Monday, June 17, 2013

chomsky on biosphere and enforcement

Humanity Imperiled: The path to disaster.

by Noam Chomsky

What is the future likely to bring? A reasonable stance might be to try to look at the human species from the outside. So imagine that you’re an extraterrestrial observer who is trying to figure out what’s happening here or, for that matter, imagine you’re an historian 100 years from now—assuming there are any historians 100 years from now, which is not obvious — and you’re looking back at what’s happening today. You’d see something quite remarkable.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

marcuse on ecology and revolution

Ecology and Revolution

By Herbert Marcuse

(from Liberation 16 (September 1972):10-12)

Coming from the United States, I am a little uneasy discussing the ecological movement, which has already by and large been co-opted [there]. Among militant groups in the United States, and particularly among young people, the primary commitment is to fight, with all the means (severely limited means) at their disposal, against the war crimes being committed against the Vietnamese people. The student movement – which had been proclaimed to be dead or dying, cynical and apathetic – is being reborn all over the country. This is not an organized opposition at all, but rather a spontaneous movement which organizes itself as best it can, provisionally, on the local level. But the revolt against the war in Indochina is the only oppositional movement the establishment is unable to co-opt because neocolonial war is an integral part of that global counterrevolution which is the most advanced form of monopoly capitalism.

So, why be concerned about ecology? Because the violation of the earth is a vital aspect of the counterrevolution. The genocidal war against people is also “ecocide” insofar as it attacks the sources and resources of life itself. It is no longer enough to do away with people living now; life must also be denied to those who aren’t even born yet by burning and poisoning the earth, defoliating the forests, blowing up the dikes. This bloody insanity will not alter the ultimate course of the war, but it is a very clear expression of where contemporary capitalism is at: the cruel waste of productive resources in the imperialist homeland goes hand in hand with the cruel waste of destructive forces and consumption of commodities of death manufactured by the war industry.

In a very specific sense, the genocide and ecocide in Indochina are the capitalist response to the attempt at revolutionary ecological liberation: the bombs are meant to prevent the people of North Vietnam from undertaking the economic and social rehabilitation of the land. But in a broader sense, monopoly capitalism is waging a war against nature – human nature as well as external nature. For the demands of ever more intense exploitation come into conflict with nature itself, since nature is the source and locus of the life-instincts which struggle against the instincts of aggression and destruction. And the demands of exploitation progressively reduce and exhaust resources: the more capitalist productivity increases, the more destructive it becomes. This is one sign of the internal contradictions of capitalism.