COP 15 After-word: Smashing Success Sketches

“Nobel War Prize Winner walked in and out of a secret door, and that is the way capitalism and the United States Empire will end up leaving the planet, through a secret back door.”

So spoke Venezuela President Hugo Chavez from the plenary podium on the last afternoon, December 18, of the 12-day long Climate Conference.

“While the conference was a failure, it, at least, led to more consciousness of what the problem is for all of us. Now starts a new stage of the struggle for the salvation of humanity, and this is through socialism. Our problem is not just about climate, but about poverty, misery, unnecessary child deaths, discrimination and racism—all related to capitalism,” Chavez said at the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA) press conference held at the Bella Centre conference immediately following Chavez’ last remarks at the plenary.

Bolivia President Evo Morales followed Chavez’ remarks by saying:

“Barack Obama said a while ago [the only delegate to walk in and out of the stage from a concealed door] that he came here not for more words but for action. Well, then you should act by using the money you are spending for wars against the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq, for militarizing Colombia with seven military bases to save lives, to save the planet our Mother Earth.”

Both presidents, the only heads of state representing eight of the nine ALBA countries present at COP 15,1 denounced the failure of this conference in both form and content.

Chavez: “There are no documents presented for consultation by all. The responsibility is a lack of political will by a few rich countries, including the host Denmark, headed by the US Empire.”

Morales: “There is profound difference between their document [26 rich countries drew up a so-called Copenhagen Accord2 ] and the peoples fighting for humanity and the planet. This group of friends led by Obama accept that temperatures can increase by 2 degrees by 2020. This will end the existence of many island states; it will end our snow-capped mountains. And Obama only seeks to reduce gas emissions by 50% in 2050. But we want and need 90 to 100% reduction, in order to save the planet. Then they speak of spending crumbs for mitigation and adaptation. The third theme, which they are only just now debating, is how to set up a system of controls for monitoring agreements and what sanctions there will be if this is not done. That is why we want an International Climate Justice Tribunal that can sanction failure to comply with agreements, so that we can govern based on balance and achieve real solutions.”

President Morales was referring to one of the five questions—to be answered yes or no—that he proposes for a global referendum on climate change. The other four are:

1. Do you agree with re-establishing harmony with nature, recognizing the rights of Mother Earth?
2. Do you agree with changing this model of over-consumption and waste that the capitalist system represents?
3. Do you agree that developed countries reduce and re-absorb their domestic greenhouse gas emissions so that the temperature does not rise more than 1 degree Celsius?
4. Do you agree with transferring all that is spent on wars to protecting the planet and allocate a budget for climate change that is bigger than what is used for defense?

At this press conference, and on various other occasions during the three days of his attendance, Morales poses the problem and the solution to it thusly: “The rich countries seek to divide the rest of us…by offering crumbs of money. Mother Earth can’t be preserved with money alone. Europe’s food almost entirely depends upon petrol. What happens when there is no petrol? This dependency on fossil fuel is a threat to humanity, so we have to change the structures of food. It is a structural problem of two forms of life: one way of living is the way of over-consumption and waste, the way of luxury, of egoism and individualism—capitalism. The other way is “vivir bien”—living well—food enough for all and living in harmony with others and our Mother Earth, in solidarity and complementarity.

At the final press conference—for which I was one of two media consultants during this two weeks, along with Nick Buxton—for the ALBA countries, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela attended. Cuban Vice-President Esteben Lazo said that socialism offers greater protection for the earth than does capitalism.

“Before our revolution, capitalism had nearly depleted all our forests. We have focused on replanting and now 20% of the land is covered by forests. We also educate our school children about ecology, and about the ALBA network. We are founded on principles of solidarity, of human rights and nature’s rights.”

Democracy Anecdotes

Nick and I had rushed to put out a media advisory announcing the above press conference, about which we were informed only 90 minutes before that Morales would be attending rather than leaving Copenhagen earlier that day as he had planned. We wrote it in a blink and passed out 200 fliers. At the appointed time, the press room began to fill with media and delegates from several countries. Bolivia was the only state, of which I know, that insisted on allowing anyone to attend our press conferences, in accordance with Morales practice of inclusiveness and transparency. The time allotted was 30 minutes. Morales did not arrive on time, which he usually does. We heard from a top Bolivian delegate inside the plenary that Evo had just gotten an opportunity to respond from the floor to the rich countries secret document, now leaked. Fifteen minutes ticked by and he did not arrive. Another phone call informed us that Chavez would be following Evo and then they were both coming to the media hall. Oh, no! Chavez never talks briefly. We would lose the conference time and 100 people present would be disappointed.

