manifesto M Spector. So, sorry if I've overlooked what may have been dealt with. Thanks for the post.


I agree that capitalism in its present form must be replaced, but it must be replaced with something that is new. Excessive central planning will not solve problems any more than it did in the USSR.

I contend that capitalism can be changed by addressing some of its faults: its closed and secretive nature, its focus on short term profits.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by jeff house:
[b]

The rest of the USSR was far worse, comparable to the worst of native reserves in Canada.

Even Soviet apparatchiks admitted that housing was one of the biggest failures of the regime.[/b]


Not nearly the failure in housing that existed in Canada in the 1930's-40's and ongoing today. Apartments are still affordable in Russia, even in Moscow.

My mother came to Canada from England in 1946 and said Northern Ontario looked as if the war and rationing had occurred here and not the country she'd left by comparison. Lots of English war brides were amazed that many parts of Canada still had ditches along main gravel roads, outhouses, severe housing shortages and lots of nothingness for as far as the eye could see. Even England, which survived blitzkrieg for one year, was more developed than 98 percent of this country after years and years of political conservatism.

My parents helped out a single woman and her children situated across the street from the VLA shack where they lived. For years she'd had to prop up the east side of the house with bits of scrap wood and anything she could find. A strong westerly would cause the one and half story shack to rock back and forth. Roof leaked and was colder'n a witches' elbow in winter. They went to the bathroom through a hole in the floor. Northern Ontario was a real thirdworld backwater for a very long time, Jeff. We still have northerners living in third world conditions across much of our North today. Canada is world renowned for its abuse of indigenous people, and the feds haven't done a helluva lot to redeem themselves in the mean time.

Muscovites were able to see doctors and have their kids looked after in public daycares(see industrialization of Russia post 1928) at a time when thousands of Canadians were riding the rails looking for work, and R.B. Bennett's government tried to hide thousands of unemployed Canadians in the work camps of Northern B.C. And tens of thousands of migrant farm workers in the U.S. packed up and left for California's farm collectives at a time when laissez-faire capitalism had run its course in North America.

[ 25 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Michelle

Fidel and Jeff House, what part of "let's try and stay on the topic of ecosocialism" do you not understand?

Jeff House, you will stay out of this thread from now on, as you've contributed nothing of value on the subject. Fidel, you have to learn not to let yourself get baited so easily.

Fidel

Michelle, we have two people in the thread who are encouraging drift, I do understand, and here in what is supposed to be a thread about ecosocialism. House begins frothing at the mouth when even the root of the word is mentioned. And Hardner apparently wants us to believe that the western world should continue to operate by supply and demand rules until we're at a point where we're eating money, because we'll have stripped global resources bare and be choking on our own pollution a lot more than we are today. They'll say anything other than actually let go of what was a colossal cold war era lie.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]I contend that capitalism can be changed by addressing some of its faults: its closed and secretive nature, its focus on short term profits.[/b]

And as a socialist, I contend that the profit motive must be pared way back beyond what's currently required to ensure the global casino economy doesn't collapse. Debt-driven capitalism dependent on growth is the problem.

Michael Hardner

So what is to replace it ? Large scale central planning has been tried, and it doesn't work.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]So what is to replace it ? Large scale central planning has been tried, and it doesn't work.[/b]

That's a matter of opinion, Michael. You're referring to the Soviet Union which lasted 70 years and nearly endured an extended cold war waged against it by about two-thirds of the remaining world. Aspiring capitalists within the Soviet system decided in the late 1970's that they just wouldn't invest technological research and development or in new infrastructure of what some people say resembled a capitalist economy but which was basically an industrial model for state socialism. It wasn't so much that central planning failed as a certain Soviet elite decided not to maintain the system. The result was a top down revolution, and some large percentage of the Soviet people bought into western propaganda for middle class consumption based on consumerism.

Here in Canada, our governments used our nationalised Bank of Canada to fund important social programs and infrastructure from 1938 to 1974. There was no runaway inflation during that time period. And our national debt was well under $20 billion dollars after using the Bank to climb out of the depression, fund Canada's war effort, and funding all sorts of new programs and public infrastructure during that time.

