Ecosocialism: For a Society of Good Ancestors (Part One)

The world is getting hotter, and the main cause is greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity. Enormous damage has already been done, and we will have to live with the consequences of past emissions for decades, perhaps even centuries. Unless we rapidly and drastically cut emissions, the existing damage will turn to catastrophe.

Anyone who denies that is either lying or somehow unaware of the huge mass of compelling scientific evidence.

Many publications regularly publish articles summarizing the scientific evidence and outlining the devastation that we face if action isn’t taken quickly. I highly recommend Green Left Weekly as a continuing source. I’m not going to repeat what you’ve undoubtedly read there.

But I do want to draw your attention to an important recent development. Last month, more than 2500 climate scientists met in Copenhagen to discuss the state of scientific knowledge on this subject. And the one message that came through loud and clear was this: it’s much worse than we thought.

What were called “worst case scenarios” two years ago by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change actually understated the problem. The final statement issued by the Copenhagen conference declared: “The worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realized.”

Nicholas Stern, author of the landmark 2006 study, The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change now says, “We underestimated the risks. We underestimated the damage associated with the temperature increases, and we underestimated the probability of temperature increases.”

Seventeen years of failure: with one exception

Later this year, the world’s governments will meet, again in Copenhagen, to try to reach a new post-Kyoto climate treaty. Will they meet the challenge of climate change that is much worse than expected?

The politicians’ record does not inspire hope.

Seventeen years ago, in June 1992, 172 governments, including 108 heads of state, met at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

That meeting produced the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the first international agreement that aimed “to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a low enough level to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” In particular, the industrialized countries promised to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels.

Like the Kyoto Accord that followed it, that agreement was a failure. The world’s top politicians demonstrated their gross hypocrisy and their indifference to the future of humanity and nature by giving fine speeches and making promises — and then continuing with business as usual.

But there was one exception. In Rio one head of state spoke out strongly, and called for immediate emergency action — and then returned home to support the implementation of practical policies for sustainable, low-emission development.

That head of state was Fidel Castro.

Fidel began his brief remarks to the plenary session of the 1992 Earth Summit with a blunt description of the crisis: “An important biological species is in danger of disappearing due to the fast and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions: mankind. We have become aware of this problem when it is almost too late to stop it.”

He placed the blame for the crisis squarely on the imperialist countries, and he finished with a warning that emergency action was needed: “Tomorrow it will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago.”

After the 1992 Earth Summit, only the Cubans acted on their promises and commitments.

In 1992 Cuba amended its constitution to recognize the importance of “sustainable economic and social development to make human life more rational and to ensure the survival, well-being and security of present and future generations.” The amended constitution obligates the provincial and municipal assemblies of People’s Power to implement and enforce environmental protections. And it says that “it is the duty of citizens to contribute to the protection of the waters, atmosphere, the conservation of the soil, flora, fauna and nature’s entire rich potential.”

The Cubans have adopted low-fertilizer agriculture, and encouraged urban farming to reduce the distances food has to travel. They have replaced all of their incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents, and distributed energy efficient rice cookers. They have stepped up reforestation, nearly doubling the island’s forested area, to 25% in 2006.

As a result of these and many other projects, in 2006 the World Wildlife Federation concluded that Cuba is the only country in the world that meets the criteria for sustainable development.

By contrast, the countries responsible for the great majority of greenhouse gas emissions followed one of two paths. Some gave lip service to cleaning up their acts, but in practice did little or nothing. Others denied that action was needed and so did little or nothing.

As a result we are now very close to the tomorrow that Fidel spoke of, the tomorrow when it is too late.

Why Cuba?

The World Wildlife Federation deserves credit for its honesty in reporting Cuba’s achievements. But the WWF failed to address the next logical question. Why was Cuba the exception? Why could a tiny island republic in the Caribbean do what no other country could do?

And the next question after that is, why have the richest countries in the world not cut their emissions, not developed sustainable economies? Why, despite their enormous physical and scientific resources, has their performance actually gotten worse?

The first question, why Cuba could do it, was answered not long ago by Armando Choy, a leader of the Cuban revolution who has recently headed the drive to clean up Havana Bay. His explanation was very clear and compelling:

“This is possible because our system is socialist in character and commitment, and because the revolution’s top leadership acts in the interests of the majority of humanity inhabiting planet earth – not on behalf of narrow individual interests, or even simply Cuba’s national interests.”

General Choy’s comments reminded me of a passage in Capital, a paragraph that all by itself refutes the claim that is sometimes made, that Marxism has nothing in common with ecology. Karl Marx wrote:

“Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations.”

I’ve never known any socialist organization to make this point explicitly, but Marx’s words imply that one of the key objectives of socialism must be to build a society in which human beings work consciously to be Good Ancestors.

And that is what the Cubans are doing in practice.

The idea that we must act in the present to build a better world for the future, has been a theme of the Cuban revolutionary movement since Fidel’s great 1953 speech, “History Will Absolve Me.” That commitment to future generations is central to what has justly been called the greening of the Cuban revolution.

The Cubans are committed, not just in words but in practice, to being Good Ancestors, not only to future Cubans, but to future generations around the globe.

Why not capitalism?

But what about the other side of the question? Why do we not see a similar commitment in the ruling classes of Australia, or Canada, or the United States?

If you ask any of them individually, our rulers would undoubtedly say that they want their children and grandchildren to live in a stable and sustainable world. So why do their actions contradict their words? Why do they seem determined, in practice, to leave their children and grandchildren a world of poisoned air and water, a world of floods and droughts and escalating climate disasters? Why have they repeatedly sabotaged international efforts to adopt even half-hearted measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions?

When they do consider or implement responses to the climate crisis, why do they always support solutions that do not work, that cannot possibly work?

Karl Marx had a wonderful phrase for the bosses and their agents — the big shareholders and executives and top managers and the politicians they own — a phrase that explains why they invariably act against the present and future interests of humanity. These people, he said, are “personifications of capital.” Regardless of how they behave at home, or with their children, their social role is that of capital in human form.

They don’t act to stop climate change because the changes needed by the people of this world are directly contrary to the needs of capital.

Capital has no conscience. Capital can’t be anyone’s ancestor because capital has no children. Capital has only one imperative: it has to grow.

The only reason for using money to buy stock, launch a corporation, build a factory or drill an oil well is to get more money back than you invested. That doesn’t always happen, of course — some investments fail to produce profits, and, as we are seeing today, periodically the entire system goes into freefall, wiping out jobs and livelihoods and destroying capital. But that doesn’t contradict the fact that the potential for profit, to make capital grow, is a defining feature of capitalism. Without it, the system would rapidly collapse.

As Joel Kovel says, “Capitalism can no more survive limits on growth than a person can live without breathing.”

A system of growth and waste

Under capitalism, the only measure of success is how much is sold every day, every week, every year. It doesn’t matter that the sales include vast quantities of products that are directly harmful to both humans and nature, or that many commodities cannot be produced without spreading disease, destroying the forests that produce the oxygen we breathe, demolishing ecosystems, and treating our water, air and soil as sewers for the disposal of industrial waste.

It all contributes to profits, and thus to the growth of capital — and that’s what counts.

In Capital, Marx wrote that from a capitalist’s perspective, raw materials such as metals, minerals, coal, stone, etc. are “furnished by Nature gratis.” The wealth of nature doesn’t have to be paid for or replaced when it is used — it is there for the taking. If the capitalists had to pay the real cost of that replacing or restoring that wealth, their profits would fall drastically.

That’s true not only of raw materials, but also of what are sometimes called “environmental services” — the water and air that have been absorbing capitalism’s waste products for centuries. They have been treated as free sewers and free garbage dumps, “furnished by Nature gratis.”

That’s what the pioneering environmental economist William Kapp meant nearly sixty years ago, when he wrote, “Capitalism must be regarded as an economy of unpaid costs.”

Kapp wrote that capitalism’s claims of efficiency and productivity are: “nothing more than an institutionalized cover under which it is possible for private enterprise to shift part of the costs to the shoulders of others and to practice a form of large-scale spoliation which transcends everything the early socialists had in mind when they spoke of the exploitation of man by man.”

In short, pollution is not an accident, and it is not a “market failure.” It is the way the system works.

How large is the problem? In 1998 the World Resources Institute conducted a major international study of the resource inputs used by corporations in major industrial countries — water, raw materials, fuel, and so on. Then they determined what happened to those inputs. They found that “One half to three quarters of annual resource inputs to industrial economies are returned to the environment as wastes within a year.”

Similar numbers are reported by others. As you know, about a billion people live in hunger. And yet, as the head of the United Nations Environmental Program said recently, “Over half of the food produced today is either lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain.”

“Inefficiency” in this case means that it is no profit to be made by preventing food waste — so waste continues. In addition to exacerbating world hunger, capitalism’s gross inefficiency poisons the land and water with food that is harvested but not used.