Use the “dead” time, my experience told me. I asked two indigenous social movement delegates if they would take the podium and speak, perhaps about their movements and the five-point referendum. They agreed. I translated for them. They spoke of how this very act of taking the podium before their president’s arrival illustrated how democratic the new Plurinational State of Bolivia actually is. Social movements work hand in glove with the government and their president—reelected less than two weeks before with a 64% majority.

As the activists were speaking, about their movement and the referendum, in walked Presidents Morales and Chavez followed by the Cuban, Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan leaders. The activists and I calmly walked off the stage and the states leaders took our seats as we nodded to one another.

Morales’ entourage of ministers and ambassadors took their seats. They are known to us as: Eugenio, Pablo, Roberto, Ivan, Angélica, David, Rene and not Your Honorable, Excellency, Minister, Ambassador. When speaking with or about their presidents, most common people call them Evo and Chavez.

On other occasions—such as before 3000 persons at the ALBA People’s Meeting held in a sports stadium on the 17th where Presidents Morales and Chavez spoke alongside top leaders from Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua—the leaders of the Bolivian and Venezuelan governments thoughtfully thank their teams of paid workers and volunteers, and the organizers of political events. They also praise the activists inside and outside the Bella Centre conference. They applauded the 100,000 plus demonstrators on the 12th—twice the size of the hitherto largest demonstration ever held in the Banana Republic of Denmark—and the 1500 activists arrested preventatively, nearly none of whom had performed an illegal act. Only two handfuls were eventually charged with any violation. Several hundreds had their hands handcuffed between their backs and forced to sit on the cold ground and asphalt for up to five hours before bussed to makeshift cage cells. No water, no toilet relief. This is the treatment a “democratic” police state can render potential “terrorists” under their new terror laws, which they deem to be necessary in accompaniment with their imperialist wars.

In addition to these demonstrations, there were smaller ones in the hundreds and thousand in several parts of the city everyday. Some were decidedly opposed to capitalism and its wars. I participated in one in front of the Yankee Embassy of Murder the day before its mulatto president was to receive the so-called Nobel Peace Prize.

Evo Morales, 50, comes from the people’s struggles. He was an amateur soccer player, a musician, a coco farmer and a union organizer and leader before entering politics. He is a man of dialogue with his people. I note one illustration. When he came out of a news conference, the Indian Youth Climate Network, a group of youth from India, wanted him to hear a song one of them had written about Bolivia. He stopped to listen to, “I wish I was Bolivian,” sung to the tune of “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkle.

   Every day they are stalling and they are saying the same old things again
   But one bright country stands apart
   They’re saying things close to my heart
   They’ve got a plan with hope in hand
   They’re saying c’mon let’s just start…
   Bolivia, I wish I was Bolivian…
   Just one degree temperature rise
   300 ppm in the skies
   100 percent emissions down by two thousand forty
   Does anyone know the price of waiting
   Fighting, hating, procrastinating
   My future stands in front of me
   While people here make history
   I hope and pray that it will be
   What the world’s children wish to see
   Bolivia
   We’ve got to take the boldest steps
   There’s work to do; clean up the mess
   Bolivia

The evening before, Morales attended one of the hundreds of side events organized by people’s movements and NGOs. This one was about indigenous peoples of the Americas. He spoke briefly giving plenty of time for questions and comments from the floor. Anyone could speak and there was no formality or nervousness before the president. At one point, Evo Morales said that he couldn’t always set in motion all that we wanted but it would be easier now, given that MAS (Movement Towards Socialism), the president’s party, had won so overwhelming in the electoral campaign with eight presidential candidates, and now MAS controls both parliament houses.

“Politics is a science of serving the people. I live to serve the people. Participating in politics is part of assuring our dignity, our traditional way of life. It is my duty to take your message to the heads of state here. If I make a mistake, let me know so that I can rectify it.

“I don’t think we’ll make progress here. We must organize and mobilize all the more. Not just climate justice activists, but all of us: workers, farmers, media people, academics, everybody. That is the answer.”

Following this meeting, several indigenous people told me that those are not empty words. “We always speak out in meetings with the president and we offer criticisms and make demands. He listens.”

Niels Boel, a writer for the daily Danish newspaper Information had one of two dozen bilateral interviews with Evo Morales. He wrote: “As the police fought against demonstrators… the world’s greatest activist, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, got off with being chased by the press.”

While he did not go to jail this time, the world’s first indigenous president knows what prison and torture is all about. He was so treated under previous Bolivian presidents doing capitalism’s bidding. As Boel wrote:

“Solutions for Morales come only from people’s organizations, which can overcome capitalism.”

And that is why I say this conference was a smashing success. Especially because of Morales and Chavez’ anti-capitalist dialogue in these past few days, and the many thousands carrying picket signs displayed during the massive march that damned the greedy economic system (Change the System Not the Climate), capitalism is now on the agenda of many more people than in a long time. Even some of the mass media could not avoid headlining this message from the two “Bad Boys”.