What did not work was deregulated banking and finance in the U.S. and Canada after a 30 year experiment in laissez-faire capitalism ended in the 1929 stock market crash and a failure of leave it to the market ideology here in Canada. And the feds had to bail out our big six banks several times since starting down the road of loosening the rules for banks in the 1980's. Brian Mulroney handed the remainder of money creation powers in Canada to the big six in 1991, and that was a huge bailout for banks which were incurring losses in the casino economy then and continuing to do now. The question begs answering, why would our stoogeocrats borrow private banks at high interest when it can borrow from its own bank at less than one percent interest? Because that worked from 1938 to 1974. They're trying to tell you and I what works and what doesn't work, Michael. Apparently you don't believe socialism can work. I do, and if there was ever a time when our governments need fiscal elbow room for spending on green infrastructure and investing in people, it's now. Because this watered-down version of planned and enforced impotence isn't working for the second or third time in a row in the same hemisphere.

Brian White

I think George bush is trying it (large scale central planning) right now to correct failings in the holy free market before the holy free market collapses altogether.
(and of course he is trying to help the higher ups on the social ladder).
The higher ups had the best information, they spun it to make it look good for years, and the lie got just too big to continue with. Its another enron, it is systematic of the system that when the liars and the lie is big enough the liars get help from the king of laisse faire.
george the second.

quote:

Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]So what is to replace it ? Large scale central planning has been tried, and it doesn't work.[/b]

Fidel

quote:


The NDP website says its plan is “in line with” a similar scheme implemented in Europe. It is silent on the fact that the European system has produced windfall profits for energy companies while having no effect at all on emissions

The NDP is not silent about it, nor are European leaders silent about a one percent increase in European CO2 emissions. European cap and trade wasn't expected to reduce emissions this much during setup phase. It's taken years to setup, and it is realized now that there were too many permits issued. A U.S. cap and trade scheme [i]is[/i] expected to work even sooner because more data exists about the state of U.S. industries in general, or so it is claimed.

Fred Krupp(Environmental Defense Fund) said no air pollution problem in the world has ever been solved by a tax. Legal limits are needed and for governments to enforce them. Political will to enforce the law is another thing altogether.

Fidel

I believe European CO2 emissions are said to have risen 1% over 1990 levels during the course of last year.

How much have Canada's CO2 emissions risen since 1993? [url=http://www.davidsuzuki.org/files/climate/cop/Canadas_Record.pdf]Canada's Record(pdf)[/url]

And, what reason do we have to trust the Liberals? Liberals did a wonderful job of shovelling money to rich people and corporations over twelve years while CO2 emissions went through the roof.

It's Me D

quote:


And, what reason do we have to trust the Liberals?

None, but unless I missed something, no one in this thread said otherwise.

I generally agree with the articles posted by M Spector suggesting no party is willing to promote the kind of changes necessary to deal with the climate crisis. I think this speaks more to the nature of our political system than the specific parties participating in it though, the magnitude of change required is revolutionary, not incremental; if it is to be achieved at all it won't be through electoral politics.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by It's Me D:
[b]

None, but unless I missed something, no one in this thread said otherwise.

I generally agree with the articles posted by M Spector suggesting no party is willing to promote the kind of changes necessary to deal with the climate crisis. [/b]


I think that's true of the only two political parties who've ruled from Ottawa for the past 140 consecutive years in a row. I based my opinion on their records as the government of Canada.

I can't say that I know exactly what the NDP record on the environment will be until they've actually governed for a number of years. But I do know that the NDP is a Canaidan political party advocating environmentally friendly policies for the longest period of time. They've called for higher taxes and royalties on oil and gas exports for decades, long before the Liberals most recent twelve year stint in Ottawa when greenhouse gas emissions soared as Chretien-Martin, Manley, and Dion sold our environment to Exxon-Imperial and friends in the fossil fuel business.

So, no, the attempt here to equate the NDP with those two old line parties and [i]their[/i] established records on the environment doesn't make a lot of sense.

It's Me D

quote:


I think that's true of the only two political parties who've ruled from Ottawa for the past 140 consecutive years in a row. I based my opinion on their records as the government of Canada.