Capitalism’s destructive DNA

Capitalism combines an irresistible drive to grow, with an irresistible drive to create waste and pollution. If nothing stops it, capitalism will expand both those processes infinitely.

But the earth is not infinite. The atmosphere and oceans and the forests are very large, but ultimately they are finite, limited resources — and capitalism is now pressing against those limits. The 2006 WWF Living Planet Report concludes, “The Earth’s regenerative capacity can no longer keep up with demand — people are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources.”

My only disagreement with that statement is that it places the blame on “people” as an abstract category. In fact the devastation is caused by the global capitalist system, and by the tiny class of exploiters that profits from capitalism’s continued growth. The great majority of people are victims, not perpetrators.

In particular, capitalist pollution has passed the physical limit of the ability of nature to absorb carbon dioxide and other gases while keeping the earth’s temperature steady. As a result, the world is warmer today than it has been for 100,000 years, and the temperature continues to rise.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions are not unusual or exceptional. Pouring crap into the environment is a fundamental feature of capitalism, and it isn’t going to stop so long as capitalism survives. That’s why “solutions” like carbon trading have failed so badly and will continue to fail: waste and pollution and ecological destruction are built into the system’s DNA.

No matter how carefully the scheme is developed, no matter how many loopholes are identified and plugged, and no matter how sincere the implementers and administrators may be, capitalism’s fundamental nature will always prevail.

We’ve seen that happen with Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism, under which polluters in rich countries can avoid cutting their own emissions if they invest in equivalent emission-reducing projects in the Third World. A Stanford University study shows that two-thirds or more of the CDM emission reduction credits have not produced any reductions in pollution.

The entire system is based on what one observer says are “enough lies to make a sub-prime mortgage pusher blush.”

CDM continues not because it is reducing emissions, but because there are profits to be made buying and selling credits. CDM is an attempt to trick the market into doing good in spite of itself, but capitalism’s drive for profits wins every time.


Ian Angus was a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads: Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century conference , in Sydney Australia, April 10-12, 2009. The event, which drew 440 participants from more than 15 countries, was organized by Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. The above is Ian’s talk to the plenary session on “Confronting the climate change crisis: an ecosocialist perspective.” He has lightly edited the text for publication.

Ian Angus is an ecosocialist activist and editor of the online journal Climate and Capitalism. He is co-author, with Simon Butler, of Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis (Haymarket, 2011), and editor of the anthology The Global Fight for Climate Justice (Fernwood, 2010). Read other articles by Ian, or visit Ian's website.

65 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on May 2nd, 2009 at 12:38pm #

    The quote from Armando Choy is hilarious. The worst polluters in Europe were always the Communist dictatorships, which tends to make a mockery of Mr Choy’s comment. Nowadays, the unfortunate people of those countries are saddled with the toxic inheritance which the communists left behind them. I would guess that the real reason why Cuba had to go ecoligical has to do with the date: 1992. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and Soviet subsidies suddenly vanished. The Cubans stopped polluting quite simply because they could no longer afford it!

    The good news therefore is that an economic crisis forces countries to become ecological. Whether socialism helps that process remains to be seen. European-style communism manifestly doesn’t!

  2. Boyd Collins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 1:08pm #

    Before condemning, we should begin by defining what we mean by socialism. A careful examination of Ian Angus’ article reveals the following characteristics of socialism:

    1) Socialism embraces the good of humanity as a whole rather than the special interests of one segment or even present-day humanity as a whole. As Marx put it so beautifully, ‘“Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations.” This is the principle of solidarity which is the major foundation of socialist morality.

    2) The capitalist system cannot act according to the interests of all humanity or even a large segment such as the good of a nation. It can only act in the interests of individual corporate profits. Corporations that violate this principle, even on a small scale, quickly perish.

    3) A corollary to the above is that corporate profits have to grow or the corporation dies. The only justification for a corporate action is whether it increases profits.

    4) By treating our irreplaceable environment as “sewers for the disposal of industrial waste”, corporations can increase their profits in the short term, which is the only measurement of importance. Externalizing social and environmental costs leads to greater profits, therefore it must be done.

    Human solidarity is not a value for capitalism. If the starvation of one billion people increases profit, then that is only consideration worth noticing. As to the European communist regimes, very few socialists today would consider them socialist in any meaningful sense. The socialism Ian Angus advocates and that the majority of socialists believe in, is reflected in the principles described in this article.

    The case of Cuba is particularly instructive since their ecological practice has allowed them to survive the American embargo and the loss of Soviet support. The key fact is not that they were forced to become ecologically aware, but how they responded to the loss of Soviet support. The temptation at the time was to abandon socialism. Instead, they reaffirmed their commitment to human and environmental solidarity have now become models for a sustainable future.

  3. Max Shields said on May 2nd, 2009 at 2:12pm #

    Boyd with all due respect, socialism doesn’t DO anything. People do.

    It is not socialism nor communism that pollutes, nor creates an ecological balance. Industrialization existed (and still does) in all socialist, capitalist, communist and mixed economies. Unfettered industrialization mindlessly, with the neverending demand on production and goods that pollutes. It is not that production must pollute, but that humans are an indulging, overindulging species until calamity hits and they must return to saner, ecological sound ways.

  4. Jeff White said on May 2nd, 2009 at 2:34pm #

    The author of this article is a friend of mine. He is not in fact the professor of Humanities at Simon Fraser University who has the same name. He is an entirely different person.

    Great article, though!

  5. Don Hawkins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 2:39pm #

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed Gandhi

    If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos. Ed Wilson.

    And that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Insects work not only with each other but there environment. A new way of thinking is needed and soon yesterday would have been good. I am very sure need not greed is a big part of that thinking. Oh no how could we ever go on. In a better way.

  6. Boyd Collins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 2:44pm #

    I agree with you completely that socialism or communism does nothing. But people act within the constraints of the economic and political system that they are members of. The current system is based on unrestrained growth due to the corporate imperative to grow or die. This is not an individual moral decision. They have to act in a certain way in order to survive. If they don’t put short term profit ahead of all other considerations, they will quickly perish or be taken over. Similar dynamics were at work in the old European communist states. We can devise effective resistance strategies only if we understand that the whole system must be opposed, not simply this or that abusive feature. And, sadly, while I believe an end to indulgent behavior is part of the solution, making moral appeals to stop the bad behavior will fall on deaf ears until the system stops encouraging indulgence.

  7. Don Hawkins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 2:51pm #

    With the looks of the oceans and the data this summer and next should be an eye opener and will it fall on deaf ears? That is the question. Have the deciders already decided? Things have away of changing.

  8. Don Hawkins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 3:44pm #

    What we see so far on the hill policy makers is just more incredibly stupid policy. What we see from Wall Street is to bring back the greed the fear and stupidity. What we see from the fossil fuel industry and the corporations that use that fuel is more incredible stupidity. To watch this and know it is so far from the truth reason common sense it boggles the mind but they whoever they are seem to get away with it, why? Illusion and not very good illusion at that but it works.

  9. lichen said on May 2nd, 2009 at 4:00pm #

    It has nothing to do with morality or ‘bad behavior’ – and, indeed, moral arguments will do nothing. If we can help people understand that everyone benefits from a scaled-down, local ecosocialism, then that will be the benefit; the individual is much better taken care of, much more able to acheive what he wants to be and what he wants to do in a socialist society, in a clean, healthy biosphere.

  10. Don Hawkins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 4:02pm #

    I forgot something and that is there is this rather large flaw in there illusion it’s called reality nature of the beast. I think they know this sort of and probably why they seem to be getting a little nut’s.

    Active paranoiac thought, through which it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality could be what we are seeing.

  11. bozh said on May 2nd, 2009 at 4:02pm #

    i agree, people are the actors changing the facts on the ground. Communist lands may have been bigger polluters. If that is true, was it because of less developed technology?
    i think also that the USSR communist feared attack from its lethal enemies; thus, heavy industrialization at any cost. Also, 70+ yrs ago, no one may have thought about the global warming nor damage from heavy industry to people/biota/enviroment.

    It seems that gorbachov may have seen this + futility of catching up to fascist empires and lands. tnx

  12. Boyd Collins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 5:01pm #

    Thanks for these understanding words, lichen: “If we can help people understand that everyone benefits from a scaled-down, local ecosocialism, then that will be the benefit; the individual is much better taken care of, much more able to achieve what he wants to be and what he wants to do in a socialist society, in a clean, healthy biosphere.” In addition, what I was trying to say is that we should appeal both to people’s conscience and their self-interest. But this latter will not be sufficient either because the current economic system won’t permit socialist experiments to become powerful enough to affect the perceptions of the majority. Take Cuba as an example where the success of their ecosocialist initiatives are almost unknown in the West. What should be the model for our future is treated as a political prison while the real gulags in the United States overflow.