“I have heard many debates in the UN where presidents condemn climate change but they never say—cowardly enough—what causes it. We say clearly that it is caused by capitalism,” Morales said in closing.

Post-note: Some institute calculated that the amount of carbon emissions from this two-week ordeal was greater than some of the island nations exude in a year’s time. One of the wastes during this failed non-summit, non-climate conference was the amount of paper used by 30,000 delegates and 3000 journalists and technicians. The official figures published by the UN even on the first day stated that eight millions sheets of paper were provided. However, given that only 15,000 participants were expected to be registered, the amount of paper used probably was two-fold the expected. I guess that Nick and I used 2000 sheets of paper, which we distributed to let media people know of our news conferences.

  1. ALBA is comprised of: Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Honduras (which was not present given the illegal coup d´ état against the legitimate President Manuel Zelaya), Nicaragua, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Venezuela. []
  2. This exclusive accord, rejected by the other nations, is a non-binding political agreement setting an objective for them to keep a maximum rise in temperature by 2 degrees Celsius by 2020; a voluntary commitment to publicize the amount of each developed country’s gas emissions and mitigation action for developing states; short-term funding for development countries up to 2012 of $30 billion annually, to increase to $100 billion annually between 2013 and 2020. (The US alone is spending $1.5 trillion dollars to rescue the white banks responsible for the financial and economic global crisis). These 26 countries suggest that there be another climate conference in Mexico in a year’s time. []

Ron Ridenour is a veteran journalist and author of nine books, the latest is Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka. Read other articles by Ron, or visit Ron's website.

36 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on December 21st, 2009 at 11:25am #

    Ron that was a very good song and we need to start singing it here in the States. Anybody tired of the stupidity yet? Just wait cap and trade and we get to see what this Country is all about in living color. At least from a few.

  2. DavidG. said on December 21st, 2009 at 1:33pm #

    While I don’t think that socialism is the answer I’m very sure that capitalism isn’t! Both systems, in their pure form, are disastrous.

    What is required is an amalgam of the better points of both, one that encourages human enterprise and individuality but strongly discourages greed and the rape of the planet. Perhaps it could be called Humanitarian Earthism.

    I applaud Morales and Chavez for undermining and exposing the cancer that is capitalism. The quicker it falls the better!

  3. Deadbeat said on December 21st, 2009 at 2:53pm #

    While I don’t think that socialism is the answer I’m very sure that capitalism isn’t! Both systems, in their pure form, are disastrous.

    Can you explain why Socialism “in [its] pure form [is] disastrous”? Chavez especially and I think Morales both are advocats of socialism and both are unafraid to use the word. So if both these men who you applaud advocate Socialism why do you believe it is “disastrous”?

  4. DavidG. said on December 21st, 2009 at 3:17pm #

    Deadbeat, if you look at what happened in Russia (Stalin), China (Mao), Cambodia (Pol Pot) when forms of pure socialism were tried, the results were terrible.

    Humans can’t be turned into mindless clones all wearing the same clothes but neither can they be left to their own devices and told that greed is good.

    Surely there is a middle road.

  5. bozh said on December 21st, 2009 at 3:24pm #

    Right to be informed-educated, medicly treated, own work-work place cannot be wrong! tnx

  6. Deadbeat said on December 21st, 2009 at 3:32pm #

    Deadbeat, if you look at what happened in Russia (Stalin), China (Mao), Cambodia (Pol Pot) when forms of pure socialism were tried, the results were terrible.

    Unfortunately these were never Socialist countries. You are confusing State Capitalism with Socialism. First and foremost Socialism MUST BE democratic. In fact if you read the Communist Manifesto you’ll see that Socialism is an intermediate stage prior to Communism which is ending the needed for a state.

    Whether or not such a progression is necessary is another issue but the main aspect of Socialism is WORKER democracy (or the dictatorship of the proletariat).

    What you are doing is misrepresenting Socialism based on the ruling class’s distortions. Just like Anarchy has been misrespresented and distorted by the ruling class by confusing it with “chaos”.

    One of the first things that Americans has to do is to DE-PROGRAM themselves from 50 years of Cold War indoctrination and especially from the “Left’s” own misuse of these very same Cold War terms.

    There are plenty of very good Socialist websites where you can start your journey.

  7. Don Hawkins said on December 21st, 2009 at 3:32pm #

    Let’s think about one thing the problem itself. It’s already late for many life forms on Earth we waited to long. By 2020 we need to bring the level to zero then back to about 350ppm. Talking about what economic system to me is academic. So far what is being done very little to nothing. If we are going to try not words but whatever it takes to slow this down. Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler. Again so far we are light years away from that and as the climate bill comes up and let’s remember the climate bill is a joke on the human race does little to nothing to slow the problem. This health care bill here in the states starts in 2014 and unless there is a major and I mean major change in the thinking by 2014 I have a feeling not only climate change will be right in our face but a whole new system the start of survival along with those noise generators as a start.

