Marxism and Environmental Crises

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They cooperated in the struggle to survive; they did not exploit each other but instead did all they could to help one another. It was European settlers who brought capitalism to the Western Hemisphere. Their ideology came from this predatory system that allows a few to become wealthy by exploiting the labor of the many. If it is OK to exploit fellow human beings in this way, then why not nature itself?

This is not to say that that was the attitude of everyone who came here, but it was the prevailing attitude, from the conquistadors to Gen.

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Custer to the wealthy planters, whose demand for labor created the holocaust of the slave trade. So when we look at the degradation of the environment that is now affecting the climate of the whole planet, we should remember how it began. This fully corresponds to the social organization of which it is the theoretical expression.

When an individual manufacturer or merchant sells a manufactured or purchased commodity with only the usual small profit, he is satisfied, and he is not concerned as to what becomes of the commodity afterwards or who are its purchasers. The same thing applies to the natural effects of the same actions. What did the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests on the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertilizer for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees, care that the tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the now unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only bare rock?

It is profitable for the capitalists but not the people as a whole. This damage to the planet is not just because of population growth. The U. And the Pentagon has directly harmed the environment not to speak of killing people! To fix a problem as big as climate change, you have to first be able to define the problem. That problem is the rule of monopoly capital, dominated by the big banks, that has penetrated every continent. It took decades for scientists to overcome the energy lobby so that global warming change was generally acknowledged.

The science became overwhelming, leading to a split in the scientific community. James Hansen, for instance, who recently resigned as head of NASA, had a very powerful job but his warnings about greenhouse gas emissions went unheeded for at least two decades. We know that the U. Look at the trillions of dollars that have been spent just in the last decade on war and aggression. So why, after decades of dire warnings, has nothing significantly changed? After Midwest drought, hurricane upon hurricane, widespread tornadoes, massive floods, why has the U.

Is it a political problem, in the narrow sense of electoral politics?

Marxism and Global Warming

The Bushes, we know, worked hand-in-glove with the energy industry. But the environment was barely mentioned in the presidential debates. On the domestic scene, the government has not tried to stop oil exploration in the Arctic, fracking or the Keystone X pipeline. But it did impose tariffs of up to 36 percent on Chinese solar panels, making it much harder for homeowners here to switch to solar energy. The solution to this problem is not political, not in the sense of picking one capitalist party over another. What the quote from Engels made clear is this: to the capitalists, pollution can be very profitable.

They can walk away from the problem. The overriding factor in their decisions is to maximize their profits. The approach of most of the environmental movement is to get laws, agreements, etc.

Marxism, capitalism and the environment

But who are the lawmakers? Who are the governments? And for every law they pass, for every fine they levy, there are loopholes that let the polluters get away with it. Think of how capitalists get away with so many safety violations. The recent Texas fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people — five times the deaths from the Boston Marathon bombing. It injured scores more and destroyed the town of West. Where are the urgent calls in the media for stiffer laws, more inspectors? Some 4, workers die every year from job-related accidents. Many more die from the long-term effects of pollution. Of course we are for progressive reforms and restraints on polluting companies, just as we are for many other reforms, like a government-funded jobs program.

We say it has to be an integral part of the struggle to end capitalism.

Capitalism requires an ever-expanding market — and ever-expanding production. If production drops, the stock markets panic. Capitalism is the driving force of rapid, unplanned, industrial and agricultural development.


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The primary purpose of this economic activity under capitalism is not to provide what people really need to lead healthy, satisfying lives. It is to produce maximum profits for the bosses. Asking it to change is like asking a tiger to become a vegetarian. Why are vast forests chopped down each day to produce the New York Times and other capitalist news media?

It took decades for scientists to overcome the energy lobby so that global warming change was generally acknowledged. The science became overwhelming, leading to a split in the scientific community. James Hansen, for instance, who recently resigned as head of NASA, had a very powerful job but his warnings about greenhouse gas emissions went unheeded for at least two decades. We know that the U. Look at the trillions of dollars that have been spent just in the last decade on war and aggression.

So why, after decades of dire warnings, has nothing significantly changed? After Midwest drought, hurricane upon hurricane, widespread tornadoes, massive floods, why has the U. Is it a political problem, in the narrow sense of electoral politics? The Bushes, we know, worked hand-in-glove with the energy industry.

Marxism and Environmental Crises eBook by David Layfield - | Rakuten Kobo

But the environment was barely mentioned in the presidential debates. On the domestic scene, the government has not tried to stop oil exploration in the Arctic, fracking or the Keystone X pipeline. But it did impose tariffs of up to 36 percent on Chinese solar panels, making it much harder for homeowners here to switch to solar energy. The solution to this problem is not political, not in the sense of picking one capitalist party over another. What the quote from Engels made clear is this: to the capitalists, pollution can be very profitable. They can walk away from the problem.

The overriding factor in their decisions is to maximize their profits. The approach of most of the environmental movement is to get laws, agreements, etc. But who are the lawmakers?

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Who are the governments? And for every law they pass, for every fine they levy, there are loopholes that let the polluters get away with it. Think of how capitalists get away with so many safety violations. The recent Texas fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people — five times the deaths from the Boston Marathon bombing. It injured scores more and destroyed the town of West. Where are the urgent calls in the media for stiffer laws, more inspectors? Some 4, workers die every year from job-related accidents.

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Many more die from the long-term effects of pollution. Of course we are for progressive reforms and restraints on polluting companies, just as we are for many other reforms, like a government-funded jobs program. We say it has to be an integral part of the struggle to end capitalism. Capitalism requires an ever-expanding market — and ever-expanding production. If production drops, the stock markets panic.

Capitalism is the driving force of rapid, unplanned, industrial and agricultural development. The primary purpose of this economic activity under capitalism is not to provide what people really need to lead healthy, satisfying lives. It is to produce maximum profits for the bosses. Asking it to change is like asking a tiger to become a vegetarian. Why are vast forests chopped down each day to produce the New York Times and other capitalist news media?

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