  13. Don Hawkins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 5:40pm #

    So far the deciders are not going to try. Cap and trade is just another illusion will do little to solve the problem and it looks like even that will have a hard time passing in the Senate. In two more years the problem nature of the beast will show itself even more than what. Well in two years we just wasted 24 months. Anybody see the temperatures in India Northern India the last few day’s? There are still a few unknowns as to how fast and abrupt changes to climate weather are still out there.

  14. Max Shields said on May 2nd, 2009 at 7:20pm #

    Boyd Collins.
    Definitely appreciate that human and non-human devised systems create general parameters. But human systems are much more amenable to change. Human systems emerge from human interaction, through various forms of communication and communities.

    It’s said that a key difference between Capitalism and Socialism is who owns the means of production – an owner (or owner class) or workers. But a community owned business or workers’ cooperative are not alien to capitalism, and yet incorporate the socialistic ideal of worker production ownership. In the case of community owned businesses, the community owns shares of the business, may actually sell the business to someone, but retain a percentage of ownership to ensure the business does not pick up and move, taking with it chunks of the local economy, jobs, tax base, and the who experience of a local community business.

    What we have today in the USA is a preditory economics which has its beginnings in the history of the American settlements, but radicalized over the last century to the present. This economics is not simply capitalism, it is an economy of mass consumption where more is always best, it is in fact, the only alternative. Historians have noted this about the American culture since its earliest beginnings. Ronald Reagan was elected and re-elected not because he was a conservative (he was not) but because, unlike Carter, he believed in quantity over quality. And it is the former that is deeply embedded in the American culture. It is one of the central reasons why the US has an Empire and global hegemony; not to fight off “enemies” but to control the world’s resources to continue the endless binge of consumption and hypergrowth.

    To call it a “system” is to flatter a pathology, because the US Empire is a pathological menace that devours more and more and more and more. Its appetite is insatiable regardless of the president or party in office. The people elect people who will give them MORE and MORE and MORE. And all this is done with a professional army, no one even pays for this: that is the Grand Illusion.

    It is the ecosystem which, in the end will have the last say. Collapse, trauma would seem to be the only way to end the madness. But it’s a little too easy to call it capitalism. That’s just an overused word like socialism which have lost the underpinnings of their meaning. Classical (which includes capitalism and socialism) economics was based on robust ethics and morality with an attempt to understand the human nature. Neoclassical economics, the one that has guided the US machine, is void of such ethical and moral underpinnings.

  15. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 2nd, 2009 at 8:10pm #

    Max: I think you are wrong. Socialism hasn’t existed yet. USSR was not socialist. Cuba and Venezuela are capitalist systems. The whole world is capitalist, we are still living in a capitalist paradigm. Maybe we’ll see socialism in the year 2030.


  16. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 2nd, 2009 at 8:16pm #

    I don’t know why anarchists are so anti-politics, so argumentative and live like in a dream-world. They take anarchism like a religion, a cult.

    I am explaining to some anarchists that the only solution for US victims of capitalism is to put aside their ideological differences and to unite into a one united socialist front for the elections of 2012.

    But they are so attached to their crazy, utopian anarchist ideology that they said that they don’t want to support in any socialist party, and that they hate politics as a whole.

    They are like the people of Amish Paradise. Anarchists are very argumentative, they think that if you tell them anarchism is wrong you are their enemy, they are so emotionals, like Republican conservatives.

    in fact, i don’t even know why the hell in USA there are so many anarchists, what is the cause of the rise of anarchism movement in America, when anarchism is not an answer for economic turmoil. I think anarchists are just middle class bourgeoise people with twisted brains



  17. Boyd Collins said on May 2nd, 2009 at 9:49pm #

    Max, I agree with you that the traditional definitions of socialism and capitalism may be somewhat outmoded by current conditions, but I also believe that the fundamental principles are still valid. Who owns the means of production will always be the critical issue. If you own my means of livelihood, my ability to feed my family, then you will control much about how I look at the world. If identifying with your interests is the difference between advancing in my career and losing my income, then your view of the world will pervade my thoughts, whether I like it or not. If, on the other hand, I and my fellow workers own the means of production, then the whole picture changes. Then how I perceive the world and what I need becomes a factor that you have to deal with. Then we have to negotiate with each other, give a little and take a little until we come to a common agreement. From this viewpoint, simply ensuring that “the business does not pick up and move” is insufficient. What is important is that I have a voice, that my contribution and humanity are not merely a means to someone else’s profit, be they local or distant, but an essential element of the business.

    I agree with you that what we have in the U.S today is predatory economics, but I don’t see this as an aberration from a previous non-predatory economics. Fraud and exploitation are essential features of an economy based on capital accumulation, not aberrations practiced by a greedy few. The reason quantity is dominant over quality is not due to the personal preference of the current President, but because the economic system always privileges quantity because it is measurable. Measurable means that it supports capital accumulation which is the goal of every corporation.

    A pathology can also be a system, or, rather, a system can express a pathology which is inherent in what the system privileges. As a socialist, I find your description of human change, “Human systems emerge from human interaction, through various forms of communication and communities” exactly apropos. That is precisely what Marx was talking about when he talked about the “self-emancipation of the worker.” We change ourselves through our activity. We transform ourselves in the process of production. “In production, the producers change, too, in that they bring out new qualities in themselves, develop themselves in production, transform themselves, develop new powers and ideas… new needs and a new language.” – Karl Marx.

    According to Marx, socialism is not a static set of dogmatic intellectual principles, but a method of transformation through productive action. It is inherently transformative and refers to our ability to take responsibility for our own humanity.

  18. Kaelieh said on May 2nd, 2009 at 10:54pm #

    Tennessee-Chavizta, ironically most people say some the same things about socialists.

    Anarchists are anti-state, they oppose the state. Socialists think capitalism is the problem, whereas anarchists see the government as the problem. (It is worth noting that not all anarchists are capitalists, some are social anarchists.)

    The big problem with socialistic governments, for many anarchists, is the heavy taxation. And libertarians for that matter. They see taxation as theft. Many believe in individuals rights to private property ownership. For the social anarchists, they think that when you get rid of the state that people should or would fall, for lack of a better word, into collective, cooperative societies. Further, most social anarchists oppose private ownership. (I could go much deeper, but I think you get the gist of it.)

    The US was established during the Enlightenment. The founders were classical liberals, which is very similar to the libertarianism. They hate taxation, oppose big government, etc. Individual freedom and civil liberties are a large part of those traditions.

    Considering that people like Jefferson, Madison, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry founded this country distrust, dislike, distaste, even hatred in some cases, of the government is only natural. The right of self-determination and the words Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence embody the spirit of resisting government intrusions.

    So, I think it’s kinda natural for there to be anarchists here. Anarchists don’t have that Hobbesian fear, that makes people think they need a government. It’s just one step past limited government. For them you don’t need a government to protect individual rights, in fact some would say that governments inevitably will come to violate and erode these rights.

    You might just have to respectfully disagree with each other. You can both exist, it doesn’t have to be one way or the other. If they respect your right to believe what you believe and they don’t violate your right to, and you respect their right to believe what they believe and don’t violate their right. Who knows, maybe yall might even be able to find some common ground.

  19. john andrews said on May 2nd, 2009 at 11:22pm #

    All discussion about the environment is useless until the core problem is addressed – the extreme overpopulation of human beings.

    Like so many things, we do not need to wait for governments to act but simply control our own breeding. Teach women (nature determines that it must be women), all women, to have no more than two children.

    The overpopulation of human beings suits governments and church for basically the same reason – a continual supply of slaves – so they are very unlikely to take the lead in this. We must do it ourselves.

    The fact is that it’s people that are destroying the planet, not economic philosophies.

  20. Hue Longer said on May 3rd, 2009 at 1:58am #

    Hello John,

    I think it’s both. The economic philosophies require constant “growth” which on top of promoting over consumption does get countries like Australia saying out loud that they have a population shortage (no shit, they actually say it and offer subsidies for having more children). Now there are slaves in this system who are part of the manufacturing who are NOT part of the over consumption and they don’t relatively take up much compared to the consumers and the rulers. There are also those in the “third” world who don’t participate as slaves or over consumers. Lumping the last two groups’ over breeding with that of the consumers of a place like the US is a stretch given how much of the world’s resources 5 percent are consuming.

    The end is near but definitely the population is second place in cause to economic models which have that population consuming and of course the consumption itself. Were it a perfect world existing on rational economic policies and people were still able to over-breed in this perfect world? Yeah, the planet still couldn’t sustain them and eventually the ending would be the same…but don’t kid yourself thinking that this consumption could continue were we just to eliminate all the little people from breeding— It too would end in the same result and is what’s getting us there first as we speak.

  21. Hue Longer said on May 3rd, 2009 at 2:13am #

    and yes, I understand the argument that the economic model would disappear were the population to decline…

  22. Don Hawkins said on May 3rd, 2009 at 4:04am #

    WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., expressed optimism Friday that the Senate could pass health care legislation, but sounded more cautious notes about writing legislation intended to address global climate change.