  8. Don Hawkins said on December 21st, 2009 at 3:40pm #

    Granted by 2014 major effects still a few years away but not many. So far best guess 2030 high gear and as the Universe expands we get to go backwards for Australia and African to mention a few a little sooner. More people will see the problem by 2014 then what.

  9. DavidG. said on December 21st, 2009 at 4:47pm #

    Deadbeat, some people like to get caught up in definitions. Semitism is one such example and it creates lots of heat but not much light!

    Most people understand what ‘socialism’ and ‘capitalism’ means (my wife lived under Mao so she understands it better than most – she starved for much of her childhood).

    To call one type of socialism ‘State Capitalism’ is a nonsense!

  10. Don Hawkins said on December 21st, 2009 at 5:19pm #

    In the States obama needs to come clean with the people he knows how. I like to call it the people of Earth speech. Then go for it. Light bulbs and installation will not do it. Tax carbon and tax it hard 100% of the tax back to the people and that’s only a start. That song in this article do the adults we see here in the States so called policy makers could they sing it? I think not They need to learn how and soon.

  11. lichen said on December 21st, 2009 at 5:41pm #

    This is a good article, for the most part. It is true, as David pointed out, that communism was equally polluting. Chavez and Evo can talk about socialism and capitalism in the way they do because they use new, non-marxist forms, and because they, as poor and indigenous people, have environmental ethos at the heart of their philosophy, not dirty, coal-choked industrial marxism. The climate justice activists are to be praised, for putting forth solid demands such as those expressed in the song. For-profit, export, non-cooperative, exclusionary, environmentally destructive economies do need to be stopped.

  12. Don Hawkins said on December 21st, 2009 at 6:04pm #

    The climate bill very soon here in the States will it be change we can believe in? Oh there’s change coming alright and it’s either they the few or us the many working together would be the best way and so far I don’t see it. Not for profit the other way will not work. As a start 100% back to the people. That’s 100%. Not long and we shall see. Ten years and change is the word. Oh how could I go on? The key words is go on and boring it will not be.

  13. Deadbeat said on December 22nd, 2009 at 3:50am #

    David G writes …

    Deadbeat, some people like to get caught up in definitions. Semitism is one such example and it creates lots of heat but not much light!

    The reason why people are “caught up in definitions” as you say is due to the distortion of the definition by those whose agenda is to prevent human progress.

    By the same toke David would you have to reject democracy as clearly the U.S. itself far from being a functioning democracy but calls itself one. Otherwise David the premise of your argument is in severe contradiction.

    Most people understand what ’socialism’ and ‘capitalism’ means (my wife lived under Mao so she understands it better than most – she starved for much of her childhood).

    So what David, that your wife lived under Mao. I live under the boot of U.S. “democracy”. Thus by your logic then we Americans should REJECT democracy rather than fight for it and fight the propaganda war in order to RECLAIM the original definition and meaning of democracy. The same hold true for Socialism.

    To call one type of socialism ‘State Capitalism’ is a nonsense!

    Unfortunately David the “nonsense” is inherent in the contradiction of your argument. State Capitalism is NOT Socialism and unfortunately rather than understand what Socialism is you’d rather spew the ruling class DISTORTION of what Socialism is. I guess by your logic we should give up on Democracy as well.

    Sad — very sad.

  14. Deadbeat said on December 22nd, 2009 at 4:09am #

    lichen writes …

    It is true, as David pointed out, that communism was equally polluting. Chavez and Evo can talk about socialism and capitalism in the way they do because they use new, non-marxist forms, and because they, as poor and indigenous people, have environmental ethos at the heart of their philosophy, not dirty, coal-choked industrial marxism. The climate justice activists are to be praised, for putting forth solid demands such as those expressed in the song. For-profit, export, non-cooperative, exclusionary, environmentally destructive economies do need to be stopped.

    There is that agenda by so-called “environmentalist” or “Greens” to debase Marxism as if industrial has to be anti-environment. This is the strain of argument that was throughout James Keye’s recent article. This is a distortion and a deliberate attack upon working class interests.

    Obvious lichen hasn’t taken the time to read the links I posted to Marxist ecology nor has lichen taken a look at the Cuba’s success of altering its economy especially after the fall of the USSR.

    For example lichen claims that Chavez and Evo “use new non-marxist forms”? Is he kidding? Marxism defines Socialism therefore Chavez & Evo are most definitely are moving in a Marxist direction. Whether they get there is another question because both leader have not smashed the Capitalist class which is still intact but greatly subdue by these leaders’ popular support.