I can't say that I know exactly what the NDP record on the environment will be until they've actually governed for a number of years. But I do know that the NDP is a Canaidan political party advocating environmentally friendly policies for the longest period of time. They've called for higher taxes and royalties on oil and gas exports for decades, long before the Liberals most recent twelve year stint in Ottawa when greenhouse gas emissions soared as Chretien-Martin, Manley, and Dion sold our environment to Exxon-Imperial and friends in the fossil fuel business.

So, no, the attempt here to equate the NDP with those two old line parties and their established records on the environment doesn't make a lot of sense.


Fidel seriously, take it easy [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] In comparison to the two old line parties the NDP is light years ahead; I agree they are the only party in Canadian politics that is serious about the environment.

It is in comparison with the reality of what needs to be done to save the world that the NDP comes up short; it has to, it is competing in the arena of electoral politics in Canada! The change that is really needed is on a magnitude that the NDP cannot dare to contemplate.

A platform to save the world would need to go something like this: end private ownership and ban cars, spend many trillions of dollars (seriously) on railways, require all communities to derive ALL the goods needed by their citizens within 100 KM (requiring massive investment), etc etc. The attendant social changes would be enormous and revolutionary, they would require at least the level of force that Lenin's revolution required because few would willingly do what needs to be done.

The NDP cannot, and should not call for this but this is what needs to be done to save the world; in comparison to this sort of action plan the NDP DOES look like the other electoral parties, if it wants to win seats then that isn't a bad thing!

As you are so found of saying: Capitalism or a habitable planet, we can't have both... The NDP HAS TO promise both.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


they are the only party in Canadian politics that is serious about the environment.

Which is to say there is no party in Canada serious about the environment which is really too bad because what is serious is how badly were fucked if the news released over the last two days is any indicator.


quote:

Capitalism or a habitable planet, we can't have both... The NDP HAS TO promise both.

You mean lie? Why not if power is the goal, I guess.

It's Me D

quote:


Which is to say there is no party in Canada serious about the environment which is really too bad because what is serious is how badly were fucked if the news released over the last two days is any indicator.

quote:

So who will call for saving the world? Please tell me so I can vote for them.

Do you not agree that the world needs to be saved? Do you not agree that it is probably already too late anyway, so waiting for someone to step up to the plate in the distant future is essentially to surrender to the destruction of the planet?


I thought I had made this clear already but to reiterate in the interest of clarity:

I believe that if the world can be saved from the environmental disasters of our own making it will not be through electoral politics. I believe that this system is incapable of offering the magnitude of change that is necessary. I have gotten the impression in the past that FM agrees with me on this but I'm not always sure [img]confused.gif" border="0[/img]

So in answer to your question as to who you should vote for to save the world Spector my answer is that it isn't that easy; there is not and will never be such a choice on the electoral ticket. That doesn't mean saving the world is impossible but it does mean that it isn't easy: revolutionary action is required.

Do I see such a revolution as likely to happen? Yes. Will it happen in time to save the world? Maybe not, but if we make this the focus of our efforts then maybe so.

Since this is the ecosocialism thread I figured the ideas I have stated here would be welcome; if even here they are seen as beyond the pale then maybe it is already too late [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

All that said, if you are going to vote in this federal election I think you should consider the NDP as they offer the most for the environment; not enough to save the world, but more than the other electoral options. Sorry if this last enrages you FM [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Don't you think it's time somebody injected this sense of urgency into the electoral system - particularly during an election when a lot of people are paying attention? Instead of rearranging the deck chairs, shouldn't one of the deck hands be pointing to the bow and yelling "Iceberg"?

With the fate of the planet in the balance, what sense does it make to say of the NDP - or any other party - that they "cannot, and should not call for this". If the solution is political, it should be part of what passes for politics in this country.

I agree that a social and economic revolution, with the consent and participation of the vast majority of the population, is what is needed, but who is going to popularize those ideas and in what forum? Is there really any alternative to putting ecosocialism on the political agenda in this election?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


if you are going to vote in this federal election I think you should consider the NDP as they offer the most for the environment; not enough to save the world, but more than the other electoral options

Is voting NDP like offering a starving man a marshmallow? "It's light, it has no nutrition, and it will only aggravate the hunger pains, but, HEY! It's something."

If that's your solution why vote at all?