    On health care, Reid predicted that the Senate would pass legislation without using a fast track legislative tactic known as reconciliation, which would let Democrats pass a health bill without threat of a filibuster. Reid made the remarks at an event organized by the National Journal Group.

    Use of reconciliation means that Democrats would only need 51 votes to pass health care legislation in the Senate, rather than the 60 votes ordinarily needed to advance legislation. Reid sounded bullish about the prospects of attracting Republican support for the bill, and noted that he would only need one Republican to reach 60 votes because of Sen. Arlen Specter’s party switch to become a Democrat.

    With Specter on their side, Democrats now control 59 votes in the Senate to the Republicans’ 40 votes.

    “I think we can do a bipartisan bill,” Reid said at the event. “I think health care reform is easier than all this global warming stuff, so health care may jump ahead of that.”

    While Reid said he supported the creation of a public insurance option to compete with private health insurers as part of health care legislation, he declined to say whether he would support taxing health benefits as a way to pay for universal health care.

    “I think that we would be making a huge mistake by setting boundaries of what we would do or wouldn’t do,” Reid said.

    Reid sought to tamp down expectations for climate change legislation, which he named as the issue that would cause him the most headaches before the 2010 elections. He said he expected that the Senate would have legislation written – but not necessarily passed – by the time a climate change conference in Europe takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark in December. (Dow Jones)-

    Than all this global warming stuff is this man confused or what. Reid is forgetting one little thing the problem itself. These people have talked so much about the problem and it is still the game they play of illusion and the curtain is about to be pulled open. This summer and then the winter and next summer there should be little doubt how much trouble we are all in. Go to this web site and look at this chart. Trouble in river city.

    When looking at that chart remember that is what we all face just the next few years think 5 to 7 years and we will be getting warmer and rather extreme weather events. The time is now probably not a second chance. Boots and think of this as kind of a war. Oh and listen to your leaders and watch your parking meters. This flu we now see so far again lucky but with climate breakdown disease is the part many kind of want to put out of there mind. You can’t see it can you Mr. Reid.

  23. bozh said on May 3rd, 2009 at 6:13am #

    can we have good gov’ts and fair/just governing in an unjust governance?
    in order to have good managerial staff and managing we must first set up fair governance.
    in an iniquitous governance like, our dearest of dear/honest/just leaders is quite impotent to enact even one basic change.

  24. joed said on May 3rd, 2009 at 7:20am #

    Tennessee-Chavizta; re: anarchists
    the stronger the emotional response–the less sure a person is of his position. no big secret here!

  25. joed said on May 3rd, 2009 at 7:24am #

    why are you linked up to some insane xtian site. anarchists got nothing on the insanity of religion.

  26. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 3rd, 2009 at 7:47am #


    (Note: Individualist US Founding Fathers neoliberalism only benefits middle class bourgeoise citizens. Not the lower and working classes)

    Kaelieh: The USA was founded as an Oligarchic-Empire really, not as a libertarian democracy, besides classical-libertarianism as the US founding fathers preached is an oxymoron ideology, it has never existed on earth, nor anarchism. State regulated capitalism and state-socialism like USSR, can be a lot better for the overall majority than the utopian libertarian ideologies. Americans have to connect the dots and not be so utopic people, wanting a perfect world.

    Even the rock singer Huey Lewis and The News have a song that says: “Ain’t no living in a perfect world. There ain’t no perfect world anyways”.

    What i mean is that anarcho-free market neoliberalism without any public-sector, without any government intervention was in fact what destroyed not only Argentina but also USA and Iceland.

    In fact, classical-anarcho libertarianism preached by the US founding fathers was really what led America to be owned b 5% of its citizens.

    I know the US Founding Fathers founded the USA, but they were wrong in their political, and economic system.

    US Founding Fathers were not God-ordained, we must choose Marxism, Statism and Bolivarianism over the US Anarcho-Individualist ideology which destroyed Argentina.

    There are scientific-proofs already that state, regulated economic-nationalism decreases poverty (Venezuela’s poverty decreased from 70% to 25%)

    And we have proof that US founding Fathers neoliberalism increases poverty (USA, Mexico, etc.)

    So give me 1000 Adolf Hitlers and Joseph Stalin’s statism, over 1 US Founding Father anarcho-free market, *unregulated* Alan Greenspan neoliberalism.


  27. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 3rd, 2009 at 7:53am #





  28. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 3rd, 2009 at 7:54am #

    joed: Anarchism is a utopian crazy, paranormal ideology.

  29. bozh said on May 3rd, 2009 at 8:16am #

    achtung, achtung,
    i’ll be more stupid tomorrow than today; i am losing brain cells monthly. And this is not a political promise; this is a real life promise!
    The nature gave me bns of cells and now is taking them back on monthly installments.

    it is so democratic! Damn it! The bitch shldn’t be so democratic.
    so , u have to expect less and less from me. Expect less coherence, poorer syntax/grammar/spelling, etc. Even my jokes will be flatter. Just remember that even a bad woman [or a joke] is better than no woman.
    And even if i say a bad Joke, it still makes me a joker.

    so, it’s up to yous lads who are still daily accumulating brain cells by the thousands to supply sense and erudition+ excellent grammar and syntax. Many brain cells to to all of you! tnx

  30. Ken Clive said on May 3rd, 2009 at 9:58am #

    The problem with the current capitalist model in America and other overdeveloped nations is that we base everything on $$$ and customer satisfaction. We need to stop this trend and use the power of business to do social/environmental good, such as what Jay Coen Gilbert is trying to achieve with the B Corporation standard. If only such sensible standards were actually considered valid by governments!

  31. joed said on May 3rd, 2009 at 10:31am #

    christianity is a utopian crazy, paranormal ideology.

  32. Max Shields said on May 3rd, 2009 at 11:14am #


    I would add that what we produce also creates our worldview.

    I don’t disagree that who owns production controls much of the social narrative, and thus the worldview.

    Systems thinking, which I think is perhaps more important than anything written down by Marx or Adam Smith, demonstrates the pathology which is inherent in all systems. A system can readily (and generally do) go awry.

    Since we have no example of the kind of democratically owned and socialized system beyond very isolated examples (see below), we can speculate on what it might be. I prefer to attempt to understand human nature and the biological and ecological framework which can be shifted (paradigm) and emerge than to wonder if Marx or Smith were right or wrong. I do think Marx was a brilliant critical thinker. But we’ve yet to see how that thinking plays in the real world as a positive force of being.

    I do think this remark is problematic: “According to Marx, socialism is not a static set of dogmatic intellectual principles, but a method of transformation through productive action. It is inherently transformative and refers to our ability to take responsibility for our own humanity.” Humanity is by nature problematic and transformative. Acknowledging that it is, is important, but creating a world where dysfunctionality and pathology are eliminated is a noble goal but must meet with the power of human tendencies.

    This is not a pessimissm as much as it is an acknowledgement of the kind of tendencies that need to be address with a vigilence we seem nearly incapable of pursuing.

    Again, the best examples of the kind of worker owned production can be found in the Basque Country of Spain called Mondragón Cooperative Corporation. I think it is by far one of the shinning examples, and yet it too is problematice as it has grown to massive proportions and edged toward globalism.

    (Also, I agree with John Andrews about population and size – any solutions must include that major factor.)

    Thank you Boyd for your well thought out statements.

  33. Boyd Collins said on May 3rd, 2009 at 11:42am #

    Thanks, Max, I’m an admirer of Immanuel Wallerstein. A critical perspective on one’s ideology helps to open up the blind spots.

  34. Max Shields said on May 3rd, 2009 at 1:59pm #

    Yes, from an intellectual and sensibility perspective, I’d say I’m more aligned with Wallerstein and Daniel Bell. Some consider that “post-” Marxist.

  35. bozh said on May 3rd, 2009 at 3:36pm #

    will people always be governed? Suppose we will be forever governed? By how many people? 2,5, 11% of pop?
    and if we wld for ever have have gov’ts, they by necessity wld draw the right to govern us on some kind of underlying principles.
    suppose we call these principles “governance”. A governance wld include judiciary, army, police, money and healthcare management, elections, education, means of information, etc.

    it wld be perhaps the best to have no constitution. Lots of watchers with some claws on what a gov’t does wld be much better than a mn political ‘promises’.
    and an army shld never be under control of any gov’t but wld swear an allegiance to the result of a referendums when it comes to waging wars.

    we shdl not have one party; two or more is better. There shld be a party that represents low and lower classes and a party that wld represent high and higher classes.
    until the day the classes become much more blurred or disappear in millennia to come.

    so, if amers want to make america a fair and just country, this is what they may choose to work for.
    present structure of governance in US and elsewhere is an horrendous structure. And if just 1 or 2% disapprove of it, it cannot change. tnx

  36. lichen said on May 3rd, 2009 at 4:15pm #

    What we need are ideas and positions, not isms; being wrapped up in ANY ideology makes one blind, uncreative, and obnoxious; trotskyist, far-right reactionary libertarian, or otherwise.