    And BTW lichen, Chavez specially mention Karl Marx in his Copenhagen speech.

    So the real question is why are so-called “environmentalist” like lichen anti-marxist? Do they want to preserve Capitalism? Or do they want to preserve CLASS as a way of feeling “superior” of their fellow humans?

    The preservation of class is completely incompatible with ecology and therefore is anti-Marxist.

  15. Josie Michel-Brüning said on December 22nd, 2009 at 7:28am #

    Thanks for the article and thanks for the following discussion, as well.

  16. DavidG. said on December 22nd, 2009 at 1:40pm #

    Deadbeat, making assumptions is obviously your forte. Unfortunately your assumptions are not always right!

    I agree that America is not a democracy. Next to Israel, I see America as the most dangerous nation on earth, the one that most threatens world peace and is most likely to bring about the end of the world. It is driven by extreme nationalism, capitalism and religious fundamentalism.

    Any country that is driven by any extreme ideology (including socialism) is all too often a danger.

  17. Deadbeat said on December 22nd, 2009 at 1:56pm #

    Deadbeat, making assumptions is obviously your forte. Unfortunately your assumptions are not always right!

    David, where in my remarks did I “assume” anything. I’ll quote you directly (once again)

    To call one type of socialism ‘State Capitalism’ is a nonsense!

    It is you David who is misrepresenting and distorting Socialism as “State Capitalism”.

    Any country that is driven by any extreme ideology (including socialism) is all too often a danger.

    Then by your argument the U.S. is driven with the “extreme ideology” of “democracy” since it labels itself as such and therefore we should reject “democracy” based on how it is practiced in the U.S.

    Sorry David, but your arguments are in contradiction and you refuse to reconcile the contradictions that I’ve pointed out. It is obvious that you simply have a prejudiced towards economic democracy (Socialism).

  18. DavidG. said on December 22nd, 2009 at 2:07pm #

    Deadbeat, I will make an assumption about you! I imagine that you, like me, are trying to make this crazy world a better place.

    For us to engage in endless semantic and ‘pseudo-intellectual’ arguments would seem rather counterproductive and, let’s face it, most people are not interested. It turns them off!

    Let’s focus on the main game, each in our own way. What do you reckon?

  19. lichen said on December 22nd, 2009 at 4:18pm #

    Yes, Chavez has always followed what he specifically calls 21st Century Socialism, not the burnt out ideology of trotskyists and marxists.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 26th, 2009 at 8:56am #

    A few years ago the WWF or some other environmental organisation, the precise one alludes my memory, investigated the sustainability of countries. They found that only one country on the planet was ecologically sustainable. Cuba, proudly socialist, and despised to a pathological extent by Rightwing dead souls everywhere as a result. As is plain from centuries of experience, market capitalism and the ecosphere are incompatible,as is capitalism with equality, decency and humanity. Capitalism relies on individual greed, unmitigated by any notion of collective responsibility. Indeed capitalist economics reviles the collective interest and preaches the mythical imbecility of ‘The Invisible Hand’, that supposedly delivers the best results possible. To believe this lunacy must one imagine that radical inequality, unceasing warfare over diminishing resources and total ecological collapse worldwide are Panglossian in their benevolence. But, of course, that is the point. Market fanatics are morally insane, intellectually challenged and spiritually bankrupt. Any ideology that sees the environment as an ‘externality’ is beyond ridicule, but,as this system, behind the ludicrous inadequacy of its intellectual pretensions as a ‘science’, is actually a facade behind which the real work of capitalism, the conversion of the natural world and the labour of humanity into capital, to be as concentrated in as few hands as possible, continues, inexorably and pitilessly.

  21. Don Hawkins said on December 26th, 2009 at 9:29am #

    And are we the people Market fanatics morally insane, intellectually challenged and spiritually bankrupt? That is a puzzling question and a question the Market fanatics like to think we are just that. Granted the market fanatics on somewhat of a relentless basis tell us we need to do all those things to be ok without telling us that’s what we are doing. There is that other question why didn’t we all work on Wall Street become bankers policy makers business icons? Nice cup of coffee game of checkers. For us we the people could we think in a new way? For the market fanatics, bankers, policy makers and the icons lose the i and we are getting warmer easier or harder to think in a new way just on the off chance we might want to do just that and soon.

  22. Max Shields said on December 26th, 2009 at 10:31am #

    lichen, I think you’re right about Chavez. And his idea of socialism seems less ideological and more about facing what’s in front of us.

    I’m not keen on the word “socialism” as an old ideology attempting to make a come back now that its nemesis – Capitalism has collapsed.

