[DEBATE] : Re: Heartfield-Tweedie pro-coal alliance
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri May 2 12:42:46 BST 2008
James Heartfield wrote:
> Dear Patrick, Dominic, Russell, SA Discussers
> Patrick argues that we can forget Marx and Lenin because they did not
> know about climate change.
Ach silly James, there was a smiley face after that remark about Lenin's
> Well, there have always been people trying to tell us that radical
> politics can be abandoned because of some new condition which renders
> all previous class politics redundant ('Exterminism', Empire, 'the
> race war', cybernetics, post-scarcity society). It is a rhetorical
> trope that lets the correspondent plug up his ears against difficult
> arguments shouting 'climate change, climate change, climate
> change...'. Patrick says the red-green alliance can resolve SA's power
> outage by redistribution, without increasing output.But that could
> only be the case if the majority population in SA continued to suffer
> restricted access to electricity. If their consumption increases, it
> stands to reason that output will have to increase.
No, it means increasing the majority's access to electricity, especially
through provision of a more generous free lifeline supply than 50
kWh/household/month. This is exactly what the activists did to Joburg
Water in the High Courts this week, James: forced a doubling of free
water consumption. We can do it with electricity too, I'd say.
> Two centuries ago John Stuart Mill tried to argue that the solution
> for capitalism is to arrest all progress in favour of a stationary
> state economy, and to redistribute the social product more equitably.
> Even back then Karl Marx could see that the attempt to separate out
> the question of distribution from that of production was a mistake -
> the same mistake that Patrick is making.
> Leftists have been calling for a Red-Green alliance for twenty years
> now - it is time to take stock. Who got anything out of the Red-Green
> alliance? The more green the radicals got, the further they moved away
> from the working class. 'Saving the environment' was the displacement
> activity for radicals who had given up on fighting for the working
> class. The left allied itself with the one group of people most
> fervently committed to reducing working class consumption.
> The Greens got a boost into government in Germany and local government
> in lots of places. The radicals got to deceive themselves that they
> were continuing to be influential, when in truth they had just been
> turned into foot soldiers for the anti-growth activists. And the
> working class? They got worse than nothing: massive price rises in
> electicity, housing, fuel, and food; regressive taxes, the
> re-militarisation of German imperialism, and snobby activists telling
> them off about sorting their rubbish.
You're worried about a certain kind of market-oriented "Realo" Green.
Those folk are major enemies of the Red-Green project, you should know,
on matters as diverse as climate change (where carbon trading is the
main fault line) to water pricing. Are you not paying attention,
comrade, or just in a distoring and smeary mood?
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