It's Me D

quote:


I agree that a social and economic revolution, with the consent and participation of the vast majority of the population, is what is needed, but who is going to popularize those ideas and in what forum? Is there really any alternative to putting ecosocialism on the political agenda in this election?

That is just the point, the consent is not there and there isn't time to "popularize those ideas"; the whole system is designed to keep this from happening, at the rate we are going the world will be long over by the time we start working to save it and that isn't good enough. You have to choices, to play the old game that you know if rigged against you so that you cannot win, or to start a new one, with new rules, that you can win.

quote:

With the fate of the planet in the balance, what sense does it make to say of the NDP - or any other party - that they "cannot, and should not call for this". If the solution is political, it should be part of what passes for politics in this country.

With the fate of the planet in the balance what sense does it make to say that we should put our hopes in the old game of electoral politics which we know very well to be incapable of saving said planet?

The NDP could adopt the necessary platform sure, they'd be rewarded for such a bold move with electoral oblivian of the sort which is currently reserved for the Communist Party. Try and push the NDP in that direction all you want, if you succeed you'll just doom them at the polls and change will be even further away. Its a no win game.

It's Me D

quote:


Is voting NDP like offering a starving man a marshmallow? "It's light, it has no nutrition, and it will only aggravate the hunger pains, but, HEY! It's something."

If that's your solution why vote at all?


You have become so obsessed with partisan bashing [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img] The NDP is no solution in my view, I have said it multiple times in this thread alone:

THE SOLUTION WILL NOT BE ACHEIVED BY VOTING

That is as clear as I can make it FM, if you still don't understand what I am saying then I cannot help you.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

quote:


Originally posted by It's Me D:
[b]That is as clear as I can make it FM, if you still don't understand what I am saying then I cannot help you.[/b]

I'm with you on this It's me D and I think I understand what you are saying. I was involved in electoral politics at one time until I realized that depending on that to 'Save Us' was not a good place to spend all my energy. I don't think any party has policies or and outlook that will save us. It's a matter of which is the best to at least help a little. The changes needed aren't going to be done from the top down, at least not quickly enough, the old ways are too engrained in the system and fighting to get them into any party consciousness is an uphill battle.
For me it is a matter of where I put my energy and I've chosen the grassroots local level. Will it be enough? Have no idea, but the only think we have right now is hope.
I will vote, but it's with the understanding that in terms of environmental stuff, it's really not going to change much.

It's Me D

ElizaQ:

quote:

I don't think any party has policies or and outlook that will save us. It's a matter of which is the best to at least help a little. The changes needed aren't going to be done from the top down, at least not quickly enough, the old ways are too engrained in the system and fighting to get them into any party consciousness is an uphill battle.

Very true, especially about the needed changes not coming from the top down; changing party consciousness is hard, changing people's consciousness is hard too. In all cases it is an uphill battle but thankfully that battle does not have to be won before radical action can be taken, it can be won afterwards (and it will be easier to win afterwards as well, if we can remove some of the superstructure that is designed to make the battle to change consciousness so impossible).

quote:

For me it is a matter of where I put my energy and I've chosen the grassroots local level. Will it be enough? Have no idea, but the only think we have right now is hope.

Well said, hope is all we have; however I haven't given up hope, I have just awakened to the fact that hope will not be found in electoral politics. People still give me reasons to hope [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

quote:

I will vote, but it's with the understanding that in terms of environmental stuff, it's really not going to change much.

I feel the same way, it is sad but we are given a chance to vote so I won't waste it, even though in the big picture it doesn't seem to mater.

[ 24 September 2008: Message edited by: It's Me D ]

It's Me D

Spector:

quote:

What if Hugo Chavez had said "I'm not going to play that electoral game" and instead of running for President on a radical platform he had decided to head for the hills and start a new game with new rules? There would today be no prospect of a Bolivarian revolution, the right wing parties would be in full control of Venezuela, and Chavez would be as isolated as the FARC.