    But Chavez understands and lives by what is sustainable and what is not. He faces the inevitability of energy scarcity. He doesn’t deny that there are resource limits and a new form of econmics is required – one less about industrialization and consumption.

  23. Deadbeat said on December 26th, 2009 at 3:01pm #

    Max Shields writes …

    I’m not keen on the word “socialism” as an old ideology attempting to make a come back now that its nemesis – Capitalism has collapsed.

    Socialism (economic democracy) is an “old” ideology because the struggle is ongoing Max. Now that Capitalism is in crisis (Capitalism has not “collapsed”) it is vital that firstly people understand what Capitalism is and what Socialism is so that people won’t get fooled into accepting such schemes as Keynesian Liberalism which keeps the Capitalist class intact.

  24. Deadbeat said on December 26th, 2009 at 3:09pm #

    David G writes …

    For us to engage in endless semantic and ‘pseudo-intellectual’ arguments would seem rather counterproductive and, let’s face it, most people are not interested. It turns them off!

    Look David, I’m sorry you haven’t the desire to understand how your misuse of the language creates distortions. You incorrectly frame your own desire to remain ignorant as a debate about semantics. We are in a period of a crisis of Capitalism the most important stage is to educate our ourselves and fellow citizens.

    Therefore the semantics is extremely important in order to throw off the yolk of indoctrination. Your desire not to understand where you erred is more about your own EGO rather than a desire for understanding and improved communications.

  25. Deadbeat said on December 26th, 2009 at 3:16pm #

    lichen writes …
    Yes, Chavez has always followed what he specifically calls 21st Century Socialism, not the burnt out ideology of trotskyists and marxists.

    Can you explain Chavez’s socialist ideology and how it differs from Karl Marx. Especially when Chavez referenced Karl Marx in his COP15 speech. You are asserting that he rejects “burnt out” ideology of Marx’ so it would help if you can be more specific of the differences and less ad hominem.

  26. Deadbeat said on December 26th, 2009 at 3:25pm #

    Max Shield writes …

    But Chavez understands and lives by what is sustainable and what is not. He faces the inevitability of energy scarcity. He doesn’t deny that there are resource limits and a new form of econmics is required – one less about industrialization and consumption.

    Chavez reject “Peak Oil” and has stated that Venezuela has a 200-year or more of reserves. What Chavez rejects is Capitalist production and seeks to alter that. He is also calling for Hugo Chavez’s Call for a Fifth Socialist International. This looks like a continuum of the Socialist tradition.

    You and lichen are so “anti-Marxist” that now you want to re-brand Chavez’s Socialist advocacy. This is what I mean be maintaining the Capitalist status-quo via disruption and misuse of the language and semantics.

  27. lichen said on December 26th, 2009 at 4:29pm #

    I agree, Max. I don’t like those old ideologies, and it is unfortunate that some people will just never be able to understand how they function–how they become a vacuous dogma that anything (the worst human intentions imaginable) can hide behind, and how they direct at a certain subset of society and thus brand who the ‘scapegoats’ should be. They leave dogma in their midst and forcibly suppress anything new; they also manage to be so abstract and academic, theoretical that they can really go anywhere (see slavoj zizek and how he supports Obama 100%, but not Chavez; see the many sworn ‘anarchists’ who made hundreds of videos explaining their philosophy on youtube, yet vote for the democrats and otherwise remain armchair philsophers, not giving a damn about young, active movements today–and see how these people post around quotes about needing to kill “all the capitalists” or the “middle class.” and of course they are very purist–personally, I hold that someone is not somehow better or farther left for supporting theoretical and abstract things then people who support the most “leftish” things that actually exist in the world.)

  28. Don Hawkins said on December 26th, 2009 at 6:33pm #

    “Of course,” he notes, “by 2005 I was well aware that the NASA Office of Public Affairs had become an office of propaganda.”

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-james-hansen27-2009dec27,0,5460299.story

  29. Max Shields said on December 26th, 2009 at 6:39pm #

    Yes, lichen, I don’t follow the socialist sites much, but what I gather is, while calling themselves “socialists” they have given themselves over to the Obama tribe.

    It is, to be sure, the corruption of the economic lexicon. War is peace and capitalism is socialism, left is right, center is moderate is fascism…

    While the old brand of socialism and the new old brand are debating the politics of capitalism, the problem is before us…utterly untouched. What a waste!

    Deadbeat, I think Chavez knows more than you give him credit for. Peak oil is not a slogan; nor is it an ideology. It simply expresses a physical reality.

  30. Deadbeat said on December 26th, 2009 at 8:02pm #

    Deadbeat, I think Chavez knows more than you give him credit for. Peak oil is not a slogan; nor is it an ideology. It simply expresses a physical reality.