  37. Ferris said on May 3rd, 2009 at 5:08pm #

    There’s a documentary film on anarchy from the 80s that’s definitely worth checking out, Anarchism in America. It’s looks at what anarchism is, why there is anarchism in the US, etc.

  38. Dave Silver said on May 3rd, 2009 at 5:44pm #

    The term eco-socialism is misleading. It’s like suggesting that there is a
    different kind of socialism as suggested by the term Euro-comminst
    which in fact was an anti-socialist movement before Perestroika which helped to pave the way for thecounter revolution in the former
    Soviet Union. The term salso feeds the political illusion that there is or should be akind of hybrid system; neither capitalist nor socialist. Cuba does much better than the US regarding the environment because of the philosophy that guides the Cuban Revolution.

  39. rg the lg said on May 3rd, 2009 at 6:00pm #

    It ill take a massive die off … and that is unfortunate, but reality … and the destruction of capitalist behavior. Capital is only interested in profit … and in short term profit at that.

    Whether we like it or not, whether we want to admit it or not, a radical reduction in human population does hold a tad bit of hope … though not much.

    We have lived in a hologram of reality … self-inflicted because we don’t want to admit our own complicity and culpability … for so long we fail to admit to any stupid behavior.

    Imagine a world in which we (whether lichen, bozh, max, boyd, ken, joed, tennessee-chavista, don, hue, kailieh, john, michael, or jeff) would not have on-demand electricity, or a new car every couple of years, or all of the requisite toys and appurtenances of our allegedly modern society … and then imagine the screaming, the gnashing of teeth, the insistence that WE (as in each individual I) are not to blame?

    Ian makes an interesting point … one we should all consider. But, the harsh reality is: it ain’t gonna happen. You (and I) are simply too selfish to make any sacrifices … and when we extend that to the rest of the world? Give me a break!

    This is NOT an advertisement for the status quo, nor for the (planet) rapists in corporate board rooms … it is the cold, brutal reality that we can go on til the cows come home, but unless and until the specie homo is eradicated … balance will not be allowed … whether capitalist or wannabe socialist or whatever you fancy yourself.

    Homo GREEDY-CUSS is Us …

    Cynically Skeptical,
    RG the LG

    Er, maybe that is skeptically cynical?
    And, yes, I include myself …

  40. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 3rd, 2009 at 6:53pm #


    Jones Report
    April 3, 2009

    The State of New York Division of Cemeteries has sent out “Mass Fatality forms” to cemeteries in that state to collect data about their ability to deal with the high volume of casualties that would occur if their were a flu pandemic or other disaster. The form letter that this office received was dated April 4, 2007 [pdf], so clearly preparation for such disasters has been ongoing for some time.

    Along with other data, cemeterians were asked in this survey:

    “Should a prolonged mass fatality disaster or pandemic flu occur in your community would your cemetery be able to provide temporary or permanent internment space for a significant number of disaster or flu deaths in additional to your current burial services?”

    Cemetery owners were also asked to detail the business structure and capacity of their facilities, including proximity to roads, train lines and airfields. The Division of Cemeteries requested data to calculate the number of acres that could be made available “at 950 graves per acre.”

    It is clear that emergency and disaster forces are being mobilized at the state and federal level. There is no data to predict what disasters could come– forces of nature, false-flag attacks, biological attacks/ flu outbreaks, quarantines etc. However, a pattern of data including news items, reports, photos and tips have all pointed to an incremental gearing up for a cataclysmic situation that includes mass casualties.

    Whether it is half a million plastic coffin liners videotaped at a truck depot, or massive expansion at dozens of cemeteries across the country or FEMA and Homeland Security agents preparing for an avian bird flu outbreak, it is clear that government agencies are expecting something to happen and their agencies are expanding in accordance.

    As this site reported yesterday, a number of incidents have demonstrated a federal preoccupation with a mass casualty incident– and it started before 9/11 ever happened.

    The state of Colorado issued an executive order in 2000 asserting its authority to bury victims in mass graves and/or cremate bodies under emergency situations.

    Jim Erickson of The Rocky Mountain News reported February 8, 2003 that:

    The state of Colorado could seize antibiotics, cremate disease-ridden corpses
    and, under extreme circumstances, dig mass graves under executive orders
    drafted for use in the event of a bioterrorism attack.

    D.H. Williams reported in February on an Indiana county municipal official who received detailed requests from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security in regards to locations for mass graves, preparations for regional refugees, preparations for economic collapse and budget cuts under a GM collapse, as well as the locations of major installations, emergency assets and more.

    The official, speaking in this recording, says that he became concerned about the intentions of the FEMA and DHS officials after repeated meetings where scenarios were discussed that included a bird flu outbreak as well as fires, floods and earthquakes.

    The authorities that be have warned in their white papers that United States could face rioting; financial collapse seems very possible; and now it is clear that preparations include widespread death and emergency conditions. What do they see coming?

  41. lichen said on May 3rd, 2009 at 6:57pm #

    “Imagine a world in which we (whether lichen, bozh, max, boyd, ken, joed, tennessee-chavista, don, hue, kailieh, john, michael, or jeff) would not have on-demand electricity, or a new car every couple of years, or all of the requisite toys and appurtenances of our allegedly modern society …”

    I’ve never driven a car in my life by choice, and I already grow at least 50% of my own food in my organic garden, which I work in daily; so no, actually, I really wouldn’t mind a localized, green world. I don’t live in a city and spend my time shopping and playing video games, thank you. Your position remains apathetic and a non-starter, so I’ll keep mine of advocating the green energies that are ready to power the world right now; because otherwise, people will still keep using oil and coal and kill more and more species before it ends. You seem to be so insensitive that not only do you not care about killing humans, you don’t care how many (up to all) other species we take with us.

  42. Tim N M said on May 4th, 2009 at 1:42am #

    Tennessee-Chavizta, I generally enjoy your comments. But Jesus Christ! By citing the utterly ludicrous and Alex Jones as a buffer to your points and arguments, you have completely lost me and any truly liberation-minded readers.

  43. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 4th, 2009 at 7:54am #

    Tim N M: Because i am not a dogmatic-socialist, i am an opend minded socialist. I even read capitalist thinkers, and right-wing, libertarian conspiracy theorists. The libertarian, right-wing conspiracy theory news sites, are right in a lot of things, 9-11, zionism, police-repression, fascism, New World Order, and wrong in other things, like their supporting of a free-market economic model.

    What we have to do in every thing we read is take positive and skip the negative parts.


  44. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 4th, 2009 at 7:56am #

    Tim N M: Besides, if Chuck Norris, Alex Jones plan a revolution against the US government i support them. Remember that we need a United Front in USA. If people are divided they will never suceed in overthrowing the US fascist government.


  45. Don Hawkins said on May 4th, 2009 at 9:16am #

    It looks like cap and trade will not happen cap and trade was a band aid more illusion. Any other plan being thought out, no. I am sure we will hear more words and no action. We are out of time and yet we see this. Oh well.

  46. Josie Michel-Brüning said on May 4th, 2009 at 10:21am #

    Please, folks, leave all “ismen” behind.
    This article is just great!
    Apart from this, Marx himself did not create “Marxism” he just observed, thought, analysed and wrote it down. His way of thinking was dialectic and by this he set a milestone in his time.
    At least those thoughts quoted by the author Ian Angus are still valid.
    Apart from this at the above mentioned conference in Australia at which the author participated happened the following:
    “The participants, from 14 countries, at the World At A Crossroads conference in Sydney, Australia, call on the new United States government of President Barak Obama to immediately and unconditionally release the five Cubans – Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez – who have been imprisoned in the US since 1998 as alleged spies, but whose only “crime” was to dare to resist illegal and undemocratic efforts to deny the Cuban people their right to national sovereignty and to determine their own social system and future.

    Free the Cuban Five!”

  47. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 4th, 2009 at 7:42pm #


    Over the last sixteen months, many Americans have watched with despair as the Federal government has wrested virtually despotic control over the American economy away from both individual Americans and private enterprise. They have observed the Federal government’s frantic (and totally unsuccessful) attempts to prop up banks that have revealed themselves to be completely incompetent and bankrupt. They have watched the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board printing more money than has ever been created in the history of these United States. They have watched their so-called “representatives” handing out unimaginable sums of their own hard-earned tax money to scores of bungling companies, like AIG, General Motors, and Chrysler. They have watched in cynical amazement as their newly elected president almost instantaneously broke his promise to end the most un-winnable of two un-winnable wars that they specifically elected him to terminate. They have watched him similarly break his promise to investigate the myriad grisly crimes of the claque that used to claim to be their rulers. And they have watched the American economy steadily slipping further and further into depression.