Chavez didn't play by the rules himself; he tried a number of unorthodox strategies to build the Bolivarian Revolution and did not, to my knowledge, feel that he had to participate in the existing political system to build his revolution. Chavez did work to create a new game, bringing the masses to the forefront in a way they hadn't been before. He appealed directly to the people and bypassed the gatekeepers of electoral politics. Then he got into power and changed the game; now it is possible for the Revolution to win.

quote:

I'm not saying revolution can come to Canada through the ballot box. But I am saying that if you are going to play any kind of political game - new or old - you have to be prepared to tell the truth about what is happening and what is to be done. Anything less is a capitulation to reformism.

Tell the truth and the gatekeepers shoot you down; so yes, tell the truth, face the electoral consequences (which will be devastating) and then move on from the old arena to the streets.

Also I'd watch out slinging statements like "capitulation to reformism" around while simultaneously promoting the obsolete electoral theatre of Canadian politics where even reformism is seen as radical; you might end up with egg on your face [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 24 September 2008: Message edited by: It's Me D ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

There are huge changes coming to our planet in the very near future. Changes of the sort that will make a lot of people open to a lot of ways of thinking and behaving that at present they don't even consider. Changes of the sort that politicians are going to be scrambling for ways to respond. As things stand now, political parties will all be unprepared to lead anyone towards the necessary solutions - not the least of which is getting rid of capitalism.

It takes more than empty "hope". Those with knowledge and foresight have a responsibility now to make preparations to deal with the coming crises - not just personally but politically. Policies that challenge the rule of capitalism must be advanced and discussed now, while there is still time (assuming there is still time).

Right now, politics in this country is electoral; if you shun that, you are cutting off the only opportuinity available to communicate with the people who are going to have to come to the same understanding you have, if a radical change in society is ever to be accomplished.

It's socialism or barbarism, folks. Right now, my money's on barbarism, 'cause the socialists aren't doing anything while the barbarians are destroying our planet.

Fidel

Venezuela also has an advanced electoral system, MMP, and have had three national referendums since Chavez was elected.

The NDP's motion to restart the study on electoral reform was cancelled by Liberals and Tories both in May of 2007.

Meanwhile Canadians are still stuck with voting "strategically" for the same party who allowed greenhouse gas emissions to soar as they sold the environment to Exxon-Imperial and fossil fuel industry between 1993 and 2006.

The NDP represents real and radical change in Canada compared to what Canadians have become used to over the last 140 consecutive years in a row of the same-old same-old. Liberal, Tory, it's the same same tired old story in Ottawa.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
There are huge changes coming to our planet in the very near future. Changes of the sort that will make a lot of people open to a lot of ways of thinking and behaving that at present they don't even consider. Changes of the sort that politicians are going to be scrambling for ways to respond. As things stand now, political parties will all be unprepared to lead anyone towards the necessary solutions - not the least of which is getting rid of capitalism.

It takes more than empty "hope". Those with knowledge and foresight have a responsibility now to make preparations to deal with the coming crises - not just personally but politically. Policies that challenge the rule of capitalism must be advanced and discussed now, while there is still time (assuming there is still time).


I agree for the most part with most of this, but not with your characture that the 'hope' being mentioned is just empty or that preparing personally isn't also preparing politically. For instance me working at organizing community food cooperatives and barter exchange systems within a community as well as working on basic ecological literacy that goes beyond just theory to the practical is personal AND political preparation because it doesn't just include me.

quote:

Right now, politics in this country is electoral; if you shun that, you are cutting off the only opportuinity available to communicate with the people who are going to have to come to the same understanding you have, if a radical change in society is ever to be accomplished.

I wouldn't call it shunning. It's a matter of priority of where to put ones energy. I could spend oodles of time directly involved and 'talking' and theorizing' and 'convincing' or I could spend my time actually creating and setting the foundations both in thought process and in actual physical systems. Things that can provide the evidence beyond just theory of where we need to go if the electoral system gets to the point where they want to do more then just listen.

And it's not cutting off the only group of people that have to come to that understanding. Electoral politics is always and dance between 'the people' and the 'people taking on leadership roles for the people.' If enough of 'the people' don't get it, then they're not going to trust the 'leadership people' either. Same the other way around, in order to get leaders in there that 'get it' they have to have support from people that 'get it'.

quote:

It's socialism or barbarism, folks. Right now, my money's on barbarism, 'cause the socialists aren't doing anything while the barbarians are destroying our planet.[/qb]

I'm not that hopeful that we're going to be able to get through whatever is coming without barbarism and I mean more then just calling the current mindset and people barbarians. It's gonna be rough. I don't doubt that at all. I do believe though that we're going to need as many people on the ground, dealing and creating ways different ways of actually living as we're going to need people at the electoral level. I don't discount the arena at all. It's just not to me, the one and only priority.