    What you and lichen attack and debase Socialism via distortion of the lexicon is thoroughly amusing yet pitiful at the same time. The Ruling Class has spend years distorting the terminology for the obvious reason — to confuse and to divide the public regarding what is in the working class interest. The Ruling Class clearly understand what is in their own interest much more than workers and you two have chosen the side you’d rather support while all the while claiming the opposite.

    Lichen uses the torturous rhetorical tactic of victimization while Max just outright debases Socialism as “old” rather than abused.

    Both writers offer NO solutions.

    Keep up the good work.

  31. Max Shields said on December 27th, 2009 at 8:46am #

    Deadbeat there are many definitions of the word socialism. Which one are you proposing we struggle to make happen?

    My solutions have been well posted throughout DV on a variety of topics, you and dan e have ridiculed them, not on the basis of alternatives or facts but ad hominems.

    If you have a specific proposal regarding how a specific form of socialism would work in the United States of America, this with how you are struggling to make this a reality would be welcomed (a welcomed change, I might add).

  32. Deadbeat said on December 27th, 2009 at 2:09pm #

    Deadbeat there are many definitions of the word socialism. Which one are you proposing we struggle to make happen? My solutions have been well posted throughout DV on a variety of topics, you and dan e have ridiculed them, not on the basis of alternatives or facts but ad hominems.

    Max there are many definition of “democracy” Which one are you proposing we struggle to make happen? Apparently you seem to support the U.S. form of “democracy” because your arguments will maintain it.

    DanE and I have NOT “riduculed” your “solutions”. We provided arguments as to the CONTRADICTION in Georgism and why a land tax will not eliminate Capitalism; not eliminate poverty; and will not eradicate EXPLOITATION of workers. In fact I didn’t formulate these arguments, Marx, Engles, De Leon, et. al where all contemporaries of Henry George and all wrote critiques against Georgism. I posted links to those arguments that anyone can read.

    I find it hilarious that you label Socialism as antiquated yet you promote the contradictory late 19th Century ideas of Henry George. The only reason why you believe that it can be promoted now is due to the Left withdrawal for the past 30 years and the Liberal’s attacks on Marxism.

    Also you have a tendency to support neo-Malthusian rhetoric of human population and human consumption being the source of the world ills. When you have the majority of the world population living on less than $2.00/day and Capitalist production for profit rather than human need. Neo-Malthusian arguments shift the focus away from the mal-distribution of wealth, power, and consumption and blames the poor. However Neo-Malthusian, by blaming the poor, naturally are against redistribution like yourself Max.

    The problem is Max that at best you are unwilling to challenge your own contradictions and at worst you goal is to subvert the Left and maintain confusion and discombobulation of a public that is seeking real solution and understanding of their conditions.

    The Socialism that I support is economic and political justice, equality, fairness and democracy. In the tradition of Marxism there are many writers and thinkers that have outlined structures. However in the end it will be up to workers to democratically decide the structures. At this point I am leaning towards a moneyless society however there is much to be learned and debated therefore I support the goals that I’ve outlined as Socialism and take offense to lichen characterization of dogma.

    how you are struggling to make this a reality would be welcomed
    For now it is dialogue because Never will those who wage war tire of deception. — as we see coming from the so-called “Left”.

  33. Max Shields said on December 27th, 2009 at 2:26pm #

    You describe socialism as the means (apparently only) to achieving economic and political justice, equality, fairness and democracy. So, why is socialism the way to achieve that? How would you go about it pray tell?

    That reads like an adolesent version of utopia. And this is to be achieved through dialog?

    Deadbeat I don’t know you but your posts indicate you’ve not lifted a finger to “struggle”. To at least struggle and fail is to be doing something. How can someone utter a word “struggle” and not be “struggling”? It’s called: H y p o c r a c y.

    Since you are not up to the task of discussing HG, I’ll let all your talk on that topic go by the boards.

  34. Deadbeat said on December 27th, 2009 at 3:37pm #

    Max Shields get it wrong yet again …

    You describe socialism as the means (apparently only) to achieving economic and political justice, equality, fairness and democracy. So, why is socialism the way to achieve that? How would you go about it pray tell?

    No Max. What I did was to DEFINED what Socialism means and its goals. In other words Socialism is defined as a political economy OF Justice, Equality, Fairness and Democracy. How that political economy is constructed is part of the DEBATE and there have been Marxist thinkers and philosophers over the past 150 years who has constructed models that you can research yourself.

    Chavez is one of those modern thinkers and take a look at what is being proposed…

    Amy Goodman: What level of emissions are you willing to support reductions of emissions?