    The ordinary Americans who have observed the unfolding of this tragic and ridiculous charade can perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the Federal government is now completely outside of their control. After all, they have made their collective opinions known to their so-called rulers time and again, and yet they have been completely ignored. Moreover, they now find themselves confronting an economy on the brink of inflationary ruin and outright socialization, a government considering at least three new costly military adventures, and a surveillance and police state with virtually unchecked powers over them.

    Fortunately for the fate of this nation, however, the despairing idea that Americans have lost all control over the Federal government is very much mistaken. While it is indeed true that the Federal government has scorned their opinions and seized virtual despotic control over their private lives and the economy at large, ordinary Americans have not lost even a farthing’s worth of control over the Federal government. Their capacity to rein in their so-called rulers and set this nation back on the path to peace, prosperity and respect for individual property rights remains very much intact – and in some ways has actually been strengthened by the events of the past sixteen months.

    The key to understanding why Americans still retain the capacity to reign in their behemoth government (and even the ability “to alter or abolish it”) lies in recognizing that there are more of us than there are federal agents, tax collectors, central bankers, congressmen, and regulators. For every central banker tinkering with the value of our money, there are tens of thousands of ordinary Americans who will soon be watching their savings evaporate. For every tax collector forcing us to hand over our money to the U.S. Congress, there are tens of thousands of ordinary Americans just scraping by – hoping to keep what they earn instead of working for the benefit of Goldman Sachs’ crooked managers. For every regulator seeking to control how we live and work, there are tens of thousands of ordinary Americans who do not feel particularly inclined to having every aspect of their lives counted, managed, arranged, and dictated according to the whims of faceless bureaucrats. For every crooked congressman (or congresswoman) selling out to or cowering before the far-right Israeli government and its American apologists, there are hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans who prefer to keep completely out of the terrible and murderous game called “Middle East politics.” Nothing that has occurred over the past sixteen months has altered the crucial fact of our superiority in numbers [PDF].

    Now, it is true that superiority in numbers does not necessarily translate directly into victory for individual liberty over “omnipotent government.” The barbaric slaughter of over 38 million innocent people by the vastly outnumbered communist Chinese government attests to this fact, for example. What our massively overwhelming numbers do give us, nevertheless, is the undeniable ability to take back our individual liberty and free our economy whenever we are sufficiently motivated to do so. Their diminutive numbers, coupled with the fact that all of their income is solely parasitically derived from us, means that no matter how large and powerful the Federal government might appear, its henchmen will never, ever, be able to keep our liberty from us if we decide to take it back.

    The fact that we can take back our freedom whenever we can sufficiently motivate ourselves to do so ought to dispel any despairing thoughts we might entertain in the current economic and political environment. For, in the first place, the current crisis has created a massive number of Americans (an army, as it were) who are completely dissatisfied with their current position in this hyper-regulated, fascist, and hyper-belligerent state. A growing number of Americans are unemployed, and have no hope for finding new work, thanks to the blunderings and criminal actions of the Federal government and their cronies in the Federal Reserve System. A growing number of Americans are returning from wars their “rulers” concocted (or which were concocted by foreign governments) and refuse to end, only to find that the Federal government now considers them to be a “terrorist threat.” A growing number of Americans are graduating from college only to ruefully learn that they have been duped by the Federal government into taking out loans they cannot possibly pay back, and that they have no hope of finding good jobs. A growing number of Americans are now homeless, thanks to the mindless stupidity of the American congress and the appalling arrogance of certain members of the Federal Reserve Board. A growing number of Americans are now incarcerated for using or selling “drugs” by a government that has promoted massive trafficking in these substances itself. And a growing number of Americans are just plain sick and tired of paying year after year to kill Pakistanis, Iraqis, Iranians, Afghanis, Somalis, Serbs, Nicaraguans, Cubans, Angolans, Salvadorians, Chileans, Palestinians, et cetera ad nauseum.

    What is more, this growing group of angry, disaffected and persecuted Americans is different in a critical way from the people that were slaughtered en masse by the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Unlike the poor peasants slaughtered in frigid Soviet gulags, for example, present-day Americans are armed – both literally and figuratively. In the figurative sense, Americans have at their disposal sources of information about the sordid activities of their so-called “rulers” like never before in human history. They have news outlets at their disposal that tirelessly chronicle the Federal government’s ongoing crimes on foreign and domestic soil. They have institutions at their disposal that make the acquisition of genuine knowledge about economic and political theory completely accessible to anyone with a computer. That not all Americans have taken advantage of these priceless sources of information is irrelevant – the very fact that they exist and continue to faithfully execute their individual missions means that the American public can arm itself with the truth whenever it so chooses. These institutions are rather like a grandfather’s M1 Garand stowed away in the attic of his flaccid grandson’s condominium. That the present owner does not know how to shoulder his grandfather’s rifle is irrelevant to the fact that, so long as he owns it, he could always choose to learn how to use it.

    Add to this the fact that private Americans are literally armed to the teeth (and are continuing to arm themselves at a feverish pace today), and you have a people that could never, ever, be subjugated by the Federal government or any other menace – as long as Americans choose to refuse to allow themselves to be robbed or otherwise dominated by far-away places like Washington D.C.

    Naysayers and pessimists can point all they want to the “sheepishness,” indolence and decadence of the American people. They can shout until they are blue in the face about how the American people have lost the proud sense of independence and individualism that marked their revolutionary forefathers. None of these objections, however, are relevant in the least to the question of whether Americans have lost control over the Federal government. On the contrary, these objections only point out that at the present moment relatively few Americans have chosen to stand up for themselves – they certainly do not prove that Americans cannot stand up for themselves and throw off this awful and deadly Federal yoke if they were to so choose. And, as long as the host creatures continue to vastly outnumber the parasites, any talk about lost control is fatalistic nonsense.

    If anything, objections of this ilk should only prod us to say to ourselves and our neighbors “Go, thou, and do something to cast off this horrendous Federal yoke!”

    That’s what I’m trying to do, and I hope I’ll see you at the barricades fighting for your liberty, instead of sitting at home in the dark, mired in self-defeating self-pity.

  48. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 4th, 2009 at 7:44pm #

    There is no DEMOCRACY in Amerika. Its a damned CLASS DICTATORSHIP dominated by International Zionist Bankers, Wall street and the Zionist media monopolies. That’s why the US has gone for shit this past Century and degenerating down the river of Capitalism’s history.

    Every dollar spent on the military represents energy resources both human labor and material resources. Wasted on extremely harmful activities to humans and the ecology.

    Only a truly democratic economy of production for USE, not for the PROFIT of a few. Will set the world on a path to an efficient, rational economy to satisfy all humanities needs.

    Go to;

  49. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 4th, 2009 at 7:46pm #

    There is no DEMOCRACY in Amerika. Its a damned CLASS DICTATORSHIP dominated by International Zionist Bankers, Wall street and the Zionist media monopolies. That’s why the US has gone for shit this past Century and degenerating down the river of Capitalism’s history.

    Every dollar spent on the military represents energy resources both human labor and material resources. Wasted on extremely harmful activities to humans and the ecology.

    Only a truly democratic economy of production for USE, not for the PROFIT of a few. Will set the world on a path to an efficient, rational economy to satisfy all humanities needs.

  50. joed said on May 4th, 2009 at 7:53pm #

    whining and crying in this FREE SPEACH ZONE is not going to change things. i think you amerikans like being helpless and letting a powerful group run your shitty country. the bad guys won and you lost, now stop whining there is nothing you can or will do about the situation.

  51. Josie Michel-Brüning said on May 5th, 2009 at 3:08am #

    I fear “joed” is perfectly right!

  52. Don Hawkins said on May 5th, 2009 at 4:33am #

    I sent this to a financial channel this morning and probably lost in all those zero’s and one’s. So far the score is still zero to zero.

    Can summer ice extent affect winter weather?

    A new study suggests that Arctic ice extent at the end of summer can affect precipitation at lower latitudes the following winter. Jennifer Francis from Rutgers University and colleagues compared winter weather following summers with below-average ice extent, to weather following summers with above-average ice. The researchers found that low summer sea ice extent is linked to drier winters over much of the U.S., Scandinavia, and Alaska, and wetter winters in the northern Mediterranean, Japan, and the Pacific Northwest.

    The study showed that extensive ice loss in summer warmed the Arctic atmosphere during autumn. This warmth weakened the storm track that encircles the northern hemisphere, affecting weather patterns far away from the Arctic. As sea ice continues to decline in summer, these influences will become more prominent. NSIDC May 4 09

    Will the temperatures continue to warm faster in the North? Some will say am sure it’s just the wind and putting CO 2 into the atmosphere at 10,000 times the natural rate will help plants grow better.
    Will the temperatures continue to warm faster in the North?