[ 24 September 2008: Message edited by: ElizaQ ]

It's Me D

Spector:

quote:

Um, you left out the part where Chavez ran in elections and got elected to power.

Right, and you left out everything else which IMV is more important.

quote:

Right now, politics in this country is electoral; if you shun that, you are cutting off the only opportuinity available to communicate with the people who are going to have to come to the same understanding you have, if a radical change in society is ever to be accomplished.

An incredibly limited and counterproductive view of Canadian society and the potential of communication. How can you trust the MSM to get your message across when the message is the antithesis of the power structure that supports them? Eliza replied well to your limited view, it deserves repetition:

quote:

For instance me working at organizing community food cooperatives and barter exchange systems within a community as well as working on basic ecological literacy that goes beyond just theory to the practical is personal AND political preparation because it doesn't just include me.

Eliza:

quote:

I do believe though that we're going to need as many people on the ground, dealing and creating ways different ways of actually living as we're going to need people at the electoral level. I don't discount the arena at all. It's just not to me, the one and only priority.

Well said again although I see the creation of new ways of living as a project for society at large, for the masses; it is a project which has already begun even though it hasn't yet reached the discourse of electoral politics. In some ways the changes in the way regular people live have been forced by increasing costs of living, in others people have begun to change their ways by choice through a conscious realization of what the future holds. All this however is far too little however as the masses do not have the power in this Country that they would need to bring about a new way of life for our whole society. The masses must take that power and I still do not believe that this will be achieved through electoral politics; certainly not by electoral politics alone.

Spector I know you are an admirer of Chavez, I respect him as well, foremost because he is committed to putting the power to save the world in the hands of the masses through a radical transformation of power structures in Venezuela. I do not believe any of our political parties here in Canada have the will to do this, even the NDP; if I'm wrong and the NDP does have this will then they are wise not to make it public as it runs contrary to the entire structure of the arena in which they seek victory.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


THE SOLUTION WILL NOT BE ACHEIVED BY VOTING

There is no need to yell.

I suppose what's confusing me, D., is you seem to be speaking from both sides of your mouth although that may be a misperception on my part.

I guess what I hear from you is support for voting NDP on one hand and agreement with me that partisan politics will never solve the problem, on the other. So maybe I am confused.


quote:

Spector I know you are an admirer of Chavez, I respect him as well, foremost because he is committed to putting the power to save the world in the hands of the masses through a radical transformation of power structures in Venezuela. I do not believe any of our political parties here in Canada have the will to do this, even the NDP; if I'm wrong and the NDP does have this will then they are wise not to make it public as it runs contrary to the entire structure of the arena in which they seek victory.

I agree. Chavez was always fairly clear where he was going. The NDP does not represent the sort of change being advanced in Venezuela and other nations to the south.

It's Me D

Sorry, didn't mean to yell [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]

quote:

I guess what I hear from you is support for voting NDP on one hand and agreement with me that partisan politics will never solve the problem, on the other. So maybe I am confused.

I suppose that might be confusing; here is my opinion on voting:

We each have a vote (except the young which is shameful), its one of few little tidbits of voice given to the people in this Country (I say voice as opposed to power because voting provides the masses negligible power over our lives and our shared future); still, we have a vote.

Since we have a vote we have to decide how to use it; should it be cast for a political party? should it be spoiled? Should it sit unused? The second and third option are pointless in Canada as no matter how much hand-wringing occurs over low voter turn-out the reason is always presumed to be apathy as opposed to protest; in Canada not voting or spoilling one's ballot is the equivalent of not having a vote. That leaves only one option, voting for a political party.

This is where my earlier statement that I would vote NDP comes in. I am not advocating that others vote NDP, stockholm, fidel and others do plenty of that. I've just decided to cast my vote for the party I see as offering a tiny "marshmellow-like" [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] bit of progress. Will it be enough to save the world? Absolutely not, and I have been unequivocal about that.