    President Hugo Chavez: [translated] One hundred percent. One hundred percent. We must reduce the emissions 100 percent. In Venezuela, the emissions are currently insignificant compared to the emissions of the developed countries. We are in agreement. We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet. However, that requires a change in lifestyle, a change in the economic model: we must go from capitalism to socialism. That’s the real solution.

    Amy Goodman: How do you throw away capitalism?

    President Hugo Chavez: [translated] The way they did it in Cuba. That’s the way. The same way we are doing in Venezuela: giving the power to the people and taking it away from the economic elites. You can only do that through a revolution.

    Also

    [The Fifth Socialist International] conference and the official statement hold tremendous significance for socialists in particular and the working class in general around the world. It contains several points we wish to highlight.

    First, the statement calls for the replacement of capitalism by socialism, pointing out that capitalism threatens the survival of humanity as well as the survival of all life, because capitalism combines “the economic crisis, with an ecological crisis, a food crisis and an energy crisis.”

    Apparently Max the people of Latin American appreciates and understand what Socialism is. It seems that it is the U.S. “Left” is the one having trouble understanding Socialism.

    That reads like an adolesent version of utopia. And this is to be achieved through dialog?

    Max why do you have resort to distortion. You took out of context my answer to your question. I’ll cut and paste the entire passage to restore the proper context of my response to your question.

    Max: how you are struggling to make this a reality would be welcomed
    DB: For now it is dialogue because Never will those who wage war tire of deception. — as we see coming from the so-called “Left”.

    That right Max I said “FOR NOW”. I’ve written here on DV that I was involved in the 2003 anti-war movement and the 2004 Nader Campaign. What I witnessed what first hand was the LEVEL OF BETRAYAL by the “Left” especially wrt their lack of confronting Zionism which is the major impetus for the U.S. War spending. The corruption of the U.S. Left is a major reason for the LACK of movement in the U.S. today. So Max “FOR NOW” it is dialogue and helping to educate people about the ills of both Zionism and Capitalism.

    Deadbeat I don’t know you but your posts indicate you’ve not lifted a finger to “struggle”. To at least struggle and fail is to be doing something. How can someone utter a word “struggle” and not be “struggling”? It’s called: H y p o c r a c y.

    Read the above response and then stuff your ad hominems.

  35. Max Shields said on December 27th, 2009 at 7:50pm #

    First the anti-war movement is not a socialist movement nor is Ralph Nader a socialist…so your involvement in the socialist “struggle” seems not on your resume of activities. Fine.

    As far as Latin America and what Latin Americans think…so glad you know and can speak for them.

    Are you preparing for a US revolution, Deadbeat? Or jsut talking about it.

    Taking a few remarks out of context regarding Chavez is hardly an argument for what you are doing and exactly what your proposing. It’s a ploy, more red herrings. You can’t answer a question without either tossing out another question, or more blatantly, changing the subject.

    You still have not answered what your socialistic recipe is Deadbeat. I suspect because you haven’t thought about it. Your too busy criticizing everyone elses.

    Personally, agree or disagree I respect a well thought out proposal. It shows one is not simply a reactionary.

  36. Deadbeat said on December 28th, 2009 at 12:42am #

    Max Shields stupefyingly writes …

    First the anti-war movement is not a socialist movement nor is Ralph Nader a socialist…

    Look Max I’m not going to waste anymore of my time debating you. You are just trying to be disruptive rather than provide real information. There were several socialist organizations actively involved in the 2003 anti-war movement and all of the Nader campaigns. The ISO and Solidarity are perhaps the two most prominent organizations involved in both. The ISO was heavily active in the Green Party with Todd Chretien perhaps being the best known socialist involved in the GP.

    It was people like Medea Benjamin, Todd Gitlan, David Cobb, and other so-called “Demo-Greens” activists that red-baited the socialists and split the party. The anti-war movement divided when more radical elements raised Zionism as a caused for 9-11 and the war on Iraq. After that you could see United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) scurry into the awaiting arms of the Democratic Party along with Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Michael Albert, and Norman Solomon — the whole Anybody but Bush excuse.

    You still have not answered what your socialistic recipe is Deadbeat. I suspect because you haven’t thought about it. Your too busy criticizing everyone elses.

    If you have a “socialistic[sic]” recipe then that would put you Max among some of the all time great philosophers. I am not that presumptuous or arrogant. Which is why I study Marxism as I still have much to learn. I would suggest to you Max that if you want a “recipe” that you do your research and discover what works and what doesn’t work.

    Unfortunately Max there are holes and contradictions in your suggestions. You have yet to suggest a program that will not only end capitalism but also end EXPLOITATION and promotes justice, fairness, equality and democracy — socialism.

    Also Max you frame criticism as though it is a bad thing to do. I think critique is extremely necessary and acts as a check against deception and falsehoods which unfortunately the “Left” has been engaging in for decades.