    May 4, 09
    FAIRBANKS — Rivers rose and spilled their banks in some spots Sunday, as a rapid breakup likely will lead the Army Corps of Engineers to close the flood gates on the Chena River earlier than in any other year since 1981.

    The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for parts of Fairbanks as packed snow continues to melt, and the state railroad corporation halted trips between Anchorage and Fairbanks because of flooding.
    After days of record-setting temperatures above 70 degrees, all of Fairbanks — its low-lying points and taller hilltops — is shedding its winter snow at once. That contrasts to the usual slower-changing spring seasons that include colder nighttime temperatures.

    “There’s … canoers and kayakers out there, going over the (submerged) telephone poles,” Bailey said.

    And of course there are a few minor changes going on around the globe. Am sure it’s just the wind and don’t push the red button and by all means keep talking and talking and talking with that game of illusion that now seems to have gone to active paranoiac thought, through which it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality and very sure that active paranoiac thought will be on the rise. What’s the answer face the problem calm at peace take the red pill so to speak. Will it be easy? NO.


  53. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 5th, 2009 at 10:36am #


    I have not studied Wallerstein, so I’m curious about his “socialism or barbarism” view — what does he mean by a worse system?

    I understand worst-case scenarios, like an inter-imperialist war going nuclear or biological leading to a kind of ‘Mad Max’ feudalism, but worst-cases are rare and not much to base your theory on. In the last 100 years we’ve seen some major crises and world wars that lead to new rounds of accumulation. How are things significantly different today?

    As I see it, there are two new factors in play here: resource and environmental exhaustion, which can only be overcome by large-scale planning, and the widespread IT infrastructure, which makes possible economic planning beyond the dreams of the 1930s. Both of those tend toward socialist solutions.

    I don’t really understand how a large-scale break down of accumulation leads to something which is exploitative and hierarchical and not capitalist and not socialist, unless he’s talking about the “Mad Max” scenario. Even that would seem to lead back to capitalism.

    Wallerstein is not saying that socialism is inevitable which was the position of mechanical marxist predictions in the past about the demise of capitalism. The Second and Third International prophecies about the end of capitalism tied together the thesis of the “inevitable end of capitalism” with the thesis of the “inevitable emergence of socialism.”

    The latter was deterministically thought as a result of the former. In Wallerstein we have the thesis of the “inevitable end of capitalism” without the “inevitable emergence of socialism.”

    As a matter of fact, Wallerstein is very insistent on the problem that the new historical system that emerge might be worst than capitalism and that all will depend on our agency and political struggles in the next decades. The thesis of the inevitable end of capitalism as a historical system that have lasted 500 years, is very well argued by Wallerstein not in THE NATION essay but in his books

    Immanuel Wallerstein sees capitalism like other historical systems in the past: they rise and demise, they have a beginning and they have an end. The Roman Empire was a particular form of world-system that Wallerstein calls World-Empire and that lasted one-thousand years.

    The Modern World-System is a particular form of world-system that he calls a capitalist world-economy and that so far have lasted more than 500 years. He explains in detail how historical systems end out of its own systemic contradictions.

    In his recent books, Wallerstein has analyzed at length in what consist the contradictions that are going to lead to the end the present capitalist world-system (read his work to find out more about his analysis because it is impossible to summarize here).

    However, there are important epistemological issues involved here. Wallerstein’s perspective represents a revolution in the social sciences because of his challenges to the analytical TIME/SPACE unit that informs most of social scientists today.

    If you think about capitalism as many traditional social scientists, that is, from a nation-state unit of analysis, the argument Wallerstein is making does not make any sense. But if you take the global system, or as he says, the world-system as the unit of analysis with its large scale and long-term structures, then his argument is very coherent and easier to understand.

    One of the points made by Avakian in his so-called new synthesis is about internationalism. He claims that the international system is decisive over the national context. Well, I find dishonest that Avakian does not acknowledge here the contribution and influence of Wallerstein on this point.

    This is a point developed by Wallerstein in many of his historical sociological works since the 1970s. However, Avakian takes ideas and just cite the “founding fathers” or himself and never acknowledges the influence of contemporary marxists and neo-marxists in his perspective.

    But coming back to the question of Wallerstein, I think that it merits a profound consideration because he is not only arguing about how capitalism is coming to an end but also about how if the global left does not create a new historical system that is better, the transnational capitalist elites will create for us a new and worst world-system than the present capitalist system in order to protect and defend their own privileges.

    This is Wallerstein’s historical sociological thesis of what happened in the 15th century with the demise of feudalism in Europe. The feudal aristocracy created a new historical system to preserve their wealth. They created the capitalist world-system by going global and expanding to the Americas. This is what is called in history the European colonial expansion that created the world market and a new international division of labor. One of the many points raised by Wallerstein is that something like this could happen today but that nothing is guaranteed. There are no apriori outcomes for the coming struggles for the formation of a new world-system….

    Class and race privileges still reign among the “white” left and this is why solidarity is extremely retarded in the U.S. And let’s not forget the power of Zionism that has confused and diffused the Left


  54. Deadbeat said on May 5th, 2009 at 12:58pm #

    According to Marx, socialism is not a static set of dogmatic intellectual principles, but a method of transformation through productive action. It is inherently transformative and refers to our ability to take responsibility for our own humanity.

    Boyd Collins is absolutely correct and that is the point that I have been arguing. Marxism is not a dogmatic set of principles. Marxism help us understand working class self interest and how working people can go about to alter society that it function in the interest of the masses. This aspect is missing from Mr. Shields perspective and critique of Marx. Mr. Shields then tries to fill that vacuum with other perspectives but either those perspective fails to examine the role of capital and especially fails to examine the role of POWER.

  55. Max Shields said on May 5th, 2009 at 4:59pm #

    It’s unclear what we mean by “working class”. I don’t think we have a clear distinction between what a “worker” is today.

    We do have some level of manual labor. We have factory work, much of which is automated, and even robotic, with minimal human intervention. That’s on the factory/manufacturing sector and that has shrunk dramatically as a % of the mythical GDP. So, I’m not saying there isn’t a “working class” it’s been atomized as has community through the power of marketing, the isolation factor of autombiles for transporation, tv, and mass insular communications, and the general culture of consumption and individual competition. As long as that has appeared sustainable it broke down family, community and decimated worker solidarity throughout every sector. We can look at various incidents but all and all it happened through a force of an economics of uneconomic growth and consumption.

    We, you and me, are not without a lionshare of the “blame”. A tipping point of trauma seems to be the medicine that wakes us all up from the deep somnambulance. We did make choices, most of which was to “look the other way” as elites took us into endless war, and today our government is killing innocent children and civilians for no particular reason except to keep the habits of our economic system hobbling along.

    Political and economic power resides in the hands of a relative few. The two go together. As I’ve said before, classical economics insists on three components to wealth – Land + Capital + Labor = Wealth. So, if we are to consider the distribution of wealth we need to understand these three components. Power, over the last century has come from obfiscating Land and Capital, making Capital and Labor the only two components of interest. I say this is the masterful shell game of neo-classical economics. By hiding land (everything that is not human made), by privatizing it, wealth has been concentrated into the hands of a few. (Monsanto illustrates this perfectly. Follow their behavior and you’ll have a solid example.)

    There are moments when we can actually observe the concentration of wealth and power. This is most apparent during those rare times when the differences between people of means and those with little, is quite small. During the settlements of the West in the US such was the case. People started out with only the slightest of economic differences, having to till the soil or start up a small business. What was noticed was as progress took hold, it did so through the acquisition of land-holdings (railroads are a perfect example). Wealth concentrated as more and more of nature was “owned” by fewer and fewer people.

    By understanding the anticedents of wealth, you can understand the seeds of power. This is not new and pre-dates Capitalism. Michael Hudson has done a brilliant job of analyzing (and offering alternatives) to nation-states that came into being (including Russia) after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Under Yeltsin (the Western puppet) all of the riches/wealth were confiscated by a few who became instant billionaires over night at the expense of million and millions of people.

    Had the government held onto natural resources (land) and made its use a rent, it could have paid for all needs and wants and by the very act of keeping these in the public domain, “re-distributed” the land/wealth. I would suggest Venezuela and other Latin American countries do the same – it makes a lot more sense than “taking land from one group and giving it to another.” I do think Marx came to understand this.

    By the way, I don’t fault Marx for his analysis. I think he did some fine work. And because it is a dialectics, it evolves. But I don’t think we should confine ourselves to looking at ecosystems as something requiring Marxism or Socialism. Frankly, biology is a better guide. Sustainability – real sustainability – is tough work for a people use to endless consumption and high expectations that demand more and more and more. The habits of a sustainable life will only happen when there are just about no other alternatives.

  56. Max Shields said on May 5th, 2009 at 5:03pm #

    To the above it is important to add that wealth provides power through access to the levers of political power and most importantly the legal system. The laws and our trade agreements are primarily determined by those with the greatest wealth directly or through political proxies.