I have considered that voting may be seen as my supporting electoral politics but realized that not voting will not be registered as a condemnation of the system either; damned either way.

So yeah, I am voting NDP, I don't think it will solve anything but I ask you; why not vote?

[img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 24 September 2008: Message edited by: It's Me D ]

[ 24 September 2008: Message edited by: It's Me D ]

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
[b]
I agree. Chavez was always fairly clear where he was going. The NDP does not represent the sort of change being advanced in Venezuela and other nations to the south.[/b]

Great, so all we have to do is achieve Venezuelan levels of grinding poverty after a series of corrupt U.S.-backed oliocracies - elect a socialist leader in protest - have him survive at least two CIA-fomented military coups - and then we can finally tell Exxon-Imperial and friends to shove off.

The problem is, our two stoogeocratic old line parties [i]are[/i] still struggling to win even 24% of the eligible vote each. However, they are still able to achieve plutocracy with old line party coalition. As someone's already said, why did Harper even force this election when he has enjoyed full support of the Liberal Party on all of the important conservative votes pushing the rightwing agenda in Ottawa?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


So yeah, I am voting NDP, I don't think it will solve anything but I ask you; why not vote?

Because it won't solve anything?

I will be voting and I do know, as you do, that it won't solve anything. But it does provide an opportunity to participate in an event of mass futility.

quote:

Great, so all we have to do is achieve Venezuelan levels of grinding poverty after a series of corrupt U.S.-backed oliocracies - elect a socialist leader in protest - have him survive at least two CIA-fomented military coups - and then we can finally tell Exxon-Imperial and friends to shove off.

I got some bad news for you, Fidel. That oil price spike that we saw when gas hit almost $1.50 a liter before settling back to $1.20, is going to push a lot of Canadians into poverty. That financial mess south of the border, it is going to push a lot more North Americans into grinding poverty. And in the meantime, that oil spike is literally starving people in much of the rest of the world where oil above $100 a barrel just isn't affordable and we all eat oil for dinner.

And climate change, once it really sets in, will kill, literally, billions. The perfect storm of energy depletion, climate change, and water scarcity will combine to undermine our carrying capacity for the world's population and North Americans will not be immune from the conseunces.

And that is in large part because for so long as the grinding poverty was restricted to [i]them[/i], we were okay with it. We still are.

Even today, with the writing so clearly on the wall, our choice is more of the same with the inevitable catastrophe rather than changing our ways. In fact, politicians aren't even allowed to talk about lest they lose votes.

Fidel

In Canada, the income distribution of the real middle class support base sits somewhere between 88th and 92nd percentiles, according to Jim Stanford. Once [i]they[/i] start feeling the pinch, the two old line party plutocracy is in trouble, even with "first past the post." They're already hurting for phony majorities and reduced to coalition power sharing in Ottawa. Right now the oligarchs and their political hirelings are trying to figure out how they can convince a petty bourgeois middle class support base to accept reduced standards of living while maintaining grips on power in Ottawa and Washington.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


In my opinion, it's nothing short of criminal for people who supposedly are aware of the magnitude of the problem and the impending crises to argue that the NDP should not be putting forward what is unarguably the necessary radical program for the planet's survival

I hope you're not including me in that rant because I really wish they would put it forward. But they won't! If they did, I would not only vote for them, I would give them money and devote my time to their efforts.

But the NDP talks from both sides of its body. From its head it talks about a real need to address climate change and from its arse it blows hot air about bringing down gas prices to benefit all the assholes in hummers, F-150's and SUVs.

Instead of talking about a radical program, it instead wastes breath on an industry, market solution that is not at all a solution.

People will not accept a radical agenda unless they appreciate the weight of the problem and no one but scientists, sporadically reported, are sounding the alarm. The NDP is still obsessed with 1970s consumerist politics: An industry farmed chicken in every non-stick pot and three cars in every driveway.

Fidel

What a crock! If we'd listened to the NDP in the 1980's, we wouldn't be dealing with the Liberals' having given away our environment to Exxon-Imperial and friends today.