  57. bozh said on May 6th, 2009 at 6:00am #

    max, right
    the label “working class” can be replaced by the term “low and lower classes”
    all employed people work. Some receive salaries and others earn money hourly or daily.
    salaried people think of selves as superior or a class or two above wage earners.
    i often use “low and lower” classes to denote formerly “working class” people. tnx

  58. bozh said on May 6th, 2009 at 6:25am #

    at the end of the they, it is reality/nature and people [who are part of one and only reality/nature] that creates wealth.
    ideally our wealth shld provide us only what we need. However, that panhuman right had been abrogated by shamans/priests/nobles ca. 10T yrs ago.
    and the same classes of people dictates what we ‘need’ onto this day; possibly centuries or millennia to come or until children begin to obtain an enlightening education and not the one by which to semantically render people blind.

    if any analyses leaves out ‘education’ as factor for nearly all of our maladjustments, one is further roiling the muddy waters.
    To live a better a life, one must have knowledge and not a knowledge of a fictitious reality/nature.
    as no one can adjust to a fiction. tnx

  59. Don Hawkins said on May 6th, 2009 at 6:57am #

    James Hansen new and the time is now we are not going to get a second chance at this. The little God’s among us who are very good at using other people with that little something called illusion of knowledge are not winning but stopping any progress. The next few months in the Senate will prove that then what. Well think of this as kind of a war calm at peace. We will hear I am sure more illusion clever bullshit.

    Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone.
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’
    Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’.
    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin’.
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’.
    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’.
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.
    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’.
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.
    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is
    Rapidly fadin’.
    And the first one now
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin’. Dylan

  60. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 6th, 2009 at 8:35am #

    Kaelieh: Hello, well it means that the US Founding Fathers were just emotional, and not very scientific and historical-materialists. How could they want to install an anarchistic-system in USA, without passing thru the workers-state stage (The dictatorship of the proletarian).

    By doing what they did, the US founding fathers anarchist stance, just debilitated the US governmnent and shifted power to right-wing corporations.

    And that’s why USA evolved the way it did, into an Oligarchic-dictatorship where all power lies in the private-sector, along with a very weak and economically poor state.

    What US founding fathers should’ve done, was to install a socialist-system or at least a “Deformed workers state” like the Bolsheviks did in Russia.

    That way today we would at least have a more democratic nation, without 800 military bases, without AIPAC, without Wal Mart and without Exxon.

    But wiht a big-fat “Nanny State” but at the service of the US workers and masses (the USA would’ve been a “workers state” today, instead of a “Corporate state”

    So the ideology of the US Founding Fathers was itself the guilty one for enabling the USA what it is today (A fascist oligarchic dictatorship) and not a Bolshevik Paradise or a Paris Commune Paradise.

    You see? That’s what happens when you debilitate the government. By debilitating the government, you empower fascism and concentrate wealth in a few rich, fat plutocrats.



  61. bozh said on May 6th, 2009 at 9:19am #

    socalled founding fathers either have not accurately understood the nature of a writ like constitution or were unwilling to set up a governance that wld look out adequately for all amers.
    constitution doesn’t say: every american shall have heathcare; instead, a vague ” right to pursuit to happiness” was inserted.
    nor does sit say that a gov’ts wld be mere executors of the intents of governance.
    it dosent’ say people will vote but only after obtaining accurate info and the information not allowed in private hands but an apolitical forum.
    nor does it say, for use affairs to be managed honestly, a second, diametrically opposed party, must exist.
    such as foxes and hens and not just for hawks/foxes alone.
    in US there is never been a peace party; spain had one; it brought its troops back home.
    US one party system never will or if it does, solely it decides when/how!
    we can talk all we want; oneparty system is not even annoyed let alone frigtened of 2-3% dissenters.
    when had one ever heard clinton, bush, obama, et al tried to refute our claims, facts, conclusions, etc?
    i never have heard a word about our concerns. They don’t have because they always had support of about 95-98% of amers. tnx

  62. Kaelieh said on May 6th, 2009 at 11:50am #


    I think my point got lost. You had said, “In fact, I don’t even know why the hell in USA there are so many anarchists, what is the cause of the rise of anarchism movement in America.” All I was trying to do was explain why there are so many anarchists in the US and what might have been the cause.

  63. Don Hawkins said on May 8th, 2009 at 2:00am #

    Sci. & Tech.
    Global warming grows two-fold faster on Korean Peninsula
    SEOUL (Xinhua): Temperature rise on the Korean Peninsula is advancing at twice the speed of the world average, local media reported Friday, citing a South Korean government study.
    According to the research of the National Institute of Meteorological Research, the peninsula’s annual average temperature climbed by 1.7 degrees Celsius between 1912 and 2008, twice the world average of 0.74 degrees Celsius recorded for the period from 1912 to 2005, local Korea Times reported.
    If the trend continues, the nation’s coastal areas and Jeju Island, located south on the peninsula, may be without winter by 2100, the Korea Times said, quoting an official at the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).
    “The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is also expected to double the present amount by 2100, with the annual average temperature and the annual precipitation to rise by 4 degrees and 17 percent, respectively, if the current trend continues,” the KMA official was quoted as saying.
    Rapid urbanization is blamed for the faster-than-average global warming on the peninsula, according to the weather agency.
    “The Korean peninsula is seeing a higher rise of temperature than other parts of the world because many parts of the country have already become urbanized and a huge population is gathered in small areas,” said the official.
    The Korean Peninsula is likely to experience bad effects of climate change in the near future, including an entire change in the ecosystem and a spread of tropical diseases, the official warned.
    So the amount of CO2 is expected to double by 2100 and in the near future an entire change in the ecosystem and spread of tropical diseases. Well that doesn’t sound good. Why do we want to double CO2? Wait don’t tell me because it makes plants grow better. So far we human’s are a footnote in the history of life on planet Earth. Now is there another way of doing things so as to not double carbon? From many I hear usually well dressed old people, no. Do you have any idea how stupid that is? Wait we are trying as cap and trade is on the table and technology will save us. And now a word from a thinker.
    My frustration arises from the huge gap between words of governments, worldwide, and
    their actions or planned actions. It is easy to speak of a planet in peril. It is quite another to level
    with the public about what is needed, even if the actions are in everybody’s long-term interest.
    Instead governments are retreating to feckless “cap-and-trade”, a minor tweak to
    business-as-usual. Oil companies are so relieved to realize that they do not need to learn to be
    energy companies that they are decreasing their already trivial investments in renewable energy.
    They are using the money to buy greenwash advertisements. Perhaps if politicians and
    businesses paint each other green, it will not seem so bad when our forests burn.

    Cap-and-trade is the temple of doom. It would lock in disasters for our children and
    grandchildren. Why do people continue to worship a disastrous approach? Its fecklessness was
    proven by the Kyoto Protocol. It took a decade to implement the treaty, as countries extracted
    concessions that weakened even mild goals. Most countries that claim to have met their
    obligations actually increased their emissions. Others found that even modest reductions of
    emissions were inconvenient, and thus they simply ignored their goals.

    Why is this cap-and-trade temple of doom worshipped? The 648 page cap-and-trade
    monstrosity that is being foisted on the U.S. Congress provides the answer. Not a single
    Congressperson has read it. They don’t need to – they just need to add more paragraphs to
    support their own special interests. By the way, the Congress people do not write most of those
    paragraphs – they are “suggested” by people in alligator shoes.

    The only defense of this monstrous absurdity that I have heard is “well, you are right, it’s
    no good, but the train has left the station”. If the train has left, it had better be derailed soon or
    the planet, and all of us, will be in deep do-do. People with the gumption to parse the 648-pages
    come out with estimates of a price impact on petrol between 12 and 20 cents per gallon. It has to
    be kept small and ineffectual, because they want to claim that it does not affect energy prices!
    It seems they would not dream of being honest and admitting that an increased price for
    fossil fuels is essential to drive us to the world beyond fossil fuels. Of course, there are a huge
    number of industries and people who do not want us to move to the world beyond fossil fuels –
    these are the biggest fans of cap-and-trade. Next are those who want the process mystified, so
    they can make millions trading, speculating, and gaming the system at public expense. James Hansen

    Remember that footnote part and may the force be with you.

  64. Jeff White said on May 8th, 2009 at 6:24pm #

    The full article by Ian Angus can be read at

  65. Garrett said on May 10th, 2009 at 10:26am #

    Ian wrote: “Capital has no conscience. Capital can’t be anyone’s ancestor because capital has no children. Capital has only one imperative: it has to grow.”

    This is precisely why capitalism is not the problem per se. The problem is human behavior or human nature. So, why are some people “capitalists?” Because of greed.

    Tennessee wrote: “Socialism hasn’t existed yet.”

    That’s the standard line. Humans have a tendency to corrupt whatever economic system is put in place.