Both the Ontario NDP and federal NDP have laid out plans for green economy and sustainable energy that make the two old line parties appear to be still thinking in terms of 1950's level consumption and expansion, even though their dwindling electoral support has dropped off from cold war era levels.

What you people really mean to say is, after 140 years worth of Liberal and Tory rule in Ottawa, 85% percent Canada's our oil and oil byproducts will be coming from dirty-filthy tar sands extraction in just a few years' time.

If world-wide levels of conumption were made fair and equal, then Canadians' consumption levels would have to drop by something like 75% while those in desperately poor countries rise to bare subsistence levels.

That's a non-starter for any political party in Canada. We don't have the infrastructure or the planning setup to switch to a dynamic and constantly modernizing green economy. A large part of our GDP is energy and fossil fuel exports to the U.S., which will increasingly include dirty tar sands oil. We'll also run out of conventional natural gas reserves sometime early next decade. All those big homes built during the bubble years will become very expensive to heat and maintain. Change is coming and along with it, changes to the political landscape in this country. If the two old line parties are finding it difficult now to win phony-majority rule, what will it be like in 2012 or 2016? Change is coming either way.

It's Me D

quote:


I find it bizarre that people who acknowledge the need for revolutionary action to save the world don't think it should be mentioned in an election campaign by Canada's major party of the left.

I've said several times that the NDP can adopt an ecosocialist platform if it has the will to do so, I have also called that will into question AND yes, I have also stated the obvious electoral consequences of taking that position: oblivion. Since I do not suggest that real solutions will arise from the electoral arena I wouldn't be bothered by the NDP being wiped from the scene, perhaps then it could be refashioned into a real force for change; however if the NDP wishes to succeed in Canadian electoral politics it is as I said: it cannot, and should not, adopt an ecosocialist platform. If the NDP takes power and introduces the sort of reforms of the political system which Chavez has instituted in Venezuela then it can then adopt such a platform without it being a totally self-defeating move. There is no inconsistency in my position on this despite your desperate efforts to paint such into my comments.

quote:

Instead of an explanation, I got lectures about the limits of electoralism, as if there were some obvious alternative at this point in time (i.e., on the one hand you have the federal electoral process, and on the other you have....um, nothing, really).

quote:

It's [everything but voting] not even political action in any kind of sense that builds mass support for social change.

No alternative to electoral politics? Are you sure you are a socialist at all [img]confused.gif" border="0[/img] Be my guest, put your all into electoral politics; slam your head repetitively into that wall. For those of us who do acknowledge the magnitude of the problem and of the necessary solution and would like to make some progress as opposed to achieving nothing and feeling we've done our part (hey, we voted NDP, don't blame us!) there are plenty of alternatives. Working with groups at the community level, with municipalities who remain the most participatory level of government; building consciousness and will amongst the people, making concrete steps towards the future we need to see; preparing for a non-electoral takeover of power (which isn't something I am allowed to elaborate on here on Babble I believe). I agree government commitment is needed, I am not putting the onus on the individual (and I heard a great interview on this subject with Mr Monbiot last evening); however government commitment is not going to be achieved under the status quo, power must be taken by the people for that to happen.

quote:

In my opinion, it's nothing short of criminal for people who supposedly are aware of the magnitude of the problem and the impending crises to argue that the NDP should not be putting forward what is unarguably the necessary radical program for the planet's survival.

In my opinion it is nothing short of criminal for people who supposedly are aware of the magnitude of the problem and the impending crises to assert that all we can do is vote for one of the electoral parties and then sit on our hands waiting to be saved. Its downright disgusting to see such a "capitulation to reformism" on your part.

quote:

There you have it in a nutshell - abject capitulation to reformism

One of the two of us supports the status quo of electoral politics and it isn't me. Anyone reading the thread can see for themselves who is promoting the strategy of capitulation so stop misrepresenting me without any evidence.

On a lighter note all this calling each other out for "capitulation to reformism" is making me nostalgic for the old days. Leftist discussion always goes this way, no matter how close our views are relative to the rest of the population when you put two leftists in a room they'll inevitably find a way to disagree with enough passion to start up a two-person sectarian conflict. Although if we WERE in one room I am sure we'd get along much better; a joint would also help defuse the conflict [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

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